Sunday, 29 March 2015

WW100 Headstone Project

Heather McLean and a damaged headstone
This project was started back in April/May 2014.  Heather McLean (a committee member on WW100) raised $1170 towards the cost of three new headstones.  The stones have now been
installed in the Tauranga Catholic and Presbyterian Cemeteries.

Heather and the restored headstone of Tpr R.B.B. Cooper
Heather would like to thank the Tauranga Historical Society members for their kind donations.

Headstone and plaque for Cpl Lewis Jones
These two headstones are new ones in the Tauranga Catholic cemetery for Pte Lewis Jones and Pte.  P. (Barney) Retimana.  Someone had removed the Bronze plaque for Lewis Jones, possibly taken for the scrap metal value.

Headstone and plaque for Pte P. (Barney) Retimana
Private Retimana never previously had a headstone

Friday, 27 March 2015

Artifacts from Tuhua (Mayor Island)

Paper Nautilus Shell
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection, Ref. 0716/06
This shell is made by a female knobbed argonaut octopus (Argonauta nodosa), to protect her eggs. It is produced from a thin horn like secretion from two tentacles. These shells can be found on Mayor Island.

Photographic Print, Mayor Island
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection, Ref. 0191/08
Mrs Bell and her catch on Mayor Island in the 1930s. Several famous fishing expeditions took place in the waters around the Island and it was visited by American writer Zane Grey.

Fish Mount, Blue Marlin
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection, Ref. 0033/12
This Blue Marlin was caught in the waters off Mayor Island in the 1940s. It was mounted and adorned a wall of the Oceanside Hotel for many years.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

March Meeting - Flax Milling in the Te Puke District

On 5 April (Easter Sunday) at 2.p.m. Richard Hart will speak on:
Flax Milling in the Te Puke District
at the hall at the rear of the Brain Watkins House, 233 Cameron Road Tauranga. Visitors are welcome.

Friday, 20 March 2015


Maungawhare, Otumoetai, c 1910s
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 03-385
John Conroy built Maungawhare, one of the most attractive old houses in Tauranga, in 1878 for Henry Stainforth Brabant (1844-1926), the brother of Herbert William Brabant Resident Magistrate and Commissioner of Lands in early Tauranga. Brabant first named the house Woodhill and later used the same name when he moved to his second house, which is still known as Woodhill in Grange Road. Having arrived from England on the Cashmere in 1863 he took up farming and fruit growing in Tauranga after farming in the Waikato.

Tennis party at Maungawhare, Otumoetai, the residence of Mr & Mrs W.J. Baigent, circa 1910
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 99-607
The house became too small when his family reached eleven, hence the move to a larger home. Brabant had married Margaret Graham the sister of Agnes Graham who married John Cuthbert Adams one time Mayor of Tauranga and linking the historic places Maungawhare, Woodhill, Taipororo (Adams home in 5th Avenue) and the Adams Cottage in Mount Maunganui.

Pony and trap at Maungawhare, Otumoetai, c 1910s
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 03-435
Maungawhare is the work of Hamilton architect Isaac Richardson Vialou. It is an elegant two story timber house with steep gables mounted by finials and the delicate design of the verandah brackets give the house an appearance of lightness. Brackets on the bargeboards secured canvas screens to enable people to sleep on the verandah in the summer. There have been interior modifications to the house.

Henry Brabant chaired the Tauranga Horticultural Society and his interest in trees can be seen in the magnificent plantings in the garden. Some trees are mentioned in SW Burstall’s Great Trees of New Zealand and it is believed that the taller ones were used as navigation aids for ships entering the harbour. There have been several owners of Maungawhare with the present family owning the property since 1939.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Park

Tauranga Camping Ground
Children's Playground, Tauranga (Memorial Park)
Coastal Scene, Tauranga (Memorial Park)
Postcards publ. c.1950s by N.S. Seaward's Studio Broad Bay, Dunedin
Images courtesy of Justine Neal

Memorial Park makes up 11 hectares of land sitting next to the harbour between 11th and 7th Avenues. Generations of children have enjoyed the park’s playground which appears to have opened in the 1950’s.

The boating marina is a feature of the extensive children's playground in Memorial Park, 1970s postcard
Image courtesy of Justine Neal
The following excerpt from the Tauranga Winter Exhibition and Carnival 1929 booklet (Tauranga Heritage Collection) shows it wasn’t always known for that. The article is written as though a person is being taken on a guided tour round Tauranga.
Now here is the Eastern Beach almost landlocked at this far end, a paradise for campers with electric light and power available. Here are beautiful homes again, there beautifully planted slopes grading right to the beach. Beach cottages are available here (Honolulu Beach) and are seldom empty. This part is the safe harbourage of the small craft and the home of the rowing club. Dressing sheds and boat sheds dot the shore, large native and other trees shed a welcome shade for picnickers.
Honolulu Beach, Tauranga Winter Exhibition and Carnival 1929 booklet
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection
A map showing the original Maori names for the area names the Memorial Park area as "Hawaiki," and local lore states this area was used for kumara gardens in the early decades of the twentieth century.  Perhaps this is an explanation for the use of the name "Honolulu Beach" in 1929.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Thanks to the generosity of local donors

The burial of two British soldiers on the battlefield, Postcard, c.1914-1918
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection
With over 35,000 objects in the Tauranga Heritage Collection, artefacts range from World War One postcards and patent medicines to a surfboard built from a Popular Mechanics magazine at Mount Maunganui in 1952. These treasures and thousands of others reveal our cities past, thanks to the generosity of local donors over many years.

The Three Carboys Vaporizing Liquid, for the relief of whooping cough
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection, Ref. 0734/06
Indeed the early collection registers read like a Who’s Who of Tauranga in the 1960s and 70s, as long time residents responded to the call for artefacts from the Tauranga Historical Society. In 1969 the Society’s aim to establish a Museum was realized when the Tauranga City Council provided premises in Hamilton Street to display the collected items. 

There are many familiar names amongst the hundreds of donors listed in just the first collection register. These include Elva Brain (Brain Watkins House Museum), Frances Goodyear, George Walsh MP, William Cross (Bay of Plenty Times), Eric Faulkner (Mayor of Tauranga 1977-1980), Hugh Lever, Joan Mirrielees and Charlie Haua.