En­gi­neer be­hind ma­jor civil projects

A man who headed ini­tial plans for the Kaimai Tun­nel died be­fore he could see it con­structed. Lawrence Gullery re­ports.

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place -

John Pol­lock ded­i­cated his work­ing life to the con­struc­tion of the Kaimai Tun­nel.

The en­gi­neer wanted it to stand as a ‘‘tremen­dous na­tional as­set’’ for New Zealand when he be­gan work­ing on the project.

His full name was John Eric Curlett Pol­lock. He was born in Lon­don­derry, North Ire­land but ar­rived in New Zealand in 1951, where he han­dled sev­eral ma­jor na­tional projects of the time.

He moved to Mata­mata and his first con­tact with the tun­nel project was in 1965 when he was as­signed to in­ves­ti­gate its fea­si­bil­ity. When it was ap­proved, he was ap­pointed En­gi­neer in Charge of the project.

The tun­nel was con­structed be­tween 1969 and 1978 but un­for­tu­nately Pol­lock would not live to see it com­pleted.

‘‘Kaimai Tun­nel En­gi­neer Dies Sud­denly’’ is the head­line of the lead story in the Mon­day, De­cem­ber 4, 1967 is­sue of the Mata­mata District Chron­i­cle.

The story said Pol­lock died ‘‘sud­denly at his home on Smith Street’’ the pre­vi­ous Satur­day night. He was 46.

There were no de­tails re­ported on the cir­cum­stances of his death but the story gave a de­tailed ac­count of Pol­lock’s pre­vi­ous work his­tory and his in­volve­ment with the Waikato com­mu­nity.

‘‘He was also res­i­dent en­gi­neer at Paeroa, his district cov­er­ing the Thames Valley, Waihi, Coro­man­del, Whi­tianga and Hau­raki Plains.’’

He found time to be­come in­volved in many com­mu­nity groups out­side of his job for the Min­istry of Works.

Pol­lock was a mem­ber of Mata- mata Ro­tary, Waikato Rose So­ci­ety, Cam­bridge RSA, Cam­bridge Skat­ing Club and Mata­mata Scout Com­mit­tee. For many years he was also a mem­ber of the Ma­sonic Lodge and the Royal Arch Chap­ter of Wairoa.

‘‘He had vir­tu­ally ded­i­cated him­self to the con­struc­tion of the Kaimai Tun­nel, not only for his own sat­is­fac­tion, but as a tremen­dous na­tional as­set in which he had the great­est con­fi­dence and be­lief,’’ the story re­ported.

In back­ground notes printed with the story, it said Pol­lock was ed­u­cated in Eng­land where he achieved the un­usual qual­i­fi­ca­tion com­bi­na­tion of a B.A. and a B.E. He was cap­tain of the Royal Engi­neers dur­ing World War II and served in Italy, Burma and West Africa.

Af­ter the war he worked in Kuwait when the oil fields were be­ing de­vel­oped. He em­i­grated to New Zealand and set­tled at Tekapo in the South Is­land, where he was con­struc­tion en­gi­neer on the hy­dro-elec­tric dam there.

He worked on a sim­i­lar scheme at Lake Hawea and then moved north to Wairoa.

Some years later Pol­lock was ap­pointed con­struc­tion en­gi­neer in charge of the low­er­ing of the rail­way at Hamil­ton, Cob­ham Drive and ‘‘the new bridge of the Waikato River’’.

The story re­ported he was sur­vived by his wife Jan, two daugh­ters and a son.

The De­cem­ber 4, 1967, is­sue of the Mata­mata District Chron­i­cle leads with a story about the death of John Pol­lock, in­stru­men­tal in plan­ning for the Kaimai Tun­nel and serveral other public projects around New Zealand.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.