Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 28, September 1984


By Shirley M. Metcalfe (nee Bagnall)

(Written 1950, about Turua in the 1890s - 1900s)

[Turua? - word/s missing here – E] was a port of call for the small Northern Steamship Company's steamers from Auckland to Paeroa, far up the river. Every day they came and went, up with the tide, down with the tide. "Taniwha", "Waimarie". Small boats they were, of shallow draught, but they seemed like liners as they sped down the river, turned in a semi-circular swing, to lie bow on to the flow of the tide, completing the circle as they left to continue the journey. It was good to see that, with Captain Sullivan on the small bridge of the "Taniwha", courteous and kindly always; or Captain Betts so casually confident at the wheel of the "Waimarie". From Turua the Waihou narrowed, twisting and turning on the way to Paeroa, so that you played hide and seek with the sun, first over this quarter, then over that, while the branches of the weeping willows fringing the banks swept forward and ran back with the wash from the passing steamer.

Situated on the tongue of land between the Waihou and the Piako Rivers, Turua and its surroundings are flat, as flat as the proverbial pancake. After most of the bush had gone from the Southern area it was possible to [see? – word/s missing here – E] the steamer coming down from Paeroa, her mast and funnel showing at intervals as she moved along, apparently on the land, some miles away. At this time all traffic was river-borne. There were no roads connecting Turua with either Thames or Paeroa. The time came when we went off to boarding school in Auckland, travelling to and fro by the river-steamers. We had often to go aboard at some dark unearthly hour of the night, and the waiting was often prolonged, I have always, even now, that same feeling, when sitting up late at night - the sense of strained expectancy as we sat with one eye on the clock, and one ear on the alert for the whistle of the approaching vessel. The stewardess had a busy time, getting us all off to the cabins in reasonable time. She would stand no nonsense, and exercised a strict supervision over us. However hot and stuffy the cabin was, off we had to go, willy nilly!