Friday, 28 December 2018

Lemon House, 21 Willow Street, Tauranga

21 Willow Street, 1997
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref 00-593
The house at 21 Willow Street is one of the few in central Tauranga that is still a dwelling. It is believed to have been on the site since 1886 and is a good example of the simple square pioneer home with a rectangular hip roof. The materials are the corrugated iron and timber weatherboards of the period. Joseph Hall, police constable, is listed at this address on the Tauranga Burgess Roll of 1886/1887. This was the electoral roll for the Tauranga Borough.

George Lemon, born in Plymouth, Devon and his wife Catherine (nee Meagher/Maher) married on a ship in New York harbour in 1850 and their first son, George Henry was born in the USA. The family moved to Australia and in 1863 George enlisted in the 1st Waikato Regiment No 3 Company of the militia in Melbourne and came to New Zealand on the Golden Age to fight in the New Zealand Wars. George received the New Zealand Medal which proved he had taken part in active service and he died in Tauranga in 1899. He fought at the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga in 1864 and he also served during the Tauranga Bush Campaign of 1867. George Lemon served on the Tauranga Borough Council from 1887 to 1895.

George Henry Lemon's bugle, Waikato Militia. Tauranga Heritage Collection
George Henry Lemon who was fourteen years old when he enlisted in the Militia with his father, was sworn in as a bugler. Army details record his height at the time as three feet ten inches. He married Elizabeth Mannix of Tauranga and farmed at Paengaroa for many years. Lemon Road there is named after the family. A descendant presented his bugle to the Tauranga Heritage Collection.

Cayley Gore Robinson a farmer, later a builder, from Greerton bought the house in the early 20th century and his widow Florence resided there during the twentieth century.

Archaeological Report on Tauranga CBD Phillips & Arabin; Jenni Palmer, Lists of Waikato Militia; Tauranga Memories – Kete; Lyn Harpham notes THC.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Patrick Freeburn Keenan and His Family - Book Review

Patrick Freeburn Keenan and His Family by Patricia Brooks
Edited by Sophie Levestam, Design by Donella Jones
ISBN 978-0-473-45792-1, Kale Print, Tauranga
Softcover, 84 pages

Review by Lee Switzer

The author is clear. The book is about her grandfather, whose biography is only printed here in great detail because so many family members from the past collected stories, newspaper reports and photos.

The book is filled with family photos and multiple quotes from original letters describing family members and their activities. Patrick Freeburn Keenan (1872-1955) is the grandfather of author Patricia Brooks. She is named after him, and like Patrick, nicknamed ‘Paddy.’

The book is generally well referenced. However, no source is given for this statement: “By 1915 Tauranga was the first town in the world to have electric street lights and an all-electric home.” p41.

Keenan Road, Freeburn Rd and Molloy Rise are named after families who lived in the area off  Pyes Pa Rd.

The organisational layout of the book must have been a mind swirling jigsaw of placing families, individuals and events into a coherent whole. In large part, the author has succeeded well in providing lineages backward and forward within the contexts of distant relatives, their 1800s activities in Ireland, and voyages to Australia and New Zealand.

As expected, New Zealand history is an integral part of the family history. Patrick Keenan was born to Francis and Sarah Keenan in Greenstone, New Zealand, a town  across the river from Kumara, midway between Greymouth and Hokitika.

After working in several different gold dredging operations and marrying Mary Jane Walsh  (1872-1944) in 1904, Greymouth, they moved to North Island towns. The couple and 4 childrern; Thomas, Ellen Sarah (Nell), Pat, and Alice eventually landed, fully, and finally in Tauranga, 1918. With farms in Pyes Pa, various other family members worked the land, took children to school first in Greerton and later to other schools.

The authors’ parents, Ellen Sarah Keenan (1910-1970) and Brian Patrick Molloy (1911-1979) were married in 1936. Six siblings arrived from this union: Mary Elizabeth, Margaret Winifred  Patricia Alice, Marc, Terence Michael (currently a Tauranga City Councillor) and John Joseph.

Patricia Keenan married Norman Brooks in 1961. Brooks provides details about living on the farm, Greerton School history and other aspects of Grandfather and Grandmother Keenan and Mother Molloy’s life with animals, town and country organisations, friendships, kinships.

There are many anecdotes in the book and several little-mentioned events in New Zealand history such as the Battle of Addisons Flat, 1868 one of the first riots on the West Coast, and the “Douglas Movement” referring to the Douglas Credit Party in the 1930s.

The book is loaded with individual facts, dates of birth and death, often burial locations. On a final note, near the end of the biography there is an unsuspected puzzle piece with twists to finding relatives. It has to do with DNA, a photograph, an unwed mother who gave her twins up for adoption, and who would not tell the adult women who their father was. The answer is in the book. (Hint: their new brother was very happy to discover his sisters.)

Closing the Keenan saga are numerous pages with diagrammed genealogical branches.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Armed Constabulary Roads

We take the roads we drive over every day for granted – unless they are badly congested or have a poor safety record, in which case we complain. But usually we are too busy concentrating on the roads themselves to think about their history. As we drive through Judea, Oropi, or Welcome Bay, we could spare a thought for the members of the Armed Constabulary and their Māori helpers, who built at least part of these roads in the first instance.

Armed Constabulary, 1870. Bartlett Photo (from a Copy).
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 01-128
Artillery detachment of the Armed Constabulary with two six-pounder Armstrong guns, c 1870. Captain Crapp standing on right. Other constables from left are identified by S. Crowther as Sergt Russell, Sergt Mason, Const. Campbell (Hospital Dispenser), Const. Reymer, Const. Mathias, Const. Redmond, Const. Daveron, Const. Skilton, Const. Cochrane, Const. Walker, Const. Elliott, Const. McCallum, Const. Adams, Const. Batty, Sergt Major Harper, Const. Land, Const. Ryan. Front sitting, Const. Crowther lying down, Const. Keep standing by gun wheel, Sergt Putnam and Captain Crapp in the right foreground. Two figures on extreme left in the background and the one looking over the wheel between Campbell and Reymer unidentified.
The Armed Constabulary, precursor to the modern police force, was established in 1867, as the land wars drew to a close. Staffed by men from the former militia units such as the Waikato Regiment, it was meant to keep the peace and protect the civilian population from attacks by disaffected Māori. As that threat receded, work was found for the men to do, and one of their most useful jobs was road-making. In 1869-70 they began forming the road through Judea to the Wairoa river crossing, a task that involved shifting some 5,454 cubic yards of soil. In 1875 men from the Ohinemutu constabulary post started work on the ‘back road’ from Tauranga to Rotorua, which in those days went through Oropi.

