Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 42, September 1998

NGATEA: In July 1997 Ngatea became the first town in New Zealand to have "speed thresholds" erected on the roads at the entrances to the town. These are structures consisting of large speed limit signs erected on poles and special road markings. Transit New Zealand designed them with the intention that as motorists approach the town at speed, having been travelling on long straight roads, they will slow down.

STREET SIDE PETROL PUMPS: In the early days of motoring petrol was supplied in four gallon tins, then from petrol pumps which were usually on the kerb side. Gradually modern service stations were built and the kerb side pumps disappeared. In Paeroa Flemming & Son Ltd had pumps in Princess Street until 1978 but the last to go were those in Wharf Street at the former premises of McIndoe & Guernier/Tunnicliffe's garage. These were removed in 1998. In Waihi the last kerb side pumps were at Morton's Garage but following a problem of leakage were removed in June 1997. So ended another link with bygone days.

COROMANDEL SCHOOL OF MINES: In July 1997 the centenary of the Coromandel School of Mines was commemorated and a kauri tree planted. The President of the Coromandel School of Mines and Historical Society, David Phillips told members that originally the building contained a lecture room, library, melting room and balance room. The cost of building was met by subscriptions from mining companies and individuals. The school closed in 1926 and later the building became, for a time, a clothing factory. From the mid 1950s the Coromandel Miners' and Prospectors' Association ran it as a museum, but the building deteriorated badly and in the 1980s was extensively repaired. Since the Association's merger with the Coromandel Historical Society, the museum has displayed a comprehensive display of material reflecting the town's history.

COMPILING HISTORY: The secretary of the Coromandel School of Mines and Historical Society, Kevin Hynes, reported that the Society has been compiling records to enable requests for family history to be answered. When the Society learned that the early school rolls were required to be sent away to archives, Mr Hynes photocopied the rolls from eight schools in the area. A grant from the Lions Club helped to cover the cost. With the rolls copied he then set about copying the old School of Mines attendance books, early electoral rolls and burial records.

R.S.A. PAEROA: In April 1997 the Paeroa Returned Services Association was presented with a field gun for their street display. It is a 105mm M101A2 field gun.

MARTIN REUNION: In the spring of 1997 the descendants of Joseph and Mary Martin gathered at the Hikutaia Bowling and Tennis Pavilion for a family reunion.

On 23 October 1892 a son of Peter and Johanna Martin was christened at St. Francis' Church, Melbourne. He was Joseph Garibaldi Martin. Isabella Mary Murton, daughter of John and Isabella Murton was christened at the same church. In August 1897 these two people were married at Mercer, New Zealand. Nearly 60 of their descendants attended the reunion, organised by a grand-daughter, Beverley Woolley of Hamilton. Following a luncheon, Mary and Joseph's daughter-in-law, 91 year old Pat Martin from Auckland, joined with the eldest grandson, Des Martin in cutting the cake. The youngest descendant to attend was 10 year old Sarah J Bax, who is the 30th child of the fifth generation.

Mr and Mrs Martin began their married life in Karangahake were Joseph worked at the Talisman Mine. He later worked for the Ohinemuri Council in Paeroa. After Mary and her brother William Murton secured a Crown lease of 1000 acres at Hikutaia they commenced farming. Their homestead "Rio" was built and the road which is known today as Strange Road was formed with plough and bullocks. The Depression years affected their farm income and they had to relinquish the lease. The homestead was sledged by bullocks to an area near Peel's Creek, Maratoto, to land purchased from a Mr McDonald. This land was later divided into three farms.

Joseph died in 1925 aged 62 and Mary died two years later. They are both buried at Omahu Cemetery.

WHAREPOA C.W.I.: In October 1997 the 60th Anniversary of the Wharepoa C.W.I. was celebrated with a function at the Wharepoa Hall. Mrs Thelma Bax who was the first Treasurer, and still a member, spoke of her early memories of the Institute.

PAEROA WOMEN'S BOWLING CLUB: The Paeroa Women's Bowling Club was formed in 1952 and in 1997 celebrated its 45th Anniversary with a luncheon. The club began as a sub-branch of 'Counties' before the 'Thames Valley' was formed in 1964, which was also the year the club moved from the Paeroa Domain to its present site on Riverbank Road.

WAIHI CATHOLIC WOMEN'S LEAGUE: In August 1997 the Waihi Catholic Women's League celebrated 50 years of faith and service with a lunch at the St. John Ambulance Hall. Around 35 women attended including the league's original president, Doris Mulhern and the original secretary, Eileen Barron. The league raise $400 this year for the Asthma Appeal and also supports Catholic schools and mission work in the Pacific.

