ISBN: 978-0-473-50951-4  

290 pages A4 quality paper, well bound, well-illustrated and fully indexed.

Published 2012

Second Edition published 2020

Available at the local Lepperton store, the store at Puke Ariki Museum as well as in Waitara and Fitzroy or click to purchase from the author  >

Even the Dogs have Forgotten to Bark.

The events and the people of Lepperton, Sentry Hill and Waiongona.​

The Lepperton area was one of the early settlements of Taranaki. As the wars died down in the late 1860s civilians began to settle in the area that had been occupied by the Militia and the local Maori. The book “Even the Dogs Have Forgotten to Bark” tells of the early events of the area including some of the pre-European days, a story of murder, a dramatic kidnapping and the development of Taranaki’s first railway including a large railway workshop and an important refreshment stop on the main route between Auckland and Wellington (in Lepperton). Stories of the hardships of the early pioneers who had to strip off to cross rivers on the way to New Plymouth, deal with forest fires, terrible roads, sickness and accidents are told. (Find out why one of the early residents died from a sore toe).

The book tells of the development of the dairy industry’s three dairy factories in the area, the condensed milk industry that almost took off, the growth of the local store, the school, the community hall and the festivities held there, the churches, the butcher; the growth of a bullock wagon freighter to a nationwide carrying firm and the village in general.  Sporting facilities grew from the first challenge of the Militia to local and invited residents to a game of cricket, which was extended to two days accompanied by a great feast they put on, through to the array of fine sporting facilities in the village today.

Colonel Lepper’s descendants are still in the area and the story of his and ninety other families who lived and worked in the district are all told in this comprehensive and very readable book which takes the story of the area from the first Pakeha settlement through to the present exciting growth of a large rural village that is happening today. While specific to this area it is also generic in that similar stories will have happened in rural areas all over New Zealand.


'This is a great book on the history of Lepperton, Sentry Hill, and Waiongona.  What makes this book more interesting than a general history book are the stories and memories that people have provided. This is not just a book about dates, names, and places but stories and memories on farming, families, clubs, business, and development.  It has relevant newspaper articles and plenty of photos to help visualise life in and around Lepperton, with snippets of where families have moved from, or to.  Community records are often protected and not easy to gather. Having records of rolls, cemetery records, maps, and historical information makes this book a very valuable resource to have, particularly for schools.  The audience will extend beyond locality as many people will resonate with the family names. Often books like “Even the dogs have forgotten to bark” have limited printing availability so, if you can grab a copy it is well worth keeping for a school library to ensure future generations have something to enjoy.'

Kim Foley


Waitara High School 

Dec 2020