In the late 1870s or early-to-mid 1880s – there seems to be conflicting information as to when this actually occurred – the Armed Constabulary was restructured. In general, police forces took over the towns, and a ‘Field Force’ the rural areas, but the Armed Constabulary was still referred to as an active force in newspaper articles well into the 1890s. In 1880 members were engaged in building the road at Welcome Bay, in order to connect Tauranga and Te Puke. Swamps and gullies made the work arduous. It is easy to understand why earlier settlers preferred to travel by sea.

Hansen, Neil. Highways and byways of the Western Bay of Plenty. [Tauranga] : N. G. Hansen, 1999.
Rorke, Jinty. Policing two peoples : a history of police in the Bay of Plenty, 1867-1992. [Tauranga] : J. Rorke and New Zealand Police, 1993.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Tauranga Heritage Award Presented to Heather McLean

Newspaper clipping from 1982. The award was organised that year but not presented until 1983.
The first presentation was to Mr Duff Maxwell.
This year saw the return of the Society’s Tauranga Heritage Award, which was last presented in 2004. The most deserving recipient was genealogist Heather McLean. Heather was presented with an Illuminated Scroll signed by Mayor Greg Brownless and Historical Society President Julie Green. (SunLive article)

Stephanie Smith speaking at the presentation ceremony in the NZ Room, Tauranga City Libraries, 24 October 2018.
Heather McLean is seated to her left.  Image: Fiona Kean
The scroll, detailing Heather’s many achievements, was as follows:
‘In recognition of Heather’s exceptional contribution in the discovery and transmission of genealogical and historical information for Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region. In particular, her knowledge of local cemeteries and her meticulous transcriptions of headstones, completed over more than forty years.
For her tireless and generous volunteer work, including:
Twenty-seven years of collecting and indexing death notices and obituaries.
One day a week at the Tauranga Family History Centre since its opening in 1993.
One day a week at the Pyes Pa Cemetery since 2012.
Many years of valued support to the library community.
WW100 Tauranga committee member since 2013. 
In acknowledgement of Heather’s investigative skills, her phenomenal memory and her willingness to assist researchers by giving both her time and financial resources.’

Friday, 7 December 2018

Agnes Faulkner

Agnes Faulkner. Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-1339
 Agnes Faulkner (nee Davies) was born in Opunake 1891 and died in Tauranga 1986, aged 95

Agnes was one of a family of 13 and it was her dream to become a teacher, but shortly after their arrival in Tauranga she began work at age 13 as a tailoress. Married in 1912 to “Barley” Faulkner she barely left her home for the next 20 years as she raised children and acted as bookkeeper and telephonist for her husband’s ferry business.

Finally in 1932, under doctors orders, she attended a Country Women’s Institute meeting and from that day her world opened up. She became involved in The St John’s movement, and during one period was giving up to nine lectures a week in first aid or home nursing. She was one of the first women to act as an ambulance attendant and eventually became the Superintendent of the Nursing Division.

Bay of Plenty Times, Image courtesy of Papers Past
From 1934 -1977 she was heavily involved in health services and served as only the 2nd woman on the hospital board. She was a prime mover in the establishment of the maternity annexe. In 1953 The Queen bestowed her with a Coronation Medal and an MBE in 1958.*

Agnes was also involved in the Road Safety Council and The Tauranga Historical Society das well as being a JP. In her latter years she continued to lecture on Maori medicines and cures and was a volunteer at The Tauranga District Museum.

* Some sources say 1950


Biographical Sketches of The Centennial Mural (Artist Elizabeth Grainger and Editor Ernest E. Bush), Feb 1982
Tauranga 1882-1982;The Centennial of Gazetting of Tauranga as a Borough (Edited by A.C. Bellamy) TCC 1982
Manuscript 43 in Vertical Files, Heritage Research Room, Tauranga Library; From interview with Agnes in 1981

Friday, 30 November 2018

The Bay's Culture-crossing Traders

The Bay’s first Pakeha-Maori (white men gone native), were fully assimilated by their host tribes. A mix of fugitive convicts and sailors, they lived as Maori and were treated as Maori. From the late 1820s, a number of young adventurers began arriving in the Bay as independent traders or as agents for Sydney trading houses like Montifiore and Co. Landed on the beaches at Tauranga, Maketu, Matata, Whakatane and Te Kaha with a small mountain of trade goods, they quickly learned to honour Maori customs in the interests of security and profit.

A challenge outside Maketu Pa. Trader Pakeha-Maori showed respect to local rangatira (chiefs), tohunga (priests) and honoured many aspects of tikanga Maori (Maori law).
Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library (Robley, Horatio Gordon, 1840-1930 :Tattooed gate, Maketu. Ref: B-139-016. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23136104)
The traders’ stores were immediately placed under ritual tapu by local rangatira and typically comprised: cases of muskets, colonial pipes and ironmongery including cutting and stabbing weapons of iron and steel, barrels of gunpowder and rum, sheets of lead for bullet making, bales of blankets and clothing, and numerous baskets of tobacco. These goods were exchanged for large bales of dressed flax, vast quantities of long life provisions, particularly potatoes, pumpkins and Indian corn and droves of pigs, which were killed, salted and casked aboard visiting Sydney and Hobart trading or whaling vessels.

