The Island's Timeline

KH. I really like this island timeline, but I think we need a better way of displaying it. Maybe only have the really significant events on the webpage but create a downloadable version which has more detail. Could have categories for each year: rangers, wildlife, infrastructure etc. to make it easier to read. 

Delete this block, including heading above, when editing finished.

The Island's Timeline

Matakohe has been important to Maori for centuries, situated so strategically in Whangarei-Terenga-Paraoa (Whangarei Harbour, the gathering place of whales).

1700 - early 1800 Kukupa and his sons, Te Ihi and Te Tirarau, held mana whenua over the island

1829 Te Tirarau became paramount chief of Te Parawhau and in 1845 forbade the warring Bay of Islands chief, Hone Heke, to mount attacks on European settlers in Whangarei and Wairoa.

1832 First (European) house in harbour on Matakohe Island, belonging to Mr G.D. Browne burnt by a Waikato war party

1836 Browne returned and erected a flax-pressing plant.

1842 First Trading ship built in harbour by Robert Carruth, a cutter named "Trial". Later used to evacuate settlers. Te Tirarau claimed Matakohe and Motuotawa (Rabbit Island) at the first Maori Court hearing in Whangarei. Later that year the title was transferred (recorded as Crown Grant on 23/12/1865).

1843 Maketu, a Takahiwai chief had huts and plantations on the island. A terraced pa, gardens and drainage lines are remaining evidence of Maori life on the island.

1848 Robert Carruth and Mathew Whitelaw leased the island from Te Parawhau tribe and established limeworks.

1857 Lime works under control of Henry Walton and George Edge. First Edge residence on island (a cottage), built at the southwestern corner behind lagoon.

1858 First Brick Kiln:- thought to be the smaller of two surviving on the island built by Henry Walton.

1864 February 4th, Hannah Edge born to George and Harriet Edge, first recorded European child born on the island.

1865 Walton purchased the island from Te Tirarau and the Parawahau chiefs. Walton had married into Te Tirarau's family. Walton's £70 purchase is finally ratified. With S. Graham he ran sheep on the island and extended the limeworks.

1873 Second Edge cottage built.

1874 First European wedding on the island held on September 17th between John Fraser (stone mason) and Sarah Edge, George Edge's second eldest daughter.

1874 Singlemen's Quarters built.

1876 Island sold to J. A. Edwards of Waikararaka for £300.

1881 Ernest Schaw Rutherford produced the first batch of Portland Cement in New Zealand (and probably the Southern Hemisphere.)

1906-1918 Cement Works became a major industry employing 270 people at its peak. Most of the original buildings were moved to Portland.

1908 Island Post Office established and run by storekeeper.

1911 A Union formed by the workers on the island.

1912/1913 Railway track laid and a German-built steam locomotive bought.

1915 Works re-built after a fire started in the engine room and gutted the factory. Workforce doubled to over 260 in the following three years.

1918 Production on the island ceased. Agreed the Works be concentrated at Portland.

1922 Post Office closed down.

1931 The island sold to Thornburn but the cement company retained mining rights.

1944 Thornburn sold the island to Kamo Colliers Ltd.

1949 Island sold to Fagan's Fertiliser Ltd

1951 Sold to M.A. Frazer.

1965 The island, including the school site sold to the Northland Harbour Board and leased by the Board to the Northern Districts Aero Club for grazing until 1988.

1979 An Army demolition squad blasted and demolished sections of the ruins.

1989 Island gifted to the Whangarei District. At the same time Golden Bay Cement sold its mining rights to the Council for one dollar. First planting of native trees at the western corner of the island.

1993 The Friends of Matakohe-Limestone Island became an Incorporated Society.

1996 David Wright employed as Resident Ranger to look after and maintain the island. A one-room Sunshine cottage purchased with a Lotteries Grant. A 13-foot fryan boat and trailer purchased with assistance from Marine North. Composting toilet built by volunteers for use by Ranger and the Diesel generator purchased.

1997 Northpower wired the cottage and installed solar panels and deep-cycle battery storage.

1998 Golden Bay Cement signed a five-year sponsorship contract with FOMLI to assist with the plan to develop the island as a scenic reserve.

1999 Gazetting of Matakohe-Limestone Island as a Scenic Reserve. Jetty and floating pontoon constructed for public use.

2000 Massive Millennium community planting day - 23,000 plants planted. Tree weta released on the island. The Matakohe-Limestone Island Scenic Reserve Restoration Plan commissioned by FOMLI and completed by Jo Ritchie.

