Friday, 30 August 2019

Claudia Jarman (1908-1986)

Claudia Jarman
Image courtesy of the Jarman family
Claudia was a celebrated Art and Art History teacher. She arrived in Tauranga in 1939, and first taught at Tauranga District High School (Hillsdene), and from 1958 at Tauranga Girls College. Claudia was also involved in the Tauranga Repertory Society, and, with her husband Reg, she was a foundation member of the Tauranga Chamber of Music Society and the Tauranga Art Society.

But it was at school where I encountered her, and I still remember my first Art History lesson. We discussed a painting by Wassily Kandinsky – ‘The Battle’. Her passion for Art inspired two generations in the Bay of Plenty to practice and to appreciate art, and my siblings and I were just a few of them. She enjoyed young people and encouraged her students to express their own style and to extend it.

In discussing Claudia with my family, one said “She epitomised all that was great about that era – 1940’s-1970’s -where the emphases were more about art, music and culture. It was more about bringing together the most interesting people rather than those with money and high-status jobs”. In that era Tauranga had a strong dramatic and Arts culture.

Claudia was tiny in stature but she made a huge impression on the community. She campaigned for decades for an Art Gallery here in Tauranga and she sowed her dream seeds into the community through the pupils she taught and the people she encountered. She would be thrilled to know Tauranga now has its own Public Art Gallery.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Mayor Lundon, auctioneer, and the Judea Sale Yards

The buying and selling of stock has been a significant enterprise in Tauranga well into the twentieth century.  The writer clearly remembers the excitement of sale day at the Judea stockyards, and is now grateful for the commuters’ corridor (Route J) created, in part, from stock paddocks where weary herds browsed overnight before the short push up and over the hill to be sorted and penned in wooden stockades at the corner of Waihi and Robins Road. Buyers and auctioneers had perches – narrow walkways, really – built as part of the fences so they could view the stock safely from above.  An elaborate system of gates and races, including sloped access ways (“loading races”) funnelled the sold yearlings, steers, heifers, milch cows and sheep into backed-up stock trucks. Unsold stock was the last to leave.

One of the last sales was caught on camera in 1982 [1] by my mother, Shirley Sparks. There was still keen interest in assessing quality, in noting prices, and in talking it over at the tea-table provided by the Women’s Division of Federated Farmers. The nearest pub was miles away, right in town, on the corner of Devonport Road and Spring Street.

A hundred years or so earlier, the Judea Sale Yards were new. Built about 1878 by the enterprising Jordan brothers, this important part of settler infrastructure went through a number of owners, including Messrs Paget and Hulme (1883) and W T Raymond (1899).  In 1889 they were being described proprietorially – “The undersigned will hold his next cattle sale at the Judea Sale Yards....” [2] - by Mr David Lundon, Auctioneer.

David Lundon (and here I am indebted to Debbie McCauley’s account of his life and multifarious activities [3]) had established himself as an auctioneer in 1888. Crucially to our story, he had been elected for the first time as Mayor of Tauranga in 1887, an office he held across three further elections, the last-occurring in 1892. In 1893 he successfully stood as County Chairman [4].

Not only were the Judea Sale Yards still quite new at the time of Mayor Lundon’s assumptions of high office. They were also outside the borough. He himself had business interests within the town as well as beyond it.  In the court case shortly to be described, the hapless County Clerk attested  that letters to the County Chairman were addressed, simply, “D. Lundon, Tauranga” and that Mr Lundon lived about  one and a half miles from the post office, in the County of Tauranga.

In the same case, the Tauranga Town Clerk deposed that, to his knowledge, Mr Lundon had a place of business in the borough, in a place then called the Haymarket, in Devonport Road. Since December 1892, Mr Lundon’s status as a licensed auctioneer [5] had been granted by the Borough Council. This happy arrangement had continued until 1894. But, in 1895, Mr Lundon – now Mayor of the County - sought to renew his auctioneer’s licence with the County Council. The fee for the licence, naturally, would therefore be lost to the Borough and payable to the County. The Borough sued.

