Sunday, December 19, 2010

A vote on the Auckland Zoo, 1922

View of the London Zoo, 1835, from Wikipedia.

This comes from the NZ Herald, 14 July 1922.

In view of the fact that a poll of the city ratepayers will be taken on July 26 on the proposal to borrow £10,000 for the establishment of zoological gardens, the Mayor, Mr J H Gunson, at last evening's meeting of the City Council, said that the scheme involved:

[1] The acquisition of animals from the Boyd zoo for £800;
[2] the preparation and laying-out of an adequate area of land at the Western Springs, Grey Lynn, for the purpose of recreation grounds and zoological gardens.
If the poll were carried, said the Mayor, the work would be put in hand at once and the nucleus of the zoo would be established at an early date. The amount of £10,000 would cover the cost of the animals referred to, but would be principally expended in making the area suitable for the purpose, which would mean that the grounds would be attractive as well as prepared to accomodate the animals. It was chiefly labour, so would afford valuable further employment.

It was estimated that the sum of £10,000 would enable the council to establish the zoo in a manner that would be creditable to the city and acceptable to the citizens. Thereafter the revenue from the undertaking should not only maintain it, but cover interest and charges on the loan, in which case the provision of £10,000 would be made without any cost to the ratepayers. Further, the extra attractions should ensure patronage to produce revenue to enable the purchase of additional animals from time to time.

The property could be reached both from the Old Mill Road, near the Grey Lynn teram terminus, within half a mile of the present car line (and if warranted a tram extension could readily be made) and also was readily accessible within half a mile of the Great North Road, Point Chevalier (at the "Old Stone Jug"). With the growth of Auckland no doubt in years to come this area would be served by tram connection. Notwithstanding its easy accessibility it had the advantage of being in a secluded locality and in its contour was well adapted for the purpose.

Several members spoke in support of the scheme, especially emphasising the suitability of the site and the value of the proposed recreation grounds at the zoo. Mr G Baildon suggested that an effort should be made to arouse the public to carry the loss, advocating the use of propaganda in the effort.

During the discussion it was proposed that the lions might be paraded through the streets on polling day, whereupon Miss E Melville remarked that the council might go further and have a lion at each polling place.

Mr G R Hutchinson said that certain prominent citizens were already inquiring as to the price of animals for the proposed zoo.

The Mayor's report was adopted.

From the Evening Post, 29 July 1922.

A sensation was caused at the community "sing-song" held at the Auckland Town Hall on Wednesday, when the chairman, the Rev Jasper Calder, announced that he wished to introduce a visitor who was strongly in favour of the retention of the zoo, whose influence might persuade some of the ratepayers to record their votes in the same direction. Amid a breathless and expectant hush, the speaker dived under the table, produced a hamper, and drew from it a tiny cub which he held triumphantly in his arm. "I appeal to you to save this from the butcher's knife," he cried dramatically, "and to give it a nice, comfortable home." Thunderous applause and laughter greeted the little lion's appearance (states the New Zealand Herald), and when the chairman, in response to a suggestion that it be christened, inquired, "What shall we call it?" 4000 voices sounded as one in the instant cry of "Jasper!" A motion that this be done was carried by acclamation and renewed applause, the ceremony being formally carried out with the assistance of the glass of water on the chairman's table.

The result of the poll was 2454 in favour of the loan, with 1013 against, with a turnout of eligible ratepayers of only just over 20%.  Worse than most local elections these days ...

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff this mirrors exactly what the Australian papers of the day had printed I'd say copied from the NZ Herald (this article you've just reproduced)