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New Zealand’s giant conifer, the Kauri (Agathis australis) once dominated the Coromandel landscape, looming large in the lives of the country’s first inhabitants, and the later European settlers.

Dating back to the Jurassic period, these trees are amongst the biggest, and longest living, in the world.

The British came to the Coromandel to fell Kauri in the 1830 - 1890's for spars for their warships. Kauri’s unique quality of being branchless over most of its trunk, provided knot-less timber with extraordinary strength. Later, the trees were exported to America to build 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. 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’s inspiration for his pieces is drawn from each individual piece of salvaged Kauri.