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Tree ring research

We use New Zealand kauri pine (Agathis australis) to help us understand past climate and environmental change.

Our team has experience building kauri tree ring chronologies from modern, archaeological and subfossil kauri material.

A major thrust over the last decade has seen the expansion of ancient kauri research, including:

  • collections of new wood
  • new radiocarbon dates on recovered samples, in conjunction with Associate Professor Alan Hogg at the University of Waikato
  • collaborations with Dr Gretel Boswijk and Associate Professor Anthony Fowler at the University of Auckalnd Tree Ring Laboratory in the School of Environment
  • archiving samples in the NIWA Ancient Kauri Archive (NAKA)

NIWA’s collection of ancient kauri is internationally recognised.

The Marsden Fund has also supported research by NIWA through the project, “Understanding New Zealand's prehistoric climate through kauri chemistry”. It focused on investigating the signatures of different isotopes in kauri tree rings that can be used to reconstruct past climate. In years ahead, the findings of our work will be applied to ancient kauri specimens.