J J Boyd’s Royal Oak Zoo (1911-1922) “Zoo, Royal Oak – Where you can spend a pleasant time
. Admission: Adults 1s. Children, 3d and 6d.” (Advertisement placed in the Waitemata News, 10 July 1913) The opening skirmishes Onehunga was and still is the main port for the Manukau Harbour. It served in the beginning of the 20th century as Auckland’s direct link by road, rail and tram line with shipping heading from across the Tasman, as well as with the east coast settlements and Wellington by sea. Onehunga’s history of settlement goes back to the 1840s. It was one of the Fencible settlements, and had been a borough since 1877, with its own spring-fed water supply from 1888. This contributed to the Borough’s reputation for healthfulness of living, in the face of the rat-borne bubonic plague fears of the early years of that century. By 1911 Onehunga’s Borough Council was preparing plans (designed by architect and later Mayor of Onehunga, John Park) for their Carnegie Public Library which opened in September 1912. The Richard Seddon Memorial at the Royal Oak junction had been unveiled in 1909, just two years before. A map from 1906 shows the Borough mainly organised in town allotments, with the densest subdivisions from Trafalgar Street on down Norman’s Hill to the old Onehunga Beach, and in the triangle formed by Symonds Street, Manukau Road and Trafalgar Street, just to the south of the Royal Oak intersection. Across from the smaller subdivisions of upper Symonds Street lay an area of stillopen ground, made up of two large sections which were part of the Town of Onehunga parts 1 and 32 of Allotment 38. They are both bounded to the east by Symonds Street, with part 1 just to the south-west of the Royal Oak intersection. Part 32, to the south, was originally purchased from the Crown in 1869 by George Owen Ormsby. By 1875 it was owned by George Guild Mill who in 1880 sold the property to Mrs Mary Whyte. 1 George Mill had purchased part of part 1, the farm owned by Captain John Jermyn Symonds, in 1874. This was also purchased by Mary Whyte in 1880. Together, this was to include the large 7 acres, 22 perches Symonds/Trafalgar Street corner paddock owned by Mrs. Whyte right up until her death c.1936, 2 which later became the site of the Manukau Intermediate School (now Royal Oak Intermediate). Adjacent to Mrs Whyte’s paddock, just to the north, Captain Symonds sold another parcel of just over 5½ acres to Thomas Ball in 1881. 3 When Ball died in 1898, Emily Ball sold the property to Arthur and Ellen Pittar (the title was in Ellen’s name). When Ellen died in 1910, the property was sold by her executors to J J Boyd near the end of February 1911. 4 According to an advertisement some six years later, Boyd considered that his battle to keep the Onehunga Zoo began in that month. 5 Just over two months later, the NZ Herald reported that Boyd had submitted plans of buildings and cages for his zoo to the Onehunga Borough Council on 1 May, as well as a copy of a permit he had obtained from the Minister of Internal Affairs to remove the animals from Aramoho and transfer them to Onehunga. 6 Immediately, a petition was presented to the Borough Council against the establishment of a zoo in
Onehunga, on the grounds that the proposed zoo would be “a breeding ground for rats.” 7 A letter published in the NZ Herald 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 to the zoo that is proposed to be opened in our midst. What with wild animals housed in the 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 the carcases 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 to contend 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 lions etc. which in itself will be a great menace to the health of the district … The zoo in itself is all right, but let it be erected in some isolated spot, away from the residential part of the borough.” 8 A look at maps of the Borough suggest that the areas the writer may have had in mind might 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 zoo might 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 northwest corner 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 the tram line down Manukau Road to the township of Onehunga. Boyd replied to the protests with the assurance that rats hadn’t been seen around the Aramoho 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 to close, 9 even though he had said to the Wanganui Borough Council the month before that he would have shifted from Aramoho if they didn’t pay him for it (see Aramoho article). The Auckland Star described his work in progress as at the end of April 1911 at Symonds 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 made for school picnics, and there will be tea rooms [on] the grounds. The zoological gardens are to be lit with arc gas lamps, and the zoo will be an established institution within six months.” 10 On 1 May 1911, Boyd’s letter to the Onehunga Borough Council “stating that he intended establishing zoological gardens, and asking for a building permit for buildings, cages, etc.” was tabled at the Council’s meeting. “He intended to make the zoological gardens worthy of Auckland. Plans, etc., of proposed buildings were enclosed, also a permit from the Minister for Internal Affairs to remove the animals from Aramoho to Onehunga.” The Council agreed to discuss the matter in committee, and invited Boyd to attend. 11 There was very little that the Onehunga Borough Council could do to prevent the establishment 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 at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century were limited, especially in the
field of public health and prohibition of a perceived nuisance. Basically, under the terms of the Municipal Corporations Act 1910 they were able to administer roads, drains, water and buildings – but public petitions and concerns about something “unhealthful” being established in the midst of a neighbourhood could not be responded to with anything other than sympathy and referral to the Public Health Department. Even then, all the district health officer could do (at the time in Auckland, this was the meticulous Dr. R. H. Makgill) was determine and impose conditions to ensure that cages and other buildings and facilities in a zoological garden would not lead to disease or epidemics in the surrounding community. The Onehunga Borough Council, faced with the situation of public disquiet about the installation of a zoo in their district, seem to have decided to stall for the first few months, possibly hoping that either Boyd would pull out and decide to go elsewhere, or that Dr. Makgill might be able to stop things from his end. Rumours were put about that Boyd was giving up on the idea of setting up in Auckland; these were denied emphatically by Boyd via telegram from Wanganui. 12 On 13 May, according to reports, the Borough Councillors were to visit the site, with reference to Boyd’s application for building permits.13 A number of letters were received by the Council protesting against the zoo by mid-May, and Dr. Makgill had forwarded a list of suggestions and precautionary regulations for the Council to consider when they decided on the building permit application from Boyd. They decided to consider everything at that point once again “in committee”. 14 The result of that, apparently, was that they found Boyd in breach of their by-laws “by building sheds, etc without a permit”. This decided, it seems, still without a site inspection by Council members. 15 The Council members still had not come to a decision on Boyd’s application by late May; in fact, the NZ Herald reported that it hadn’t even been considered. 16 Boyd by then probably thought he’d just go ahead and build on the site anyway. 25 May 1911, Boyd advertised in the Auckland Star for “100 healthy cats”. Exactly why, I’m not sure. The Borough Council in committee on 29 May “decided to take immediate action against the proprietor of the proposed zoological gardens for a breach of the building by-law, by erecting sheds without a permit.” The Council had a modicum of good news from Dr. Makgill at that meeting, when he wrote advising that if the cages and sheds on Boyd’s property weren’t built to his satisfaction, he had the “power to prevent animals being introduced into the borough.” He assured the Council that he would enforce that power if necessary. 17 Boyd was duly charged before the Onehunga Magistrate’s Court on 13 June for failing to obtain a permit from the Council before erecting ten s on his property, “for the purpose of a zoo.” According to the Star’s report: “The Council did not press for a heavy penalty in the case as they only wanted to define the law on the matter.” Boyd was fined 10-/ and costs 9/- 18 -- the first of his court cases and probably the first engagement in the “Zoo War”. The day before, the Council received a letter from Dr Makgill “that until the sanitary conditions were fulfilled, he would prohibit the landing of the animals.” 19 Come July 1911, and things were still moving only slowly. The Onehunga Borough Council were reported as being determined not to issue a building permit to Boyd
until “a complete and systematic drainage scheme was carried out, along with concreted floors for the cages and “the establishment made as rat-proof as possible.” Boyd was required to resubmit plans to the Council including all requirements stipulated by Dr. Makgill. Meanwhile, in his showman fashion, he promised the Auckland public that his gardens at Onehunga would be lit with “huge acetylene arc lamps, and his tea rooms and lounges would feature “all modern conveniences”. 20 Also included was “a scheme of gardens, croquet lawns, and swing boats.” The tearoom was planned to be “built over the main entrance”. A few of his Aramoho animals had arrived by 20 July, and two Polar Bears were reported to be on the way from England. 21 Boyd’s revised plans along with another application letter arrived onto the Borough Council’s desks in early August. On 7 August, his application for permission to erect seven cages and an office on the site was tabled at the Council’s meeting. 22 The Council members referred them to Dr. Makgill for his report. 23 Yet another rumour about Boyd’s plans found its way to the ears of Auckland Star reporters. It was said on 14 August that Boyd had received an offer from Professor Bickerton at the Wainoni Park in Christchurch (see below) to take all his animals which he’d intended for Auckland and set things up in Christchurch. “He states that he has received so much opposition from the Health Department and the Onehunga Borough Council, that he does not consider it advisable to keep other than small animals in the grounds he recently acquired close to the Royal Oak.” 24 On 15 August, Boyd was reported by the NZ Herald as saying in an interview that on accepting an offer to start a zoo in Christchurch from Professor Bickerton, he’d decided to take the “large animals” there, and leave only smaller animals and birds at Onehunga, “I have received so much opposition from Dr Makgill and the Mayor of Onehunga.” 25 Soon after this, Boyd seems to have lost patience with the long drawn-out permit process. At the Council’s meeting of 21 August, it was noted that work on building the cages was proceeding on Boyd’s Symonds Street site regardless of the fact that no permit had been granted. Even though Boyd had downsized his zoo proposal to initially housing only smaller animals, the councillors still expressed their opposition. The Council voted to take legal action against Boyd. 26 Boyd employed an agent named J Hartwell, who spoke to reporters in late August, giving them the glad tidings that all was well, “all obstacles which have been placed in the way having been removed” and that there was now “a clear way for lions, tigers, leopards and birds in great variety to come into Auckland – in captivity, of course – unobstructed by the authorities.” Hartwell assured them “We are going to give Auckland zoological gardens, and not a side show,” and that the gardens would open in October, complete with a bandstand. 27 The council’s committee minutes note on 28 August that Boyd and Hartwell had waited on them that night, handing in plans and specifications for seven smaller cages, along with a letter agreeing to carry out all that the council and district health officer required. As a result, the council rescinded their resolution to summons Boyd, and allowed him to proceed with the work. Permits were issued on the condition that the cages were satisfactory to both the borough engineer and Dr. Makgill. 28
Boyd, cranking up media publicity for all he was worth, announced that his new zoological gardens at Onehunga would open on 25 September with all the cages completed and “most of the necessary arrangements and improvements to the grounds” already carried out. He was still awaiting the Government permit to bring up larger animals from Aramoho, but he had already installed at Onehunga the following: 21 monkeys, a kangaroo and wallaby, two French rabbits, four opossums, two lemurs, two Indian cranes, two macaws and other parrots, guinea fowls, and cassowaries. He was expecting 200 more parrots from Australia, and the following from Sydney Zoo: three bears, a leopard, a pair of kangaroos, tortoises, black swans, emus, kangaroo rats, wallabies, and golden pheasants. A young elephant, two cheetahs and buffalo were expected from India and Ceylon, and a tiger from Singapore. 29 “The zoological collection includes a pair of beautifully marked African leopards, brown and grizzly bears from North America, Abyssinian lion and lioness and male and female specimens of panthers, pumas and other animals. The monkeys include a great many species, and the collection is claimed to be the best in this part of the world. The aviaries are large and spacious, and the collection embraces almost every known bird, both wild and domestic, affording a magnificent study in natural history. The animals have all been imported from Hamburg direct by Mr Boyd.” 30 At the end of August, much as he did at Aramoho, Boyd also advertised in the Auckland papers to buy animals and birds for the zoo. In early September, he even told the Star that he intended providing “a delightful moving picture show – the first of its kind to be shown in Auckland” as part of the attractions. 31 He advertised for “Wild animals and birds wanted …” also “Garden seats and tables” for cash prices from 18 September 32, and the zoo itself opened, with small animals but also the promise of larger to come, on 25 September 1911. 33 The message was clear: no matter what those bureaucrats in local or central government might try to do to spoil the fun, the exotic and the wonderful was coming to Auckland. The opening skirmishes were drawing to a close. There was now nothing the Borough Council could do to stop the zoo from being a reality in their district. The permits for the cages had been granted by 13 November. WANTED Known – Onehunga Zoo opened every day, Sunday included, where you spend a pleasant time. (Auckland Star 2 November 1911) WANTED Known – Horses and Vehicles and Motor Cars free in the Onehunga Zoo. Adults 6d, Children 3d. Plenty of feed. WANTED Known – Onehunga Zoo is the place for a picnic. Plenty of boiling water free and plenty of fun. (Auckland Star 17 November 1911) By 27 November Internal Affairs advised the Borough that Boyd had applied for leave to bring in 4 bears and a leopard to the zoo. 34 Wainoni Park
Boyd announced intentions in October 1911 to take over another garden site at Wainoni Park in Christchurch, shipping two lions, tigers, bears, leopards, eagles and a “puma”, along with “a large number” of monkeys and parrots to Christchurch “to form the nucleus of the zoo,” while ordering more from Sydney. 35 One “puma” died from fright during the process, and the leopards “snarled and viciously clawed whenever a hand went near the bars of their cages” on arrival at Lyttleton, to an audience of around 30 sightseers.36 Boyd the showman and media-man extraordinaire was at his best. “The hold of the Mararoa had the atmosphere of a small jungle about it yesterday morning. In it were a number of cages, and in the cages were a fearsome collection of lions, tigers, leopards, bears, and other animals of milder species. The animals are the property of Mr John Boyd, who has opened zoos in Auckland and Aramoho, and is now operating another at Wainoni Park. “The transfer of the animals from the ship's hold to their quarters at Wainoni was accomplished yesterday. Mr Boyd, accompanied by his man and a reporter, went down into the hold about 8 a.m. Mr Boyd and his assistant were intent on watering and feeding their charges, and the reporter was after a few notes. The first two of the collection to be seen were the lion and lioness. His Majesty the King of Beasts was in a vile temper and refused to be placated even when Mr Boyd solicitously enquired how he was getting on. He opened his cavernous mouth, and let out a bark which had the energy of a forced draught. However, he calmed down, drank the water offered him, and polished off a lump of horseflesh in about three seconds. Her Majesty was quite irreconcilable, and got into a fearful state of temper when presented with a frying-pan full of water. She would neither eat nor drink. “Next came two bears — one a Himalayan and the other a Russian. They had a peculiarly good-tempered look, and the Himalayan, but for his size and sharp snout, might have passed for a ''Teddy Bear." They both drank their fill straight from the spout of a watering-can, and devoured huge lumps of bread thrust between the bars of their cages. The Himalayan is said to be very playful. He thrust one of his paws out between the bars of his cage, and unsheathed his claws. No one with any sense would offer to play with him. “The next lot seen comprised a couple of leopards. They are beautiful, sinuous animals, but their tempers had been sadly frayed. A corner of Mr Boyd's coat fluttered against the bars of the cage, and in a flash one of the paws shot out, and, as Mr Boyd said, "there was a job for the tailor." The leopards also refused to look at the meat which was handed to them on the end of an iron rod. “In another cage lay the body of a fine puma. The animal, which Mr Boyd said had been the fiercest of his collection, sickened on the voyage, and died during the night. Mr Boyd offered the puma to the Canterbury Museum, and his offer was promptly accepted. “One of the finest animals is the tigress, which Mr Boyd affectionately addresses as "Mamie." Mamie's smile is about as attractive as that of a rhinoceros, but one cannot help admiring her beautiful coat, and her lithe gracefulness. She comes from Carl Hagenbeck's, Hamburg, and does the famous German's institution credit. The rest of
