Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 44, September 2000


Herbert Charles Fenn was born in Tauranga on 2 August 1912, the youngest of three children. He started school during World War I and left at the age of 12. Due to health problems, he spent a year at Omanawa. Returning to Tauranga, he began work for Forbes and Co, sweeping floors and training as a mechanic. Eventually he ran the workshop and sold cars.

In the late 1930s, Bert married Eileen Finch and they moved to Katikati, eventually purchasing the business which is now Katikati Motors. Many interests kept the Fenn family involved over the next thirty years - school buses, ambulances, boating clubs, farming, school committees, orphan's club, as well as developing their land. During World War II they provided a garage, milkbar, bakehouse and taxi service to the community. Katikati grew a large amount of vegetables and with his mechanics away at the War, Bert was responsible for maintaining the growers' machinery.

By 1964 Fenn Motors was established in Waihi and Paeroa. In the early 1980s, Bert and Eileen moved from Waihi to Tauranga and Eileen died shortly afterwards. Bert continued to commute from Tauranga to his panel and paint shop at Fenn Motors, Waihi. He achieved much in his long lifetime, not the least would be the respect and love of many in the community. He died on 13 November 1999 in Tauranga, at the age of 87.