Ensuring wood gets a new life

By Abi Thomas

A group of amateur wood enthusiasts is encouraging Northlanders to give a one-off special gift this Christmas.

The Northland Woodturners and Woodworkers Association (NWWA) has set up shop at the Vine St end of the Strand in Whangarei, selling products created by its members.

There's everything from plates, platters, bowls and boxes, both turned (on a lathe) and unturned - and each item is different.

Most of the wood turned or worked by members is kauri, and mainly swamp kauri, which NWWA head Don Coutts says is unique to Northland.

"I know guys that do what we do in the South Island who would love to get their hands on kauri, but it just doesn't grow down there," he said.

"The furthest south is about Coromandel and it's disappearing from down there."

Members also use other natives such as tawa and puriri. Mr Coutts said one of the joys of working with wood was finding the hidden beauty in a piece most people would use for firewood.

"You put it on a lathe and all of a sudden these great colours and patterns just jump out at you."

The NWWA is growing, but most of the current members are at the "wrong end" of the age-scale, Mr Coutts says.

Having the time, energy and equipment for wood-turning can make it a difficult ask for young professionals or people with young families, but it would welcome new members.

- Northern Advocate

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