Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Push it over the Gorge" the Maungaturoto Insurance scam 1926


Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19260415-49-1

The service car usually run by Mr Lough between Whangarei and Waipu, went over a bank in the Waipu Gorge on Tuesday evening and was badly smashed. Fortunately no injury was sustained by either of the passengers. Trouble occurred, and while Mr. Lough and a companion were rectifying it, the car slipped over the bank, dropping over 100 feet into nine feet of water. At present only the spot light and part of the bonnet are showing above the surface and recovery of the car will probably be difficult.
Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 77, 1 April 1926, Page 7

The rather tragic looking mess photographed at the base of what is known as Piroa Falls near Maungaturoto, had a rather murky story behind the event that occurred on March 30, 1926. Just ten days after the accident, a taxi driver named William Hyber was charged in the Whangarei court for willful misful mischief in the damaging of one motor vehicle to the extent of £280. The wrecked car was the property of Stewart Bevan. The day before Hyber faced charges in the courtroom, he had been arrested at Whakapara by Constable Beazley. Presiding Justice of the Peace one Mr A. Carter ordered Hyber was to be remanded on bail, until the trial could be held a few days later on April 13. By April 12th, three other men had been arrested and charged with the destruction of the car, now lying in pieces beyond repair, at the bottom of Piroa Falls. Francis Saville Lough, Foreshaw, and a driver John Wilson Reynolds all joined William Hyber in facing charges for the destruction of another man's property.

On April 20th, in the Maungaturoto court only one of the four charged admitted their guilt. Lough who had taken the vehicle on a hire purchase agreement from the legal owner Alistar Bevan. Lough had trouble with the payments on the vehicle, and the insurance had expired on March 28. He admitted to planning to arranging having the car destroyed through a staged accident.

Arising out of the destruction of a motor car in the Maungaturoto Gorge on March 30 last, four men were charged in the Maungaturoto Police Court today that on March 30 they did wilfully commit mischief by night, iv that they wilfully damaged a car valued at £280, the property of A. S. Bevin and Co., Ltd. Also that at Waipu they conspired, by fraudulent means, to defraud the Oceanic Accident Corporation Company by causing the car to be wilfully wrecked, with intent of claiming an amount of insurance. The accused were Francis Saville Lough, William Ewald Hyber, William John Forshaw, and John Wilson Reynolds. Evidence was given by Allister Stuart Bevin. of A. S. Bevin and Co., Whangarei, that on March 28, 1925, he sold the accused Lough a motor car on the hire purchase system. A promissory note in this connection, with three days grace was clue on March 31, 1926. The insurance expired on March 28, two days prior to the car being destroyed. On April 1 witness saw Lough, who said he was under the impression that the insurance expired on March 31. 
Murdoch Luther McLeod. taxi proprietor, of Waipu, related that he rang Lough up, asking for a loan of his car, as he had had an accident to his own. Witness did not. know how long he would want the car. Lough said when witness finished with it to "push it over the gorge." Witness thought it a joke, and said, "What's the idea —big insurance on her?" Lough said, "Yes, I have about £300 on her.' Witness then said: I will leave the pushing over to you." The police produced statements made by accused, and said they had been frank and truthful on the whole matter. After hearing the evidence, Lough pleaded guilty and was committed to the Supreme Court for sentence. The other three accused pleaded not guilty reserved their defence and were committed for trial.
Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 92, 20 April 1926, Page 8

On April 21, salvage attempts to recover what was left of the damaged car were made. The vehicle was submerged in a pool of 15 feet (4.57m) of water. Hoisting gear was employed to haul the wreck out onto the shoreline where it was dismantled and taken back up the side of the steep rock sides of the gorge. Two doors however were never recovered. They still remain submerged to this day at the base of the Piroa Falls.

Lough was the only one to be found guilty out of the four involved with the incident. The others were found not guilty of the crime and were discharged by the court.

