Home' Special Magazines : Rodney Times Historical Insert Contents Focus On: Waitakere
Te Kawerau a Maki holds strong spiritual ties to the land and has inherited the role of kaitiaki
or guardians from their tupuna or ancestors. Their history and present day relationships are
represented through car ved pou whenua throughout the park.
European settlers' arrival in the 1830s started the clearing of the forest for logging and later
farming. Thousands of hectares of forest was destroyed.
"In the 1920s the Waitakeres had been largely reduced to a series of bare hills, with the occasional
valley of native bush," writes Bob Harvey in Untamed Coast, Auckland's Waitakere Ranges
and West Coast Beaches.
Bushmen dammed streams to float logs to the coast. They built tramlines, including a 14km
tramline down the coast from Anawhata to Whatipu, which was used to transport kauri logs to
a wharf at Paratutai Island. Remains of the tramline can be seen on the coast between Karekare
"The saving and restoration of the Waitakeres to its former glory was not initiated for conservation
reasons, but for the necessity of securing a ready supply of fresh water. The public was forbidden
to enter the catchment areas for 60 years." writes Harvey.
Five major reservoirs were built between 1910 and 1970 and these continue to supply
metropolitan Auckland with water.
The park is home to numerous historic sites from Maori pa to remnants of the logging industry.
Historic buildings in the park include Whatipu Lodge, Huia Lodge, formerly Huia School, Hinge
House, a former mill manager's house, Rose Hellaby House and Kettle House (Anawhata).
Waitakere Ranges Regional Park was formed over many years from 1900, when Auckland City
Council began purchasing land for water supply and because of its scenic qualities. Originally
named Auckland Centennial Memorial Park, it was established in 1940 to mark 100 years
since the city's founding. This was enlarged through the gifts of land by many generous donors,
including Earle Vaile, the McLachan family, Spragg family, Sir William Goodfellow, Sir Algernon
Thomas and Lady Rose Hellaby.
The Auckland Regional Authority, now the Auckland Council, took over the park's management in
1964, and the water catchment land in 1990. Visit www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for information.
PURIRI RIDGE TRACK: The Hillary Trail is a wilderness
adventure designed for people who have some tramping
Waitakere Ranges iwi
Te Kawerau a Maki's
ancestral association with the
land goes back 800 years.
They lived between Manukau Harbour in the south and Muriwai
Beach to the north. The sea supplied food while the forest
provided birds, berries and other delicacies.
"At Taupaki and Waitakere, Hunter Bros, the Kaui Timber Company and the Waitemata
Company logged the bush. In 1924, the Kauri Timber Company was felling bush around Jonkers
Rd..." writes Deborah Dunsford in Doing it Themselves, The Story of Kumeu, Huapai and
Taupaki. The timber would end up at the Waitakere railway station waiting to be dispatched.
The Jonkers family soon ran a transport business at Taupaki and Waitakere.
"From their original cream run, the Jonkers had bought out Bruce Newby's cream run and ran
two runs with 60 stops on each. Jonkers Transport was a family business, with Rupe Jonkers,
his sons Artie and Noel, and their cousin Biven Sharp as shareholders. They built up by carting
firewood, bobby calves, fertiliser and general goods and were based in Taupaki." The Jonkers
family have owned land on Jonkers Rd since 1924 and the fifth generation of the family is now
running it as a farm and rural film location.
The breakthrough of the railway tunnel between Swanson and Waitakere happened in January
1881 and its construction was an employment boost for local labour. The first train to run from
Auckland to Helensville through the Waitakere tunnel was in July 1881.
The Waitakere Volunteer Rural Fire Force was formed in 1984 with eight volunteers but lacking
a station and vehicle. The council donated a rusty 1972 Ford Transit Van that the volunteers
repaired and ran with donated equipment. They received two call outs in their first year. They
negotiated the lease of the current site off NZ Railways and erected a secondhand shed.
"In the 1990s the station grew as a second fire appliance arrived for urban call-outs and the van
was replaced with a specialised rural unit.." the forces' website www.waitakerevolunteerfire.
Call-outs to the force went from 40 in 2000 to 56 in 2007. The force now averages about 100
The farming community has a town hall, primary school, RSA, train station, and playground.
Kauri gum digging, sawmilling
and clearing the land for
farmingwere the main industries for Waitakere settlers
and continued into the 1920s.
Date unknown: Logs at Waitakere station.
Photo: Photographer unknown, J. T. DIAMOND COLLECTION, WEST
AUCKLAND RESEARCH CENTRE.
Banner Picture: Derelict cottage taken in
1969, just past Waitakere Station on Great
North Rd, now Waitakere Rd.
Photo: John Thomas Diamond, J. T.
DIAMOND COLLECTION JTD-16A-03662,
WEST AUCKLAND RESEARCH CENTRE.
The Dam at King Bros. flax mill near Waitakere township c.1900.
Photo: Photographer unknown, J. T. DIAMOND COLLECTION,
JTD-15B-04504, WEST AUCKLAND RESEARCH CENTRE.
Waitakere Brick Co: Abandoned brickworks at
Waitakere village 1955.
Photo: John Thomas Diamond, J. T. DIAMOND
COLLECTION, JTD-15G-00410-1, WEST
AUCKLAND RESEARCH CENTRE.
The latest local news and information
-- anywhere, anytime
In print & online at
Find us on
Follow us on
smart phone to
connect to our
Links Archive Kumeu Show Glen Eden Shop Local Navigation Previous Page Next Page