the collection included a couple of American eagles, which sadly refused to look at anyone, a cageful or two of monkeys, and a hamper of parrots. “The unloading from the hold was watched by a curious crowd. The lions were swung out first, the male, "Joey," taking things philosophically, and the female, "Lady" protesting furiously and behaving in a most unladylike way. "Don't put your hand inside the cage," the stevedore warned the lumpers, amid laughter. The bears came out quietly, and then the leopards were hoisted up, swearing and spitting furiously. It was observed that one of the bars of the leopards' cage had worked loose, and Mr Boyd had to improvise one until things were made secure. While he was thus engaged, a paw shot out like a flash, and there was another job for the tailor. The leopard carried away a bit of skin, also. The rest of the animals came out quietly. The truck was drawn away to the railway yard, and attached to the goods train for town. The animals were still observed by small crowds, and Mr Boyd had to chase away a venturesome boy who was stirring up the King of Beasts with a long stick. “The journey to town was safely accomplished, and at the railway yard the cages were swung on to a couple of lorries and conveyed to Wainoni. There the animals were released from the confinement of their travelling boxes, and turned into the large, permanent cages which had been erected in a sheltered annexe to the Park. The cages have been certified by Mr Vickerman, Public Works Engineer, as being of sufficient strength, and they have also passed muster to the satisfaction of the officers of the Heathcote County Council and the S.P.C.A. The animals settled down quickly in their new quarters.”37 “The consignment of wild animals and birds intended for the Zoo at Wainoni arrived in Christchurch this morning from Lyttelton, and were taken to their quarters by lorries. A great deal of interest was taken in the unloading operations, about thirty people watching the proceedings, commenting upon the palpable fierceness of the leopards and the tiger, which snarled and viciously clawed whenever a hand went near the bars of their cages. The animals were in good condition generally, but already the Zoo has lost one member, a puma having succumbed from fright at the travelling. It is intended to present the carcase to the museum.” 38 The “puma”, judging by a photograph of the stuffed animal which is now at the Canterbury Museum, 39 appears to have actually been a leopard. But, there could have been a mislabelling of captions. WAINONI PARK. ZOO GRAND OPENING ON LABOR DAY! MAGNIFICENT COLLECTION OF WILD ANIMALS, Including Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Russian Bears, Pumas, Monkeys, and Eagles. LABOR DAY PICNIC. Under the Auspices of the TRADES AND LABOR COUNCIL, Will be held at WAINONI PARK, MONDAY, OCTOBER 23rd. 40 “An interesting event took place at the Wainoni Zoo, Christchurch, on Saturday. The African lioness presented the Zoo with a small family of cubs, numbering four. At least, it is believed that there are four of them. The father of the family is the fine African lion which is now at Wainoni. Mrs Lion is in rather a fretful temper (says a
Christchurch paper), and shutters have been put up in front of her den until she accommodates herself to her new responsibilities.” 41 “The lion department of the zoo at Wainoni was increased on Saturday morning by Lady, the African lioness, giving birth to a litter of cubs. This is probably the first occurrence of the kind in Christchureh, and as Saturday was the sixtieth anniversary of the birth of Mr J J Boyd, the proprietor of the Zoo, he has expressed himself as deeply grateful to the animals for their birth-day present. It has been decided that in future the price of admission to the Zoo shall be 6d and 3d instead of 1s and 6d as heretofore.” 42 “Mr J J Boyd, of Wainoni Park, Christchurch, has just had landed in Auckland from India no fewer than 62 monkeys. Twenty of these will be brought to Wainoni, 20 are for Wanganui zoo, while the other 22 to the Auckland zoo.” 43 Boyd’s interest in Wainoni waned by April 1912, seven months later. “This Christchurch venture” he told the reporter from the Christchurch Press, “had been less [profitable] than some of the others. Moving the beasts, feeding and attending to them costs a good deal and it was only the country people who came to see them. These beasts now on the way to winter in Auckland, where they would form part of a collection of 2000 beasts and birds.” 44 “A large addition of wild animals is about to be made to the Onehunga Zoo by Mr. Boyd, the proprietor, including the following:—Pair African lions, Himalaya bear and a Russian she-bear, a Bombay pumas [sic], pair of Calcutta leopards, and Bengal tigress, and a Singapore tiger, Persian cats and blue cats, emu, American water buffalo, and 30 more monkeys, making a total of 80 monkeys in all at the Zoo. These animals are coming from the Wainoni Park, at Christchurch, about the middle of next month.” 45 Encouraged by his success with establishing his zoos at Onehunga and (for a while) Christchurch, Boyd advised reporters in Dunedin in January 1912 that he was negotiating with the owner of a three acre site at St Clair, not far from the tram terminus, to purchase it “with a view to establishing a zoo.” 46 This, however, did not come to fruition. Neither did the plan, announced in March, for a zoo at Rotorua pending the granting of permissions.47 The Borough’s powers are increased “BIG ANIMALS TO ARRIVE AT THE ONEHUNGA ZOO THIS WEEK Lions, Tigers, Bears, Leopards, Eagles, and all kinds of small animals. The Onehunga Municipal Brass Band will play Sunday afternoon. Get off tram at Seddon Memorial. Admission adults 1/-, Children over 12 years 6d, under 12 years 3d.” (Auckland Star 17 April 1912) “Onehunga Zoo – Free Ride Saturday Afternoon. Merry-go-round. Ocean Wave. Buffalo. Bring the children.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 24 May 1912) “Onehunga Band will play on King’s Birthday, next Monday, in the Onehunga Zoo.”
(Advertisement, Auckland Star, 31 May 1912) “The ‘Merry-Go-Round’ and Ocean Wave will be in full swing at the Onehunga Zoo, Saturday afternoon; free ride given. The races for the children that should have been run on Monday last will take place on Saturday afternoon. Prizes.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 7 June 1912) “A rumour has been gaining credence in Onehunga, Epsom, Ellerslie, and other suburbs in the vicinity that one of the animals at the Zoo—an exceedingly ferocious one, of course, but genus unspecified —had attacked its keeper, and escaped. So prevalent was the idea and so real the fear that quite a number of people in these districts refused to go to church on Sunday, "while the animal was still at large." They will be relieved to learn that from inquiries made of Mr. Boyd, the proprietor of the Zoo, there is absolutely no truth in the rumour.” 48 “The Merry-go-round and Ocean Wave will be running Saturday afternoon. Free ride given. Animals fed at 4 pm.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 14 June 1912) Simmering disquiet about the Royal Oak zoo came to a head in June 1912 when ratepayers and the district health officer complained to the Borough Council about the practice of slaughtering horses on the zoo site. “Smells from the zoo were abominable,” said those complaining. “The flies were of plague strength, against which a losing fight was being fought.” A spokesman is said to have advised the council that “a scouting party” had discovered horses, culled dairy cows and dogs from the pounds of neighbouring boroughs being killed at the zoo site to feed the animals. 49 This, finally, was something the Council could act on, as the slaughtering of animals there was a breach of their by-laws. The Council decided to issue a warning to Boyd, and ask him to desist. 50 (Later Boyd built a slaughterhouse there). Boyd in turn wrote complaining to the Council about the state of the footpath outside the entrance to his zoo. 51 According to Onehunga historian G G M Mitchell, the plight of those opposing the zoo was expressed in a poem which did the local rounds at the time: “At night I hear the lion roar, and the hyena’s screams, While the black panther’s deep-voiced menacing bay Disturbs the even tenor of my dreams; From morn to night, the shrill-toned monkeys make hideous the day, And I long to be borne on wings of forgetfulness, far, far away.” 52 “ONEHUNGA ZOO – To the Residents of Onehunga and Epsom – Do not sign the Petition in circulation that has been set up by the Onehunga Council asking Government to give it power to License the Onehunga Zoo; If they get power to license it, it means that I shall have to close it. First wait and sign the counter petition npt to give them power to license the zoo. – JOHN JAMES BOYD, Onehunga Zoo.” (Public Notice, Auckland Star 23 July 1912) “WANTED – 20 Canvassers, to names on petition in favour of the Zoo.”
(Advertisement, Auckland Star 27 July 1912) Those opposed to Boyd’s zoo in Onehunga decided to take their campaign to the next level: they now sought a change in the regulatory powers for municipal corporations themselves. On 5 August, a petition signed by 139 Onehunga residents was presented to the Borough Council at its fortnightly meeting by a deputation: B MacLaughlin, G L Taylor and J H Colby. They asked that power be given to local bodies to license and control zoos. The Mayor, Mr Rowe, moved that the Council sign the petition as well, and ask the local member of the House of Representatives Mr Lang to bring it before the House. A week later, Boyd started a petition amongst those in favour of his zoo; including one resident who claimed the noise from a neighbour’s cow caused far more annoyance that all the animals in the gardens. 53 The Government in October advised the Borough Council however that they could not see a way to accede to the anti-zoo petition, nor was there a need to extend the Borough’s powers “as aggrieved persons had their remedy by private action.” 54 The result was another stalemate. “Horses wanted for the lions, stale bread for the bears, and sawdust by the load. J J Boyd, Royal Oak.” (Advertisement, NZ Herald, 31 October 1912) In October, one of Boyd’s lionesses was reported giving birth to three cubs. as now – cubs were a great attraction for the crowds.
“The cosmopolitan family at the Onehunga Zoo seem to be thriving according to latest reports. Mr. Boyd has this week imported a very fine baboon from Africa. Three cub lions were born on Tuesday last, and are doing well. The two Malay bears, the young Nepaul tiger, and the Victoria crowned pigeons, which were imported from India a few weeks back, are also in good condition. Two schools from the country, and one from the city, visited the Zoo during the week, and the children were much interested in the new arrivals”. 56 “Mr. J. J. Boyd, proprietor of the Onehunga Zoo, is making extensive alterations. He is extending the grounds by taking in another two acres of land for picnic parties during the summer holidays, and he is about to erect an up- to-date kiosk near the entrance from the main street. During the last few days several additions have arrived, including young bears, leopards, tigers and 30 performing white mice, and they are all doing well.” 57 “The latest additions to the Onehunga Zoo are two little baby lemurs. They were born yesterday. Mr Boyd imported four large ones from Madagascar some time ago.” 58 “Zoo, Royal Oak. The Cub Lions, Bears, Leopard, Tiger are now on view.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star 11 December 1912) The NZ Herald paid another visit in late December 1912. “Mr. Boyd has many rare
birds and animals, some of which are to be found in only odd zoos scattered about the world.
In his monkey-houses he has the ordinary tree monkey, the ape, the baboon, and many other species. There are cats of every breed and colour, and the cockatoo houses are full. In a wellkept grass run are beautiful fallow deer, and nearby are the tortoises. A pair of young Malay bears are full of fun. possessed of the desire to play with everybody who will stay near them. The African lion is only six years old, but he is a fine specimen of his race. Next to him is the lioness, who has two young cubs, only a month old, but as full of fun as kittens. The royal Bengal tiger is also a perfect specimen of his breed. The zoo also contains a baby Nepal tiger.” 59
“Zoo, Royal Oak. – This week there will be a Composition on the Zoo for the Children. Prizes, £2, £1, and 10/-. Schoolmasters to judge. Composition must be sent in closed envelope to the Zoo. Full name and address. Close Saturday, Feb 1. J. Boyd, Proprietor.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 31 January 1913) “Zoo, Royal Oak received 39 Compositions on the Zoo. Result as soon as possible. – J. J. Boyd, Proprietor.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 3 February 1913) “Zoo, Royal Oak – Two Merry-Go-Rounds and Ocean Wave in full swing on Saturday afternoon.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 6 February 1913) The steam-powered merry-go-rounds and Ocean Wave were in place by the previous October.60 J J Boyd’s son Edward appeared on the Manukau Electoral Rolls from 1911 until 1928 at Symonds Street, and it is he who is remembered today as the lion tamer at Boyd’s zoo, most likely from 1917. He had worked for his father ever since leaving school and described himself as “the right hand man” at the Onehunga Zoo, paid £3 per week wages for him, his wife, and (by 1914) five children. He and his wife and children moved from Aramoho with some of the animals to Onehunga in 1911, and his brother J J Boyd jr. took his place back at Wanganui. 61 In January 1914, his name hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he was arrested for assaulting his father as the latter lay in his bed in the Symonds Street house. Edward apparently came home shortly after midnight after having had some drinks, asked for his father, then rushed into Boyd’s room to pull him from the bed, insisting on having a fight. A blow from the son knocked the father unconscious. Even while being hauled away by the local police sergeant, Edward was stated to have demanded the keys of the cages to let the animals loose. As the judge later decided that seeing it was a family quarrel, J J Boyd had not been seriously injured by his son, and Edward had taken out a prohibition order against himself, he was just bound over to keep the peace for twelve months and ordered to pay court costs under a surety of £100. 62 “Zoo, Royal Oak – Admission: Adults 1/-; Children, under 19 years old 6d, under 2 years 3d.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 8 January 1913) Along with the usual advertisements at this time for “live horses for the lions” as well as cows, calves and sheep, Boyd sought “wekas and pukekoes (alive)”. 63 As the 100 cats earlier, no indication as to why, but in the birds’ case hopefully for display only.
In August 1913, Boyd advertised to purchase “a Piece of Land suitable for a killing works or boiling down plant.” 64 Two months earlier, Boyd had written to the Mt Roskill Road Board “concerning his right to kill horses as food for the Zoo inhabitants.” 65 He may well have used land within the Mt Roskill area for his slaughtering, until the Road Board asked him to desist. “The lioness at the Royal Oak Zoo gave birth to five cubs last night. They are fine healthy little things, and doing well.” 66 “A Himalaya cub bear was born on Saturday at Onehunga Zoo.” (Auckland Star 7 July 1913) “Five leopard cubs were born at the Onehunga Zoo this morning,” (Auckland Star 6 August 1913) “J Boyd and Sons have purchased the Silver Grey Seal from Waihi, which will be on Exhibition on Sunday at the Royal Oak Zoo.” (Auckland Star, 15 August 1913) The seal, around 8 feet long, was captured on the Waihi beach on 6 August by a Mr Harley. “On Mr Harley’s approach the sea monster made for the water, and when intercepted it showed fight. He managed to get a sack over its head, and lifted it into his trap. Mr Harley brought the seal into Waihi, leaving it in his vehicle, where it was inspected by a large number of people.” It had been suggested that the seal be bought for the planned Auckland Exhibition the following summer. However, the Exhibition President George Elliot advised that as the organisers had already arranged to have an alligator [sic] from Queensland, “he did not think it would be wise to add any seals to the collection.” 67 The seal was duly advertised for sale in 12 August. To today’s eyes, when we have the auspices of the Department of Conservation, these reports of someone capturing a seal from a beach in order to sell it are enough to make one blink. Apparently, though, it wasn’t entirely within the law, either. “There are some things one would rather be without. A farmer, of Waihi, bagged a seal in a sack the other day, and in the naive words of the “Herald," the animal is neither a female nor a bull under twelve months old, which is to say it is a gentleman seal of more than a year, and he is at liberty to do what he likes with it. The Fisheries' Act, which interprets its title widely enough to embrace whales and seals and things which are not fish at all, doesn't say anything about liberty to do what you like with seals. On the contrary, it says that anybody who takes any seal and has not a license to do so, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £100, unless he has the written permission of the Minister. Apart from that, what is the farmer going to do with it He cannot make it milk his cows, it won't bark at tramps, and if kept in close confinement (see "Herald") it is liable to emit an unhealthy odour. As a matter of fact, a seal about the premises is pretty noisome, dead or alive and about the best thing one can do with a seal caught in a bag is to turn it loose on a beach and push it into the spacious Pacific.” 68 However, while such opinion was being aired, the seal was already purchased by Boyd, and preparations were underway to have it crated and shipped to Auckland.
