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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 54, September 2010

PLAINS NETBALL

A six-court netball complex was opened on the Hugh Hayward Domain at Ngatea by the Hauraki Plains Netball Association in April last. Costing just under $750,000 the facility will allow the association to met the increasing demands from Hauraki Plains players, both young and old, and also enable the popular sport to grow in a very efficient manner. The facilities could also be used for tennis during the summer months. The association was congratulated by both Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga and the New Zealand Silver Fern coach Ruth Aitken on the manner in which everyone worked together to achieve excellent facilities which will also be an asset to the region. Netball was previously played on the Hauraki Plains College courts.

CENTRE APPROVED

The $20 million Gold Discovery Centre proposed for Waihi has been given consent under the Resource Management Act, by the Hauraki District Council's appointed commission Peter Crawford. The project is a partnership between the Hauraki District Council, Newmont Gold Waihi and the New Zealand Mint. It is to build an underground centre which will tell the story of gold in New Zealand. The Hauraki District Council has pledged $665,000 to be paid over three years towards the capital cost. The gold company is gifting land and making geotechnical reporting, earthworks and land-scaping contributions. A hearing for affected parties of the construction was deemed unnecessary as all parties gave their consent.

TREE PROTECTED

A suitably engraved plaque has been erected under the only authentic Gallipoli Pine in New Zealand, which growing on the Paeroa Golf Club course in Rotokohu Road. The Turkish red pine , pinus brutia, has been DNA tested with the famous Lone Pine which stood on the skyline at Gallipoli during the ill-fated campaign in 1915. The history of the pine was outlined in Ohinemuri Regional History Journal No. 53 (2009). An Australian soldier brought a cone from the tree back to Melbourne with him and the seed were propagated. In 1955 Paeroa District High School teacher John Jensen, obtained three seedlings and these were planted on Tuikairangi Hill (Primrose), in front of the old Ministry of Works office site on the corner of Johnson and Waihi Road, now Ohinemuri Park (both these pines have disappeared) and on the golf course. This year Arthur Fletcher, a Second World War veteran and a Life Member of the Paeroa RSA, placed an Anzac Day poppy on the plaque to mark Anzac Day.

WAIHI MINERS GATHER

In April last the very popular Early Miners' Reunion was held for the 23rd time and a large number for former miners of the Martha Mine and Victoria Battery. This reunion is looked forward to by these early miners and arrive, supported by family and friends, to relive the past, catch up with work mates and share stories from bygone era. Many of those attended were in their eighties and nineties with the oldest being 93 years and who attended the Waihi School of Mines. Present day staff at Waihi Newmont Gold were present and were keen to talk to the guests of honour to compare working conditions between now and then. Buses took the group to the Waikino Railway Station where there were photo opportunities. The Goldfields Railway took the party back to Waihi and then onto the present mining operation. It was then back to the Waihi RSA Ingot Restaurant for lunch and further reminiscing. It was tremendous day and all were full of praise for Doreen McLoed who organised the memorable day.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS

The 17th annual Paeroa Highland Games and Tattoo proved to be a day out for the Scottish, and it was a success. There was on display of some 50 black Scottish terriers and white West Highland terriers and Highland cattle. There was also tossing the caber and similar men's events with New Zealand contestants trying their expertise against those from Scotland and Australia. There was also keen interest in the highland dancing with competitors from across the northern half of the North Island. The highlight was the street parade of some eight bands followed by the mass band display at the evening tattoo. The crowd was estimated to be around 6000, and they received their money's worth.

SPECIAL WELCOME

The kaumatua from Kerepehi, Tirohia, Tamatera, Matai Whetu and Ngahutoitoi joined the staff of the Paeroa Medical centre, last December, to welcome two new doctors to the district. Dr Barbara Loeliger, her husband and daughter Jara, 10 years, and Dr Scott Nagel, wife Polly and children Blair and John, 13, and Matthew, 11. They received a special blessing from Rev Colin Sutherland and Kerepehi Kaumatua Hemi Kaka extended a warm welcome. The Loeligers come from Switzerland while the Nagle family come from Virginia in the United States. Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga, extended a welcome behalf of the wider district.

