Topic: An Historical Tour of Katikati with Ellen McCormack (2013) by Debbie McCauley

Topic type:

On Friday, 9 August 2013, I was privileged to have the opportunity to take Katikati Historian Ellen McCormack on a drive around the Katikati area to visit significant historical sites whilst also discussing my own family history in the area. Please note that the complete tour would take approximately 5 hours (not including lunch).

Looking strange? see an archived version here

As we follow State Highway 2 from Tauranga to Katikati, evidence of where the original Old Highway was can be seen in the placement of the old power lines, mainly on the left side of the road, but also crossing over to the right hand side. Note how many bridges cross streams and rivers. The early pioneers had to ford these rivers on foot or on horseback which was often dangerous, especially during flooding.

Settlers that couldn’t afford to stay in Tauranga until their houses were built lived in rough raupo whares with dirt floors. There were thirty six built by Peter Grant, some at Aongatete near the mouth of the river near where the Forta Leza is now, some by the Uretara Stream near one landing site approximately where the Talisman Hotel is now, and some by Tuapiro River on Māori land leased to George Vesey Stewart. The cost of these was £9 each. On arrival settlers dragged all their belongings from the river landings by hand.

First proposed township: Te Kauri Point (George Vesey Stewart’s leased land that reverted back to Maori ownership after 100 years)

Second proposed township: Smith’s Village – Joseph Robinson Smith was situated opposite Hot Springs Road. Believing that the Te Aroha road over the Kaimai Range would become the main road to Auckland and it was the logical place for a township, he set about subdividing.

Third and final township: Uretara - Joseph Wylie (Jnr), store-owner, decided that the other side of the Uretara Stream was a better site so bought Sergeant Hyde’s farm and subdivided then offered sections for sale. Government approved and bought a block for the Post Office, Police Station and Courthouse. In 1881 the name changed to Waterford then in 1884 to Katikati. The original Katikati was nowhere near the present one, it was near the northern entrance to the harbour.


Tauranga to Whakamaramara Road

Our tour starts from Tauranga. On the way to Katikati we cross the Wairoa River, noting how easy crossing the bridge was. Thoughts turned to George Vesey Stewart and how he must have struggled to cross it on horseback with Sam Middlebrook during his search for land in April 1874.

After crossing Te Puna Stream we turned left into Barretts Road to Whakamaramara Road. Continuing to the end of the road we came to the sign for the Old Highway Road. A right turn onto Old Highway Road put us on the original Katikati to Tauranga highway. Thoughts of our ancestors wending their way along this windy road with horse and cart flowed through my mind as Ellen told me the history. When the pioneers arrived there was no track, nothing. They used the only logical form of transport they could; boats and the harbour. We kept going along the highway and crossed Youngson Road. The Old Highway crossed a one lane bridge and then took us onto Esdaile Road and to the back of Pahoia School where the new community hall can be seen and then onto State Highway 2.


Apata Station Road

Crossing the Apata Station Rail Bridge we turned left off State Highway 2 onto Apata Station Road we are again on the Old Highway. On the left we can see the East Coast Trunk Railway Line. The section of the railway between Katikati and Tauranga was a vital link. Both sections met up and were officially opened on 28 March 1928. The celebrations were the biggest Tauranga had seen. Nothing remains of the old Apata Railway Station. The Katikati School bus used to come as far as Apata. Further along the railway runs into the Kaimai Tunnel which opened in 1978. We follow this road through to the end which comes out onto the State Highway 2.


Wainui South Road

We turn left into Wainui South Road then pull over to the right at an empty space with gravel. This used to be the site of the Apata Hall (c1954) until it was burnt down by arson in 2004 by an 18 year old English tourist who pushed a car onto the steps of the 50 year old hall and lit fire to it. A new one was rebuilt at Pahoia School. If Wainui South Road is followed to its end it will come out by Pahoia School; however we choose not to do this, instead turning back to State Highway 2.

