The sandy penninsula was covered in kauri trees 100,000 years ago. They were destrpyed through some cataclismic event and another forest of Kauri regrew, only to be destroyed again 45,000 years ago. Some of the trees fell into areas that were, or became, swamps and peat bogs. The result is that these huge trees were preserved and are now being dug out of the swamps and used to produce many different items, from trinkets to furniture. The trees were huge. We stopped at a factory and saw one tree which had a stair case carved throuh its interior.
The living Kauri of our time was harvested during the sailing era , mostly for ships' masts and flooring as the trees were so huge, hard and straight. Very few of the huge trees remain, although reforestation is underway. The trees gain their size slowly, so it can take 1500 years for them to become giants. They produce a gum which was also important as an export in the 1800's. We stopped at one lookout adjacent to an old forest containing Kauri and we could smell the perfume of their gum on the wind.