While the traders retained basic European values and never fully capitulated as Maori, most married wahine rangatira (chieftainesses), become fluent in te reo and learned to understand and honour tikanga Maori (Maori law). Over time, the traders became irrevocably changed by their culture crossing experiences. European newcomers, recognizing their ‘otherness’ referred to them too as Pakeha-Maori and some modern historians have termed them ‘a third kind of New Zealander.’

Phillip (Hans) Tapsell in on old age.
A Maketu based trader Pakeha-Maori, Tapsell was noted for his courage and adaptability.
Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library (Phillip Tapsell. Ref: 1/2-005486-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23124135)
Trader Pakeha-Maori founded families well known in Tauranga today. Otumoetai Pa was the permanent base for Tauranga’s first trader James Farrow (1829) and our best known trader John Lees Faulkner (1839). The French traders at Tauranga were Pierre Potier (1840), Emile Borel (1842) and Louis Bidois (1844).  Other Bay trader Pakeha-Maori of note included Phillip (Hans) Tapsell at Maketu (1830), Thomas Taylor at Whakatane (1832) and the chevalier Captain Peter Dillon at Maungatapu Pa (1835).

Bentley, Trevor. Pakeha-Maori: The Extraordinary Story of the Europeans Who Lived as Maori in Early New Zealand. Auckland, Penguin, 1999.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Slipper Bed Pan

In the past, bedpans were made from pewter, ceramics, metal and more recently cardboard. George Washington, who died in 1799, used one made from pewter in his later years.

When I was a student nurse at Tauranga Hospital in 1963, I was browsing in a second hand goods shop on Cameron Road, and noticed an old porcelain slipper bed pan. The instructions on the back wall of the pan were:
The Slipper should be passed under
the Patient in front between the legs.
If a flannel cap is made for the
blade fastened by strings under
the handle considerable comfort
will be afforded.
An auction was in progress in the shop, and the lady next to me (who I did not know) shouted to the auctioneer, that I wanted the pan. He auctioned it next. Despite not believing I had bid, the slipper bedpan became mine. It cost two shillings and sixpence. Rather than be seen carrying an old bedpan along Cameron Road to the Nurses’ Home, I asked for it to be wrapped.

Later I discovered slipper bedpans were common in the 1920s and 30s. They were most useful for patients who found it difficult to move. Rather than being called a slipper pan, it was sometimes referred to as a fracture pan.

When I tried to give the pan away, no-one wanted it. It became a flower vase in my room in the Nurses’ Home, and it overflowed with blooms. A friend thought he purchased one bunch of flowers, and discovered he’d bought ten. At the Nurses’ Dance, the band played ‘Pennies From Heaven,’ while the pan was passed around for donations. £2.10/- was collected for the Student Nurses Association.

But the pan met an untimely end. Recorded with an article ‘Pan Antics’ in Tauranga Hospital’s magazine Suture Line 1963-64, is the death notice:
BEDPAN-SLIPPER – On October 31st 1963, at 2.10 pm. (By accident). Beloved pal of Pan Anne, and famed member of the Nursing Organisation. Funeral service will be held tomorrow, 10 am in Room 107. Procession then leaving for the Rubbish Bin, Ground Floor, Wing 3. (Clean rubbish only by request, or donation to the Student Nurses’ Association). TILL DEATH DO US PART.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Tuhua - Mayor Island

Taken from Tuhua Mayor Island, Postcard by G.K.Prebble, 1971. Collection of Justine Neal
Tuhua is a volcanic island lying 20 miles off the coast of Tauranga and those of you who have been lucky enough to visit this magical place will have your own special memories of it. In 1884 the surveyor Eric C Goldsmith visited the island and reported as follows:
The island has grand coastal scenery with majestic arches and rough caves of basaltic rock. There remains some thermal activity in the form of small hot springs and there is also a large crater five miles in circumference. Being very broken and badly watered the island is not suitable for settlement. The water in the two small lakes in the crater, which are difficult of access, is doubtful. There are no streams of any description. The climate is very pleasant with no frost experienced and ideal for growing fruit.
Goldsmith found bananas, apples, peaches, grapes, figs, raspberries, strawberries and cape gooseberries growing at various points on the island. Tobacco also grew well and before the turn of the century the Maori inhabitants had fine specimens of it growing. Situated on every commanding point or hill, pa sites or the remains of pa sites were scattered all over the island and Goldsmith recorded there could have been large populations in the past. When he visited in 1884 there were only three men, four women and two little girls living on the island. Various epidemics of disease ravaged the Maori population prior to the 19th century so that as far back as 1835 only 170 people remained on the island and finally its villages were deserted altogether as permanent places of residence. Not all deaths on the island were disease related as previous inhabitants had seen their share of strife and violence.

Greetings - Tairua. Postcard by unknown publisher, 2131. Collection of Justine Neal
The stock on the island consisted of one horse, pigs, fowls and pea fowls. Bird life was plentiful with kereru, ruru, tui, korimako and piwakawaka all to be heard in the bush. The pohutukawa forest in the crater supported a population of kaka. Goldsmith described the vegetation on the outer slopes as common fern, tutu, very thick ti-tree, koromiko and a little grass. The few clumps of trees consist of pohutukawa, mapou, manuka, rewarewa akeake, whau and a few puriri.

Goldsmith wrote that fishing of the island was very good with an abundance of hapuka, kokire, maumau, schnapper, kahawai and terekikihi. There is also koura, crabs and shellfish. Mako is caught off shore but Goldsmith was not able to catch any during his stay and the local Maori told him they were getting very scarce. Near the centre of Opo Bay where Goldsmith and his party camped they found two weather boarded sheds. These had been built eight years earlier by the locals to form a whaling station, the kauri timber used in construction having been brought from Tairua by cutter. They purchased whale boats and all the necessary gear but owing to lack of whales the venture turned out a failure.

