In the late 1930s Waima was the location of one NZ’s biggest films. Rewi’s Last Stand was made by Rudall Hayward as a remake of a 1925 silent film he made of the same name. It tells the story of the Batttle of Orakau, one of the last acts of the Invasion of Waikato. It was mostly shot on Gus Bishop’s property in Waima Rd (on the first bend of what is now called Woodlands Park Rd).
A small snippet of the film can be seen on the the Nga Taonga Sound &Vision website: Rewi’s Last Stand.
In Titirangi Finge of Heaven, Bill Bishop (Gus’s son) recalls: “Most of Rewi’s Last Stand was made on the Bishop property. Most of our 78 acres had undisturbed forest on it. The fight between Robert and the Maori in the film was held in the front paddock…In another scene where the leading lady was being followed by Robert, she jumps on a log and talks about ‘utu’ being expected; this was filmed on the right side of the bottom leg of Waima Crescent, and the dying scene was filmed close by….The scene where the rangers meet the Maori was party was shot on Boylan Rd.”
It was very popular at the time – even the Prime Minister liked it.
Our 10 seconds of fame is now remembered in the name of Hollywood Ave. For a while the Woodlands Park subdivision was referred to as Beverley Hills but, perhaps fortunately, this name didn’t stick. What did stay is Beverley Hills Scenic Reserve, part of the Clark Bush track.