Swamp kauri



NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group



Kauri may well rise well above ground, but it also hides deep below. Forests of kauri lie beneath the swamps, beaches and paddocks of the Kaipara, resting where they fell sometime in the past 60,000 years. The most common reason? Tsunami or catastrophic flood. However, they also sometimes sank into the damp ground because of their weight. Kauri trees are protected so only swamp kauri is available for woodworking and even that is becoming harder to come by. Known as Black Gold, it's one of the most valuable woods on the market. Rick Taylor from the Woodturners Kauri Gallery and Studio has a hands-on approach from swamp to store — a journey that can take up to three years. “Swamp kauri is ancient kauri once buried beneath wetland or farmland for thousands of years. It varies in colour and value —green wood tends to come from the upper reaches of the tree, while the valuable fiddleback kauri is from the stumps and lower wood. Fiddleback kauri is almost holographic; it glows.” Rick is a master woodturner, and his well-practised hands bring out an incredible sheen within the wood. His studio features bowls, art pieces, boxes, platters and more. It's not about “painting a piece of wood to make it look nice. Working with swamp kauri means bringing out the best in the wood, and letting the grain show more than anything.” Rick also teaches woodturning and makes a range of tools at his gallery. There's also a small art display. 4 Murdoch Street, Dargaville. (09) 439 4975, thewoodturnersstudio.co.nz