Mayor Island, Tauranga, Postcard by Mirrielees, undated, No 19. Collection of Justine Neal
Opo Bay is the centre of activity on the island and even in Goldsmith’s day was providing a haven for cutters as it did for Maori canoes ages before. In the south west corner of Opo Bay was Te Panui pa where Goldsmith found the nine remaining Maori who were living on the island when he arrived. On the flat on the south side there were cultivations of about 25 acres. Here potatoes, kumara and corn were growing. There were also strawberries and raspberries. Goldsmith noted that this pa was in a very strong position particularly from the  seaward side. It was accessible only by climbing perpendicular cliffs. The inhabitants had rigged a rough ladder, well concealed, with which to descend to the beach where their canoes could be hidden in the undergrowth.

At the head of one of the wooded glens running inland from the bay was one of the few springs to be found. It was not a good one, the water dripping slowly from the rock into a small hole made to receive it. The water had to be dipped up cup by cup and during Goldsmith’s stay when the water was only used for drinking and cooking, this meagre supply was nearly exhausted.

Friday, 16 November 2018

The Dining Room Curtains in Brain-Watkins House


Since my early teenage years I have been fascinated by beautiful needlework, inspired by the legacy of embroidery executed by both my mother and grandmother. In the days when the Brain ladies and my forebears were stitching, there was very little choice of fabric or embroidery thread in the local haberdashery stores, and most needlewomen imported parcels of white linen ‘scraps’ from Ireland as their only option. The wonderful variety of fabrics and threads available today began to drift into the shops in the mid-50s.

Brain-Watkins House has a splendid collection of needlework stitched by the women of the family. Many of their pieces would have taken many hours to complete, and are fine examples of their craft. There is some debate about when electricity came to Tauranga; it is suggested that it was between 1915 and 1917. Those ladies would have few amusements without radio or television, and needlework would have occupied some of their free time.

I have been amused by the crocheting on either side of the drop curtains in the lounge/dining room. There are four unlined curtains, each with a drop of 2.9 metres, using fabric thought to be rayon acetate. This was available during the Second World War to replace silk which was commandeered for the manufacture of parachutes. The acetate was strong and withstood the light, the brightly coloured ones in the dining room were probably hung in the 1940s. Each side of the curtain has been continuously crocheted with loops with two centimetres spaces.

In my opinion they add nothing to the aesthetic appearance of the curtains, the work is only noticeable to most people when pointed out to them. Had the ladies run out of materials to embroider, and were they looking for a task to fill the hours? Of course we will never know, but it seems a shame to have spent so much time on a project that is seldom appreciated.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Obituary: Dave Page, 1932-2018

Dave Page was born in 1932 into a family deeply affected by the depression. His father was unemployed and his mother resented lining up to accept food parcels. Unsurprisingly Dave developed a great sympathy for the working man. Eventually his father found work and Dave had a happy childhood, inheriting a love of reading from his parents. He attended Palmerston North Boys’ High, where he was in the 1st XV and enjoyed the rugby clashes with other schools. While still at school Dave mowed lawns and took paid work in a honey factory, then later at the Longburn freezing works in the holidays to help fund his university education.

He was the first in his family to go to university, majoring in geography and again playing rugby. One Sunday he was missing from practice and this was so out of character that his coach went to his flat to find out why. Dave’s flat-mates thought that he was just asleep but, when the coach investigated, he found that Dave was in a coma and suffering from meningitis. He was rushed to hospital and survived, thanks his coach's vigilance. While at teachers’ college he met Louise Blyth; they were married in 1956 and had a son Rob and a daughter Jessica.

Dave began his teaching career at Tauranga High School, then moved to Kurow and later to Opunake. His first position as principal was at Reporoa College and then spent 15 years at Foxton. Dave was an excellent teacher, working long hours, coaching rugby and taking a keen interest in other school sporting activities. He was also a keen supporter of a good education for Maori children. Dave was also involved in Lions’ Clubs and enjoyed playing golf, bridge and crib. The family enjoyed many camping holidays together, first in tents and later in a caravan.

In 1985 Dave took part in a teacher exchange programme and taught in a tough comprehensive school in Alloa, Scotland, where he was an assistant teacher. While there he and Louise saw travelled throughout the United Kingdom. Dave decided to retire in 1993 at the age of 61, wanting to spend more time with Louise at their home in Waihi, having previously lived all their married life in education houses. They made many friends there and their time was spent building, gardening, tramping and travelling.

In 2004 Louise died and Dave faced a couple of bleak and lonely years. In 2006 he found solace and affection with Ursula whose husband had died at about the same time as Louise. They enjoyed several trips to Europe and the couple established a great life in Tauranga where Dave soon joined the Historical Society, served on the committee from 2009 to 2013, providing thoughtful and helpful advice and assistance to many aspects of the Society. He also published an article on the Society's blog on the Waihi Golf Club, about which he had written a history, Centennial History Waihi Golf Club 1906-2006. He guided at Brain Watkins House for many years.

About a year ago Dave was diagnosed with a brain tumour and spent his last months at Althorp. He died last Thursday, aged 86.

Many thanks to Peg Cummins for providing notes for this obituary.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Joy Drayton

This story by Peg Cummins was taken from an interview with Joy Drayton conducted about ten years ago. Joy was Prinicpal of Tauranga Girls’ College from 1959 until about 1981. She was the recipient of many honours the last being when she was made Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. Joy added Te Reo to the College curriculum, the first state school in New Zealand to do so. At various times she was on the executives of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the National Council of Women, Chairperson of the BOP Women’s Refuge and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato. Joy Drayton died in Tauranga in 2012 aged 96.

