THE HISTORY OF KAURI AND ITS FORM
New Zealand’s giant conifer, the Kauri (Agathis Australis) tree, once dominated the Coromandel landscape, looming large in the lives of the country’s first inhabitants, and later the European settlers.
Dating back to the Jurassic period, Kauri are amongst the largest and longest living trees in the world.
The British came to the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand to fell Kauri in the 1830 - 1890's, used for spars for their warships. Kauri’s unique quality of having a mostly branchless trunk, provided knot-less timber with extraordinary strength. Later, the trees were exported to America to build the city of San Francisco during the gold boom, and to the UK to refurbish the City of London. Early loggers would take the trunk and leave the head and root system of the tree behind.
Sculptor Tony Howse has devoted himself to recovering what Kauri head remain and he collects this precious wood all over the Coromandel Peninsula. Within the knotted, twisted and ancient wood, lies timber grain of extraordinary colour and beauty. Guided by the contour and patterns of the wood, Tony spends a long time contemplating each individual piece of salvaged Kauri to see what shape hides within before he starts the work of sculpting, uncovering the form.
He also uses parts of the root system as table legs for his Kauri Design pieces.
Tony Howse uses native birds and other forms from nature as his main inspiration.