Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 44, September 2000

(Contributed by L & J Bogue)

Wellington's Anniversary Weekend 2000 (22 - 24 January) saw several families headed north to the township of Paeroa to meet up with the northern branches of the Leach family, with members also coming from as far afield as Invercargill and Melbourne, for a diverse and enjoyable time together. Some set up base at Waihi Beach, Hamilton, Morrinsville and Paeroa itself.

Saturday morning was the first meeting for many. Lunch was held in the Co-operating Church Hall where some had attended Sunday School in their youth, and it was beautifully catered for by the Tui Tearooms, which has supplanted the Victoria Bakery and tearooms run by Dave and Jen for so many years earlier on.

After lunch Mr Watton at the local Museum, together with Mr and Mrs Hughes, welcomed the gathering to a display of articles and photos of interest to the Leach family. The time spent was considered all too short. This shows the quality of the work put in by the Historical Society over the years to interest the people so much.

Several took the opportunity for a quick run out to Waihi Beach for a swim, some even stopping off in the Karangahake area to swim in the cooling waters of the river. Others occupied themselves looking around various attractions listed in their programmes, including the Lemon and Paeroa bottle. The co-operation of Miller Avenue School Board meant access to the school grounds, hall and swimming pool for the evening barbecue. Relationships were cemented and information sought from the oldies about the family's life in the earlier part of the 20th Century.

On Sunday a large group gathered at the Karangahake Hall and walked through the railway tunnel. Out into the light and over the railway bridge, then down the bank of the Ohinemuri River, where the native bush is regenerating. En route most saw plaques which showed a photo of a large funeral procession, the result of a miner's tragedy, the township as it was early last century, and a third one depicting the stationery and ironmongery shop owned by Dave and Jen, with them Frances and Bill and friends at the shop entrance, a memory most will treasure.

A large number had lunch at Ohinemuri Estate in its most picturesque setting on the hillside before going their separate ways back to their homes with the history of the family and the district a lot more familiar than before.

The help and co-operation of local people contributed a lot to the success of this reunion for which the family says thank you.