Joy Drayton, 1986
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 99-1236
Joy Drayton came to Tauranga to be the second principal of Tauranga Girls’ College. Mrs Wakelin (later Mrs Allo), the first principal resigned after a year and Mrs Drayton was appointed in her place.  In those days the Boys’ and Girls’ College shared a Board of Governors with Otumoetai College but when Otumoetai College opted for a separate Board the other two colleges did the same. At first pupils came from Mount Maunganui as well, until a college was built there. The Girls’ College began in 1957 (on the site of Mowatts’ farm) with about 600 pupils but this number grew rapidly until numbers settled at about 8-900. When Mrs Drayton left the college in 1982 the roll stood at 1162. Now (in 2008) they are around 1600. When the Girls’ College was built it was on the periphery of the town but that did not last for very long. At first Mrs Drayton did not have a car so she would catch the school bus in the mornings but because the school buses left at about 3.30 in the afternoon she had to walk back to town to catch a bus later on. Cameron Road was still in its formative stages in those days and negotiating it was often like walking down a rocky stream bed. There was no trouble in attracting suitable staff to the Girl’s College. Staff was appointed on the basis of “building a good team.” One teacher who stands out in Mrs Drayton’s memory is Mrs Claudia Jarman, the art teacher. She was not an artist herself but was a brilliant art teacher, who believed that everyone had artistic ability and encouraged her pupils to exercise their talents by instilling that feeling in every child. Maths and physics teachers were always difficult to find and for some time girls requiring physics had to go to the Boys’ College for that subject.  The Boys’ College was the first secondary school in the country to have a guidance counsellor and the Girls’ College was the second. There was always a friendly relationship between the Girls’ and Boys’ Colleges.

In the early days Mrs Drayton remembers girls as being provided with an education to make them good wives and mothers. Later, women accessed education because they deserved to be educated, just as men did. The third formers in the early days seemed more like children whereas those from a later generation were more like young people, older in their years. The curriculum was carefully divided into “academic” for the brighter pupils, “commercial” for the less academic and “homecraft” for the rest. These decisions were based on the records that come from the primary schools. Mrs Drayton preferred the girls to have greater choice in what they were able to do and in the early seventies, introduced an “options” scheme. As an example, girls from the academic stream were able to opt for some homecraft if they wished. Some of the more unusual options for the 6th Form girls were golf and horse riding.  And at one time the girls wanted to paint a frieze on the top of the library building. Having given permission the staff then had to take out insurance for those who took part. "Options" was an innovative scheme but, in pre-computer days it was a logistical nightmare which tested the timetabling team to the utmost. Of course, there were basic curriculum requirements to be covered and girls’ wishes were not always able to be catered for but in the main the scheme worked very well. In the early sixties some of the girls did a survey which took in a mile’s circumference of the college to find out what the parents thought about thing and how many children there were at home. They were appalled to find that in a number of cases children as young as two years were being left at home alone. This prompted the college to set up first a play-group and later a fully fledged childcare centre to cater to the needs of the area. This provided the girls with the opportunity to observe the children through one-way glass and also to be involved in their care. There was no problem attracting children to the facility.

Dr Drayton’s efforts in the local community were not confined to the college. At various times she took her place on City and Regional Councils and as Deputy Mayor. She was also a Trustee and is now a director of the Elms Trust. Her doctorate from Waikato University was awarded for her work on behalf of the university and for her services to the community. For a time she was Vice Chancellor of Waikato University. One of her proudest achievements is the city library. In the early days the collection was housed in the old town hall and during heavy rain the building leaked, which was disastrous for the books. Getting proper library built was one of the reasons she sought election to the Council and she had to work hard for it because not all councillors thought a library was important. Traditional sporting fixtures were followed but under her leadership the college branched out on some of their own.  Academic standards of the school were very important and Mrs Drayton was also involved in singing and in dramatic productions. Attending the Girls’ High School’s 50th Anniversary celebrations were a highlight and Mrs Drayton is also invited to all important occasions at the school. One of the pleasures of life now is the contact she has with former staff and ex-pupils. Many of these people keep in touch and no doubt Mrs Drayton finds it gratifying to see what her pupils have done with their education.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Early Photographic Portraits in Tauranga

 Ottewill’s Kinnear-style & Scovill-style wet-plate camera with 4 lenses
Images courtesy of Rob Niederman

On the 12th December 1862 John and Celia Kinder arrived in Tauranga on the ship Julia, for a summer holiday visit with her father Archdeacon Brown and his second wife Christina. Along with their clothing and other daily necessities required for a such a stay of five or six weeks, most likely carried in a steamer trunk, John also brought his photographic equipment. Although he is thought to have gained his skills at wet-plate collodion photography around 1861, early views were taken with a twin-lens stereo camera, and it is likely that he purchased a larger format, full-plate camera similar to those shown in the images above, capable of taking photographs on 8½” × 6½” glass plates, in 1862.

 Camera, tripod, plate holders, glass plates, portable dark room and chemicals, similar to those probably used by Kinder in 1862-1864 (from Cameras, from Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures, Brian Coe, 1978)

Over the course of the next two weeks Kinder took a series of at least twelve photographs around the Te Papa peninsula, some in the vicinity of the mission house and chapel, others a little further afield at the Mission Cemetery, Taumatakahawai Pa and Otumoetai. Given that the photographic plates needed to be exposed in the camera immediately after their preparation, and then developed soon after their exposure, he would have needed some kind of portable dark room or tent, as shown above.

Maori girls (Bakehouse), Te Papa, Tauranga, December 1862
Albumen print on white card, Image courtesy of the Hocken Collection Ref. P1922-001-017

His photograph of a group of eight children arranged in front of the bakehouse is a highly competent image from both technical and compositional stand points, particularly for an amateur who was a relative newcomer to these difficult techniques. It also has the distinction of being probably the first photograph taken to include human figures, Maori or Pakeha, in the coastal Bay of Plenty, and is therefore probably as important to Tauranga’s history as the Barrett Sisters daguerreotype (attributed to Lawson Insley, circa 1853) is to that of New Plymouth and Taranaki.

