Yakas Kauri, The Four Sisters, Te Matua Ngahere

From the car park on SH 12 walk 10 minutes on a track suitable for wheelchairs takes you to the Four Sisters - 4 trees growing very close together. A 20 minute walk will take you to Te Matua Ngahere , the second largest living kauri tree and father of the forest.

A 30- 40 min (one way) diversion to the south on the Yakas track reaches the 7 th largest kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest - it’s the largest tree in Cathedral Grove,
If you continue on the Yakas track (6 km) rather than return to SH 12 you will reach the Waipoua Forest Visitor Centre.

When about 200 years ago European explorers began to arrive the sailors were quick to recognize the trunks of young kauri as perfect for ships’ masts and spars. The settlers that followed soon discovered kauri yielded sawn timber of unsurpassed quality. Kauri gum was found to be ideal for the manufacture of varnishes and was obtained by digging, fossicking in tree tops or more drastically by bleeding live trees. The seemingly unlimited supply of kauri began to fall increasingly to the axe, the saw and the match, accelerated by the demand for farmland. The face of Northland was changing irreparably.

The harbours which feature on the west coast, although often inhospitable and dangerous, had the advantage of penetrating far inland into mazes of water ways. This made them ideal for moving the kauri from inland forests to the coast.

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