Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 10, October 1968


I am sending 3 glass photograph negatives in case they are of interest to you. We found these in the shed of a house we bought when we went to live at Owharoa in 1914. My husband, Thomas Gillan, was then in charge of the "Rising Sun" mine which had been closed for some time. The plates show (A)-(about 1895) - the School (top left) Reed's Hotel and Store, the first Rising Sun Battery which had been dismantled some time before we went there, and the old Poppet Heads. (B)-(about 1908) A square house, then Rowland's Boarding House which was built on the old Hotel site, and is there still (Mrs. Waler's house), (C) The Black Bridge which spanned the river not far from where we lived (See Journal 5 [Black Bridge because it was painted with creosote or tar. There were therefore many "Black Bridges"! See Memories of Owharoa School in Journal 5 - E]).

Our house later bought by the Company and moved to Waikino, was across the road, (opposite the Battery) and was built after these photographs were taken, but I think another small house is there still. In our time a larger battery was built with 10 stampers and Bain Hogg was the manager for some years. We left there for Auckland in 1921. I send best wishes for your Journal which was shown to me by my Cousin Ted White (a member) and his sister Maggie (a teacher). They used to live in Karangahake near the Post Office in the main street.


(Editor's Note: "Reed's Hotel" was built in the 70's and later replaced by a larger one. The Cyclopedia of N.Z. (1900) states! - "The Owharoa Hotel Ralph Montgomery, proprietor, Main St., Waikino (shown with Clarkin's teams) was removed from Owharoa on 1-7-96. It is a wooden building of two stories, a balcony and contains 25 bedrooms, 4 sitting rooms and a dining room with seating accommodation for 32 guests. There is also a stable for 9 horses.


I have only now learned of the existence of your Society and write to express my interest in and admiration for your last two Journals. I would like to become a member and enclose two years' subscription.

My family lived in Paeroa in 1902-6 when my Father was Manager of the B.N.Z. and I one of the barefoot boys who washed the mud off their legs under the tap before entering School after football. Any boy who made a good kick was hailed as "Dufty" - a local hero. It gives me pleasure to remember my friends of those days - Trevor Black, Wyn and Parry Edwards, Ernie (Sir Ernest) Harston, Sim, Arthur Priestly, Werter Gentil, Ngatete Putu, Willie McWatters, Malcolm Macarthur, (who came from Canada) Roland, (Sir Roland) Algie, Doric Algie and Charlie Bray, (who left suddenly to take up a job as rivet-boy on the building of the new steel bridge). Huki and Tuki Royal were chums of a younger brother. One of the Shorts, of the stables, was often called urgently from school to take charge of the small coach that met the express to bring mail and passengers to the town. (To be continued) [not sure - E]


I was very interested to read the two articles which appeared in last issue of the Ohinemuri Regional History Journal on the History of Hora Hora Hydro-electric Power. The following news items are copied from the Herald March 4th 1922.

QUOTE A. "Paeroa was the first town in New Zealand to be supplied with hydro-electric power under the Power Boards Act 1918. The current from Hora Hora was switched on to the town l2 months ago, and now the borough has electricity for lighting, domestic and industrial purposes. There are approximately 100 street electric lamps in use and the streets of the town are regarded as among the best lighted of any town of its size in the Dominion. The lines have been taken out on the plains and over a hundred farms are now benefiting by the supply of power. Within a month or so Netherton and Turua will be supplied; Ngatea and Kerepehi will be next and within three or four months the lines will have been carried to Thames. About 50 men are employed from the Paeroa depot erecting poles and transmission wires on the plains.

The supply of electricity for Paeroa comes from a breaking-down station at Waikino, 11 miles away, which is supplied from Hora Hora by a 50,000 volt transmission line and a lower volt line brings the current to Paeroa. Power is obtained from the Thames Valley Hydro-electric Board, the borough paying £250 a year to the board for current and overhead charges.

Practically all industrial concerns in Paeroa are now connected up with the power, which can be purchased at 3½d per unit, less ½d discount for cash payment. For lighting purposes power is supplied at the rate of 8d per unit, and it is estimated that on the average each home in the town obtains lighting and grills for 10/- per month. Rating is on the unimproved value and amounts to only 3/8 of a penny in the £ ".

QUOTE B. "The projected Paeroa - Pokeno railway, which, when completed, will open a new era of prosperity for Paeroa, will probably be proceeded with at a comparatively early date. The fact that the traffic from Hamilton to Auckland has become congested makes the completion of the new line an urgent necessity, which will become even more imperative when the East Coast railway is put through. Moreover, the cost of duplicating the line from Frankton to Auckland would be enormous compared with the laying down of a new line from Paeroa to Pokeno. Pokeno is only a few miles from Pukekohe, and will shorten the distance from the Thames Valley to Auckland immensely. The present railway route from Paeroa to Auckland is 125 miles; the proposed line through Pokeno will make it approximately 80 miles - a saving of about 45 miles. The route for the projected line has been approved. It will run through Kerepehi, Waitakaruru and Pokeno, cutting straight the Hauraki Plains".

46 years have gone by since the above was written. At that time a great deal of heavy traffic from Auckland came to Paeroa by boats some of which also fed the Western side of the Hauraki Plains using the Piako river. However none of us realized how motor traffic would become so prominent. The rivers are not used now for transport nor have we the proposed Paeroa -Pokeno railway and I don't think we ever shall.


It has been suggested that "Mr. Roche" was the Surveyor employed by the Waihi Gold Mining Coy, to locate a source of hydro-electric power from the Waikato River. Mr. Arthur Paxton Wylde having joined the engineering staff of the Coy. worked in conjunction with him and it was on their recommendation that the Hora Hora headworks were developed. (Ed.)