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. 

The reason the Nihotupu trees had survived into the 1890s was that they couldn’t be extracted with the usual transport method of driving dams because the areas with trees were below the Scenic Drive ridge. Mander & Bradley had the know-how and capital to tackle this difficult extraction and they hired as mill manager Nicho-las Gibbons (of Whatipu) who had managed their Albertland opera-tion. Nicholas’s eldest son, Robert Henry “Bob” Gibbons, 32 years of age, was the bush contractor. The Nihotupu mill was located in the long shallow basin just west of Waiatarua which is now regional parkland (reach the site from the Ian Wells Track, near the decom-missioned Nihotupu Auxilliary Dam). It employed 58 men in the summer season and 30 in the winter when the weather and ground conditions affected the output of the mill. 

It would have been the Gibbons, father and son, who worked out how to get the trees from Nihotupu down to Henderson Valley 300 metres below. Loads of sawn timber were winched from the mill up to the ridge which is today the Scenic Drive using a horse-powered capstan, then lowered on a precipitous tramway which ran on steep inclines and over sixteen bridges to the valley below. All the output of the mill went to the newly established Melbourne syndicate, the Kauri Timber Company, which had headquarters in Customs Street. 

The life of this mill was estimated to be only three years. In January 1899 a fire started by Oliver Wasley burning his boundary, de-stroyed the mill, damaged the tramlines and burned some of the bush. The fire was 

“…fed by the dry heads of the kauri left after milling and by the chips and waste left by firewood and shingle cutters. It set up a heavy pall of smoke which drifted over Auckland.” 

The fire badly singed the famous Glasgow tree, which after the fire gradually died. 

Mander & Bradley’s Nihotupu mill was valued at £3000 when it burned down. The company said it had no insurance but would rebuild to cut the remaining timber which it said was six months’ supply. By late 1899 Mander & Bradley had wound up operations and taken the equipment to a new site at Puhipuhi, north of Whan-garei. Bob Gibbons was bush contractor at Puhipuhi and some of the Nihotupu bushmen followed him north. When he came to work at Piha in 1910, many of the workforce came with him. 

– Sandra Coney 

CPNZ Waiatarua – June News

Well, winter is well and truly here – along with dark nights and po-tentially dangerous road conditions. So just another timely remind-er to please take extra care, be patient and keep those speeds down when driving. 

Our team are still out on patrol several times a week – helping to keep our community safe. 

Also remember that all incidents of theft, damage or anti-social behaviour should be reported directly to the Police – no matter how big or small. This information helps the Police (and us) recog-nise patterns and trends in the area and assists with the effective allocation of resources. 

This month we would like to say a huge thank you to the team and members at F45 Training Glen Eden for their support of our patrol. These great folks ran a fundraising effort onsite over April to help keep us on the road and their contribution is much appreciated. 

We also now have our own Givealittle page – to make donating to our organisation a breeze. 

We Need You! 

We are always looking for new recruits. The more patrollers we have, the more we can get our patrol vehicle out there actively being a deterrent of crime. We cover the areas of Waiatarua, Ora-tia and Henderson Valley and have a mixture of ages and back-grounds, retired and working, couples and singles. 

Your commitment: 

Only 4 hours a month – one two hour patrol a fortnight. Daytime or evening, weekdays or weekends. 

Passing a Police Security Clearance check on joining 

Current Drivers Licence 

We provide: 

Uniform and training 

Patrol vehicle and safety equipment 

The fun of getting to know your local area and community. 

Patrolling not your thing? Perhaps you can help us in other ways… contact us to chat. 

Our Recent Activities 

18 patrols during April and May 

Reported incidents: In May patrollers assisted with required traf-fic control when a pile of illegally dumped dirt on West Coast Road became a traffic obstacle – managing the scene until Auckland Transport representatives arrived. 

Attended the Henderson Heroes Community Event in April. 

Enjoyed an amazing day with other Waitemata Patrol groups at a special training event organised by NZ Police. 

And we bid a sad farewell to a couple of long-term members while welcoming one new patroller to the group. 

Police Contacts to Remember 

111 – Emergency 

105 – non-emergency (incident already happened & don’t need urgent assistance). Or online 

Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 – Report crime anonymously, or online 

*555 (from mobile phone) – urgent but not life-threatening driving incidents 

Stay safe
…and warm 

Sue Dell – Patrol Co-ordinator /Chairman
021 681 207)

Great news! We have now got the final book in Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series – ‘The Missing Sister’ which we have all been waiting for. I for one can’t wait to read it. 

We have also got the Ockham Book Awards winner Airini Beau-trais’ book ‘Bug Week’. They are all short stories, which is unusual. 

Here’s a selection of some more great titles. 

Lynda La Plante Judas Horse 

Stuart Macbride The Coffin Maker’s Garden 

Patricia Grace From the Centre a Writer’s Life – Biography 

Come and have a look around and see our great selection of books that we have acquired over the years. 

