Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 25, November 1981


At the home of Rufus and Lola Tye, "Kelvin Hill", Waihi Road, Paeroa on Saturday, January 10th, 1981 the descendants of John and Margaret Buchanan gathered together to celebrate the centenary of their purchase and development of the property.

John and Margaret Buchanan arrived in N.Z. in 1861 on the "S.S. Ganonoque" and he set up business as a merchant in Custom Street West in Auckland. They came to Paeroa in 1881 and were active in community life. They were both active in the Presbyterian Church from its inception and John was the fifth customer on the accounts at the National Bank in Paeroa.

They had five sons and two daughters:

Andrew was the originator of the Jersey Herd Registration books in N.Z.

Ebenezer was an accountant and travelled the Auckland Province for his father's firm.

William bought the bush property behind "Kelvin Hill" and will be well remembered for the luscious grapes in the vineyard, and the picnics by the people of Paeroa in the bush.

James was subsequently head of the A.M.P. Society office in Auckland.

The two daughters, Jane, (Mrs. Joseph Hanna) ,and Margaret (Mrs. Harry Oram), both settled in Paeroa and continued their association with the district f or many years.

The youngest son George, eventually acquired the farm and built the present homestead in 1929.

The original homestead was built for a mine manager in 1876. It was a large picturesque house surrounded by a seven foot verandah with the wooden filigree decorations of the period. George Buchanan spent his lifetime in the district. He was a prominent Jersey cattle breeder and developed many properties. He was very active in community work and in the development of the Hauraki Plains, travelling the area extensively in its formative years. He was an early director of the Thames Valley Co-op. Dairy Co. Ltd. and its Chairman from 1914 till the amalgamation to form the N.Z. Co-op. Dairy Co. Ltd. and served on that Board of Directors until 1935. Throughout his life he was a pillar of the Presbyterian Church in Paeroa.

Each branch of the original family was represented at the gathering in the lovely spacious grounds of the family home; many of the old trees and shrubs planted by the first generation still provided shade for the picnic occasion. It was a colourful scene with the sun umbrellas and deck chairs for the descendants who came from both North and South Island of New Zealand and some from London.

For the occasion each branch of the family had brought a Family Tree and photographs which were displayed in the lounge. Pride of place was given to a handsome illuminated address presented to John Buchanan by the Ponsonby Sunday Staff when he left to come to Paeroa. Also there were photographs of John and Margaret, and their son George and Annie, his wife, and the original homestead.

After lunch and speeches and reminiscences, a Centennial Cake was cut by the eldest descendant present, Mrs. Marjorie Millar (in her ninety-second year) a daughter of Andrew Buchanan of Palmerston North.

At the end of a happy day spent in the lovely grounds relaxing or exploring places of special childhood memories, a barbeque was held on the lawn in the cool of the evening, a fitting conclusion to a wonderful day.