The seal, though, did not end its days confined in Auckland’s first zoo. Put into a large box, it died in transit, before it reached Onehunga. 69 And yet … “J Boyd & Sons have purchased the grey seal from Waihi and it is now on Exhibition at the Onehunga Zoo.” 70 Then, in 1913, a breakthrough came when the Municipal Corporations Amendment Act 1913 was passed by both the House and the Legislative Council and came into force on 1 February 1914. 71 Included in the provisions were extended powers to Borough Councils with regard to threats to public health and perceived public nuisances. Section 45 was specifically in aid of those councils who found themselves helpless when it came to the new ‘zoo’ form of public entertainment: “The Council may make by-laws for … regulating or licensing the keeping within the borough of any animals, reptiles, or birds, and prohibiting the keeping thereof of the existence or keeping thereof within the borough is, or in the opinion of the Council is likely to become, a nuisance or injurious to health. Any such by-law may apply in respect of animals, reptiles or birds within the borough at the time of the making of such by-laws.” The door which had been opened wide for J J Boyd by the Government in 1910 was now almost closed by the Government from February 1914. The Onehunga Borough Council was finally given the power to regulate what was happening in its own patch. Perhaps because most of the newspaper coverage in Auckland about the amended act seemed to focus on the Auckland tramways more than anything else, Boyd was apparently unaware that the situation for him, and his Onehunga Zoo, was about to change significantly. The war proper had begun. The first anti-zoo by-law: Boyd fights back through the courts On 26 January 1914, just before the new amendment took effect, Boyd was brought before the Onehunga police court and fined £18 14/- including costs for “allowing accumulation of offensive matter” at the zoo site on two days in December and January. Every Sunday, the court was told, a horse was killed in a purpose-built slaughter house at the zoo; but the Borough Council’s inspector George Cutts and Dr Makgill found the meat to be in poor and unsanitary condition – constituting a nuisance. Boyd defended his actions, saying he’d had “thousands of visitors to the Zoo and he had never received a complaint from any one of them.” The magistrate cautioned Boyd during his summing up: “The owner of a Zoo, situated in a closely-settled district should do nothing detrimental to the interests of the neighbours or people in the district. A nuisance existed on particular days, detrimental to health, and an annoyance. The Zoo was there, and he was not going to suggest what should be done; but if it was a nuisance, and people objected to it being there, other steps could be taken. When persons were objecting the keeper should be particularly careful over the concern. If the Zoo were in a domain the position would be different, but when it was in the midst of a closelysettled quarter the proprietor should know that people would complain.” 72
“Zoo. Royal Oak – Where you can see 8 beautiful Lion Cubs, full of fun, bred in the Zoo. Horses, vehicles, and hot water free: also Ocean Wave free.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 28 January 1914) Around the same time as the court hearing, a deputation of residents attended a Council meeting, to press the members to consult the by-laws and see what could be done to “deal stringently with the zoo.” The Council voted to take action. This resolution was adopted by a formal Council meeting on 2 February. 73 On 16 February, the Council agreed to take into consideration a change to Onehunga’s bylaws, 74 and on 2 March, the Onehunga Borough Council members were presented with the following by-law: “Whereas in the opinion of the Council the existence or keeping of animals, reptiles and birds within the Borough in any Zoological Garden is likely to become a nuisance or injurious to health no person shall after the expiration of 6 months from the coming into operation of the By-law keep within the Borough any animals, reptiles or birds which are wild by nature.” Travelling circuses and menageries in the borough were to be on limited period license. Pet owners were also excluded from the by-law, and those keeping poultry within the Borough came under another by-law entirely. Boyd responded to this by newspaper advertisement … “ROYAL OAK ZOO. estab. Feb, 1911. Permits granted by Government and Onehunga Council. Finest collection of Animals and Birds in N.Z. – J J Boyd, owner.” (Auckland Star 11 March 1914) … and by a letter to the editor of the Auckland Star (published 13 March). “Sir.— … by last night’s "Star" with regard to Onehunga Assessment Court, Mr Yockney, the Town Clerk, oversteps his right in stating that the Royal Oak Zoo is going to be removed. He has no right in making such a statement, while he, the Mayor and Councillors have granted the permit to build the Zoological Gardens, and have also issued certificates for the animals to go in the cages. We also have had permits issued quite recently for the erection of buildings on the Zoo. The Zoo has been established three years. On each side of the Zoo Mr Corby and Mrs White have asked for a reduction in their valuations; but when I approached them to purchase their land, it had increased double the price since the Zoo was established. If the roar of a lion will depreciate the value of the land on each side, how much will the bellowing of their cows and calves on each side of the Zoo depreciate the rating value of the Zoo? I would like to state that my rates have increased greatly, and I do not complain of the increase in rates or bellowing of cows and calves.— I am. etc. J J BOYD. March 10.” Boyd’s expenditure on the zoo to that point, according to him, was £14,000, considerable amount of money to write off.
Council went ahead and approved the by-law, confirming it on 6 April. J J Boyd, who had written to the Council seeking a permit for more cages in late February, was advised of the looming by-law, and that the permit application was deferred for two weeks.76 At a committee meeting on 13 March, the councillors recommended that no further permits be granted for the erection of animal cages at the zoo and gave him twelve months notice to quit. 77 Boyd responded to the Borough Council, 78 offering not to house any fresh animals, to remove two large lions (known locally as “the Roarers”) and to completely remove the zoo in twelve months. Mayor Rowe responded to this favourably, and replied that if Boyd entered into a formal agreement with their solicitors to that effect before 6 April, the council would consider it. 79 Instead, in late March, Boyd was reported as being the principal buyer of animals at the disposal of the Wainoni Park menagerie in Christchurch. 80 (These were animals collected as a zoo by Professor Bickerton after Boyd had withdrawn his own animals from the park in April 1912.) Clearly he had no intention of seeing his Royal Oak Zoo closed by the end of 1914. The public still visited the zoo, even though its notoriety had increased, or perhaps because of it; one two-year-old child in July 1914 placed her fingers too close to the bars of the monkeys’ cage while throwing nuts into the cage, and had the tip of her finger bitten off. 81 “As the result of a rumour that the Onehunga Zoo is to be moved to Takapuna, residents of Bayswater have petitioned the Borough asking them to take steps to prevent the proposed change.” 82 The Borough Council received a petition of over 2000 signatures asking that the zoo be retained; they decided to take no further action with the petition. 83 Meanwhile, the Department of Internal Affairs approved the new by-law at the end of July. 84 The clock had now started ticking; it was expected that the zoo would close by the end of the year. “Zoo, Royal Oak –Open Every Day. Finest and Largest Zoo in New Zealand. Come and see it.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 20 July 1914) “Zoo. Royal Oak, where you can spend a pleasant time in viewing the animals and birds.” (Advertisement, 6 November 1914) “Zoo, Royal Oak. Half-price in War Time. Adults 6d; Children 3d. All come.” (Advertisement, NZ Herald, 27 November 1914) In early December Edward Boyd wrote to the Council asking them to defer taking action to close the zoo down; the committee again initially decided to take no action in response to the letter, then on 21 December they recommended that “the expulsion of the zoo be deferred for three weeks to enable E E Boyd to cable his father who was on his way to England.” 85 This recommendation was later rejected by the full council.86
“The leopardess at the Onehunga Zoo yesterday gave birth to four very fine cubs, which the management intend to bring up by hand-feeding. These baby leopards are doing very well, and will be on view at the Zoo on Friday and Sunday.”87 “Band will play at the Zoo Sunday Night. Vehicles admitted free. All come.” (Advertisement, 18 December 1914) “Wanted, Travellers and Tourists to visit J. J. Boyd and Sons’ Royal Oak Zoo, Auckland: also Aramoho Zoo, Wanganui. Lions, tigers, bears, leopards, and numerous other animals and birds.” (Advertisement, Evening Post, 23 December 1914) “Mr. J Langridge, curator of the Wellington Zoo, returned from Auckland yesterday in charge of a healthy young lion, which has been loaned the City Council by Mr. J. J. Boyd, proprietor of the Onehunga Zoo. The latest arrival has been accommodated in semi-detached quarters in one of the existing lions' dens at the Zoo, where it has already been viewed by many admirers of the king of beasts. The lion was brought down by rail in a strong wooden cage, and though he gave no trouble the beast was restless enough throughout thy night to keep his caretaker wide awake.” 88 This lion went on to sire four cubs by a daughter of “King Dick”, two of which were promised to Boyd as part of the deal. 89 The lion was due to have returned to Auckland later in 1916 with at least one of the cubs, 90 but there are reports of a lion named “Briton” from Boyd’s Auckland zoo still at Wellington in March 1917, siring cubs with Maud, daughter to King Dick, 91 and was there also as late as August 1918. 92 More delaying tactics from the Boyds on 18 January 1915: “Mr D M Findlay, solicitor for Mr J. J. Boyd, proprietor of the Onehunga Zoo, wrote asking that in the event of the Council deciding to proceed with the by-law to close the zoo, would they waive the question of a month's notice should such be necessary. He had been instructed to test the validity of the Council’s action if it is gone on with by applying under the Declaratory Judgments Act 1908, for the opinion of the Court by originating summons. The town clerk stated that three weeks' grace had been given to Mr E. E. Boyd, a son of the proprietor, to enable him to communicate with his father, who had recently left for England to join Earl Kitchener’s Bantam Regiment. The letter was referred to committee.” 93 Boyd hadn’t, of course, initially returned to England to join a regiment. His intention, on leaving New Zealand, arriving in London in late July 1914, was to travel to Hamburg to Haagenbeck’s. However, World War I intervened in August, and Mr and Mrs Boyd returned to Auckland in November. Boyd himself, apparently keen to see “something of the turmoil within the fighting zone” immediately returned to Europe on the Niagara. In usual Boyd fashion, he refused to take no for an answer when he was determined to do something. ‘No one can cross from England to France without a passport. "I had a great job to get mine," said Mr. Boyd "I went to the Hon. Thos. Mackenzie, and asked for confirmation of my application. I had far more bother at the High Commissioner's
office than at the Foreign Minister's office. Mr. Mackenzie said he didn't know me personally. I pointed out that there were a million and a-quarter people in New Zealand, more or less, whom he did not know, and added that I'd keep on calling until he did know me. So eventually I got my passport. It is signed by Sir Edward Grey, and I am keeping it as an interesting memento. Most of January I spent at Boulogne, Calais, and Paris.” 94 According to family remembrances, he did try to join the British Army, even going to the extent of shaving his beard to attempt to look younger. When he was turned down, he offered instead to equip a battalion, to be entitled “Boyd’s Own”. 95 Again rejected, he returned to New Zealand, and a different sort of war regarding his zoo, by early April. In the 25 January 1915 committee minutes: “Mr Boyd jr waited on the Committee with reference to the expulsion of the zoo and as he had nothing to report with reference to his father’s return, it was recommended that the matter be left in the hands of Russell & Campbell to see the by-law carried out and that they be empowered to employ outside legal assistance if necessary.” 96 Then, in late January, J J Boyd, still overseas but working through his representatives, decided to fight back. The Borough Council learned on 1 February that Boyd intended testing the validity of the by-law in court. 97 The council members immediately consulted their solicitors – and a prolonged and expensive legal action commenced. There was a delay of several months before the case was finally heard, initially because of the judge’s absence in Wellington during April and May, 98 then due to court scheduling delays. On 7 September 1915, Mr. Justice Cooper heard the case in the Supreme Court. 99 Boyd stated in his affidavit that his stock and buildings worth £8000 would be rendered worthless by the by-law. Two Auckland doctors had provided supporting affidavits stating that the zoo was “well and properly conducted and in no sense a nuisance to the public or injurious to health.” His lawyer submitted that the by-law was unreasonable, applying equally in his opinion to pet shops. It was also uncertain, because it didn’t state exactly what was prohibited “in distinct and positive terms”. He argued also that it was oppressive because while it hindered the zoo it provided an exemption for travelling circuses and menageries, and that the council “could not make a by-law dealing with circumstances that were not already in existence.” If the zoo wasn’t a nuisance (this statement backed by the affidavits from the doctors) – why ban it? The Borough Council’s lawyer countered that it was the opinion of the Council that the zoo was indeed a nuisance. Justice Cooper agreed with them; 100 the Borough Council had the right, he decided, under the new 1913 amendment, to make the by-law; it was valid; and Boyd was in breach of the new by-law by retaining his wild animals within the borough. “Four lion cubs' were born at the Onehunga Zoo this week.” (Auckland Star, 9 December 1915) Any sighs of relief from the Onehunga Borough Council were premature: John James Boyd was not a man to give up, pack his bags and leave town so easily. In March
1916 101 he appealed against Justice Cooper’s ruling through the Court of Appeal in Wellington; and this time, he won. In June the Court ruled that the anti-zoo by-law was “ultra vires and invalid, being couched in much wider language than the reason for passing the by-law expressed in the recital.” 102 The Royal Oak Zoo could therefore legally continue on as before at Symonds Street, to the chagrin of its opponents. In addition, with the closure of Boyd’s Aramoho Zoo in July and August, the animal population at Onehunga grew yet again. By now, Boyd was approaching his full complement of lions, and was about to embark on yet another drawcard for the public – lion taming. This would have added fuel to the fire as far as his opponents were concerned. “Some interesting additions have recently been made to the complement of animals on exhibition at the Royal Oak Zoo. During the week four fine lions were railed from Wanganui, which brings the total to thirteen, which the management claim to be the finest group in Australasia. Yesterday morning the large Himalayan bear gave birth to two young cubs. It is rather singular that, whereas the father of the cubs is a huge American black bear, standing over seven feet in height, the young ones are no larger than young kittens. Another interesting sight is that of a male Australian emu hatching a number of eggs, the practice being habitual with this species of bird.” 103 “ZOO, ROYAL OAK. BAND. The Coast Defence Infantry Band (by kind permission Lieutenant-Colonel Stevenson) will Play at Zoo, SUNDAY NEXT. 16th. All Come. New Additions.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star 14 July 1916) “ZOO. ROYAL OAK. – New Additions. Bear Cubs (Russian and Himilayan), 4 Cub Lions, 9 Large Lions, 5 American Black Bears, Japanese Bears, Malay Bears. Baboons, 100 Monkeys, host of other Wild Animals and Birds. Vehicles admitted free. Adults 6d. Children 3d. Open, every day. Fed, 4 p.m.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 28 July 1916) The second anti-zoo by-law: Boyd fights back in the polls J H Colby, one of the original members of the deputation who had presented the 1912 petition to the Council for Parliament to change the Municipal Corporations Act, steps back into the story at this point. In September 1916, 104 he wrote to the Council in complaint concerning the noise of the Ocean Wave equipment at the zoo. He asked that Boyd be prevented from opening his zoo on Sundays. This sparked off the Borough Council’s second major offensive against Boyd and his zoo. In committee, they decided to grant no more permits to Boyd for his animal cages, to ask the borough solicitor for a report on the costs to date of the zoo case (the bill submitted in April the following year totalled £217 6/6), and asked that the faulty by-law be referred back for opinion as to revised wording to render it valid. Councillor Brewin, a supporter of both Boyd and his zoo, objected to this, but he was over-ruled. Still, the new arrivals kept coming from Aramoho.
