Ancient Kauri – a wooden treasure from the earth

From our series of Profiling The Woods We Use

What is Ancient Kauri?

Ancient Kauri – or Swamp Kauri – might very well be the oldest wood on earth. These trees were not felled, but rather they fell thousands and thousands of years ago – before humans were even on the islands of Aotearoa New Zealand – by natural forces. This wood lay in the rich earth of the North for 40,000 to 60,000 years(!) until recently uncovered.

Ancient Kauri as a Flute wood

Ancient Kauri has a powerful beauty, a deep shimmering and iridescent quality. As a flute wood, Ancient Kauri has a voice that is rich and soft, giving it great acoustical properties for the lower as well as the higher pitched notes. Typically Ancient Kauri is darker brown in colour, but can vary from golden blond to dark auburn. 

Receiving a flute made of Ancient Kauri is like receiving a jewel, with all the magical properties we associate with rare gemstones. When you own a flute made of Ancient Kauri, you are being a steward of this ancient and finite wood.

What looks good with Ancient Kauri?

I personally love and recommend the entire flute be made out of Ancient Kauri, with no secondary wood as this wood stands on its own with great beauty and elegance. However, when I see Black Walnut or Puriri paired with it as the mouthpiece and nest, it takes my breath away too. These woods complement well, and certainly if you’re wanting a Custom Totem for your ancient Kauri flute, it’s better to use the harder woods such as Black Walnut and Puriri.

In terms of gemstones, Ancient Kauri looks great with Tigers Eye (sharing similar tones and hues) or with a pounamu adze (for an earthy contrast).

How stable is this wood?

This is a very stable wood and will not crack or leak. We are careful to select from the best parts of the timber as Ancient Kauri, more than any other wood we work with, has its own unique internal pressures and stresses from being under the earth for so long. On the rare occasion these stresses cause ‘checks’ (surface lines) where the wood has moved in response to a very different temperature. The flute is not compromised, the wood is simply being wood, and moving in response to its environment. These checks can be disconcerting to see. You can cover a check with waxed linen strips.

Sustainable Woods

We get all our Ancient Kauri from Lauri Williams, a world renowned guitar maker from the far north of New Zealand. He has personally selected and milled this wood, reclaimed from swamps, and air dried it for 15 years. He sets aside special pieces of wood for Southern Cross Flutes. In this way we are sourcing sustainable and environmentally harvested wood. New Zealand has tight regulations around the milling and export of swamp kauri under the Forests Act 1949. You can read more on the Ministry of Primary Industries website.

What our customers say about Ancient Kauri

Absolutely beautiful! My flute arrived today!!! What a master craftsman you are. The depth of color is wonderful. Especially like the wispy curving flowing grain. Like you can see the notes flowing with the grain.The sound is stunning. Touches one’s soul and core. I can feel the flute resonating to my fingers as the haunting tones flow. 

Jim, Ancient Kauri Love Flute

After playing my Ancient Kauri flute well into the night and again after my meditation this morning, all I can say is WOW! I just relaxed and let it tell me how to connect with it.

Becca, Ancient Kauri Grandfather Flute

The flute arrived yesterday, perfectly packaged. This is a beautiful one. The Ancient Kauri wood is fantastic and holding such a piece in my hand is just great. The grain, the natural polish… all fantastic. It really shows that you love woods! As for the sound, this is my first bass flute and love it. I truly enjoy playing it: very soothing. It has a truly velvety sound, and each flute comes with its own personality 🙂

Philippe, Ancient Kauri Grandfather Flute

Todd, this flute is exceptional, voice is bright, clear and powerful, it moves time and space! The craftsmanship is exceptional, world class , amazing flute my friend, the wood is amazing and it smells super nice! I really really love the stones, especially the bright green mellow one at the mouthpiece, it balances the flute and melts its energy, it feels that these stones and Ancient Kauri wood belong to each other. I am so great-full to have this flute, and so ever great-full that I found you and your amazing flutes, whhooooaaa, off to play it now for few a hours, talk soon! All the best

Dario, Ancient Kauri Forest Flute

A few Ancient Kauri flutes we have crafted

Like what you see?

Check out our Made to Order Ancient Kauri Flutes

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