December 29, 2008

Saving the Old Oak Tree from the Chainsaw

Progress sometimes has to to proceed or in the case of an old much loved Oak tree some of the local residents are up in arms about its removal from the Maungaturoto Primary School grounds. The problem is the school very badly needs a new classroom to cater for its ever increasing school roll. A petition is being circulated in the township to save the old tree from getting the chop. The kids above all aren't feeling too happy about losing their favourite shade place. My own children have been asking why the tree can't be saved. Difficult question that to answer. A general chat about in Maungaturoto saw some saying the tree should be saved and others saying the tree was full of rot and it didn't really have any history. On the latter I beg to differ yes this tree along with several others on the Primary School grounds does indeed have a history and some meaning for the history of the school. After reading screeds of very small print in the History of the Maungaturoto Primary School 1874 - 1974 I hit the jackpot so to speak.

There it was on page 42 as follows:

Arbour Day 1926

Arbour Day 1926 was celebrated most enthusiastically at Maungaturoto School. A tree for every child in the standard classes was supplied (by the school committee is is presumed).

With great ceremony and care these trees were planted all along the boundary fence between the horse paddock and the school ground, Healey's boundary in the piece in front of the new school house section and along the remaining boundary fence. Mr Gerrard personally supervising the entire project with enthusiasm.

There were wattles, gums, oaks, puriri, pepper, and many other native trees planted. Each week we were allotted a short gardening time to attend our tree.

Today, but a few have weathered the test of time and many changes to the school grounds that have come to pass. There could be a few ex-pupils returning to the school for the centennial hopefully looking for the tree they planted so many years ago.

The few lonely oaks and one or two others that remain today, silent sentinels to all that has passed along these years, will perhaps gladden the heart of someone too, who, remembers our Arbour Day of long ago

- Maungaturoto Primary School History 1874 - 1974

The old Oak Tree will turn a century old in 2026 if it remains or just a memory will be there in place. Somewhere the once child that planted that tree on that Arbour Day of 1926 will perhaps still remember their special tree.

Spotted in the window at Tony's Lotto Shop

Also spotted in the notice board in Maungaturoto. New Years Party at the Garage on the 31st of December. Check it out if you're in Maungaturoto.

Also A petition is being circulated to save the old Oak tree from the chainsaw at the Maungaturoto Primary School. The old tree is being felled to make way for a new classroom and multipurpose room. I'm going to check further into the history of the Maungaturoto Primary School and see if this tree has any particular significance apart from providing many generations of children with shade during the heat of summer. We'll keep you posted on this one.

Don't forget the Kaipara Arts & Music Festival on the 4th of January Entrance $20 per adult at the gate check out the post by Amy about the Festival on this blog.

NZ Red Cross in Maungaturoto to increase awareness

A chance drive into Maungaturoto today found me meeting up with a couple of enthusiastic young volunteers out on Maungaturoto's main street talking to the locals about the kind of work Red Cross New Zealand does. Within New Zealand itself they have helped over 24,000 people annually with little or no funding from the New Zealand Government. Like the Red Cross many hard working voluntary organisations work hard for our communities relying on donations and the good will of people to keep up the good work. Red Cross will be in Maungaturoto for the next few days so give these great guys some of your time and listen to what they have to say. You can also visit the Red Cross Website and check out the great work they do both here in New Zealand and globally.

December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve in Maungaturoto full of plenty of cheer

A park was harder to find this morning now Christmas Eve is upon us

Stocking up for Christmas Day!

The Maungaturoto 4 Square Christmas Tree was full of sparkle

Andrea Allen from the Tony's Lotto Shop wore her tinsel earrings and gave us a big grin!

Jasween at BJ's Cafe couldn't smile enough now it's Christmas.
With her are Inaya and Michelle Clark of Maungaturoto

Wrapping gifts at the Maungaturoto Orr's Pharmacy

And having loads of Christmas spirit to boot!

