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The Fire Sirens of Piha

Under the witty caption “The fire sirens of Piha beach”, journalist Mark Scott (himself a local with a bach in Rayner Road) profiled Piha’s female fire crew in about the late 1970s (my cutting has lost its date). Jane Caley in the photo below identifies the women as from left: Probably Sue Robertson or Robson; Naomi Smythe  [ Read More ]

Piha’s built heritage

  The debate around the Piha Bowling Club building has highlighted the age of the older buildings around Piha. It seemed timely to draw up a list of Piha’s built heritage and the age of these items. No buildings at Piha are contained on the Schedules of Auckland Council. There has been no built heritage  [ Read More ]

Orpheus catastrophe commemorated at Whatipu

On this hot sunny Thursday, 9 February, a large group gathered at Whatipu beach: young and old, Maori and Pakeha, navy personnel in uniform, a priest and uniformed Coastguard. They were all there to commemorate the 150th anniversary of New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster. On the 7th February 1863, the British steam corvette HMS Orpheus  [ Read More ]

Cairn at Te Waha marks gifts of land

It may have been 50 years late, but on Friday 4 November, a small group of Auckland Council regional park rangers and descendants of the Rose family, gathered at Te Waha point north of Piha to unveil a cairn erected to mark two gifts of land to the regional park. Jim and Phyllis Rose gave  2.5 hectares  [ Read More ]

Works to protect historic macrocarpas

Wondered what the work is going on around the macrocarpas in the Domain ? These two macrocarpa trees are the survivors of a group of three. They are protected in the schedules of the District Plan because of their historic importance.  One tree is in serious decline, probably as a result of compression from car  [ Read More ]

Piha Post Office features in postal history mag

I was delighted to receive through the post a copy of the June 2011 magazine The Mail Coach, which features stories of the postal history of New Zealand. There was no accompanying letter, but the magazine was clearly sent to me because it c0ntained a story entitled “The post office at Piha, Auckland – a moving  [ Read More ]

Domain macrocarpas to be protected from further harm

Auckland Council is about to undertake work to protect the two macrocarpas in the Piha Domain, near the Bowling Club. These two macrocarpas are the remnants of a group of three planted by the Ness and Cowan families when they built a house here in the 1870s. Therefore the trees are around 140 years old. They are  [ Read More ]

Legends of the West

These images are from a great project – Legends of the West – Public Art Project. The idea was to tell the stories of the West, originally to prevent graffiti alongside Henderson Railway Station – but now to adorn the walls of community centres in Waitakere.  Originally eight artists and illustrators were appointed by Waitakere  [ Read More ]

Launch of Titirangi history

Sunday 20 March saw a big crowd pack into the friendly Titirangi RSA for the launch of Marc Bonny’s book Titirangi Fringe of Heaven published by the West Auckland Historical Society. Bonny’s book is the fruit of many years of  research and writing covering the early history of the settlement, stories of early families the  [ Read More ]

North calls in at Piha and talks to Sandra

Marcus Lush’s new programme North was passing through Piha on Sunday 27 February and who should show up on it, but yours truly. I got to tell two stories: The “body in the burning bach” about an insurance swindle in the 1930s that involved exhuming a body from Waikumete Cemetery and setting fire to a  [ Read More ]

Tracks at Piha

Piha local Ross Barnes recently gave a talk to the West Auckland Historical Society on how the tracks of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland got their names. Here’s his notes of the talk from the February edition of the West Auckland Historical Society Newsletter.

Protect Piha Heritage Society Inc

Contact email protectpihaheritage@xtra.co.nz PO Box 3, Piha Activities Holds regular seminars and workshops on matters to do with the natural and historic heritage of Piha Publishes monographs and documents on the historic heritage of Piha Works on natural heritage projects, for example, pest control Holds events to celebrate heritage of Piha eg Piha Mill Gala  [ Read More ]

Into the West

Into the West: a goldmine of information about the early settlers of the West Piha resident, Jan Barnes, is a descendant of two of the oldest families to settle in the Waitakere Ranges. Edward Lovett, a shoe manufacturer from Leicestershire, and Sarah Usher farmed Edward’s Crown Grant in the upper Karekare Valley from1862. Their old  [ Read More ]

The history of Waitakere parkland starts earlier than thought

Read here about new research that shows that the creation of the Waitakere parkland started earlier than thought. Most of us thought the first step was in 1894 when Sir Algernon Thomas, Professor of Biology at Auckland University, took a deputation to the Auckland City Council to ask it to start purchasing land in the Waitakeres  [ Read More ]