“ZOO, ROYAL OAK. ARRIVED TO-DAY, WOLVES AND OTHER ANIMALS.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 22 September 1916) Brewin later that month put forward a motion that the zoo be licensed at £50 per annum. But Brewin was a lone voice -- the motion lapsed for want of a seconder. 105 According to historian G. G. M. Mitchell, writing about the Boyd saga in 1961, Brewin publicly stated that he was “revolted at the vendetta a gang of Sicilian bandits had waged against a worthy citizen who put intellect before brawn,” and refused to withdraw his remarks, saying they were directed at “the Symonds Street-Norman’s Hill coterie of would-be’s,” and not the Mayor and councillors. 106 In early October, the Council’s committee received a written report from Russell & Campbell regarding the result of Boyd’s appeal in Wellington, and the members agreed to empower the Finance & Legal committee to frame a new by-law. 107 On 13 November 1916, the council’s committee received another deputation consisting of J H Colby, V G Cole and N A Whyte. This time, they came not with petitions, but with a unique offer: a guarantee of £80 to the Council toward any future legal expenses which might be incurred by the Council in testing the validity of any bylaws regulating zoos. The Council responded with a recommendation that “bylaws be adopted to prohibit the keeping of certain animals in the Borough in zoological gardens.” 108 Boyd’s sea lions arrived in late November. “ZOO. ROYAL OAK. Come and See Two Things, 8ft long, that can walk on the sea as well as on land.” (Advertisement, 24 November 1916) “ZOO. ROYAL OAK. 14 FINE LIONS, 9 BEARS, LEOPARDS, TIGER, MONKEY, BIRDS.” (Advertisement, 1 December 1916) “Come and see the Sea Lions, the Indian Wolves, 14 Fine Lions, Bears, Tigers, Monkeys. Open Every Day.” (Advertisement, 15 December 1916) A letter later that month109 from resident H C Harrison further spurred the councillors on. He asked that the Council take further steps to regulate the zoo “which was a source of great annoyance to him.” They responded that the matter was already under consideration. Indeed it was: the revised by-law wording was revealed at that meeting of 21 November, specifically prohibiting the keeping of any lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, wolves or hyenas in the borough. The councillors confirmed the wording of the new anti-zoo by-law on 18 December 1916. It was then publicly advertised. “ONEHUNGA RATEPAYERS. Do not trust our Council in framing another By-law in connection with the Royal Oak Zoo. They have already been defeated. The cost of test in law was hundreds of pounds
to the Ratepayers, and will be thousands of pounds next time, as they gave me a permit to build the Zoo. It will be fought to a finish. J. J. BOYD, Owner.” (Public notice, Auckland Star 30 December 1916)
By now Onehunga local politics was sharply divided between those who were prozoo, and those who were anti-zoo. Certainly the other more important issues of the day, such as road, residential development, tram fares, water supply and even Greater Auckland were discussed and debated, but – the focus of the media seemed to remain fixed on the divide over the zoo, through three succeeding local elections in Onehunga. It was to become something like the prohibition-continuance debate (which was also reaching a climax at this time) but on a much smaller local scale, and involving animals, noise and smells. Those who were anti-zoo were the prohibitionists in the eyes of the pro-zoo crowd who followed Boyd’s every word and action. The new version of the by-law was confirmed by the council at a special meeting held on 8 January 1917 – just before Boyd and around fifty supporters arrived to sit themselves in the public gallery, possibly to eye the councillors into submission. When they heard that the council were then going into committee: “Mr. Boyd rose, and, addressing the visitors, asked: ‘What do you think of that, gentlemen, for British fair play?’ “A voice: Well, we have missed the bus this time. “Another voice: It’s all over, Boyd, but the shouting, and that’s illegal now. [Referring to the recent regulations banning the practice of offering a “shout” in pubs.] “A well known burly ratepayer rose, and addressing Mr Boyd, asked: ‘Why not have a public meeting, when your will get a fair hearing?’ “Mr Boyd, who is a typical Yorkshireman, replied, ‘Aye, lad, we will that.’ “All present then left the Council Chamber except the Mayor and Council. When Mr Boyd’s friends had reached the footpath, he asked all who were in favour of keeping the Zoo in Onehunga to sign a petition to that effect. A number of them did so, but not all, as several of those present were well known opponents of the Zoo. A heated argument followed between the supporters of the Council and Mr. Boyd and his friends.” 110 From this point on, Boyd was in breach of the new by-law as long as he kept his animals within the borough, and stood to receive a fine of up to £5 for each day he continued to do so. Late in January 1917 it was reported that one of Boyd’s lionesses had produced a litter of four healthy cubs, bringing the total number of lions at the Zoo to 21. “Lions seem to thrive in captivity in this climate, and as there is practically no demand for them in the Dominion Mr Boyd, the proprietor of the Zoo,
is thinking of shipping some of the cubs to America, where he expects to sell them to advantage.” 111 “ZOO. ONEHUNGA RATEPAYERS AND RESIDENTS. ROLL UP, ROLL UP. NEXT MONDAY NIGHT, 7.30 O’CLOCK. Big meeting of Ratepayers and Residents to be held in the Lyceum Picture Palace, Onehunga. As the Council would not give hundreds of Ratepayers in favour of the Zoo a hearing at their Meeting we have decided to give them a fight for justice on January 15. All come. J J BOYD, Convenor.” (Auckland Star 9 January 1917) “ZOO, Royal Oak, open Every Day. New additions, Russian and Himalayan Bears, 4 weeks old; 14 Lions. 10 Bears: Birds, Monkeys, etc. Adults. 6d; Children, 3d. All come. Fed 4 pm.” “ZOO RATEPAYERS AND RESIDENTS, ROLL UP Roll up NEXT MONDAY NIGHT. 7.30 o'clock Big Meeting of Ratepayers and Residents to be held in the Lyceum Picture Palace, Onehunga. As the Council would not give hundreds of Ratepayers in favour of the Zoo a hearing at their meeting, we have decided to give them a fight for justice on January 15. All come! Convener J J BOYD.” (Advertisements, NZ Herald, 13 January 1917) The result was a lively night at the Lyceum Picture Palace. “The bone or contention between Mr. J J Boyd, the owner of the Royal Oak Zoo, the ratepayers, and the Onehunga Borough Council—the Zoo—formed the subject of an intensely exciting meeting, convened by Mr. Boyd, and held in the Lyceum Theatre, Onehunga, last night. Fully 600 people attended, the Onehunga Brass Band heading the greater portion of the gathering as it proceeded to the hall. Mr Boyd's arrival was marked with evident sympathetic approbation, which reached an almost deafening point as he appeared on the stage. After a slight hesitation on the part of the audience to supply a chairman, Mr. Joley Thomas consented to act. “Mr. Boyd immediately proceeded to explain that the subject for discussion was the Council and the Zoo and the bylaw which would eject the Zoo. He contended that the proceedings at which the Council confirmed the by-law were irregular, for instead of starting at 7.30 p.m., as advertised, they concluded at that time. From legal advice he had obtained he knew that the by-law was ineffective, and he asked those in favour of the Zoo remaining in the district to sign a petition. He had already obtained over 1,000 signatures to the petition. … He was further prepared to test the validity of the new by-law. (Applause.) Mr. G L Taylor (a member of the Council), who was present, ventured to reply, but was not permitted a very good opportunity, having to content himself with the intermittent spells of quietness that followed outbursts of resentment.
“After formally traversing the matter under consideration, Mr Taylor proceeded: "I want a fair hearing." “A Voice: "You don't deserve it," and applause. "I don't think it's an Onehunga meeting." “A Voice: "Sit down." and boos. “The chairman intervened on Mr. Taylor's behalf, and the latter proceeded to criticise the advertisement calling the meeting. "I say there are two deliberate misstatements in that sentence—it says hundreds of ratepayers. I give you my word of honour and guarantee that there were not fifty there." A high-pitched voice: "And what's your guarantee?" (Laughter.) "My guarantee is the whole Council," replied Mr. Taylor. “Here the discussion resolved itself into pandemonium. Mr. Taylor, proceeding, eventually said: "I want to explain what we were doing last Monday night. Mr. Boyd advertised for the ratepayers to turn up, for what reason he did not explain." “The Chairman: "I don't think it's fair of you. Mr. Taylor, to impute motives." “Mr. Taylor: "It took two minutes to put the business through." “This was his last remark for fully five minutes. After the roar died down he proceeded: "At the rate you're going it will take some time.” “A Voice: "Why don't the Council keep the water clean?" “The chairman appealed on Mr. Taylor's behalf, and amid the uproar a person was heard to shout. "He's only rambling." “Mr. Taylor, in another attempt to proceed, said that the Council could not license the Zoo. After he had proceeded a little further the assemblage counted the speaker out. “Mr. Taylor during the evening made it clear, disconnectedly, that Mr. Boyd’s first proposal to establish a Zoo was refused by the Council, but later on, finding that it had no legal status to refuse to grant permits for buildings, the Mayor signed the necessary building permits. Never to this day had the Council licensed the Zoo. “At the conclusion of the meeting a resolution was passed by a unanimous vote pledging the meeting's support in helping to retain the Zoo in Onehunga.” 112 “Mothers bring the children to see the Zoo. Always go where the crowds go.” (Advertisement, 19 January 1917) The Mayor, John Rowe, and Councillors E V Sutherland, Taylor, W W Warnock, H J Davies, I Lomas, T H Pardington and CC Davis made an official statement on the
Auckland Star on 27 January detailing a timeline of the Council’s actions regarding the zoo. Boyd responded with his own statement in the paper on 8 February. Boyd then decided to take the battle over his zoo’s right to exist in the district right to the Council’s chambers – he announced that he would run for office. “ZOO. ROYAL OAK. STILL ON A GOOD WICKET. I have been battling six years this month, and never missed a ball and not out yet – Umpire. My turn at the ball next April. Get your best man ready to take the bat. The first ball I will give him will be Zoo. J.J. BOYD.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star 7 February 1917) “MAYORALTY OF ONEHUNGA. ONEHUNGA MUNICIPAL ELECTORS. Do not Promise your VOTE to anyone at the present time. I will put before you my Views and the way Onehunga has been imposed on, before the Electors. NEXT MARCH I will stand for your MAYOR against allcomers.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star 27 February 1917) Towards the end of February, Councillor Brewin made “an objectionable remark” (apparently making charges of corruption) to his fellow councillors, the Mayor and the Town Clerk, and withdrew from a meeting refusing to withdraw the remark. The Council at their 12 March meeting found Brewin guilty of an offence against the standing orders of council, and fined him, 113 but the £2 fine was paid for him by an anonymous donor signing himself “A Believer in Decency and Order”. 114 According to G G M Mitchell again, this was during another attempt by Brewin to have a motion put forward to licence the zoo. He stated that the councillor he had expected would support him and second the motion this time had been “got at”. 115 Later that month, the Council were advised that Boyd had erected a sign at the top end of Symonds Street which was in breach of the sign by-laws. Councillor Davis wanted Boyd prosecuted, but calmer heads among the Council resolved instead to write a letter asking him to remove the sign. 116 “ONEHUNGA ZOO. I, the undersigned, do Challenge the Onehunga Council to take a Vote of the People of Onehunga whether the Zoo shall remain or not. If I am beaten at the poll, I will send the animals to Davis’ Glue Works. They should stick well.” (Auckland Star 14 March 1917) “ZOO. ROYAL OAK. Established February, 1911. Permit granted by Onehunga Council, and the Government. Confirmed by the Court of Appeal, and the By-law went over the Fence. A FINE COLLECTION.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 16 March 1917) “ONEHUNGA ELECTIONS.
BE JUST AND FEAR NOT. I stand for the MAYORAL CHAIR next April. I may state that the Onehunga Council has framed another unjust By law against the Zoo. The Borough Council has not paid the costs of the last Law Suit, when I defeated them in the Appeal Court. I remain, yours truly, J J BOYD” (Auckland Star 22 March 1917) In the above advertisement placed by Boyd, he used a quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. It remains unknown whether he was aware of the complete quotation or not. In full, it goes: “Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee; Corruption wins not more than honesty. Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not: Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s, Thy God’s, and truth’s; then if thou fall’st, O Cromwell, Thou fall’st a blessed martyr!” “Be Just and Fear Not” is also a motto beneath the crest for the city of Carlisle. “WANTED TO BUY. KEA Parrots, Pukaki, Weka, Rails or Any Wild Birds wanted for the Zoo. Apply J J Boyd, Zoo.” (Auckland Star 23 March 1917) At the same time, J J Boyd fully expressed, via his advertisements, just what he thought of his lion collection. “FINEST COLLECTION OF LIONS IN THE WORLD” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 30 March 1917) “FINEST SHOW OF LIONS IN THE WORLD.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 5 April 1917) It was at some point in 1917 that he and his son Edward decided to train some of the lions to perform each afternoon. This was to be a feature by which Boyd was best known long after the zoo closed. On Saturday 14 April, a protest supporting the zoo was staged, involving a procession 300 strong led by T Vivian and A E McCredie and headed by the Onehunga Brass Band, with the Ponsonby Boys’ Band also taking part. The march led to the zoo, where around 1200 finally arrived to take part in children’s lolly and nut scrambles.