We cross Wainui Stream where the old railway bridge can be seen on the right. Then we pass Morton Estate Winery and Aongatete Stream.


Thompson's Track

Thompson's Track is next on the left named after Thomas Kirkpatrick Thompson. 'In 1874 the plans of Thompson's Track were in the Lands & Survey Dept office in Hamilton and had been signed by the man who drew them, T.K. Thompson, Assistant Surveyor. They were dated 1890. So that track bears the surveyor's name’ (E. T. Jordan, p 65). First reference to Thompson's Track in newspapers was the ‘Te Aroha News’ on 2 January 1886 (p. 2) ‘the construction of a new coach road from [Te] Aroha to Aongatete (via Thompson's track) giving direct communication with the East Coast’.

Picnic Party at Thompson's Track, Katikati (1900)

Picnic Party at Thompson's Track, Katikati (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection. 

Traces of gold were found in the hills near Thompson’s Track in the 1890s. A prospecting association under George Vesey Stewart’s chairmanship worked some of the claims but most were abandoned including the Eliza Gold Mine. In 1905 the Eliza mine was revived and a 1000 foot tunnel driven into the hillside. It was later abandoned due to the high cost of extracting the gold.

Thompson's Track: Bush road with woman and dog (1900)

Thompson's Track: Bush road with woman and dog (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.

Hot Springs Road was the track over the Kaimai Range, known as the Te Aroha Track. It was decided that Thompson’s Track was better positioned for a trans-Kaimai highway. This was cancelled by the Government in 1888 when it was discovered that the road would cost £9000 (Te Aroha News, 18 February 1888).

Thompson's Track: Bush road with standing man (1900)

Thompson's Track: Bush road with standing man (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.

The Kaimai Air Disaster occurred further up Thompson's Track. On 3 July 1963 twenty-three people died in what remains New Zealand's worst internal aviation disaster. As a National Airways Corporation DC-3 plane began its descent towards Tauranga in poor weather it was suddenly caught in severe turbulence and slammed into a ridge on the Kaimai Range, killing all on board.

We next cross Waitekohe Stream (the Forta Leza is on the right).


Lund Road

On the right is Lund Road. Bartle Hubert Lund (c1870-1963) lived there with his wife Eliza Plummer Lund (nee Freeman). Eliza was born to Alfred and Celina Freeman in 1874 (reg. 1874/41430). Bartle and Eliza married in 1903 (reg. 1903/514). Bartle was a Fencourt settler on Government land near Cambridge, selling out in 1908 (Auckland Star, 17 June 1908, p. 3). Bartle had a serious accident on his Lund Road property when a limb from a falling tree fell on him (BOP Times, 7 December 1917, p. 2). He must have recovered well though, as he lived to the age of 93 (reg. 1963/33683). His wife, Eliza, died aged 91, in 1966 (reg. 1966/32611). My grandfather, Lennard McCauley (1904-1980), purchased a farm here. It was the last farm at the end of Lunds Road. After one to two years he sold the farm in order to pursue a career as a carpenter.

Following State Highway 2 come to Te Mania Stream.


Te Mania Stream (Boyd’s Bridge)

This was also known as ‘Boyd’s Bridge’ and opened on 5 January 1900. The ‘bridge over the Te Mania river, which has been erected under the personal supervision of Mr James Boyd: This bridge is near the site of the old crossing of 25 years ago on our main road of that period to Tauranga, the precipitous bank on one side being as steep as the roof of a house... The materials used are principally puriri, the structure is most substantially built, the wing walls being encased by Punga (fern trees)... The bye road on which the bridge is placed affords access to the properties of Messrs Adam Johnston, Mervyn A. Stewart, Eskridge, Smith, Hamilton and Mulgrew and the work reflects the greatest credit on Boyd. On declaring the bridge open by breaking the neck of a bottle of whisky, the contents of which were not poured into the river, the Chairman christened it ‘Boyd’s Bridge’’ (BOP Times, 8 January 1900, p. 2). Both Boyd and, further along, Quinnie McClung, kept huts near the river where they could stay when they were in flood in order to stop traffic if necessary.