A novel, but extremely unfortunate means of obtaining insurance on a  motor car in order to pay liabilities was adopted by a man recently, but it was found that when he had pushed the motor car. over a cliff that the insurance policy had lapsed two days prior to the "accident." He was apprehended and pleaded guilty, but three men who were  concerned in the matter were also arrested. 
William Ewald Heyber and William John Forshaw yesterday stood their trial on charges of wilful damage to a motor car and with conspiring to defraud an insurance company at Maungaturoto. John Wilson Keynolds, who was also implicated in the matter was discharged as the grand jury returned a no bill in his case. Mr. V. R. Meredith, prosecuted, and Mr. Luxford appeared for Heyber, and Mr. Hall Skelton for Forshaw. 
Outlining the case for the Crown, Mr. Meredith stated that the two accused were charged firstly, with, mischief, and the allegation in that respect was that the car was pushed over a cliff in thei Waipu Gorge and destroyed. Secondly, there was an allegation that the accused attempted to defraud an insurance company. 
A man named Lough, for whom Heyber worked, bought the car under the hire-purchase system and owed a good deal of money on it. He found himself in a position of being unable to pay the money that was due. The car was insured with the Ocean Accident Assurance Corporation for £300. Lough was under the impression that the policy with the company expired on March 31, but in reality it lapsed on March 28. Lough, decided to push,the car over the gorge and then collect the insurance money. The actual incidents, to which the present two were charged were that they were a party to the destruction of the motor car. 
From the evidence it would appear that Lough went out to the gorge with Forshaw to look for a crank that was supposed to have been lost. Lough, jacked up the car on the edge of the gorge and somehow it went over and became a total wreck, 200 ft below. Heyber had made arrangements with Lough to go for him in another motor car and drive him back to his home. In a statement to the police Forshaw said Lough had told him that he intended to push, the car over the gorge. The excuse for being on that part of the road was that they were to look for a crank, and that while they were doing that there was supposed to be a puncture. Lough, pushed the car over the gorge, and told him (Forshaw) that he was going to collect the insurance money. Heyber stated that he was told to drive out and pick up Lough and Forshaw. 
 Alister Bevin, of Whangarei, said Lough got the car from his firm on terms. He paid a third of the money and the balance was to be paid in twelve months. He owed £230 plus insurance and interest on the car. Witness was notified by Lough the day following the "accident," and was told that the insurance company would pay out. It was then found that the policy had expired two 'days before.' The.car dropped 200 ft and cost £40 to recover. It was not worth that when brought back to the garage.
 Further evidence was submitted for the Crown, in the course of which it was stated that both the accused had been straightforward in their behaviour throughout the matter. Mr. Hall Skelton said Forshaw had not conspired with Lough, and stood to gain nothing out of the deal. He had acted in the capacity of an employee under directions from his employer. Oh the suggestion of his Honor, Mr. Meredith withdrew the charge of conspiracy leaving that of mischief standing. Mr. Hall Skelton contended that without their own admissions there was practically no evidence against either of the accused.
 A country youth of 20 years, Forshaw had tried in vain to persuade Lough not to carry out the scheme. He had gone to the gorge because Lough had told him to do so, but he took no actual part in the pushing of the car over the cliff. In Heyber's defence, Mr. Luxford suggested that at the most he could only be charged with being an accessory after the fact, but according to New Zealand law that could not be held unless he had done something to enable the perpetrator of the main offence to escape his.responsibilities. Heyber had merely met Lough and Forshaw according to a prearranged plan.
His Honor directed the jury that there was no evidence by which Heyber could be found guilty, and as far as Forshaw was concerned, quoted an English, decision, that to be an aider and an abettor in any offence it was necessary to be more than a passive spectator as Forehaw had been. The jury, without leaving the box, returned a verdict of not guilty in respect of both accused, who were discharged.

Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 103, 5 May 1926, Page 16

Sources:

ALLEGED DAMAGE TO CAR.
Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 84, 10 April 1926, Page 14

ALLEGED DAMAGE TO CAR.
Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 85, 12 April 1926, Page 9

Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 92, 20 April 1926, Page 8

Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 103, 5 May 1926, Page 16






Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Waipoua Forest and the iconic Tane Mahuta


Of all the iconic trees in New Zealand Tane Mahuta the giant Kauri located in the Waipoua Forest in Northland is one of the most notable. It's also a popular tourist attraction thousands of visitors come to view each year. The mightly tree was discovered by surveyors in late December 1923 or in early January 1924. Then, it had no name as far as being an iconic tourist attraction was concerned.


......The following blocks of land, purchased in this province from the natives, are proclaimed waste lands of the Crown The Takanga block, in Hokianga district, containing 1,750 acres the Waipoua block, in the Hokianga district, containing 35,300 acres the Maunganui block, in the Kaipara district, containing 37,592 acres.....
Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXXII, Issue 5284, 19 September 1876, Page 2


The government purchased the Waipoua block in 1876 from local maori, in 1885 it became a state owned asset under the State Forests Act (1885). Karui timber was in strong demand for use in ship building, housing and other types of construction. Waipoua though was still isolated enough to remain relatively untouched by mass scale logging.