NETHERTON SCHOOL SIGN

Four years ago a large slab of macrocarpa from a nearby farm, was given to the Netherton School for a school sign. The late Sam Kauhou, who was a keen supporter of the school and many of his whanua attended, received the timber along with a design from the senior pupils of the school. He took it to the Paeroa College, where he was the whakairo (carving) tutor. He, with his class of student carvers commenced the project. Unfortunately Mr Kauhou passed away before the project was finished and it was returned to his whanau. When Tama Dean was appointed the new tutor, negotiations with the Kaohou family, the Paeroa College and the Netherton School took place. The sign was returned to the college and was completed. The taonga or treasure was welcomed onto the school ground with a powhiri and by kaumatua Maatai Ariki Rawiri Kauae Te Toki. He said the taonga has arrived as a whakairo and now in place in front of the school it was a pou tohu, or a sign, which tells what this place is. Thanks were given by several speakers to all those who worked on the carving.

ROTARY AWARDS

The Paeroa Rotary Club has recognised two residents with the prestigious Paul Harris Award, for service to the community which fulfils the ideals of Rotary for the betterment of the community. The presentations were made to club member Barry Williams and local resident Bruce Darvill at a special dinner to mark the visit of the Rotary Governor-elect Peter Signal, who presented both awards. Mr Williams has been exemplary member of Rotary. The club chosen Mr Darvill for his dedication to the community which includes CAPS Hauraki, the LIFE Education Trust, the Paeroa Highland Games and the Paeroa Community Support Trusts services.

SECOND MARATOTO STONE SCULPTURE

Auckland sculptor Ms Lauren Kitts has completed a second works from Maratoto stone after two weeks of steady work in the Paeroa Domain. Called "Go with the Flow" the sculptor represents the water element so important to the Paeroa area. It employs the use of Maori motif carving to represent flowing water in a stylised way. The works stands 1.8m high, 60cm wide and 30cm deep, not quite as large the Anchor Stone carved last year and now in front of the Post Office, but is more intricate. The sculpture has been provisionally destined for Ohinemuri Park, near the L and P Bottle at the eastern entrance to Paeroa.

LAPTOPS FOR SCHOOLS

Newmont Waihi Gold has provided 46 laptop computers to the primary schools in the Waihi area instead of the annual grant of $10,000 dollars. Waihi Central, Waikino, Waihi East, Waimata, St. Joseph's and Waihi Beach, received between 4 and 13 computers, depending on school size. These schools have entered a three-year contract with the Ministry of Education to study how the use of information communication technology impacts on students' learning. The funding for the project "Waihi Wired" can only be used on staff development. The schools approached Newmont Waihi Gold as a collective about it funding computers. The company maintains that education was the future and this was one way the company invested in it. The company's ultimate dream is to have children, who go to school in Waihi, coming back in the future and working in the mining industry.

SPORTS AWARDS

The Hauraki Plains College virtually scooped the pool at the 2009 Hauraki-Thames Coromandel Sports Awards with present and past pupils claiming most of the main awards. The Sportsperson of the Year went to Alyce Pulford former head girl; the Junior Sportsman of Year Aaron Pulford; Junior sportswoman of the Year, Hayley Hoogeveen, former pupil. Coach of the Year, Lloyd Stephenson, former pupil; Referee/Umpire of the Year, Steve Te Moananui, the college's property manager. Other awards went to: Masters Sportsperson of the Year, Ian Robinson (triathlon); Sports Personality of the Year, Greg Hampton (cycling); Team of the Year, Waihi Women's Club fours (bowls); Administrator of the Year, Joan Rawnsley (athletics); Club of the Year, Patetonga Motorcycle Club; Service to Sport Awards, George Avery, Kevin Caddy, Percy Harris, Jos Holten, Nola Leonard and Mike Smith. A special award was given to Lloyd Stephenson in recognition of his career in the New Zealand Black Sticks hockey team.

