Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 10, October 1968


nee McCombie, has been closely associated with this district for most of her life and although she now lives in Auckland near her daughter Heather (Mrs. Coe) she retains her Beach Cottage and enjoys visiting her son Bruce and family in Waihi where she still has many friends. She had nursed at the Waihi Hospital for some years before marrying Mr. E.A. Wilson in 1916. It is noteworthy that Mrs. Wilson was President of the local Red Cross Society for 25 years. Her husband had had a Dental Practice (now his son's) since 1907 and served during World War I. He also bought part of the Shaw Estate at Waihi Beach, converted it into a flourishing farm, put in Wilson's Road so that part of the property could be out up for housing and presented Wilson Park and the site for the Presbyterian Church.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were among those who did a tremendous amount of work when funds were being raised for the building of the Waihi Memorial Hall. The Mayor, Mr. C. Christiansen, when extending thanks to everyone said "I have refrained from mentioning names but I feel I must mention Mr. Bill Wilson. For his ability, friendly manner and untiring work we owe him so much, and we all regret that he was not able to see the fulfilment of his dream". A plaque was put in the hall to commemorate his work. Mrs. Wilson feels that the Mackaytown house and the wild hills of Karangahake are ever a remembrance of her father, John McCombie.


who has spent the whole of a long life in Paeroa is the only remaining son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kennedy who came to the district from Hawkes Bay soon after the opening of the Goldfield. He attended the Paeroa School while living in Princes Street, began work as a Telegram Boy and spent 3 years at the Gas Works before learning the Plumbing trade. By this time his father (the son of an Imperial Soldier who with his sister had spent his early life at the Auckland Barracks) had sold several of his business premises in Paeroa and bought a farm on Thames Road opposite the Racecourse. After working on the farm, three of the sons, Harold, Claude and Ivan became partners in a Milk-run, and Jack who had a Butchery business took up Railway work. Mr. and Mrs. John Kennedy moved to Cullen Street where Claude lived with them while still farming. His mother died at the age of 80 and his father reached the great age of 94 years. Mrs. Harold Kennedy and her married daughter Mary, now live in Wellington and Mrs. Ivan Kennedy and her daughter Edith (draughts-woman M.O.W.) have remained in Paeroa. Claude was Caretaker at Paeroa College for 7 years before retiring and he and his wife now live in Wharf Street, so familiar to him in his youth.


spent all his school days at Kati Kati. Eeling parties were very popular and all the young people used to go to them, usually on bicycles, so it was there that much "courting" was done. Mr. Middlebrook held the cycling record for the fastest time from Waihi to Kati Kati. He trained as a Carpenter and in 1912 worked with the late Charles Harper on the construction of the Waihi Manual Training School which is now the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum building. He is a valued member of the Committee.


is a third generation resident of Paeroa. Her mother Mrs. Mary Neil, the eldest daughter of Nurse Pennell came to Paeroa as a small child, and spent the rest of her life in the district. She and her husband moved to Karangahake in 1895 and reared a large family who had their schooling there. They were the late Bert and Mont; Ivy (Mrs. Hawkins), Myrtle (Mrs. Robinson, (Auck.) Ruby (Mrs. Nield, Paeroa), Mavis (Mrs. Smith, Auck.), George (Paeroa) the late Roy, Ned (Paeroa), Jack (Te Aroha) and Norman (Paeroa). The family moved to Paeroa again in 1914 and both Mr. and Mrs. Neil took a keen interest in public welfare. For 22 years (1915-36), Mr. Neil was foreman for the Borough Council, a position held by his son Norman since 1960. Mrs. Neil died in 1945 and her husband in 1947.

In the Pennell tradition Ivy Neil married a Jockey (Bert Hawkins) and for many years they were connected with Racing Stables, Mrs. Hawkins owning two hurdlers: Lucess and Kaikahu.

