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

6 thoughts on “The True Vandals Belong in The Past

  1. Thank you for putting this on public record. It will make a big difference when the chance to rectify the present wrongdoing comes around. I hope it’s not far away.

  2. Thanks for recording this, Bill. Have you been able to get an exact map reference to this spot, please? Because even a speck of carbon from a fireplace will be enough to get a radiocarbon-14 date. A few miles west of Murupara town, on the southside of SH38 and before the Goudies Rd/Kaingaroa Forest Village turnoff, there as a shallow cave — it was off a sideroad called Caves Rd, I recall? There were rock carvings of double-hulled sailing canoes with folk in them, and high prows & sternposts. They were in proud-relief as I recall, meaning that instead of being scratched INTO the soft rock, it was the surrounding rock which had been dug away. When I first saw them in 1981 I thought that they had been carved out on rainy days by the bored pine forest planters (many lived as prisoners in the camps such as at the artificial Lady Knox geyser east of the Waiotapu Pub, off the Waiotapu Loop Road). But since then I’ve seen in other parts of the world how that was done up to 10’s of 1,000s of years ago — a drawing was made, & the surrounds were picked away. I wonder if they are connected to the same age of your Tauhara find? The “MoriOri” may have been here from about 800 years ago at least?

  3. Bill can you please clarify who took the artifacts away in the humber super snipe, if you have any idea where they are now and who did the carbon dating.

  4. Heaven forbid that the true history of this land should interfere with the rolling of the gravy train. Will this sort of thing happen also in the Waipua forest above Dargaville before the lock out order is lifted.. or has it happened already….? This countries history is becoming an on going ever evolving LIE.

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