Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 39, September 1995
By Dorothy C Bagnall
Born in Turua in 1922, I lived there until the age of ten. From the time my younger sister, Helen, was old enough - probably 1931 or 1932 - our grandparents in Epsom had us to stay for a week each school holidays. Sometimes our parents took us up in the car, a Buick, or our grandfather came down and took us back in his Nash. The drive was a long, tiring journey, across the Pipiroa Ferry, and over the Razorback, until the Deviation was put through. But on occasions we were sent to Auckland by public transport, the service car or the "Taniwha". Our parents would come up by car and take us home at the end of the week.
We went up once, I think, on the service car. I remember the dicky seats at the front, and my sister remembers sitting on a folding stool at the back. The bus was very full. But our mother preferred the steamer, as we had to leave the bus at the tea rooms at Maramarua, two small girls on our own. The "Taniwha" suited very well, as it left Turua about midnight.
We boarded the "Taniwha" at Turua Wharf when it arrived and were looked after by the stewardess. She showed us to our bunks, top and bottom. We went to bed straight away and she drew some heavy dark curtains across in front of us. (We didn't like this.) We slept until the stewardess woke us about 5.30 - 6 am., for arrival time was 7 am. She gave us breakfast at a table, lit with a lamp, in the lounge. I don't remember electric light on the boat. After breakfast we went out on deck to watch the arrival at the wharf in Auckland. Our aunt would be at the wharf to meet us and I was pleased and relieved to see her waiting. It must have been an early start for her!
The article in the Journal said the "Taniwha" held 30 passengers, but on our trips it would probably have been only half full. I remember one time there was a boy a little older than I was who seemed to be travelling on his own. We don't remember the name of the stewardess, but Helen remembers Captain Horne. When we moved from Papakura to Opaheke in 1935, Helen was still at Primary school. She went by school bus to Papakura, Mr Green being the driver. He was in some way connected with the "Taniwha", once one of the officers, she thinks. Later, when we had moved to Albany, she met our Papakura headmaster, Mr John E Elliott, and Mr Green on the Birkenhead ferry.