The familiar bush-clad slopes of Mt Parihaka and fern banked Hātea River were once bordered by a thriving citrus orchard.

Its owner Herbert Boucher Dobbie was an interesting character with many talents who travelled around on his favourite penny farthing and maintained a love for native ferns since his first arrival in Auckland in 1875, age 23.

He first worked in Auckland then Picton in various engineering roles including drafting and illustrating before being stationed in Whangārei with the NZ Railways.

His role was as stationmaster of the new Whangārei to Kamo railway, which only ran three days a week,