Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 41, September 1997


By Flo Roberts

My father worked for the New Zealand Railways and was transferred from Tauranga to Paeroa in 1930. We arrived on the Taneatua Express at Paeroa Railway Station which was a very busy place, being a railway junction where the trains changed engines and filled up with water from the large tank stands. The tearooms at the station employed many people and were very busy when the trains were in.

Our new home was a railway house in the railway settlement in Aorangi Road. We walked there carrying our suitcases as there were no cars to meet the trains in those days. The railway settlement was a new area in Paeroa and everyone took a pride in their gardens and homes. The gardens were very well designed and a blaze of colour.

On entering Aorangi Road from Thames Road it was a metal road and very rough. On the right-hand corner there was a house where Mr Dale the Stock Inspector lived. The rest was vacant land which was covered in blackberry. The next house was Joe White's farm where Shaw Avenue is now. The original house is still there but has been modernised. His son ran the farm of cows, pigs, sheep moscovy ducks, turkeys, hens and a big orchard of fruit trees. Mr Joe White used to deliver the mail on horseback after he had helped with the milking.

The next farm up the road was owned by Mr George Buchanan and people by the name of Gibbons worked for him. The rest of the area on the right side of the road was scrub and teatree.

At the start of Aorangi Road on the left-hand side was a section owned by Harvey Evans where built a house for Mr Ernie Lee. Ernie and Merle Lee moved there when they were married. The rest of the sections up the road were owned by Mr William Marshall. Half way up the road he built a big wool shed and it was a shearing shed for many seasons. Freddie Jackson, the stock drover, rented the paddocks up to the gully and after sale days cattle were grazed there so there was plenty of cattle up and down the road.

The seven railway houses were built on the other side of the gully. We lived in the sixth one up. It was one away from the tennis courts and pavilion which were built by voluntary labour. This was a very good place for the railway folk to have their sports clubs. They had a very good Tennis Club and in the paddock behind the houses had a very strong Cricket Club. Further on was bush areas and native trees and shrubs. The children would play swinging on the rata vines. There were lots of grape vines on a farm owned by Mr Peter Vlockovich.

The grocer's boy called on Mondays for your weekly grocery order and delivered it next day on a bike. The baker came three days a week in a horse drawn covered wagon. Mr Hall the milkman brought the milk in cans in the milk float and in the depression years the children on the road would congregate at a set place and he would fill their mugs with free milk. The Chinaman came up the road on Saturdays in a horse drawn cart, laden with fruit and vegetables and gave the children a bag of spec fruit for one penny.

As the years went by changes came. The sections on the left-hand side of Aorangi Road were sold by Mr Marshall for £50 a section. A lot of money in those days. Mr and Mrs Trevor Marshall built their home, then Len Roberts, Dixie Alison and then Bruce Roberts in 1937. As these houses built up, Mr Des Maloney opened a grocery store and dairy which was a big asset to the people living in this area.

The right side of the road began to be built on. White's farm was sold and Shaw Avenue developed and more houses were built on this side of the gully and further up, opposite the railway houses.

Now both sides of the road are built on and the road goes up to where once there was only bush. It is one of the busiest roads now as it is the way up to Ohinemuri House.

Having lived on this road for over sixty years it is amazing all the changes and improvements that have been made.