The Dargaville Museum (New Zealand) presents...
'Accordion Gems' by Kevin Friedrich
...A Master Collection of Accordions through Time...

Aratapu Library Purchased - June 2006
Dedication of the Accordion Gems Display - 3 December 2006
Aratapu 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 March 2009

Kauri Accordion Project
the beginning...

As part 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.

The prized New Zealand Kauri Tree

Kauri 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 ago.
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).
Kauri Forest
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.
The 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 parent’s 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 Tane’s children. It is estimated that Tane Mahuta sprang from seed more than 2000 years ago.
Tane Mahuta’ trunk is 17.7 metres long, and the tree’s 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.
Since 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.

The Kauri wood makes its long voyage from New Zealand to Finland
Above left: the late Ted Teir preparing the shipping crate
Above right: Dargaville builder Arthur Maich preparing the wood
Above left: Dargaville builder Arthur Maich who donated the precious Kauri wood
Above right: Gordon Morfett who helped prepare the wood for shipping to Finland
the Kauri arriving in snowy and cold Ikaalinen, Finland
pictured is Kimmo Mattila, President of the Finnish Accordion Association
After about 6 weeks at sea, the wood arrived in Ikaalinen, Finland from New Zealand via Hamburg, Germany
Kimmo Mattila inspecting the wood as it is unpacked in Ikaalinen
The Kauri Accordion Project
As 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.
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