Slice of Auckland's history revealed

SIMON DAY
Last updated 15:48 28/06/2013
auckland wall

UNCOVERED: The full ad on the wall the demolition crews were working on.

Ak wall
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ
ON WATCH: David Eke looking after the historic advertising signs in Jervois Rd, Auckland.

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A demolition company pulling down one part of Auckland's history has uncovered another hidden piece of the city's past.

Workers from Andrew Davy's timber merchant company were this week ripping down a wall at Ponsonby's Bowling Club to make space for an apartment block, when they discovered historic hand painted kauri signs underneath.

They first found a tin wall that Davy estimated to have been put up just after World War II and graffiti on the wall read "Expel the French Diplomat," thought to be in protest against the 1985 sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.

Beneath the tin were  10-metre long dressed kauri boards with hand painted signs for Walkers Furniture Auctions. The signs have been dated to the 1930s or 1920s.

 

Aaron Carson was passing on his bike ride to work when he spotted the signs. He called his wife, a self-acknowledged hoarder, and the couple offered to purchase the boards from the demolition company. 

Francesca Mazza, Carson's wife, grew up around the corner from the bowling club and remembers the anti-French graffiti.

The part-time collector was happy to keep a piece of Auckland's history alive.

"Maybe there are other things out there that need to be uncovered and preserved. It would be good to see bits of Auckland sticking around rather than being trashed," she said.

 

Auction house, Art + Object, had offered to sell the boards for Davy, but he opted for the upfront sale.

Neither party would reveal the purchase price but Davey said it sold for more than $2000.

It was not the first time the timber merchant has found something strange while pulling down an Auckland building.

Two years ago he discovered a headless skeleton in a house he was destroying in Mt Wellington. The man was allegedly murdered and his skeleton was ditched in the abandoned home.

The dead man was identified through DNA and the case for his murder was before the courts.

In the late 1990s when Davy was demolishing the kauri building on Fort St that would become the site for the Vero Tower a colleague discovered 50 bags of gems. They had been stashed in the roof after a jewelry heist in Newmarket in the 1980s.

The gems were handed over to the police where they were eventually claimed.

"We weren't fussed," Davy said.

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