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Kauri Tree Origins

Kauri Tree

The gigantic Kauri Tree is the inspiration behind one of our most popular patterns. Learn more about its importance and Kauri tree origins here.

Kauri Treet

All photos have been provided for free by my talented friend Meghan Maloney. You can visit her Meghan Maloney photography website for information on landscape photography tours and prints, or follow her on Instagram.

Our family and business life is deeply rooted in its connection to ancient Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Native species in Aotearoa provide the inspiration for our sewing pattern names. Be it our unique flora and fauna, beach and ocean life, or Māori kupu (words).

We love being able to highlight these unique species to our local and international audience, and believe that through understanding and expanding our knowledge we will be able to carve a path together towards sustainability, conservation and preservation of our natural world.

That’s why on the first page of each of our patterns you will find the name, correct pronunciation, connection and importance of the pattern name. We believe this is particularly important for spreading awareness and an understanding of te reo Māori (the Māori language).

Today we would love to highlight one of our most popular patterns, the Kauri Dress and its name origins.

The Kauri Tree

Our Kauri Dress sewing pattern is named after the gigantic Kauri Tree, native to the northern parts of the North Island, New Zealand.

Pronounce it like “co-ree” in English, or click here to hear it spoken.

Kauri is a staple part of to our New Zealand way of life. From tourism, to how we build our homes, you’ll find kauri woven into our everyday lives.

Kauri Trees are the second largest trees in the world (second to the towering redwood), but are almost double the girth of a Redwood.

Māori used Kauri timber for waka (canoe) building, carving and marae (meeting houses).

After colonisation, the government purchased and stole ancient forest land and cleared much of it. Extensive felling occurred and the timber was used for ship masts and building settlers homes.

Colonisers felled the forests at increasing rates again in the 20th century as demand for building timber and farmlands increased.

In 1952 Waipoua forest was declared a sanctuary by the government. In 1987 all remaining Kauri forests came under the protection of the Department of Conservation.

Kauri Tree

Tāne Māhuta

Waipoua forest is home to Tāne Māhuta “Guardian of the Forest“, New Zealand’s largest living Kauri Tree (pictured above).

In traditional Māori creation kōrero (stories), Tāne Māhuta is the guardian of the forest, the son of Papatūānuku (the Earth Mother) and Ranginui (the Sky Father). Tāne, frustrated with living in darkness, pushed against the sky and the earth and tore his parents embrace apart, which brought light to the world.

To console his mother, Tāne Māhuta clothed her in the forest, and all living creatures of the forest are Tāne’s children.

Tāne was also a figure of importance in many other stories, you can read more about him here.

All of the trees of the forest are seen as Tāne Māhuta. They continue to seperate land and sky and hold the sky up.

The largest living Kauri Tree bears his name and is the personification of the god of the forest. (Pictured above).

Under Threat

Kauri Tree forests are once again threatened by colonisation through “Kauri die back“.

This is a fungus type disease that is spreading through spores in the soil. Pests (pigs and possums) but mostly, humans visiting these forests with contaminated soil on their shoes spread the fungus. It has no known cure.

To limit the spread of the disease the Department of Conservation has set up shoe cleaning stations at the beginning and end of popular Kauri tourist tracks, and is upgrading pathways to be off the ground to contain visitors movements on the forest floor.

How you can help

The New Zealand Department of Conversation asks visitors to follow 4 simple guidelines to help reduce the risk of fungus spread:

  1. Wash your shoes before and after the walking tracks at the stations provided
  2. Wash any gear after your walks including car tyres, tramping equipment, and shoes.
  3. Stay on the paths provided, especially avoiding standing on or near the roots of the Kauri Tree
  4. Land owners and mana whenua (local Māori who have authority to make decisions about an area) may close tracks. This often happens during the winter to prevent the spread of mud. Please respect these restrictions when they are in place.

And for upper North Island locals, the chances are you’re near a kauri tree that is under threat. Check out this link to see helpful guides about how you can hunt, horse ride, tramp, mountain bike etc near Kauri.

All photos have been provided for free by my talented friend Meghan Maloney. You can visit her Meghan Maloney photography website here for information on landscape photography tours and prints, or follow her on Instagram.

Visit our Kauri Dress sewing pattern and see it in all of its glory.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our precious Kauri Tree forests!

Love and happy sewing,
Sophie x

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