 (Left) Tarapipipi te Waharoa (Wiremu Tamehana), (Right) Rapana and unidentified young man
Te Papa, Tauranga, January 1863
Albumen prints on white card, Images courtesy of The Elms Collection

Between New Year’s Eve and 7th January, Kinder accompanied Archdeacon Brown on a trip over the Kaimais to Patetere in the Waikato (near present day Putaruru and Tirau). For whatever reason – perhaps they went on foot, and the glass plates were heavy – he appears not to have taken his photographic equipment, although he did produce a watercolour painting of Te Wairere (Falls) on their way back. Over the next couple of weeks he returned to his photographic pursuits but on a very different tack. Kinder replaced the single landscape view lens on his camera with a lens board containing four portrait lenses. This arrangement allowed him to produce four separate, smaller images on a single plate, by exposing through each lens successively. At least sixteen such carte de visite format portraits have survived, suggesting that he exposed at least four full-sized plates in this fashion. The first portrait shows Tarapipipi te Waharoa (Wiremu Tamehana) standing in front of Brown’s library, while the second shows Rapana (Laban) and a friend standing in front of Volkner’s cottage, also in the Mission Station grounds. Tarapipipi most likely accompanied Kinder and Brown back from the Waikato, and the two young men acted as guides.

(Left) Hoko Hoko Tutahi (Right) Unidentified young woman, Te Papa, Tauranga, January 1863
Albumen prints on white card, Images courtesy of The Elms Collection

This half-length carte de visite-style portrait shows an older Maori man seated in a chair on the porch of Volkner’s cottage. He is bearded, wears a korowai covering a light-coloured shirt, and holds a book in his right hand. The subject of the portrait is probably Te Tūtahi (Hokohoko Tutahi) (c1810-after 1864), chief of the Maungatapu section of the Ng¬āti Hē hapū (Ngāi Te Rangi) who had signed the Tauranga Treaty of Waitangi sheet in 1840. He was the father of Taiaho Hōri Ngātai (c1832-1912), veteran of Gate Pa and Te Ranga, who later gave accounts of the Battle of Gate Pa to historians James Cowan (1901) and Gilbert Mair (1903). Hokohoko spoke at the peace negotiations following the battles (Te Raupatu o Tauranga Moana). Gifford & Williams (1940) include Hokohoko as one of the “Maori converts.” The young woman seated in the same location is as yet unidentified.
Perhaps originally intended to fill the slots in a family photograph album - cartes de visite of family, friends and the famous became something of a fad in the 1860s – these images, being the first taken of tangata whenua in Tauranga, now form part of an important regional treasure.

This forms part of an ongoing study on Kinder’s photography in the Bay of Plenty. Grateful acknowledgement to Rob Niederman, The Elms, The Tauranga Heritage Collection and the Hocken Library for the opportunity to study items in their collections, and for permission to use these images.

Friday, 26 October 2018

The House at 30 Cameron Road

Mirrielees home in 1997
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 00-554
The house on the corner of Monmouth Street, Tauranga and Cameron Road has gone through several transformations, from a family dwelling to flats to commercial premises. In 1910 Alexander James Mirrielees (1897–1972) arrived in Tauranga from Johnsonville and bought a chemist’s shop on The Strand that had been G Allelly’s business and, at one time, Woods'. As a newcomer he was surprised to find that on days when there were no boats berthed at the wharves, locally known as ‘no boat days,’ the businesses in The Strand closed their doors and the proprietors went fishing. However, the town and harbour suited him and he lived here until his death, aged 95.

Joan Mirrielees, teacher, jouralism, local historian outside their house on Monmouth Street
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-853
Mirrielees bought two sections in Cameron Road on the corner of Monmouth Street for £200, and built the weatherboard house with a corrugated iron roof for £3275. This part of Tauranga was known as The Camp. He built the house during or after 1917 as by then he was paying rates on the property. His wife and three children Joan, Ronald and Elsie lived there. Joan Mirrielees, teacher and journalist became an enthusiastic local historian. She was a member of the Tauranga Historical Society and a recipient of the Tauranga Heritage Award. Ronald kept pigeons in the loft of the house. Mrs Violet Mirrielees predeceased her husband by many years and it may have been then that he divided the house into two flats.

Captain Alexander Mirrielees of the 6th Hauraki Regiment
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-934
Known generally by his military rank, Captain Mirrielees led the local territorial company of the 6th Hauraki Regiment. He was prominent in local politics and organisations, chairing the Tauranga Harbour Board for many years, and was instrumental in locating the industrial area to Sulphur Point. A life member of the Rifle Club he was a champion shot. By 1947 he practised as an optician, which was not unusual for chemists of that time.

Notes by Joan Mirrielees in VF Tauranga City Library, Jinty Rorke, and Tauranga Borough Council rates books.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Book Review: Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms, by Robert Craig Scott

Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms: Early Settlement on Confiscated Land
Written and published by Robert Craig Scott, 303p, 2017
Reviewed by Lee Switzer

Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms is thoroughly researched, despite lapses, covering a huge number of families and individuals in the district. Numerous streets are named after local farm owners who nurtured the land. Other land owners developed businesses in Tauranga and elsewhere. This is not just a list of names, however. Scott provides genealogical backgrounds of residents. They came from other parts of New Zealand, Australia, the Greater Empire and other countries.

Scott makes great use of land survey and lot maps highlighting various sections in multiple colours with good explanatory text. As expected, families were involved in businesses throughout the region, not just Greerton.

There is a Table of Contents, an index but no dedication, acknowledgements or bibliography. Photos generally are not attributed to any source. There is very little information about the village’s namesake: Col Greer who fought in the NZ Wars. And on whose property Maori signed documents accepting the Crown’s dominance. Greer had one of the two Pakehas, who spoke te reo Maori, jailed because he was not collaborating with the Government’s line of seizure and bequest (Stokes, Evelyn, 1980, A History of Tauranga County, p80.)

Scott uses NZ Government online data for some of his research. He notes errors in the site when dates are listed. He too makes errors with dates and misspells names from time to time. Sentence structure is a little awkward in places.

On page 138 is a photo of a headstone, again not attributed, with the appellation Peter Allan Grant. Beneath the name is Patrick Allan Bannerman on the headstone.  Scott says "I am not sure what the significance of Patrick Allan Bannerman is."  A quick internet search established that Mr Grant's full name was Peter Patrick Allan Bannerman Grant. It is his baptism name. References can be found on the Tauranga Memories page and a genealogy web page.