The claim was substantial: £40; and was heard on 3 March 1896 before Lieutenant-Colonel Roberts, S.M. The question, which turned on where the would-be auctioneer had his place of business, was complicated not only by the fact that he ran sales at both the Haymarket, at Judea, and elsewhere in the Bay of Plenty; also, the Borough and County Council Chambers were at that time situated under the same roof. The Bay of Plenty Times reported at one stage that “Counsel [Mr Cotter, for the defendant County] and witness [J H McCaw, Town Clerk of Tauranga Borough] here had a long wrangle on the meaning of various words.”  [6]

There were other fine wrangles. Witnesses described more frequent sales at the Haymarket than at other places (Judea, occasionally Katikati and Te Puke), but larger monetary settlements at the Judea sales. Mr J Maxwell, storekeeper, also attested that if he wanted to do business with Mr Lundon he “generally found” him at the Haymarket. Wily Mr Cotter then elicited the information that Mr Maxwell “knew nothing of Mr Lundon’s business in the country as an auctioneer”.

This closed the case for the Borough. Mr Cotter, for the defendant County, took one last throw of the dice. He called Mr Lundon himself to the stand. David Lundon, practised as an auctioneer and politician, gave a dazzling display of portable efficiency: “always carried with him [his] auction book, cheque books, account forms and stamps for the purpose of carrying out the conditions of sale... always cleared up on the day of the sale”; a grasp of figures and percentages; and some special pleading: “[My] residence is in the County of Tauranga... [My] time when not employed as an auctioneer was devoted to other business at the Haymarket.” [Emphasis mine.]

Under cross-examination by the Borough’s counsel Mr Moss, he started well. “Considered Judea his principal place of business for four years and the business had grown enormously.  Took out his licence in 1892-3 and 4 in the Borough because he had not given it sufficient thought, had done wrong in that.”

But Mr Moss pursued the matter. Lundon’s story expanded. “Until [I] left the Mayoralty [of Tauranga Borough] never gave it sufficient thought, took the licence in the Borough as a matter of course.”  (We imagine Mr Cotter’s face falling.)  “In 1895 had no office in Judea, used the hedge as an office, at the other place[s] had an office in the hotels. Took [my] books always to Te Puke or Katikati for sales and afterwards took them back to the Haymarket. At a sale in Judea ... it is quite possible that a dozen [of about 50 purchasers] settled up on the ground but most of the purchasers would send their money by post to the Haymarket... ordinary billheads were marked Devonport Road and Grey Street.” (We imagine Mr Cotter’s face dropping into his hands.)

In a reserved decision, delivered at 10.30 am the following day, the Stipendiary Magistrate found that the usual place of business of the licensee David Lundon was at his auction mart in Devonport Road, Tauranga, and that the Borough Council was the proper authority to receive the license fee.  The County, in addition, had to pay costs of £7 19s 6d.

All photographs by and courtesy of Shirley Sparks.


[1]  Friday, 22 January 1982
[4]  For an example of the Chairman’s vigourous promotional gestures, see Stokes, A History of  Tauranga County, Dunmore Press 1980, p. 216
[5] The Auctioneers Act 1891 introduced the licensing system
[6]  All following quotes are from the same source.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Tauranga Firemen

Postcard by unknown photographer, November 1916
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection, Ref. 0308/10

In November 1916 a devastating fire swept The Strand destroying eleven shops and the Commercial Hotel (today St. Amand and Cobb & Co are on the site). This photograph taken at the time of the fire and was turned into a postcard. It includes men from Tauranga’s Fire Brigade who battled the blaze. Names associated with the Brigade at this time included, F. Stewart, C. Guinness, J. E. Kelly, C. P. Hine, H. Wright, A. Stewart, J. Murphy and C. F. Washer.

