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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Kauri Gum

Kauri Gum

Is an indigenous product of New Zealand, and is found in the provincial district of Auckland, and in no other part of the world. It is met with over a vast area of country, much of which has been denuded of the Kauri forests, which, hundreds of years ago, have covered the country. These giants of the forest have exuded the gum, which in the course of generations has become embedded in the ground, and now is available for the support of our diggers and settlers. The mode of digging is by the use of long-pointed spears, which are struck down into the ground till the gum deposit is met with, when the same has to be dug out, perhaps from a depth of two or three feet. A large population has been supported for many years by means of this industry, as must be evident when I state that, during the year 1890, 7,438 tons of this gum was exported, the value of which amounted to over £378,000. Of course, the time will come when the supply will become exhausted; but, although croakers have been prophesying this for years, the value for the year quoted exceeded by nearly £50,000 that of the previous year, and this notwithstanding that the total quantity was slightly less. The demand for this commodity has increased, and consequently prices have advanced, our American cousins taking over a quarter of a million pounds worth in the last year. The total quantity raised exceeds 134,000 tons, and the value was £5,394,000.