Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 17, June 1973


Waiorongomai, nestling under the high hills near Te Aroha was a quiet little place when I first knew it in 1914; hotels and large boarding houses were gone yet there were still signs of the activities of its hey-day.

I remember Mr. & Mrs. Tallentyre and daughter Belle, and the large Glover family. Mrs. Glover was a popular music teacher in great demand at dances and taught sewing at the School. Other family names were: Cranch (Norman, Harold and Vera), Hill - Blacksmith and Postmistress - (Fred, Robert, Leslie and Mervyn), Donovan (parents of Mrs. Daly Curran of Paeroa) (Mrs. Donovan was Postmistress at one time), Burgess (son David still on home farm). One farm changed hands several times - (Reynolds, Chinmery, McSweeney (who ran daily coach to Te Aroha) and Hamilton). Mr. & Mrs. Bill Bath (of Waihi) farmed for many years.

My parents, Albert and Minnie Williams had been some years at Te Aroha West (Dad, creamery Manager and Mother, Postmistress) but they moved to W to sharemilk for a staid old bachelor, Mr. Jack Hanks, who had a good dairy herd besides running dry-stock and selling meat to the locals. My younger sister Val, married Harley the only son of Mr. & Mrs. James Hamilton. Edith, one of their daughters married Bill Gray and they live at Thames. In 1923 Mr. & Mrs. Harry Gray settled in Waiorongomai where Mr. Gray was Quarry Manager. Mr. & Mrs. Michael O'Donoghue had sold their farm to Mr. & Mrs. James Milne (Freda, Trevor and Neil). The Bovetts had a wonderful orchard and were most generous with the fruit as elderly folk will remember. I think D. McL. Wallace had a coach building branch.

The Waiorongomai School was closed in 1930, the last teacher being Mrs. Early. Other permanent teachers had been: Mr. D.A. Allison, Mr. Rust, Miss Davis and Mr. Edmonds. I have very happy memories of my school days there, of the large dingy buildings and the very good playground made for fun - and gardening! A raised plot was allotted to pairs of senior pupils who vied for "best garden" and interest never flagged. There was always next year! (Mrs. Elsie Curtis (nee Scott) of Paeroa attended the W. School when her father worked in the mine as a Carpenter with Mr. Frank Hennah, the father of Mrs. Nella Bain of Tirohia). Ed.

OUR CONTRIBUTOR MRS. MITCHELL who now lives in Karangahake has certainly maintained her interest in gardening, and is an ardent collector of rare "bottles".

We are also grateful to others who helped to revive the memory of old old family names.