I’m not sure if Arthur Mead actually lived in Titirangi, but he made such a contribution to the area that he must be included in our history. He started out surveying and design on the Upper Huia and Upper Nihotupu dam projects, came up with the idea for the Huia Aqueduct, and was later the city Waterworks Engineer for many of the years when the Waitakere scheme was developed.
As well as all of this, he was a love of tramping and the outdoors. He developed the earliest maps of the tracks in the Waitakeres and was the secretary and supervisor of the Auckland Centennial Memorial Park (now Waitakere Ranges Regional Park). Meads Wall in Ruapehu National Park is named after Arthur and his brother.
Arthur was also a recognised botanist and won the Loder Cup in 1972. The cup was to “encourage and honour New Zealanders who work to investigate, promote, retain and cherish our indigenous flora.” The reason for his win was described:
Mr Mead played an active role in the preservation of the Waitakere and Hunua watersheds. He ensured restriction of access and introduced other measures to safeguard the catchments, but he also encouraged the establishment of tracks and lookouts so those interested in these valuable forest areas could make use of them for study and recreation. Mr Mead also urged the establishment of the Auckland Centennial Memorial Park Board which by 1972 managed 14,000 acres of hill forest. He regularly led nature groups and societies into the Park and helped with the building of tracks. He also helped develop the Tongariro National Park. As an author he published a description and check list of Waitakere native flora, contributed papers to the Journal of the Polynesian Society, and being especially interested in the Maori and European history of the area, wrote a handbook on the Wanganui River.
In his book The Waitakere Ranges and their Forest Parks, Arthur wrote about Scenic Drive. He describes the end near Titirangi:
The road now rises easily and on the right a parking space provides a view over the Lower Nihotupu dam and the Manukau Harbour. Shortly beyond this the strip of Park land on the left comes to an end, and the Scenic Drive is bordered by private property till it reaches the Nihotupu filter station approaching Titirangi. On this portion of the Drive are some fine homes planned with regard to retaining as many native trees as possible in their grounds, giving a park-like effect. Between the filters and the Titirangi township centre, the Drive has the Mt Atkinson Park on the left, and on the right a block of Centennial Park land donated by the Clark family.
The Instititute of Professonal Engineers created the Arthur Mead Award in his honour. It recognises projects that protect or enhance the environment.