Home' Special Magazines : Rodney Times Historical Insert Contents Rail progress: The
official opening of
the Kaipara Flats
railway station, 17th
Harold Marsh Collection
Focus On: Kaukapakapa, Makarau, Tauhoa
Tauhoa is about 15km south-west of Wellsford
on State Highway 16.
The Te Pahi Stream flows through the area into the Tauhoa River, which
goes into the Kaipara Harbour.
A primary school and a hall are the area's main landmarks.
According to Tall Spars, Steamers & Gum by Wayne Ryburn, the Tauhoa block together
with the Hoteo block inland of it, comprising 16,800 hectares (41,400 acres) were purchased
from the Maori chief Te Keene and others in March 1867. Land at Tauhoa was first offered
for sale to settlers in 1868, but in 1875 some of the land was still being surveyed for future
settlement. Parts occupied by settlers in the 1870s were abandoned in the 1880s. A tramway
operated during the 1880s to bring kauri logs down to Te Pahi Stream and waiting sailing
ships. The barque Mary Mildred was stranded and wrecked in the Tauhoa River with a load of
kauri. The small steamer SS Mary Allen was built at Tauhoa and transported goods between
Te Pahi Creek and the northern Wairoa River in the early 1880s. A highway board operated
in the area from 1876 to 1906. A road north to Port Albert was described as "a good summer
road" in 1880. By 1886, a route south to Kaukapakapa was complete and bridged, but was
still impassable in winter. A small portion of the road at Tauhoa was metalled in 1899. In the
late 1920s, the road from Tauhoa to the railway station at Hoteo was designated a highway,
and metalled. Other roads in the area were mostly metalled by the mid 1930s.
Gum diggers were active in the area before 1910.
Tauhoa's almost 80-year-old church burned down in April 2009. The historic building had
been built in Wellsford then moved to Tauhoa in 1957.
In the 1870s, Kaipara Flats had the largest kauri gumfield in the area with other pockets
found on Matakana Rd and at Snells Beach.
The tiny village is popular with lifestyle farmers and families wanting to live in a country
atmosphere. It has a primary school established in 1878, a village hall, library, church,
playcentre and a sports club with tennis courts.
Kaipara Flats Library: Established in 1878.
By Sue Brebner-Fox
Kaukapakapa is Maori for 'to swim
with much splashing'.
It is thought to refer to the sound of water birds landing and taking off.
"Kaukapakapa records the occasion when Ngati Whatua, pursued by the enemy, had no time to
get into their canoes so had to wade or swim across the river," Rodney Coast to Coast by Harry
Europeans were living on the Kaukapakapa River as early as the 1840s. In 1842, Anglican
missionary William Colenso recorded meeting two Europeans living in a house on the river, writes
CM Sheffield in Men Came Voyaging. Two years later Colenso recorded three unnamed European
men living in the same house. Sheffield writes that it's possible that sailors George Rix and Alex
Unthank and settler Andrew Bonar were the unnamed trio. In about 1858, Bonar and his wife settled
in Kaukapakapa after Ngati Whatua sold about 4856 hectares (12,000 acres) to the goverment.
From then on settler numbers increased as mostly English and Scottish immigrants arrived during
the 1860s and 1870s. They had to walk the 22.5 kilometres (14 miles) along a rough track from
Riverhead to Kaukapakapa carrying their possessions or by bullock wagon to work land that was
covered in bush and flax. It was subsistence living but fortunately they were supported by the local
Ngati Whatua tribe who taught them how to live off native plants and fish.
Timber - especially kauri, flax for rope and sacking, and kauri gum were the main industries until
the land was cleared and farming took off. A creamery was built by the railway station in 1902.
Cream was railed to Auckland and later to Helensville's Kaipara Dairy Company.
Rail to the area from Auckland arrived in 1889 and the first school opened in 1873. The building
was also used as the town hall and library. A hall was built in 1890 on flood-prone land and fell into
disrepair by the 1990s. It was shifted across the road and restored.
Historic Henley House, built of kauri in 1887 by Morris Clark Henley and wife Eliza Isabel, is listed
with the Historic Places Trust. Four generations of Henleys lived in the house before it went out
of family ownership. Morris Henley was a classical scholar with a degree from Wesley College,
Sheffield, and shared his love of books with the early Kaukapakapa settlers. A library ran from
his own home before the district library opened about 1912. A new wharf was built at the junction
of the Kaipara and Kaukapakapa rivers in 1889 to improve water transport for steamers on the
harbour. In the late 1880s roads became navigable when metal from Dawson's Quarry in Rapson
Rd was used to surface major routes. The town celebrated 150 years of settlement in 2010.
The government purchased land at Makarau in 1869.
Because of its isolation only about eight families moved into this largely forested area, writes
Wayne Ryburn in Tall Spars, Steamers & Gum. There was a small settlement there next to a
timber mill in the late 1870s. "Cecil Clinkard employed between 15 and 20 men in cutting kauri,
where logs were squared as baulk timber and loaded directly onto ships bound for Australia or the
There was a bridge built across the river in 1885. Logs were also towed from Makarau to Helensville
in the 1890s. The schooner Makarau was built by George Darroch at Makarau around 1880.
Rail was extended to Makarau in 1897. This extension took so long because of a lack of government
funds as well as trouble building tunnels in the area's soft clay.
Pleasant memories: Retracing the nostalgia
of Kaukapakapa's heritage Henley House
are members of the Helensville and District
Historical Society. Photo: www.stuff.co.nz
Makarau Bridge has
often featured in TV
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