“ONEHUNGA ELECTORS. ROLL UP! ROLL UP! ROLL UP! MR. J. J. BOYD Candidate for the Mayoral Chair Will address a Big Meeting of Electors at the Lyceum Hall, Onehunga, NEXT WEDNESDAY NIGHT at 8 o’clock. Both sides invited. All come! Onehunga Band in attendance.” (Electoral notice, N Z Herald 17 April 1917) Boyd’s zoo was a direct descendant of travelling menageries and circuses – now, his enthusiastic campaign fell back to those roots. He entered the fray of the 1917 municipal election in Onehunga with full showman’s hoop-la, and was the first to toss his hat into the ring 118 once Mayor Rowe announced he would not seek re-election. At the Lyceum Hall meeting on 19 April, he stated that his platform was everything other than the zoo: “sound administration, encouragement of local industries, better waste, water and electric light services, less waste, lower rates, cheaper tram fares, and later on amalgamation with the city.” 119 J J Boyd was therefore a supporter of the Greater Auckland movement, at that point promoted by Auckland City Council who was actively amalgamating with the smaller boroughs of the isthmus. If you supported the zoo, therefore, you supported the idea of Onehunga casting its fate with the bigger city facing the Waitemata. However his precious zoo, the real reason why he chose to campaign for the mayoralty, wasn’t left out of his slogans for long. “ONEHUNGA MAYORAL ELECTION. J. J. BOYD FOR MAYOR. MY TICKET. Sound Administration, New Blood, Local Industries, Hands off the Zoo, Better Water, Cheaper Tram Fares, Electric Light, Less Waste, Tax off W.C., Less Rates, Join the City.” (Electoral Advertisement, 21 April 1917) It was a wonder that he placed the Zoo issue only fourth on his list. Two councillors on the old council actively opposed Boyd: Christopher C. Davis and Edward Vivian Sutherland. Unfortunately, they also both wanted to be Rowe’s
successors as Mayor of Onehunga, thus splitting the anti-zoo vote. The result was that Boyd triumphed over Davis by 883 votes to 669 (Sutherland had 448), while Boyd also gained four supporters on the council, with F S Morton, R. Dillicar and G. E. Foote joining W J Brewin. 120 “ONEHUNGA ELECTORS. I thank you all very much for the honour of putting me in the Chair. ‘Be just, and fear not.’” (Electoral advertisement, Auckland Star, 27 April 1917) Boyd was in a celebratory mood. The following Sunday after the election, the zoo was thrown open, with entry free to one and all. 121 The total number on the council was 10, including the Mayor; this meant that the administration was evenly split between the pro-zoo and anti-zoo factions. Morton was to later comment that Boyd had been elected (in his opinion) “on a clear-cut issue of Zoo v. No Zoo”; however “certain members of the present Council who openly professed that they were in favour of the zoo prior to their election took the earliest opportunity of casting their votes with the anti-zooites.” 122 Isaac Lomas, E J Higgins, R W Ainsworth and H J Davies stood on a different platform to the Boyd group, promising “efficiency, good government and the general welfare of the borough,” 123 and John Stoupe stood in his own stead. Exactly which councillors in the 1917-1919 administration Morton referred to is unclear. One thing was clear, however: Onehunga had elected John James Boyd as Mayor for the next two years. The Zoo War had entered a new phase. The Boyd mayoralty Boyd’s main aim, undoubtedly, was to have the anti-zoo by-law repealed. Although he was installed as Mayor officially on 2 May 1917, it wasn’t until the second formal meeting of the Borough Council on 21 May 124 that a motion to repeal clauses 2, 3 and 4 of the by-law was put to the councillors by Councillor R Dillicar. Councillor Brewin seconded the motion. Councillor Lomas, from the anti-zoo group, asked the Town Clerk to read clause 76 of the Standing Orders which was as follows: “A member of the Council shall not vote or take part in the discussion of any matter before the Council in which he has directly or indirectly, by himself or his partner any pecuniary interest otherwise than as member of an incorporated company, in which there are more than 20 members, and of which he is neither a director nor the general manager.” The Town Clerk also read out clause 77 of the Standing Orders, which described the penalty for breaching clause 76. When it came to the vote, with Boyd and the four supporting councillors, the vote was tied 5 to 5 against. As Mayor, Boyd decided to use his casting vote, and Dillicar’s motion was carried. It must have seemed that finally, Boyd had won the war. “ZOO, ROYAL OAK.
Just arrived from SOUTH POLE, via Wellington. 2 of SHACKLETON’S SLEDGE DOGS. Come and See Them.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 25 May 1917) In June, in response to a call for subscriptions to support the family of two Onehunga men who had drowned, Boyd allowed the Salvation Army to have the gate takings from the zoo for a week. 125 Edward Edwin Boyd, J J Boyd’s son, appeared to like being in hotels, despite a prohibition order. In the Metropolitan Hotel, he was approached by a plain clothes constable asking to see information regarding his enrolment for service status. The constable received a refusal to answer, so hauled young Boyd to the nearest police station. He eventually produced his certificate. Boyd was later fined £3 for hid stubborn attitude. 126 In October 1912, the Government had advised the Borough Council that “aggrieved persons had their remedy by private action” in terms of dealing with Boyd and his zoo. One of those original petitioners took up that advice in the winter of 1917. Mr J H Colby, local resident and near-neighbour of the zoo, re-entered the story. He filed a complaint of a breach of the Municipal Corporations Act against Mayor Boyd for making a casting vote in favour of Councillor Dillicar’s motion of 21 May. Mr. F N Frazier S.M. at the Onehunga Police Court agreed with Mr. Colby; on 20 August 1917, Boyd was found guilty of breaching the act. His lawyer, who had advised Boyd that he could go ahead and use his casting vote at the time, tried to argue that “pecuniary interest” was a restricted term, only used in terms of a contractual relationship with the Borough Council. The magistrate disagreed: “A member of a borough council was absolutely prohibited from voting on any subject whatever which, directly or indirectly, affected his proprietary or monetary interests … Defendant had acted in his own personal interests, and had insisted in pressing the matter against the wishes of the majority of the councillors. A very important principle was involved, and a substantial penalty was called for.” Boyd was fined £30 and 63/- costs. 127 As someone convicted of breaching the Municipal Corporations Act, Boyd could no longer assume his seat as Mayor of Onehunga Borough. But, fighting on, he immediately declared that he would appeal the Police Court decision. The rest of the council had no choice but to appoint John Stoupe, then the deputy-Mayor, as actingMayor in Boyd’s place. “The solicitor to the N.Z. Municipal Association advised the Council as follows: — That Mr J. J. Boyd could legally take his seat as Mayor, there being no disability on account of a breach of a bylaw. Further, that the Council is not legally responsible for privately-owned zoos, even if the cages were defective and wild animals escaped. The best person to inspect the cages would be a mechanical engineer. The opinion was read and received without comment.” 128 In April 1918, Boyd’s appeal to the Supreme Court failed, and his conviction was upheld. 129 The following month, he sought leave to appeal to the Privy Council. The
court presented Boyd with a set of conditions for the appeal, due to the fact that his case was not against a legal body such as the council, but against a private citizen: “The appeal would not settle the contest, which was whether the Zoological Gardens were to remain in the borough or not. The Court was very doubtful if leave should be granted. The respondent was not the council, and did not represent it, but was a private householder not shown to be in an affluent position. In the circumstances the Court was not prepared to grant leave except on special conditions as to the costs of the appeal. These were that the security, which the rules governing appeals to His Majesty-in-Council required to be entered into, should provide, among the other matters prescribed, that, whatever the result of the appeal, and whether it be in favour of or against the appellant, he should not claim any costs against the respondent, and that whether costs be, or not be, awarded to him, the appellant should bear his own costs and should bear, to the extent of £200, the respondent’s costs as between solicitor and client. If the appellant was willing to accept this condition the security should be for £250, and the time for entering into it two months from date. The appellant must in any event pay to the respondent £4 4s and costs of the motion.” 130 Now, John James Boyd faced the crucial decision as to whether he should go ahead, to appeal to the final arbiter of justice in the British Empire, knowing that even if he did win, all costs would be lost, as well as all the expense of such a move; or whether he should back down from the fight. “Zoo – Royal Oak. – 6 Full-grown lions will be Trained Every Afternoon at 3.30 p.m. by their trainer; 25 Lions fed at 4 p.m. Admission: Adults 6d; Children, 3d.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 22 June 1918) Boyd’s supporters on the Borough Council tried in July to wipe the Zoo by-law they had attempted to amend from the books entirely. Councillor Dillicar’s motion to rescind the amended Zoo by-law “owing to … non-enforcement” was lost by 5-4. 131 Two weeks later, Boyd advised the Supreme Court that he had decided to abandon his appeal to the Privy Council. 132 This was the turning point in the Zoo War. From now on, John James Boyd was in retreat. On 26 July, he returned his keys of office. 133 The Borough Council sought further legal advice from the Municipal Association regarding Boyd’s continued position as Mayor, and the response was that after the expiry of the time limit for his appeal to the Privy Council, his seat became vacant. The council’s own solicitors disagreed, stating that in their opinion, it became vacant from August the previous year, at the time of Boyd’s conviction. Councillor Morton disagreed with both opinions, saying that the council had given Boyd a one month leave of absence after the August conviction. Boyd, however, never returned to resume his seat. In Morton’s opinion, he forfeited his seat during the first year of his term of office, so a full public election should have been held. (Morton, while remaining a Boyd supporter, possibly fancied the position of Mayor for himself. He certainly put himself forward for the 1919 election). He moved that an opinion be sought from the council’s new solicitor and that a mayoral election be held, but the motions were lost. Councillors Ainsworth and Lomas, on the opposing side, moved that the council appoint a member of council as Mayor for the unexpired term. 134 On
12 August, Deputy-Mayor Stoupe was appointed as Mayor, much to the annoyance of Councillor Morton. “He challenged Mr. Soupe to resign and contest the mayoralty with him on the question of ‘Zoo or no Zoo,’ adding, ‘If you are a gentleman you will accept my challenge.’ “Mr. Stoupe said he was a man without a record, and no doubt Mr. Morton understood what he meant. “Mr. Morton retaliated by asking Mr. Stoupe if the ratepayers knew about Rowe’s Road. “The Town Clerk put the resolution: ‘That Mr. Stoupe be appointed Mayor,’ and declared it carried. “Mr. Stoupe said that the standing orders would be rigidly adhered to for the future. “Mr. Morton vacated his seat at the table and joined Messrs. Dillicar and Brewin, who sat among the spectators.” Both Dillicar and Brewin resigned from the council that night. 135 While his supporters resigned from the Council or wrote angry letters to the newspapers, Boyd made his first offer to Auckland City for them to buy his zoo. In August, he told them that if they weren’t interested in the property, worth £4000, for £8000 they could have just the animals, even if they paid him in debentures. Auckland’s Mayor expressed doubts that the city could afford to pay Boyd so much, and remarked to the newspapers that if someone donated the animals, then his council might be prepared to provide a home for them. 136 Eventually, Auckland City Council declined the offer, owing to financial difficulties. 137 “The unusual sight of two lions on the poop deck of the Tarawera was witnessed just prior to the vessel’s departure to Sydney. The animals were consigned to the Sydney Zoo, and were shipped by Mr J J Boyd of Onehunga. The animals were enclosed in two stout wooden cages, with iron bars, and room had been left for them to be fed through. Although only sixteen weeks old, the lions were fairly large, and would require some handling in the event of their escape. The boxes containing the animals were safely hoisted on to the poop, where they were fixed for the voyage. No difficulty was experienced in getting the animals into the cages at Onehunga. Mr Boyd, who has over 25 lions, has been negotiating for some time with both the Sydney and Melbourne Zoos, and there is a likelihood that more animals will be sent over later.” 138 “Zoo, Royal Oak, Onehunga 13 Lions Trained Every Afternoon, 3.30. 24 Lions Fed 4 p.m. Admission: Adults 6d, Children 3d.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 17 August 1918)
This led to as number of comments published in the Auckland Star and New Zealand Herald in support of a municipal zoo being set up by the Auckland City Council. The headmaster of Napier Street School extolled the virtues of a zoo in the Domain. “What an education, too, for the pupils of the surrounding and numerous schools An afternoon at the zoo, to study animal and vegetable life, instead of talking about it in a stuffy, antiquated schoolroom, to uninterested and sleepy pupils. And what unrivalled opportunities to our artists! As a teacher, I hold that the moral and aesthetic far outweigh the value of the three R’s and the clink of £ s. d. Let us, even at the expense of our pockets, look ahead and awaken the soul of our people by bringing them into closer contact with nature.” 139 Cornwall Park, Albert Park and Gillies Park (the future Parnell Rose Gardens) were also suggested over the next days. Then, the public’s mind turned to other things again. The 1919 election and after At the 1919 local elections, Boyd prudently kept to the background, and nominated Frederick S. Morton, one of his staunch supporters, for the position of Mayor. Opposing Morton was John Park. The Auckland Star reported that all the previous councillors had stepped down (“the first time in the history of the Onehunga Borough”) and that as at 22 April, only four candidates had stepped forward to fill the nine vacancies. 140 These candidates were duly elected, leaving the contest just between Morton and Park for the mayoralty. The latter won by a majority of 269. At the time John Park was “an architect by profession, and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. He is vice-president of the Onehunga-Manukau Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Manukau Yacht and Motor Boat Association.” “The Onehunga Borough Council unanimously decided last night to take legal proceedings against Mr. J. J. Boyd, proprietor of the Onehunga Zoo, and to instruct the Borough Solicitor accordingly. Mr. J. Park, Mayor, said the Council, in committee, had recommended this step on receipt of a letter from Mr. George J. Baker, who stated that he had recently taken up his residence in Chamberlain's Avenue, near the Zoo, believing, when he did so, that the alleged nuisance at the Zoo had been greatly exaggerated. However, he was now forced to complain of the conditions obtaining at the Zoo. It was impossible for any member of his family to get any rest, or even sleep until the early hours of the morning, owing to the noise and nuisance there, particularly from the dogs, which keep up a howl all night, to say nothing of offensive smells which, as the summer advances, bring flies in swarms. He had the support of the neighbours in the vicinity. He was not actuated by spite against Mr. Boyd. In moving the resolution to take action against Mr. Boyd, the Mayor said that had the Zoo been kept in a proper manner, there would have been no opposition to it, but after seeing other zoos, he thought the acreage of the Zoo premises was too small. Mr. I. Lomas seconded the resolution and it was carried without dissent. All the members were present except Mr. E. J. Higgins who, the Mayor stated, had voted for the recommendation in committee to take action.” 141 In November 1919, the Zoo War began again. Boyd was charged in the Police Court with a breach of the full 1917 by-law “by keeping certain lions, tigers, leopards, and hyenas within the borough.” Just before the hearing, Boyd declared that he wished to remove the case to the Supreme Court to test the validity of the by-law. This was agreed to by the Council. 142
“A unique lesson in biology was given yesterday to the pupils of Newton West School, when Mr. J. J. Boyd, proprietor of the Onehunga Zoological Gardens, kindly brought along a lion cub for exhibition. The cub had every resemblance to a grown cat. It was explained to the children by their teachers how this furry animal would grow up into a lion. Many other interesting facts concerning this branch of the cat family were also explained. The children took much delight in stroking the cub, and had the satisfaction of fondling a "real live lion," or at any rate the makings of one. Mr. Boyd was thanked for his visit and the interesting means by which he had afforded instruction to the pupils of the school.” 143 In December, Boyd sought a writ of injunction to restrain the Onehunga Town Clerk, Mr. Yockney, from proceeding against him further with respect to the prosecution already underway. 144 The Borough’s solicitor, A. E. Skelton, wrote to the Town Clerk: “Mr J J Boyd has commenced proceedings to restrain you as being the informant under the recent information for breach of the By-law from proceeding further with the information. The application for each injunction is based on the ground that the resolution repealing the by-law made 8 January 1917 has not been rescinded. The issue shortly is whether Mr Boyd voting on the resolution made such resolution invalid. We are of the opinion that it did and that the resolution was of no effect because it was carried by means of an illegal vote. In other words that it owed its passing to an illegality and therefore cannot stand.” 145 Judgement on the case finally came on 1 March 1920. Justice Chapman in the Supreme Court dismissed the application for the injunction, saying that the full case as to the validity of the by-law should be heard in court. Boyd’s injunction attempt “certainly presented features of novelty,” in his opinion. 146 The legal costs for both sides were steadily climbing, and neither was prepared to back down. Boyd’s solicitors wrote to the Council in early May 1920 offering a compromise with the Council “to avoid heavy legal expenses and claim for damages” (Boyd expected that his own claim for damages would be considerable.) The Council voted to proceed with the case “as the Council would not entertain the suggestion.” 147 Any patience they had had for Boyd and his legal shenanigans was by now long gone. Boyd even invited Council members to visit the zoo – this was declined. 148 The Council even considered adding to their prosecution of Boyd the charge that he was opening the zoo on Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday, and charging for admission on those days. After some discussion, it was instead decided to take no further action. 149 The Supreme Court heard Boyd’s case against the validity of the 1917 by-law on 30 July 1920. On 4 August, Justice Salmond gave his decision: the proper method of obtaining a decision of the Supreme Court as to the validity of a by-law was that provided by the By-laws Act, 1910, and not by an originating summons as used by Boyd. “The case was one where the question was not purely one of law and interpretation, but depended on difficult and presumably disputed questions of fact, and the proper materials for a decision were not before the Court. Incidentally his Honor gave it as his opinion that the statutory power of prohibition extended to all
cases in which a nuisance either existed or was reasonably anticipated.” Boyd was ordered to pay the Council costs of £5 5/-. 150 While most of this was going on, J J Boyd and his wife had been on a trip to America, returning in early August 1920. “While, in the States he turned his attention to placing a number of the lions at the Onehunga Zoo, with the result that ere long 12 will be shipped from these shores.” 151 “WE, the undersigned, thank the large number of broad-minded residents living in the close vicinity of the ROYAL OAK ZOO for signing sworn affidavits that the ROYAL OAK ZOO is no nuisance in any form, but an education for young and old. (Signed) MR AND MRS EDWARD EDWIN BOYD, JUN.” (Auckland Star 14 October 1920) “LABOUR DAY ZOO, ROYAL OAK, IN FULL SWING. Are We Downhearted? NO! Three Wickets Still Standing. Eleven Lions Trained at 3.30; Fed 4 pm. Boiling Water Free. Keep the Zoo Going Boys.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 22 October 1920) During Labour Day celebrations at the Domain, Boyd provided a van with two lions, on top of which a clown was “carrying on antics which were watched gravely by a big monkey.” 152 In the main parade along Queen Street, “At the rear was the display of the Onehunga Zoo which included a cage containing a lion and lioness, a monkey, and a lamb…” 153 “ZOO, ROYAL OAK. VERY INTERESTING. Lions Trained 3.30 pm. Lions Fed 4 pm. Adults, 1/-; Big Children, 6d. Small Children, 3d.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 19 November 1920) After this, Boyd seems to have given up on his attempts to prove that the by-law was rescinded legally by his brief administration, and fell back on legal dispute as to whether it could be applied to his zoo or not. In February 1921, he applied to the Supreme Court to have the by-law quashed on the grounds of invalidity – and failed. On 4 April 1921, Justice Stringer gave his ruling, after considering the points of motion from Boyd’s lawyers, the 80 affidavits in support of the zoo and the 13 against the noise, the objectionable odours, and the breeding of flies. “On general principles the affirmative evidence of the 13 was entitled to more weight than the merely negative testimony on the other side.” “I am quite unable,” he added, “upon this conflict of testimony, to hold that in the circumstances, reasonable men could not honestly have come to the conclusion that the keeping within the borough of the animals specified in the by-law was likely to become a nuisance or injurious to health. In my opinion, therefore, the first objection to the by-law fails.”
