We had heard rumblings about something called a Kauri Tree. And in particular Tane Mahuta – the poppa bear of all Kauri trees.
We heard these trees were the giants. We heard they were majestic.
Sounded cool…….but they’re trees. Probably not cool enough to go out of our way for, right?
Right. But fortunately for us Tane Mahuta happened to be standing (almost) right in our way on the drive down from Cape Reinga so we figured we’d stop to see what all the hype was about.
Putzing down the wooden walkway following signs to see this “Lord of the Forest” (it’s translation from New Zealand’s native people, the Maori) we honestly weren’t expecting much.
Then we turned the corner.
“Holy shit” I involuntarily word-vomited.
Before us lay one of the most spectacular things either of us had even seen.
Tane Mahuta is 45ft across (ACROSS), 170ft tall and was so massive it appeared to have smaller trees growing on it about 100ft up.
Oh also, one more thing…IT’S OVER 2,000 YEARS OLD.
The thing quite literally took both of our breaths away. I don’t know if it’s because we had such low expectations or if this thing really does have some majestic qualities – but it was truly awe inspiring.
We stood there for the better part of an hour with our jaws on the ground sharing our astonishment with a Aussie woman we had befriended.
“I just can’t believe how massive it is” – we all must have said in different variations about 6,000 times.
Naturally we tried to capture it’s unworldly size with photos and videos – but I’m disappointed to say that none of them did it even close to justice.
I know people say that with a lot of photos – but it’s especially true here. It is truly a ‘must see’ if you really want to grasp how massive this freaking thing is.
Maybe that’s part of its allure; the fact that modern technology can’t fully replicate its magic. I don’t know.
But what I do know that if you’re in New Zealand – go see Tane Mahuta and every Kauri tree you can. Because what makes them even more special is that they may not be on this planet for much longer.
There’s a disease that’s slowly killing off these rare giants called Kauri Dieback and unless conservation efforts start working better, there’s a very strong possibility they’ll be gone soon.
I hope the day never comes when they no longer exist but if it does, I consider myself extremely lucky I was able to lay my eyes on this majestic organism.