Cliff's Landing in Paparoa (The Landing)
By E. Metcalfe (Cliff)
The Landing in Paparoa has been restored to become a focal point in Paparoa. With its lovely English trees, picnic tables, well kept lawns and gardens planted on the edge of the river it is a place that people can gather and have picnic, or a walk or just to talk.
Originally part of the Crown Grant of land to the Cliff family from Staffordshire, England, who were part of the Albertland settlers who arrived to take up that land in 1862. The original homestead of James and Mary Cliff was across the river and a bridge was built for easy access to the rest of the land they owned. This stretched from across the river, up what is now Franklin road and back towards Wearmouth Road. Forty acres was allotted to each adult male in the family so the Cliffs received 80 acres. This was bush covered and the only access was by river to Pahi. All supplies had to be ferried up from the store at Pahi and carried the rest of the way to the whares which were their homes until their permanent houses could be built. These were built from Kauri timber which was milled on their own property as the Cliffs were saw millers and saw doctors. Pit sawing was established and later a saw mill powered by a stuz petrol engine.
When Cliff's store was opened before 1880, all the goods had to be ferried from Pahi and they were unloaded at the landing and pulled by horses up a wire rope to the shop.
A lot of controversy surrounds this piece of land as to the part it plays in the history of Paparoa. When reading the Albertlanders, a book of the History of the Albertland Settlements in the mid 1800s it would appear that not many of the pioneers actually landed here as the land allotted to them was either further down the river or further up. The Fenwicks landed further south, the Trounsons and Wilsons further up stream where their land was situated. The Hames family landed at Toka Tapu and walked overland to their grant of land which was out on Station Road. as we know it today.
The Landing became a “no man's land” when the road was constructed through the settlement in the 1870s and has been used for various things over the years. Cattle to be sold at the old saleyards were kept on the landing overnight. Timber logs which had been floated down the river were collected and rafts were made of them to transport them on to Pahi so they could be sold. An old log found in the river when it was being cleaned out has been mounted near the road. This log still bears the number of the owner stamped on it.
At various times the landing has been used for a metal dump when the roads were upgraded and sealed through Paparoa. At times it was untidy, covered with blackberry, gorse and pampas grass and very few people ever went there. Since the Progressive Paparoa Society has taken over the development of the landing it has become an attractive asset to the Paparoa Township. A picnic table was purchased with donations from descendants of the early pioneers and the Society provided the other one and these were received at the opening of the landing on the 26th February 2005. One of these has been covered with a beautiful mosaic done by local people. From the remaining bridge piles which were still in the river they commissioned a sculpture to be made which depicts scenes of early life in Paparoa.
The Landing today is a credit to all those who have worked so hard to plant trees and plants and clean out the river, and it is wonderful to see it being used most days by travellers stopping for a meal and a rest, and local people just enjoying the pleasant surroundings.