Friday, 24 June 2022

Richard Coles Jordan (1838-1919)

Richard Coles Jordan, Mayor of Tauranga 1882-3, 1885-6
Courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries, Ref. Photo 21-1852

This early Tauranga settler lived a reasonably long and rather fruitful life. He came to Te Papa somewhere between 1866 and 1872 and eventually fathered four sons and three daughters. A surveyor by profession, he was engaged by the Town Board as their first engineer to build the Beach Road, now our Strand. In 1873 he was the first to drive a horse and dray over the road to Ohinemutu in Rotorua, and was described as a roading contractor. Following his journey, locals were keen to see the establishment of a mail service on this route. New roads in those days were paved with firstly sand and then shell.

He continued surveying for a living until at least 1874 but was soon owner of a Bond Store and described himself as land agent, auctioneer and stock agent, reputedly the only one of the latter between Katikati and Opotiki. The first Judea sale yards (still operating in the 1980s*) were a venture of his, and he held an initial sale of cattle there in 1876. His residential address in 1880 was “West side of Strand, between Harrington and MacLean Streets.”

16 Oct 1883 Telegram sent to officer in charge Customs, states that Mann’s Warehouse is approved and Jordan’s revoked.
Courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries, Ref Ams 12/2/1

From 1882 to 1915 Tauranga mayors were elected annually and RC Jordan was the second, following George Vesey Stewart. He held the office for two terms, in 1882 and again in 1885. Due to a fire in his premises he was forced to declare bankruptcy in early 1883, but was soon solvent again. He won the seat back from Thomas Wrigley nearly three years later. He was in office during the Tarawera eruption on the 10th June 1886 and called to Auckland for help for our citizens as he was concerned about the falling ash

17 Oct 1883  Letter from J Mann to Matravers reminding him the longer goods stayed at Jordan [and Sheppards] the more they will be [ruinous]
Courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries, Ref Ams 12/2/7

It is important to note that another prominent citizen of Tauranga, also named Jordan, was elected Mayor five times, he was Canon Charles Jordan, vicar of Holy Trinity.

RC was later a member of the County Council representing the Waimapu Riding. He took an interest in the Acclimatisation Society, the Agricultural and Pastoral Society and called for expressions of interest in forming a Young Farmers Group.

Richard’s wife was Kate and they both appear on the ratepayers register for 1908 along with sons Cyril, a storekeeper, and his wife M(….), and Arthur, a surveyor, and his wife Jesse. The following year Cyril owned his father’s plot of land and at least by 1916 it seems that of this Jordan family only he and his wife remained in the area.

There is a small street off the West end of 9th Ave named after one of the Jordan residents, more likely RC.

*Please see post on Judea sale yards by Beth Bowden dated 23 August 2019


Tauranga 1882-1982, The Centennial of Gazetting Tauranga as a Borough, Edited by A.C Bellamy

Pae Koroki, courtesy Tauranga City libraries:
Tauranga Historical Journal No. 15 1961
Tauranga Rates Books 1907, 1916
Tauranga Street Directory 1880                                          

Geni  Family Tree

Friday, 17 June 2022

HMS Challenger and Governor Sir George Grey, 1866

Early Sailing Vessels and Visitors to Tauranga, Part XXI

Launched on the Thames from London’s Woolwhich Dockyard in February 1858, HMS Challenger was a full rigged, steam assisted, Pearl-class corvette with a speed of 10.7 knots or 19.8 km/h. under steam. Of 1,465 tons burthen and with a length of 225 feet (68.66 m), it carried 18 guns, and in 1862 took part in operations against Mexico. The flagship of the Australian station between 1866 and 1870, it took part in punitive operations against Fijians on the Rewa River to avenge the murder of a missionary. As the Anglo-Maori Wars (1860-1872) continued, HMS Challenger made regular visits to show the flag at ports throughout New Zealand. When not on duty in Australian and Pacific waters the Challenger, (Commanders M’Guire, (Maguire, or McGuire) and Rowley) was temporarily based in Auckland from where it patrolled the Bay of Plenty and East Coast during the anti-Hauhau campaigns.

HMS Challenger (1858-1878)
Campbell, Lord George, Log – Letters From “The Challenger”, McMillan, London, 1881: 6

HMS Challenger made several visits to Tauranga and while brief, they were interesting nevertheless. The Evening Post of 17 December 1866, provided the following: account of Governor George Grey’s visit to Tauranga on the Challenger, initially, to meet with Colonel Hamilton of the British 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment, which then had some 800 soldiers stationed in the district.