After Te Mania Stream turn left onto Hot Springs Road.


Hot Springs Road – Clark’s Junction Hotel

Near the start, Hot Springs Road crosses the old highway. There was a road over the Kaimai’s here for horses and carriages. On the right was the site of the Junction Hotel (originally owned by John Angus Clark then by Buckworth’s).  A residential house stands there now. The Kaimai road was moved to Thompson’s Track until Tauranga residents complained and agitated for a more direct road over the Kaimai’s.

Junction House, Katikati (1898)

Junction House, Katikati (1898). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.


Hot Springs Road – Katikati Cemetery

Further up the road, on the left, is the Katikati Cemetery. It was located here as at one stage the town was going to be situated here. As you drive in on the lower left side are Catholic graves, on the right side Presbyterian with Donald Macmillan (1833-1896) on the corner (Ellen’s great grandfather). The rest are a mixture. Further on there is a concrete retaining wall on the left. About three metres to the left of this is where the boundary fence of the old cemetery used to be.

  • In a row: Emily Surtees, Alice (GVS’s 2nd wife) & Kathleen Stein, GVS & Harry, Mary Gledstanes (GVS’s sister), John McCauley
  • Next row down: Adela Stewart
  • Next row down: Cecil Gledstanes (GVS’s first wife Margaret affair with)
  • Next row down: GVS junior who drowned
  • Next row down: John and Rachel Hamilton along with John’s sister Margaret Ann Hamilton.
  • Bottom row: Stoddard, Francis and Captain Mervyn Stewart, Crossley.

After Rereatukahia Stream turn left onto Rea Road.


Rea Road

Named after settler Stewart Rea. Land in Katikati was allocated to the new settlers by the drawing of lots. Although my third great grandfather, John McCauley (Snr), arrived in 1876 (Jessie Osborne) he had to wait until the second party’s allocation of land in 1878 before he was allocated 20 acres (from Busby’s Road to Te Rereatukahia Marae) with his son, John (Jnr) receiving 30 adjoining acres on the south side of Rea Road past Killen Road: Drive past Fantail Lodge on the left, cross the one lane bridge and then past Killen Road on the left. When you come to No. 263 just past the Tamavilla Organic Orchard sign, the land on the left was John McCauley (Snr)’s. It is believed that John McCauley (Snr) had to hand over his land to the Charitable Aid Board in 1890 to cover the cost of his son’s hospital treatment. On 27 July 1889 my great grandfather, George McCauley, who was twelve at the time, was ‘badly hurt’ in an accident, ‘his leg and ankle being smashed, and the case urgent’ and had to be sent to Auckland Hospital. The cost of his treatment was £43.


Wharawhara Road

Driving into Katikati township on our left is Wharawhara Road with the museum on the corner. The old Katikati Jail Building (1880s) is on the museum land. It used to be located in Boyd Street with the police station etc. This road was where the tram track for the Kauri Timber Company ran. The logs went on the track through Tetley Road to Diggelmann’s Wharf (sometimes called Cashmore's Wharf). A replica of the old tram line has been built at the museum to the right of the entrance.

Old Katikati Jail

Katikati Jail. Photo: Katikati Heritage Museum.

Across from the museum is Hunter’s Reserve. This is where Katikati’s first Vicar, Reverend John Crossley lived (Fairlight). Before St Peter’s Anglican Church opened in 1884, he married couples at his home, approximately where the squash courts are now. Crossley’s daughter Emily married Robert Hunter. Crossley died at Fairlight in 1878 and was the first burial in Katikati Cemetery.


Henry Road – RSA

Further along State Highway 2 on the left is Henry Road with the Katikati RSA located on the corner. Henry Road was one of the roads investigated and put forward as an option for a Katikati township bypass road should these plans ever go ahead.

