Titirangi revisited in book

20:08, Mar 10 2011
TITIRANGI TALES: Trixie Harvey, Marc Bonny and Bruce Harvey are excited about the launch of Titirangi Fringe of Heaven.

The tale of a Titirangi tree trunk being a renowned kissing spot is one of the quirky stories included in a new book on the history of the suburb.

Titirangi – Fringe of Heaven is being launched on Sunday. It documents the suburb's transition from a Maori battleground to a bohemian haven.

Author Marc Bonny, a member of West Auckland Historical Society, says the book covers the area's history from before European settlers arrived until 1965.

He says the society started collecting photos and information for the book 13 years ago. "We had a folder at Mill Cottage where the society is based where we collected photos and things – the evidence for a book started to build up.

"A lot of details came to light quite late in the piece which made it worthwhile waiting for."

He says interviewing elderly people who spoke about their experiences first-hand was a real asset to the book.


Trixie Harvey edited the book with her husband Bruce and says it is divided into two sections.

"The first section reads as a history and the second section is made up of memoirs so they compliment each other quite well."

Mr Harvey says the book was made possible through funding from the former Waitakere City Council, the Portage Licensing Trust and a donation from Wallie Tichener. He is a descendent of the prominent Titirangi Bishop family who are included in the book and owned the property with the kissing kauri tree.

Mr Harvey says the book includes a detailed index so readers can easily access their family connections.

He says the suburb started taking on its modern day character in the 1940s. "By the late 40s Titirangi became the place where people could buy a bach by the sea.

"People had started thinking more about conservation and the peacefulness of the suburb attracted artists like Colin McCahon and Lois McIvor."

Mrs Harvey says many architects were attracted to the area too.

The book will be available at local bookstores and from the West Auckland Historical Society. It will be launched at the Titirangi RSA at 2pm this Sunday. All welcome.

To order a copy contact westaucklandhistory@gmail.com.

Western Leader