H.M.S. corvette Challenger, 18 guns, Commodore M'Guire, steamed into this port at an early hour on Monday, the 3rd instant, en route from Wellington to Kawau, with his Excellency the Governor on board. His Excellency, accompanied by Mr. Thatcher his private secretary, the Commodore, and two or three other gentlemen, came on shore about eleven a.m., and proceeded to Colonel Hamilton's residence. We understand that this visit had no absolute political significance, it being only of courtesy. However, the cognisant seem to be of opinion that from the lengthened korero of the leading [Maori] powers in the afternoon, something of importance was on the tapis [tapestry].

In the aftermath of the bloody Anglo-Maori clashes at Gate Pa and Te Ranga, and with some disaffected Tauranga Maori, joining the Hauhau in the Kaimai Ranges, for what was to become the 1867 Tauranga Bush Campaign, Grey was in no mood for niceties. The Evening Post added:

A somewhat amusing incident occurred as Sir George came on shore. A number of Maoris, evidently reckless as to results with regard to attire, and resplendent with gold chains, seals, opera glasses, &c. had congregated near our office to welcome, we suppose, Ta Kawana [The Governor], but on his proceeding straight on his line of march, they hailed him in a very undignified manner, calling loudly "haremai, haremai." To their utter discomforture, however, the illustrious stranger passed on, leaving the faithful Maori utterly crest fallen.

There is a moral to be pointed out by this apparent coldness. Did a long career of ingratitude and restless dissatisfaction amongst some of the natives even near here prompt such a recognition of his reception by them? Very possibly, we think.

The reaction of Tauranga Maori to this major breach of protocol by ‘Ta Kawana’ was not recorded, but the slight will have hardly endeared him to either loyalist or ‘rebel’ Maori in the region.

Governor Sir George Grey (1812-1898)
Detail of hand-coloured photographic portrait

Daniel Mundy, ‘George Grey’, C. 1860, G-625, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

Grey again visited Tauranga on the Challenger in January 1867, as the departure point for an arduous overland journey to Whanganui and by steamer to Wellington. Not without personal risk, given the number of Hauhau militant bands then active on the East Coast and in the Central North Island, the purpose of the undertaking was to obtain reassurances of loyalty from iwi at Rotorua, Taupo and Whanganui. The Press, 12 January 1867: 3, reported:

On Wednesday, the 19th, his Excellency left Tauranga accompanied by Commodore Maguire, Mr Thatcher, (Private Secretary), Mr Commissioner Clarke, Mr Mair, Mr Williams, of the Challenger, and Mr Monro, son of Sir David Monro, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Horses were provided for the party by the Natives at the pa opposite Te Papa [Otumoetai], and all started about the middle of the day for Maketu, where they arrived the same afternoon, and rested that night.

Tauranga township about 1864
Unidentified Photographer, ca. 1864, ½-022640, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington

HMS Challenger was last at anchor in Pilot Bay between late January to February 1870.  When Te Kooti’s Ringatu ‘rebels’ were reported to be within 10 miles of Tauranga, the outlying settlers crowded into the town which was ‘in a state of utmost confusion, settlers arming constantly and helpless women and children wanting shelter’. From Wellington, the Challenger immediately started for Tauranga to join HMS Rosario and Blanche already present in the harbour. Te Kooti’s much anticipated raid however, never eventuated. On the 28th February 1870, a Tauranga correspondent wrote to the New Zealand Herald, describing how the Challenger and her crew had departed with some style, with local Maori protocol again disregarded.

          On Monday evening a dinner was given on board H.M.S. Rosario in honor of Commodore Lambert and the officers of the flagship, H.M.S. Challenger, the splendid band of the latter performing the whole evening, a treat to our little township we don't often enjoy. Yesterday, a 40-poundcr Armstrong gun was landed from the Challenger, and one of less calibre from the Rosario, with about 150 bluejackets, 60 marines, and 30 officers, the whole marching out on the Cameron-road, for the purpose of having a field day at the Gate Pah.

          On reaching the Gate, a change in the programme took place, and the men returned, after having enjoyed their dinner on the grass. The alacrity of the crews of these two vessels in landing their guns, re-shipping them, the orderly manner in which it was done, and the brief period it occupied, was truly astonishing, showing, as it does, the wonderful pitch of discipline and efficiency to which the British Navy has arrived. Your correspondent has been called upon by some chiefs since yesterday, who arc desirous of making some demonstration of welcome to the Komororore (Commodore), the highest officer of her Majesty's navy who has visited the harbour. Of course, they were referred elsewhere.