It was also noted that the by-law didn’t totally suppress Boyd’s business, only acting to restrain him from the keeping of “certain carnivorous animals.” The judge agreed that regarding those animals, the best course for the Borough Council was prohibition rather than regulation, especially in terms on sanitary conditions. 154 Boyd could therefore maintain a zoo, but he had dispose of the very animals which he was well aware drew in the crowds. Straight after their Supreme Court vindication, the Council once again charged J J Boyd with a breach of their by-law, and fined £20 and £5 12/- costs, noting that Boyd planned to appeal the Supreme Court decision against him. 155 And then – there came the next local election The 1921 election John Park initially had no intention of running for a second term as Mayor of Onehunga. As he advised in an electoral advertisement he placed at the time, “I had definitely decided not to seek re-election for the position of Mayor of the Borough, as I found the time necessary interfered with private business to a great extent, but after the large audiences which greeted me … and their splendid and spontaneous request that I should allow myself to be again nominated I feel that from a sense of public duty I must accede to the request.” 156 This must have come as a considerable relief to the anti-zoo faction, now led as a committee by E V Sutherland, who put up a full ticket of nine prospective and sitting councillors. 157 Especially as J J Boyd had tossed his hat into the ring for the mayoralty one more time, with the bland motto “Economy and Progress”, 158 joined by his son Edward among others as prospective councillors. The main platform of his campaign was however – the Zoo. Boyd declared at his 18 April public meeting at the Lyceum Theatre that he “regarded the question of rates as a hot one, and the Zoo as a red hot one. He desired to keep the Zoo where it was until the City and adjoining local bodies were prepared to take it over.” 159 Reports in the newspapers on the candidates’ meetings that election appeared quite restrained. Some of the actual flavour of the campaign, and the sniping between the two sides, can however be gleaned from the electoral advertisements placed in the Auckland Star by each side. From the anti-zoo, John Park faction: “ONEHUNGA VOTERS – Don’t swap Horses while Crossing a Stream” “ONEHUNGA VOTERS – Don’t risk a second failure. It may be serious. Vote Park and his Council.” “ONEHUNGA VOTERS – Support a tried Mayor and his Men of Integrity.” “ONEHUNGA VOTERS – Is Money, or Brains and Experience to Rule?” “ONEHUNGA ELECTORS – The GOOD OF THE BOROUGH or Vested Interests. Which?” From the pro-zoo, Boyd faction: “ONEHUNGA ELECTORS.
MR PARK is making more noise than the Zoo Lions. ONEHUNGA ELECTORS – Rise up, Jack, and let John sit down. ONEHUNGA ELECTORS – Is a permit to Build a Zoo only a Scrap of Paper? ONEHUNGA ELECTORS – Don’t Vote a Mayor and Council that is wasting your money at law over the Zoo. ONEHUNGA ELECTORS – Do Not Vote for a Mayor that has never been in the Zoo gates to see the beautiful animals and birds. ONEHUNGA ELECTORS – Who rated you up to the limit without apology, and made your borough like a run-down farm. Mortgaged up to the hilt, and still asking for more money for wildcat schemes. J. J. BOYD.” (Electoral advertisements, Auckland Star, 23 April 1921) Anti-zoo: “ONEHUNGA ELECTORS If the zoo is such a good thing, why WON’T other boroughs STAND IT?” “ONEHUNGA VOTERS The costs of the ZOO case are being PAID by LAWBREAKERS every time.” “ONEHUNGA VOTERS Does the destiny of our town hang on a zoo, zoo, zoo – nothing but zoo?” “ONEHUNGA ELECTORS Stick to a Mayor in whose term OVERDRAFT REDUCED by £2500. Figures talk. PARK and his COUNCIL every time.” “ONEHUNGA VOTERS Ex-Mayor declares NO PERMIT was ever issued for a zoo.” “ONEHUNGA ELECTORS How would you like a zoo to come next door? Cornwall Park’s its place.” Pro-zoo: “ONEHUNGA ELECTORS Vote Early To-morrow, Wednesday. J. J. Boyd, Mayor E. E. Boyd, Councillor. THAT’S THE TICKET.” (Electoral advertisements, Auckland Star, 26 April 1921) “ZOO. ROYAL OAK. ONEHUNGA. Established 1911. Permits Granted by Onehunga Council, the Government and Health Department. 11 BEAUTIFUL LIONS TRAINED 3.30 EVERY DAY. ANIMALS FED AT 4 P.M. Adults 1/-; Children, 6d; small children, 3d. ‘Keep the Zoo going, Boys!’ J. J. BOYD E. E. BOYD” (Advertisement, Auckland Star 26 April 1921) In the end, John Park (919) defeated John James Boyd (696) by a majority of 223 votes. Out of the nine council seats, eight were won by anti-zoo councillors (only
Edward Morton retaining his seat on the pro-zoo ticket). 160 Boyd was now losing both in the courts and on the hustings. The days for his Royal Oak Zoo in Onehunga Borough were numbered. On 3 May 1921, Boyd’s solicitor contacted the Auckland City Council with another offer – to sell the zoo to them for £12,500, although Boyd valued it at twice that much. Once again, his offer was declined. 161 The travelling Royal Oak Zoo At the 16 May Onehunga Borough Council meeting, their solicitor’s letter enclosed a letter from Boyd’s solicitor; the Council also received a letter direct from Boyd himself. By now, still appealing both the Supreme Court decision of the by-law and the latest Police Court fine, Boyd advised he had taken the step of shipping a number of his lions away from the zoo; one lion, a leopard and tiger were sent to Wellington Zoo, and arrangements were said to be underway to remove the performing lions as well. The Council, meanwhile, were in the process of taking further action against Boyd for continuing breaches of the by-law. Edward Boyd attended the meeting with additional news, asking the Council, according to their minutes, “not to take any further proceedings for four months to enable his father to have certain motor caravans built in which to remove the performing lions. He stated that there was no truth in the report that they were going to introduce more obnoxious animals into the zoo, also that his father had decided not to proceed any further with the two appeals. After hearing what he had to say, it was recommended that the matter be referred to the Borough Solicitor to ascertain his opinion on the matter …” 162 It appeared that Boyd was capitulating and finally admitting defeat. Advertisements appeared from Boyd, offering children free admission as the zoo was to be removed shortly. This set off another round of newspaper correspondence, where writers felt it was a pity that “a great asset to a town” such as the zoo had to leave, and wondering, yet again, if another spot on the isthmus could be found for it. 163 One writer even suggested setting it up on Brown’s Island, along with a pleasure resort. Another, ‘Hippopotamus’, wrote: “The Zoo has been the redeeming feature of an otherwise unattractive borough: it is a great source of revenue to the tramway, a delight to tens of thousands of children from all over the province, to say nothing of its educational value to them, and also students of natural history. It has been a place where hundreds of thousands of adults have found relaxation and amusement if only in watching the youngsters enjoying themselves. I wonder how many public-spirited people outside of Onehunga can be found to band themselves together in a society for the preservation of the Zoo, if not in Onehunga, then in some deserving locality that wants a great public attraction to make its suburb popular. It would be nothing short of a public calamity should the city be deprived of its Zoo, and I would suggest that the time is most opportune to start a movement for a municipal zoo, to be established on the waste land at the back of the Domain, if no more convenient place can be found.” 164 ‘Hippopotamus’ scathing opinion of Onehunga rankled at least one writer who responded that “Onehunga does not require the Zoo as a ‘redeeming feature’; but possesses many attractive features independent of it.” 165 Edward Boyd wrote to the Council in mid June, advising them of a proposal by a Mr. R H Abbott and the Auckland City Council to arrange purchase of the zoo animals for
removal to another location. He asked that the Council issue a £100 per annum licence to his father for the zoo until negotiations could be completed. Predictably, the Council declined the request. 166 Instead, they proceeded against Boyd once again in the Police Court on 22 June for keeping the lions and other animals within the borough from April 12 and every day thereafter. The Borough Solicitor described Boyd’s offence as a deliberate flouting of the by-law, and demanded the full £5 per day fine. Instead, the magistrate said that he noted that that Boyd had disposed of a “considerable number of lions”, and that no one would suggest the remaining trained lions should be destroyed. “To inflict the full penalty would be carrying the law beyond what was reasonable and just. At the same time the penalty must be such as would hasten the removal of the remaining lions from the borough. The road to this end must be more than paved with good intentions.” Boyd was convicted and fined £37 10/- and costs, the fine for 50 days breach of the by-law. The magistrate also expressed the hope that the Council wouldn’t push for another prosecution unduly. 167 On 20 June, Boyd advertised in the Star that he wanted to buy two 2-ton motor trucks and 2 trailers. The Borough Solicitor recommended to the Council on 27 June that the borough’s inspector check the zoo again in a fortnight to see if Boyd’s arrangement to remove the last of the lions was progressing satisfactorily; if not, he suggested that Boyd be prosecuted again. The Council agreed. 168 On 11 July, the report came back to the Council that one caravan had been constructed, and three more were in the process of completion. 169 Others in Auckland saw the actions of the Onehunga Borough Council against Boyd as unfair. One wrote to the Star that “Mr Boyd should be encouraged in his fine work of keeping the zoo going, and not treated like he is.” 170 In fairness to the council, though, they did stop prosecutions for a time, inspecting the zoo now and then to make sure that Boyd’s promise of removal was being kept. In answer to a complaint in late August that Boyd was building a structure without a permit, the inspector reported that this was merely a platform to load the animals onto Boyd’s “motor caravans.” 171 The travelling Royal Oak Zoo was taking shape. “ZOO! ZOO! ZOO! ROYAL OAK, ONEHUNGA. The 11 TRAINED LIONS are in the New Caravans and Arena. Will be ready to start on Tour in a few days. COME AND SEE THEM. Adults 1/-, Children 6d, Small Children 3d.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 3 September 1921) “LAST SUNDAY, September 25, To SEE THE LIONS BEFORE DEPARTING ON TOUR Adults 1/-, Children 6d., Small Children 3d.” (Advertisement, Auckland Star, 24 September 1921) From 29 September 1921 to April 1922, J J Boyd’s Travelling Zoo was away from Onehunga and on tour around towns at least in the central part of the North Island.
