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Building with Redwood in New Zealand

Newly built house at Taupo
Newly built house at Taupo

Newly built redwood house at Taupo

October 2013, Simon Rapley, General Manager – New Zealand Redwood –

Large quantities of old-growth redwood lumber were imported to New Zealand in the late 1920s. It was mainly used for joinery, particularly window frames and doors, as it is durable and stable.  It would have been expensive due to world-wide demand and shipping costs halfway around the world.

Redwood has largely been absent from New Zealand since then due to decreasing supply and continued strong demand in the Western states of America.

This has left a gap in the timber markets with no locally grown lumber for uses such as weatherboards and decking. 90% of the production forest of New Zealand is Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) which is easily treated for outdoor use but has poor dimensional stability. 5% of our production forests are douglas-fir, which is best suited to structural uses.

Beach house coastal Coromandel after nine years weathering

Beach house coastal Coromandel after nine years weathering

Apart from small quantities of another California native, (Monterey cypress) the only other option for building timber-clad homes has been Western Red Cedar, imported mostly from Canada.

Small stands of redwood planted in New Zealand are actively sought out now that builders are becoming aware of the qualities and appearance of redwood and people are wanting to build natural timber homes from locally grown wood.

These photos showcase two New Zealand homes clad in NZ grown and milled redwood.

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