Is this the source of the Avon­dale spi­der?

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - SARAH ROBERTS

How did Avon­dale get its spi­der?

Mike Ast­ley says his fam­ily is par­tially re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing the hunts­man spi­der into New Zealand.

His great-grand­fa­ther Eli­jah Ast­ley owned the E Ast­ley & Sons Tan­nery on Portage Rd in New Lynn, from 1888 through to 1988.

The fam­ily im­ported bark from the Aus­tralian wat­tle tree, which car­ried the Avon­dale spi­der in it, also known as the Aus­tralian hunts­man spi­der.

The spi­der has be­come a mas­cot for Avon­dale, with a statue of ‘‘Dale’’ the Avon- dale spi­der on Great North Rd.

Whau Lo­cal Board mem­ber Cather­ine Farmer said in Oc­to­ber the spi­der could be re­placed by some­thing ‘‘more ap­peal­ing’’ to Avon­dale’s multi-cul­tural so­ci­ety.

Ast­ley says he would hate to see Dale the spi­der statue taken down.

‘‘It’s more than a statue of a spi­der it’s the his­tory be­hind it. There wasn’t a great deal of work back in those days and the tan­ner­ies cre­ated em­ploy­ment for our peo­ple and the Avon­dale spi­der was a sym­bol of that time in west Auck­land,’’ he says.

But a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers (78 per cent) on a Western Leader Neigh­bourly poll wanted Dale to stay in Avon­dale.

‘‘Dale’’ the Avon­dale Spi­der statue on Great North Rd.

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