Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 45, September 2001


By Lola Tye and George Buchanan

About 160 descendants of John and Margaret Buchanan came to Paeroa on 5 January 2001 to celebrate 120 years since they had purchased their property at "Kelvin Hill", Waihi Road, Paeroa.

John and Margaret came from Glasgow, Scotland in 1861 with two children, Jane and Andrew, and settled in Auckland. John set up business as a Merchant in Customs Street West. There were five sons and two daughters who survived to adulthood.

Andrew, who settled in Palmerston North, was the originator of the Jersey Herd Registration books in New Zealand. Ebenezer was an accountant and travelled the Auckland Province for his father's firm. William bought the property behind "Kelvin Hill" and established a vineyard. James was subsequently the Head of the A.M.P. Office in Auckland. The two daughters, Jane (Mrs Joseph Hanna) and Margaret (Mrs Harold Oram) both settled in Paeroa and continued their association for many years.

The youngest son, George, eventually acquired the farm and built the present home in 1928. The original home 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 day. George spent his lifetime in the district. He was a prominent Jersey cow breeder and developed many properties. He was very active in community work and served as a valuer in the development of the Hauraki Plains. He was an early Director of the Thames Valley Co-Operative Dairy Co. Ltd. and its Chairman from 1914 until the amalgamation to form the New Zealand Co-Operative Dairy Co. Ltd., serving on the Board of Directors until 1935. Throughout his life he was a pillar of the Presbyterian Church in Paeroa.

Six branches of the original family (the seventh by apology), were represented at the Reunion. The grounds were set up with gazebos and there was ample shade under the surrounding trees. A shared lunch and later afternoon tea was followed by speeches from each branch, bringing the gathering up-to-date with the activities of their families.

Mr James Holmes, grandson of Andrew Buchanan, made the official speech for the cutting of the beautiful cake, supplied by the Henderson family. Mrs Lola Tye cut the cake.

Messrs George and Alistair Buchanan and their wives organised the format of the reunion and provided boards which listed the known descendants of each branch, with ample room to register all the new additions, resulting in the family tree being complete to 2001.

The celebration continued with an evening barbecue and those who stayed over attended the Co-Operating Church Service and had a final farewell at "Kelvin Hill" on Sunday.