 Waipoua though was always constantly under threat from the bushman's felling axe. In 1907, commissioned by the government, Dr Leonard Cockayne PhD. proceeded with an indepth botanical study of the Waipoua Forest ecosystem. In his report Department of Lands: Report on a Botanical Survey of the Waipoua Kauri Forest furnished to Parliament in June 1908 Cockayne warned of the Kauri's rapid disappearance from the landscape. He encouraged the government to preserve the forest for the people of New Zealand and for the future survival of the Kauri species. He concluded:

The Waipoua Forest and one or two other smaller reserves are the only virgin kauri forests now belonging to the State. The kauri forest, as I have already stated, is the only plant-association of the kind to be found in the world. I have also attempted to show that it is one of great beauty and of extreme scientific interest. The forest reserve contains examples of 241 species of flowering-plants and ferns. It is therefore at present an important forest museum.
Before very long, at the rate at which the kauri is being converted, there will be no forests of that kind, and very few examples of the trees either —in twenty years' time, or even less. Thus will pass away for ever from the face of the earth one of the noblest of forests and one of the unique attractions of New Zealand. Our fiords, glaciers, and hot springs have their like elsewhere; our kauri forests are no where else to be seen. What the future of the Waipoua Forest will be I cannot pretend to predict.
 If it is felled it will give employment for a few years to a certain number of men, who in any case at the end of that time will have to look for other employment, and in its place will be much waste land and a few farms, isolated from other settlement. If it is preserved there will be a magnificent heritage for future generations, and an attraction, constantly increasing in its interest, for the visitors to our shores.
  Now as to the forest itself. It certainly, as has been shown, contains a great deal of milling timber, both kauri and rimu, together with some kahikatea, totara. miro, and matai. The kauri is found in quantity only to the xvest of the Toronui Stream, excepting some in the watershed of the Merowharara. Of this kauri belt, which extends from east to west, much of the kauri in the southern part of the forest is scattered, the milling-timber par excellence being that on the higher land near Kohuroa and the Huaki. But it must be borne in mind that a large part of the forest contains no milling-timber at all. On the high table-land and in a few other parts is much rimu. The land on which this grows is here of little value for agriculture, and the same remark applies to the continuation of the forest on the table-land. Tn other words, the present crop is the best the soil will ever yield, and it should surely not lie felled merely for purposes of settlement while so much better land elsewhere is at present unoccupied.
The slopes of the Waipoua Forest on the south to the Waipoua River in many parts contain no milling-timber at all beyond some scattered kauris, and yet though they give not a perfect example by any means of what a kauri forest is their covering would suffice were no better available, and would make a very fair national kauri park. That such a park should be created seems to me incontrovertible. The only difference of opinion that can arise is as to its size. The Waipoua Forest as a whole would make, of course, the ideal park. It would be one of the great sights of the world. and as the years crept on it would be more and more prized by our descendants. To preserve the forest in its entirety would mean hastening the end of the kauri industry by a very few years to cut it down would extend that industry for the same number.

DEPARTMENT OF LANDS: REPORT ON A BOTANICAL SURVEY OF THE WAIPOUA KAURI FOREST.
 By L. COCKAYNE, Ph.D.
Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1908 Session I, C-14


Large Kauri tree from Auckland Weekly News April 1902
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19020403-3-4

The kauri harvest dominated the economy of the upper North Island – the old Auckland province – until 1910. Together, kauri and kauri gum accounted for 58% of the province’s exports in 1885. A fair proportion was exported through the port of Auckland, which was by far the principal port nationally for inbound goods. A network of coastal shipping routes linked smaller ports in the region to Auckland.

Malcolm McKinnon. 'Regional economies - Development of regional economies, 1850 to 1920',
Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12


While Tane Mahuta and the other huge trees in the Waipoua remained hidden from view and inaccesible, the kauri logging continued on an industrial scale. A multitude of sawmills sprang up across the Kaipara and Hokianga Districts. At the time of Cockayne's report great swathes of virgin kauri forest were being cleared from the Northland and Auckland landscape. Trees far larger than Tane Mahuta were felled and the land cleared for farming.


NEW ZEALAND'S TIMBER INDUSTRY: FELLING THE FIRST TREE AT THE OPENING OF THE KAURI TIMBER COMPANY'S BUSH, KAIPARA, MARCH 20, 1906.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19060329-7-2

By 1913, Waipoua's future as a reserve seemed in doubt when the Forestry commission recommended logging a vast majority of the Waipoua block and leave a mere 200 acres as reserve for the future.

The throwing open of the Waipoua State kauri forest in the North of Auckland district, which is recommended by the Forestry Commission in their report, will, if given effect to, have an important bearing upon the progress of settlement in that part of the Dominion.', The commission recommends the lifting of the reservation on the whole of the area, with the exception of a park of 200 acres. Mr J. G. Coates, member for Kaipara, has pointed out that the result of the removal of the reservation would be that approximately 24,000 acres of State forest, and from 16,000 to 20,000 acres of ordinary Crown lands adjacent to the forest, would be available for settlement as soon as the timber was removed. The quantity of timber in the State forest is estimated at not less than three hundred million superficial feet. The question as to whether the proposed State sawmill should be established in the Waipoua forest or on the Northern Wairoa River, is one which, it is stated, remains to be decided. Whether millers shall be permitted to purchase the timber on the Crown lands adjoining the Waipoua forest, with a view of its early removal, thus preparing the way for rapid settlement, is another question which will probably come up for the Government's consideration.
Northern Advocate , 23 July 1913, Page 4

It is probable that legislation dealing with the Waipoua forest, in the North of Auckland, will be introduced by the Government during the present session, The proposals to be embodied in the Bill will, it is understood, be practically on the lines of the recommendations of the Forestry Commission. The area to be reserved will probably be about 2000 acres.

