Details of a Kauri Logging Dam
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Details of a Kauri Logging Dam on Great Barrier Island - February 1999 The Kauri forrests were usually well inland and there was no easy way to get the logs to the sea or other routes to saw mills. The logs were therefore dragged to a convenient stream bed with steep sides and a Kauri Dam was constructed of wood with a "trapdoor" near the bottom large enough for the logs to pass through. The logs were typically a couple of metres diameter and 4-5 metres long so the door was considerable size and the dam was tens of metres high. I have marked onto the previous picture the original line of the top of the dam and outlined the trapdoor. Also note how the dam is braced into solid rock to take the tremendous loads. The trapdoor was constructed so that when the dam was full, and that could take a year, it could be tripped and the water released. The logs floating above the dam were sucked down through the hole and swept down to the sea, sixteen miles away in the case of this one on Great Barrier Island. The picture above shows the details of the trapdoor and how the pieces of wood were all secured so that they could be reused. You can see a workman's ladder at the bottom left which gives a scale

Copyright © Peter and Pauline Curtis