“Mr. J. J. Boyd. proprietor of Onehunga Zoo, has removed the performing lions, together with some leopards and tigers, from Onehunga. The animals were taken yesterday in three caravans built on motor-lorries to Pukekohe, where the lions will perform under the training of Mr. E. E. Boyd. Mr. Boyd has the right of common law to exhibit his troupe in any place for three days each week. It is expected that he will exercise this right and often visit Onehunga.” 172 The Waikato Independent from January 1922 provides a good description of what J. J. Boyd and his son “Professor” Edward Boyd put on for the townspeople in Cambridge: “A most interesting and attractive show will be in Cambridge, at Victoria Square, today and to-morrow, in the shape of Boyd’s famous zoo. Performances will be given each day at 3.30 and 7.30 pm. Professor E. E. Boyd gives exhibitions with a group of about a dozen well-trained lions and lionesses, the animals proving very tractable. They do a number of manoeuvres for their master, answering to the word of command instantly and correctly. They finish their display by leaping through a blazing hoop held by the professor, who has certainly achieved wonders in educating these formidable beasts. Mr Boyd informs us that he has undertaken an educational tour of the province and to this end had expended several thousands sterling in equipping his travelling zoo. That the public appreciates the enterprise is evident by the crowds of patrons.” 173 “Large attendances assembled in the tent in Victoria Square on Tuesday and Wednesday to witness the performance presented by Professor Boyd of Auckland, and his trained lions. The animals performed a number of almost incredible feats, a sensational climax being reached by the leaping of the beasts through a blazing paper hoop. The leopards, tigers, and baboons, which formed part of the menagerie on tour, were also viewed with great interest by the public.” 174 Before Cambridge though, Boyd and his travelling zoo made camp at Rotorua for some time, possibly somewhere on the railway reserve in the middle of the township at Fenton Street, near present-day Amohau Street and a modern shopping centre. Local news reports of his period at Rotorua have not been found, but three letters have survived, all complaining about the zoo. These show that it wasn’t just a few neighbours along Symonds Street in Onehunga who had issues with J J Boyd and his zoo. “Today, a dead horse was brought on to the property and was chopped up with a bush axe in full view of residents and children and thousands of blow flies … Yesterday a dead calf was treated in the same manner … Make them move to a section further out.” 175 The district’s resident officer William Hill wrote to Boyd: “As you have not taken any action in compliance with my memorandum of [7 December 1921], I have no alternative but to inform you that your conduct of a Zoo in Rotorua, especially as far as the present site is concerned, is a breach of the Town By-Laws, and I must ask you to close down at once.
“Since I saw you yesterday, I have received a strong complaint from a resident in the neighbourhood, as to the nuisance arising from the Zoo being in such close proximity to dwellings, and the probable danger to health through the attraction to flies. I am willing to grant you a licence to show on a site at the junction of the Wairoa and Cemetery Roads, but not on the present site. “Your prompt attention to this matter will oblige.” 176 Mr Hill received another complaint two days later, this time from the Senior Inspector at the District Health Office in Rotorua: “I have to inform you of a further complaint in connection with Boyd’s Zoo, received this morning from Sister Gillanders, Matron-in-Charge of the Isolation Hospital. “The Isolation Hospital, as you are aware, is situated just on the other side of the Town Belt Plantation and within one hundred yards of the present site of the Zoo. The roar of the lions greatly disturb patients undergoing treatment … Besides disturbance and upset of patients, the nurses at the institution also complain. The Matron (Sister Gillanders) also informs me they have noticed an effluvium nuisance at times coming from the Zoo. “The Zoo is undoubtedly in an unsatisfactory position, especially with regard to noises made by the wild animals, for not only the Isolation Hospital is in too close proximity, but the leading hotel and boarding houses besides numerous private dwellings, in fact the noise at times can be heard all over the Town … “As previously explained to you there is no sanitary convenience provided for these premises, which are without water supply or water-closet arrangements, besides the male employees (3?) there is Mr Boyd Senr, and his son and wife who was doing washing this morning … “In conclusion I may state that I believe Mr Boyd Senr is endeavouring to do his best with regard to keeping the premises in reasonable sanitary order, but the noise of the beasts is no doubt beyond his control …” 177 They were at Ngaruawahia by early February 1922.
Ngaruawuhia has the honour of being the birth place of throe lion cubs. While Mr J J Boyd's zoo was camped at the Point, one of the lionesses in the party presented the proprietor with this interesting addition to his zoo. One of these day-old cubs, about the size of a small cat, was handed around amongst the audience at the evening entertainments. It has been decided to christen the three little strangers Waipa, Ngaruawahia, and Sampson (by permission) after the Mayor of Ngaruawahia. It is worth noting that Mr Boyd has reared over one hundred lions in the course of his career. Recently he sold twenty lions to go abroad. 178
Later that month, the travelling show was back at Pukekohe for the Franklin Summer Show. “The extent of public patronage is illustrated by the exceptionally large number of side shows, which include Boyd's famous circus and zoo with its motor transport.”179
Auckland City takes up Boyd’s offer (finally) In late February, the Boyds and their menagerie were advertised to be back at Onehunga for 5 days from 3 March. 180 However, when that date came around, they were instead featured at a Takapuna Agricultural Show at She’s Paddock. This delayed their intended return until 8 March. 181 Back at Onehunga, the lions performed at 3.30 pm, for the price of 1/- for adults and 6d for children. The Borough Council appear to have granted them a five day licence to bring the lions in their small travelling cages back onto the Symonds Street site; on 10 April, Edward Boyd appeared before the Council applying for another five days on his father’s behalf, but the extension was refused. 182 Perhaps the Boyds then complied and found another spot – but they were back again in early May, and once again applied for a permit, as the Inspector of Nuisances had ordered that the animals be removed from the travelling cases. Yet again, the application was declined. 183 Meanwhile, back home in Wellington, J J Boyd fired one last broadside at the establishment which had ultimately thwarted his plans for his family-operated private zoo: he was reported on 4 May that he intended petitioning Parliament for £10,000 compensation “for loss incurred through interference with his collection by the Onehunga Borough Council, backed by legislation.” As usual, he threatened litigation if unsuccessful and to “take the matter to the Privy Council if need be.” 184 It is unlikely that this proceeded further than his intentions. Still, it showed Boyd’s famous stubbornness was still in evidence. Despite the Onehunga Borough Council’s adamant refusal to grant a permit for the performing lions to return to the zoo site, the Boyds chose to go ahead and keep the lions at the Zoo from May 9 to May 22. On May 10, Boyd had an auction. The zoo was on the block. “ROYAL OAK ZOO. ROYAL OAK ZOO. ROYAL OAK ZOO. J R ROBERTSON LTD. AT ROYAL OAK ZOO. Wednesday Next, 11 AM Favoured with instructions from MR. J J BOYD, will Sell by Public Auction, THE WHOLE OF HIS REFRESHMENT ROOM FURNISHINGS AND STOCK. As under:25 RESTAURANT TABLES. 100 RESTAURANT CHAIRS. 2 PIER GLASSES, Palm Stands, Pictures WEIGHTS AND SCALES. 12ft x 2ft SHOP COUNTER. 3ft by 2ft COUNTER. TUMBLERS AND GLASS DRAINERS.
ABOUT 50 YARDS OF SUPER QUALITY LINO. LARGE DOOR SCREENS. LARGE FORM WITH COLLAPSIBLE SEATS. 12 Window Blinds. 4 Pairs of Poplin Curtains. 2 Large Copper Tea Urns, 2 Gas Rings, Spring Scales. LARGE COLLECTION OF RESTAURANT CROCKERY AND GLASSWARE AND KITCHEN UTENSILS too numerous to detail. Also, 1 UNITED 3 TO 4 TON MOTOR LORRY. 1 INTERNATIONAL 3 TO 4 TONMOTOR LORRY. 1 CADILLAC 24-TON MOTOR LORRY. 1 DUPLEX 2-TON MOTOR LORRY. 1 FORD 1-TON MOTOR LORRY. Also, THE WHOLE OF THE OUTBUILDINGS AND ANIMALS, PENS. ETC. 1 MERRY-GO-ROUND. Engine and Boiler and Accessories suitable for same. 3 VERY FINE DONKEYS, suitable for Children's Pets. J R ROBERTSON, AUCTIONEER”. 185 The auction did little good. 16 June, Boyd was still trying to sell “5 motor trucks, 2 Ocean Waves, 1 Bandstand, 1 Grandstand, 11 Lions, 6 Bears, 2 Indian Wolves,” and “1 Carry Living Van”. 186 Boyd was fined at the Onehunga Police Court on 29 May 1922 at a rate of 30/- per day for the 13 days he was in breach of the borough by-law. The Boyds now told the press that efforts were being made to sell the animals, but “if they were not soon disposed of they would be destroyed.” 187 This led to a flurry of opinion appearing the newspapers, and none of it complimentary to the Onehunga Borough Council or the district as a whole: “I and many of my friends join in condemning the un-British treatment that Mr. Boyd and his Zoo are receiving. There is no longer any prosecution in it; it is now at a stage of persecution, and the cause of all the trouble is a small and determined clique.” 188 “… Re Mr Boyd and his zoo. That gentleman has done more for Onehunga and the City of Auckland in the few years that he has been in the district than any of the councillors in Onehunga in a lifetime … God knows, Auckland is far enough behind the times. Why make it worse just because a tinpot Council says you must go?” 189 “I consider that instead of persecution, Mr Boyd is entitled to the thanks of the intelligent community for his efforts to establish a zoological garden in or adjacent to Auckland, especially in the cause of the highest education of the young people … I would not willingly wound anyone in Onehunga or anywhere else either, but the people of that borough ought to think of others and of the rising generation, and not only of themselves.” 190 “Will some Aucklander be kind enough to explain why no support can be given to an enterprising person with a collection of wild animals? The one and only attempt at
such a collection that Auckland can boast. I do not know Mr Boyd, or have I to my knowledge ever seen him, but that he should be called upon to poison those splendid lions seems to me an abomination and an outrage. What is the matter with Auckland’s fathers and mothers that they should prefer picture palaces for their children’s amusement? Have they all no recollection of what a fascinating place a zoo can be? Or knowledge of education and healthful enjoyment of animal study at close quarters? … Surely Auckland is as well able to support a zoo as Wellington … Surely they could spare an acre or two to house some of God’s wonders of the animal world.” 191 12 June, Edward Edwin Boyd was reported as appearing before the bench at the Onehunga Police Court charged with damaging property at the zoo. He was ordered to make restitution of £19 17/-, the matter adjourned for 12 months, and he consented to another prohibition order against himself. 192 The Auckland Star reported on 16 June that the Royal Oak Zoo was now empty. “… the collection of animals and birds whose carolling so offended the residents of Onehunga has gradually been disposed of and the old familiar sign, ‘Royal Oak, for the Zoo,’ no longer has any significance. The Star reporter did not have time to inquire the location of the many fine beasts that were once sheltered near the shores of the Manukau, but did learn that a lady in the country purchased a number of the birds, and ever entertaining monkeys, and that the collection has created quite a novelty in her district.” 193 The “lady in the country” appears to have been a Miss Brittain of Manurewa. “MISS BRITTAIN, MANUREWA, Having purchased from Mr. Boyd, of Onehunga Zoo, the remainder of his monkeys (17), deer, donkeys, emu, kea, mackaw, fancy birds, and those handsome pairs of American eagles Mr. Boyd informs me cost him £300. I will lend FREE the whole of the above to any charitable organisation. Can be seen here by appointment with my dogs (30), Persian cats, guinea pigs, and Angora rabbits, fancy pigeons, guinea fowls, fancy bantams, ducks, fowls and goats.” 194 A deputation headed by the Hon. George Fowlds, the Rev. Jasper Calder and Mr. Laidlaw of Farmers store fame, waited on the Auckland City Council on 15 June, to present their case for the establishment of a municipal zoo in Auckland. They offered a site suggestion (One Tree Hill) and pointed out that the Boyd collection of (at that point) 11 lions, 6 bears, 2 wolves and the 2 dogs from the Shackleton expedition could be obtained. In the Mayor’s opinion: “the position had very much changed since the council last had this question before it, and after mature thought he was of the opinion the council should go into it again. The collection was a unique one …”
This drew some fire from Auckland City ratepayers. “The City Council would not be justified in spending a large sum of money on the purchase of a zoo. We hear on all sides how really bad times are; we had a “Poor and Needy” drive in the city only a few weeks ago. The public was told how badly
their help was needed, yet we find some of those gentlemen who waited on the council relative to the purchasing of the zoo, were only a few weeks ago crying “hard times”. Goodness only knows, the ratepayers have a heavy enough burden to carry in the way of rates without heaping any more troubles upon them. The educative value of a zoo is greatly exaggerated, any why some people should suggest passing another burden on to the ratepayers is more than I can fathom.” 196 Another writer suggested that a suitable site would be Western Springs for the municipal zoo. 197 This proved to be prophetic. Edward Boyd wrote to the City Council on 17 June, asking for a job looking after the animals as he had a family of nine depending on him. Five days later, the City Council wrote to the Onehunga Borough Council, informing them that they had taken an option for two months to purchase Boyd’s animals, and asked for a permit to allow them to remain at Symonds Street until a poll was held. The Borough Council declined the application. 198 It is unknown exactly where Boyd’s animals were housed up to the time of the Auckland zoo poll. On 27 June 1922, Auckland City Council announced that they would hold a ratepayers’ poll on the question of sanctioning a £10,000 loan to establish Auckland’s proposed municipal zoo at Western Springs. The Auckland Star expressed some mixed feelings about the project. “The financial aspect is all important and we hope the Mayor will furnish the public with some more details before he asks ratepayers to sanction the loan. It is one thing to set up a zoo and another thing to make it pay … We cannot say we think a municipal zoo is anything but a pure luxury, and the City Council owes it to ratepayers to give them an idea of what the ultimate cost of this luxury will be.” 199 The Star’s misgivings were shared by others who wrote their letters to the newspaper, while still others supported the idea of a municipal zoo in Auckland. “Admitting that up-to-date zoological gardens are an acquisition to any town … I do not think the present time opportune to come before the ratepayers with a poll for £10,000 for its establishment: besides, how far will that sum go? It is a mere trifle. The Mayor is confident it will pay its way; he surely cannot have read the financial report published in connection with the Wellington Municipal Zoo, or he would not be quite so optimistic.” 200 “… when hundreds of people are wanting food, clothing, and houses, I submit the above loan is quite out of place … In face of the fact that we already have several White Elephants, and that the above loan is only an instalment of what will be required, ratepayers will be wise to reject it.” 201 “It is a cause for regret that one or two correspondents should object to the City Council establishing a zoo. Auckland is a city with many natural attractions. We have a number of parks that are not revenue producing, and now that it is proposed to have one that will be revenue producing and a distinct asset to the city, we hear the foolish cry about the rates and the unemployed.” 202
“My contention is that a zoo is quite unnecessary, a very unhealthy thing to have in any district, will reduce the selling value of property for miles round – we had experience in Onehunga – and lastly, the amount asked for would not cover costs; it would be nearer £20,000 when everything is fixed up.” 203 “No, sir, a zoo is not a payable proposition in New Zealand at present, and the City Council are not the people to run it, as we know to our cost, in their mismanagement of the fish business and trams.” 204 “As a working man I look upon the proposed zoo as one of the best moves that the council has made for a considerable time.” 205 “As a lover of freedom, I want to enter my protest against the establishment of a zoo in Auckland. To see noble animals like lions, tigers, leopards etc., shut up in small cages, ceaselessly pacing around their narrow confines for the whole term of their earthly existence, is to me a crying shame … A zoo is a great attraction for rats, the smell is most offensive at times, and the roaring of the lions has distressed the nerves of many people in Onehunga.” 206 Mayor Gunson reassured Aucklanders on 25 July that only a small part of the £10,000 loan was for purchasing animals from Boyd or anyone else. The amount that would be offered to Boyd for his animals £800. 207 Most of it was budgeted towards the preparation of the grounds at Western Springs. The future zoo would not be a repeat of the early days of Wellington’s Newtown Zoo, however. In the event of the poll being carried, John Court promised an elephant, Mr. Ford who managed the tramways donated two kangaroos, and Rev. Jasper Calder (chairman of the Citizen’s Committee for the promotion of the zoological gardens) said that he’d received promises of further donated animals. On 26 July 1922, the poll came out in favour of the loan, by 2454 to 1013 against, with only just over 20% of eligible ratepayers voting. 208 From that point on, the City Council’s project to build and stock the Auckland Zoo had the green light. On 15 August, J J Boyd wrote to the Mayor, asking that his son Edward and Joseph Hurley both be given jobs to care for the animals at the new zoo. Joseph Hurley had already applied for the “position of Caretaker and Keeper of the animals at the proposed Zoological Gardens” to Auckland City Council on 27 July. 209 In Boyd’s letter was a list of animals to be transferred over to the City Council: 11 pure-bred African Lions (8 lionesses and 3 lions) from 6½ to 9 years old. These would have been Boyd’s performing lions from the travelling zoo. 1 large male Russian bear 1 Himalayan bear (female) 4 Black American bears (1 male, 3 female) 2 pure-bred Indian Wolves 1 “Esquimaux dog” (male) and 1 Wolf Dog (female). These would have been the two dogs from Shackleton’s expedition, property of the NZ Government according to Boyd’s letter, and loaned for exhibition purposes. 210
Along with the animals, Boyd offered a one-ton Ford truck for £200 (purchased by Council for £175) and a horse and cart (these latter items declined). 211 The Council confirmed Edward Boyd’s and Hurley’s appointments on 23 August as jointly in charge of the animals while they remained at Onehunga pending preparations at Western Springs. 212 The animals were formally taken over by Auckland City Council from 31 August. 213 They remained at Onehunga until all was ready at Western Springs, 214 while Mrs J J Boyd advertised the sale of the Ocean Wave play equipment, “pay well on beach summertime.” 215 Two lionesses were applied for by D T Meekin of Melbourne, after application to Edward Boyd, referred to the Council. The Council agreed to sell them for £50 each “as Council already possesses more of this exhibit than it really requires.” 216 The Auckland Zoo itself opened on the afternoon of 16 December 1922, but some compared it unfavourably to the small private zoo it replaced. “When the Zoo was owned and managed by Mr. Boyd it was at the disposal of the public at 6d for adults and 3d for children, but the moment the Mayor took charge of it the entrance fee was doubled. Why? If Mr. Boyd could make the Zoo pay at the minor charge, why not the Council? If the Council could work the Zoo on the modest scale of Mr. Boyd the minor charge would have sufficed, but if there is going to be a superintendent, a deputy, a veterinary, and attendants galore, the larger charge will be insufficient, but then rates will be available. When the purchase of the Zoo was first mooted one plea was the children, object lesson, cheap amusement, and so on. I saw the Onehunga Zoo twice, years ago, and I noticed that the visitors were mostly workers and their children, because it was a cheap affair, but will the Zoo be patronised at the double charge as much? I doubt it. —I am, etc, O L” 217 Three days after the Zoo’s opening, on 19 December 1922, the Council’s Parks Committee resolved to confirm Joseph Hurley’s appointment as keeper at the Auckland Zoo, his wages to be £4 per week, while Edward Boyd’s (referred to erroneously as “J Boyd”) services were “to be dispensed with at once, and to be given two weeks wages in lieu of notice.” 218 As far as the Onehunga Borough Council was concerned however, the whole 11-yearlong saga came to an end more than a month before the poll – when A B Harding sent a revised plan for the J J Boyd/E B Wright subdivision in Symonds Street on 12 June 1922. The Council approved it, subject to approval from the Borough Engineer. The war had ended.
DI 14A.414, LINZ records CT 502/292, LINZ records 3 DI 5A.531, LINZ records 4 R189.306, LINZ records 5 Auckland Star, 9 February 1917 6 NZ Herald, 2 May 1911 7 Auckland Star, 3 May 1911 8 Letter by “Anti-Zoo”, NZ Herald, 8 May 1911 9 NZ Herald, 12 May 1911 10 Auckland Star, 20 April 1911 11 Auckland Star, 2 May 1911 12 Auckland Star, 12 May 1911 13 Auckland Star, 12 May 1911 14 NZ Herald, 16 May 1911 15 Auckland Star, 16 May 1911 16 NZ Herald, 27 May 1911 17 NZ Herald, 30 May 1911 18 Auckland Star, 13 June 1911 19 Auckland Star, 13 June 1911 20 Evening Post, 6 July 1911 21 Auckland Star, 20 July 1911 22 Auckland Star 8 August 1911 23 Onehunga Borough Council Minutes, 7 August 1911, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives 24 Auckland Star, 14 August 1911 25 NZ Herald, 15 August 1911, p. 6 26 Minutes, 21 August 1911, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives; NZ Herald 23 August 1911, p.6 27 Evening Post, 29 August 1911 28 Minutes, 28 August 1911, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 29 NZ Herald, 25 September 1911 30 Auckland Star, 25 August 1911 31 Auckland Star 4 September 1911 32 NZ Herald, 18 September 1911, p. 1 33 NZ Herald, 26 September 1911, p. 7 34 OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives 35 Evening Post, 16 October 1911 36 Evening Post, 17 October 1911, p. 3 37 Press, 17 October 1911 38 Evening Post 17 October 1911 39 Photograph in Tim Baker’s Professor Bickerton’s Wainoni, 2004, p. 40 40 NZ Truth, 21 October 1911 41 NZ Herald 7 December 1911 42 Ashburton Guardian, 4 December 1911 43 Wairarapa Daily Times 13 January 1912 44 Article from Christchurch Press, 15 April 1912, p. 3, from Baker, p. 35 45 Auckland Star, 28 March 1912 46 Evening Post, 11 January 1912, p. 3 47 Evening Post, 11 March 1912 48 Auckland Star, 12 June 1912 49 G G M Mitchell (writing as “G.G.M.M.”), “The Saga of Boyd’s Zoo”, Manukau Progress, 1961 50 Minutes, 10 June 1912, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives; NZ Herald, 11 June 1912 51 Minutes, 8 July 1912, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives 52 Mitchell, Manukau Progress, 1961 53 Minutes, 5 August 1912, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives; Evening Post, 13 August 1912, p. 3 54 Minutes, 14 October 1912, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives 55 Auckland Star, 10 October 1912 56 Auckland Star, 14 October 1912 57 Auckland Star, 26 October 1912 58 Auckland Star, 31 October 1912 59 NZ Herald, 21 December 1912 p. 11
NZ Herald, 22 October 1912, p.12 Evening Post, 9 June 1911, p. 2 62 NZ Herald 12 January, Evening Post 26 January 1914, Auckland Star 26 January 1914 63 Auckland Star, 7 July 1913 64 Auckland Star, 11 August 1913 65 Auckland Star, 15 October 1913 66 Auckland Star 28 March 1913 67 Auckland Star, 6 & 7 August 1913 68 Observer, 16 August 1913 69 Poverty Bay Herald, 1 September 1913 70 Auckland Star, 18 August 1913 71 Evening Post, 24 January 1914, p. 11 72 NZ Herald & Auckland Star, 27 January 1914 73 Auckland Star, 3 February 1914 74 Auckland Star, 17 February 1914 75 Auckland Star, 17 March 1914 76 Minutes, 2 March 1914 & 6 April 1914, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives; Auckland Star, 3 March 1914 77 Minutes, 13 March 1914, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 78 Minutes, 16 March 1914, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives 79 Auckland Star, 17 March 1914 80 Evening Post, 3 April 1914 81 Auckland Star, 20 July 1914 82 Auckland Star 9 April 1914 83 Minutes, 20 July & 17 August 1914, Auckland City Archives 84 Evening Post, 30 July 1914. 85 Minutes, 21 December 1914, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 86 Minutes, 21 December 1914, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives 87 Auckland Star, 17 December 1914 88 Dominion, 8 January 1915 89 Dominion, 28 October 1915 90 Dominion, 12 August 1916 91 Dominion, 3 March 1917 92 Dominion 15 August 1918 93 Auckland Star 19 January 1915 94 Auckland Star 9 April 1915 95 Conversation with John Boyd, great-grandson, 5 July 2012. 96 Minutes, 25 January 1915, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 97 Minutes, 1 February 1915, OHB 100/12, Auckland City Archives 98 Minutes, 26 April 1915, OHB 100/13, Auckland City Archives 99 NZ Herald & Auckland Star, 8 September 1915 100 Auckland Star, 13 October 1915 101 Weekly News, 30 March 1916 102 Weekly News, 29 June 1916 103 Auckland Star, 6 July 1916 104 Auckland Star, 12 September 1916 105 Auckland Star, 26 September 1916 106 Mitchell, Manukau Progress, 1961 107 Minutes, 2 October 1916, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 108 Minutes, 13 November 1916, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 109 Minutes, 20 November 1916, OHB 100/13, Auckland City Archives 110 Auckland Star, 9 January 1917 111 Auckland Star 27 January 1917 112 Auckland Star 16 January 1917 113 Auckland Star, 13 March 1917 114 Minutes, 12 March 1917, OHB 100/13, Auckland City Archives 115 Mitchell, “The Saga of Boyd’s Zoo: Supreme Court Actions”, Manukau Progress, 1961 116 Minutes, 26 March 1917, OHB 100/13, Auckland City Archives 117 Auckland Star, 16 April 1917 118 NZ Herald, 17 April 1917
NZ Herald, 19 April 1917 Results, NZ Herald, 26 April 1917 121 Advertisement, Auckland Star, 27 April 1917 122 Letter to editor from F S Morton, Auckland Star, 14 August 1918 123 Electoral notice, NZ Herald, 21 April 1917 124 Auckland Star, 22 May 1917 125 Auckland Star, 21 June 1917 126 Auckland Star, 6 August 1917 127 Auckland Star, 21 August 1917 128 Auckland Star, 12 March 1918 129 NZ Herald, 13 April 1918. 130 NZ Herald, 16 May 1918 131 Auckland Star, 16 July 1918 132 Auckland Star, 30 July 1918 133 Auckland Star, 26 July 1918 134 ibid 135 Auckland Star, 13 August 1918 136 Auckland Star, 8 August 1918 137 NZ Herald, 23 August 1918 138 Auckland Star 6 August 1918 139 Letter by C. M. Carter, NZ Herald, 9 August 1918 140 Auckland Star, 22 April 1919 141 Auckland Star, 23 September 1919 142 Auckland Star, 11 November 1919 143 Auckland Star, 11 December 1919 144 Auckland Star, 13 December 1919 145 Minutes, 15 December 1919, OHB 100/14, Auckland City Archives 146 Auckland Star, 1 March 1920 147 Minutes, 4 May 1920, OHB 100/14, Auckland City Archives 148 Minutes, 5 May 1920, OHB 101/14, Auckland City Archives 149 Minutes, 17 May 1920, OHB 100/14, Auckland City Archives 150 Auckland Star, 4 August 1920 151 Auckland Star, 12 August 1920 152 Auckland Star 25 October 1920 153 NZ Herald, 26 October 1920, p. 6 154 NZ Herald, 5 April 1921 155 Auckland Star, 11 April 1921 156 Advertisement, Auckland Star, 16 April 1921 157 Electoral advertisement, Auckland Star, 21 April 1921 158 Electoral advertisement, Auckland Star, 16 April1921 159 Auckland Star, 19 April 1921 160 Results, Auckland Star, 30 April 1921 161 ACC 275/27/18/547 pt. 1, Auckland City Archives 162 Minutes, 16 May 1921, OHB 100/14, Auckland City Archives; Auckland Star, 17 May 1921 163 Auckland Star, 31 May 1921 164 Auckland Star, 10 June 1921 165 Auckland Star, 15 June 1921 166 Minutes, 13 June 1921, OHB 100/14, Auckland City Archives; Auckland Star, 14 June 1921, p. 7 167 Auckland Star, 22 June 1921 168 Auckland Star, 28 June 1921 169 Auckland Star 12 July 1921 170 Letter from “Fair Play”, Auckland Star, 4 July 1921 171 Minutes, 22 August 1921, OHB 100/14, Auckland City Archives; Auckland Star, 23 August 1921 172 Auckland Star, 30 September 1921 173 Waikato Independent, 10 January 1922, from the collection of the Cambridge Museum 174 Waikato Independent, 12 January 1922, from the collection of the Cambridge Museum 175 Letter H Ricketts to Tourist Office, Rotorua, 8 December 1921, The Don Stafford Collection, Rotorua Library 176 Letter from William Hill, Resident Officer to “Mr Boyd, The Zoo, Fenton Street”, 10 December 1921, The Don Stafford Collection, Rotorua Library
Letter from Senior Inspector to Resident Officer, 12 December 1921, The Don Stafford Collection, Rotorua Library 178 Northern Advocate 10 February 1922 179 Auckland Star 24 February 1922 180 Auckland Star 24 February 1922, advertising 5-day session at Onehunga from 3 March, 181 Auckland Star, 3 March 1922 (advertisements) 182 Minutes, 10 April 1922, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 183 Minutes, 8 May 1922, OHB 101/5, Auckland City Archives 184 Auckland Star, 4 May 1922 185 Auckland Star 6 May 1922 186 Auckland Star 187 Auckland Star, 29 May 1922 188 Letter from “H.H.”, Auckland Star, 1 June 1922 189 Letter from “Another friends of H.H.”, Auckland Star, 5 June 1922 190 Letter from Clement L. Wragge, Auckland Star, 8 June 1922 191 Letter from “One Woman’s Views”, Auckland Star, 10 June 1922 192 Auckland Star 12 June 1922 193 Auckland Star, 16 June 1922 194 Auckland Star 17 June 1922 195 ibid 196 Letter from “Non-Sentimental”, Auckland Star, 21 June 1922 197 E Roget, ibid 198 ACC 275/27/18/547 pt. 1, Auckland City Archives 199 Editorial, Auckland Star, 27 June 1922 200 Letter from “Another Ratepayer,” Auckland Star, 15 July 1922 201 Letter from “Ratepayer”, Auckland Star, 15 July 1922. 202 Letter from “Advance Auckland”, Auckland Star, 18 July 1922 203 Letter from “Epsom Ratepayer”, Auckland Star, 18 July 1922 204 Letter from “Henry Hope”, Auckland Star, 21 July 1922 205 Letter from “A Progressive Labourer,” Auckland Star, 21 July 1922 206 Letter from “Freedom”, Auckland Star, 21 July 1922 207 Auckland Star, 14 July 1922 208 Auckland Star, 27 July 1922 209 Parks Committee minutes, ACC 107, Auckland Council Archives 210 ACC 275/27/18/547 pt. 1, Auckland Council Archives 211 Parks Committee minutes, ACC 107 (22 August 1922) 212 Parks Committee minutes, ACC 107 (22 August 1922); ACC 275/27/18/547 pt. 1, Auckland Council Archives 213 Auckland Star 28 July 1922 214 Auckland Star, 11 September 1922 215 Auckland Star, 14 September 1922 216 Parks Committee minutes, ACC 107 (10 October 1922) 217 Auckland Star 16 January 1923 218 Parks Committee minutes, ACC 107 (22 August 1922)