Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Te Puke Flax Mills, a talk by Richard Hart (5 April 2015)

Aerial view of Paroa Flax Mill, Kaituna, c.1930s
Working as a landscape architect piqued my interest in the flax milling history of the lower Kaituna River, and this interest then spread to the associated flax mills of Te Puke.

The scow Victory and a flax launch at Paroa
This presentation covers four main areas; the reasons for writing about flax mills, the research journey based largely on the letters Alister and Ian Matheson, the process of flax milling from growing and harvest to flax stripping and scutching including human stories, and finally explores the Paroa flax mill in greater depth.

Remains of the Paroa Flax Mill today
Remnants of the Paroa Mill remain today with two rusty iron buildings on private land west of the river, and a flax tramway alignment across the river in the Kaituna wetlands.

Te Kopua Flax Mill

Richard is preparing a book based on Alister Mathesons work on the Te Puke Flax Mills.  It will be richly illustrated with historic photographs.

Mr Jim Paterson after a fire at the Paroa Flax Mill, c.1912
His presentation to the Tauranga Historic Society was to share his story so far, and to seek leads to fill in the gaps about where the machinery went and to uncover local stories.  Please email Richard ( if you have any information or photographs to share.

Block M2 after side leafing, 27/1/30, Te Puke

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