From the deep foundation beneath the ground to the ceilings, for structure and for beauty, Te Uru Taumatua has a truly Tūhoe, a truly Te Urewera persona. Native timber from Te Urewera and pine from Kaingaroa were used in new and innovative ways to build Te Uru Taumatua. Age old building principles were revived to replace conventional practices for the framing and foundations of Te Uru Taumatua.
210 timber piles from the Kaingaroa forest were driven into the ground to provide seismic resistance. A machine which vibrates the soil aside and simultaneously drives the piles into the ground was used. In the event of a natural disaster Te Uru Taumatua will serve as a refuge. The nearby earthquake fault line demanded civil defence standards requiring a stronger than averages solid base. The use of timber means the building is able to move and rock with the earth in a quake, instead of remaining rigid and breaking. Timber piles embedded in the earth were treated with salt so that they don’t rot. This process is against the norm and is more considerate of the environment (and the people who worked with the product on site).
In line with LBC criteria, resources must be retrieved within a 100km radius of the building. The native timber for Te Uru Taumatua were retrieved by searching for dead and down native trees within the Tūhoe Rohe. Totara, Matai and Rimu from Rūātoki and Ruatāhuna were recovered. Totara clads the building, Matai covers all of the floors and balustrade, and cabinetry and shelving is made with Rimu and Matai. Structural beams are made of pine from Kaingaroa.
Timber used within Te Kura Whare is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, a global organisation dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management and timber processing worldwide.