Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 39, September 1995

By Vic Boggis

EDITORS NOTE: In the 1992 Journal the article "Paeroa Mineral Spring" was reprinted, with permission having been originally published in the "Paeroa Gazette" of Wednesday 5 February 1992. Only part of the original article was printed in the Gazette. The unprinted portion has now been received. This article is the final part and it should be read in conjunction with the first article on page 42 of the 1992 Journal. [see Journal 36: Paeroa Mineral Spring - E]

Business was good and Robert needed capital to expand so he decided to form a Limited Liability Company. An agreement was signed on 20 January 1910 between:-

Robert John Fewell - Merchant of Paeroa and Auckland

Mary Cater Clark - Widow of R O Clark of Auckland

John Albert Endean - Hotel Manager of Auckland

The company had a nominal capital of £6000 divided into 4000 ordinary shares of £1 each, and 2000 preference shares also of £1 each. The company was to receive the profits from December 1909. The Managing Director was to be Robert John Fewell for a minimum period of ten years from the date of incorporation, the salary being £3 weekly.

Under the Companies Act 1908 the Memorandum of Association was duly signed on 5 March 1910. The spring property was transferred to Paeroa Natural Mineral Water Co. Ltd. on 6 March 1910. (Mortgage No. 41443 - National Bank.) The Certificate of Incorporation No. 1910/13 was issued 21 March 1910. By May 1910 shares were fully subscribed and the company was officially trading.

On 10 July 1910 the names of the three Directors, Auditor and Secretary were filed as required by law. They were:-

Robert John Fewell, Managing Director, Paeroa

Thomas Edwin Clarke, Director, Hobsonville

John Albert Endean, Director, Auckland

Richard N Blennerhasset Auditor, Auckland

The Secretary was the said Robert John Fewell

The company continued with the sawmilling, and the supplying of mineral water barrels, the bottling of mineral water and water with lemon flavouring as well as other beverages.

The company advertised in the Ohinemuri Gazette as follows:


We are cash buyers of kahikatea, kauri, and rimu logs in any quantity.


The Registered Office of the Company was changed on 24 June 1914 to the office of W P Morpeth, Solicitor of the Company. The Company continued trading until August 1915. Grey and Menzies Ltd. had for some years been keen to purchase the spring property and finally Robert relented and sold the property and the Proprietary Rights, and with the proceeds moved north in 1915 and bought a farm in Kaukapakapa just north of Helensville. The last General Meeting of the Paeroa Natural Mineral Water Co. Ltd. was on the 30 August 1915. The date of the last Return of Capital and Shares was 27 August 1915. The company was wound up on 16 June 1916 and was not purchased or taken over by anybody.

Letterhead of the Paeroa Mineral Water Co. Ltd

This is a copy of the letterhead of the Paeroa Mineral Water Co. Ltd. It may have been designed by Mrs Fewell who was also an artist.

Robert J Fewell
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 39, September 1995
Letterhead of the Paeroa Mineral Water Co. Ltd

While farming Jersey cows in Kaukapakapa in 1920 Robert founded The Ti-Tree Firewood Company and established depots at Gillingham Street, Parnell and at 12 Rarawa Street, Mt Eden, Auckland. In 1924 he sold the farm and moved northeast to Totara North where he operated a country store. In 1926 he moved to Paerata just north of Pukekohe, and operated the country store with a post office agency and the only petrol pump for many miles. He retired in 1931, aged 59, bought land at Manurewa between Great South Road and Massey Road (now Maich Road). He built the first house, now demolished and replaced with modern flats. He ran Jersey cows, gradually changing to poultry. About 1935/36 he bought a house in St Heliers, dismantled it, and re-erected it next to the first house on Great South Road which he sold in 1941. This second house still stands today at No. 49 on what is now a very large section. The block is now all housing. In 1941 he built the third house on his property with a right of way from the then Massey Road.


Passengers who once stood on the deck of the Taniwha, the steamer that plied between Paeroa and Auckland for so many years in company with the Waimarie, would be interested to know that another Taniwha took its place. Solid kauri timber, which was once the steamer's decking, became the framework for Robert Fewell's third house. The ship he once travelled on many times became his home, a Spanish bungalow in what was Massey Road, Manurewa. It was situated originally at 111 Massey Road and with the post office re-numbering became 117.

The Taniwha was a well known ship and suffered several mishaps on the river reported elsewhere. Together with the Waimarie they were the link between Auckland and Paeroa until the railway and road systems took over. The Taniwha was built at Mechanics Bay in Auckland cir. 1898 especially for the river service, and was scrapped in 1939. She was sold to an Auckland machinery firm and the kauri decking was taken by Robert Fewell to his land in Manurewa. Robert said the price was ridiculously low compared to prices at that time. Some of the decking was shaped like the staves of a barrel and came in 40 foot lengths, but Robert shaped and trued the timber by hand.

At the age of 67 years he built the picturesque cottage. The roughcast exterior was beautified by a covering of two varieties of creeper "vitis inconstans" on the warm side, and "Bignonin australis" on the other. The creeper eliminated repainting and kept the interior cool in the summer. Some of the doors were brought from storage at his Paerata general store and were from another scrapped steamer, name now forgotten. Stained kauri ceiling beams gave the living room an English air of dignity and looked like they could last forever. However shortly after Robert's death in 1964 the house was burnt and the new owner lost his life. There now stands a block of flats where the last vestiges of the Taniwha once stood.

So ended the life of a man to whom I was very close and who taught me many things. A man whose passing affected me immensely. I now have completed what I set out to do and his name is now recorded in history.

My only task now is to complete my family history and the years are slipping away.

The search goes on ....