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Historical Society Incorporated

January — February 2018
Prepared by Lisa Truttman, President and Editor
No. 91

Proposed amalgamation with The real Rizal Reserve — and what else
Mt Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical happens when history and geography are
Society treated lightly
At the December meeting, the AWHS members present
passed an agreement in principle regarding a future There is an organisation called the Whau Coastal Walk-
merging of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society, way Environmental Trust. They are in a “collaborative
pending a special committee meeting in the new year and partnership” with local iwi, two of the western local
final resolution at our August 2018 AGM. boards including the Whau Local Board, Auckland
Council and Auckland Transport to manage the build-
ing of a shared pathway from Green Bay to the North-
Guest Speaker—February 2018 Western Motorway.

The pathway is a good idea. What isn’t a good idea is to
At this stage, we hope to have Sandra Coney, talking to unilaterally try to rename Rizal Reserve in Avondale
us about her latest book Gone W est, about West “Arawhata Reserve”, as a rather fictitious map on the
Auckland memorials to those who served in the First project’s website, and also on AT’s site, shows. The
World War. Trust’s members at the last Whau Local Board meeting
even reiterated that they’re taking the pathway, which
In April—Lisa Truttrman, on Avondale’s businesses. goes along the west coast of the Whau River, through
“Rizal Reserve”. Actually, they’re really talking about
an unnamed coastal strip off Delta Ave.
Auckland Council’s Plan Change 7
So far, all attempts by me to put this error straight with
them and with AT, has met with the proverbial brick
Also at the December meeting, the AWHS members firm- wall.
ly supported the scheduling under Plan Change 7 of the
Auckland Council Unitary Plan of the former Avondale Rizal Reserve, off Corregidor Place, off Wingate Street
Post Office Building (built 1938, at the corner of Great in Avondale, originated from the subdivision of
North Road and Rosebank Road), but we have gone a step Avondale Jockey Club land at the Whau River end of
further. the racecourse in the late 1990s, and was opened on
We also agreed to fully support the lobbying campaign Below: the memorial to Jose Rizal — in Avondale, not New
suggested by Avondale resident Nina Patel to convince the Lynn.
Whau Local Board and Auckland Council to undertake a
heritage/character study of central Avondale. This espe-
cially in the light of plans already being prepared by
Council’s property management and utilisation arm,
Panuku, to upgrade the area.

Regarding Plan Change 7 — please support the heritage
scheduling of the sites proposed. See the following link
for more information. The deadline for submissions has
now been extended to mid February 2018.

Or this abbreviated URL:
5 July 1998. It's a bit of a hike to get down there from
Great North Road if you don't drive.

There is a misconception that Wingate Street was
named after General Orde Wingate (1903-1944), a Brit-
ish general best known for the Burma Campaign (the
street was Windsor Road up until the early 1930s, and
named Wingate after a British place name, taking the
first three letters of the old name, as per Council proce-
dure then). Probably due to that assumption, one of the
side streets was given the name of a WWII battle,
Corregidor in the Philippines – so the Filipino commu-
nity here and their Consul General at the time Graeme
Dabb (who died last year) thought it was a natural thing
to lobby for the reserve to be named after one of their
national heroes, Jose Rizal.

At Dabb’s funeral, a Filipino elder Tony Noblejas, said Rewarewa bridge, on the far (west) side of New Lynn
that one of Dabb’s two greatest achievements for the Railway Station. The book therefore goes on for some
Filipino community here was the naming of the reserve length about a rail accident not connected with the
(the other was the raising of the Philippines flag on the river.
Harbour Bridge on Philippines Independence Day).

The reserve is, today, more-or-less a backyard for the
* No mention made of the two gifts of land made by
local residents. A trampoline has been there beside one Te Kawau of Ngati Whatua to Governor Hobson, the
house on the reserve so long, the grass is waist-height second of which included most of the Avondale side of
where the Council mowers have skirted around it. the Whau River foreshore.
Vehicles park on the grass. A concrete walkway near
the Rizal memorial has collapsed, and orange hazard * The Auckland Lunatic Asylum / Auckland Mental
fencing is all around the slipping slabs. More seem to Hospital is repeatedly misnamed.
be on the move, in this area that was once part of a
brickyard and possibly used for tipping the rubbish. * No mention made here that the Whau Canal pro-
(But, so I understand, there are future plans by posals of the 1860s led to three main land subdivision
Auckland Council to have this fixed up). A burnt patch speculations – Whau Bridge to the east, R S Thomp-
in the middle of the reserve indicates another local use son’s “Resolis” and the more successful New Lynn.
for the open ground.
* Reference was made to John Thomas being a
But — it is in Avondale, not New Lynn. “partner” with Daniel Pollen in providing bricks for the
Auckland Lunatic Asylum, when in reality Pollen was
The same community trust brought out a book on the Thomas’ competitor, and was part of the reason why
history of the Whau River in 2017 as well: Te W hau— Thomas’ Star Mill business went under for a time.
connecting the people, the places, the taonga, by
Angela J Thomson — and, like their Rizal Reserve At a point I had to give up on picking up the errors —
oddness, it is laced with errors, suppositions, assump- after all, while the author was paid to do her work, and
tions … and plain old bad history. How this could be the trust has received public funds to do theirs, I was
when the Trust originated from out of Friends of the neither consulted nor paid to do a peer review. Which
Whau, I really don’t know. Gilbert Brakey of FOTW (a the book badly needed before publication.
past guest speaker at an AWHS meeting) is a member
of the Trust’s board. We have had years of sources and texts from out of
West Auckland promoting the wrong information about
Amongst a list of errors I picked out so far from their Avondale and the river, both from councils and
book (which they offered for sale at the 2017 West organisations like this. As long as we’re ignored, it’ll
Auckland Heritage Conference): continue.
Lisa J Truttman
* The tannery started by Benjamin Gittos in the Whau
district was not, as the book tries to say, on the Whau
River at all, but on the Oakley Creek, about two miles Next meeting is
away. The book includes page after page on the Gittos Saturday 3 February 2018, at 2 pm,
family and their tannery based on that assumption.
St Ninians Hall, St Georges Road,
* The 1913 rail crash near New Lynn was not, as the Avondale.
book describes, on the Whau River bridge, but on the