In 2011 Helen Borrell, nee Hardy, shared her copy of this postcard with me. I was excited to see it had the following names recorded on the back:
Back Row: J. Padlie, C. Adams, Foster, A. Sorenson, V. Clark, Molly Hardy, Harnett, L. Norris, Rebecca Crabbe, Teasey, Teasey, Len Anquitil.
Front Row: A. Stewart, G. Faulkner, Eric Hammond, Unknown, Fred Stewart, P. Carter, Les Hamilton, Kitty Hardy, Laddie Hardy, Charles Clarence, Charles Hardy, Unknown, Dog

Friday, 16 August 2019

Robert (Bob) Arthur Owens

R.A. (Bob) Owens, Mayor of Tauranga 1968-71 and Mayor of both Tauranga and Mount Maunganui 1971-77
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 99-710
For those who have resided in Tauranga over the past 50 years or so, the name of this man is synonymous with business success, public service and the phenomenal development of this city in these past few decades. Robert Arthur Owens (1921-1999) was born and educated in Manchester, United Kingdom, served in the Merchant Navy from 1937-1946, and in the Royal Navy from 1942-1944.

Historic Village locomotive on Owens Transport vehicle c late-1990s
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 14-0118

He emigrated to New Zealand and in 1953 came to Tauranga with his wife and young family. They lived in Parkvale (Merivale, to the locals) and had the “flashest car in the area. In '58 or '59 they moved closer to town.”* He began a shipping and stevedoring business which eventually grew to become the Owens Group involving over 30 companies. These included not only shipping and stevedoring but also road transport, travel and insurance. Late in the 1990s this was taken over by Mainfreight.

Tauranga mayor Bob Owens and Auckland mayor "Robbie" (Dove-Myer Robinson) racing tricycles at the Tauranga Orange Festival, 27 August 1977
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 03-061
In 1962 he was elected to the BOP Harbour Board, and was still Chairman in the 1980s. Elected as Mayor of Tauranga in 1968 he served 3 terms, and from 1971-1974 was also Mayor of Mount Maunganui, the first dual mayor in New Zealand. For 20 years he dreamed of, and campaigned for, our harbour bridge to connect those two communities. In 1981 he was chairman of Air New Zealand, helping to pull it out of financial difficulty, and he was knighted in 1997, two years prior to his death.  The large Ryman Healthcare Facility in Bethlehem has been named in his memory.


Biographical Sketches of The Centennial Mural, editor Ernest E. Bush
* Personal account by writer’s husband John Green

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Blog News

Tauranga Waterfront from Victoria Wharf
Panorama carbon print by Charles Spencer, c. 1884-1887
Tauranga Heritage Collection, Ref. 0609/08
It is now six years since the first article on the Society's blog was published, and now is probably an opportune moment to thank the many contributors who have helped in no small way to preserve Tauranga's historical record. In June 2013, we wrote:
"Our new Blog has been created to provide news and articles relating to Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty's history, which we hope will encourage a returning readership of both members and non-members alike.  In the coming weeks and months, you can look forward to contributions on a wide variety of historical topics written by society members, each of whom have their own varied interests and strengths."
Although we did experience a hiatus in 2016-2018, the resumption of a steady flow of articles over the last twelve months has demonstrated that we still have a wealth of stories to share. Over the next year the following contributers will include:

Shirley Arabin - tales and history of old Tauranga buildings
Trevor Bentley - Early Maori-Pakeha Relations
Beth Bowden - a variety of topics relating to early Tauranga
Julie Green – People who Shaped Tauranga
Lois Hembrow - talks about items in the Brain Watkins House Collection
Fiona Kean - notes of recent events of historical interest
Anne Marquand - items of interest from the garden at Brain Watkins House
Justine Neal - continues to share her collection of Tauranga postcards
Brett Payne - profiles of Tauranga photographers and examples of their work
Tauranga Heritage Collection - brief notes about items in the collection
Jane Waldegrave - stories from the Art and Culture scene in Tauranga

There’s an simple way to keep up to date - to receive notifications when something new is published on the blog, simply insert your email address in the “Follow by Email” box on the right of the blog page, and click “Submit.” Each article will be sent to you by email as soon as it is published.

