Wednesday, October 12, 2022

TCDC Chair / Mayor update 2022

 How many names can you remember since the Thames Coromandel Distict Council was formed?

The names of the past Chairman/Mayor of the Thames Coromandel District Council are: 1975-1977 Henry Charles KENNEDY; 1977-1983 Leonard John BRADDOCK; 1983-1989 John Lachlan CAMPBELL; 1989-1998 Alasdair David THOMPSON; 1998-2004 Christopher John LUX; 2004-2010 Philippa Michaela BARRIBALL; 2010-2016 Glenn Francis LEACH;  2016-2022 Sandra GOUDIE; and 2022- Len SALT.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Thames (NZ): Queen's Birthday honour to Mrs Louisa Humphry of Thames

 A Thames name on the list of honours released today.

"To be an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

HUMPHRY, Mrs Louisa

For services to the Kiribati community and culture

Mrs Louisa Humphry helped set up a Kiribati community group in Auckland to ensure a support network and was part of the group who established some of the first Kiribati Independence celebrations and the body now recognised as the New Zealand Kiribati National Council.

In the 1970s Mrs Humphry was a key advocate for Kiribati’s presence in Auckland Pacifica festivals. She has been involved with the wider art community to preserve and share weaving practices to maintain Kiribati traditions. As an artist herself, she has exhibited throughout New Zealand and abroad, and has passed on her knowledge through workshops. She has exhibited with the Pacific Collections Access Project at Auckland War Memorial Museum, Artists of Pacific Heritage in Auckland (2012) at Auckland Art Gallery, the ninth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane in 2018, and ‘Names Held in our Mouths’ (2019) at Te Uru Waitākere Gallery. She helped support immigrant workers in the agricultural industry, ensuring they had adequate clothing and food on arrival and helping with translation. She continues to translate in New Zealand Courts and District Health Boards. She was a member of the group who established the first Pacific health clinic in Hamilton, K’aute Pasifika Trust. Mrs Humphry managed the combined Christian food bank from 2004 to 2019."

Source: accessed 6 June 2021

Mrs Louisa Humphry
Article and photo in The Valley Profile

A list of past recipients of awards is available - CLICK HERE

Monday, April 5, 2021

Thames (NZ): Memorial Service for Private Ngapo (c1892-1921) at Shortland cemetery

At a  chance visit to the Thames Museum today, I learnt about a special commemoration service that was being held at Shortland Cemetery today. On arrival at the cemetery, it soon became clear the mana and importance of the event.

Local iwi, kaumatua and dignitaries, gathered to welcome descendants of Robert Ngapa, along with members / leaders of the Cook Island community.

Great War Soldier Robert Ngapo Serial Number 16/1227, was working as a cook in Auckland when he enlisted 20 October 1915. He was born in the Cook Islands and gave his next of kin as: Mr Kapatian, Tauta, Aitutaki, Cook Islands.

Ngapo served in the 3rd Maori contingent, they left New Zealand 4 February 1916. Bob, who signed his name only as Ngapo on enlistment, served overseas until 28 January 1919 - in total 3 years 139 days war service home and abroad.

Private Ngapo was transferred to the Rarotongan Company, and also served in Arras (France) as part of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company. He was Wounded in Action 10 June 1917, then during May-June 1918 was hospitalised in Egypt several times with bronchitis.

Private Bob Ngapo died of pneumonia 28 October 1921 at Thames Hospital. Ngapo is interred at Shortland Cemetery Thames, Plot 2958, at the southern end of the extension adjacent to Danby Street.

Thames Star Newspaper, 29 October 1921

Photos of the Memorial Service: 5 April 2021


Hon. Scott Simpson MP, with Her Majesty Queen Pa Upokotini Tepaeru Marie Ariki and 
Cook Islands Consul General Mr Keutekarakia Mataroa.

~~ Lest We Forget ~~

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Thames (NZ): Big Pump area views

     Still thinking about the previous post and changes that took place on the land north of Coromandel Street.  Here a a selection of views that give us a timeline from the photograph that was found at Webb's auction site.

