Ancient Iconic Kauri Trees – Waipoua Forest

There is a very good reason why the Kauri Coast is called ‘ancient’ – it is home to trees which have been living for 2-3,000 years which unbelievably dates back to bronze age man! These iconic trees have really stood the test of time and today are mighty giants which have a special place in Maori culture and the hearts of all who visit.

Maori Legend | Tane Mahuta

In the beginning before the world was light, Rangi the sky-father and Papa the earth-mother, were bound together, their offspring trapped in the darkness between them. The sons became desperate for light and space, so agreed to separate from their parents. The strongest among them, Tane Mahuta, put his shoulder to Papa and thrust upwards with his powerful legs, disregarding the protests of a weeping Rangi and Papa, as they were wrenched away from each other’s embrace. Tane Mahuta pushed upwards with all his great strength, until Rangi was forced far away up into the sky, and Tane held him there, letting the light shine in. The Te Roroa people of Waipoua believe that Tane Mahuta’s legs were the giant trunks of kauri trees.  Because the strong trunks had been able to hold up the sky-father, light came in and life was able to burst forth around the foot of Tane Mahuta’s legs. Tane Mahuta – “Lord of the Forest” and spiritual “God of the Forest” is estimated to be approximately 2000 years old, dates back to the birth of Christ and is the tallest known kauri tree in the world. This tree stands over 4 metres in diameter and has a girth of 13.77 metres, a trunk height of 17.69 metres, a total heigh of 51.5 metres with an estimated volume of 244.5 cubic metres. This tree is an internationally renowned New Zealand icon and is easily accessed by a 3 minute walk off the main highway (map B). An absolute Must See on the Kauri Coast!

Less known to visitors is “Kauri Walks” which is located just before Tane Mahuta on the left. This truly is a hidden secret and is as much of a Must See as Tane Mahuta himself! (map A)

Te Matua Ngahere “Father of the Forest” estimated to be approximately 3000 years old he is the oldest and widest known kauri tree in the world. This tree is over 5 metres in diameter and has a girth greater than Tane Mahuta (16.4 metres) but the trunk is much shorter at only 10.2 metres giving a total height of 29.9 metres and an estimated volume of 208 cubic metres. Te Matua Ngahere is an easy and enjoyable 40 minute round trip walk into the heart of the forest. We have purposely not provided any photo as we want this experience to be very magical and humbling. The Four Sisters Located on the path to Te Matua Ngahere this is definitely another Must See. Normally kauri fight for sole survival but this stand of four separate trees are believed to come from the same seed pot explosion and have co-existed for about 500 years. These trees have evenly spaced, slender trunks and the branches at the top reach outwards and not in. Just like siblings some are stronger than others due to their position in relation to wind, rain and soil nutrients.

Standing at over 4 metres in diameter, with a girth of 13.77 metres, a trunk height of 17.69 metres, a total heigh of 51.5 metres and with an estimated volume of 244.5 cubic metre, Tane Mahuta is the largest known Kauri tree in the world We  have purposely not shown any of the other trees mentioned as we don’t want to spoil your experience when you encounter the other ancient icons on Kauri Walks

If an additional hour is available at Kauri Walks ….

The Yakas – Turning off the main Kauri Walks track early on,  is another path which takes visitors to see The Yakas – the seventh largest kauri tree.  With a girth of 12.29 metres, a trunk height of 12.04 metres and a total height of 43.9 metres it has an estimated volume of 134.2 cubic metres.  The tree was named after Nicholas Yakas, a gum digger who had discovered the tree on one of his outings, but decided to keep it quiet.  Finally in 1966 when asked if he knew of any large kauri as yet unknown to the public, he let his secret be known ! Cathedral Grove also located on the track to The Yakas.  True to its name, this is a truly breathtakingly, serene and beautiful place where visitors find themselves surrounded by stands of kauri trees with absolute peace except for the sound of bird song.