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History

The Nihotupu Timber Mill

Timber milling started in the Waitakeres on the Manukau Harbour edge, but it was only a matter of time before investment and tech-nology enabled access to previously unreachable stands of kauri in the Waitakere Ranges. In the 1890s, the timber millers had their eye on an area of kauri on blocks of land owned by John Hueston and William Wasley and his son, Oliver, at Nihotupu, just west of Waiatarua. Wasley’s Bush, as it was known, was considered to be one of the most outstanding areas of kauri forest in New Zealand, and it contained a particular tree, the Glasgow Tree, that because of its spectacular size had been put aside and named after the then Governor of New Zealand, Lord Glasgow.
The millers were Francis “Frank” Mander and Samuel Bradley, prin-cipals of the company Mander & Bradley. Mander was Onehunga-born and started his working life at 10 years of age. He was also the father of novelist Jane Mander and later an MP and newspaper pro-prietor. Mander’s partner, Samuel Bradley, was also Onehunga-born and a successful businessman.

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Those Were the Days —the 1950’s in Waiatarua

The old faithful bone-jarring bus from Auckland City to Piha, would rattle and roll it’s way up West Coast Road with more noise than grunt, encouraged by banter from the local regular passengers. Delivery of newspapers aimed from the drivers window at letterboxes by Jack or Phil, sometimes, miraculously, managed to land on target.

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Memories of Waiatarua

In the early 1930’s, my mother used to rent Parkinson’s House on the Scenic Drive for the school holidays. The winding drive ran from just below where the TV Mast is now, down to a large rambling one-storied house commanding a wide view over the surrounding bush, down to the foothills of the Waitakeres and out to the Waitemata Harbour.

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Waiatarua Boarding House

Frederick Judson was an interesting character who originally purchased land at Nihotupu, on the right side of Piha Road off the area of Ian Wells Track, though he built a house on land owned by William Evans near the Nihotupu Falls which were on the south side of today’s Piha Road, below the carpark. Judson was part of a family which emigrated to the failed settlement of Albertland, on the south side of the Kaipara. Frederick married his cousin Marian Edger, the eldest daughter of Samuel Edger who was the religious leader at Albertland. The Edgers and Judsons were musical, intellectual and progressive in many
matters including equality of the sexes. Marian’s sister, Kate, was the first woman in the British Empire to gain a Bachelor of Arts at a university.

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