Friday, December 19, 2014

Thames (NZ): Holidays on the Thames Coast

Did you spend your childhood summer holidays on the Thames Coast? From Tararu, Whakatete Bay, Ngarimu Bay, Thornton Bay, Te Puru, Waiomo, Tapu or Te Mata - to name but a few of the holiday hotspots of old.

My earliest holiday memories are of Ngarimu Bay. Playing in the rock pools between the end of Ngarimu Bay and Thornton Bay. The big choice of which beach to swim at. Going for a trek to Miss Hammond's shop to get an ice-cream was always a necessity no matter when you passed near the bay.

Below is a 1900s photo of Ngarimu Bay - a challenging adventure on horse and cart.
Showing a beach and a horse drawn buggy on the Thames-Coromandel coast road running along the Firth of Thames at the northern end of Ngarimu Bay
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 2-V1272'

Below is a later view of Ngarimu Bay as housing starts to cover the hills. 
Links to present day Camping areas:
Dickson Park, Tararu, Thames
Te Puru Holiday Park, Te Puru, Thames Coast
The Tapu Camp, Tapu, Thames Coast

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thames (NZ): A & G Price Staff identification

Just a typical day at the foundry, except the men have come out to pose for a photograph. Maybe a large order had just been completed? All we know so far is that one of these men is John SHAND, who was an engineer at A & G Prices. Do you recognise any of your rellies in the photo??

Thames (NZ): Then & Now - Sealey Street cattle route

The 1900s view below, shows a bullock team outside Thames High School, at the corner of Sealey and Rolleston Streets. While similar photos show this could have been for a parade, it was normal to see cattle walking the streets of Thames.

Above: Sealey Street view 2012, looking up to the Una Hill.
When roading changes were made in the 1940s, a concern for many residents was what effect would this have on the stock route through the town. The changes saw section of Baillie Street closed.
Cattle would come down the Karaka Road and also from north of Tararu down Baillie Street, out to the abattoirs at Totara.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thames (NZ): Then & Now - Victoria Park

On the north and south side of Albert Street, Thames is Victoria Park. Known in some old records as Albert Park and Victoria Park. The Park holds one of Thames' most iconic old landmark - the band rotunda.

Above is a view of the north side of the park, with the Grahamstown Railway Station top right. In the distance the Burke Street Wharf.
Below the same view, the stationmaster's house, and railway station are long gone. Now the Thames Croquet Club makes it home on the site.

 Further reading:
An article in The Treasury Journal: VICTORIA PARK AND THE THAMES BAND ROTUNDA.
By Kae Lewis, Althea Barker and Dave Wilton.
 New Zealand Heritage Register: Category 2

Thames (NZ): Church at Kirikiri

On 30 November 1874, a new church was opened at Kirikiri.
Anglican Church Kopu
Source: The Ohinemuri Journal
"The new church, which has been built at the Kirikiri native settlement, Thames River; was formally opened for service yesterday. The building is weatherboard, carefully lined and finished, has Gothic windows, and is in every respect a very neat ecclesiastical structure. At the west end there is a belfry, on which there is a good bell suspended, and over the porch there is a neat cross erected. Over the chancel there are beautifully illuminated texts in the Maori language, which were sent from England by Miss Weald, a lady who takes a very great interest in the Maori mission, particularly in this diocese." Thames Star 1 December 1874

 We know exactly what the church looked like even today, thanks to a report in the Thames Advertiser 30 January 1886. When the Maori Mission Church was replaced at Parawai, the church was replicated.  "The dimensions will be the same as those of the Kirikiri Church, and the plans for that building will also be adhered to."

Further details are in the Ohinemuri Journal:
The old Anglican Church at Kopu, demolished in recent years, stood near the Hikuai road turn off. The details of its building is recorded in the diary of the late Mr Tiki Reihana:-
Te Whare Karakaia kei Kirikiri
The translation reads -
  • 28/3/1874. The timber was milled for the Church.
  • 19/5/1874. The foundation blocks arrived. It was built during: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November.
  • 27/11/1874. They finished painting.
  • 28/11/1874. The pews were bought.
  • 29/11/1874. The Rev’s Wirema Tepea and Wiremu Pomare were ordained to priesthood.
  • 30/11/1874. The Church was opened and dedicated.

In the Auckland Weekly News I July 1909, is the photo of a wedding at Kerikeri, Thames, with what looks like the church on the left. Was there another building next to it that was used by the Mormon Church? Is Kerikeri - Kirikiri?
Source: Auckland Weekly News 01 JULY 1909 p005 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19090701-5-4 .
Do you have any photos of the Church before it was demolished?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thames (NZ): First Motor Wedding 1913

Thames Star, Issue 14522, 14 May 1913, Page 4
A 'Thames First' event  - the first time a motor car was used on the wedding day.

