Story: Conifers

Butter boxes

Butter boxes

These men are grading butter for export in kahikatea boxes, in the late 1930s. Most areas of kahikatea forest were cleared for dairy farming in the early years of European settlement. The timber was used to make butter boxes and cheese crates for export. Kahikatea’s white, odourless and easily worked timber was unmatched for this purpose, as it did not taint the produce during its long journey to overseas markets.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Making New Zealand Centennial Collection (PAColl-3060)
Reference: MNZ-1485-1/4
Photograph by H. Drake

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Conifers - Rimu and kahikatea', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 May 2022)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 24 Sep 2007