Monday, July 27, 2009

Heritage down a set of stairs

Behind the modernity of the Onehunga Community Centre and Library complex, there is a bit of local heritage which, while I can't say it goes unappreciated by the locals where it is, I think it should have perhaps a better site. Head through the entry doors, turn right, then left to go down the stairs towards the entry doors leading to the carpark on the western side of the buolding -- and you'll find some of Onehunga's past.

Hung on the block wall, descending/ascending as you do on the stairs, are the following gems. Each image is on ceramic tiles designed and made by Thomas Barter, 2005 (according to some of the captions).

"A car cross the Mangere Bridge towards Mangere Mountain, 1913."

"The Carnegie Free Library, 1912."

"Looking up Queen Street, 1909-1910."
(Queen Street in Onehunga is known today as Onehunga Mall.)

"Making Kits for the Visitors at King Tawhiao's Tangi, 1894." Photo by Enos Pegler.

"Mrs. Harriet Beswick and her six children outside a cottage at 40 Galway Street, 1860."

"St. Peters Church (situated at the corner of Queen and Church Street), 1860s."

"Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption (Onehunga)."

"Bacon Pigs unloaded from the wharf cross Queen Street in front of the Manukau Hotel, 1908".
(Actually, I'd always heard this was a shot of the pigs which had broken loose and decided to do some free ranging at the hotel grounds ...)

"The Onehunga Wharf with Mangere Mountain. Loading supplies on the scow for the garrison at Slippery Creek (Drury)."

"Te Toki a Tapiri, docked at Mechanic's Bay, 1860s." Original image by John Kinder.

The caption goes on to read:

"Carvers of the Rongowhakaata iwi in Wairoa completed Te Tolki a Tapiri in 1836. The waka later passed to Nga Puhi and then to Ngati Te Ata. During the New Zealand Wars, General Cameron ordered the destruction of all waka, and Te Toki a Tapiri survived a bomb blast to the hull during the campaigns. The waka was so badly damaged by the end of the war that the government paid Ngati Te Ata £600 in compensation.

"Te Toki a Tapiri featured in the 1869 Auckland Regatta when the Duke of Edinburgh visited Auckland. At the conclusion of the race, Paora Tuhaere of Orakei cared for the waka until 1885 when it was presented to the Auckland Museum where it is currently on display."
Update 5 November 2011: As I'm finding out now, while researching Te Toki a Tapiri -- the regatta was in April 1868, not 1869. More on this soon.

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