The marriage took place at the St Francis' Church in Willoughby Street, Thames.

It was the marriage of Mr Samuel DEVCICH of Puriri to Miss Matty MERSEP of Auckland. 

"The bridal party arrived at and departed from church in motor cars."

What a sight it would have been for the town!

If anyone has a photo of the wedding, I would love to include them in this post:)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Thames (NZ): Mining Map showing land acquisition

Having looked at the videos in the previous post, it is interesting to see this map showing the land ACQUIRED by James Mackay for mining. A lot of land!
Sketch showing the extent of the acquisition of land by M. Macky for mining purposes between Manaia & Kirikiri
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 3573'

Below is a crop of the Thames area - note the maori names for the places around the town.

Further information:
The Treasury at Thames has a large collection of mining maps and access to maps of the Thames township area.

Thames (NZ): Te Kauaeranga the history of the Thames

A MUST WATCH. A two part video on YouTube that gives the history of Te Kauaeranga, the area we know today as Thames. The commentary is fittingly in te reo Māori, but the English sub-titles are a full transcript which adds to the story being told.

Key points to watch for and learn more about are:
  • From Moehau to Te Aroha - there were 12 tribes of the Marutuahu
  • Settled the land pre-European times
  • Tainui canoe visited the coast
  • Te Kauaeranga name for area known as Thames
  • James Mackay appointed to purchase tribal lands
  • Chief Taraia Ngakuti Te Tumuhia was against sale of the land (photo right)
  • 1852 Gold at Kapanga
  • Gold found at Thames by Tangata
  • 1867 Thames gold rush
  • Maori land leased for mining, was to be returned
  • Chiefs allowed early Kauri logging for ship building
  • Matai Whetu Marae history and relationship to Kopu and Meremere
  • Importance of Whakapapa, and local maori customs
  • Need for oral history library for Hauraki

Part 1 of 2 Te Kauaeranga the history of the Thames
Published on Apr 17, 2012
Part 2 of 2 Te Kauaeranga the history of the Thames
Published on Apr 17, 2012
Part 1 and 2 Te Kauaeranga the history of the Thames Waka Huia TVNZ 17 April 2012 - 'Te Kauaeranga' is a 29'00" documentary on the history of the Thames area Southwest of Coromandel during Thames Heritage week - "A week-long celebration of the rich history of Thames."

Further information:
Also The Hauraki Mission Station.
The Treasury and Thames Library have a large number of books about the local tangata whenua.
Hauraki iwi website

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thames (NZ): Train visit c1990

What treasures have you got hidden in your photo album, regarding Thames events. Does anyone have any of the 1967 or 1973 Centennial parades?

Below are photos of the time that Ja 1250 came to Thames as part of a rail enthusiasts trip. Would love to know the full details... (see bottom page for update)


 In the THAMES LINE 1898-1990, page 40 has SATURDAY 3 March 1990, Railway Enthusiasts Society Steam Excursion to Thames, hauled by JA1250. Went from Auckland-Hamilton-Morrinsville-Paeroa-Thames and back.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thames (NZ): Albert Street - a closer look

When you look at a photograph of the Thames Streets, do you ever stop to consider what life was like for your Thamesites who walked those streets? Is that my family in the photo? What are the people doing? Who owns the shops? And so it goes on...
 Description: View looking up Albert Street towards houses on the hill above Upper Albert Street. On the lefthand side of the street in the foreground are the premises of Archibald Burns, grocer. On the opposite side of the street (at an intersection) are the premises of Gillespie & Burns [should read THOMS]. Identifiable buildings further down the street are the Queen's Hotel (F Grubb) and at the end of the street the office of the Evening Star. In the foreground, standing on the road and looking at the photographer are two little girls and a boy with a pram. Photograph taken ca 1900 by William Arthur Price.
Source:  Ref: 1/2-001170-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

A portion of the photo above, shows some of the people wandering the street. There are a lot of unattended it school holidays? After school? Is there mother in one of the shops? Two men are talking outside the Queen's Hotel on the corner of Albert and Queen Streets. Another two children appear to be playing a game to their right. It looks like it was a cold day, both women are dressed in coats and wearing beautiful hats.

Below, F Grubb's name proudly adorns the entrance to the Queen's Hotel. Francis Grubb was publican at the hotel from 1907 to at least 1927. The Evening Star office is near the Pollen Street corner, staff inside busy no doubt with another edition of the newspaper.

What a difference one hundred years makes - pause and think what an important and vibrant street, Albert Street, Grahamstown was. Today businesses still operate from the street, but the important thoroughfare and meeting place is long gone. Time moves on...
Source: Google maps
Further information:
See the Pre 1930 Business Register & Street Directories at The Treasury