EUNICE BROWN: Mrs Brown now a resident at Ohinemuri House celebrated her 100th birthday in August 1997, the first resident to reach this milestone. Mrs Brown was born Eunice Whiting on 14 August 1897 in Christchurch. After becoming a certificated pianist in 1913 she became a music teacher, moving first to Auckland and then to Gisborne where she married Jim Brown in 1922. The couple came to Paeroa in 1940 where Mr Brown had become the local police constable.

Mrs Brown taught people to play the piano through lessons at her home and as a teacher at Paeroa College. She was pianist for the Paeroa Ladies Choir for many years. She was also involved in C.W.I., Paeroa Horticultural Society and Caledonian Society. For many years she was church organist at the Presbyterian Church. In 1990 the couple moved into Ohinemuri House where Mr Brown died in 1993.

MONA TOWNSHEND: Mrs Townshend's service as Treasurer of the Paeroa Historical Society together with her roles in other community organisations was recognised with her nomination for the 'The Paeroa Gazette/Caltex Unsung Heroes Award 1997'. She has been a Paeroa resident since 1943 and is still giving her time and energy to serving the community. She is Patron of the Paeroa Croquet Club and Life Member of the Paeroa Historical Society. In 1998 Mrs Townshend retired as Treasurer of the Paeroa Historical Society after holding this position for 28 years.

CLOSING DOORS: Headlines in local newspapers often announce the closing of various establishments. The Paeroa Gazette on 26 November 1997 announced the intended closure on 16 January 1998 of the Power New Zealand office in Paeroa. The Paeroa branch was opened in 1926. The Waihi Gazette of the following day reported the closure of the ANZ/Postbank branch in Waihi on 20 November 1997.

BRUCE & FLO ROBERTS: Mr & Mrs Roberts, both members of the Paeroa Historical Society, celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on 28 August 1997. They were married at the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Paeroa, in 1937. Their new home was built by Bruce and his father before their wedding and Mr & Mrs Roberts still live there. During his working life Bruce was a builder until he retired in 1972. Together they have been active members of the Presbyterian Church, croquet, cricket and bowling clubs, the Lodge, Paeroa Municipal Band, Paeroa Historical Society and Paeroa St. John Ambulance.

MOVING HOUSE: History repeated itself for the Anderson family of Waihi when in July 1997 Dr Tuck's Gilmour Street home was moved to their farm in Willows Road. An almost identical scenario to that which took place 37 years ago.

Harold Tuck, a GP, began practising in Waihi shortly after World War II from a surgery attached to his Gilmour Street home. In 1959 he began building a new home on an adjacent piece of land and, in June 1960, sold his old home for removal. It was relocated in Moore Street. The surgery was sold separately and moved to the Willows Road farm now owned by John and Irene Anderson and was it attached to the original homestead. It remained part of the Anderson home until just two weeks ago when it was demolished to make way for the 'Dr Tuck- removal-home version 2'.

John, a builder, had been working on a series of Kenny Street units when he noticed Dr Tuck's home over the fence and decided that the tennis court, which stretched out in front, was an ideal site for additional units. His offer for the section having been accepted, John and Irene moved the old house onto their own land, while the surgery was moved onto a Waihi East section for two of their daughters.

WAIHI SOCIETY: The Waihi Historical Society records with regret the death of their members; Tom Berryman, Joan Sutton, Maisey Pennell, Delia O'Neill and George Thomson.

HIKUAI SCHOOL: In November 1997 Hikuai School celebrated its centenary. On 25 May 1897, Messrs Wadsworth & Whittaker of Auckland submitted to the Auckland Education Board a tender of £130 for the erection of a school building at Tairua Block, and on the following day their tender was accepted. The architects for the new school were Mitchell & Watt of Auckland, and the contract stipulated that the work be completed within two calendar months from the date of acceptance of tender. The specification was for a single classroom, 25ft by 14ft, with a small entrance porch fitted with a hand basin. A 400-gallon tank was to be erected outside the porch to provide water for the basin. In addition, the contract called for the erection of freestanding toilet buildings for boys and girls, each to be provided with a soil barrow. The school was duly built and opened on 23 August 1897 with a roll of 16 pupils from four families. The first teacher was Francis J Mullins.

The school was originally known as the Tairua Block School because it was the only school in the original Tairua survey block of 36,000 acres. The school at Tairua village was located on the Matapaia Block and had been known as "Tairua School" for 20 years before the Hikuai School was opened. The name of the Tairua Block School was changed to Hikuai School in May 1915.

The Hikuai School now has five classrooms and a roll of 120.

JIMMY MEASURES: Mr Measures, a well known and respected member of the Waihi community, died suddenly on 19 May 1998. He was a member of the Waihi Volunteer Fire Brigade. Born and raised in Waihi Mr Measures was a fire service "messenger boy" at 14 and a qualified firefighter at 18. He became fire chief in 1991 with 19 staff and held the Gold Star for 25 years service. At the time he died he was on his way to an emergency call out to a road accident.

