What is Swamp Kauri?

Swamp Kauri (Agathis Australis) is a native ancient tree that has been buried and preserved in New Zealand’s wetlands for thousands of years. The wood is highly prized for its beauty, durability, and scarcity. Ancient swamp Kauri is only found in peat swamp in Northland, in the upper North island of New Zealand where these giant trees once stood. Some excavated Kauri has been carbon dated up to 50,000 years. We source our Kauri through reputable suppliers who harvest legally and sustainably, and certified by MPI. The New Zealand government regulates the harvesting of Swamp Kauri to protect the wetlands and the species that rely on them.  


How Swamp Kauri Is Formed

A tale of preservation and time, as Kauri trees grow in moist ground, they flourish and mature, gradually accumulating immense weight. This weight can lead to a remarkable transformation as these trees slowly sink into the earth.

To understand the intriguing preservation of swamp kauri, we must consider the specific conditions that enable its formation and longevity:

  1. Moisture’s Role: The surrounding ground must maintain an adequate level of dampness to facilitate the sinking of fallen Kauri trees. This moisture-rich environment becomes a nurturing cradle for their descent.

  2. Shielded from Oxygen: A critical aspect of swamp kauri preservation lies in the isolation of these fallen trees from exposure to oxygen. Oxygen is an essential element for the decomposition process, and by depriving the submerged wood of oxygen, the natural decay is effectively suppressed.

Through this delicate interplay of environmental factors, the captivating process of swamp kauri formation unfolds, ensuring the safeguarding of these ancient wonders for generations to come.

How Is Kauri Preserved?

The preservation of swamp kauri is a complex process influenced by a variety of geological, environmental, and landscape factors. These factors contribute to the diverse range of locations where swamp kauri is found. While the circumstances may vary, certain environments are known for their propensity to preserve this precious timber, including lowland bogs and peat swamps.

In addition to these common preservation environments, swamp kauri has also been discovered in other distinctive settings. These include:

  1. Dry River Beds: In some cases, dry river beds have proven to be conducive to the preservation of kauri. The absence of water flow allows for the accumulation of organic material, offering a protective environment for the submerged wood.

  2. Coastal Sand Dunes: Along coastal areas, kauri has been found preserved within sand dunes. Over time, wind-formed sand dunes stabilized due to changing climate conditions, creating sheltered areas that became home to kauri trees. The subsequent presence of water and organic soil further facilitated the preservation process.

  3. Infilled Volcanic Craters: Certain swamp kauri specimens have been discovered within infilled volcanic craters. The unique geological formations of these craters, coupled with specific environmental conditions, have provided a suitable environment for the preservation of kauri.

  4. Ancient Lakes: In some instances, swamp kauri has been found in ancient lakes. These water bodies, often existing in prehistoric times, have offered an ideal setting for the preservation of submerged wood.

  5. Hilly Areas and Landslides: The topography of hilly regions, particularly areas prone to landslides, can play a role in the preservation of kauri. When landslides occur, kauri trees may be toppled and trapped, preventing rapid decay and contributing to their long-term preservation.

The remarkable diversity of preservation environments underscores the uniqueness of swamp kauri and the intricate interplay of geological and environmental factors that have allowed its conservation. Through the exploration of these varied locations, we gain a deeper understanding of the captivating journey that culminates in the discovery of this treasured timber.

How Do You Identify Swamp Kauri?

The Forests Act 1949, says that swamp kauri is the lower portion of a Kauri tree trunk, with or without roots, at least partially in the ground and no taller than its widest point at ground level.

Other types of wood

We specialise in kauri but also work with other native wood of your choice.

  • Kahikatea – Native NZ
  • Oak – Native NZ
  • Rimu – Native NZ
  • Redwood – Australian hardwood