As Maori guerilla warfare escalated in the central North Island and Taranaki, governor Grey with the support of his ministers, constantly avoided his instructions to finalise the withdrawal of Britain’s imperial regiments which had commenced in 1865. Unable to control so difficult a governor, the British government had little alternative but to terminate his 1868.

In 1873, HMS Challenger was selected to undertake the first global marine research expedition. Embarking from Portsmouth on 21 December 1872, the vessel travelled 68,890 nautical miles or 125,936 km. Organized by the Royal Society in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, the vessel carried 181 miles of hemp rope for sounding, trawling and dredging the ocean’s depths. While HMS Challenger was decommissioned in 1878 and sold for scrap in 1921, the Challenger Deep and the US space shuttle Challenger were later named after her.


Belich, James, The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 1986.

Campbell, Lord George, Log – Letters From “The Challenger”, McMillan, London, 1881.

Evening Post, 17 December 1866: 2.

McGibbon, Ian, ed. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History, Oxford University Press, Auckland, 2000.

New Zealand Herald, 28 February, 1870: 4.

Pearl-class corvette – Wikipedia › wiki › Pearl-class corvette

Press, 12 January 1867: 3.

Sinclair, Keith, George Grey, 1812-1898, ‘Soldier, explorer, colonial governor, premier, scholar’, in The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Volume One 1769-1869, Bridgit Williams Books and Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1990: 163.

Friday, 10 June 2022

Ebenezer Goddard Norris (1830-1890)

Ebenezer Goddard Norris
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries

Trawling through the Papers Past entries that highlight E.G. Norris, I initially got the impression that he was the owner of many properties here in Tauranga. However it also records that he was the property agent for the Church Missionary Society and it is possible that the “7 room cottage for rent” and the “10 acres of grass” and others, may have in fact belonged to the Society.

Ebenezer needed plenty of initiative from a young age as both his parents had passed on by his 21st birthday and he had eight younger siblings to look out for. He and three brothers and five sisters arrived in Kerikeri in 1851, where he took the lease of the Stone Store. After about a decade the brothers had all gone to sea, the girls were all married or independent, and Ebenezer married Charlotte Kemp, the ‘girl next door.’

The Strand from the Town Wharf, 1870-1874
“High Trees” at back left, Mission Institute at back right, Te Papa Store (NZI agency) to right of wharf
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries, Pae Korokī Ref. 16-011

Sadly by 1865 he was widowed with 2 year-old Ada and he made the move to Tauranga and set up a small store in Wharf Street. He obviously still had interests in Auckland as three years later he married Amelia Campbell; he was by then 38 and she, 22. Their first home in Tauranga was known as ‘High Trees’ (near the present Courthouse) and from there Amelia released the first sparrows into the NZ countryside.

Colin was born in 1871, followed by Amy a couple of years later. Business appears to have been good as they commissioned their new home to be built a little further from town. Barbreck House was commodious and said to be the copy of an English vicarage. People spoke of it being “out in the country” but its site was on the corner of Second Ave / Devonport Road and the grounds extended as far as Cameron Road.

Barbreck House, built in 1874, undated
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries, Pae Korokī Ref. 02-558

Gregory, born in 1875, was possibly was the first babe to be christened in the new Holy Trinity Church nearby. Canon Charles Jordan became a friend and part of the family in later years as Norrises and Jordans intermarried. By 1881 Mrs Norris was advertising in the BOP Times for a general servant and that year Ruby was born, followed by Connie in ’84.

Meanwhile the patriarch was fully occupied running his store, being the agent for CMS and also the NZ Insurance Company. In addition he had been gazetted Captain of the Volunteer Rifles, was on the first railway committee, the Town Board, stood for Mayor in 1882 (but was defeated by George Vesey Stewart) and possibly began the first Masonic Lodge here.

Amelia, her five children and others on the steps of Rawhiti, 1923
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries, Pae Korokī Ref. 04-044

The Norris family had added Frederick, a motherless nephew, into their brood at some point, and when the lad’s father William was lost at sea near Mercury Bay in 1890, the strain of that, in addition to the financial depression of the 80s, was thought to be all too much for Ebenezer, he took ill and died within a couple of days.