Subsequently her husband became an invalid and she nursed him for 25 years before his death. During this long period of being "House-bound" she learned the rudiments of floral work from her daughter who was a trained florist, and this not only provided a satisfying hobby but she has become widely known for her beautiful artistry and the generosity that invariably accompanied it. It is no exaggeration to say that she has helped many in an unobtrusive way, besides rearing her grandsons. When her home in Albert Street was destroyed by fire in 1964 these grandsons Paul and Michael Montague purchased the late Mrs. Flatt's home in William Street and Mrs. Hawkins still keeps house for them.


spent all her early days in Paeroa, and later devoted many years to her family. She was the eldest of six. Her brother Jack, now at Papakura, is blind; Tom, who has always been a farmer married Mary Fitzgerald, a Karangahake girl, when she was teaching at Eureka; Vera is in Wellington, Fred at Papakura and Trevor in Morrinsville, where he is Transport Manager for the Dairy Company. He began his "transport career" when he drove the Waihi - Auckland Bus, later joining the R.M.Coy., Rotorua. Before, and on his return, after World War 2 he was with H.B .Motors and then Edwards Motors. Notwithstanding the winds of change the transport story continues.

Miss Clarkin's mother died in 1927 and she continued to be the home-keeper until the death of her father in 1943. For the last 25 years she has been Father O'Meara's Housekeeper at the Paeroa Presbytery - and unofficial Aunt to hundreds of children.


was the youngest of a large Paeroa family and although it is many years since he lived here, his thoughts have turned back to the early days of a varied career. (Other articles will follow). In 1967 he retired from his Auckland Hairdressing business which he had owned for 35 years. For 14 years he was President of a Businessmen's Ass., and served on the Executive Committee and as President of the Auckland Hairdressers' Ass. and the New Zealand Federation. He has been a J.P. since 1960 and is a Vice President of the Western Suburbs Athletic Club.


was born in Panmure and brought to Waihi at a very early age in 1908. His father worked in the mine until 1924 when he purchased a farm on the Tauranga Road just beyond the Waihi cemetery. Joe was educated at the Waihi schools and left to work on his father's farm for a time. He then learnt the trade of carpenter. In 1933 he went to live at the Waihi Beach and followed his trade there for some years. He now has a very large glass house in which he grows tomatoes. He served on the Waihi Beach Town Council for a period of 4 years and now puts in spare time on the bowling green.


now retired and living at Ngunguturu, Whangarei, sold his farm at Turua during the 1930's and farmed at Hamilton until about 1959 when his property was acquired by the Ruakura Research Station. He has always taken a prominent part in Dairy Coy. administration and Town Milk Supply. He is a nephew of the founders of Ambury's Milk Coy., Auckland.


has been the efficient Assistant County Clerk of the Ohinemuri County Council for 14 years, and because of his outstanding service to Athletics is known to hundreds of young folk who have responded to his inspiration and training. His parents with whom he lives in Paeroa have belonged to Ohinemuri all their lives, his mother being a member of the well known Butcher family of Waitekauri where the Parkers still own farm property.

MRS. BERNARD (nee Searle)

now lives in Raglan, but she spent her early years in Karangahake where her people played a big part in the affairs of the town.


was the second eldest of the family. Her older sister Catherine, married Ted Hart but died at an early age. (Their son Pat is still in Paeroa). Then there were the late John, Margaret, Patrick and Jim; and Eileen (Mrs. Ted Shaw), Annie, Phyllis and Charlie (who still farms at Reservoir Road). Their father died in 1915 and their mother managed the farm for many years. She died in 1954 at the age of 87. Mary has spent her whole life on the farm and for years helped with the milking of the large herd (at first by hand) and with all the heavy work involved in pioneering.


formerly of Auckland left teaching at Ngatea School in 1922 to go to California where she spent two years with relatives. For a period she was governess to the only child, a son, of Colonel and Mrs. Robert Roos, a prominent San Francisco family. She married Mr. Percy Evans, well-known Auckland entertainer, in 1928. They came to live in Paeroa in 1954 and for some years Mr. Evans was employed by the Ministry of Works. He died in January 1966. Mrs. Evans' hobbies have been writing, gardening and water-colour painting. There were further visits to U.S.A. - to California in 1952 and to Florida in 1961.