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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Kauri Gum

page 16

Kauri Gum.

Kauri gum is essentially an Auckland article of export. It is the turpentine of the Dammara Australis, found in a solid form as far south as Taranaki, and it is excavated from the sites of old kauri forests. The first export of the article is said to have been made by Captain Mair, a resident of the Bay of Islands, before 1840, but his venture proved unprofitable, as the price realised was only some £5 a ton. At first the exports were small, and the price unremunerative, but when it became an established article of commerce it was more earnestly sought and competed for, the selling price ranging from 30s to 50s a hundredweight. A large portion of the produce of the gumfields is sold to American buyers, principally for New York and Boston, whither it is generally carried in sailing vessels; or it is sent to London, for transhipment to the American cities.

It first appears in the export tables for the year 1853, and the quantities exported and the values declared are as follow:—
Tons. Value.
From 1853 to 1860 11,671 £153,793
From 1860 to 1870 22,625 461,609
From 1870 to 1880 36,414 1,377,359
From 1880 to 1889 49,972 2,492,386