Friday, 24 July 2015

Adams Cottage, Mt Maunganui

The Adams Cottage, Mt Maunganui, 2015
The Adams Cottage in Adams Avenue is the oldest building in Mount Maunganui. Although built as a bach or holiday home for John Cuthbert Adams it is a similar style of many pioneer cottages, having a gable ended simple design in what is known as ‘carpenter gothic’ style. Adams built it as a bach in 1906 when his family lived in Fifth Avenue at Taipororo.  It was said that his daughters could row to the bach faster than he could drive around Welcome Bay to the Mount, the only route at that time.

Adams arrived in Tauranga in 1876 and became a successful builder and later local body politician and mayor. He married Helen Edwards a relative of the wife of Henry Brabant of Maungawhare, the story of which appeared recently in this blog. Ten of their children survived to adulthood and three became school teachers. John Adams was very interested in Maori culture and his collection of artefacts remains in the Tauranga Heritage Collection. He was a member of the Polynesian Society.  He also corresponded with the former soldier Horatio Robley and owned more than a dozen original Robley paintings of Gate Pa and early Tauranga.

The Adams Cottage, Pilot Bay, Mt Maunganui, undated
Image © and courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 01-185
The cottage is near the foreshore at Pilot Bay and originally had a simple plan. Bedrooms opened off the living room and the brick fireplace was double sided providing a means of cooking at the rear. As a bach occupation indoors was not as important as outdoor activities so it served well as a place just to eat and sleep. The construction was of timber and the rooms were lined with timber sarking and the saw marks are still visible on one wall. Additions of a verandah, garage, and large rear living area have been made in more recent years.

Lionel Adams inherited the bach in 1932 and family ownership ended in in 1976 and for ten years it was a private museum. The present owners have had the property since 1985.


Historic Houses Vol. 2, Vertical File, Tauranga Library.

Building File. Tauranga City Council.

Cunningham, B. & Musgrove, K.(1989)  A History of Mount Maunganui, pub. Mount Borough Council,.

Walker, Delwyn (2000) John Cuthbert Adams (1854-1932), unpublished essay, Tauranga Heritage Collection.

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