Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 44, September 2000

CORRECTION: Journal 43, 1999, contained an article on page 6, "Brass Bands of Paeroa" by Mr C W Malcolm. The entry for this article was omitted from the listing on the Contents page, and should be added.

In the fourth line of the first paragraph a reference was made to a previous article, stated to be in Journal 10. This should read Journal 30.

ANZAC BAY BACH OWNERS REUNION: On 4 March 2000, there was a reunion of former Anzac Bay (Bowentown) bach owners. It was held near "Brightwell's Pohutukawa". The baches were of an informal 'squatter' variety and were required to be moved by the Tauranga County Council in 1957, after being given 20 years notice to do so in 1937.

WAIHI BEACH SHOPS: It was the end of an era and a long saga when the shopping block at the northern end of Waihi Beach was demolished on 12 February 2000. The demolition was carried out by a local contractor, Steve Ngatai. A crowd formed to watch his 20 tonne digger crush and tear at the remains of the buildings which had become an eyesore.

The buildings were originally constructed around 1900 and were part of the street frontage in Seddon Street, Waihi. The Misses Mullins had them removed to Waihi Beach a few years prior to 1952 (the year that the mine closed) by Johnson and Limmer (house removalists). At the time of their removal they were not operating as retail businesses.

The Misses Mullins ran a general store and later proprietors were Arthur Kinns and Jerry Paul. The shopping block included a bakery, commenced in 1948 by Ray Borman who was responsible for installing bakery ovens, machinery, dough mixer, etc. Mr Borman employed the Mullin's nephew, Hugh Mullins and he was in business for approximately three years, selling to Mr Percy Stark. Other businesses run from the block included a butcher and a photo shop.

PURIRI FIRE BRIGADE: Twenty-five years ago, in August 1974, the Puriri Fire Brigade was formed. There had been an earlier brigade formed in 1956 but it had gone into recess. Today the station has a fire engine and water tanker and answers about 30 calls a year. In August 1998, three of the brigade's members, Arthur Lundberg, Barry Akehurst and Kim Lundberg, received gold stars, marking 25 years of service.

WAIHI COMMUNITY RADIO has been broadcasting for five years. The idea of a local radio station was first suggested at a brainstorming session of the Hauraki Enterprise Agency in 1993. A steering committee was formed to study the feasibility of obtaining a broadcasting licence and the equipment needed to start transmitting.

A transmitter was purchased by the Waihi and District Amateur Radio Club from Waikanae and transported to Waihi by the kind services of Lockley Transport. Equipment was donated and grants were received from the Lilian Valder Trust, Trustbank (now Westpac Trust), Waihi Lions and the Waihi Summer Festival.

WCR 1107AM made its first broadcast on 18 June 1995. The first studio was located on the platform of the Waihi Railway Station and the name used for the first broadcast was "Waihi Steam Radio". The Station grew in three years to the stage where it moved to a new studio in the Academy Arcade but problems with linking the programme to the transmitter saw the studio moved back to the Railway Station, but to a bigger studio.

Initially broadcasts were a mere two hours on a Sunday afternoon. Now the Station broadcasts all day Sunday and Wednesday, Saturday morning and every week night between seven and nine pm. Reception depends on the quality of equipment but the station has been heard in Te Kauwhata, Whakatane, and in the South Island.

Since its inception, the station has been run by an enthusiastic group of workers who have given up many hours of time to give pleasure to listeners. Lack of available staff has limited broadcasting time.

WAIHI CWI: The Waihi Branch of the Country Women's Institute celebrates its 70th Birthday this year.

During its long history its members have been involved in a large variety of projects including collecting scrap metal, knitting for seamen during the War years, providing jerseys or rugs for children around the world and raising funds for national projects.

WALLNUTT PARK, WAIHI: A ceremony to bless the site of Wallnutt Park, at the corner of Rosemont and Kenny Streets, Waihi, was held on Tuesday, 21 March 2000. Hauraki Kaumatua, Tewi Nicholls and the Reverend Ike Hamilton led the people who had gathered, which included members of the public, Hauraki District Councillors, Staff and local dignitaries, around the site as holy water was sprinkled on the earth.