One Great Christmas Tree at the Maungaturoto Orrs Unichem Pharmacy

Beverley Morrison and Keith Shadbolt of Ray White Bogue Real Estate

Ken from the Maungaturoto Butchery putting on a great smile for the camera
The Maungaturoto Butchers will be celebrating thirty years in 2009

Not so much parking around on Christmas Eve morning

Merry Christmas Maungaturoto!!!!

Despite reports of doom and gloom from all across the media Christmas Eve shopping in Maungaturoto was the opposite. Not even the grey skies held any influence this morning in the township. The local community were out in full force stocking up at the local Four Square for Christmas Day. Maungaturoto's main street was full of cars and people out doing some last minute Christmas shopping for friends and family. It was great to see. We have a fantastic community and it was wonderful to see locals supporting our businesses in the township. Smiles all around and plenty of Christmas Cheer. Way to go Maungi!!!

December 23, 2008

Kauri Bushmans Reserve Sterling Rd Paparoa

Travel just a couple of kilometres past the Paparoa village and turn right onto Sterling Rd. Near the end a treasure awaits that perhaps should be visited more. The cost a big zero which is great if the holiday budget is tight. The Kauri Bushman's Reserve was opened during the early 1950's to preserve the stand of Kauri still in existence for future generations to see and enjoy. I visited there earlier this year. The track is well marked and easy to walk. Children will find it easy to negotiate as will older people. The walk lasts around fifteen minutes at a faster pace taking a leisurely stroll though is more enjoyable. The forest floor is littered with the rich gold of fallen Kauri leaves broken only by the greenery of numerous ferns and fallen Keikie. Wood Pigeons are abundant. Nikau palms add to the wonder of this unique forest. At the beginning of the walk an old bullock wagon reminds us of the old Kauri felling days when great forest giants were hauled out by men and hard working bullock teams. It's a great place to enjoy on a hot summer's afternoon. My rating ten out of ten.

December 20, 2008

Do we really only have one Heritage Tree in the Kaipara?

The Non-denominational Coates Memorial Church at Matakohe with the Oak planted in 1887 on the left of the image. The Church was officially opened on 27th May 1950. Architect: Horace Massey - Image Credit Liz Clark

After posting up the article released by Kaipara District Council about the fence being stolen from around the iconic Morten Bay Fig tree at Pahi reserve I got to wondering about other possible old trees in the area. Viv Trounson was quite right in saying the Morten Bay Fig was the only tree in the Kaipara area protected by a heritage order. Why only just one tree? That is the question I am now asking. Some research into the Coates Memorial Church history today came up with another possible contender or perhaps two worthy of the Kaipara District Council considering for heritage status.

An English Oak and a Kauri planted in 1887 by the people of Matakohe to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the Silver Jubilee of the founding of the Matakohe settlementThe Oak still stands tall and proud alongside the iconic Coates Memorial Church but the Kauri of that I am uncertain. I found this excerpt from the History of Matakohe and Paparoa from page 63 in a small insert on the Coates Memorial church.

"The old oak tree which is now a feature of the grounds was planted during the celebrations held at Matakohe in 1887 to mark the Golden Jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria. The occasion was also to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the founding of the Matakohe Settlement."

That tree still stands. Planted in 1887 would now make the old tree 121 years old and getting older. Also noted again in the History of Paparoa - Matakohe 1862 - 1962 on page 14

"For all its age, the oak remained small and stunted until the lawn cemetery was established in 1949. the working of the soil around about so stimulated its growth that after 12 years, it is now several times larger."