Grahamstown - Big Pump centre left.

1902 View

1902 View towards Big Pump
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19020227-10-1

1905 View 

1905 View towards Big Pump
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19050119-2-2

During the 1890s, 1900s the land was cleared of  old buildings - hotels, residences and mining related.
Lets take a look back to the 1870s and remember the 'glory days'. 

1870s Moanataiari - Kuranui, Grahamstown
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19170802-35-1

Below the Moanataiari area 2020

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Thames (NZ): View to Grahamstown revisited

 Looking for 'new' old photographs of Thames?

Have you checked the auction catalogues?

This week we got a tip off that there was an old Thames photo for sale in a Webb's upcoming auction. (photo below)

You will have seen this view before,  the photograph captures early mining activity along the Kuranui - Moanataiari - Grahamstown foreshore.


In the first few years after the goldfields opened 1 August 1867, residences were built to accommodate the influx of miners and their families. 

What amazes me most about the two photos above is the reality that when the population left and the golden dreams subsides, houses literally disappeared.


Did you spot the little house in the foreground? I wonder who the occupants were, and what they thought of the changing landscape.

Keep looking at the auction sites and we may discover more photographs of early Thames.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Thames (NZ): New Website to help with Thames searches

 I keep apologising for not getting cracking on posts, I promise I will soon get back into the swing of things! In the meantime...


Go and visit Diane Wilson's new website!

I was lucky enough to be on Diane's teams many years ago. With great efficiency, Diane organised groups of people throughout New Zealand to index records. Electoral Rolls, Marriages, Burials, the list went on and on. Now thanks to Diane's generosity the enormous database is available online for free.

Scroll down the home page until you reach the search area, enter surnames and see what information is available.


I searched for my mother's Marriage - and the results give spouse and year (1949).


Search Diane's Wilson Collection and see if you can find some helpful hints.

Best of all - FOR FREE!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Thames (NZ): Dunnage Postcard of Kuranui Bay

 Its no secret that I love Dunnage postcards! The postcards published by Mr Dunnage, stationer / bookseller of Thames during the 1913-1920s capture a period overlooked by many other photographers.


DUNNAGE's VARIETY DEPOT: Pollen Street, Established 1913 and continued through to 1925, when W H Richardson took over the business. While a seller of books, Dunnage appears to have specialised in Stationery plus other variety items.

Dunnage Postcard No 36

The card is labelled as Tararu, Thames - the view is of Kuranui Bay. Interesting to note that Auckland Libraries Sir George Grey Collection make mention that it can be called Mission Bay.

Looking south along the Thames coastal road at Kuranui Bay (Mission Bay), near Tararu.
Showing houses and a hotel.
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 35-R1443

Ironically I was on this very beach today! The land has been reclaimed where the Kuranui Reserve stretches out from the point back to the reclaimed land of the Moanataiari subdivision.

Google Maps view of Kuranui Bay, Thames 2020

I am awaiting a higher resolution copy from Auckland Libraries, so that we can explore the houses and locate the hotel mentioned in the caption! I assume it is the two storied building left of centre and opposite the net drying area.

Interestingly, a search for 'Mission Bay' references in the Thames newspapers draws a blank - the only ones relating to Mission Bay in Auckland.

My Great, great, great grandmother Susan Timmins lived on these hills and herded goats in the early 1870s. Here are a few other early photos of the Kuranui Bay area.

Source: Thames Diamond Jubilee Book 1927

1877 Tararu Road Thames - view of south end of Kuranui Bay, Tararu.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Thames (NZ): Te Apuranginui Urupā

 While visiting the Thames Small Gauge Railway, I noticed a beautiful old photo of the Thames School of Mines, on an information board.

The heritage sign in the carpark opposite the west end of Cochrane Street.

The text reads:
"This photo from 1900 shows, from left to right, the Mineralogical Museum, the Battery Room and the classroom buildings of the Thames School of Mines.