To be continued

Papers Past  1872-1890
The Life and Times of Capt Ebenezer Norris by A.A. (Gypsy) McKenzie (Pae Koroki)

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Peter Rolleston (1949 – 2007)

 From Tauranga City Library’s archives

A monthly blog about interesting items in our collection

Ko Mauao te maunga

Ko Tauranga te moana

Ko Tākitimu ko Mātaatua ngā waka

Ko Ngāti Ranginui ko Ngāi Te Rangi ko Ngāti Pūkenga ngā iwi

Tihei mauriora

Photo supplied by Bay of Plenty Times

Peter Rolleston – A soft-spoken and humble leader, advocate for Māori, selfless spokesperson, historian, researcher, lecturer, beloved husband, father of 5, grandfather of 9, and great-grandfather of 3.

I would like to start by sharing my earliest memory that I have of koro (grandfather) as a bare-footed child roaming freely the rural paddocks and kiwifruit orchards at Taranaki Lane under the watchful eye of Whaaro Pā in Pāpāmoa. Every morning koro had a routine, this routine consisted of a cup of instant coffee, a rolled port royal cigarette, and approximately 20-40min to gaze out to Pāpāmoa hills and Whaaro pā. He didn’t talk, he certainly didn’t sing, all he did was sit in silence and think. Perhaps he was reflecting on the affairs affecting Māori occurring at the time. Unfortunately, this is one of those mysteries of life that will remain unsolved. I often wondered what he was thinking. So, one day after much deliberation and curiosity about my observations of koro’s repetitive and consistent routine I decided to intrude into this sacred space and as any hoha (annoying) child would do, I asked him “koro what are you doing”? While sipping on his cup of coffee and puffing on his cigarette he told me a story about him and his good friend ‘Batman’ and how he’d walk all day up into the Pāpāmoa hills to visit Batman at his cave for a beer, and I believed him. Unbeknown to him this story would have a profound impact on my life as a young child and how I would grow up to view the world. Obviously, after some time I realized this was a fictional story, but at the time it gave me a deep sense of undeniable belief and hope. To this day I wonder what was the point of him sharing that story with me? What was his intention? Or what was the hidden message beneath the joke of his story?

Peter Rolleston a former freezing worker at Rangiuru, a skilled practitioner in karate, and a gifted kaiwhao (carver) was an eloquent communicator; he could educate and influence people’s thinking. In 1994 he was asked to research and write the Pirirākau Raupatu Report for the Waitangi Tribunal Wai 227 claim and to his and the benefit of the hapū (sub-tribe) inherited a wealth of knowledge. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Peter became a strong supportive pillar for Pirirākau hapū when it came to resource management and cultural heritage matters relating to the environment within Pirirākau rohe (region). He played a pivotal role in the Pirirākau Waitangi Tribunal hearings in 1998 when the Crown came to Tauranga to hear the pain and grief inflicted upon Tauranga iwi/hapū. Peter continued to fight for the mana motuhake (independence) and tino rangatiratanga (self-determination) of Pirirākau during the Heybridge Development hearings in the Environment court in 2000 and 2002 opposing the development proposal by Heybridge to build a mariner at Tahataharoa, Te Puna (burial site of the eponymous tīpuna of Pirirākau, Tūtereinga). Employed by the University of Waikato he facilitated lectures teaching the history of Tauranga Moana as part of the Continuing Education Department in response to his values-based obligation to educate the wider Tauranga community on its history to inform a brighter future for its residents. On top of all of this, Peter was committed to his hapū by ensuring he passed on his valuable knowledge to the next generation. But why? 

Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship

“The traditional characteristics of kaitiakitanga are linked to a complex social, cultural, physical (economic) and spiritual system established through tribal association to particular taonga or natural taonga, i.e., land and water. The primary responsibility of kaitiaki is to protect the mauri of taonga in a way, which ensures it is passed on to future generations” (Rolleston, 2004, p. 24). Peter believed that to protect and maintain knowledge significant to Pirirākau hapū, there was a direct correlation to the value of kaitiakitanga. Like his analogy of walking up the Pāpāmoa hills, he understood that one must walk the land, feel the soil beneath the feet, and breathe its air to truly recognise the sacred essence of knowledge. Pirirākau tribal members are kaitiaki (stewards) of knowledge learned, inherited, and entrusted with; that they may pass it on to the next generation for the purposes of identity continuity and survival, and mana motuhake (self-autonomy). “Pirirakau history and tikanga is unique. Traditional knowledge… helped Pirirakau maintain their unique identity. This intellectual knowledge was acquired and developed over generations through evolvement and adaptation. The protection of this knowledge is an intrinsic part of respecting rights to land, culture, and tribal lore. Without land and the accumulated knowledge that comes from the use of land, Pirirakau could not survive” (2004, p. 32-33).