Driving further into Katikati township, No. 122 Main Road on the left. This was the home of my great grandmother Rachel McCauley (nee Hamilton) who was born in Katikati and lived there her entire life. My great Aunty Girlie’s house that was to the left of Rachel’s house has been removed.


Ostriches and George Vesey Stewart Mural’s

As we drive through the township on the right can be seen the mural depicting Reverend William Katterns Ostrich Farm and the Katikati War Memorial Hall (1954). Katterns came to Katikati in 1886 and set up an ostrich farm, which proved very successful. In 1902 when my great grandparents George and Rachel McCauley (nee Hamilton) married, the vicars wife gave them an ostrich feather, taken from one of the birds on the Katterns' ostrich farm as a wedding present. The farm remained in existence until World War I, when it is said that dogs chased the last surviving ostrich to the Waitekohe River, where it drowned.

Reverend Kattern's Ostrich's, 1900

Reverend Kattern's Ostrich's (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.

Further along on the right is another mural depicting the ‘Father of Katikati’ George Vesey Stewart.


Katikati No. 3 School: Waitekohe - Mural

As the road bends to the left of the road on the back of a building is the Waitekohe School mural, the first mural to be painted in 1990. Lennard McCauley is one of the children depicted.


Katikati No. 3 School: Waitekohe (1914)

Katikati No. 3 School: Waitekohe (1914).


Uretara Stream – Waterford

Continuing on we cross the Uretara Stream Bridge. When the name Uretara was deemed unacceptable due to its meaning, ‘ure’ meaning ‘penis’, the name Waterford was substituted for this area.


Memorial: William John Gray (1839-1930)

Just along on the left by the main road can be seen a large Puriri tree (planted in 1930) with a memorial plaque beneath. This memorial is to William John Gray who built St Peter’s Church and was a leading citizen of the town. He was a great debater and played an important role on the Tauranga County Council for over 40 years as both councillor and engineer.


Macmillan Street (Lemon Street) – Katikati Orange Hall

Turn left down Macmillan Street which was originally called Lemon Street. Right down the end is a sign ‘The Meadows’. By this sign is where the Katikati Orange Hall was situated. In 1881, lodge members began fundraising for a hall which was completed by William John Gray in 1883. During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic a curtain was hung across the centre of the hall, a few amenities installed, beds and furniture borrowed, and the hall became an emergency hospital. A trained nurse was in charge and volunteers tended the sick. The hall was enlarged three times but between the two world wars it became decrepit. The roof had been leaking for a long time with the result that some of the structural timbers were decaying. It was condemned but in 1948 some repairs were made, including strengthening supports being installed as a temporary measure. From then on, large posts held up the roof and dancing and football activities were restricted. When Ellen McCormack (nee Macmillan) was married there in 1953, Catholic’s were not permitted to take part in Protestant weddings. As Ellen had a Catholic bridesmaid this caused problems! Their wedding was one of the last events held in the Orange Hall. The new Katikati War Memorial Hall was opened in 1954 by the Governor General, Sir Willoughby Norrie, and the Orange Hall demolished with useful timber being used for farm buildings.

We turn around and head back along Macmillan Street, turning left into Boyd Street (early settler James Boyd). This block was the site of the Post Office, Police Station and Courthouse which were situated on the main road. The Library (founded 1879) was located in the Courthouse until 1914. Turn right into Hyde Street. 


Gilbert’s Store (Gray’s Flour Mill)

On the corner of Hyde Street and State Highway 2 is Gilbert’s Store which is also known as Gray’s Flour Mill. Across the road can be seen Baker’s Timber Mill. One of Lennard McCauley’s occupations was supplying Baker’s Timber Mill with wood.

In 1879 it was decided that Sergeant Hyde’s farm was to become the site of the official Katikati township which was called Waterford, but changed to Katikati in 1884 at the request of the Road Board. It was bought by Joseph Wylie (Jnr) and surveyed into residential sections then offered for sale. The Government bought a block for the post office, police station and courthouse (Gray, 2000, pp. 75-76). These buildings were built by William John Gray.

