The Story of Our Rimu

The Story of Our Rimu

November 27, 2019

 
Rimu, also known as ‘red pine’, is one of New Zealand’s most popular native timbers. Māori used this wood to build canoes, tools and weapons and its gum was applied for medical purposes. In the early 20th Century, post-European settlement, rimu trees were extensively milled, valued both in the housing industry for its hardness and density, as well as the furniture industry for its exceptionally beautiful wooden grain. Because of this excessive logging, after housing construction materials shifted in the 1970s, rimu became a protected species.
 
The crown of an old mature rimu Westcoast, South Island.
(Photo by Phil Bendle).
Late 18th Century Maori One-Piece Shark Hook made of one piece of wood, most likely rimu.
(Webster Collection Y15601. Photo by Dunbar et al). 
 
In 1916, the Mountain Rimu Timber Company was operating in the Mamaku area,
south of the Kaimai Range near Rotorua. In the background are steam hauliers, used to shift logs.
(sourced from teara.govt.nz
Cut-away view of a typical villa of 1900
(redrawn from Old New Zealand Houses 1800–1940 by Jeremy Salmond).

 
 
At present, due to the renovation boom, a large proportion of rimu timber coming from old demolished homes goes directly to landfill. By working with local demolishing companies, we divert this process and salvage the rimu timber to give it a second life.
 
 
 
This is the story behind the rimu we use to build some of our furniture pieces. A scarce timber, native to New Zealand's flora with an extensive cultural heritage that served great utilitarian purposes. Once used as architectural support our rimu timber is scaled down to furniture – furniture with a historical statement.
 
We document the underside of some of the furniture from our collection with the provenance of its rimu timber. Click here to learn more about this.
 


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