children, many of them, after reading your paper, will be impressed with the wrong ideaabout their school being built where the old zoo stood. The school is built on a big block of good, clean, flat land, bought from Mr Whyte. The Boyd Zoo property is a different block,and I can remember away back in the year 1883 it was owned by a Mr and Mrs Ball and later owned by Mr. Pittar. In your paper you say Mr Boyd bought the house in Boyd Avenuein which he lived from the Minnars, an old Onehunga pioneering family, but I fancy youmean the “Pittars.”
Janice Mogford, in her book
The Onehunga Heritage
, first published in 1977, and then 1989,wrote:
“The Manukau Intermediate School opened in 1943, though construction had begun several years earlier. Erected on the site of the old Onehunga zoo …”
Collection of Stories of Places and Incidents in Onehunga
in 1988 perpetuated the inaccuracy by reproducing verbatim the 1961
Western Suburbs News
Tiger By The Tail
by Derek Wood was published, the history of the Auckland Zoo. Itused information previously self-published by Boyd’s great-grandson Brian Boyd, called
Boyd Zoo at Aramoho
. Brian Boyd has since, in excerpts from a biography he is preparing onhis ancestor, referred to the
Western Suburbs News
article, and corrected several points, butdid not correct the inaccurate location given for the zoo. No reference to the school site wasmade in Wood’s book, but the Maungakiekie Community Board in 1995, during a period of installation of heritage signage around Onehunga, arranged the production and installation of the present sign outside the Royal Oak School, unveiled on 1 June 1995.
The sign says:
“BOYD’S ZOO“In 1912, John James Boyd, the Mayor of Onehunga, opened his zoo in Symonds Street where now stands Manukau Intermediate School. At some expense he imported from a zoo from Hamburg, Germany, a fine lion and lioness, a tigress, a pair of bears and a pair of black buck antelopes as well as four macaws, two vultures and two demoiselle cranes.“At first the zoo proved very popular and crowds flocked to see the animals, but it was not long before the council began to receive complaints about the noise and smell.“Mr Boyd was finally forced to close the zoo in 1922 soon after a lion escaped, ran downSymonds Street into Trafalgar Street and then to Queen Street where Mr Boyd’s sonrecaptured it, but not before several members of the public had received the fright of their lives.