Edward Killen Gilbert bought a section and built a store (Gilbert’s Store), but the business eventually failed as Katikati was too small to support two stores. The property was then bought by William John Gray who set up a Flour Mill. At the rear were buildings housing a blacksmith, coach-builder & wheelwright. Gray’s Flour Mill closed in 1898.


Lindemann Road lookout

Turning left back onto State Highway 2 we head out of the Katikati township then turn left into Lindemann Road. We follow the road to the end where there is a panoramic lookout over the harbour and surrounding area.


Woodlands Road

Back onto State Highway 2 we cross Tahawai Stream. Further along to the left is Woodlands Road, an alternative road through to Waihi. Hikurangi Road (formerly known as Surtees Road after an early settler family) is also on the left, down which is Tuapiro Marae. We cross Tuapiro Stream and carry on until Athenree Road.


Athenree Homestead

Athenree Homestead, 1900

Athenree Homestead (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.

Turning right into Athenree Road, we carry along until we see Athenree Homestead (built 1878) on our left. This was where George Vesey Stewart’s brother Hugh and his wife Adela made their home (see My Simple Life in New Zealand). On site is the Athenree Railway Station building (1919). This building was erected in 1919 when the East Coast Main Trunk line was driven through from Waihi. Athenree Railway Station closed in 1978 once the Kaimai Rail Tunnel was completed. The station building was sold and moved to Waihi Beach. Recently it was donated to the Athenree Homestead Trust and moved to its present site at the Athenree Homestead.

Athenree Railway Station (1919)

Athenree Railway Station (1919). Photo: Debbie McCauley.

Continuing past Athenree Homestead we turn left onto Steele Rd. Steele Rd turns right and becomes Emerton Rd. At the roundabout, we take the 3rd exit onto Seaforth Rd. We go through 1 roundabout, later turning left to stay on Seaforth Rd. We carry on and reach Bowentown Heads and Anzac Bay.

The first European settlers called these twin headlands the Katikati Heads which was a term used for many years. Later, there was a wish to preserve the memory of Sir George Ferguson Bowen (1821-1899), former governor of New Zealand, who visited the area in April 1872, and the name was changed to Bowentown. The 128-ha Bowentown Domain has several important pā sites, including Te Ho (east) and Te Kura a Maia (south).

Anzac Bay was originally called St George's Bay (after the King). During a meeting to discuss improvements to the Bay in 1915, members of the Tauranga Harbour Board, whose chairman at the time was George Vesey Stewart, noted how the Bay looked like a ‘miniature replica’ of Anzac Cove. The Anzac’s (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) had landed at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli during World War I (1914-1918) on 25 April 1915. The disastrous landing, bloody battle and defeat must have still been very raw. In November 1915 the Board sent a request to Tauranga MP William Herries (1859-1923) and the name change was approved, so creating one of New Zealand’s first memorials to those who landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli.

From here we head back past Athenree Homestead and turn left into State Highway 2.


From Athenree Homestead back to Tauranga 

Tuapiro – Ongare Point - KDV Mill

We pass over the Tuapiro Stream once more. On the right side of the road is the Rustic Pumpkin. We turn left into Tuapiro Road which we follow to the end, reaching Tuapiro Point. The road turns to the right upon itself and we end up in a cul-de-sac. From here we can see Ongare Point. This was George Vesey Stewart’s leasehold land which has now reverted back to Māori ownership. On Stewart’s daughter Emily’s wedding day to Richard Surtees, 12 June 1879 (married Mount Stewart), and they waited on this point for the boat with the bridegroom? and swam in the waters off the point.

In 1946 this is where the KDV Mill (Kiln Dried Veneer) opened. The process was being used in the manufacture of furniture, and the mill was a subsidiary of an Auckland Company. The mill used pine trees from Matakana Island.


