Story: Kauri gum and gum digging

Swamp diggers (1st of 3)

Swamp diggers

Although these Māori gum diggers are smiling for the photographer, digging swamps was dirty, back-breaking work. Long hours were spent in water-filled potholes and trenches. Gum diggers working swamps also used a tool called a gum hook, which could be used to jiggle a buried piece of gum up to the surface.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Northwood Collection (PA-Group-00027)
Reference: 1/1-009777; G
Photograph by Arthur James Northwood

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:

Carl Walrond, 'Kauri gum and gum digging - Gum digging methods', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 January 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 24 Sep 2007