By Posted in - Black Pine Resources on November 24th, 2021
We’re always on the lookout for healthier and toxin-free materials to specify in our projects. And we want our outdoor environments to be as healthy as our indoor environments.

Macrocarpa is a species that provides low to medium density softwood that is widely used in New Zealand. It features a heartwood with a golden-brown colour, the knot-free examples being similar in appearance to Kauri.

It is one of the most naturally durable exotic softwoods grown in New Zealand.

Being a cypress, it has natural oils that is resistant to insect and borer attack and fungal growth in its sawn form. This makes it a great alternative to chemically treated wood – particularly for external use.

Its heartwood is rated moderately durable, which means that a 50x50mm stake will last 10-15 years in the ground – larger sections lasting longer. This makes it a favourite for landscaping features.

Outside and above ground Macrocarpa heartwood has an equivalent durability rating to ‘H3’ treated radiata pine.

The ‘H3’ treatment is created using a range of toxic chemicals – including copper, chromium, and arsenic – to achieve the same durability.-

Most Pine building and exterior-use timber is treated with preservatives to stop the wood from rotting and to protect it from burrowing insects. The chemicals have devastating environmental impacts on soil and groundwater, releasing toxic compounds that are poisonous for all life that comes into contact with it.

Macrocarpa’s natural durability – especially in larger-sized pieces – and its eco-friendliness makes it ideal for landscape design. Macrocarpa sleepers can be used as garden beds, planter boxes, landscape steps, retaining walls, and garden edging. It will weather to a silvery grey colour or can be stained or painted.

(Image: Macrocarpa Supplies Limited)   
(Image: Macrocarpa Supplies Limited)   

Additionally, being chemical free the timber is delivered dry, not weeping from the preservative, and thus is less subject to warping after installation.

Product qualities:

  • Low shrinkage, excellent stability and workability;
  • Visually appealing appearance.
  • Heartwood naturally durable.
  • Has good and consistent engineering qualities with a high strength rating – making it suitable for Building Code compliant framing.
  • Has a pleasant scent.
  • Has a high quantity of heartwood and minimal sapwood.
  • When dry, will accept a variety of paints, oils, two pot resins and varnishes.

Uses and Applications:

Depending on the grade of the timber, it can have a wide range of uses for both interior and exterior applications.


Landscaping, pergolas, exposed rafters & beams, weatherboards, exterior joinery, decking, outdoor furniture, fascia’s, gates, stock yard fencing, battens.


Timber framing, posts, exposed beams, lintels, window joinery, solid wood benchtops, ceiling sarking, architraves, skirtings, furniture.


(Image: macdirect)
(Image and Designed by Crosson Architects)
(Image and Designed by LTD Architectural Design Studio)

For more information about this building product in New Zealand, see:

Let Black Pine Architects assist you with incorporating Macrocarpa into your next project.

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