The True Vandals Belong in The Past

 The True Vandals belong in the Past

It is with interest that I note that the Tauhara track is now open to the public.

I was unwittingly involved with a vandal action cover-up by the Tuwharetoa Tribe back in 1953, when they covered all vestiges of a pre-Maori settlement from the Northern Hill prior to the first wilding Pine cuts.


“A group of concerned Taupo residents wanted the Government of the day to declare the Northern lower hill to be declared a Cultural Historical reserve, as they had found evidence that a pre-Maori settlement would be destroyed if the felling was allowed to continue.

The group that I ferried up to the top was Mr and Mrs Cavaye (ex police), Mr Jim Birnie (Spa Hotel owner), John Noble (local undertaker) Colonel Swan (Town Board member),  Captain Charles Leslie (community arts), John Vaile (forest owner), Sam Torepe (Taupo Town Board Clerk) and later, two Scientists from Victoria University.

Charles Leslie, who had seen me helping Len Lysaght’s Power Lines gang using the pole jigger sled being pulled by a Brumby that was hired from the local Pound, asked me would if I mind helping them out, by transporting them up the gully by the Dump. So my next three weekends made me part of history.

I was shown caves in the banks that had utensils like grind stones and skeletal bones, which were later classified as 100 years BC by the two scientists.

They packed them carefully into boxes, then into a Humber Super Snipe and took them away. On my third trip up Sam Torepe – who had a wooden leg – used me as a chain man to survey an area for the government to designate as a Public Reserve.

As a 15 year old, it was all a bit of an adventure.

But the preservation efforts were to no avail as two members from the Turangi tribe boasted at the local Spa Hotel bar – spending their two ten pound payments – that they fixed those “buggers” on our hill by caving everything in with spades.

Jim Birnie was furious and booted them out of the bar.

So it all came to nothing, as the fellers destroyed all remains left of the village.

So it is rather ironical that the local tribe wants to protect their Toanga from pesky vandals when they themselves made sure that part of our true history would never be known. Our history has been purposely reinvented, so the present teaching in our classrooms to our children are lies and falsehoods.

As a country, we are at the crossroads to make sure that this falsification and dishonesty does not get perpetuated. A crossroads where the greed for money and power should be removed to make us all “one happy New Zealand family.”

Bill Harding

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