The Park is named after the late William Wallnutt who was Mayor of Waihi from 1923 to 1947. Waihi Borough's last Mayor, Owen Morgan, recalled that, as a child he had met Mr Wallnutt, whose first role in Waihi had been as a journalist for the Waihi Chronicle. Mr Morgan said that he remembered Mr Wallnutt, who had been a been grandson of a former Lord Mayor of Limerick, as a cricket umpire, as a coroner for forty years and the man who audited the books for the Waihi School of Mines.

Development of the Park will include a water feature, symbolising a gold pour, a path through the area and the planting of liquid amber trees.

WAITAWHETA MEMORIAL HALL officially opened in December 1953 and was paid for through the fund raising efforts of twenty-two settler residents and a Government subsidy. About 600 hours of voluntary labour over three months was donated to the project. Two Rolls of Honour, commemorating local people who served in the two World Wars, are affixed near the Hall stage. The Hall has not been used regularly since the 1980s and it was being vandalised and becoming derelict. Late in 1999 the Hall's new owner, the Waitawheta Base Camp, paid to move the hall about 1 km from its original site and now that Society maintains the hall and hires it out to the community, in addition to using it for its own purposes.

DAME RUTH KIRK: The widow of Prime Minister Norman Kirk died at Christchurch on 20 March 2000. She was born Lucy Ruth Millar in Taumarunui, the youngest daughter of the local Postmaster and a school teacher. In the 1930s they lived in Station Road, Paeroa and Dame Ruth spent many of her school years in Paeroa.

PAEROA ATHLETICS CLUB'S historic clubhouse was destroyed following an arson attack in July 1999. The building was formerly the home of the Paeroa Bowling Club and it was built in 1907. Trophies valued at $3000 were lost in the fire but club members said that a price tag could not be put on their sentimental value.

GRAHAM WATTON: The Paeroa and District Historical Society congratulates its President, Graham Watton on winning the 1999 Hauraki District Service to Sports Award. Mr Watton went forward to the Waikato Regional Sports Award where he was a finalist.

"GALLIPOLI 1915 - A TRIBUTE TO THOSE WHO WERE THERE" is the title of a book by Paeroa author, Colin Townsend. The book tells the stories of 25 Kiwi soldiers who fought in World War I and it has received a literary award from the NZ Military and Historical Society for its contribution to research on New Zealand's Military history.

Mr Townsend is a member of the Paeroa and District Historical Society. He is now working on his third book, this time about New Zealand's fifty one gasworks and he would welcome information from anyone who had any involvement with the works.

BOER WAR COMMEMORATION: Paeroa and District Historical Society members, John Hill and Arthur Reid attended the Boer War Commemoration in Wellington in October 1999. They are nephews of John William (Jack) Tetley and Percy Richard (Dick) Hubbard who joined the Ohinemuri Mounted Rifles Company to fight in the Boer War. Other Ohinemuri Volunteers included William McPherson, Bertram Richard Avery, George Roland Bradford and Frederick Thomas Shaw.

The Wellington Commemorations included a re-enactment parade on Thursday 21 October - 100 years to the day since the first NZ Mounted Rifles contingent travelled from Karori to Queens Wharf to journey to Cape Town on the steam ship, Waiwera.

In Paeroa, on 18 December 1999, the Hauraki Regiment, Hauraki District Mayor, Basil Morrison, Paeroa RSA and Paeroa residents commemorated the life and death of George Roland Bradford, the first New Zealander killed in the Boer War. A service and parade were held at the Bradford Memorial on Primrose Hill (Tuikairangi).

ARNIE (AJ) HAWTHORN: Well-known Waihi identity, Arnie Hawthorn, celebrated his 90th Birthday at a special luncheon held on the Waihi Community Marae. Although born in Clevedon, Mr Hawthorn has spent most of his life in Waihi. At the function he recounted stories of his eleven years as a "postie" and reminisced about the days when he worked in the wires store at Akrad. He also recalled an exciting memory of his youth when, at the age of 18, a Captain Brake came to Waihi Beach in a World War I Avro Avian and offered flights to Te Aroha for the cost of 10/- a seat. Someone gave Arnie the money, he was kitted out and they flew off, over Karangahake Mountain. Over the other side, the pilot cut the engine and they glided down, just missing a hedge, and landed. He caught the train back home to Waihi. Mr Hawthorn says that the most significant event of his life was marrying his wife, Lovie.

