Onehunga, on the grounds that the proposed zoo would be “a breeding ground for rats.”
A letter published in the
a few days later summed up the concerns:
“Of late, war has been vigorously waged against the tiny rat, as being the medium of all the plague infection; but to what insignificance does the rat sink in comparison tothe zoo that is proposed to be opened in our midst. What with wild animals housed inthe centre of a thickly populated district, making night hideous with their roars, and the highly offensive smell emitted from them, together with the smell from thecarcases on which they will be fed, threatens us with a fresh source of plague. I venture to say that as soon as the Zoo is started, not only will we have a few rats tocontend with, but thousands of them in a very short space of time, for they are sure to gather from all quarters to feed on the refuse of the dead animals supplied to the lionsetc. which in itself will be a great menace to the health of the district … The zoo initself is all right, but let it be erected in some isolated spot, away from the residential part of the borough.”
A look at maps of the Borough suggest that the areas the writer may have had in mindmight have been Te Papapa to the southeast or Penrose in the northeast corner. If Boyd had purchased a site there, or a number of adjoining sections, perhaps his zoomight have lasted much longer than it did, until industrialisation took firm hold in that part of the Borough later in the century. Instead, he chose 5½ acres in the northwestcorner of the Borough on the last remaining open area of a part of the district becoming increasingly more and more densely residential due to the coming of thetram line down Manukau Road to the township of Onehunga.Boyd replied to the protests with the assurance that rats hadn’t been seen around theAramoho site for months, and there the food fed to the animals “is prepared in a high building and there is nothing there to encourage rats. Neither would there be, he says,in Onehunga.” He also denied any suggestions that his Aramoho zoo was about toclose,
even though he had said to the Wanganui Borough Council the month beforethat he would have shifted from Aramoho if they didn’t pay him for it (see Aramohoarticle).The
described his work in progress as at the end of April 1911 atSymonds Street.
“A strong wall, seven feet in height, is to be built around the grounds,”
so the report said, to prevent escapes, and “Special provision is being madefor school picnics, and there will be tea rooms [on] the grounds. The zoologicalgardens are to be lit with arc gas lamps, and the zoo will be an established institutionwithin six months.”
On 1 May 1911, Boyd’s letter to the Onehunga BoroughCouncil “stating that he intended establishing zoological gardens, and asking for a building permit for buildings, cages, etc.” was tabled at the Council’s meeting.
“Heintended to make the zoological gardens worthy of Auckland. Plans, etc., of proposed buildings were enclosed, also a permit from the Minister for Internal Affairs toremove the animals from Aramoho to Onehunga.”
The Council agreed to discuss thematter in committee, and invited Boyd to attend.
There was very little that the Onehunga Borough Council could do to prevent theestablishment of his zoo in their district, and Boyd was perhaps well aware of this,from his experience with Aramoho. The regulatory powers of a Borough Council atthe beginning of the second decade of the 20
century were limited, especially in the