Most of the land in the northern half of the Wilson Estate was originally swampy, with knolls of raised ground. This was especially so in the area called the Broadlands.
In the 1930s Neil Fergus, a neighbouring farmer, and two of Mrs Shaw’s workers formed a drain across the swamp. This drain facilitated both land development, and assisted in draining areas of land for farming.
After Martha Shaw bought the land from George Vesey Stewart in 1901, she asked Fenn Haszard to take the levels to see it was possible to drain the swamp by cutting a canal through the sandhills to the ocean. It was possible and so Two Mile Creek was born.
Today the Broadlands Reserve drains approximately 500 hectares of residential and rural land. It also acts as a buffer/ storage area for stormwater flowing into the creek.
A local who played in the swamp as a child recalls it being mostly manuka and their thin black trunks made the area seem “spooky”. She remembers an abundance of moreporks.
A Broadlands Steering Committee is currently revitalising this area as a wetlands.
South of the Waihi Beach Hotel which is pictured along the pathway was a swamp pa, known as Te Mata, and a name change from Broadlands to Te Mata is currently being considered to reflect this.
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This trail explores the people who shaped the community in the twentieth century, beginning at the initial settlement on Waione Road and finishing at the Doctor North Memorial Reserve.
Lack of roads meant that all good and travellers accessing the north end of Waihi Beach from the south had to cross the ford at Athenree and traverse the beach at low tide. This sited Athenree a place of significance for the district.
Athenree has always been a place of agricultural activities for both early Maori and settlers. Fishing was bountiful and the soil was good.
Today Athenree is a small residential settlement which is growing with increasing subdivisions.