The Union between “Tane Mahuta” the ancient Kauri (Agathis australis”) Waipoua Forest, in Northland New Zealand and “Jomon Sugi” (Cryptomeria japonica) Yakushima, Japan have brought together The Kauri Museum at Matakohe, New Zealand and the Yakusugi Museum on the island of Yakushima, Japan.
The two Museums have reciprocal exhibitions depicting the relationship that has developed between two cultures, while highlighting the importance of these ancient trees on a global scale and lifting the profile of each community.
The exhibition opened at the Yakusugi Museum on the 22nd April 2010 a year after the agreement signifying the union between the peoples of Hokianga, Kaipara and Yakushima founded on the notion of “Hononga Rakau” (Union of Ancient Trees) was signed. This union was between the Mayors of the areas from Yakushima, Japan and from The Far North District Council the Kaipara District Council, Tim Groser, Minister of Conservation and Alex Nathan from Te Roroa Whatu Ora Trust.
The project is a commitment to recognize and protect the environment and save forests and in particular the ancient trees of the world; to develop opportunities in education and cultural partnerships. The key principals are based on eco-tourism and ensuring that developments benefit local communities, and contribute rather than take from the environment; and that protection and restoration of the environment is key to sustaining our communities.
The Kauri Museum at Matakohe tells the history of the Kauri Industries through interactive displays. It depicts how the lives of early settlers were intertwined with these industries. Today there is less than 4% of kauri forests remaining and less than 1% of the ancient kauri forests. The Yakusugi Museum in Yakushima tells a very similar story about the yakusugi tree and there are many tools and stories that are similar to those on show at The Kauri Museum. Today the Ancient Yakusugi trees on the Japanese Island of Yakushima are revered and much of the island is now a World Natural Heritage Park. Many Japanese visitors walk the tracks and trails every year to look at the ancient trees and to view the beautiful forest floor that is covered with rare mosses and ferns.
The display on the Union of Ancient Trees is opening at The Kauri Museum on the 14th May to coincide with seventy Japanese visitors coming to the Waipoua Forest Walk.