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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 11, May 1969

by COURTENAY KENNY

A very early industry in Paeroa was the grinding of Wheat by the local Maoris. There was a small flour mill on the bank of the Ohinemuri River about a mile from the Criterion Bridge - along the Te Aroha Road - and 300 yards down the river from the "Pae-0-Hauraki" Maori Meeting House. It was water-wheel driven by water from the Kuaoiti Stream (now a large drain) flowing from Rotokoku and adjoining country. A dam across the stream and a short channel diverted the water to the wheel.

It was probably built by a man called Robinson (Bill Sorenson's Grand-father) who had built a similar one at Karakariki. The mill was run by a Mr. Haslett. The late Mr. Joseph Tetley who came to Paeroa as a boy in 1880 stated that the mill was not then being worked but had not long been out of action. It probably ceased when the miller died. As late as 1887 it was in good order. The water had been diverted but the water-wheel was there and could be turned. Inside the mill, the grinding stones and modest machinery were still in position. The building was being used by the Maoris as a storehouse - for potatoes, maize, etc.

In the course of time the building disappeared, but the mill stones lay on the river bank for many years, and may still be there buried under the present stop-bank erected by the Works Department. (Note in Diary of late J.W. Thorp - "Took wheat to the mill for grinding".)