Many people have contributed items for the blog since 2013 and these remain archived on the web site for your perusal. They can be browsed using the “Blog Archive” drop-down menu by date (Year and Month), or the “Labels” list, on the right of the main blog page. A list of past contributors is also available on the right of the page – click on the name for further information.

Further articles, some of which are expected to have a more topical bias, will be published from time to time on an ad hoc basis. We also intend to publish notifications of Society events, such as the Monthly Meetings/Talks, Garden Party, AGM, etc. An online version of the latest Society Newsletter will also be provided on the web site.

Considerable time and effort have been put into writing the articles and sourcing images, and both the writers and the Society would welcome your feedback, either through the Comments section on the blog or via email. It’s always nice to know that your articles are being read and appreciated, so please do leave us a quick note to let us know you’ve dropped by. We’ve introduced a security step in the Commenting procedure to alleviate problems with inappropriate spam – it may be a little tedious to have to go through this step, but please bear with us.

The Society welcomes further contributions to the blog in the form of short articles from members
and non-members. If you hear of a forthcoming historically related event that you think might
interest members, please feel free to let us know and we’ll do our best to find out more and
publicize it on the blog. Or alternatively, if you’ve been to such a place or event and would like to
send us a brief report on it, with at least one photograph, we’d be happy to publish it on your behalf.
Contact Julie Green by email ( with such material or to request our
Blog Article Submission Guidelines.

Brett Payne
Web Editor

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Submission on the Gifting of 11 Mission St to the Otamataha Trust

View of Mauao, the Tauranga Harbour and part of Otamataha Pa from the C.M.S. Mission Station
Pen-and-ink sketch by John Kinder, Christmas 1857
Glass plate copy negative by J.D. Richardson, c.1910s-1920s
Courtesy of Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Collection, Ref. 4-1218
The following submission was made by Beth Bowden on behalf of the Society during the Tauranga City Council's hearing on 1 August 2019. Thank you, Beth.

It is a rare thing, in history, to find an opportunity to put matters right. Most of the work of historians involves working out what changed – at worst, what went wrong - in the past, and how, and why; most of us try to do so with an honest appreciation of the biases of hindsight. The burden of the present - contemporary prejudices and preferences - is inescapable.

The Tauranga Historical Society, which exists, among other things, to “foster and maintain a public appreciation of places and things of historic interest.... in the Bay of Plenty area” therefore has some sympathy with the various points of view being put forward concerning the process of making the property at 11 Mission Street available for use by The Elms Foundation. Everyone concerned is wrestling with the past – of just over a decade on the one hand; and nearly two centuries, on the other.

History teaches us that ‘public appreciation’ shifts and changes. In our submission, the story of 11 Mission Street aptly illustrates that lesson. And, in our submission, the right thing to do, given the history of the site, is to return it to the Otamataha Trust. We therefore stand alongside those who take the longer view, rather than those who base their arguments on expectations and intentions framed during the last thirteen years.

A straightforward gift to the Elms Foundation does seem to have been the eventual intention when the TCC purchased the property in 2006.

Alongside that, the Society balances the even clearer intention of the Church Missionary Society, expressed in 1855:
“Land... was acquired... solely for the purposes of the Mission, and the possession of it intended to promote through the Mission, the spiritual welfare... and permanent benefit to the Natives...”
Thanks to the careful research of Dr Evelyn Stokes and  Dr Alistair Reese, who has traced [Naboth’s Vineyard] the eventual and total alienation of CMS lands to the Crown, we know exactly how Te Papa became “no place for native settlements.”

Similarly, the Society takes note of the force of the 2004 finding of the Waitangi Tribunal that the award of the Te Papa block to the CMS in 1852 was in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.  History, especially modern history and international relations practice, is full of ways and means to remedy treaty breaches. We are not surprised to see that the Council’s efforts to meet the spirit of the Tribunal’s decision have been complex and involve compromise.  We commend the sense of mutual respect and dignity accorded to the parties concerned in this restitution process.  Not all such efforts have gone so well.

