2013 Accordions Worldwide. All rights reserved.
Dargaville Museum (New Zealand) presents...
'Accordion Gems' by Kevin Friedrich
...A Master Collection
of Accordions through Time...
Library Purchased - June 2006
Dedication of the Accordion Gems Display - 3 December 2006
Library relocated to Harding Park - January 2007
Grand Opening of New Music Wing at the Dargaville Museum - 21
October 2007 at 1:00 PM
Launching of Accordion Gems Exhibit in Display Cabinets - 29
of an International venture between New Zealand and Finland,
a local craftsman in Finland has constructed the world's first
accordions made from the prized native New Zealand 'Kauri' tree.
The dream of Kevin Friedrich, born in Dargaville, New Zealand
(near where the giant Kauri trees grow), and a regular visitor
to Ikaalinen, Finland, the home to a rare accordion making school,
where trainees are taught the art of constructing accordions
in the traditional Finnish folk style, this project combines
the rich and rare tradition of Finland's accordion making culture
with the stunning timber of the New Zealand Kauri tree.
Under the hands of master Finnish craftsman Aaro Luukinen, the
dream of a Kauri instrument has now become a reality. Three
magnificent instruments K1, K2 and K3, named Birth, Growth and Departure, have been crafted. The first of the instruments
K1 - Birth, is now housed at the Dargaville Museum, which already features
extensive displays on the history of the Kauri trade in the
Dargaville area. This instrument crafted from Kauri timber from the
Dargaville region, will be used for performances to showcase
this unique and beautiful instrument, the world's first made
from the Kauri timber.
K2 - Growth is housed in Ikaalinen, Finland and will be the showcase
instrument of the craftsman and accordion making facility, while
K3 - Departure is my personal instrument that I keep in New
York and will be used for my personal performances.
Each instrument while similar in design, is slightly unique,
and profile the individual finishing touches of Aaro's design.
The instruments were completed and officialy unveiled on 30
January 2013 in Ikaalinen, Finland, with the debut performance
held on March 24th, 2013 in Dargaville, New Zealand at our 6th
Annual Afternoon of Music with Kevin Friedrich and Friends.
prized New Zealand Kauri Tree
at a Glance
The Kauri tree, Agathis australis, is New Zealand's largest
and most famous native tree.
Kauri were prolific in the past
Kauri are among the world's mightiest trees, growing to more
than 50 metres tall, with trunk girths of up to 16 metres and
living for more than 2000 years. Kauri forests once covered
1.2 million of the Northland area of New Zealand, and were common
when the first people arrived in New Zealand some 1000 years
Past uses of Kauri
The Maori people used kauri timber for boat building, carving
and building houses. The gum was used as a fire starter and
for chewing (after it had been soaked in water and mixed with
the milk of the Puha plant).
The arrival of European settlers in the 17-1800's saw the decimation
of these magnificent forests. Sailors quickly realized the trunks
of young kauri were ideal for ships' masts and spars, and the
settlers who followed felled the mature trees to yield huge
quantities of timber of unsurpassed quality for building.
The gum too, became essential in the manufacture of varnishes
and other resin-based products. The gum was obtained through
digging, fossicking in treetops, or more drastically, by bleeding
live trees. More forest was cleared as demand for farmland and
timber increased in the early and mid 20th century.
Saved from destruction
The Waipoua forest near Dargaville in Northland were at first
saved from destruction by their remoteness. The land was purchased
by the Crown in 1876, but for decades there was debate over
what should be done with the forest. Public pressure for total
protection increased after the turn of the century and now Kauri
trees are a protected species.
The Largest Kauri Tree
The most famous and largest Kauri tree is Tane Mahuta (pictured),
which is Maori for "Lord of the Forest." Located in
the Waipoua Forest near Dargaville, Tane Mahuta is the largest
kauri tree on record, with a 2001 measurement of 148 feet in
height and a crown width of 114 feet.
In Maori cosmology, Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father
and Papatuanuku the earth mother. Tane tore his parents apart,
breaking their primal embrace, to bring light, space and air
and allowing life to flourish.
Legend of Tane Mahuta
According to Maori mythology 'Tane' is the son of Ranginui
the Sky father and Papatuanuku the Earth mother. Tane was the
child that tore apart his parents parental embrace, allowing
light to shine through, and once done set about clothing his
mother in the forest we have here today. All living creatures
of the forest are regarded as Tanes children. It is estimated
that Tane Mahuta sprang from seed more than 2000 years ago.
Mahuta trunk is 17.7 metres long, and the trees
total height is 51.5 metres. The girth of the trunk is 13.8
metres, and the volume of the trunk is 244.5 metres.
The Oldest Kauri Tree
The oldest living kauri tree is located in the Waipoua Forest
and is called Te Matua Ngahere, or "Father of the Forest."
The tree is about 2-3,000 years old.
they are protected by law, most of the Kauri timber used today
is found buried under ancient swamps and dates back tens of
thousands of years. It is not uncommon to find 30-50,000 year
old Kauri logs underground, and they serve as a reminder of
the fast tracts of Rain Forest which once blanketed the North.
Some swamp Kauri of this vintage has been brought to the surface
with its leaves and cones still green, supporting the theory
that these great forests were sheared off rapidly at ground
level by advancing ice sheets. Other Kauri is recycled from
houses, buildings and furniture that were constructed from Kauri
around the turn of last century.
Working in collaboration with the Accordion Making Department
of the Ikaalinen College of Crafts and Design - IKATA,
some of this precious wood was shipped to Finland, and the instruments
made from this ancient timber are the first accordions in the
world to be ever made from Kauri.
Kauri wood makes its long voyage from New Zealand to Finland
left: the late Ted Teir preparing the shipping crate
Above right: Dargaville builder Arthur Maich preparing
left: Dargaville builder Arthur Maich who donated the
precious Kauri wood
Above right: Gordon Morfett who helped prepare the wood
for shipping to Finland
Kauri arriving in snowy and cold Ikaalinen, Finland
pictured is Kimmo Mattila, President of the Finnish Accordion
about 6 weeks at sea, the wood arrived in Ikaalinen, Finland
from New Zealand via Hamburg, Germany
Mattila inspecting the wood as it is unpacked in Ikaalinen
Kauri Accordion Project
the project was being developed, Kevin is pictured here
in Ikaalinen, Finland with an instrument similar in design
to the Kauri accordion instruments. These instruments
were crafted by Jarkko Helin, who was initialy taking
care of the project, but had to withdraw due to health
reasons. The poster features the oldest living Kauri Tree
'Te Matua Ngahere' (Father of the Forest) and how it compares
in a timeline of world history during this trees amazing
3,000 year lifespan thus far.