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.


  1. Yes we have a copy and it is an interesting book, on the topics covered, but a few gaps were noticed by us also. Thanks Lee for that review.

  2. Can I buy this book anywhere ??

    1. Try contacting the author