Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 53, September 2009

CWI Membership Badges

Seven Country Women's Institute members received their 60-year membership badges at a special function held by the Thames Hauraki Plains District Federation in August, 2008. They were Peg Price, Laurel Masson (Ngatea), Nel Warner, Flora Johnson (Wharepoa), Isabel Head (Goldfields, Thames), June Martin (Mercury Bay) and Ruby Shilton (Paeroa). Nola Slatter (Netherton) received her 50-year membership award. While the Federation was formed in 1944, the first Women Institutes were established in the area in the late 1920s.

Anchor Stone

After 10 days of chipping, grinding and sanding, Putaruru sculptor Jocelyn Pratt completed a huge anchor stone from a large Maratoto stone. Ms Pratt said the idea of an anchor stone came to her when she thought about the many boats which came up the rivers and anchored at Paeroa during the district's early settlement. Her modern day interpretation of an anchor stone is not just about anchoring boats but also anchoring people in a place and space and their thoughts. The anchor stone was handed over the Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga during the Paeroa Wild Wine and Food Festival in March. It is now to the focal point in the centre of the town, in front of the Post Office.

Dedication Recognised

The Karangahake School has dedicated its new library, administration centre and hall to the late John Cotter a long-time resident and a devoted worker for the school and district. Mr Cotter, while serving his beloved community in many fields, always had time to spend many hours at the school for the benefit of the children.

New Attraction

The Paeroa Historic Maritime Park has a new attraction, the historic paddle-boat Tamati, which was a built in the early 1900s. Park Board chairman Colin James purchased the small boat in March last when seeking a replace for the paddle-boat, which had been based at the park, had left the area. Mr James was informed of the Tamiti was for sale and, with his wife, made the trip to Lake Lanthe, near Hokitika to inspect the vessel and buy it. It was transported by road from the West Coast to Paeroa and it was launched at the park in March. It was then taken from the water to be refurbished. Mr James anticipates it will be ready for service at the Park during the summer months.

All Things Scottish

The 16th annual Battle of the Bands held in February last attracted Scots from around the New Zealand with competitions for pipers, drummers, bands, highland dancers, field events, highland cattle and wood-chopping. From 8.30 a.m. to 9 p.m. when the Lone Piper brought the closure to a most impressive tattoo, it was an action packed day. A record 17 highland pipe bands, took part and some 14 Highland Clans carried their banners in the street parade. There was an enthusiastic crowd of supporters who followed the programme throughout the day and a very good attendance of the public for the evening's tattoo.

Long-Service Awards

Order of St. John Ambulance recognised long service in December, 2008, with special service awards. After 12 years service the recipient receives the Service Medal of the Order, and for each five-year term following, a bar. Notable was seventh service bar for Les Cullerne of Paeroa, who has completed 47 years. He is a Commander of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and is a member of the Chapter, the governing body of St. John New Zealand. Another long-serving Paeroa member is Ray Haysom who has been part of the Order for 42 years. Other service awards presented were: Paeroa, Ian Ramshaw, 27 years; Russell Lines and Graeme Guise, 12 years. Hauraki Plains, Neil Philp, 32 years; Kenneth Briddle, 17 years. Waihi, Eion Hicks 22 years; Tui Marsden, 12 years.

18th Fine Day

The annual Battle of the Streets motorcycle event was blessed with fine warm weather for the 18th consecutive day on February 22 last. More than 10,000 spectators packed the nationally-known hacksaw circuit around the centre of Paeroa to watch 21 events. The day produced excellent racing with speeds of around 280 kph being reached along the main street. The event went off without a hitch and while there were the usual incidents of riders parting company with their machines there was no serious accidents. From the meeting the organisers, Paeroa Promotions Trust donated around $40,000 to the clubs and organisations which provided their members to the 300-strong voluntary work force on the day.

Secondary School Leaders

One of the first important functions of secondary schools at the commencement of the school year is the appointment of head pupils for the ensuring year. Those entrusted with these duties are: Paeroa, Head girl, Erina Morehu; Head boy, Takarei Searancke. Hauraki Plains, Head girl Melissa Tamati; Head boy, George Clark. Waihi College, Head girl, Ayla Murray; Head boy, James Bray.

Doctor's Service Recognised

Certificates of Appreciation have been presented by the Hauraki District Mayor, John Tregidga, to two Waihi General Practitioners in recognition of their long valued service to the Waihi district. They were Dr Derek Hardy practiced in Waihi from 1973 to 2009 and Dr Don McInnes from 1979 to 2009—a combined total of 66 years. Both the Mayor and Waihi Ward chairperson, Sel Baker, praised the service provided by the two doctors "much of which was beyond the normal call of duty".

