The World's Oldest Workable Wood!
excavating kauri log


The prehistoric Kauri forests that grew 50,000 years ago are preserved under the surface of the North Island of New Zealand.

Buried under a peat swamp by an unexplained act of nature at the end of the last Ice Age, the trees have survived the centuries in an underground resting place, sealed in a chemically balanced environment that has preserved the timber in perfect condition.

The trees grew for nearly 2000 years before they were buried. Some have a girth of around 40 feet, and a total height of nearly 200 feet. They are among the largest trees in the world.

Extraction of the logs is time consuming, expensive and technically difficult requiring skilled operators of heavy machinery. Working in wet conditions each log must be carefully brought to the surface. Once removed from the ground the log is assessed, then milled to yield the best grain and timber qualities. After the log has been removed, the area is then restored to its original contours with no environmental consequences.

Despite its long burial, with careful selection, cutting and drying, the wood maintains its beautiful qualities and finishes to a rich cognac shade. When polished the wood is a deep color with hues, textures and sheen's that constantly change under differing shades of light. It literally glistens as if lit from beneath the surface. Many pieces have a beautiful Whitebait* grain activity that will be very iridescent when sanded to a very fine grit and a clear finish.

Kauri is the most famous of New Zealand native trees and one of the largest trees found anywhere in the world. This magnificent tree native only to New Zealand, once covered much of the area of North Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula.

The largest Kauri on record, known as the "Father of the Forests", grew at Mill Creek, Mercury Bay. It's height was 72ft to the first branch, with a girth of 77ft. Tane Mahuta, the famous tree in Waipoua Forest, Northland, is 167ft high, with a girth of 55ft, and has been calculated to be over 2,100 years old.

These awesome Kauri trees, command a presence that is almost spiritual. Those remaining today average smaller than the ancients, with a trunk up to 10ft in diameter, being free of branches up to 60ft above ground. Of the estimated 3,000,000 acres in the ancient kauri forests, only 350 acres of living Kauri trees remain.

This historic, highly prized and respected native tree that is so much a part of New Zealand’s history, can be seen and appreciated by visitors. Native Reserves give  the opportunity to take in their beauty and Museums provide well-documented history. Today the logging of living Kauri trees is strictly controlled and the few trees that are milled today are done only on a sustainable yield basis. Export of this timber is restricted and can only be exported as finished goods. This is not the Ancient Kauri that we at Arroyo Hardwoods are fortunate to be able to offer you.

In addition to the timber, Kauri Gum was greatly prized as an ingredient for the manufacture of high quality paints and varnishes. Exqusite specimens of Kauri Gum have been carved and polished. The combination of wood and gum crafted and polished looks magnificent.


Serious Wood for Serious Projects

Extensive scientific Radio Carbon Dating tests have done on samples of Ancient Kauri by independent organizations that include:

The University of New Zealand in Waikato

The University of Sydney, Australia

The New Zealand Institute of Nuclear Science

Beta Analytic Inc. of Miami, Florida, the United States leading laboratory for radio carbon dating analyses.

Dating has proven beyond doubt that these Kauri forests grew during the period 30,000 to more then 50,000 years ago.

Scientists are also studying the growth rings of Ancient Kauri to piece together a look at the environment of our planet before the arrival of modern man.

Every finished piece becomes a collectable investment proven to stand the test of time. It is not known how much Ancient Kauri lies beneath the ground. Because there is a finite amount of Ancient Kauri available, you will want to take advantage of having the privileged opportunity to use and enjoy this distinctive and extremely rare wood. Each piece comes with Certificate of Authenticity.

What Sizes are Available?

At Arroyo we can supply you with variety of sizes and shapes:

  • Extremely large slabs 40" wide X 10ft long X 3-1/2" thick!
  • 4/4 (1") boards to 10 ft. long.
  • 8/4 (2") boards to 10 ft. long.
  • Natural edged timbers and boards.
  • Large and small turning blocks.
  • 2" and 3" thick "stump slabs" (which have high activity in the grain, similar to a burl).
  • Pieces of stumps (for bases of tables).
  • Plywood and veneer products are available special order.
  • Let us know what your needs are, and we'll accommodate them!

*”Whitebait” is a description of grain activity that the New Zealanders coined. It compares this type of rare grain activity in certain pieces of Ancient Kauri to a very small fish that swim in large schools in the ocean – Whitebait. As the fish swim through the water they are shiny silver one second, then turn slightly and seem to disappear, then turn again and become bright and iridescent. The grain pattern in the Ancient Kauri that has this same characteristic is referred to as Whitebait. It is very rare and highly sought after. To find Whitebait presented in such a large piece is even more of a find, and the price of the piece reflects its rarity.

Arroyo Hardwoods is the sole retailer of Ancient Kauri Wood for the west coast!

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Please NOTE: Although we make every effort to keep our showroom well-stocked, we cannot guarentee that we will have all the varieties mentioned on this website in stock at all times - thank you for your understanding.
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