Mount Stewart – George Vesey Stewart

Go back down Tuapiro Road and turn left into Martray Road. Land on the left side of the road up to approximately No. 53 was most likely where George Vesey Stewart’s land was located.

Mount Stewart homestead, 1900

Mount Stewart homestead (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.


Martray – Captain Mervyn Stewart

As we go along there is a sea view on the left where the Katikati Heads can be seen in the distance. This was all Captain Mervyn Stewart’s land, Martray. My second great grandfather John Hamilton (arrived ‘Ocean Mail’ 1875) gave up his first parcel of land, ‘Seaview Cottage’ (1875), to George Vesey Stewart’s parents Captain Mervyn and Frances Stewart.

Martray at Kauri Point, Katikati, 1900

Martray at Kauri Point, Katikati (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.


Kauri Point Historical Reserve

Turn right onto Ongare Point Road. On the corner of Ongare Point Road and Kauri Point Road is where the Katikati No. 1 School was located – nothing remains. Turn left onto Kauri Point Road and go to the end. Turn right onto Chelmsford Road (Te Kauri Village). Follow this road to the Kauri Point Beach Reserve, first proposed site of Katikati settlement. There is deeper water off here so larger boats could call in as transport by boat was so very important.

Katikati No. 1 School: Tuapiro (1900)

Katikati No. 1 School: Tuapiro (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.


Kauri Point Road - Martray

Go back down Kauri Point road. Turn left into Castlegrace Drive (no exit). This is where Castle Grace built by Fitzgibbon Louch used to be. The gum trees can be seen from the dead end of the road. Louch used to have a wharf there also. Castle Grace was sold to the Macmillan’s.

Castle Grace 1900, Kauri Point Road, side view Macmillans

Castle Grace, Kauri Point Road (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.

Turn left back into Kauri Point Road. Follow this to the end and turn left onto State Highway 2. Head back into Katikati township crossing the Tahawai Stream once again.


Uretara Domain and George Vesey Stewart memorial

Turn left into Major Street. A house (1880s) belonging to William John Gray (1849-1930) is on the left (4a Major Street). Gray was one of the most respected and practical pioneers of Katikati, being a country engineer and builder. His house was in the middle of the Waterford settlement. Further down on the left can be seen the Uretara Domain at the entrance of which stands the World War I Memorial Gates. Katikati’s contribution to Worl War I (1914-1918) was 60 men out of a population of only around 400. The gates were officially opened on Anzac Day in 1921.

Beside the gates is the old Katikati library building which was opened by Sir William Herries in 1914. Inside the domain is the memorial to George Vesey Stewart which was unveiled on 25 April 1922 by Herries. The monolithic granite and concrete structure is in excess of two metres in height. It has pyramidal top and is positioned on a stepped concrete plinth.



Further down State Highway 2, we turn into Mulgan Street is our left. On the corner is Twickenham (3 Mulgan Street), owned by George Vesey Stewart’s sister, Mary Gledstanes, and where Adela Stewart died. Twickenham was built as a retirement home for Mary Gledstanes (née Stewart) sister of Katikati founder George Vesey Stewart in c1896. Adela Steward died there in 1910. She had returned to New Zealand with her son to publicise her book ‘My Simple Life in New Zealand’.

Twickenham, 1900

Twickenham (1900). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.

Heading into Katikati we once again cross the Uretara Stream Bridge, noting the green corrugated iron Landing Goods Shed (Scout Shed) on the left. It was built in the 1900s, originally by river’s edge, but reclamation of land by the river has meant it is now some distance away.


Beach Road – Landing, St Peter’s Anglican Church and Katikati School

Turning left onto Beach Road before the Talisman Hotel we can see one of the landing sites on the left. When the settlers arrived they were taken to Tauranga and their land drawn by ballot. They came to Katikati by boat and were dropped off at different sites near to their land. The landing is one such site. On the site is a chainsaw sculpture of Humphrey, a sea elephant who visited various parts of Katikati (Bowentown, Kauri Point, Tuapiro, Uretara Stream) between 1985 and 1989. Created from a huge Macrocarpa Stump, the sculpture was installed in 1997.