Kanohi kitea – Seen face

Smith (2008) defines kanohi kitea as “being seen by the people – showing your face, turning up” (p. 15), “present yourself to people face to face” (p. 120). Kanohi kitea is an integral part of maintaining relationships with people and the land. What Peter teaches us is that ‘distance’ as a researcher is not compatible with Māori cultural values and how they are executed. ‘Walking up the Pāpāmoa hills to present your face’ is a big part of whanaungatanga – maintaining relationships, connections, and inclusivity with those being researched. He suggests that showing your face to those involved and the kaupapa (task) reveals one’s commitment and investment in that relationship. Whanaungatanga is important to Māori and therefore important to me as an indigenous insider-researcher about to start a research project that will involve my hapū Pirirākau. Whanaungatanga forces the knowledge collected to remain under the ownership of those being researched. “Korero and consultation with the hapu concerned is necessary to facilitate a sense of inclusion and ownership of the korero for them” (Rolleston, 2000, p. 1). Linda Tuhiwai Smith concurs with Peter’s views when she elaborates in her book Decolonizing Methodologies how opposite traditional Western paradigms of research are to a kaupapa Māori methodology. She says research ‘through imperial eyes’ affirms that “distance is most important as it implies a neutrality and objectivity on behalf of the researcher” (2008, p. 56).

Koro Peter Rolleston’s work never fails to empower me daily. His works constantly remind me of my role as an Indigenous insider-researcher when engaging with hapū or iwi. It is about service under the cloak of humility to the hapū for the greater benefit of all. Peter was a staunch believer in the power of knowledge and sharing that knowledge. “Oral tradition should not be downplayed. Our culture was an oral one. Knowledge was recorded and retained in speeches, songs, and sayings. This is how our traditions were passed on, from generation to generation. For us today they are as real and as important as any recorded archaeological site” (Rolleston, 2002, p. 12).

Perhaps there was meaning in his story of Batman after all… Kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, and kanohi kitea are key values to hold fast too. 

Bibliography List

Rolleston, P. (1997). Te Raupatu o te Pirirākau: Pirirākau Historical Report. Waitangi Tribunal (Report no. Wai 227). Retrieved from Waitangi Tribunal Te Rōpu Whakamana o te Tiriti o Waitangi

Rolleston, P. (199). Te Raupatu o te Pirirākau: Pirirākau Historical Report. Waitangi Tribunal (Report no. Wai 227). Retrieved from Waitangi Tribunal Te Rōpu Whakamana o te Tiriti o Waitangi

Rolleston, P. (2000). Local History Lecture Series. [Lecture notes]. University of Waikato.

Rolleston, P. (2000). Papamoa Pa Complex – A Cultural Heritage Report for Tauranga District Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council. Retrieved from Tauranga City Council

Rolleston, P. (2001). Papamoa East – A Cultural Heritage Report for Tauranga District Council. Retrieved from Tauranga City Council

Rolleston, P. (2002). Brief of Evidence of Peter Rolleston [Brief of Evidence presented by Peter Rolleston at the Environment Court in Wellington in the matter of an appeal to Heybridge Development Limited]. 

Rolleston, P. (2004). Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho: Pirirākau Hapū Environmental Management Plan. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from  

Reference List

Gifford, A. (2007, May 09). Pirirakau loses historian Rolleston. Waatea News Update Blogspot. Retrieved April 28, 2022. from

Three of Peter’s literature; The Pāpāmoa Pā Complex and Pāpāmoa East can be accessed on Pae Korokī here and the Pirirākau Hapū Management Plan 2004 edition can be accessed in the Māori reference section of He Puna Wānanga at He Puna Manawa.  For more information about this and other items in our collection, visit Pae Korokī or email the Heritage & Research Team:

Written by Elisha Rolleston, Mātanga Taonga Tuku Iho Māori: Heritage Specialist – Māori, at Tauranga City Libraries.

Friday, 3 June 2022

Gardenhurst, aka Mullanee

by Shirley Arabin and Julie Green

Mullanee (formerly Gardenhurst), Photograph by Shirley Arabin

Recently I visited the house known as Mullanee and earlier as Gardenhurst.  It stands empty among long grass, and the trunks of old exotic trees that have been chopped down to make way for a new highway.  The doors and windows are boarded up as it awaits its fate of demolition or removal.

