Jim Mason has always been a strong proponent of preserving Auckland’s heritage. In the late 1960’s, Jim purchased the Pupuke ferry, which was at that time beached on Ponui Island, Auckland. Unfortunately, she proved to be too far gone in the late 1960’s, and so was blown up. (Her steel frames are still visible today.)
As other ferries came to the end of their lives, the Harbour Board proposed burying them in the new Westhaven reclamation. Jim purchased the Ngoiro and the Toroa to save them from this fate. The Ngoiro was first a floating restaurant in the Viaduct Basin, and was then towed to Tairua where she is on the hard at the Tairua Marina.
The Toroa, the last of Auckland’s steam ferries left afloat, sank alongside Birkenhead wharf, but was rescued and pulled out in Henderson where she is being restored by the Toroa Preservation Society.

He was also involved in the restoration of the Settler, and the Auckland ferry Kestrel.

In 1997, the Department of Conservation announced that it intended to demolish and remove all the baches from Rangitoto Island. Jim helped avoid this by submitting legal arguments that the the baches were protected by the Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Act as part of the Gulf’s communities. He helped form the the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust. Thanks to this trust, you can now stay at a bach on Rangitoto.

Jim was a Life Member of the Civic Trust Auckland, and active as a member of the board up till 2015. He was passionate about stopping the Logan Campbell Kindergarten in Victoria Park being demolished, as was originally planned as part of the Victoria Park tunnel project. The restored kindergarten was reopened in 2012. The Civic Trust Newsletter notes that: “Five members of the Board attended the re-opening of the Logan Campbell Kindergarten on May 5, including Jim Mason, who received a special mention during the ceremony as a long-time advocate for the restoration of this century old building.”

    Guy King
    1 Apr 2020

    Dear Mrs Mason, & Family,
    On behalf of the Committee of Heritage Auckland Society inc ( Formerly the Auckland branch of The now-defunct New Zealand Historic Places Trust which Jim was a very valued member of. I am writing to express our great sadness in reading of Jim’s passing on 22nd March 2020. We send you our sincere Condolences and Heartfelt Sympathy, and our thoughts and prayers are with you. Jim with his long involvement with various Heritage Projects over the years, his extensive legal background, and Wisdom made a very valuable contribution to our Auckland Branch Committee of the former NZ Historic Places Trust which was greatly appreciated. We also recognise that Jim did a great deal for the Devonport Community particularly in regard to Heritage over the years. We were very sad when Jim more or less had to retire from our Committee because of issues with his health. He was greatly missed.

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