Ancient kauri log an exciting find
A massive 60-tonne swamp kauri log discovered during excavations for a new power station at Nga¯wha¯ has been gifted to the local marae.
The 16m log will be transported to Nga¯wha¯ Marae today, where a po¯whiri will be held to welcome the ancient tree into the hapu¯’s care.
While carbon-dating has yet to be carried out the tree could have been buried and preserved in clay as long as 50,000 years ago.
Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw said the trunk was discovered at 9m during levelling of the site in February, and is the only swamp kauri find at the power station site to date.
Shaw said the unexpected discovery generated a great deal of excitement.
The area around the log was carefully dug out while iwi was consulted and the Northland Regional Council and Ministry of Primary Industries advised.
A karakia was conducted by kauma¯tua Eddie Court when Nga¯wha¯ Marae Trustees Komiti members and advisors visited the site on February 9.
Shaw said the ancient log should come under the guardianship of Nga¯wha¯ Marae. Komiti chairman Richard Woodman described the remnant as a precious cultural artefact.
Nga¯wha¯ Marae Trustees would treat the taonga with utmost respect and were holding it for purposes that would enhance the hapu¯’s cultural identity.
The log was cut into three sections of about 20 tonnes each to allow it to be transported to the marae.
Earthworks for the geothermal power station expansion started in 2017 and will continue until July this year, when construction will begin.
It is due to be completed in late 2020.
Richard Woodman with the ancient kauri log.