BRUCE & OTTO BUCHANAN: The Paeroa Historical Society congratulates members, Bruce and Otto Buchanan on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary. Bruce (88) and Otto (84) first met in 1934 and married in 1938 in Dunedin. The couple settled on the farm in Awaiti Road where they still live.

FOREST & BIRD PROTECTION SOCIETY: The Royal Forest& Bird protection Society was established in 1923, and various local branches throughout New Zealand marked the 75th anniversary in various ways. The Waihi section of the Tauranga branch marked the occasion by joining in with the Waikato Branch, with an open day at the Morgan Reserve, Waitekauri. Guided tours, tree planting, clearing weeds and a sausage sizzle were features of the day together with the cutting of a 75th Birthday cake by Mr Jack Morgan, who had given the reserve, and Mrs Lillian Valder, Patron on the Waikato Branch.

WAIHI MINE: On 15 May 1998 the Waihi Gold Mining Company reached the 10th anniversary of the first gold pour. During the ten years the company has extracted 750,000 troy ounces of gold and 5.5 million troy ounces of silver.

COROMANDEL SCHOOLS: Over the weekend of 3-5 April 1998 Coromandel celebrated 125 years of schooling in the area. More than 400 former pupils, family members and school staff attended. The ringing of the old Coromandel School bell on the Friday signalled the start of activities which ended on Sunday with a church service, dedication of a commemorative plaque and a tree planting at the area school. Saturday's formalities began with a powhiri, a blessing and the official opening by Thames - Coromandel District Mayor Alasdair Thompson. Displays of memorabilia were of great interest.

In 1873, two public schools were set up in Coromandel township, Kapanga School in a rented room, and Driving Creek in a former private school building. Several private schools already existed, but the passing of the (Auckland) Education Act in 1872 paved the way for new public schools in many areas.

Since that time at least 17 Schools in the northern Coromandel, both public and private, have contributed to the 125 years of Coromandel schooling.

Driving Creek School, at the corner of Kennedy Bay Road and the old Colville Road, closed in 1915. Kapanga School, later renamed Coromandel Public School (in the building now known as Hauraki House) was closed in 1975, when the District High School on Woollams Avenue became Coromandel Area School.

FRED BAKER: With the death of Fred Baker in April 1998, the Paeroa Society lost one of its long standing and hard working members. Fred has done a lot of work for the Society particularly in painting in the Museum. The Society extends sympathy to Fred Baker's family.

COROMANDEL HOSPITAL: On 11 April 1998 Coromandel Hospital marked its centenary. One hundred years ago the Government steamer "Hinemoa" arrived in Coromandel with Government officials who joined with the town's band and its people in procession to lay the stone for the hospital. This was to be the town's third hospital. The first was in a small tin shed in Driving Creek, but the 1869 gold rush meant the town had to look for a larger building and a new hospital was set up in an existing Government building near Lillis Lane. By mid 1887 the hospital board had enough money to build a new hospital and an architect was employed to draw up plans for two wards with 10 beds.

Today the hospital stands as solidly as ever. Although closed in 1994, it recently re-opened as the Coromandel Community Centre.

DOROTHY MAVIS ROBINSON: Dorothy Robinson, born on 27 February 1917, died on 21 February 1998 at her home at Hikutaia. Both Dorothy and husband, Mal, were active and well respected members of the Paeroa Co-operating Church. Writing of her in the Church magazine, the writer, inter alia, said, "We think of her never failing courtesy, her generosity, her gentleness, her willingness to help. Or what of her kindliness and that ready, open smile? Talk about loyalty and fidelity, where could you ever get a better example?"

Dorothy, a member of the Paeroa Historical Society is survived by her husband, two sons and a daughter.

MATTHEW W HANDLEY: The Paeroa Historical Society records with regret the death of one of their members, Matt Handley, who died on the 28 June 1998, at the Booms Lodge, Thames. The Society extends its sympathy to Matt's family.

PAEROA CO-OPERATING PARISH CHURCH: (Contributed by Rev. Stan Stewart) In November 1997, the Paeroa Co-operating Parish, painted their building in Mackay Street, Paeroa, in a most extraordinary way. The entire front of the church was covered with graffiti designs. For the next four months, the building became an attraction for locals and tourists alike. This project was possible because the entire building was to be repainted in 1998. The designs on the church were based on 'street art' from South and North America and Africa. The total design and most of the art was the work of local muralist, Chris Fincham.

The art featured traditional Christmas symbols and the words 'Love' and 'Peace'. Love hearts and a welcoming sun were used to give people the feeling of joy and invitation. "We chose to do this as a way of saying "Welcome" to people who feel excluded or left out of church life. We have used the art popular with homeless and marginalised people as a way of communication that the church is there for them. This worked in an amazing way. People of all ages, who normally would not go near a church came to look and express appreciation."

In May 1998, the church was repainted. Only a small portion of the graffiti was retained.