Topic: Coopers with Mike Harris

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Notes on the Cooper family from neighbour Mike Harris, of Te Arai Point.

Russell Cooper's father bought their farm in 1963 off Bob Heyward at which time it was
still a dairy farm. Russell's ..fatherdid not move onto it fora while, so it was initially
occupied –by Bill Batey the sharemilker. Bill is probably responsible for much of the
boundary fencing as it exists today. Russell's father went out of dairying into drystock
and niixed cropping including maize. Sweet com, melons and grapes. The grape type was
Golden Chasselas suitable for both wine and table, but of variable yield, but in the
climate of oversupply that then existed in New Zealand they only just paid their way and
Russell eventually removed them.

In 1977 after his father died Russell sold 50 acres of rough land across the canal adjacent
to Te Arai Point Road to Ali$ir Boot who established a dairy goat enterprise here.
Alistair relocated a house from Epsom onto the property and built the goat-milking shed
thatJoe Amodeo has converted into a bach. The succession of owners has been Boot-
Reynolds - Macdonald - Amodeo and Naran
Russell used the proceeds of the Boot sale to build a modem dairy shed and other
facilities, and reconverted the farm to dairying. His mother lived in an old house, a photo
of which is in the archives, on the hill above the cowshed until about 1985. The house has
been demolished in the last decade.

Russell's sisters Trixie and Dianne bought the Te Arai peninsula from Des Penney in
1966. At the time of purchase ROC requisitioned the point on the coast and the area to
the north, as much for dumping the overburden from their quarry operations as for any
other reason. The land the sisters bought was scrub covered and was used in conjunction
with the main Cooper farm It was especially valuable for wintering cows over, as many
had done before them. It is reported that prior to the depression the peninsula had been
clean and in grass. In the first of the north-south gullies back from the point, where there
is a good spring, there are relics of an old cowshed. At some time there had been a
boarding house owned by the Eyre's in the vicinity, and relics form this establishment
such as steps and masonry can also be found out near the road. A smaller building,
possibly part of the quarry operation. was located on the Eyres Point Road and may have
been covered by the moving sands.

The rocky promontories on either side of the quarry lagoon are only a fraction of their
former size. Alvin Greenwoods father was the quarry manager. Machinery included a
Fordson tractor with compressor, and an old crusher. Quarried rock used to regularly
litter the beaches north and south. Regional government environmental concerns helped
force the termination of the quarry.

Some of the early drainage work in the district would have been done by the Unkovichs 
who lived near Coal Hill Road pre 1920.  Like many other Dalmatians they dug for kauri
 gum and there is a large hole on Eric Parson’s Farm where gum was washed.  
McBreen and Jenkins upgrading of the canal commencing the late 1950s would 
have co-incided with the formation of the local Drainage Board.
Coulters came to the area in the 1930s.

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Tags: cooper, heyward

Coopers with Mike Harris

First Names:Russell
Last Name:Cooper