Barbara Field 

Every Litter Bit Helps

Waiatarua residents Alex (aged 9) and Torres (aged 8), pictured right, went for a walk down Bush Rd recently and were shocked by how much rubbish there was. They subsequently went and collect-ed all the rubbish they could find. These young boys are taking their roles of protecting and looking after the environment in our neigh-bourhood very seriously and are to be commended for their ef-forts. Well done!

June Update on Progress

The latest update on the repairs to the slip on Forest Hill Rd is that it is on track to be opened in the first week of July, scheduled for 2 July. The steel beams are in place and the on site crew are currently completing the retaining wall, and back filling, including installing drainage.

Progress has been steady, although the crew say they have been a little hampered by hard stand-stone substrate (making drilling diffi-cult) and some poor weather. They said the decision to close the road completely for the project, while inconvenient for locals, has avoided a much longer project, and they appreciate the public’s forbearance. 

For those on social media, local Judy Beech has been taking regular photos of the works and has been posting these in the Waiatarua Facebook group for anyone interested. 

Some of these most recent photos seen here were taken by some of the works crew as they were able to access areas on the site where Judy was not. It will be great when this work is finally com-plete and the road open again 

Nolas Housing Development

In last month’s newsletter we highlighted this issue and asked those interested to please write to their minister and councillors high- lighting issues like to traffic, schooling and train transport. To follow is the letter the Association wrote on behalf of residents and that was sent to all concerned. This has been well received and our local Minister Dr Deborah Russell has told us in person that she agrees with the points raised and will ensure that she follow it up with the right people.

“The Waiatarua Residents and Ratepayers association (WRRA) has some serious concerns in regards to the development that is pro- posed under the COVID fast tracks legislation at the Glen Eden/ Oratia Boundary (the old Nolas orchard).

Of particular concern is traffic congestion for the following reasons:

Most of our residents utilise West Coast Road to go to work, shop, visit doctors, drop off children at Oratia Primary school etc.

TheroundaboutatParrsCrossiscongestedandbadlylaidoutasit stands with many near misses on a daily basis.

We have concerns that there is no upgrade considered in this de- velopment despite a significant number of new residents and cars that will be fed on to West Coast Road.

Of particular concern is the suggestion that that the entrance to the development from West Coast road is a left in left out only, with residents then required to use the roundabout to U-turn back to the city.

We can see the logic behind this for safety reasons if there is no intention to insert another roundabout or to mount traffic lights at the entry and exit point, but as it stands this will create a build up of morning traffic in particular from those coming from the new de- velopment, using the roundabout which will mean a potential mas- sive build up of traffic coming from the west into the city.

Many of our residents currently use the train system to get to work with park and ride options available at nearby Sunnyvale and Glen Eden. Both these areas are already at capacity by 7.30am each day with travellers required to find parking nearby to the station which is already under stress. We have concerns that this development relies heavily on its residents utilising trains, and as it is, is further than the average 800m zone that most people are comfortable walking to public transport. We will as a result see added pressure on car parking around the train stations with users required to park further away or give up on public transport ad drive.

Parrs Park is the nearest urban/recreation park with almost all of

the existing facilities (basketball Courts, dog off-leash, children’s playground) at peak times. We would like to see planning in place for new facilities for our residents. To cater for the additional 800 or so residents across the road will bring additional pressure to this park.

Many of our residents’ children are in-zone for, and currently at- tend, Oratia Primary School. The large scale of this development means that there is likely to be a significant increase to roll numbers that will potentially put a lot of pressure on the resources on the school. We would like to see what plans are in place to ensure that the zoning system will not be changed and what extra resources are being considered.

Although the development itself is outside the Waitakere Heritage Area its large scale will have a flow on effect that will be impacted by the Act that governs the area For example the growth of Oratia Primary School is limited due to its protection as a “country” feel school under the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act. Can you assure us that these impacts are being considered and include us in these discussions? We have the knowledge within our Association toassistgreatlyinthedecisionmakingprocessandwanttobein- volved so that the requirements of the Act are enforced..

Insummarywebelievethattheaboveeffectsespeciallyinregards to the residents who live further out have not been fully consid- ered. There is no doubt that all residents in the area will be im- pacted by the additional pressure on infrastructure that a develop- ment of this scale will have.

We want to see a development that has been properly planned for and assurance that these impacts are fully considered and adequate funding is available to support the existing as well as the new resi- dents.

Rita Steel, our Environmental Lead and Tom Hoey (WRRA President) are available to meet with you and discuss the content of this letter. You can contact Tom on the number below or email;

Fire Brigade News

Greetings again from the Waiatarua Volunteer Fire Brigade Crew. Firstly, congratulations to Dave Anderson who has completed his Qualified Fire Fighters course with flying colours.

It has been a quiet month for call outs, but we did have a crew in attendance at the Henderson Countdown Fire.

In preparation for winter and increased use of fires and heaters, why not have a look at this great online resource to help plan your home emergency escape –

Fire safety quiz!

– Answers at the end of the quiz.


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. (more…)