Of the Kerr family, John Andrew Bathurst Kerr, member of the Camel Corps died in battle 19 April 1917. Scott says the forces "lost 6,444 men in battle." The figure may have come from this wiki summary, "509 killed, 4,359 wounded, 1534 missing."

It is apparent Scott spent a huge amount of time and diligence writing the many short bios of numerous people who often began their lives in England, Scotland or elsewhere. Some who joined the 1st Waikato Militia in Australia were shipped to NZ with the promise of land when the NZ Wars ended. Greerton being part of the lands given after hostilities ended.

Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms is a comprehensive, very useful addition to the expanding shelf of local history monographs.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

White Crosses on the Waterfront

The first of one hundred and nine white crosses were installed on Tauranga's waterfront this morning. The crosses are being progressively installed between October 17 and November 8, each new group representing a month of the four-year war and the soldiers from Tauranga who died during that time. The public is invited to join cadets from the Western Bay of Plenty Cadet Unit in bringing the crosses out at dawn. On November 11, Armistice Day, there will be an 11am centenary service at Memorial Park marking the day and time the war ended in 1918.

All images Copyright and courtesy of Fiona Kean

Raymond John Baker (1890-1915)
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Frederick Hugh Dodson (1891-1915)
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Ronald Tracey Matheson (1874-1915)
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Friday, 12 October 2018

New Tauranga Street Names

Tauranga is growing more rapidly than ever, and this means new subdivisions and new street names. Areas on the outskirts of the city are being filled with housing to cope with the increasing demand. In Pyes Pā, the new streets have some interesting names: Te Ranga Memorial Drive, Puhirake Crescent, Penetaka Heights, Materawaho Way, and others. The choice of these names reflects a new determination to commemorate some of Tauranga’s most important – and tragic – history. It acknowledges tangata whenua in a way that was very rare until recently.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Smith
Te Ranga Memorial Drive – At the battle of Te Ranga, on 21 June 1864, Tauranga Māori were crushed by a British force anxious for revenge for its defeat at the Battle of Gate Pā or Pukehinahina on 29 April 1864.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Smith
Puhirake Crescent – Named after Rawiri Puhirake Tuaia, Ngai Tukairangi leader from Matapihi. He was mission-trained and reluctant to take up arms, but the arrival of troops in Tauranga spurred him to action. After a victory at the Battle of Gate Pā, he was one of the 103 Māori killed in 1864 at the Battle of Te Ranga. As a tribute to his chivalry and courage he and other leaders were later buried in the Mission Cemetery.

Pene Taka Tuaia, Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library
Penetaka Heights – Pene Taka Tuaia, a cousin of Puhirake, was the military engineer who designed the complex earthworks of Pukehinahina or Gate Pā. He probably learned his skills in the wars in Northland in the 1840s. Unlike his cousin, he survived the 1864 battles to fight in the Tauranga Bush Campaign of 1867. He died at Te Puna in 1889, still conscious of the land grievances that resulted from the conflicts of his youth.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Smith
Materawaho Way – Te Materawaho was the name of the historical hapū, a subtribe of Ngāti Tapu, that occupied the Otamataha Pā at the north end of the Te Papa Peninsula when the missionaries first visited Tauranga in the 1820s. 


Jinty Rorke. 'Puhirake, Rawiri', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1990. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 July 2018)

Alister Matheson. 'Tuaia, Pene Taka', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1990. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 July 2018)

New Zealand Mission Trust Board (Otamataha) Empowering Bill

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Bay’s First Foreign Settlers – Part One, The Tattooed Men

When Tauranga’s first ‘respectable’ pre-Treaty settlers arrived during the 1830s, they found the district already settled by Pakeha-Maori or ‘white men gone native.’ A mix of runaway sailors, fugitive convicts, adventurers and trader go-betweens, they were seen living among Maori in local pa tuwatawata (pallisaded fortresses) and kainga (unfortified villages). Predominantly Anglo-Irish with a scattering of continental Europeans, Americans, Asians and Negroes, these adventurous men (and a few women) had been welcomed by Maori or captured during clashes with ships’ crews. Integrated into Maori communities, often through marriage to local wahine rangatira (chieftainesses), they honoured Maori customs and were bilingual. Three of New Zealand’s 48 tattooed Pakeha-Maori lived in or had links with the Bay of Plenty.

Tauranga was an important pre-treaty reprovisioning port and our first European resident may well have been ‘Robson,’ a fugitive convict who fled ashore from the pirated brig Mercury. Aboard the Caroline, the whaling sailor James Heberley reported in 1826: ‘We touched at the Bay of Plenty. There we traded for pigs and potatoes. Our trade with [Maori] was muskets and lead. There was a man living among the natives… a convict… He went in the name of Robson. He got tattooed like the natives.’ [1] Robson’s eventual fate is unknown.

George White (Barnet Burns)
Image courtesy of Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin c/n E926/15
Barnet Burns, a Poverty Bay trader go-between and Ngati Kahungunu Pakeha-Maori, was captured by Ngaiterangi raiders from Tauranga when they clashed with his Maori trading party near the Motu River mouth in 1833. Burns survived by agreeing to be tattooed and to fight for his captors, but escaped back to his tribe where his half finished tattoo was completed.

