Arno Gasteiger

Forest giants

Kauri are among the most magnificent trees on Earth. Yet they have been subject catastrophic logging in the 19th and 20th centuries, and in the 21st, a more pernicious threat that creeps through the soil itself. There is no cure for Phytophthora agathidicida, which leaves kauri bleeding sap until the tree perishes. How will we save the last of our giants?

Living World

The last of the giants

Kauri create shelter and nourishment for other species to grow, but now, a disease without a cure is killing these forest giants one by one. In the past five years, the infection rate of kauri has more than doubled in the only forest where it's monitores—the Waitakere Ranges. At least one in five trees there are doomed. Can we save the species?

Living World

Buried treasure

Submerged for aeons in the peat bogs of New Zealand’s north, swamp kauri is one of the world’s most valuable and exquisite timbers, and an unparalleled resource for global climate science. But as exports boomed and wetlands were ruined in the rush for the logs, the swamps have become an ideological battleground. What is the future of this ancient taonga?


The future of our forests

Native forest once covered most of Aotearoa in a great green swathe, heaving with biodiversity. Two-thirds fell to fire, axe and bulldozer during a botanical Blitzkrieg the like of which the world has never seen. Today’s forest remnants are confined largely to areas of conservation land, but legislation can’t protect against pathogens, pests and invasive weeds that do not respect park boundaries. What does the future hold for our forests?


Northland's buried treasure

"Gold fever" struck northern New Zealand in the late 1800s, and peaked at the turn of this century with 20,000 fortune-hunters spread across some 800,000 acres of land. What they were seeking was not metallic gold, but kauri gum: a rich golden resin which polishes up like glass and is one of this country's most beautiful natural products.