Story: Empire and Commonwealth

Kauri spars

New Zealand’s first trade goods included seals, whales and wood. The Royal Navy found New Zealand a good source of spars – long poles used as masts and booms – with kauri particularly favoured. This 1843 pencil sketch shows a cutter (at left) towing kauri spars to HMS Tortoise (middle distance, towards top) near the Tairua River on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. A canoe of Māori can be seen to the right of the ship. In this period there were more than a dozen timber export points, from Whāingaroa (Raglan) Harbour northwards. European sawyers worked with Māori to fell and mill timber, which was shipped to Britain, and, from the 1830s, Australia.

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Reference: NZ 455B T3294 (nla.pic-an2946195)

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How to cite this page:

W. David McIntyre, 'Empire and Commonwealth - Trade and empire', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 July 2022)

Story by W. David McIntyre, published 20 Jun 2012