TWIN RIVERS POPULAR

Good entries, keen competition and high speeds were the feature of the annual Hauraki Twin Rivers water ski race held in March and organised by the New Zealand Water Ski Racing Association. The event commences at the Ngatea Bridge over the Piako River, with boats pulling two or one skiers, travelled down the Piako River out into the Firth of Thames and then back up the Waihou River to the Puke Bridge, near the Historic Maritime Park, Paeroa, some 3kms from Paeroa. Speeds in excess of 100kms per hour were reached and there were no reported casualties.

COMMUNITY SERVICE RECOGNISED

The Hauraki District Council recognised the valuable contribution made by 11 volunteers and acknowledged 10 young achievers at a special Citizen's Awards evening last October. Four of the recipients received the Outstanding Service Medals: Joyce Fawcett, a 50-year resident of Waitwheta, involved the Hauraki Coromandel Waihi Life Education Trust; Mary Smeaton, who has lived in Waihi for 62 years, member of the Forest and Bird Society, and recent participating in planting native trees at the Waitawheta Camp and Gilmour Lake; John Hill, Tirohia, member of the Tirohia-Rotokohu Drainage Board for 42 years and a member of the Ohinemuri County Council for 21 years; Rosemary Morgan, mayoress of Waihi for 10 years and founding member of the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Association. Citizens' Award medals were presented to Michael Cotter, Judith Parker, Alistair Buchanan, Annette Buchanan, Marilyn Parker, Lud Sparks, and Leah Coombes. The Young Achievers Awards went to: Lance Wilkie, Aaron Pulford, Shannon Deadman (all Ngatea); Amber Harry, Kiera Pennell, Charlotte Whibley (Paeroa); Adrian Holmes, James Bray, Rory Button and Andrew Rae (Waihi).

COMMUNITY SERVICE RECOGNISED

The Hauraki District Council recognised the valuable contribution made by 11 volunteers and acknowledged 10 young achievers at a special Citizen's Awards evening last October. Four of the recipients received the Outstanding Service Medals: Joyce Fawcett, a 50-year resident of Waitawheta, involved the Hauraki Coromandel Waihi Life Education Trust; Mary Smeaton, who has lived in Waihi for 62 years, member of the Forest and Bird Society, and recent participating in planting native trees at the Waitawheta Camp and Gilmour Lake; John Hill, Tirohia, member of the Tirohia-Rotokohu Drainage Board for 42 years and a member of the Ohinemuri County Council for 21 years; Rosemary Morgan, mayoress of Waihi for 10 years and founding member of the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Association. Citizens' Award medals were presented to Michael Cotter, Judith Parker, Alistair Buchanan, Annette Buchanan, Marilyn Parker, Lud Sparks, and Leah Coombes. The Young Achievers Awards went to: Lance Wilkie, Aaron Pulford, Shannon Deadman (all Ngatea); Amber Harry, Kiera Pennell, Charlotte Whibley (Paeroa); Adrian Holmes, James Bray, Rory Button and Andrew Rae (Waihi).

TOP TOUCH REFEREES

Two of New Zealand's top Touch referees come from the Thames Valley, a feat that many much larger provinces cannot match. Maih Williams is No. 1 and John Dustow, is No. 4, both from Paeroa. Williams, a Paeroa College teacher, and John Dustow, a former police officer, received their rankings at the Touch New Zealand national tournament in March. Williams who held the No. 2 spot for the past three years is also making his mark as a coach, taking the Paeroa College senior girls side to runner-up spot at the secondary schools national championship. Both men have had the winter off, but will now be getting into shape for a full-on season ahead, with an international against Australia followed by the World Cup in Scotland and both have been invited to referee at this fixture.