|A Telegraph Across the Ranges|
“The Wires” or “ The Old Wires”
Between the Waikato and King Country lay the Aukati boundary. The King Country then was largely unexplored and unknown terrain. In 1868 the Daily Southern Cross reported on the Annual Report of Mr. John Wall, Commissioner of Telegraphs who said:
|From Summit Wentworth Track looking Northwards Photo 1975 JM Stewart collection|
It was also reported that up to 100 men of Mr. Floyd’s staff and other contractors were involved in the construction work. Early March the telegraph line from Grahamstown to Hikutaia was reported opened.
Completion of “the Wires” telegraph line saw connection between Wellington and Auckland.
“The Settler’s Line”
The Bay of Plenty Times reported in 1888 that the Whangamata Goldfields would shortly be connected to Katikati by telegraph and a mail service established from the Thames. (Bay Of Plenty Times 07/04/1888)
It was around this year that there was renewed interest in the Whangamata Goldfields and the Goldwater Claim up the Wentworth Valley. Interest in the Goldfields were to continue and into the new century a farming settlement established in this valley.
In 1904 a diversion of the Hikutaia Katitikati line via Waihi was proposed. With the original “Wires” telegraph line having fallen into disuse and disrepair, a new single wire telegraph line was built by settlers at Hikutaia to provide communication with the mill up on the plateau known as “The Wires” area. (Here is the Headwaters of the Tairua River.)
|At Headwaters, Tairua River Photo 1975 JM Stewart collection|
1. Lawn, C. A. F. N. Z. I. S. The Pioneer Land Surveyors of New Zealand. Parts I-III. Auckland: N.Z.I.S., 14, October, 1977.
2. McCollum, M.R., and J.S. Sphinks. Hikutaia – 2000 ‘ An Interlude In Time. Paeroa, N.Z.: Goldfields Print Ltd., 2000.
3. Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand