Slice of Waiheke history shared

GEORGE GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012
Paul Monin
MATIATIA CROSSROADS: Historian Paul Monin says understanding the past is crucial to the decisions made today.

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Historian Paul Monin's new book is on a small subject which is a big issue for Waiheke Island.

Matiatia - Gateway to Waiheke, published by Bridget Williams Books, tells the story of Matiatia from occupation at the time of the first Maori settlement to the present day.

It explores the archaeology, politics, ecology and society and is illustrated with photographs and maps.

It took 18 months to complete and Mr Monin was not even sure his publisher would be interested in the subject.

"One of Bridget's reasons for going ahead is she was moved by my own passion and the fact I was writing about my own place. I've been on Waiheke off and on since 1973.

"I appreciate her unreserved commitment to the project. It's a book on a small subject which I'd like to feel has the gravitas of a bigger history book." The book delves into the fascinating history of the subdivision of the area including the partition of the Maori land block known as Te Huruhi 12 by the Native Land Court in 1911.

It highlights interesting information like the fact that the Native Land Court "failed to create a separate title for the urupa, an omission that has had to be addressed a century later".

The blocks were bought by Alexander Alison of the Devonport Steamship Company to form an economic farming unit which was sold in the 1960s.

Matiatia is Waiheke's best natural harbour and in the last 10 years residents have watched its increasing congestion as a transport hub.

Paul says it is now at choking point. Understanding the past is crucial to the decisions being made today, he says.

"The book covers the transport history from the 1920s and explains how we ended up with a single passenger hub at Matiatia.

"I believe it would be unwise to consider building a marina there but that wasn't my agenda for writing the book.

"It's just a busy place without adding a new function.

"Being the romantic that I am I hope people thank us for the decisions we make."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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