New Zealand Herald, Volume L, Issue 15424, 6 October 1913, Page 8



In 1890 when the kauri timber industry threatened to wipe out all significant areas of Northland kauri forest, 3.34 hectares were set aside by the government. James Trounson, an early settler, added a further 22 hectares to this and established a Scenery Preservation Club. Trounson offered a further 364 hectares, and the area was officially opened as Trounson Kauri Park in 1921. This foreshadowed the nearby Waipoua Forest reservation of 1952. The scenic reserve now covers 586 hectares. The park is one of the predator-free mainland islands and is an enduring example of community and government co-operation

 (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), 
updated 15-Jul-2013

The timber industry for the Kauri however was noted as becoming a rapidly decaying industry with few trees accessible to be cut down for milling, along with the ominous warning that not only the timber milling industry would vanish but the very kauri it relied upon would also fade to history.

It will not be many years before the kauri forests of the North are altogether depleted. Further and further back the axemen are going. No trouble is spared to push the logs down to the nearest rail or waterway, and where only two years ago in some instances stood giant kauri trees there are now primitive homesteads, with cattle on the hills round about.
Yesterday the Hon. W. Fraser and his party made a trip into the heart of the timber country in the Northern Wairoa districts, when it was seen that the clearance that is being made day by day will very soon leave the hills barren and desolate. A visit was made to a, 50-acre cluster of kauri trees, known as Kauri Park, which formerly belonged to Mr. C. Trounson, but which was handed over to the State recently. The quality of the kauri trees is. disappointing. The ravages of fire have left the dump scarred and patchy, but notwithstanding this the value of the timber is estimated at £17,000. The Ministerial party was within & mile to-day of the Waipoua State forest, but shortage of time prevented a visit being made, or even a glimpse of the big bush area being obtained. To show the present value of the kauri timber industry it is only necessary to mention that a log which was cut out of the bush in the vicinity of Donnelly's Crossing this week, measuring 6ft in diameter and 14ft long has an estimated value in the rough of £20. Every week the price of kauri is increasing, but every week the timber is becoming more scarce, and at the present rate the experts consider that five vears will see the complete depletion; of the trees, as far as their value for  an industry is concerned.

New Zealand Herald, Volume L, Issue 15262, 28 March 1913, Page 8

In 1914, MP Joseph Gordon Coates raised the issue of when the government intended to establish the state sawmilling in order to exploit the remaining kauri timber. Prime Minister Massey advised that the government had every intention of proceeding with milling operations. James Trounson, who later opened Trouson Kauri Park (1921) was quoted by the New Zealand Herald from the evidence he had given previously to the Forest Commission

Mr. J. Trounson, in giving evidence before the commission, had deprecated the locking up of this great forest for the sake of a bit of kauri bush which nobody could see, The question, however, was not whether anyone would see the kauri bush now, but whether those who lived 50 years hence would have any kauri bush left to see. If not they would probably blame the present generation for not conserving the trees, it might be protested that sentiment should 'not enter into these matters, but sentiment entered into most largo problems. He protested against the State parting with any of the existing forests until it had fully considered the best means of utilising the timber, and had also instituted a satisfactory system of reafforestation. He would not oppose the ultimate use of the forest lands, but the present wholesale method of destroying tho bush was not satisfactory.
New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15656, 9 July 1914, Page 8


At the of April 1914, the Kaihu Valley Line extension to Whataro was handed over government control. A sawmill was established at Whataro in the same year for the milling of the kauri timber being extracted from nearby forestries. This left the possibility of nearby Waipoua being put at further risk of being milled out.

During the recent visit of the Minister for Railways to the district, he inspected the works under progress, and it was pointed out to him how by following the private line scheme, the immense Waipoua State kauri forest could be tapped at a cost not exceeding £2,500 a mile. This forest contains 80,000,000 ft of kauri and 120,000,000 ft of other milling timbers, and the State has already determined to utilise the bulk of the valuable asset in providing needful timber for Government works.
Northern Advocate , 25 April 1914, Page 7

In March 1919, fire came to the Waipoua after settlers had started a deliberate scrub fire during land clearing.