It is a well-worn truism that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  Since opportunities to break the repetitive pattern of pakeha occupation and control of land in Te Papa are rare, the Society encourages Council to depart from the worthy but narrow intentions that lay behind the purchase decision of 2006. We promote a wider, more inclusive view of the history of this peninsula. We see strong symbolic and, eventually, historic value in making 11 Mission Street over to the Otamataha Trust so that they may, in conjunction with the Elms Foundation, give expression to some of the hopes and ideals expressed at the time of the original missionary occupation.

Nothing, now, will restore to the descendants of Ngati Tapu, Ngai Tamarawaho, and Ngai Tukairangi the 240 hectares of the Te Papa peninsula that Deacon Brown traded for goods worth ‘near L200’ in 1839. His recorded motives expressed an intention to prevent settlement, sly-grogging and trading, which only goes to show how original intentions suffer alteration. The intentions of the tangata whenua are best described by reference to the Waitangi Tribunal [WAI 215, Te Raupatu o Tauranga Moana, 2004]: original permission to occupy nineteenth-century Te Papa, by anyone, Maori or pakeha, was of a shared and conditional nature.

It is not unusual for historians to propose, from studying an area’s past, that uses and boundaries have been fluid rather than mutually exclusive.  And historians also find that private, exclusive, use can change. It is as well to acknowledge here that the family home bequeathed to the Tauranga Historical Society, Brain Watkins House, was built on confiscated land and is now open to the public as a House Museum.

The Society has therefore formed the considered view that the best way to deal with the current question of who is best placed to own and control the land at 11 Mission Street is
  • to take the steps outlined in Council’s proposal to transfer 11 Mission Street to the Otamataha Trust and
  • for that Trust, in conjunction with the Elms Foundation, to use the property for further development of the Mission House as a place of historical experience and understanding of the past.
Far from over-complicating the matter, such a process upholds and exemplifies the history and function of the original Mission Station as a negotiated space, in place as well as time.

Further drawing from the Waitangi Tribunal report: the Council does not have to behave in typically pakeha terms: over-simplifying motives and consequences and ignoring inconvenient truths. The current position, as we understand it, is that neither the Otamataha Trust nor The Elms Foundation has any objections to the course Council now proposes to follow. We also cannot see anything but good coming from a long-term, considered and deliberate development of 11 Mission Street under the care of the two institutions.

At the very least, the transfer to the Otamataha Trust and subsequent perpetual lease at a peppercorn rental to The Elms Foundation allows a semblance of the original relationship between the tangata whenua and the Church Mission Society to be represented in modern terms. We endorse the proposal.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Early European Vessels and Visitors to Tauranga

The New Zealander, Captain Clarke and Captain Rapsey, 1829, 1832

Based at Port Jackson (Sydney), the schooner New Zealander (Captain Clarke), regularly whaled and traded with Maori around the New Zealand coast during the late 1820s and 1830s. The New Zealander was trading with Ngai Te Rangi hapu in Tauranga Harbour in March 1829, when Captain James and eight sailors drew alongside in a ship’s boat. They reported that their trading vessel Haweis had been attacked and seized by the chief Te Ngarara and the Ngati Awa people at Whakatane. Equipped with eight cannon and two swivel guns - the standard armament carried by vessels in the New Zealand trade – Captain Clarke immediately sailed the New Zealander to Whakatane, where his crew retook the Haweis and towed it back to Tauranga for repair.[1]

The Sydney schooner New Zealander
Frontspiece, A.H. Messenger, A Trader in Cannibal Land by James Cowan, Reed, Dunedin, 1935
When Captain Clarke returned to the Bay of Plenty later that year, the New Zealander carried the Ngapuhi rangatira and assassain Te Hana. At the Bay of Islands, some resident traders and Ngapuhi rangatira decided that Te Ngarara had to be punished for attacking the Haweis and jeopardizing trade along the New Zealand coast. At Whakatane, Te Ngarara was lured aboard the New Zealander and when he entered his canoe later that day, was shot dead by Te Hana.[2]