Top Shooters Compete

The Thames Valley Deerstalkers Association hosted over 100 shooters at the two North Island and one New Zealand championships on its Morrison's Road range at Paeroa, in February. The competitors came from throughout New Zealand and also from Australia, Canada and New Caledonia for the week-long event. Competition was keen in the North Island Five Standing Championship and the North Island and New Zealand Sporting Club Championships. There were also two Trans-Tasman Trophies shot. The shooters returned very high scores in keeping with the good weather and excellent range facilities.

90 Years Old

The Ohinemuri Club in Paeroa marked its 90th birthday in September last year with a small function in its well-appointed rooms in Princes Street, Paeroa. The club was formed by a group of gentlemen in September, 1918, and used part of the Criterion Hotel for its meeting place. At that time with prohibition in force in the Ohinemuri County, the Criterion Hotel was a boarding house and its southern wing was made available to the newly-formed club. When prohibition was voted out in 1925 and the hotels got back their liquor licenses the club had to move. In 1926 the club purchased a section in Princes Street, its present site, and erected a building comprising meeting room, billiard room and card rooms, plus kitchen and other facilities. Over the intervening years the original building has been added too, altered, renovated. The club has also purchased adjoining sections in Princes Street and Normanby Road. While the early club members operated a locker and honesty box system to enable them to enjoy "a little tipple" it received its charter licence in the in 1970 and from that point the club expanded. It was a "male only" club until four years ago, when after overcoming opposition from some male members, women were admitted as financial members. In more recent times women have been elected to main officer positions in the club.

Hauraki North Reaches 100 Years

The Hauraki North Rugby and Sports Club, based at Waitakaruru, celebrated its centenary during Easter. Many former players and officials returned for the celebrations and took the opportunity to renew friendship and acquaintances. The club's inaugural year, as the Waitakaruru Club, was in 1909, when the district was in its infancy, being drained and settled as rich dairy farm land. Waitakaruru was one of the founding clubs of the Hauraki Plains Rugby Union which was formed in 1921. In 1962, with the introduction of the Thames Valley-wide club competition, Waitakaruru changed its name to Hauraki North. The Club has played a significant part in Thames Valley club and representative rugby continuously for almost 90 years.

Historic Library Restored

The Historic Thames Carnegie Free Library has been fully restored by the Thames-Coromandel District Council and is the home of the Coromandel Heritage Trust. Built in 1905, the building was one some 2500 such libraries built by Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American philanthropist, around the world. It is now one of very few still standing and fully restored to its original condition. It was opened by the American Consul General, John Desrocher, who paid tribute to those involved in the six-month restoration project. The Trust is leasing the building from the council and will preserve the history of the Coromandel Peninsula area in special archival facilities.

New Bridges

Further improvements to the Waitawheta Valley tramping track have seen two more bridges opened earlier this year. Department of Conservation staff are hoping that with three of the six stream crossing now bridged more families and the less experienced trampers will use the track to explore the Valley and use to the 26-bunk Waitawheta Hut. The track forms part of the Kaimai Heritage Trail and follows the path of an historic tramway used in the kauri timber days in the early 1900s. The track begins at the end of Franklin Road and passes through farm land before entering the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.

Miller Avenue School 50 Years

The Paeroa Miller Avenue School celebrated its golden jubilee in November last when almost 400 of former pupils, teachers, committee and board members returned to renew friendships with school mates and teachers. Many of those attending also brought their special photos, memorabilia and stories of their days at the school. The school was opened in 1958 on the site of the 30-year-old secondary school manual block of the Paeroa District High School, which had been moved to the Paeroa College.

World Champs

Paeroa's Chelsea Watton took part in the World BMX championships at Adelaide in July this year. She was competing in the girl's 14-year and under section, which had 30 competitors. Chelsea qualified for the semi-finals after finishing fourth in each of the three qualifying motos (races). In the semi-final she had to finish fourth to gain a place in the final but rode well to take 7th place. Chelsea with her times took 14th place in the event.


The Haruaki District Council acknowledged the contribution of volunteers and young achievers at a special awards evening in August 2008. Citizens Awards went to Nola O'Neil, Richard Webster, Guy Speedy (Plains), Margaret O'Donogue, Nola Slatter (Paeroa), Bill and Gloria Goodwin (Waihi). Outstanding service to the Community awards went to Basil Morrison (Paeroa), Patricia Porter (Ngatea), Neil Fergus (Waihi). The Young Achievers Awards recipients were: Kate Morrison, Leonie Keith (Paeroa College), Christal Morrison, Rachel Evans, Haley Hoogeveen (Hauraki Plains College), Anne O'Hagan, Zac Te Wake, Chloe McKenzie (Waihi College).

