Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 13, May 1970

In reference to the late Mr. Phil Brenan's public activity mentioned in a recent Journal, I would like to add some further details as I feel that in the years ahead our Journal will be looked upon as a record.

When I arrived in Paeroa (April, 1939) Mr. Brenan was particularly kind to me and he was at his peak in local body administration, which in those days centered around the Thames Hospital Board. He was a driving-force in organizing the district under one central Hospital Board and was Chairman when in (1937 - 38) the Waihi Board and in 1939 the Coromandel Board and the Whitianga Board of Trustees all joined to form the Thames Hospital Board of today.

The brief details of his service to the Hospital Board are as follows:

Represented Ohinemuri County January 1916 - May 1917

Represented Paeroa Borough May 1917 - May 1919

Represented Paeroa Borough May 1921 February – 1945 when he died in Office.

He was Chairman of the Board from 1935 - 1945, and gave wonderful service to our district.

R.L. DARLEY, (Managing Director, Thames Valley News (1967) Ltd).


By E.G. Lockington

About the time that the Maori wars ended, a man named Peter Grant was given the job of carrying the mail from Tauranga to Thames. His route took him through the Kati Kati area, which at that time was populated mostly by Maoris. There were no roads, so he and his horse had to ford all the rivers and swamps.

There came a period of very wet weather, and the swamps and rivers became impassable; but it took a lot of reverses to daunt Peter Grant, and so he started on his great ride. First he rode around to the Mount, and, carefully adjusting his bags he swam his horse across the racing tide. Landing on Matakana Island, he fed his horse and had something to eat himself. Then on again he rode, the whole ten miles of flat, sandy, marshy island, until he came to the second gap.

This was the real test. The breakers pounded on the shore, and the water poured in through the narrow gap in rushing, tossing waves. Setting his teeth, Peter rode into the water. Then followed a half hour that he was never afterwards to forget. Wet to the skin, buffeted by the crashing waves, he nevertheless landed safely on the other side, he and his faithful mount nearly exhausted.

However, after a rest at a Maori settlement, he mounted again, climbing up a ridge to the mainland. And so Her Majesty's mail went through.

MR. WALTER WYLDE has drawn our attention to an error in the composite index published in Journal 12. No. 9 featured an obituary of Sir William Hale. In No.12 his name is shown as Sir Stephen Hale. (We apologise!) Mr.Wylde adds: Mr. Thomas McClean an early Waikino resident, drew a section in the first Hauraki Plains Land Ballot and is still living on his farm at Ngatea.