Further Reading into the same history I came across the details of the Matakohe Silver Jubilee Festival details on Page 116:

The Jubilee Festival held on June 22nd, 1887, must have been an unforgettable day for all those who were present at the celebrations. An old minute book gives us extracts from the committee meeting held just prior to the event. A committee meeting was held at the house of John Isbister to make arrangements for a Jubilee Festival to commemorate the 50 years reign of our most gracious majest Queen Victoria......That an Oak tree be planted with a bottle below the root to contain a portion of the newspapers printed at the time and also a written record of the Matakohe settlement, this being the 25th year of settlement..........Celebrations began with the planting of two trees, a Kauri and an English Oak to celebrate the peace and harmony in which Maori and Pakeha dwelt under the benign reign of Her Majesty... * The Celebrations were reported in the Weekly News of the time according to this history. A search of the Northern Advocate unfortunately came up with no leads as the publication I needed was missing.

I note that very little emphasis was placed on the Kauri tree during the time of the writing of the history. Perhaps in this time of protecting our heritage it's again time to revisit both of these trees. I am uncertain if the Kauri tree still exists. There is no mention of it whatsoever in the PDF from Kaipara District Council for the Matakohe Heritage and Values Project I will be making further enquiries into it with the Kauri Museum and checking the original minute books.

Hopefully the tree does still stand. We need more of our precious trees protected starting with these two at Matakohe.

December 19, 2008

4th Northland Circus Festival 21st - 25th January 2009

Circus Kumarani will be hosting the 4th Annual Northland Circus Festival at Kai Iwi Lakes Dargaville from the 21st to the 25th of January 2009. Workshops,shows and fun for all ages and abilities. For more information and to register phone 09 439 5152 or visit the Circus Kumarani Website

December 18, 2008


Senior Citizens of Maungaturoto and surrounding districts were treated to Christmas Dinner and Entertainment at the Maungaturoto Centennial Hall. This was organised by the Maungaturoto and District Rotary Club with a large contribution from Pub Charity. This yearly event is very popular with the Senior Citizens and this year Maura Flower and her singing pupils sang Christmas songs. There was also a sing-along with Rotary Club Member Vern Dark.

A spokesperson for Rotary said that it was a great evening with nearly 125 people attending. This year it was great that funding was obtained from Pub Charity because it is a really good community project.

It is envisaged that this be a yearly project and that any Seniors not contacted should get in touch with Rotary so their name may be added to the list for next year.

- Article courtesy of the Maungaturoto and District Rotary Club

Mangawhai liquor ban balances police concerns and public enjoyment

Mangawhai will have a year-round liquor ban between 8.30pm and 7.00am in all public places from 24 December this year.

Changes to Liquor Control Bylaws, approved by Kaipara District Council today (17 December ), make it illegal to possess or consume alcohol during these hours in any public place owned or controlled by the Council in Mangawhai Village, Mangawhai Heads and the Mangawhai Heads Surf Beach areas.

Council has previously imposed a ban from 6.00pm on New Years Eve to 8.00am on 1 January at Mangawhai but Police asked for a 24 hour ban operating 365 days a year, expressing concern at the connection between alcohol and abusive and destructive behaviour.

In an attempt to accommodate Police concerns while allowing responsible drinkers an opportunity to enjoy a drink with a picnic, Council proposed a 7.00pm to 7.00am year-round restriction which was advertised for public comment in October.

Forty Nine submissions were received; 45 supported an extension of liquor controls in Mangawhai although some, including the Mangawhai Business Association suggested a later starting time.

After considering these the Hearings Committee recommended a year-round ban but delaying the start time until 8.30pm rather than 7.00pm. This was approved by Council today.

The Mangawhai decision does not affect the current 24 hour all-year-round ban in Dargaville business area which remains in force. The possibility of introducing liquor bans in other areas will be considered next year.

Following Council’s 2008 public consultation, when communities were asked their views on liquor bans, requests were received from Police, groups and individuals for bans in Pahi, Whakapirau, Maungaturoto, Paparoa, Kaiwaka and Ruawai, plus Glinks Gully and parts of Kaihu.

Council plans to release a Statement of Proposal alongside the Kaipara’s Future - Working Together Plan 2009/19 next March to seek public opinion on these and will also hold further talks with major interest groups like Police and the Liquor Accord.

