TonyFats in Asia 2006-07 travel blog

Matakohe houses the Kauri Museum with it's scaled down model of a working sawmill. It is well worth a visit and gives you an idea of how large the Kauri forests were. It also gives you an idea of how large the logging and milling industries were at that time. The layout is great and shows how all the milling machinery and the men that ran it functioned. A secondary industry to logging was the gum industry. There is a Gum Room in the museum with a very extensive collection of amber, all shapes and sizes. The amber was retrieved from swamps and had been buried there for thousands of years. It was dug up by "Gum Diggers" most of these men were from Alsasia in Croatia, and had been lured to NZ by the promise of becoming rich. Another method of collecting amber was by bleeding the kauri trees for there sap, but this practice was abandoned when it was found that it could kill the tree. The amber that was dug up from the swamps in the area was exported all over the world. The gum was used for many things from jewelry to the making of varnish, and linoleum. Before this I was not aware of the gum diggers or the many uses or the Kauri tree sap. Next we headed south to Lake Taupo and the Central Plateau.

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