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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 4, September 1965

PUKEKOHE TO PAEROA via POKENO AND THE HAURAKI PLAINS

REPORTED - JANUARY 1916

The Rev. Dobson, the new Vicar of Paeroa and his family arrived here at the end of last week. Mrs. Dobson with four daughters journeyed in quite orthodox fashion by train, but Mr. Dobson with Miss Florence Dobson, anxious to save train fare and freight on horse and trap - to know more of the railway route from Pokeno to Paeroa, and to see the Hauraki Plains decided to drive to Paeroa.

Leaving Pukekohe at 7.30 on Thursday morn, they soon arrived at Pokeno where they called on the new Vicar, the Rev. C.A.Vaughan, and saw the beautiful church of St. Mary's, built some years ago at her own expense by Miss Johnston of Pokeno.

From Pokeno they drove along the Maungatawhiri Valley, looking for a way of getting over the hills on to the plains. On enquiry they found that the direct route from the Valley to Miranda was hardly available for wheel traffic until the regrading now in hand is completed. They went therefore in a southerly direction through the Surrey Farm to Maramarua. Here again they found that the direct route to the plains via Waitakaruru is not yet easily available for wheel traffic, so had to go to the north east to Miranda and then back again along the beach to Waitakaruru. They reached Mr. Evitt's on the banks of the canal in good time for tea where they were hospitably entertained until the next day.

On Friday they drove across the plains to the Orchard where the official of the "Tucker boat" cautiously conveyed their gig over the Piako River, Mr. Bartly, the genial Post Master, kindly swimming their horse across the river. From there they journeyed across the plains to Netherton Bridge, and reached Paeroa at 5 o'clock. With regards to the journey, Mr. Dobson says that when the Bridge, for which tenders are now being called, is built over the Piako at Orchard, and improvements made on the between Waitakaruru and Miranda for which an informal tender was received at the last meeting of the Thames County Council, and fresh tenders now being called are completed, it will be quite easy to drive from Pukekohe to Paeroa on the summer roads in one day. Mr. Dobson, who by the way, has spent some 19 years in the agricultural country of the Lower Waikato says that the possibilities of the Hauraki Plains for the production of beef and butter cannot be over-estimated.

Mr. Dobson is being instituted to the charge of the Parish of Paeroa by the Ven. Archdeacon Cowie in St. Paul's Church at 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

Note: If Mr. Dobson was not the first to drive across the plains - he was at least one of the earliest to make that crossing. This article was contributed by his daughter Mrs. Cyril Aicken, of Auckland.