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Back Roads Kaipara Issue 4

Back Roads Kaipara Issue 4

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Published by Storm Gerome
Back Roads Kaipara Issue 4 covers the Gittos Church at Tanoa, Discovers a Snake Oil Merchant who lived at Whakapirau and looks into the wreck of the french corvette L'Alcemene.
Back Roads Kaipara Issue 4 covers the Gittos Church at Tanoa, Discovers a Snake Oil Merchant who lived at Whakapirau and looks into the wreck of the french corvette L'Alcemene.

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Published by: Storm Gerome on Jul 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Back Roads Back Roads Back Roads Back Roads
Our Heritage: The Stories of People, Lifestyle, Community and Everything else in between, from the past to the present, and beyond. Issue 4— 27 August 2010
Please take one
 K a i p a r a 
Standing on the shores of this silent place it was hard to imagine that once, over a century before, here at Tanoa was a hub of activity. The settlement of an Uriohau Chief Arama Karaka was here and later the Wesleyan missionary Reverend William Gittos.* So much history to be told . What went on there during those early years that shaped the lives of the generations that have followed since. It is what stands there now as silent perhaps, an almost a shadowed testament to those events of the early days of settlement. Tanoa was once known by the name of Kakaraea and just beyond Oahau, now called Batley. In 1874 on the shores of Kakaraea a fine gothic-style church made of the mighty kauri was built. Its siting had a particular significance. According to Dick Scott in his book "
Seven Lives on Salt River 
" the site was Wahi Tapu and for Arama Karaka it held a personal concern. Having converted to christianity he had also abandoned his father's name Haututu, to take the name Adam Clark and the doing came the rejection of the tapu surrounding his father's death. Dick Scott recorded the following: "Haututu had been killed defending his land from Ngapuhi muskets in 1825. His body had been taken by canoe down the Otamatea to be cooked and eaten at his own Kakaraea kainga. A big pohutukawa marked this especially tapu ground. The missionary (William Gittos) set out to destroy the tapu by employing Europeans to build a church on the site. A handsome building with great kauri beams supporting a high vaulted roof, it became known as the "Cathedral Church of Gittos". At first Arama Karaka was afraid to enter it and violate his father's memory, but Gittos persuaded him with a prayer". After much research and finding different years 1875 and 1877 for the construction of the Gittos Church I finally found an article from the
Daily Southern Cross
dated 17th April 1874.
Opening of the Wesleyan Church at Kaipara
"The opening of this new Church took place on Sunday March 29th. The building is of wood, built in the gothic style. It is fifty feet in length, by thirty feet in breadth, and provides sitting accommodation for about three hundred worshippers. It is proportionately of a very lofty character, the matter of ventilation having received due consideration, a requisite quality in any church where the natives worship. We were glad to notice there was no pulpit, but a plain reading desk inside the communion rail.....Mr Symonds* was the architect and builder."
Cathedral, no longer. Time took its toll on the grand gothic fa-cade finally succumbing to rot and a high wind the high vaulted roof structure in the end was removed for safety rea-sons. The church originally faced the shoreline. According to local Iwi sources the building was turned around and was shortened. What remains is a plain unassuming building flanked by old gravestones, its bell now erected alongside no longer tolling the call to morning service. Birds fly in and out of the gaps left behind from long since broken windows - a sad testament to a glorious past. Now though, hope is on the horizon for this special place. Plans are in place to restore this icon of our heritage where once William Fox had visited and memories of old battles remain.
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Now and then I come across some very odd news items and this one indeed has a lesson to be learned by it. Three well known surnames from around the Kaipara District area, were involved with this rather dangerous incident that occurred on a boat near the Whakapirau Wharf in 1918. I can only conclude the three concerned had been dynamiting fish in the channel. Three men named Cartwright, Taylor and Horniblow, who were in a boat off the Whakapirau wharf, Auckland this week , met with some very serious injuries. Horniblow had some gelignite and a dynamite cap in his vest pocket into which he placed his smouldering pipe. A loud explosion occurred, Horniblow receiving a wound to his side and losing a hand, while Cartwright lost an eye. The other man was uninjured. The side of the boat was blown out, but the occupants got ashore. - Poverty Bay Herald 6 April 1918
“Bouncing Bowers was very modest about the stuff; he only named £4 a gallon as the price, but Hardie was badly bitten with Bowers’ bounce and anted up like a brick
Whakapirau settler Henry Bowers in 1906, had tried his luck at playing the role of a snake oil merchant to unsuspecting fruit growers, with his so called ‘cure’ for blight and codlin moth. The ruse didn’t last long it seems for one of his customers soon found out Mr Bower’s so called cure didn’t do a thing for his fruit trees and thus the police were soon called.
Bowers Blight and Bunkum
NZ Truth
13 October 1906 If all that is alleged is true anent Mr Henry Alfred Bowers and his blight specific, he seems have been having a rorty time lately. According to Police Court accounts Henry Alfred, having read somewhere that fruit farmers were having terrible trouble with insects and fungi, waded in to provide a remedy and apparently found a lovely liquid warranted to act as a double strength insecticide and fungicide and guaranteed to kill blight at a thousand yards. Forthwith, Henry Alfred toddled forth seeking whom he might devour. He came across one Hardie, who grows apples and other luscious morsels at Wade, and breathed his yarn about his discovery into Hardie’s credulous lug. Hardie took it all in, too, including five gallons of the guaranteed safe cure for codlin moth. Bouncing Bowers was very modest about the stuff; he only named £4 a gallon as the price, but Hardie was badly bitten with Bowers’ bounce and anted up like a brick. Bowers bounded off and Hardie started to kill codlin moths and other worried attached to his profession but there was some antidote, which he had warranted to work wonders for the next three years, would not work at all. Then Hardie seems to have woke up, for the next thing that happened he was sooling a bobby on Bower’s track. Another of Bowers’ soft things was Ernest William Barker. This cove said that Bowers the blighter told him and his father such tall tales anent his astonishing discovery that they were induced to try £2 10s worth of the stuff. Their hopes of a simple life ever after likewise blighted. Government Analyst Pond never winked once when in the witness box, and he swore that the stuff Bowers charged £4 per gallon might be worth twopence for eight Imperial pints. It was certainly not worth more. It next came out that Bowers is a settler at Whakapirau and didn’t use his beautiful blight bumper on his own trees; but simply painted them with castor oil. His lawyer tried to make out that the strength of the stuff was lost by keeping the cork out of the cans; but that tale will have been be repeated at the Supreme Court, whither Bowers was committed. There are four other similar charges pending but they were held over till next Monday. Foot note: Bowers was later sentenced to 18 months in prison at the Supreme Court in Auckland on December 5 1906.
A destructive experience at the
Whakapirau Wharf
A Tale of Blight and Bunkum with a good
dose of Snake oil thrown in

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