This majestic stand of kauri was recognised for its unique qualities, being a rare collection of large trees in close proximity. It exhibits a fine display of both mature and youthful specimens.
Access to Omahuta Forest is along Omahuta Road, 800 metres south of Mangamuka Bridge. After 5.6 km it bears right, turning into Kauri Sanctuary Road (signposts with road names are sparse).
The track is metalled with minor undulations. It can be uneven in places.
Many of the largest trees have names such as Ngatuahine, Whakamakere, Taniwha, Rakaunui, Kopi, Hokianga, Tokoiwa, Tokerau and Ngapuhi. This practice of naming was common amongst Maori, who revered the trees.
In 1951, 6 hectares were converted into the Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary. Many of the larger trees have a girth of nearly 10 metres and a height of over 50 metres. The frequency of trees with a great height in the Omahuta Sanctuary, is possibly because of a difference in original stock or their growth on different soils.
Kopi, who fell in strong winds in 1973, at the time was the third largest known kauri. When he fell his trunk was hollow and, in places, as thin as the bark. He has now rotted to form a cavern. He was home to a colony of over 1,000 short-tailed bats, had a girth of 13.18 metres and a total height of 55.39 metres.
Hokianga is the tallest of the kauri giants and is the seventh largest tree overall. He is named after the nearby harbour and is the largest in the sanctuary. Taniwha is Northland’s ninth biggest tree and means ‘monster’.
Omahuta was extensively logged in the late 1800s, the timber being flushed down the Mangamuka and Waihou Rivers to the sawmill at Kohukohu. Much of the surrounding land was clearfelled and burned to establish pasture, but the rugged terrain spared some fine trees.
In1886 Omahuta became a State Forest and thus ripe for destruction with a view to settlement and farming. Over 300,000 cubic metres of timber were extracted. Every possible creek was dammed and 1-kilometre-long chutes were constructed to fire logs down to the main dam. It was 19 km to the Hokianga Harbour from where logs were taken for milling.
More logging took place for boat building during the war effort between 1942 and 1946. Major fires in 1913 and 1931 burned huge areas and a devastating cyclone in 1959 toppled over 200 kauri.
The formation of the Omahuta Kauri Sanctuary in 1951 has preserved some of the finest trees.
North Island ▷ Northland ▷ Kaikohe
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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 😍