 Fire broke ont in the Waipoua kauri forest last Thursday, it is believed from adjacent settlers burning off. The care taker and a gang of men have been working continuously to prevent the fire spreading. Word was received this morning that the fire was well under control, unless a high wind springs up Considerable damage has been done. It is estimated that 150,000 to 200,000 feet of dry timber has been destroyed, also fully fifty green kauri trees.
Auckland Star, Volume L, Issue 60, 11 March 1919, Page 6

In 1920, the Commissioner for Forestry Sir Francis Bell confirmed that the government intended to establish sawmilling operations at Waipoua

The Commissioner of State Forests, Sir Francis Bell., stated to-day that the Government would probably proceed in the near future with the erection of a sawmill at Waipoua. While there was a good quantity of kauri being cut by private millers, the Government would not competo to hasten the demolition of the kauri forests. The closing of the Kauri Timber Company's mill at Te Kopuru, and the fad of kauri being almost unprocurable shortly, would hasten the Government operations at Waipoua forest. Sir Francis Bell states emphatically that so long as private millers were supplying kauri timber the Government would not hasten its operations.
New Zealand Herald, Volume LVII, Issue 17380, 31 January 1920, Page 6

During 1921, the Commissioner for Crown Lands received a letter from the Northern Wairoa Provincial sub-executive of the Farmer's union proposing to open up two blocks in the Waipoua Survey District to settlement. However, the Commissioner did not agree with this proposal:

The commissioner, in his reply, states that the matter of opening of the blocks for settlement has been under consideration several times during the last year or two. The obstacle to the opening up of 'the land is ithat it is in close proximity to the Waipoua State forest. The Forestry Department is of opinion that if the land were opened for settlement the State forest would be in danger of destruction, as it is only separated by a road from the blocks mentioned. The letter adds that further investigations will be made to determine whether anything can be done to meet the wishes of the union.
Northern Advocate , 7 September 1921, Page 5

Waipoua though was a state owned asset, the intention for it to milled by the government was not yet extinguished.

....Of the kauri held by the Crown undoubtedly the Waipoua State Forest is the largest,and it is generally understood; that it will be milled on scientific lines by the Government....

New Zealand Herald, Volume LIX, Issue 18106, 2 June 1922, Page 10

In September 1922, the request for land to opened again was declined by the Minister of Lands D. H. Guthrie

The Auckland Farmers' Union recently made a request to the Minister of Lands, the lion. D. H. Guthrie, that the Waipoua State Forest Reserve, in blocks 4 and 7, Waipoua Survey District, should be opened for settlement, but the Minister states in a letter received by Mr W. Huey, the secretary, that he is unable to take any action in the matter. In the course of his reply the Minister says that representations had been made previously that the land be opened a section deep along the main road from Tutamoe to Waoku Settlement, and also from Tutamoe to Kauri. He had received full reports from the local officer and also the State Forest Service on the proposal. 
The Forestry Service had been averse to taking action in the direction desired for the following reasons: (1) that the proportion of a State forest in the North Auckland district was only 2.5 per cent of the total area of that district; (2) that as the proportion of State forest should not be less than 25 per cent of the whole area, it was evident that the present proportion of only 2.5 per cent would be quite inadequate to supply the further requirements of the North Auckland district. To reduce the present reserves, therefore, would be most injudicious; (3) that as the land referred to was the highest in the locality the forest on it served the important purpose of conservation of stream flow, and should, therefore, not be destroyed; (4) that as soon as a systematic working of this forest was put into operation it would prove of great benefit to the settlers in the district, both by giving employment to their families and by making a local market for their farm produce. As the land in question was a State forest under control of his colleague, the Commissioner of State Forests, he regretted he was unable to take any action in the matter.

Auckland Star, Volume LIII, Issue 211, 6 September 1922, Page 5


By early 1923, the Hobson County engineer had reported that a trial survey had completed for a proposed road from Waimamaku to Donnelly's Crossing.

The engineer reported, that trial survey had been completed for a road between Donnelly's Crossing and Waimamaku. The road would be through or near the famous Waipoua kauri forest, and would give direct access to Dargaville from Lower Hokianga, and make available for closer settlement a large area of splendid farming land.

New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18433, 23 June 1923, Page 10

By October 1923, the government had set aside 816 acres of the Waipoua Block as conservation reserve.

..In pursuance of a conservation policy the Government has set apart a subdivision of 816 acrei in the noted Waipoua kauri bush area as a State forest reserve...

Northern Advocate , 10 October 1923, Page 4

In January 1924, the discovery of a giant Kauri that would be later named Tane Mahuta, was reported in the New Zealand Herald

"... A kauri giant was discovered in the Waipoua about two weeks ago. Its girth is over 40ft. and its magnificent trunk rises 40ft. before it is broken by the first branch...."

New Zealand Herald, Volume LXI, Issue 18606, 14 January 1924, Page 8

In December 1924, Sir Heaton Rhodes visited Waipoua on behalf of the government to consider the situation regarding the proposal to put a road through the heart of the new conservation reserve.

