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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 21, June 1977

By NELLIE BAIN

Early in our married life my husband and I lived up the Kauaeranga Valley in the years 1935 and 1936. My husband worked for the Public Works Department now known as the Ministry of Works, clearing the road through from Thames to the coastal village of Tairua at the mouth of the Tairua River. In those days the Kauaeranga Valley was very thickly covered with native trees and shrubs. Only where the open water races were made for the Thames water supply had a little been cleared.

Forty years on, in February 1976 the Paeroa Historical Society made a trip up the Valley to see some of the remains of the kauri logging days. It is very different now from when I first knew the Kauaeranga Valley. In the lower valley nearly all the beautiful native trees and shrubs have been cleared and green pastures have taken their place. Cattle and sheep graze the hillsides. The State Forestry Department have planted Radiata Pine to replace the Tawa, Rimu, Kauri, Maire and other native trees. At intervals along a well formed road close to the Kauaeranga River, camping areas, picnic grounds and swimming pools have been prepared and made attractive for the people, and Kauaeranga Valley is now a Forest Park.

A stop was made at Forestry headquarters and we were given a most interesting talk by the officer in charge. He showed us a map of the area where great Kauri trees once grew. The initiative and ingenuity of the early pioneer foresters in building massive log dams to make it possible to get the logs down to Thames will always be a source of pride and wonder to those who view the remains of their labours. Many logs were rafted and towed to Auckland for the building and boat building trades. Kauri gum dug by the local people was also a source of income for the area. Exported to England it was made into varnish of the highest quality.

After lunch by the river many of the more active members trekked through the bush, some going as far as the remains of the old logging dams. This trip will be remembered as one of the most enjoyable and interesting undertaken by the Society.