PAEROA LIONS CLUB celebrated its 40th anniversary on 9 October 1999. At the function, two foundation members were honoured. Mr BERNARD TUCKER received the highest Lions Club honour in New Zealand, Life Membership of the Lloyd Morgan Lions Charitable Trust and Mr NEIL CLARKE was presented with Lions' highest honour, Life Membership of Lions International. Both Mr Tucker and Mr Clarke are members of the Paeroa and District Historical Society.

A previous article about the Paeroa Lions Club appeared in Journal 35, September 1991.

BERNARD TUCKER of Paeroa has been presented with a Diploma of Honour by the French Ambassador to New Zealand, Jacky Musnier, for his part in the D-Day Landings. Mr Tucker served on the Royal Navy Destroyer, HMS Drury and took part in a combined Royal Marine and Royal Navy force which preceded the attack on the port of Cherbourg by 20,000 United States Marines in 1944. At the presentation, held in Auckland on 11 December 1999, Mr Musnier thanked more than 70 other veterans from Whakatane, Tauranga, Taupo, Rotorua and North Auckland.

HENRIETTA BAIN: Long-time member of the Paeroa and District Historical Society, Henrietta (Nellie) Bain (nee Hennah) died at Waikato Hospital on 29 November 1999, at the age of 89. In 1922 she was a first day pupil at the one-room Tirohia School. Throughout her life she was a hard worker, raising a large family and coping with periods of serious illness. The Paeroa Historical Society extends sympathy to her family.

WAIHI STREETSCAPE : Stage One of Waihi's streetscape plan, designed by Boffa Miskell, has been commenced and will incorporate architectural relics from the past. The ruined remains of the Seddon Memorial statue is to be relocated to its original position at the intersection of Hazard and Seddon Streets, restored and rebuilt and used as a roundabout. Those working on the project at Arrow Construction Ltd are making use of old photographs of Waihi to recreate Seddon Street when Waihi was at its prime. Lamp-posts similar in design to the original gas-powered lamps will be installed and footpaths are to have a strip of high content quartz paving inserted into the edges, for a "mining touch". It is also proposed that rubbish bins will be in the shape of mining crucibles while larger trees are to be protected be mini poppet head tree guards. An 18-metre high poppet head is proposed on the intersection of Gilmour and Seddon Streets, Waihi Gold Mining Company having given $250,000 for this project.

A raised concrete pad, to be known as "Miner's Square" will be installed between the Memorial Hall and the Central Bookshop. The square will reflect Waihi's mining heritage with strips of quartz aggregate in different colours in a topographical map of gold reefs.

WAIHI CROQUET CLUB: Following the end of the croquet season on 29 April 2000, the historic Waihi Croquet Club rooms were scheduled for demolition. Although the building was part of the Heritage Trust, it was said to be past its "use-by date". The building was thought to be over 100 years old having possibly been moved from the Waitekauri mine around the turn of last century. It is likely that it was originally a public building such as a meeting place or library. Several additions have been made to the building since it has been located at Morgan Park.

The new club rooms will be of similar design to the old, retaining many of the elements which are historically and architecturally significant, such as the roof line and architraves. It is hoped that it will be completed by August 2000.

CHILDREN'S FORESTS: To commemorate the millennium, the Hauraki District Council, following consultation with the community and schools, decided to establish special children's forests in Paeroa, Waihi and the Hauraki Plains. Millennium projects co-ordinator, Mrs Gillian Munro says that the forests celebrate the estimated 5500 pre-school and school-age children, living in the Hauraki District at Arbor Day, 2000. The Paeroa Children's Millennium Forest is in the Reserve located between Aorangi Road and Keepa Avenue. During the week commencing 1 May 2000, busloads of school children arrived at the reserve and spent 40 minutes, planting shrubs and trees with help from interested residents and Lions Club members. The schools involved were Paeroa College; Miller Avenue; Paeroa Central; St Joseph's; Paeroa Christian; Netherton; Hikutaia; Tirohia; Karangahake and Goldfields Special. A family and public planting day was held on Saturday, 6 May. Most of the plants used in the project have been cultivated by students at the Waihi College farm unit. Waihi and Hauraki Plains Forests are due for planting in June.