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BUSH PARK.

! PIHA LANDMARK. FAMED* LION ROCK. AREA OF HUNDRED ACRES. LATE SIR A. THOMAS' ESTATE Probate was granted yesterday by Mr. Justice Callan of the will of the late Sir Algernon Thomas, K.C.M.G., formerly professor emeritus of Auckland University College. The value of the estate was sworn for probate purposes at £40,000. To carry out a wish expressed by the late Sir Algernon, members of his family have presented historic Lion Rock, at Piha, and an area of 100 acres of bush in the vicinity bordering the Piha Stream, as gifts to the people of Auckland. The executor of the estate, Mr. X. R. W. Thomas, said to-day that h» father's will was made in 1914, when he was leaving on a trip to England, and it had not been revised since. Sir Algernon had latterly considered making some suitable public acknowledgment of the 'honour recently bestowed upon him, and so the members of the family, who include Messrs. Acland Thomas, Arthur E. W. Thomas and Mrs. Wynfreda Spiers, agreed upon the gifts to the city which have been made. Air. Thomas said that away back in ■the 'nineties Sir Algernon, in company with Mr. C. T. Major and the late Mr. E. K. Mulgan, made a tour of exploration in tlio Waitakere Ranges for three weeks. On their return to Auckland, Sir Algernon gave a lantern lecture of views taken on the trip, and the screening included Lion Rock! He then led a deputation to the Auckland City Council and the result was that later the Auckland City Council acquired its first watershed in the ranges. .» Love of Native Bush. Mr. Thomas added that hk father bad always taken a very keen interest in the preservation of native bush, as was shown at his late home at Mountain Road and in his support of a movement to have a national park formed in the Waitakere Ranges.

The family had entered into negotia. tions with the owners for acquiring and presenting to the city historic Lior> Rock, in conjunction with an extensive area of the best bush adjacent to the beach. A portioii of this area would be used as a camping ground for organised parties of young Auckland people. The gift ha* t>een accepted by the Mayor of Auckland. Sir Ernest Davis, j on behalf of the citizens, for nil time, j Hie plans show that the new park area is close to the beach and immediately north of the Piha Stream. There is some level land on the frontage, and then the area rises fairly steeply, the trip at the back being at an elevation of «>t>4ft. Thence in a northerly direction there is more bush towards the Wekatahi Stream. J-ion Rock, which is .T.">2ft in height and approximately three acres in area, is well known to thousands of Aucklanders who visit the West Coast. At high tide it is an island, and the sea surges round it. Some time ago it was the scene of a unique ceremony. A tablet was placed on the rock, and on 't are the names of the men from the Piha \ alley who served in the CJreat War. Recently the well-known English artist Mr. G. "J". Biech made a {tainting of the rock, and the picture attracted wide attention in England. Story of Invasion. Lion Rock has a history which goes right back to Maori times, although perhaps its story is not as well known as it might be. On it was made the last desperate stand of the remnant of fugitive Maori people, and there thev died. J This is the story. Towards the end of the seventeenth century the X"atiWhatua people from the north invaded the home of the Knwerau tribe, seme of whom lived in the Waitakere Ranges \ northern chief by the name of Kiwharu came down, and slaughtered his wav through many of the pas which were scattered near the beaches that are best known now for their surf l>athin<r Passing from Te Henga (Bethels") and Anawhata. he came to Piha, where he \von a battle. The few who were left after the daughter fought a rearguard action until tliey came to the rock Kawharu followed them, besieged them and with his men fought his way up the steep sides of the rock. Eventually he slew every one of the defenders men women and children. The gift rock and park are thus historic ground.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19380202.2.78.1

Bibliographic details

BUSH PARK., Auckland Star, Volume LXIX, Issue 27, 2 February 1938

Word Count
738

BUSH PARK. Auckland Star, Volume LXIX, Issue 27, 2 February 1938

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