December 17, 2008

Dargaville’s Pool Gets Go-Ahead

Christmas arrived early for water lovers today (17 December) when Kaipara District Council unanimously agreed to give the green light for a new 50 metre pool in Dargaville which will be ready for the 2009/2010 Summer.

The Council’s approval means the Kauri Coast Community Pool Trust can now enter into a $5,982,479.50 contract with Barfoote Construction Limited to build Northland’s only 50 metre pool and the Trust expects this to be signed before Christmas.

Work is expected to begin before the end of January and move on site at Selwyn Park during February. The facility, incorporating a 50 metre pool divided by a movable bulkhead, a learners/hydrotherapy pool and shower park, is scheduled to be open by Labour Weekend 2009.

It will have double the capacity of Dargaville’s present ailing pool and cater from everyone, from learners and the disabled to nationally ranked swimmers. As Northland’s only 50 metre pool it is expected to attract regional swimming competitions along with their associated economic benefits.

The moveable bulkhead will allow casual and competitive swimming to occur at the same time while the learners/hydrotherapy pool will be a boon for the aged and people with a variety of needs, some of whom currently travel to Whangarei for suitable facilities.

Currently $3.56 million is committed to the pool, including $700,000 from Northland Regional Council Recreation Rate in recognition of its regional significance.

The Trust is approaching significant funders with an interest in Kaipara, plus the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Significant Projects Fund to provide the balance.

Council today agreed that contingency funding is available to cover any fundraising shortfall and recommended that the Trust accept Barfoote Construction Limited to build the project at a cost of $5,982,479.50.

Its approval requires that the Trust continues to fundraise to the maximum of its capacity. Also that Council work with the Trust to establish suitable governance and management structures for the pool and these be submitted to Council as soon as possible. The Trust is required to endorse this condition.

Mayor Neil Tiller is relieved and delighted that the long slog to get Dargaville a new pool has entered an exciting new phase and says the District will get a $6 million facility for $1 million of Dargaville money.

“I’m delighted that at long last Council is able to give this facility the support it deserves,” he says.

“It’s going to benefit a large number of people and contribute to the District’s economic development. People want to live in towns with good recreational facilities and this aspect has been a blot on our reputation until now.”

Mayor Tiller acknowledges the hard work and tenacity put into the project by Trust members, especially Council’s representative Councillor Richard Alspach.

Kauri Coast Community Pool Trust Chairman Vern Stevens is “absolutely delighted” that the full project can now be built.

“We have been working on this for about nine years and at long last it is becoming a reality. It is going to be a tremendous local asset and will put Dargaville on the swimming map nationally,” he says.

“We are extremely grateful to Kaipara District Council for its tremendous support – both financial and in many other ways.”

Year Six Senior Class of 2008 Maungaturoto Primary School

Year Six Students proudly display their well earned certificates and awards supported by newly appointed Deputy Principal Keith Parker - Image Liz Clark

Senior Prize Giving was held at the Maungaturoto Primary School yesterday. Principal Tony Hamilton emphasized to the Senior students the importance of not just school but of family involvement as well throughout their years while attending Otamatea High School.

Chairperson of the Board of Trustees David Williamson gave an account of the much welcomed decision from the Ministry of Education of the funding of a new classroom and multi-purpose room for the Primary School. Construction of the new facility will be taking place in the new year. Sadly the much loved Oak Tree that has provided the children with shade during a hot summer's day will be removed.

The school and students wished the Senior Students all the best for the future.


The School is asking the community to help with keeping an eye on the school property. At present they have some people who have been issued with a tresspass notice because of their abuse of the school property. If found on the grounds they will be prosecuted.

School will begin again on Monday 2nd February 2009.

