Mahara A little History
The history of this area goes back many generations to long before pre-european times but it is only since then we have some written and pictorial references so I will start from the mid 1800’s when Tapu was known as Hastings. This was a period devoted to the extraction of gold and timber, mainly Kauri, to later have the hills stripped bare for mine props and export to Britain for ship building.  Later after everything was burned off it was planted in grass for sheep. Not a good look and had no chance of success due to the warm wet climate and the fragile nature of the underlying hills. In the process of this the Tapu area was a thriving community of the rough and ready, gold miners looking for riches in the gold rush of 1867. During the same period the plundering of the Kauri trees for sale to whoever continued as it had since the mid 1700’s along with the extensive hunt for Kauri Gum. Click images for larger Mahara Sculpture Park took it’s name from the original Mahara Royal gold mine in the hill behind the park, an area still riddled with old mine shafts. The mine eventually failed through lack of adequate pumping equipment to keep the waters at bay but it did support a stamping mill as shown below.
One of the 60 to 70 mines of the time.             A typical early settler family home
In these early years there was at best only a bridle track across the hill to Coroglen and it wasn’t until the early 1920’s that out of work miners/foresters were employed to make it into a vehicular road and it was not until 1963 a main access across the peninsular. By this time much of the valley had been subdivided into smaller lot’s, one of which became the Mahara Sculpture Park, but not without struggle. The original pottery and house, an old miners cottage, was down near Te Kaka stream but the big flood of 1985 put feet of silt through the place and it had to be abandoned. This left Heather and family in a dire predicament but with help and lots of grit and determination the foundations of what was to be the sculpture park were laid with the end result being the Magic of Mahara as can be experienced to this day. Click the images below for bigger versions.
Defunct Miners cottage, Heathers old home                                           Old Pottery
Inside the old Pottery
The stamper battery for the Mahara Royal Gold Mine
Early Hastings later to become Tapu
Road from Tapu It has improved slightly
The history of this area goes back many generations to long before pre-european times but it is only since then we have some written and pictorial references so I will start from the mid 1800’s when Tapu was known as Hastings. This was a period devoted to the extraction of gold and timber, mainly Kauri, to later have the hills stripped bare and planted in grass for sheep. Not a good look. In the process of this the Tapu area was a thriving community of the rough and ready, gold miners looking for riches in the gold rush of 1867. During the same period the plundering of the Kauri trees for sale to whoever continued as it had since the mid 1700’s along with the extensive hunt for Kauri Gum. Mahara Sculpture Park took it’s name from the original Mahara Royal gold mine in the hill behind the park, an area still riddled with old mine shafts. The mine eventually failed through lack of adequate pumping equipment to keep the waters at bay but it did support a stamping mill as shown below.
One of the 60 to 70 mines of the time.            
Early settler house
In these early years there was at best only a bridle track across the hill to Coroglen and it wasn’t until the early 1920’s that out of work miners/foresters were employed to make it into a vehicular road and it was not until 1963 a main access across the peninsular. By this time much of the valley had been subdivided into smaller lot’s, one of which became the Mahara Sculpture Park, but not without struggle. The original pottery and house, an old miners cottage, was down near Te Kaka stream but the big flood of 1985 put feet of silt through the place and it had to be abandoned. This left Heather and family in a dire predicament but with help and lots of grit and determination the foundations of what was to be the sculpture park were laid with the end result being the Magic of Mahara as can be experienced to this day.   Click the images below for bigger versions.
Defunct Miners cottage, Heathers old home 
Mahara A little History
   Old Pottery