Author And Researcher
I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.
I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!
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The walk passes a series of holes excavated by gumdiggers.
From S.H.10 follow Inland Road for 2km to a small roadside parking area. The start of the track is signposted.
The walk is metalled and even. It loops through tea-tree scrub growing close to the track.
When searching for gum, the gumdiggers would probe the ground with a spear to locate a piece of gum, then either dig using a spade, or work the gum up with a hook. It was often necessary to dig a pit, as in many places successive kauri forests have grown on top of each other. By digging it was easier to probe deep beneath the surface.
The anaerobic conditions of the waterlogged peat soils preserved the gum so that it matured into a rich amber, useful in the manufacture of varnish.
Lake Ohia was drained in 1900 and diggers dug drains to expose the gum. Eels 200mm in diameter were found when the lake was drained. Kauri stumps, since dated as 40,00 years old, were discovered in the lake bed.
A large village sprang up around the gumfield and a store was run by the Urlich’s, whose names are echoed in the local road names. Many grog shops were frequented by the same customers as the unofficial ‘hotel’. Diggers lived in thatch shacks or ‘humpies’ - old jute sacks tied around a tea-tree frame.
The heyday of the industry was before World War 1 but by the 1920s farming had replaces gumdigging.
North Island ▷ Northland ▷ Kaitaia
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