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Down time with the mighty Kauri tree

Updated: Jun 3, 2020


Sit back and close your eyes for a moment. Imagine you are a Kauri tree, a big tall giant in our Aotearoa forests.

Imagine that your body is growing taller and stronger, up into the sky. Move your attention to your roots, and go from your feet, up through your legs and into your arms. Notice how your body is feeling along the way.

Once you get up to your arms, imagine they are like big strong kauri branches spreading wide, connecting you to the other trees in the forest, and housing many birds, insects and creatures. . . take as long as you need to just relax.


Short Story

Guardian of the Forest

Kauri woke slowly from his deep slumber to the sound of his friend, Moa, rustling around his roots. He breathed in the fresh, dewy forest air, stretched his resting branches and began shedding away some flaky bark, “those pesky vines won’t get the better of me”, he thought to himself. Gradually the rest of the forest began to awaken, birdsong swept through the foliage as the sunlight warmed Kauri’s leaves. He was so grateful he could reach the canopy of the forest to receive the first kiss of the sun’s rays. Kauri felt invincible, he was the guardian of the forest.

Many moons passed and Kauri grew to know the many generations of the forest family. He had outlived his friend Moa and now watched over her great, great, great grandchildren. His life was peaceful and his forest family lived in harmony.

One morning he woke abruptly, startled by the screams of his forest friends. Creatures with huge teeth and even bigger claws darted around his roots and lower branches. Kiwi and Ruru clutched their eggs and warned the invaders to stay away. Their cries were ignored, their burrows were raided and in the following years, Kauri’s thriving forest became smaller… Quieter.

Ruru and Kiwi learned to stay away from the strange, two-legged, featherless creatures that took over the land. Kauri wondered whether these beings could be trusted. After all; they introduced the relentless invaders to his serene home and Moa’s family had disappeared altogether… But Kauri had come to notice that the two-legged things lived by the moon, just like himself and they had grown to learn to only take what they needed. Maybe they weren’t all bad, maybe they were just young, like he was once upon a time.

Kauri grew wiser through the centuries but with his wisdom came sickness. No matter how hard he shook his flaky bark, he couldn’t shake the Kauri Dieback disease that had come to inhibit his body. He now turned to the two-legged creatures, humans, for hope. The humans had gained knowledge like no other creature he’d ever seen in the forest had. They could be invasive but they could be ingenious too. Kauri wished they would focus on the latter.

The humans built stations at the entrances to the forest, forcing their kind to remove any traces of the deadly disease before entering Kauri’s home. He was thankful to the humans that his fellow Kauri trees would be protected from the nasty sickness and be able to remain the guardians of the forest, long after his time.

- Dawn Edwards

Have a wild imagination, or a passion for our forest giants? Write us a short story and we'll publish it online. Tag us in it or email it directly to us!


Want to protect our Kauri trees?

Make sure you Scrub, Spray and Stay before leaving your footprints in our NZ forests!

By using the Kauri Dieback stations, you’re stopping the disease from spreading to more of our beloved Kauri.

Be kaitiaki for Kauri so Kauri can remain the guardians of our forests.

Image of Eye on Nature students at the school days practice, exiting from the Totara Bush with their shoes freshly cleaned.


Did you know?

  • Kauri trees provides a home and food for native NZ birds like the Kaka.

  • Kauri reproduce using cones which are formed every year on the tree. There are female and male cones. Male cones produce pollen which is carried by the wind to the female cones, where seeds develop. One seed attaches to one scale of the cone. The scale acts as a wing so it can be carried by the wind effectively and dispersed on the forest floor; to eventually grow into a towering Kauri tree.

  • Kauri trees are often 100 years old before they start reproducing.

  • Kauri gum is a natural antibiotic.

  • Kauri bark has adapted to flake off so that vines cannot attach to it and smother the tree.

  • The 3000 year old Kauri tree, Kairaru of Tutamoe was 20.1m in diameter and 65m tall. (Tane Mahuta is only 13.2m in diameter and 52m tall.)

Learn more about Kauri Dieback!

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