Public Art: Gumdigger Statue
Sculptor: © Lynn
Description : 2m high bronze statue of a burly
gumdigger with shovel on shoulder.
Date : The Gumdigger statue was unveiled on the
8th March, 1997.
Location: The statue can be found on Hokianga Rd,
Dargaville, New Zealand.
History of The Gumdigger Statue : In 1996 the
Dalmation Pioneer Trust commissioned artist and well known wood carver, Lynn Dunn, to create a 2m wood carving of a
gumdigger and from that carving the bronze statue was created.
This statue was erected by the Dalmation Pioneer Trust as a tribute to the early gumdiggers of the
Kaipara District. Unveiled on the 8th March 1997 by his Worship the Mayor Mr P.A. Brown M.B.E.
Dalmatian Pioneer Trust
Chairman : J.A. Juretich
Sec/Treasurer : M.Radich
Sculptured by Lynn Dunn
History Of The Gumdigger : Kauri gum is formed when resin oozes
from the tree, comes in contact with air and then hardens. The Māori used the fresh gum for chewing and as a fire
starter as it is highly flammable. They also would burn the gum and mix it with animal fat to make dark pigment for
their moko tattooing. Jewelry and decorative objects were also designed from the gum.
During the 19th century gum digging became a thriving industry in Dargaville and the upper North Island of New
Zealand due to the commercial demand for the resin. This brought European settlers, especially Dalmations to the
area to dig up the valuable gum. The gum was found to be particularly good for making varnish and from the mid
1840's was exported to England and America. By the 1890's 70% of all varnishes made in England was from Kauri gum.
It was also used extensively in making linoleum. However by the 1930's the market dropped as synthetic alternatives
hit the market. However, it was still continued to be used in jewelry and specialist high-grade varnish
for violins. Between 1850 and 1950, 450,000 tons of gum was exported. Between 1850 and 1900 Kauri gum was
Auckland's main export.