Better Field Days Access and a Sealed Road for Residents

Image:Widening the first 600 metres of Awakino Point East Road will allow three lanes of Traffic to the Northland Field Days entrance, helping overcome delays which occurred at this year’s event. Image credit Kaipara District Council

Work underway on Awakino Point East Road will spare the Northland Field Days this year’s traffic hassles and is also a tribute to the efforts of residents who successfully worked with Kaipara District Council to have their road sealed beyond the Field Days entrance.
When the Field Days moved to their new permanent site on Awakino Point East Road traffic delays, compounded by the two lane road from State Highway 14 to the entrance, led to The New Zealand Transport Agency insisting on improved traffic management for future events.
To improve traffic flow and safety Kaipara District Council has let a contract to HEB Construction Limited which includes widening and sealing 600 meters of Awakino Point East Road to allow three lanes of traffic – two in and one out when traffic is arriving and the reverse when most is leaving. The Field Days’ significance was recognised by all Northland councils as regionally important and allowed this work to be funded from ‘R Funds’, derived from petrol tax and used for regionally important works.

Working collaboratively with the New Zealand Transport Agency has also enabled improvements on State Highway 14 which will be widened for 360 metres eastwards from the Awakino Point Road East Road intersection, allowing the creation of a left turning bay for traffic heading to the Field Days.

At the same time a further 1.3 kilometres beyond the Field Days entrance is being upgraded and sealed as the result of an initiative by 19 Awakino Point Road East Road property owners who have joined together as a community and contributed the $160,000 local share of the cost.
They approached the Council which included the work in the same tender as the Field Days access for cost effectiveness and successfully lobbied the Transport Agency for subsidy on the landowners’ behalf.

All works are expected to be completed before the 2009 Northland Field Days on 26, 27 and 28 February.

West Coast/Central Councillor Julie Geange, who has worked closely with the landowners and Field Days organisers, is rapt.

"I think it is amazing that a community can come together with a common goal, not expecting a hand-out, but asking for help. And for that goal to be achieved in less than six months,” she says.
“I am so happy to have been part of this and take my hat off to everyone involved"

Northland Field Days Incorporated president David Phillips has welcomed the upgrade, saying, “it has given us an opportunity to make improvements to the site entrance and will provide our exhibitors and visitors with better access, especially as the work should be completed in plenty of time before the next Field Days.”

Awakino Point East Road resident Don Thomas says after some doubts over the subsidy the announcement of its availability has provided an early Christmas present.

“Obviously the Council pushed all the right buttons and the seal will have lots of benefits including less dust and a better road for everyone. It was something that was needed and we had to grasp the opportunity offered.”

Mr Thomas says it is good to see that communities can sit down and work together for their common good.

December 15, 2008

Fence Protecting Kaipara’s Only Heritage Tree Disappears

Fence Protecting Kaipara’s Only Heritage Tree Disappears - by Viv Trounson

The removal of several thousand dollars worth of new fencing around Pahi’s iconic Morton Bay Fig tree has been placed in the hands of police.

The huge impressive fig is the only tree in Kaipara protected by a heritage order and has been fenced for a number of years to prevent vehicles damaging its roots. A new wooden fence was built by Kaipara District Council with help from Otamatea High School at the drip line to accommodate the tree’s constantly expanding canopy.

However the new fence has also attracted some opposition which Council had hoped could be resolved by discussions planned for early in the New Year to develop a longterm management plan for the tree.

However sometime between 9.30pm on Sunday evening (14 December) and 6.30am on Monday the entire structure was demolished and removed.

Kaipara District Council has reported the matter to police and Community Spaces Manager Stephen Soole is appealing for anyone who can provide information about it to contact him at 09 439 7209 or the police.

Local Councillor Graham Taylor is very disappointed, saying that in addition to the theft and destruction of Council property, someone appears to have taken the law into their own hands.

“I realise that the fence has aroused some passions but there was an agreement between the Reserve Society and Council that nothing would happen until there was more formal discussion next year” he says.

“The fact that the fence has been removed will make it difficult to enter into good faith negotiations with the community over this issue.”