Monday, 6 April 2015

The History of Welcome Bay, by Peg Cummins


Five years ago, just after I had finished my sixth book of local history, I decided to do something I’d not done before.  I would write a history of the place I am living in.  I began by consulting Papers Past which yielded a rich seam of information about the late 19th  and early 20th centuries.  The Bay of Plenty Times was my main source although other publications featured as well.

I then decided to interview people who had lived in Welcome Bay all their lives. This proved to be a valuable source as well especially with the likes of Jim Keam and Roger Lauder whose families had  settled here a long time ago.  Many names were given to me but I was unable to contact all of them.  However, I tried to ensure that the whole history was covered by the people whose stories I included.  Many of them provided photos to complement what was written.

Staff & pupils on opening day, Welcome Bay School, 1979
Several aerial photos are included in the book and these show that until the second half of the 20th century Welcome Bay was mainly a farming area.  When farms began to be sold to developers things moved fairly rapidly until now Welcome Bay is a sizeable suburb and is still growing rapidly.

I have included the rural area of Welcome Bay as well because these farming people contributed much to the life of the area and their stories contribute a valuable part of the history of the place.

I have always tried to include Maori history in my books and in this I was helped greatly by two men, Awanui Black and Colin Reeder.  They have provided an excellent overview of what happened here before pakeha settlement occurred.

Copies of the book are available at the Welcome Bay Community Centre during the day.  Otherwise people are welcome to phone me in order to set up a time to receive a copy.  The book costs $30. for which cash or a cheque are acceptable.  (Sorry, I don’t have EFTPOS.)  Copies of the book can also be posted for an added $6 to cover packing and postage. My address is 48 Corinna Street, Welcome Bay Tauranga 3112, my phone is 07 544 9700 and my email address is cummins@kinect.co.nz


Peg Cummins is an amateur historian who took up writing local history after she retired from teaching.  Her first book, based on her grandfather's diaries, was called Happy in his Work.  Then followed A History of Kawhia, Memories of Tirau, Learn Teach, Serve -  A History of Ardmore Teachers' College, 100 Years of the Catholic Church in Matamata and No. 2 Road Hall and District - Te Puke.  Copies of these are also available from Peg.

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