The Bullock Team
1994
Ken Young, Hamilton
Acrylic on panels, 22 sq m.


The Wharawhara catchment, just south of Katikati, was the southern limit of kauri logging in New Zealand. Bullocks were used to haul kauri logs on the Kaimai Range in the first decade of the twentieth century, notably on Cashmore’s Clearing, a plateau near the summit of the Kaimai behind Katikati. The logs were dragged to the edge of the plateau then pushed down a kauri chute formed of smaller logs to a tramline in the Wharawhara Valley below. The tramline continued through the bush across farms and to the Tauranga Harbour from whence they were taken by scow to Auckland for milling.

In the 1930s there was a further round of logging. The man behind the team is carrying a timber jack, a simple mechanism which, when used with skill, can move large logs with ease. Beside the man on the log is a lard pot, lard providing a readily available lubricant. He has dipped the 'dob stick' into the lard and is rubbing it on the saplings along which the logs are being dragged. This mural was painted by Ken Young who portrayed the bullocks breaking out of the frame to give the feeling of movement and strength. He now lives in Cambridge where he is still busy painting.