A quick trip to Te Hana and a look into the old dairy factory past

I had to go down to the small township of Te Hana this morning to meet up with my elder sister. Mum is staying with her and her family for a few days. While I was there after many missed opportunities I finally managed to get a quick shot of the former Albertland Co-operative Dairy Factory, most of which is still thankfully standing. The part you can see with the two big windows in it, is the original factory building that was opened in November 1934.

This building is just along side of the original factory and is now used as a cafe. I'm happy that at least the local community trust is making full use of the buildings that are still intact. Back in 2005, a fire destroyed the other buildings that were on the north side of the original factory.

 Te Hana Dairy factory, Northland. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-38543-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23527682

The building had its origins as far back as 1927, when the Port Albert Co-operative Dairy Company were starting to find that the factory they owned at Port Albert, was not adequate enough to handle the ever increasing milk production from their local suppliers. By 1933, it was decided that a new factory needed to be built. The site at Te Hana wasn't chosen until late in 1933, the problem the site faced however, was the issue of a supply of clean water for the factory's needs. During January 1934, several test wells were sunk in an attempt to locate an artesian water supply. When all efforts failed, the project was abandoned and tenders were put out for a pipeline to be laid at a location a further distance away from the factory site.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19341205-40-2

 Tenders had been called for during January of 1934 for the construction of the new factory. The Port Albert Co-operative Dairy Company received a total of ten tenders for the building. They settled for the tender of J. R. Haig of Whangarei for £6,000 . By February of the same year, the builders were on site laying down a solid foundation. The building was constructed of concrete and steel. By November the factory was in production. It continued to produce dairy product output until 1987, when finally the factory was closed down for good. Like many others, the factory was a victim of the rapid economic changes that had occurred during the 1980s. After closure as a dairy factory, the buildings were used for a time by a berry juice manufacturer. After years of standing derelict the local community trust took the step to see the buildings put into use once more. Today it houses a number of enterprises and Te Hana once more has come to life.


Asian Short Clawed Otters at Auckland Zoo (Photo Essay)

I really enjoyed photographing these little guys. They had so much personality, not to mention being very vocal as well. This is a group of Asian Short Clawed otters resident at Auckland Zoo. These otters are the smallest of the otter family. They are currently listed on the IUCN Red List as vunerable. Pollution and habitat destruction have reduced the otter's range and population. Auckland Zoo currently has two different otter families in their collection. They are just amazing to watch. Hope you like the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.


Monday, Monday...........

Funny how I had to think of that old song "Monday Monday" by The Mamas and The Papas (1966 or so) on this dreary cloudy Monday here in Northland. Last week we had a huge storm that lasted a couple of days. The old horse turned up for his feed shivering and soaking wet. He wrecks his covers, and didn't have one on. Fortunately, Gillian had given me a new replacement cover to use, thanks to Inaya's help we got it on him in the wind and the pouring rain. For once he's actually not destroyed it, the last cover he had he tore it to little shredded bits and pieces. I wonder if he will make it through next winter. He hasn't done so well this year. At his great age, each year that follows is getting more of a struggle. But he's still holding his own so far. Glad he's a cross-bred and one of the toughest horses I have ever owned. We adore him. I just hope I never have to make that horrible decision to have him put down because something happens to him. That day I hop will never come to pass.

We've had a pair of Pukekoes show up around the house in the last few days. I think they may be nesting in the blackberry somewhere down by the stream. This photo I actually took in the Auckland Zoo carpark three weeks ago. Lovely birds, but sometimes they can destroy the garden. I just leave them be. I also had a pair of Paradise Shelducks also turn up yesterday around the house. That's the first time I've seen them so close where we are. Usually they're down in the paddocks well away from us!

This little duck is called a Scaup Duck. They're only found here in New Zealand, and are known as a diving duck. I'd love a pair living on the farm, but of course that won't ever happen. My dam wouldn't be big enough for them for starters. Over the next two or three years I'm going to gradually retire our native bush from grazing. We have the problem right now of possums overbrowsing the trees, these pests do so much damage to our native birds and forests. I can't blame the possums, I blame the idiots who decided to introduce them in the first place. I also have the issue of a horrible weed called Wandering Dew. Something else we will have to keep well under control as the bush regenerates.

And another of my insane stories has been published in the Rural Living Magazine. Check out the digital copy of the magazine as well. This month's issue has some great stories. The one I really enjoyed was about a couple who have been breeding Red Devon cattle on their lifestyle property in South Auckland. We had a couple of  Red Devons here. One of them we referred to as "The Tart" she was definitely not characteristic temperment-wise of the breed. Even so both cows produced very nice calves sired by the big hereford bull we used to have here. This year we hope we can get Riverlets Patrick, a very nice Miniature Hereford bull coming to visit the two jersey cows and put them in calf. The Terrorist was a twin so I don't know if she will take. She seems okay, since she has been bulling every three weeks without fail. So she might yet end up with a calf next year. Inaya was away in the weekend at a St John Cadet Drill course. She's done so well in the cadets, and only has one more badge to get after this to obtain her Grand Prior in the Order of St John. We now have the school holidays starting, I guess I'll have the bored kids syndrome for a couple of weeks along with it! Well that's me for another post. When I think of more to write then I'll be back! And below is that song I mentioned. Enjoy!