THE PUNIU BRIDGE AND MISSION LANDS

THE PUNIU BRIDGE AND MISSION LANDS

Waikato Argus, 3.12.00. The Hon. Minister for Public Works (Mr. Hall-Jones) arrived at Te Awamutu yesterday afternoon by special train from Poro-o-tarao, having come the same day by road from Maramataha to the Tunnel…..

On the arrival of the Ministerial party at Te Awamutu they were met by Messrs. Teasdale, North, Greenslade and others and driven to Bathurst’s Hotel, where they were put up…..

The members of the Town Board, headed by the Chairman, Mr. North, made a request for a bridge over the Puniu, in the vicinity of the railway bridge. They pointed out that a vote had been passed for altering the railway bridge to adapt it for road purposes also, but the Railway Department had vetoed the proposal, and it was now suggested that a new bridge should be built. It would be of great use to settlers on the west side. In reply to the Minister, Mr. Teasdale said the estimated cost was £250…..

The same deputation, with the addition of Mr. Johns, brought the subject of the Mission Lands before the Minister. The area of the land is 173 acres, and the Government was asked to acquire it for settlement.

Mr. Johns said the purposes for which the Trust was formed no longer existed. It was intended for the benefit of native children long before the Waikato was settled, but at the present time all the revenue received from it was sent to England. The matter was in the hands of the Government. The Church Missionary Society would not offer the land for sale, and it was for the Government to take it.

Mr. Hall-Jones did not think the land could be taken under the Lands for Settlement Act, as some of it was already settled. Mr. Lang said a special act was necessary, or an agreement with the trustees. Mr. Hall-Jones said he would consult the Premier, who was already in possession of the facts, and see what could be done. The deputation thanked the Minister for his courtesy and withdrew.

Waikato Argus, 25.11.01. The usual monthly meeting of the Te Awamutu Town Board was held on Thursday evening last. There were present Messrs. Wm. North, F.R. Gibson, S. Matthews, J.B. Teasdale and G. Ahier. Permission was granted to the Waikato Mounted Rifles, No. 2 Company to use one of the rooms at the back of the hall as an armoury. A letter was received from Mr. A. Swarbrick with reference to the sale of the Mission property. The land proposed to be purchased by the Government includes the whole of the Mission property except the parsonage and the Church site. It was decided that the members of the Board meet on Monday afternoon for the purpose of making a valuation of the lands and forward particulars to the Government. A unanimous vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. Swarbrick for his assistance to the Board in this matter.

Te Awamutu Courier 5.8.57. Recollections of Mr. C. North. Later on Mr. Seddon came to Te Awamutu and saw for himself how the growth of the township was being restricted. Later, he put through a Bill in Parliament empowering the Government to purchase the property. The survey was completed about 1907. The road through the property later became the main road to Pokuru when the bridge was built over the Puniu Stream.

These excerpts come from the Journal of the Te Awamutu Historical Society, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1966.