Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975

The Paeroa and Waihi Historical Societies travelled to Katikati by bus on Sat. 15 March to join in the Centenary celebrations there. Thousands of people crowded round the Uretara River to watch the superb pageant of the re-enactment of the first Vesey Stewart settlers arriving in 1875. On the township side of the river the Maori welcoming party waited with their branches of greenery as the carved Awanui war canoe from Tauranga glided up the river, paddled by warriors. Two boats carried the "settlers" dressed in appropriate costume and there was a homely collection of livestock as well as household chattels. The ceremony which followed was most entertaining with challenges, orations and action songs.

Nor was the wonderment ended, as the Parade which followed was quite incredible. The Katikati Citizens' Band led the floats and it seemed that every theme was covered most effectively, the enormous bullock team and the many horse-drawn vehicles inspiring much admiration.

Of great interest too was the shop of souvenirs and photographs arranged by Mrs Pat Mayo and her helpers. We enjoyed our picnic lunch in the Park, but missed many of the celebrations planned for visitors who stayed overnight during the 4-day, almost non-stop programme of enjoyable events such as Bus Trips, Settlers' Dinner, Sport and The Ball. However, it was a privilege to see and sometimes meet a few of the "old identities" so bravely visiting scenes of their youth. The oldest was Mrs Mabel Patterson (nee Lockington) who will be 99 in August. Family groups were photographed during our visit and some of our party were able to join them in what was a very happy "Reunion".

NOTE: "THE KATIKATI STORY" - a centennial history, has been compiled for the Tauranga Historical Society by the Editor of their Journal, Mr Ernest E. Bush. It outlines the Maori history of the area, the foundation of the Ulsterman settlement and its later development. This valuable souvenir issue is available to Historical Society members for $1 + 6c postage, from P.O. Box 2080, Tauranga South.