Wiri between the wars
Even the name of Woodside disappeared. When a post office was re-established at the location in July 1908, it was called Wiri. (The name is believed to come from the first name of Wirihana Takaanini, a son of the nineteenth century Ngati Tamaoho chief, Ihaka Takaanini.)
In 1913 a railway station was opened at Wiri, and the road to the station was improved. In a foretaste of the area’s industrial future, in 1917 land was set aside for quarrying purposes at Wiri Mountain. By this time Wiri itself was a mere wayside settlement of little more than a church, a store and a few scattered houses. In April 1922 a modest little public hall was also opened there by Prime Minister William Ferguson Massey, who was also the local MP. (The old Wiri hall)
At this time, the Great South Road, which ran through Wiri, was in notoriously poor condition. Improvements began after it was declared a main highway in 1924. By 1927 it had been concreted all the way to Papakura.
The Great South Road Beautifying Society was formed at this time. At its foundation meeting on 29 September 1927 members condemned the presence of what they termed “bizarre advertising” along the Great South Road. Possibly they had in mind the car mounted on a pole that an Auckland garage, Cadman Motors, had erected at Wiri. (The ‘car on a pole’ in various models remained a local landmark for many years.)
In the late 1920s the Dilworth Trust began planning a large school at Wiri. The Depression years intervened, and the school was never built, but a bridge that was built across the Puhinui Stream at the time survives in isolation today in the fields between Kerrs Road and Browns Road. (The bridge to nowhere)
The Wiri area in 1943. Detail from the topographical map, Manurewa, Department of Lands & Survey, 1943, scale 1: 25, 000.
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