The house is a single storied weatherboard building with an iron roof.  It began as a cottage with a single gable and ridge line, with a brick chimney that has survived for at least 140 years. An addition with a matching gable was added at some point and then in the twentieth century further additions provided a kitchen dining area on the west side and a large living room on the east. The complete interior has been modernised, probably in the 1960s, with the interior walls lined with wall board and wallpapered. The only interior features that may have remained unchanged are the interior wooden doors. As well as additions to the house, rooms were also removed and used for other purposes. 

A member of the last family to own the land believed it began its European occupation as a Crown Grant to a militia veteran, but that is an item for further research. This house could well be one of the earliest European houses extant in Tauranga.

Richard Henry Farrar, c.1863-1864, Dublin
Image courtesy of the family

The first mention of Gardenhurst in the newspaper occurred when R H Farrer wrote to the editor concerning the supply of town milk from his dairy farm of that name. He also supplied vegetables to the town. Farrer’s occupancy ended not long after for he died in September 1883 aged 60 years. An Irishman from Queen’s County (since 1922 known as County Laois), who served with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, Farrer arrived in New Zealand on the Lady Jocelyn in 1878 with the George Vesey Stewart settlers. Mrs Farrer still resided in Gardenhurst in January 1884 as the newspaper acknowledged that she donated two books to the Mechanics Institute.

By 1885 William V and Charles F Tuthill and J P Whelan were partners in Gardenhurst Farm until William Tuthill withdrew from the partnership the following year.  In June 1889 R C Jordan rented 300 acres from Mr Tuthill, on 150 of which the Maori were to grow wheat. Several stock auctions were held on the property including one of Mr Jordan’s “live and dead stock” in June 1891 when he proposed to move closer to town to live and carry on his businesses. R C Jordan had a varied career in Tauranga as contractor, engineer, surveyor, founder of the Judea saleyards, and Mayor of Tauranga twice.

Plan from Title Deed

In July 1892 Gardenhurst lots 78 and 83 Te Papa comprising 300 acres with an eight-room dwelling went under the hammer of D Lundon, Auctioneer at the Haymarket in Devonport Road. The purchasers were the sons of Mr John Thomas Bull the postmaster who had recently bought Topcroft.  

In 1897 the property changed hands again to a Mr Howard, formerly of Johannesburg and was described as in Omanawa Road. It was during his time that an extensive garden was planted including the exotic trees that have recently been felled. There were oaks, chestnut, cypress, the ginko, camellia, a plum tree, and a huge persimmon.

Photograph by Julie Green

Howard sold the property in 1901 to Charles Turner Wallis previously of Hokianga who called for tenders for alterations to the house immediately. In 1908 Wallis died of typhoid fever at the age of forty-eight, leaving a wife and eight children under fourteen. Mrs Wallis and her sons Roland (Roy) aged fourteen when his father died and Marshall aged nine worked the farm.  Mrs Wallis suffered a significant loss when her milking shed and equipment were destroyed by fire and she was uninsured.  The Council had engaged with Mrs Wallis concerning land to be taken for a road but when she saw the agreement did not include matters verbally suggested she withdrew from the arrangement. Mrs Margaret Wallis died aged 96 in 1957 but after being farmed by Roy and Marshall for many years the property was sold.

Photograph by Julie Green

As a returned soldier from WW2 Samuel William Gilmer, a shepherd from Gisborne qualified for a rehabilitation loan and with that he bought the farm from the Wallis family. Sam and his brother Hugh farmed the land and brought their father, also Hugh up from Gisborne. Marshall Wallis continued to live in the house and the Gilmers lived in a tent for some years. The Gilmers called the property Mullanee after the place in Ireland Mullahanee from where the family originated. In 1967 they built a brick house nearer the road for Hugh senior and that later became the home of his grandson David Gilmer and his family and their horticultural business. Later Sam and David Gilmer swapped houses with the last occupant being Sam’s grandson and his family. After Sam Gilmer gave up dairying Richard (Dick) Smith took over the farm and subdivided parcels of land that have become Westridge Views, Takitimu Toll Road, and New Zealand Transit Agency Waka Kotahi property for highway extension.


Bay of Plenty Times through Papers Past.

Tauranga 1882-1982 The Centennial of the Gazetting Tauranga as a Borough. Edit. A C Bellamy. TCC 1982

Interview with David Gilmer by Julie Green