Story: Kauri gum and gum digging

Māori gum diggers

Māori gum diggers

This domestic scene is in a gum digging village in Northland, around 1910. Dinner looks to be potatoes and snapper. The whares (houses) are typical of the gumfields, which were open mānuka scrublands. There was little wood, so diggers built chimneys out of sods and used sacking for roofing and walls. Māori women, and their children when they were old enough, also often joined in digging and scraping kauri gum.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Northwood Collection (PA-Group-00027)
Reference: 1/1-006280; G
Photograph by Arthur James Northwood

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, 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 - The gum diggers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 July 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 24 Sep 2007