The Waipoua forest, south-west of Hokianga, is said to be the largest reserve of kauri existent. It is under the care of the State Forestry Department, and is one of the State's most treasured possessions. This week Sir Heaton Rhodes inspected the forest on behalf of the Government, there having been several suggestions as to roading in the district. The Minister expressed himself averse to any roading scheme involving a cut through the forest, as he considered this would increase the risk of fire and also increase the opportunity for poaching kauri gum, as well as admitting too much light into the growth The general health of the timber was found to be excellent, and the Minister declared that the need for milling the matured trees is not as urgent as has been represented, and that lie stands for the preservation of this last greatt stronghold of kauri. A great deal of healthy regeneration was going on said Sir Heaton, and he was loathe that the process should be interfered with in any way.
Auckland Star, Volume LV, Issue 289, 5 December 1924, Page 8

By 1925, the Hobson County Council had come up against a wall by the Department of Forestry, who had opposed any proposal for a direct route through the Waipoua forest to be constructed. Hobson County then sort the assistance of the Dargaville Chamber of Commerce to support their bid have the proposed road constructed.

Assistance of the Kaipara Chamber of Commerce has been sought by Mr. F. J. Dargaville on behalf of' the Hobson County Council in getting a road put through Waipoua Forest so that there would be a direct road between Hokianga Soutli and Donnelly's Crossing. It was very important to the district to have this route so that the Hokianga South settlers could go to Dargaville to do their shopping as well as allowing them to get to Auckland whenever they wanted to. At the present time they had to take chances of boats calling for them, if the weather was rough the boats could not call at their wharves. The road from Donnelly's Crossing is formed 4.5 miles which should be of assistance in getting the direct route. The greatest drawback to the movement is that the Forestry Department has refused permission to go through the forest. It was resolved on the motion of the chairman, Mr. F. A. Jones, that the Hobson County Council be urged to push forward with the least possible delay direct road communication between Hokiangia North and Donnelly's Crossing, and that a copy of the resolution be forwarded to the Prime Minister.

Northern Advocate , 26 September 1925, Page 4


In early July 1926, the government had bowed to settler pressure to have the proposed road put through the Waipoua reserve land.

Word was received to-day that the Government had decided to start a road between Donnelly's Crossing and Waimaniaku, through Waipoua Forest. Mr. J Kerr. Public Works Engineer, left this morning to start work from the Donnelly's Crossing end with a gang ot fifteen men. When this route is completed Waimaniaku settlers will be able to come into Dargaville daily instead of as at the present time going once a week to Auckland by boat only.

Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 159, 7 July 1926, Page 11

An editorial opinion in the Auckland Star after the road had been confirmed expressed a strong opinion of the threat the new road posed to the largest remaining stand of Kauri forest in the country

"It is quite true, we have decided upon that route, and the road is going through," replied the Prime Minister, Mr. Coates, when the matter of the road through the Waipoua State Forest was referred to him. There is a familiar and- characteristic assurance in this. But if it is insisted that this is the best route into the Waimaumaku Valley, then I must strongly differ from the Prime Minister when he asserts that he knows as much about the district as anybody. It is so far from being the best route that the construction of the road as at present intended amounts to a positive national scandal. The alternative route round the coast has been rejected, we are told. Will Mr. Coates give the reasons why it has been rejected? There will need to be urgent reasons indeed, apart from distance, I why a road through heavy forest is to be preferred to one traversing open, sandstone country. There will need to  be still more cogent reasons to justify  the violation of a permanent State Forest Reserve. It is difficult to reconcile the remarks of the Hon. 0. J. Hawken, Commissioner of State Forests, who declares that there is no intention of milling the block,  with the statement of the Prime Minister, when he declares that Waipoua has deteriorated for years because trees had not been cut at maturity. It seems that there is just a possibility that Mr. Coates may intend to "improve" the  forest by cutting out the kauri. Moreover, the statement that Waipoua is in a decadent condition is utterly unfounded. I know the forest well, and  it is surprisingly healthy. Mr. Coates could not have seen a representative sample of the Waipoua kauri when conducted through a portion of the forest by a party of interested settlers. I challenge him to demonstrate that the forest is in a state of deterioration.  By "authorities on the kauri bush,"  Mr. Coates evidently means interested timber exploiters. Of the opinions and disastrous activities of such New Zealand has already experienced too much. Public opinion at the moment demands more enlightened and less partial advice.I It is to be hoped that the public and their representatives in Parliament will become alive to the enormity Of this threatened calamity before it is too late. It is significant that there is not a single case in the country where a kauri forest has survived roading. There is no reason for supposing that Waipoua will prove an exception—it cannot do so.

Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 186, 7 August 1926, Page 18

ROAD THROUGH WAIPOUA. STATE FOREST.
(To the Editor.) Sir, —The public have to thank you for drawing their attention to this proposed scheme. All possible effort should be made to prevent the destruction of this forest. It savours ill when the Prime Minister says that the timber needs milling and is spoiling because thereof. The Minister in Charge of these matters assures us that the forest is all right and does not need milling. How can one reconcile such report with disinterested advantages of the road itself as an out let for settlement. Possibly in seeking revenue the Government contemplate selling the timber rights. Now it is for the public to insist on an explicit understanding.—I am, etc., AGATHUS
Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 190, 12 August 1926, Page 14

Throughout 1927, the Auckland Star made its opinon strongly known that it opposed the cutting of a road through what it viewed as a valuable natural wonder. Headliners contained the phrases "Destruction of Waipoua" "Waipoua Doomed" its October 7, 1927 editorial supported the opposing stand of the Horticultural Institute to the clearing of forest for roading

THE DOOM OF WAIPOUA.
We sympathise strongly with the New Zealand Institute of Horticulture in its protest against the threatened destruction of the Waipoua Forest. On many previous occasions we have explained that there was no necessity for the road that the Government has insisted on putting through our only surviving kauri forest, and that in any case alternative routes were available. Nobody can say how much this road has cost to build, what it will cost to metal, and how it can possibly be kept open for traffic in such a locality and climate. But the Government persisted in constructing a road through the heart of the bush, and the only consolation offered was the positive assurance that on no account would the kauris in Waipoua be cut out. But as a natural and inevitable consequence of this unfortunate experiment in roadmaking the people interested in timber are now demanding that the bush shall be cut up for their purposes. The Government and the public are being assured that the older trees are dying out, and that as a precaution against fire some milling is absolutely necessary. In view of the detailed and authoritative information that we have already supplied about the splendid condition of the bush we can only regard this plea as an excuse intended to justify the cutting-up of  this last surviving vestige of our once magnificent kauri forests. We have always hdld that this would be a national calamity, and we hope that the protest of the Horticultural Institute will strengthen opposition.
Auckland Star, Volume LVIII, Issue 244, 15 October 1927, Page 8

The Waipoua Road had taken sixteen months to construct, with a claim being made that care had been taken to cut out as 'few kauri as possible'. In December the Auckland Star had reported plans were being made for the opening ceremony of the Waipoua road to take place on January 19,1928.

The opening ceremony of the new Waipoua Forest Road, linking the Waimamaku settlement with the Donnellv's Crossing-Dargaville railway, on Thursday, January 19, 1928, is being arranged by the settlers of Waimamaku in conjunction with the Hokianga and Hobson County Councils, through whose territory the road has been constructed. Final arrangements for celebrating the opening have not yet been made, but it is probable that the actual opening ceremony will be at the Waipoua Bridge, the boundary of the counties of Hobson and Hokianga. Speeches will be made just across the bridge, in Hokianga County, where a shelter was erected last year when His Excellency the Governor- General and party were visiting the forest. The party will then proceed by car twelve miles to Waimamaku, where the Farmers' Union will show them round the settlement and the Waimamaku Co-operative Cheese Factory. From Waimamaku the Hokianga County Council will probably take over the party. A visit will be made to Opononi, four miles further north, on the Hokianga Harbour, a delightful spot, where visitors will then be given an opportunity of viewing the extensive waters of the Hokianga Harbour as far as Rawene. Invitations are being extended to the Prime Minister, Minister of Public Works and other members of the Cabinet, members of Parliament and representatives of local bodies. The temporary bridges along the route are being strengthened so that cars will be able to make the trip in safety. Altogether this will be a red-letter day for southern Hokianga, and the fact that such an important project has been completed in four years is a tribute to the persistent effort of settlers of Waimamaku and the Chamber of Commerce and local bodies at the Dargaville end.

Auckland Star, Volume LVIII, Issue 293, 12 December 1927, Page 5


Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19280119-38-1

The Waipoua Road was officially opened on January 13, 1928. The Auckland Star however, maintained its opinion the new road was a threat to the continued survival of Waipoua and its kauri trees.

The new road through the Waipoua Bush was formally opened by the Prime Minister yesterday, and the ceremony was naturally made the occasion for speeches explaining the purpose of the road and justifying its existence. We cannot admit that either Mr. Coates or Mr. Allen Bell added anything of value to the discussion, and we can only reiterate our strong conviction that it was a grave mistake to open up this splendid forest by means of a public highway, and thus to expose it, on a scenic as well as a scientific sense, to the imminent risk of destruction.
One of Mr. Coates' arguments is that it is a matter of "Dominion-wide importance" that the people of New Zealand should have a chance "to view Nature as it exists" in the recesses of Waipoua. We could understand and appreciate a proposal to preserve Waipoua as a national park, where the public would be admitted under careful surveillance, every effort being taken to prevent any injury to it as a. botanical and scientific asset of the highest value. But Mr. Coates and Mr. Bell both lay more stress on the practical use of the road as a means of linking up the Hokianga district with the Kaipara, and we fail entirely to see the need for spending £40,000 or more for the convenience of a few score settlers when, as we have already shown, there were alternative routes available which could have been utilised without imperilling Waipoua.
It is rather curious that Mr. Allen Bell should have mentioned the objections raised by the Forestry Department to the construction of this road without making any attempt to explain them away. As a matter of fact, not only the Director, of Forestry, but other responsible public officials, have opposed the road, which has already meant heavy expenditure, and will need a great deal more public money to metal and keep in order. However, all that can be done now is for the Horticultural Institute and the .other organisations which have drawn attention to the uniqne scientific value of Waipoua to keep their view of the case before the public eye, to impress upon the Government the urgent need for taking adequate precautions against the risk of fire, and, above .all, to sound an alarm as soon as ever the first step is taken in the direction of converting Waipoua into timber  reserve and cutting out the kauri.