The records show the New Zealander at again at Tauranga under Captain Rapsey in February 1832, when a grand Ngapuhi amphibious artillery taua (expedition) under Titore Takiri and allied chiefs, entered the harbour. Having sailed in stages from the Bay of Islands, the taua comprised 70 waka and whaleboats, which transported 800 warriors and a siege train of ten purepo (ships’ cannon and carronades). The invaders were seeking utu (redress,) as Ngai Te Rangi had attacked and annihilated a combined Ngati Kuri and Ngapuhi predatory expedition on Motiti Island the previous year.[3]

At Tauranga, the invaders commenced a two week siege of Otumoetai Pa which, according the missionary Henry Williams, commenced with a remarkable daylong artillery bombardment. During the siege, the Maketu based trader Phillip Tapsell, whose wife Karuhi was Ngapuhi, entered the harbour on his cutter Fairy to supply the beseigers with six additional cannon, shot and powder. On Otumoetai Pa, the Tamarawaho hapu, who possessed at least two cannon of their own, bombarded Tapsell’s cutter, but were unable to strike it.[4]

On 31st March, Captain Rapsey who had continued trading with Ngai Te Rangi, sailed the New Zealander through the Mt. Maunganui entrance at first light and bombarded the Ngapuhi encampment located near modern day Fergusson Park. The Ngapuhi musketeers returned fire but without effect. As the schooner left the harbour, a  fleet of six waka, each with one of Phillip Tapsell’s cannon mounted in the bows, pursued and exchanged fire with the New Zealander in this country’s only Anglo-Maori naval battle.[5] After unsuccessful sieges at both Otumoetai and Maungatapu Pa, in mid April, the Ngapuhi expedition exited the harbour and returned home.

In 1834, the New Zealander’s new skipper Captain Cole, transported missionaries from the Bay of Islands to Tonga and continued trading and whaling on the New Zealand coast for the remainder of that decade.[6]

The Hokianga brigantine New Zealander
Vintage Transport – Sailing Ships, New Zealand Post, 1975
Captain Clarke and Captain Rapsey’s Sydney-based New Zealander is easily confused with the  locally built New Zealander skippered by a Captain David Clark, both vessels being active in New Zealand waters in the same period. The Sydney-based New Zealander was a large, schooner rigged trader-whaler. The Hokianga-built and based New Zealander, was a smaller, faster, 150 tonne, square rigged brigantine. Designed mainly for the trans-Tasman trade and described by the trader Joel Polack as ‘beautifully modelled for sailing’,[7] it made one crossing in a record six days, and another in nine days. Not surprisingly, some  residents of New South Wales were soon describing the brig as one of theirs.[8]

End Notes

[1] The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 28 March, 1829: 3.
[2] Wilson, J. A. The Story of Te Waharoa: A Chapter in Early New Zealand History Together With Sketches of Ancient Maori Life and History, Wellington, Whitcombe and Tombs, 1909: 32.
[3] Bentley, Trevor, Tribal Guns and Tribal Gunners, Wilsonscott, Dunedin, 2013. 69-85.
[4] Williams, Henry, The Early Journals of Henry Williams, 1826 1840, L. M. Rogers (ed.), Pegasus Press, Christchurch, 1961: 235.
[5] Ibid: 238.
[6] Early New Zealand Shipping Index,
[7] Polack, Joel, New Zealand: Being a Narrative of Travels and Adventures, Vol II, 1838, Capper Press, Christchurch, 1974: 196.
[8] Ibid.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Pre-European Mauao

The Mount, Tauranga
Postcard published by A. McGlashan, postmarked 1915
Collection of Justine Neal
From time immemorial, rising 232m above sea level, Mauao, a conical extinct volcano has guarded the entrance to Tauranga Harbour. Mauao is a remnant of a large lava dome formed by the upwelling of rhyolite lava about 2-3 million years ago. In tradition Mauao was once a nameless peak in the Hautere forest. Spurned by the beautiful mountain Puwhenua, he asked the forest fairies to drag him into the ocean to dull his pain. But at sunrise they fled, leaving him forever at the shore. Hence his name Mauao – caught in the light of the day.

