Story: Kauri gum and gum digging



Painted by Charles Goldie in 1934, this portrait shows the complexity of the moko (facial tattoo) of Ngāpuhi leader Tāmati Wāka Nene. Māori called kauri gum kāpia and used it for tattooing. They burnt the gum to get soot, which they ground into a very fine powder and then mixed with animal fat or oil before applying it to facial cuts.

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Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Oil painting by Charles Goldie

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Kauri gum and gum digging - Origin and early uses', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 May 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 24 Sep 2007