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Showing posts from December, 2018

Kauri logging in Waitākere Ranges

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Long ago the Waitākere Ranges were covered in ancient forests of huge kauri trees. Māori valued kauri because of its size and for its gum.

Kauri are tall and straight and the giant trees were perfect for building waka, boats and settlers’ homes. The work involved in the logging of the kauri forests was documented by photographers, both professional and amateur. By 1900 most of the kauri forests had been cut down. Only a few patches remained.

In more recent times, the incurable and fatal kauri dieback disease has severly impacted kauri forests. Te Kawerau ā Maki, the tangata whenua (people of the land) of Waitākere in Auckland, have placed a rāhui over the entire Waitākere forest (Te Wao Nui o Tiriwa). For the health of the forest, they are asking people to stay away from the bush. The rāhui gives scientists time to develop a solution, and time for the forest to heal.

A large part of Jack Diamond’s extensive research on all things West was focused on the logging industry in the Ranges…

The Baxter Collection and the C1 Men of Tauherenikau Camp

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Raymond Leslie Baxter's photograph album came to Auckland Libraries as the result of a donation to the old Waitakere City Council. This donation might have been made after the tragic death of the album's owner, Miss Beverley Price, in the 1979 Air New Zealand crash at Mt Erebus in Antarctica.

The photographs were taken by Beverley Price’s uncle, Raymond Leslie Baxter. They document his brief military career at Featherston Camp between July and December 1917. The details of this can be traced by consulting his army personnel file on Archway, Archives New Zealand’s system for government records. Baxter was a 28-year-old clerk from Newton who worked for the Auckland Education Board. In early 1917 he was called up and, along with his fellow recruits, transported by train to Featherston Camp in the South Wairarapa. His album includes three images of the troop train winding its way along the Wairarapa line across the Rimutaka Range.


Featherston Camp had been opened in January 1916. …