In pre-European days the vegetation cover of Mauao would have been minimal. There were at least three defended pa sites and numerous terraces, pits and middens have been recorded by present day archaeological exploration. Ranginui and Kinonui of the Takitimu waka established a pa on Mauao, as did the Waitaha people. They occupied Mauao for centuries, later Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Pukenga  settled in the area, forming strong marital relationships.

Pilot Bay (Waikorire), Mount Maunganui, probably photographed by John Welsh, c.1920-1925
Postcard published by A.J. Mirrielees (No 45)
Collection of Justine Neal

The southern side of Mauao was the favoured area of occupation. The gentle slopes offered suitable soil for cultivation as well as free draining areas, easily terraced for occupation and crop storage. Fresh water was obtainable from several springs and the beaches of Waikorire offered launching and beaching areas for waka as well as ready access to the large shellfish beds in the harbour. Taro still grows in a spring gully (Te Puna Waitapu) immediately above the southern end of the motor camp and may represent a remnant pre-European Maori crop. On the eastern slopes one possible reason for the lack of occupation features is the high concentration of boulders and cobbles that litter the slopes. In addition the unstable nature of the rocky bluffs above this area may have presented a dangerous environmemt for permanent occupation.

Mauao, undated
by unidentified photographer and publisher
Collection of Justine Neal
The hazards of living below rock outcrops on Mauao are told in a story about Tamapahore following the battle of Kokowai. He is said to have selected a place to settle within Maunganui Pa, however, the other Ngai Te Rangi rolled great stones down the hill to his location; he took the hint and made a pa elsewhere at Maungatapu.

The summit pa of Mauao was one of the most strategically important locations in the Tauranga district with commanding views along much of the Bay of Plenty coast and inland to the volcanic plateau. An early description states ... "the pa of Maunganui covered about 100 acres. The fortifications crossed the top of the hill and ran down each side, then, circling round the base to the south, they met. The fortifications were so strong and the garrison so numerous that the pa seemed impregnable to Maori weapons."

The Mount, Tauranga, N.Z., photograph probably by Stevens Bros. (No 5), undated
Postcard published Frank Duncan & Co., Auckland
Collection of Justine Neal
1820 saw the end of Mauao as a stronghold. In that year Ngapuhi under the leadership of Te Morenga attacked the Ngai Te Rangi pa as revenge for the killing of Te Morenga’s niece, Tawaputa, in 1806. Te Morenga is reported to have had a total of between 600–800 men and just 35 muskets. But 35 muskets constituted an unstoppable force when those attacked had none, or very few. Over 400 men were killed in this battle and a further 260 taken north as prisoners.

In 1838 when William Colenso with Reverend William Williams climbed to the top of Mauao gathering geological specimens he recorded his impressions: This hill has been strongly fortified. The labour bestowed on it has been immense and yet it was taken and the slaughter was very great. It appears to have been inhabited to the very top. The sites of houses, the fireplaces and ancient excavations for stones and skulls still remaining. In 1865, following the battle of Te Ranga, Mauao was included in the lands confiscated by the Crown from Ngai Te Rangi. Today the Mauao Historic Reserve is private land, owned by the three iwi of Tauranga Moana under the formation of the Mauao Trust that is available, used and enjoyed by all as a public space.


Musket Wars. A History of Inter-Iwi Conflict, 1806-1845, by Ron D. Crosby, publ. 2017 by Oratia Media
A History of Mount Maunganui, by Bruce Cunningham & Ken Musgrave, publ. 1989 by Mount maunganui Borough Council
Mauao Historic Reserve Management Plan, Tauranga City Council, 2018