Waipa Stories capture the history of our district.

They celebrate the people, places and events that have shaped Waipa over the years and made it what it is today.

A SALUTE TO THE LADIES. A Story of the Wives of the Waikato Missionaries.

By Joyce Neill. This is a tribute to the first European Ladies to make their homes in the Waikato. Most Church histories show the wives of the men who served them, as just a shadow behind their man; a few Maiden names are mentioned but their Christian names are often only known from their grave-stones. After an uncomfortable, or even hazardous journey by ship from some other part of New Zealand, these people would arrive at the nearest little port; then usually they walked a Maori track inland. Sometimes they worked their way up the rivers, the highways of those days. At the appointed site, near some Maori pa, they gathered their few personal belongings about them and made a home. Most of these gentle-women were from England, from homes where there were servants, and daughters were forbidden the kitchen area; when they arrived in New Zealand they learnt to cook over an open fire, for large numbers of people. They had also to do the most menial tasks for their families, without the simplest conveniences. The fear of fire was always in their thoughts, particularly while they lived in raupo-walled houses; so the cooking was done in a separate building. Swishing to and fro to the “kitchen” in their long frocks, especially in the muddy winter-time, must have been a continuing aggravation. Whether their men were attached to the Anglican Church Missionary Society, or to the Wesleyan Missionary Society of England, a comprehensive training for these women before they left for New Zealand, would have made a considerable difference. No attempt seems to have been made to give...

THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST KIHIKIHI.

By C. Linehan. In the late 1830’s the KihiKihi area was served by Father Pezant S.M. from the flourishing “Mission of the Holy Angels” at Rangiaohia the chief village of the Waikato District and it is on record that Bishop Pompellier confirmed 146 people there in 1844 and that Bishop Ward (afterwards first Bishop of Wellington) visited the district in 1848 and confirmed 580 people. In 1850 Fr. Garaval was appointed and served until 1858 when he was followed by Fr. O’Hara until 1862. The area is described as beautifully situated, with a peaceful industrious population busily engaged in the cultivation of Wheat, Maize, potatoes; caring for numerous horses and herds of cattle, and greatly helped by a water driven flour mill (probably the one which was situated on St. Leger Road – some of the earthwork of the dam are still intact and the grinding stones from it are in the Te Awamutu Museum). Unhappily the Battle of Rangiaohia in February 1864 and the Battle of Orakau in April 1864 changed all the pattern of life in the district. Fr. Viney was appointed in 1864 and served the wide Waikato area until 1871 and Fr. Golden came in 1874. KihiKihi was now coming into prominence as a centre of population and the need for a church was pressing so a temporary church innocent of paint or lining was built on land donated by Mr. William Corboy at the corner of Rolleston and Short Streets which forms part of the present Church property. In addition to this acre and a half a further acre was purchased from Mr. and...

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....

80th Anniversary Celebrations at Te Awamutu Museum

2015 is a special year at the Te Awamutu Museum, as it marks 80 years since the founding of the Te Awamutu Historical Society. Without their hard work and dedication to preserving Waipā’s history, we would not have such a wealth of information stored in the Museum archives or a collection to display. The Historical Society was founded in February 1935 by a group of local residents. The inaugural committee meeting saw the following officers elected; Patron: Mr James Cowan, President: Mr. James Oliphant, Vice-president: Mr. H.A. Swarbrick, Secretary-Treasurer: Rev. E.G. Jansen, Committee: Miss C. Jefferson, Mr. G. Gifford, Mr. E. Thomson.  This committee agreed upon six aims for the Society to achieve, including gathering of all historical data relating to the Maori and European settlement of the area, preserving landmarks and historical areas through photography and creating maps of the area to show significant sites and tracks. They also actively collected objects and specimens with the goal of eventually forming a local museum. This was helped greatly by the first curator, Mr. Gavin Gifford, offering space in his rooms on Alexandra Street for objects to be displayed. Mr Gifford also had a considerable private collection from all over the world which was later given to the Society and formed the basis for the collection still held today. The collection of curios includes many items from the local area such as toki, patu muka and other Maori taonga. There are also objects from further afield, including a Chinese opium pipe, a dice shaker and snuff box from England and items from various Polynesian islands. Two months after the first...