Further up Beach Road we come to the Katikati Primary School otherwise known as Katikati No. 2 School (28 Beach Road). Maria Gallaher was the first teacher there. Her son, Dave Gallaher, was captain of the first All Black team in 1905.

Travelling down Beach Road we come turn left into Pukekura Road then follow the road along as it turns toward the right, coming to number 55. If we follow the driveway along we come to Homewood Estate (1875), the home of settler Dr Thomas Fletcher. The property was later owned by George Alley, who established the Homewood Trust established the Homewood Trust to assist returning soldiers from World War II. Homewood includes portions of Martray, Captain Stewart’s home and where George Vesey Stewart lived after they died. When Martray was demolished timber was carted across the estuary at low tide by dray.

Follow Pukakura Road back and turn left into Beach Street. Right down the end of Beach Road on the waterfront is where Ellen McCormack’s parents had their poultry farm (Macmillan).

Macmillan Poultry Farm, Beach Road, Katikati (1954)

Macmillan Poultry Farm, Beach Road, Katikati (1954). Photo: Ellen McCormack (2012).

Travelling back down Beach Road we get to St Peter’s Anglican Church (2 Carisbrooke Street) on the left. John Gray built the church which from pit-sawn Kauri rafted from Auckland to a wharf on Diggelmann's farm and carted to the site by dray (a low, heavy cart) pulled by horses. Sandy Turner gave two acres of land for St Peter’s Anglican Church which was completed in 1884. On 11 May 1884 the Bishop of Auckland journeyed on horseback to Consecrate it. On his arrival, officials found it locked. They went to John Gray for the key but he refused to hand it over until he was paid for his work. The party moved to the No. 2 School across the road and the Consecration was held by proxy.

St Peter's Anglican Church (Katikati) 1898

St Peter's Anglican Church, Katikati (1898). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.

Talisman Hotel

Turning back onto State Highway 2, on the corner is the historic Talisman Hotel. The Uretara Hotel used to be situated nearer the river, possibly where the bronze statue of ‘Humphrey’ is located now. It was run by a Catholic, Barney MacDonnell (1828-1907) who stood 6ft 2” and weighed 20 stone and was often seen ‘superintending fights in the hotel paddock’. In 1887 Barney’s 2-year-old son drowned in the river. As a result of that and also how flood prone the river was Barney rebuilt it on its present site in 1888. He retired to Tauranga in 1896 and Alfred Shepherd took it over, renaming it the Talisman. It burnt down in 1929 and the existing one was built.

Talisman Hotel owned by Mr Shepherd, 1898

Talisman Hotel, owned by Mr Shepherd (1898). Photo: Emily Surtees Photographic Collection.


Rereatukahia Stream & Tetley Road Marae

Continuing on State Highway 2, we again cross the Rereatukahia Stream which flooded frequently. On the left is Tetley Road down which is the Rereatukahia Marae.



On the left is Claymark. This is where Smith’s Village was located, owned by Joseph Robinson Smith (c1832-1905)who, believing that Hot Springs Road would become the main road to Auckland and the logical place for a township, set about subdividing. On his 1879 plan of over forty sections, one of the streets was named Hamilton Road. Around this area was also the home of Denis Stephen Foley (1840-1900) who operated a butchery here from 1878. In 1900 he drowned in the Uretara Stream.


