Mystery of missing flagpole solved

The intrepid former Howick Mayor Morrin Cooper and Auckland Council’s Sam Isaia with the newly-refurbished flagpole back where it belongs. Photo Nick Krause

The mystery of the missing flag pole on Moore Street has been the topic of much consternation over the past few years, not least amongst those in the company of the inquisitive and particularly dogged Morrin Cooper, proud former Mayor of of Howick.

But doggedness can pay off.

Mr Cooper told the Times he spent three of four years searching for the flag pole which used to stand guard outside the former Howick Borough Council premises on the corner of Moore Street and Fencible Drive. “The flag pole mysteriously disappeared,” he said.

“I’ve been on the trail of it ever since.”

So what’s so special about this flag pole? It transpires it’s a naval flag pole with crosstree which was put in place by Mr Cooper’s mayoral predecessor, the late Whitford Blundell. Mr Blundell, named after the village just down the road, was a bridge builder and Mayor of Howick from 1966 to 1974.

Mr Cooper doesn’t know where the 12-metre high flag pole came from, nor obviously where it went for several years.

However he does know that the late Bill Mudgway – the Eye in the Sky and golden voice of Springs Speedway, and Howick’s Santa Parade for many years — was public relations officer at Howick Borough Council.

“It was his job to put the flag up every morning,” Mr Cooper said.

Sam Isaia, the senior maintenance delivery coordinator — operational management and maintenance community facilities official from Auckland Council, was there with a team to put the flag pole back in its rightful place.

Mr Isaia only joined in July and after much determination discovered the flag pole in an old depot where it had been deposited by an old contractor. And it was not in the best condition either as the base was rotten through.

That’s been skilfully taken care of and the flag pole, said Mr Cooper, is back where it belongs.

What next? He’s keen to know why council hasn’t let community groups rent the vacant building, formerly home to Howick Police. “I also want to get in there and draw those curtains…it looks so untidy.”

He’ll also ensure he or Wally Rice of Rice’s Mall in Howick will see to the flags there and make sure it is flown at half mast on Anzac Day next Wednesday.