Burns eventually returned to England and gave public lectures on his ‘Maori experiences.’ [2] Some tattooed Pakeha-Maori would not or could not rejoin the new colonial society. Evangelizing among Maori at Opotiki in 1843, the Catholic missionary J. Chouvet was surprised when approached by a Pakeha-Maori who lived out his life as a recluse among Te Whakatohea.
He is covered in moko, and lives like a real New Zealander. It is possible that he is a convict or sailor escaped from his ship, who wished by this method to remove himself from the cognizance and persecution of English justice... There he is then condemned for ever to a sort of imprisonment. He says himself he will never make himself known to the settlers. [3] 


[1] Bentley, Trevor,  Pakeha-Maori, Auckland, Penguin, 1999: pp 38-39.
[2] ibid, pp 165-9.
[3] ibid, p 32.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Recollections of Wynnton Poole in 1997

Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church, Devonport Road, Tauranga, built 1875
Photograph taken c.1902 by unidentified photographer
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 04-443
Wynnton Poole came to Tauranga when he was four months old in 1908. His family were considered pioneers of the district and Pooles Rd in Greerton was named after them. Mr Poole senior was a dentist and had ‘rooms’ on the Strand. In 1997 Wynnton, then approaching his 90th birthday, claimed to be the last person alive who remembered Rev. Chas Jordan who died in 1912. He’d been the first  Anglican vicar in Tauranga and was also Mayor twice. Another interesting connection is that in 1911 Wynnton’s future father-in-law Mr Lysaght had the first car registered in Tauranga, with the licence plate TA 1.

Looking west up Spring Street, Tauranga from the Triangle, c. 1900
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-1310
Tauranga had about 1800 residents around that time and the present Mid-City Mall was actually a small inlet where dinghies were stored. There was a spring under our State Insurance building; the whole lower Spring Street was swampy. A trough provided water for the horses to drink.The above photo (taken circa 1900) shows the Star Hotel on the left, the town pump visible at centre, on the left side of the road. St Peter's Church is at the end of the street, and Springwell Brewery buildings (demolished in 1912) are on the corner of Willow St (west side).

Interior of Holy Trinity chursch, c.1920s
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref.04-446
Poole was a farmer until 1959 when he and his wife took over the care of Holy Trinity Church in Devonport Road. In those days it was common to have 150 people attend the morning service and 200 or so in the evening. He also served in the Waipoua district, near Gisborne. Retirement finally came when he was 80 and needed to care for his ill wife.  A past president of the Tauranga Historical Society, from 1977-78 and 1982-88, he was quoted as having said, ‘We look at the past and examine it so we can see where to go in the future.’.

This information has been gleaned from a 1997 Bay of Plenty Times article. Wynnton was interviewed because Cedar Manor Rest Home, where he was resident, had contributed a sum of money towards technology to facilitate the digitising of paper records in the Tauranga Library.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Arthur Huia Honeyfield, by Max Avery

Book Review contributed by Gill Larsen
Arthur Huia Honeyfield, by Max Avery
published by John Charles Honeyfield under the auspices of the Tauranga Historical Society
Monograph Number One, 2016
Newcomers to Tauranga who are looking to explore the history of their new city, or long-time residents who have been part of its development, will enjoy this monograph of a man central to our story. Arthur Honeyfield’s journey ‘From the farm to the boardroom’ depended on the fertile land of the Bay of Plenty and his astute business activities. From a first position, as a new graduate, with stock and station agent Wright Stephenson, Honeyfield's varied career saw him involved in the management of poultry, vegetable provision for war supplies, forestry, dairying and avocados. He gave many years of service to the Bay of Plenty Harbour Board, key to employment and growth opportunities in both urban and rural Tauranga.

Honeyfield was a bit of a character, adventurous and bold in business and personal affairs. His flight logbook, necessary for his private pilot’s licence, shows some creative accounting. Employees describe a single-minded man whose wife Edith provided a caring influence. Always involved in local initiatives, Honeyfield was the unofficial ‘Mayor of Katikati’ in his later years.

Max Avery’s monograph includes generous images, each of which tells its own story. Throughout the text are names of men who contributed to the Tauranga in which we live. Their names are remembered on our buildings, reserves, businesses and street signs.

Copies are available from the society at $25.00 each. Please contact Julie Green.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Suffrage March, Katikati - 15 September 2018

Suffrage March, Katikati, 15 September 2018. Image: Fiona Kean
This weekend the sun shone on the women of Katikati as they came together to march for Women’s Suffrage. More than 200 women and children, and some men too, many dressed in period costume and holding banners, marched from Uretara Domain to the Katikati War Memorial Hall. While a number of the banners referenced the historic struggle for women’s suffrage, others carried contemporary messages highlighting challenges faced by women today, including ‘#metoo’, ‘pay equality’ and ‘support for midwives.’

Suffrage March, Katikati, 15 September 2018. Image: Fiona Kean
Those taking part were rewarded with friendly toots from passing cars. However, outside the Talisman Hotel, marchers encountered a vocal bystander telling them to ‘go home and get lunch ready!’ Few were phased by his taunts and the red camellias thrown outside the Memorial Hall suggested that it was all part of the re-enactment – red camellias having been worn by anti-suffragists 125 years ago.

Friday, 21 September 2018

The Railway Wharf, Mount Maunganui

Looking at Railway Wharf from Mt. Drury. Showing Tauranga & Railway Bridge in Distance
Undated Postcard by Welsh Photo. Image courtesy of Justine Neal
A temporary wharf and railway line to Te Maunga was built at Mount Maunganui in 1910 by the Public Works Department. The wharf was to service the East Coast railway construction. The intention was to dismantle both the wharf and line after construction had finished. The wharf was known as the Railway Wharf, the D wharf (because of its shape) and the Public Works wharf.

Aeroplane View of Mt. Maunganui Wharf & Workshops. June 1922. Protected 2/5/23
Postcard by Welsh Photo. Image courtesy of Justine Neal
The Bay of Plenty Times reported on 25 November 1910 that the first consignment of stringers, piles, walings etc. for the railway wharf at Maunganui was punted across from Tauranga and on 23 December 1910 that Mr. C A Turner of Paengaroa had in hand the haulage of piles for the Maunganui wharf from the bush at Mangorewa to the Kaituna Landing. Joseph Brain was in charge of the construction. On completion it served as a wharf for large ships, launches and scows discharging material for the Tauranga - Te Puke railway.

In 1924 it was decided to build a new railway wharf at Tauranga opposite the Monmouth Redoubt and by the following year the old wharf at Mount Maunganui had fallen in to disrepair. By 1926 it was in a state of decay and was finally demolished in 1932.