Sharp Road

We cross the Te Mania Stream. On the corner of Sharp Road was where the award winning Cheese & Bacon factory (opened 26 January 1884) was located (Cheese Factory No. 1 – first in the Bay of Plenty). The cheese won £100 prize in Wellington and was described as ‘prime’ on the London Market (Gray, 2000, p. 72). However it lost money each year and closed after four years – nothing remains (there were Cheese Factories, No 1 and 2 established by 1886 but it is uncertain of the location of No. 2 - BOP Times 16 Dec 1886). Down the very end of this road is the land owned by my second great grandparents John and Rachel Hamilton, described in George Vesey Stewart’s words as ‘an old friend to our family. This was John Hamilton’s second parcel of land, obtained in 1878 after he gave up his first parcel to George Vesey Stewart’s parents, Captain Mervyn and Francis Stewart. In 1902 the Hamilton farm at the foot of Sharp Road was gifted to George and Rachel McCauley (nee Hamilton) as a wedding present. They later sold it and retired to the Katikati township where their house can still be seen at No. 122 Main Road.


Forta Leza

In 1902 the Katikati Dairy Factory opened, the brainchild of Hugh and Adela’s son Mervyn James Stewart, and said to be the ‘real salvation of Katikati’ (Gray, 1975, p. 115). This was reinforced by Adela Stewart; ‘This factory has proved a great success and has saved many settlers from bankruptcy’ (p. 134). Today, the Forta Leza restaurant occupies the original dairy factory building.

After the Forta Leza we cross the Waitekohe Stream.


Walkers Road East

On the left is Walkers Road East. On the corner can see the wonderfully preserved Waitekohe No. 3 School, built in 1880. Just inside the front gate can be seen the remains of a forge used to hand make the nails for construction.


Matahui Road

Travelling further along State Highway 2, on the left is Matahui Road, near to Morton Estate Winery. This was the site of a large camp for the workers on the railway in the 1920s. Nothing remains and we continue on, crossing the Whatako Stream?


Aongatete Road

On the left is Aongatete Road with Titles Bookshop on the corner. There is also a pottery and Presbyterian Church was built in 1908 after Kauri milling started, so was built of Katikati Kauri.


Morton Road

On the left is Morton Road. This was the site of the soldier’s blockhouse in the 1860s during the time of the New Zealand Wars. Nothing remains. We then cross the Wainui Stream.


Turner Road

We pass Apata's Turner Road on our right. Named for brothers Robert Rutland Turner (1882-1927) and William Henry Turner (1884-1965) who owned the land. Down there was the site of the Katikati No. 4 school although nothing remains to show where it was. We head back home into Tauranga.


List of bridges, streams and rivers on the way to Katikati from Tauranga:

  1. Wairoa River
  2. Te Puna Stream
  3. Apata Station Rail Bridge
  4. Wainui Stream
  5. Aongatete Stream
  6. Waitekoe Stream (the Forta Leza is on the right).
  7. Te Mania Stream
  8. Rereatukahia Stream
  9. Uretara Stream Bridge
  10. Tahawai Stream
  11. Tuapiro Stream

by Debbie McCauley (2013).


An Ulster Plantation by Arthur J. Gray.
Auckland Star.
Bay of Plenty Times.
Births, Deaths & Marriages (New Zealand).
Ellen McCormack (Katikati Historian).
George Vesey Stewart: First Mayor of Tauranga by Debbie McCauley (unpublished manuscript).
Katikati in Legend and History by E. T. Jordan.
Katikati Mural Town website: Humphrey.
My Simple Life in New Zealand by Adela Stewart.
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal.
Te Ara: Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.
Te Aroha News.
The Hamilton Family of Katikati, New Zealand: 1875-2025 by Debbie McCauley (unpublished manuscript).
The McCauley Family of Katikati, New Zealand: 1876-2012 by Debbie McCauley.
The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Katikati and District by Christine Clement and Ellen McCormack.
Western Bay of Plenty Council: Built Heritage Inventory.
This page was archived at Perma cc July 2017

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An Historical Tour of Katikati with Ellen McCormack (2013) by Debbie McCauley

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
An Historical Tour of Katikati with Ellen McCormack (2013) by Debbie McCauley by Debbie McCauley (Tauranga City Libraries) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License