The construction team working on new furniture and homewares concept store Nido has dug up a significant cache of swamp kauri. The kauri will be donated to local Maori carvers and their students at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Mangere.
More than 20 pieces of swamp kauri, measuring up to seven metres in length and 90cm in diameter, were unearthed at the 31,000 square metre Henderson site of Nido, a $60 million metre concept store that’s been under construction since October 2018. Nido is expected to carry 10,000 product lines from 80 exclusive brands.
Swamp kauri are prehistoric kauri trees buried under peat swamps in the North Island. They can be up to 50,000 years old. Nido managing director Vinod Kumar says the wood was discovered at a depth of four metres, explaining that the environment has preserved it in perfect condition.
Kumar says the find at the Henderson construction site was immediately recognised by one of the workers overseeing the excavation of the store’s foundations.
“Our assistant site manager Lisa Wade (of iwi Ko Kahungunu kia Heretaunga me Rongowhakaata me Te Aitanga Ā Mahaki toku iwi descent) identified the significance of the find straight away.
“We thrilled to be able to return this ancient taonga to local Māori, the local wānanga and their tohunga whakairo,” he says.
Wade says the swamp kauri trees appeared to have been blown over in a storm, and were facing in the same direction, which has cultural significance.
“Tāne Mahuta - the Māori god of forests and of birds was said to be made of kauri making this taonga is particularly precious to the Māori people,” she says.
The 20 pieces were blessed in a karakia ceremony, excavated and transported to Mangere on Friday.
The work on Nido is expected to be completed before the end of this year.