Hockey Representative

For over 40 years Bev Ireland of Waihi has played hockey and always dreamed of playing for New Zealand. Her dream came to fruition in April last when she was selected in the New Zealand Women's Masters team for fixtures against Australian counterparts in June. In her younger days she trialed for New Zealand teams while playing in Wairarapa. In more recent time she has been a member of the Thames Valley Masters team and made trips to Fiji and Hong Kong with the Hauraki Hayseeds.

Four Score and Ten

One of the Paeroa and District Historical Society's oldest members, Maude Passau of Kerepehi, celebrated her 90th birthday with friends and family on April 15 last. Maude, with husband Bernie and four children arrived on the Hauraki Plains in 1948 to take up a share-milking contract. After three years they moved onto Kerepehi Block, where they purchased their own farm. After Bernie passed away in 1999 Maude has remained on the property. Soon after arriving In Kerepehi Maude became involved in the community activities and supported her family in their activities. She now has nine grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren and follows and supports them all in their fields of endeavour. She maintains a close watch on local, national and world affairs through the newspapers, radio and television. Rugby was always a big part of her life, with husband Bernie a long-term administrator in Thames Valley rugby circles, for which he was awarded life membership. Even today Maude keeps close watch on local club rugby, even though here is no Kerepehi team, and the Thames Valley activities on the field.

Gold Medal

Anja van de Wetering, who learned her shooting skills on the Thames Valley Deerstalkers' Association range in Paeroa, was a member of the New Zealand women's team which won its division at the World DTL championships in Ireland in August, 2008. The team amassed a total of 1709 points, which was 19 ahead of England and 47 in front of Australia. More than 600 shooters took part in the competition in a range disciplines. Anja's father, Martin, also travelled the championship, but after a couple of promising pre-championship shoots injured his back and this affected his shooting for the championship.

125 Years Service

The Paeroa Public Library marked its 125th year of service to its community in September, 2008. The Ohinemuri Public Library was first registered on September 6, 1883, when it opened in a small room in Willoughby Street. It was a subscription library and opened for one hour a week. In 1899 the library, which was run by a committee, and received an annual grant from the Ohinemuri County Council, moved into new premises on a county council section in Belmont Road. A reading room was added. In 1901 it had some 1000 books. With the formation the Paeroa Borough Council, 1915, the committee handed over the control of the library to this council in September, 1924. In 1930 the library moved into a new building on the same site which comprised a library, reading room, women's rest room, Plunket room, and women's public toilets. With the formation of the Hauraki District Council in 1989, the library moved again, in 1992, to the council's building on the corner of Belmont Road and Williams Street. The library building was sold to the Paeroa and District Historical Society and converted in to the Paeroa and District Museum. The present library has over 20,000 books with an annual circulation of over 50,000 books.

Sports Awards

The Hauraki Thames-Coromandel District Sports awards for 2008 were: Sportsperson of the Year, Lloyd Stephenson (hockey); Junior Sportsman, Ben Stewart (snowboarding); Junior Sportswoman, Hayley Hoogeveen (rowing); Coach, Lee Ann Sharp (running); Team, Thames Valley United (hockey); Referee/Umpire, Candice Bloom (hockey); Manager, Alex Quinn (hockey); Administrator, Anna Harris (badminton); Club, Waihi Athletic Youth Rugby; Spirit of Sport, Mick Welch (bowls), Ben Gwilliam (shooting), Matty Matich (rugby), Sue O'Brien (badminton), Max Twentyman (bowls).

Wetland Development

The wetland area at Gilmour Lake, Waihi, has over the past five years have undergone development work under the auspices of the Hauraki District Council and the Waihi Ward Committee. The area is the final part of the lake's development which includes toilets, walkways, the placement of a stage and the development of existing wetlands. In addition local residents have donated a fountain (by the late Owen Morgan's family) and kauri timber seating. Unfortunately this excellent work by teams of volunteers has been the target of vandals.

National Champs

Rock 'n' roll dancers Valerie and Jeff Alley of Hikutaia teamed up with Debbie Crofskey of Whangamata to win 2008 New Zealand Triples championship. In this event the man has control of both female dancers and has to turn them and keep all in unison. There were 13 other sets of dancers and all had to dance two routines, one slow, one fast, lasting around two minutes. All three are members of the L and P Rockers Club.