The following text and picture information has been modified from that compiled for the Otago Settlers Museum exhibition of the same name - June to September 2004 Dunedin. The support of the Otago Settlers Museum and staff, particularly exhibition head Sean Brosnahan, are greatly appreciated.
Halfway Bush was one of the earliest localities
around Dunedin cleared for farming by the 1848 settlers. It served as
a halfway point for travellers on the road from Dunedin to the Taieri
and many wagon teams would camp here overnight. Major expansion of the
suburb came in 1952 when the Hudson estate development was begun (the
area bisected by Ashmore Street).
Ashburn Hall, New Zealand's first psychiatric hospital,
was founded here in 1882. The suburb's second major medical facility
is Wakari Hospital. This was the site of an infectious diseases centre
from 1915 and then a sanatorium but was redeveloped as a general hospital
Wakari derives from the Maori name 'Whakaari' (held
up to view), which described the whole range of hills behind the modern
locality. The name honours a Maori tohunga Te Wharawhara who died here
and whose body was displayed on an upright platform so that his people
could see him for one last time.
Only part of this area falls within the Kaikorai
catchment zone. Dunedin's oldest surviving house is in Wakari. This
is Ferntree House built in 1849 and tucked away behind the bush reserve
opposite St Mary's Catholic church. The Wakari school is also one of
Dunedin's oldest, established in 1858.
This residential locality occupies the high ground northwards of the head of Kaikorai Valley. One of the sources of the Kaikorai Stream rises in the lower section of the Balmacewen golf course, which is the area's dominant feature. The area takes its name from 'Balmacewen' the house of John McGlashan, an influential early Dunedin settler who lived here. The house was named by McGlashan to honour his wife Isabella McEwen.
The Otago Golf Club, which owns the Balmacewen course,
traces its history back to the original Dunedin Golf Club established
in Mornington in 1871. John McGlashan College, a private Presbyterian
school for boys, was established in John McGlashan's former home in
'Kaikorai' is a corruption of 'Kai karae' (eating
seabirds). According to one tradition the name recalls the arrival of
the Maori explorer Rakaihautu whose party is said to have eaten 'karae'
(a type of petrel) while camping at the mouth of the stream.
The Roslyn Kaikorai swimming baths were opened in Frasers Gully 1912. They were cold water baths that operated seasonally. An image of the baths from 1924 describes them as 'the largest in New Zealand'. By 1950 the baths were in a poor state of repair and were closed. They were used as a tip for 6 months and when the baths were filled the area was covered over. The site is now used as a sports ground."
A Presbyterian church was built in 1868; the Kaikorai parish celebrated its 135th anniversary this year. A school was established nearby in 1869 and originally called Linden School. This was the name of a 'ward' when the area was part of the Roslyn Borough from 1877 to 1912. The modern Kaikorai school site is at the top of the hill above Kaikorai and is actually in Roslyn.
Kaikorai Valley follows the Kaikorai Stream toward Burnside. Access from the city was not easy until the Stuart Street extension and motorway developments between 1957 and 1962. Until then the Valley had always been sparsely settled.
Most of its early houses were the humble wooden
cottages of the working-class migrants who worked at the local mills,
especially that of the Ellis Company established in 1877 and Roslyn
Woollen Mill established in 1879. Sewage was not installed in the Valley
until 1908 so that the early houses discharged their waste into gutters
to flow on into the stream. The mills and other businesses also polluted
There were major new housing developments from the
1950s as well as new industrial developments.
Roslyn Wakari FC is the second oldest soccer club
in New Zealand. It began as the Wakari Football Association in 1888,
its playing field a farm paddock with a perimeter ditch at Wakari.