2001 First Kiwi released on to the Island (2 adults - Glen and Helga).

2002 Colin Bishop employed as Ranger. Pest eradication by now well established with noticeable results. Planting continued each winter.

2003 New Ranger Station built with assistance of the ASB Community Trust and Sunshine Homes. A composting toilet constructed by the cement mill ruins. Golden Bay Cement sponsorship renewed for a further five years. The first Kiwi chick born on the island.

2004 First of a five-year Grey Faced Petrel translocation project begun with help from the WWF Habitat Protection Fund. Small 4-wheel drive vehicle purchased with assistance of Pub Charities.

2005 Purpose-built barge (Petrel III) purchased with help of Pub Charities. Pete and Cathy Mitchell employed to job-share as new Rangers. Weed control extended on to Rabbit Island - initiated with assistance of DOC Biodiversity Condition and Advice Fund. The enduring friendly relationship Te Tirarau and his Te Parawhau hapu established with the settlers formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding between FOMLI, Te Parawhau and neighbouring Ngati Wai.

2006 Wetland project undertaken with financial assistance from the Northland Regional Council - three small dams constructed, Flax Field dam cleaned, stock dam repaired. Reticulated water system installed. A kiwi chick born on the island and named Wilson by Golden Bay Cement staff.

2007 Shore skink from Mimiwhangata translocated to the island thanks to funding from Harbour Restoration Fund. Long-term vegetation monitoring transects established. New tractor and front-end loader purchased with help from Pub Charity. Preliminary report on historic buildings completed by architect, Dave Pearson. Construction begun on an all-tide boat berth with funding from the Whangarei District Council. Composting toilet installed between Ranger Station and volunteer's cabin

2008 Ornate skink translocated to the island. The year in which the 50th kiwi chick raised on Matakohe-Limestone Island was released back to the mainland. Golden Bay Cement sponsorship extended for a further 12 months. Dredging completed for the all-tide berth. Shelter designed by Felicity Christian built and blessed.

2009 Pacific gecko, common gecko and moko skink translcoated to the island. Kate Wilkinson, Associate Minister of Conservation visits for shelter and signage opening.

2010 Ben and Jo Barr appointed as Rangers. First of the translocated grey faced petrel return to the island.

2011 Forest gecko translocated to the island. First confirmed island bred common gecko. Newborn Penny-Kohe joins the Ranger Team

2012 New website launches! Green gecko translocated to the island. Onerahi foreshore neighbourhood included in pest management programme.

2013 With a second little one on the way, Rangers Ben and Jo Barr returned to life on the mainland after a very successful three years on the island. Bernie Buhler appointed as Ranger in February. The 100th kiwi (named Badger) is transferred from the island back to the mainland. Control of the invasive shade tolerant weed, veld grass, started. Major upgrade of the walking track from the Manager's house over the hill to the mill ruins. Rare native hibiscus (Hibiscus richardsonii) planted at selected sites on the island.

2014 Transfer of 50 Suter’s skinks from Hen and Chicks Islands to Matakohe-Limestone. Installation and blessing of the magnificent pou carved by Te Warihi Hetaraka and his team. Introduction of the Adopt-a-Spot scheme. 28 grey faced petrels (oi) translocated from Hen and Chicks island.

2015 Visit Island by Jo Goodhew, Minister for Community and Volunteer Sector to mark the opening of National Volunteer Week. Arrival on island of new replacement off-road vehicle. Tui spotted nesting on the Island. 48 Grey Faced Petrel translocated from Hen and Chicks.

2016 Bernie left, Emma Craig and Jono Carpenter and family commenced ranger duties. Pallisade fence from Pou to entrance to Visitors' Shelter constructed and first planting of heritage kumara led by kaumatua Freddie Tito.

2017 Tour of island by archaeologists attending National Archaeology Week. Island pontoon taken away for repair/replacement. Two orphaned little blue penguins from the Whangarei Bird Recovery Centre hatched and fledge on Matakohe-Limestone Island.

2018 Ten years since the successful translocation of shore skinks to the island. 150th kiwi released from Matakohe-Limestone Island back to the mainland. 2nd heritage kumara harvest. Four petrel returned to island. One petrel (oi) egg discovered in burrow and later hatched. New pontoon installed.

2019 New and replacement signs erected on island. Oi fledged successfully. Rangers Emma, Jono and family left island and Darren Gash appointed as Ranger.

2020 Second oi/grey-faced petrel chick fledged. New solar power system installed. Island closed for six weeks due to COVID-19. Third oi egg hatched. Island sustained some damage due to severe storm event. Darren Gash resigned and Joanna Skyrme commenced as Ranger in November.

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