True Tales Of Maunu/Maungatapere


The challenge was to produce a document such that when our grandchildren and great grandchildren asked the question, "What was it like in your day, Gran or Gramps" we could say, "Come and read this book we wrote, come sit alongside me.  My friends and I wrote it so you would find out."

And how the District responded to our challenge.  Our generation can remember family stories handed on, told, retold over the dinner table, from our parents and grandparents day.  This takes our social history back about 100 years, some times more.

Ours is a Social History.  It contains the stories of ordinary people, who did extraordinary things.  You wont find lists of numbers of employees, production statistics, costs of shared, and interminable dates; or reports carefully couched ("spun" by paid liars) to show how important or great the writers were.  These are events as seen by Joe Bloggs at ground level.

We have received over 150 stories, including some very short 3-5 line tales.  We have labeled the book True Tales because they were written in good faith by the writers, as they recalled the events and incidents.  Our Tales are as True as the memories of those who recalled them.

For people of our generation, we hold our indentities to the past.  Maunu began at the Silverstream flats about Whangarei Hospital, rising up to Maunu Mountain.  Without water from Poroti there would have been no Maungatapere irrigation scheme on the present scale.  The power station at Wairua Falls brought electricity through Whatitiri and Maungatapere very early, and helped revolutionize dairy farming.  Dairy trucks and tankers based from Maungatapere Cooperative Dairy Factory helped define the Maungatapere district.  Whatitiri has always been a very close knit cohesive community, despite children from the district attending schools at Waiotama, Poroti, Whatitiri, Maungatapere and Maungakaramea.  Kaigoose will always be called this by our generation, it ended at the limestone deposits.  Otaika Valley Road was just another no exit road further away.

Maungatapere has been a vital cog in the development of Northland, and New Zealand.  People of the entire district should be proud of the contributions made by its early residents.  Not many small settlements have taken on the Government twice, over the irrigation scheme and the proposed prison, and won!  Yet the district showed great compassion to the thousands of NZ and USA troops, billeted in the 13 camps and one hospital in the district, while preparing to re-enter battlefields in World War 2.

We believe understanding the past is vital to understanding the present and by learning of our past we are able to establish our identify, and understand the identity of the Community we live in.  So our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be better equipped to understand the way we were, the hardships we experienced, the customs we hold, the traditions we keep, and why we believe things we do.

The Walton Story is a stunning reminder of past interaction with Maori, and the courage, leadership, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and enterprize of this man.  His influence extended far beyond Maungatapere, stretching from the Kaipara to Whangarei Harbours, to Hikurangi, Kamo and Whau Valley coal fields.  He held government office in Auckland and Wellington, and he was a foundation member and director of a leading bank.  He created a watershed in our history, and his actions led to a far better appreciation of the Maori.  He deserves much higher recognition in NZ history.  Chief Te Tirarau was a similarly commanding figure.

And those living among the volcanic mountains of Maunu, Maungatapere and Whatitiri, on some of the most fertile and valuable soils of New Zealand may well hold a large share of the economic future of Northland in their hands.

Meantime we hope, after reading this book, you gather a better understanding and appreciation of the often dangerous and unpleasant endeavors of so many who made their contributions to make the district what it is today.

Mac Stevenson