Cyril Hawley; 17-18


Cyril Hawley

About this object

A) Cyril Hawley on the left with one of the workers.
B) Cyril Hawley (digging on the left).
C) Cyril Hawley behind the plough. The horse was called 'Spiffy' after a vaudeville actor of that time.

Cyril was Manager of the Te Arai/Tomarata Tung Oil operations from approx May 1931 to November 1935. Cyril and his family moved from Napier, having gone through the Napier earthquake in 1931. He stood in line for the job interview and got the Manager's position because he had orchard and horticulture experience. He was a qualified electrician but the earthquake forced his electrical business into bankruptcy. He considered himself 'made' having landed the Tung Oil Manager's position, with a salary of 3 pounds per week and a Plantation Manager's house to live in with his family.

The Tung Oil Plantation was a Government Relief Work Scheme for unemployed men during the depression. 700 acres were ploughed by contract from the Wellsford-Mangawai Road to the vicinity of the old Te Arai Cemetery. 56,700 trees were planted which also includes replanting.

Tung nuts were imported from Japan and grown to produce tung oil which was to be used in the manufacture of paint, varnish and linoleum etc. The tung nuts were unsuitable for NZ soil. Flooding occurred along a dip on Braddock Road where the tung nuts were grown. The land was very boggy resulting in never-ending rescue missions with the bullocks being used to pull the tractor free.

The work at Tomarata/Te Arai began in 1929 and was closed down in 1936 by the Government.

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