The site is a Māori urupā(burial site) part of which was gifted to the Wesleyan Church in 1868.  In 1886, the School of Mines bought the land and the 1869 Sunday School building.  Over time they added the buildings shown here.  Two additions after 1900 created the complex you see today."

The description is interesting considering the uproar that was caused when the Church sold the land to the School of Mines, considering the courtcase/s to try and stop the sale and return the land to the tangata whenua.

Te Apuranginui Urupā
On the Thames Thames School of Mine website the background to the name of the land is given. 
Chief Te Apurangi's descendants lie in the sacred urupā.  Te Apurangi was a most respected chief, and is represented in a carving in the House of Hotunui which is now housed in the Auckland war Memorial Museum.

Tarakonaiti Urupa
In a report written by John McEnteer and Taimoana Turoa in 1993 (Nga Taonga O Te Kauaeranga Maori Heritage of Thames) the name of the site is given as: Tarakonaiti Urupa. A summary of the points given in the report are:
  • The Urupa was located at the corner of Cochrane and Brown Streets.
  • The Urupa was the burial ground for the Tarakonaiti Pa.
  • The nearby roads and several houses, as well as the School of Mines are located on the Urupa.
  • The area covers blocks Te Kauaeranga 12A and 13A.
  • The land was surveyed in 1868 and no roads were to be laid in the area.
  • The land was gifted by the Maori landowners to the Wesleyan Church, for that purpose.
  • In 1877 the church tried to sell the land to the Auckland Education Board.
  • Hohepa Paraone and Hone Te Huiraukura petitioned Parliament to try and stop the sale.
  • The petition was unsuccessful and after ten years of legislation the land was officially sold in 1886 for the purpose of the Thames School of Mines.
There are multiple reports regarding the 'land sale' that can be found online. Here is but one of the justifications reported for the sale:

Report on Petition of Hohepa Paraone and Another.
Petitioners, who are Natives of the Thames District, state they conveyed a piece of land at the Thames to the Wesleyan body, as they understood, for religious purposes only, but that they learn now with deep regret that it is proposed to sell it to the Education Board in Auckland, and they pray for such relief as may insure that the land in question shall be devoted to the purpose originally intended.

I am directed to report as follows:—

That, while the Committee have some reason to think that the proposed sale or transfer of the land in question is not in accordance with the intention under which it was originally given, the Committee do not feel able to recommend any course to the House which would have the effect of depriving the trustees of legal rights which are not denied by the petitioners.

 E whakaaro ana ano te Komiti he tika kahore i whakaritea kia taea te hoko te tuku ke atu ranei taua wahi i runga i nga whakaritenga i te tukunga o taua wahi i te tuatahi. Engari e mea ana te Komiti e kore e taea e ratou te mahi he tikanga ma te Whare e kore ai e taea e nga kai-tiaki te mahi i nga tikanga kua hoatu kia ratou e te ture kaore nei i te whaka hengia e nga kai inoi.

John Bryce,

30th October, 1877.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Thames (NZ): Price headstone restoration at Shortland

 Remember to let us know if you have carried out any restorations to graves / headstones at one of our Thames cemeteries. Or go straight to the appropriate findagrave site and add the photo direct to the memorial. It is always lovely to be able to share with other family members around the world.

George and Sarah Price at Shortland.

Thanks to Graeme for the tipoff that the Price headstone had been restored.  The plots at Shortland Cemetery are recorded as 3923 to 3925.

The headstone photos were taken early 2020. The inscription for George Price is on the west face (left), and Sarah Price's on the north face (right).

December 2020 Update

George Price's Inscription

This restoration is a great example of how a clean of the base area and relettering can make an enormous difference, while keeping sympathetic to the historic nature of the grave.

Mr George Price in partnership with his brother Alfred, founded A & G Price, the renown foundry business at The Thames.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Thames (NZ): Remembering Sister Jessie Linton

No single day at the Thames Museum is the same. While overseas travel has been put on hold, visitors still come from around New Zealand. While some have no links to Thames, the volunteers on duty often get to meet and talk with people who have Thames names in their family tree. Here is the story of a very special visitor, who is related to a very 'special' Thamesite.