Auckland Star, Volume LIX, Issue 11, 14 January 1928, Page 8

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19320210-31-1
The First Published Photograph of Tane Mahuta from the Auckland Weekly News 10 February 1932

The value of the Waipoua as a tourist destination was soon being promoted. In 1930, a track was cut to Tane Mahuta and measures put in place to try to protect the tree from damage by visitors, while at the same time catering to their needs. The report in the Auckland Star is also the first time the name "Tane Mahuta" appears as the name given to what is now an international tourism icon.

The State Forest Service rangers at the Waipoua Forest, telegraphs our Dargaville correspondent, have made a track leading to the big kauri tree, "Tane-Mahuta," and a concrete fire-place has been constructed on the roadside for the use of visitors. Around the famous tree a breast-high fence has been made of ferntree-trunks to prevent people climbing round the base and doing damage. In spite of this protection, however, one of the forest guards reports that last Wednesday a party of thirty climbed over and tried to swarm up the base of, the tree. When the guard remonstrated they simply said: "Why worry? We aren't going to pinch your old tree!" Tane Mahuta, which is the largest kauri known, measures 49 feet in girth at the middle of the. trunk, which is 30 feet high to the first branches, so that it is actually greater, in girth than in height. The Waipoua and Trounson Park have attracted a lot of visitors this year. It is still advisable to rail motors from Helensville to Maungaturoto or send thein by steamer to Dargaville, whence visitors will find a splendid allweather highway leading to Waipoua.

Auckland Star, Volume LXI, Issue 10, 13 January 1930, Page 6

In March 1937, a second large iconic Kauri tree "Te Matua Ngahere" had been announced as being discovered in February

Last month there was discovered in the Waipoua State Forest a fine old kauri tree. It has been named Tematua Ngaliere, and it has the largest known girth of any tree growing in New Zealand today. It is 53ft around at the base, while the centre girth is only 2ft 6in less. The height from the Pukaha mound to the first limb is 32ft, while the distance from the same limb to the level of the ground is 36ft. The capacity of the tree is 6000 cubic feet, or 73.000 superficial feet. The well known giant of the forest, Tanemahuta, is smaller than Tematua Ngahere. Tanemahuta, which is estimated to date back to the eighth century, has a girth at the base of 43ft. Its lowest branch is 42ft above the ground, and it is calculated to contain 72,000 superficial feet of timber.

Auckland Star, Volume LXVIII, Issue 61, 13 March 1937, Page 7

The Waipoua Forest however, was not free from government milling and until 1972, milling operations of Kauri continued. Only 80 square kilometres of the Waipoua had been secured as protected forest sanctuary on 2 July, 1952 after a petition had been presented to the government.


In the 1940s it became known that the State Forest Service was cutting kauri at Waipoua. In 1947 the Whangarei Progressive Society, in association with the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, the Waipoua Preservation Society, and other organisations secured 50,000 signatures to Parliament in a wheelbarrow. Its hope was that 160 square kilometres (62 sq mi) at Waipoua should be set aside for all time, inviolate from interference by man. Other petitions followed, and on 2 July 1952 an area of over 80 square kilometres (31 sq mi) was proclaimed a forest sanctuary. The zoologist William Roy McGregor was one of the driving forces in this movement, writing an 80-page illustrated pamphlet on the subject, which proved an effective manifesto for conservation.
 In the late 1960s, in violation of the 1913 recommendations, adopted de facto, the National Government initiated clear felling in the Warawara forest. This was not stopped until 1972 following a large public outcry and fulfilment of an election promise of the incoming Labor Government. In this short period, approximately 1/5 of the forest was felled (about 1/4 by timber volume).
In the late 1960s, in violation of the 1913 recommendations, adopted de facto, the National Government initiated clear felling in the Warawara forest. This was not stopped until 1972 following a large public outcry and fulfilment of an election promise of the incoming Labor Government. In this short period, approximately 1/5 of the forest was felled (about 1/4 by timber volume).

Sourced: "Waipoua Forest" Wikipedia