The Thames Hospital School of Nursing was founded c1900. In 1901 nursing changed with the introduction of Nurses' Registration in 1901. Under Matron Stewart's guidance a successful training school was established - nurses came from all around New Zealand to undertake the three year training programme. Successful probationers were awarded the Thames Hospital certificate, they then went on to sit the New Zealand State examinations - once passed they they were awarded State registration.

Miss Jessie Emma Linton was born at Fielding in 1888, the daughter of  Emma and Francis Linton. Jessie was the eldest of eleven children. Birth Registrations at NZ BMD for her other siblings are:1889/4641 Linton Margaret Grace; 1890/14259 Linton Robert Charles; 1892/11677 Linton Annie Lyle; 1895/15505 Linton Andrew William; 1897/5563 Linton Barbara Elizabeth; 1899/342 Linton Isabel Zanna Emma; 1901/7807 Linton Francis Armstrong; 1904/5675 Linton Alister Murray; 1905/19354 Linton Harvey Little. and 1908/23585 Linton Janet Ellen.

The Linton family moved around the Manawatu, to Taranaki and  to the Te Awamatu region. By 1914,Jessie had decided to undertake her nursing training at Thames Hospital. Trainee nurses lived at the hospital in accommodation provided in the central two-storied wing of the hospital which faced Baillie Street. This 'second' hospital was opened  in 1900 and boasted modern equipment supplemented by the modern nursing methods that Matron Stewart implemented.

Thames Hospital, Baillie Street c1910.

In the June 1917 examinations, four nurses from Thames Hospital passed with marks over 75%. They were: Fanny Maria Warren, Christina Pilkington, Jessie Emma Linton and Daisy Sage. That year 93 Nurses sat throughout New Zealand, with 83 Nurses passing the three papers (consisting of Medical, Surgical and Oral sections).  In August 1917, the hard work had paid off and Staff Nurse Linton was officially registered, number 2179 on the Nurses' Register.

Nursing Register, published in the New Zealand Gazette
Available at

Sadly the next heard of Sister Linton, was during the November 1918 influenza epidemic - Jessie worked tirelessly caring for patients but became a victim of the epidemic. Sister Jessie Emma Linton, Thames trained nurse, died of influenza 18 November 1918.


Sister Linton was interred at Shortland Cemetery, Thames 20 November 1918. A large number of available Board and staff attended the graveside service held by Reverend Milne. The pallbearers were returned soldiers dressed in full uniform - a mark of respect for the service given by Jessie and to honour two of her brother who had been Killed in Action in World War One (Robert in 1916 and Andrew in 1918).

Due to the respect that Sister Jessie Linton was held in, both at the hospital and the community, a special plaque was erected to remember her service to the town. The plaque reads:

This Plot was Enclosed 
Tablet Erected 
By the People of Thames 
In Grateful Remembrance 
Sister Jessie E. Linton 
Formerly of Thames Hospital 
After Untiring Devotion to Duty 
During the Epidemic of 1918 
She Fell a Victim 
And Died 18th Nov 1918 
Aged 30 Years 
In the Service of Humanity 
She found the Inspiration of a noble Life.

Left: Staff Nurse Jessie Linton. Right: The plaque on Jessies plot at Shortland Cemetery.


Earlier this month, a family related to Jessie came to the Museum and arrangements were made to visit Linton's grave. What an amazing moment!  Accompanied by family, Alice (nee Linton, the daughter of Jessie's youngest brother Harvey), made the trek to the grave near the western boundary.

Sister Linton's niece Alice, reads the article on Jessie from True Tales of Thames Hospital.
Thames Hospital WWI Nurses' Plaque

Sister Linton is remembered on the Nurses' WWI plaque at Thames Hospital.
Many thanks to Alice for sharing her family history. Through these personal visits the memories of these special Thamesites lives on.

Sister Jessie Linton - Lest We Forget