Topic: Bureta, Tauranga, New Zealand

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The name Bureta has been used for this part of the Otumoetai peninsula since 1900 when the land was bought by Bowyer Corbett, a planter from Fiji. The following information is from the Tauranga City Council and Historic Places Trust sign erected on the site.

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In the beginning: Early plans show that 110 acres of the 140 acre farm were bought by Thomas Craig. Thirty acres were later purchased from the Maori owners to whom they had been granted after the land confiscation in 1865. The whole area was turned into productive farmland by well known Tauranga settlers, including Captain Clarke, A. C. Turner, Rev. T. Gellibrand and Captain Crapp.

Bureta Farm: In 1900 43 year old Bowyer Corbett left a successful career in Fiji, where had had lived for some 30 years, for the sake of his health. The name Bureta (pronounced Mbureta in Fijian) comes from the island of Ovalau where he settled. The translation suggested by a Fijian specialist is ‘muddy water’. Corbett took up farming in Otumoetai, but despite the change of climate died in April 1909 (their son, Eric Corbett 1886-1918, died during World War I). His wife, Eileen, remarried, and with her husband, Caldwell Ashworth, retained ownership of Bureta until 1914 when they moved, first to Ngawaro, and later to Norfolk Island. At the time of the clearing sale in 1914 the Ashworth's had 45 choice dairy cows. The Ashworth’s were part of the social scene and entertained members of the Waikato Hunt on the farm in 1912.

Dairying at Bureta: In the early 1920s the farm was owned by Murray Munro, whose sons took the cream from the farm by buggy on their way to Otumoetai School. It was placed on the big cream stand at the north east corner of Grange and Otumoetai Roads, to be collected by Dinsdale’s truck and taken to the diary factory on11th Avenue.

From 1924 to 1929 the Blaker family was allowed to occupy a cottage on the site of an ancient fortified pa, in an area then known as The Terrace and later as The Plateau. Acklam Avenue now runs along the centre of the pa site, which is bounded by Ngatai Road and the golf course. The cottage had belonged to a failed poultry farmer, who placed his incubators in the protection of the inner trench, covering them with only a malthoid roof.

Drainage was always a problem on the farm. Millions of mosquitoes bred in the swampy areas, emerging at night to torment the Blakers. One of the sights of the district before 1924 was the ‘frogs’ pond’, located in a swampy, raupo-filled area where the main drain widened, before discharging into the harbour. Where it crossed the beaches the water was up to 30cm deep and 2 metres wide at time. This stream was an obstacle to Otumoetai walkers and cyclists taking the beach route to town. In the 1940s neighbour Frank Julian place a stout board - sometimes washed away - across the stream above the high water mark. A permanent bridge was constructed by the Otumoetai Rotary Club in 1986.

The Fells: Another notable owner of Bureta was Commander D. M. Fell, a retired British naval officer, who took over the property in September 1926. The Fells returned toBritainabout 12 years later. Their son, Anthony, who became a Member of Parliament there, took every opportunity to support New Zealand’s trading interests threatened by Britain’s possible entry into the European Common Market. On one occasion he left the House of Commons debating chamber in tears, so strong was his concern for the country in which he had grown up.

Rushton and the Sicklings: Walter Rushton, after whom Rushton Avenue is named, his son-in-law John Sickling and John’s brother, George, purchased the farm, by then 147½ acres, in 1938. With about 140 cows Bureta became a town supply farm around 1941. When the supply quota was exceeded, the extra cream went to the dairy factory and the skimmed milk to pigs bought and sold on a temporary basis. In addition to dairying, the farm produced crops of potatoes, maize, kale, turnips, mangolds and chou mollier.

The Sickling children helped with haymaking, and made some pocket money by selling pin cones and mushrooms collected on the farm.

The “Remuera of Tauranga”: Subdivision began in 1947, with the sale of sections on the eastern harbour front. Land sales price control, abolished by 1950, delayed subdivision of the rest of the farm, but entry of eastern Otumoetai into Tauranga Borough in 1949, with increased rates, compelled it. Advertised as “Bureta Estate”, the “Remuera of Tauranga”, 63 sections were offered for sale on 3 June 1950. Prices realized ranged from £240 to £910. In 1952 Jack Benham, who had surveyed the subdivision, purchased the old homestead.

Anyone for Golf?: Golf was played on the farm during the Ashworth’s residence there about 1912.

In the early 1950’s Tauranga Borough Council considered turning the swampy land acquired as part of the reserve contribution and known at first as Otumoetai reserve and later Bureta Park into a park featuring a lake. Strong protests from local residents about the mosquito problem swung the council to favour a public gold course, which opened in 1956.

The Otumoetai golf club was formed in May 1964 with 25 members. A lease was granted to the Club in 1969 and improvements to the course begun: gums and pines were cut down and thousands of cubic metres of fill were added to the course.

School, Homes or Hotel?: When the farm was subdivided the area that had been the heifers’ paddock in the 1920s was taken by the government as an education reserve for a Catholic secondary school.

By the late 1960s the Church found that filling the land to Tauranga City Council requirements would be too expensive and the land was reverted to the Lands and Survey Department. The Housing Corporation made a plan of subdivision for State Houses. When the sections were flooded by rainwater after Beazley Homes Ltd had begun work, the Corporation gave up the plan and the land went back to the Lands and Survey Department.

In 1969 a committee was established to investigate the formation of a licensing trust for Otumoetai. The formed education reserve was chosen. Thousands of eels escaped as the swamp was filled, and found their way down the drains to the sea or into Maori cooking pots. Building commenced in 1973, and the Hotel opened on 25 May 1974.

The Otumoetai Trust was bought in 1996 by the Tauranga Charitable Trust and renamed Bureta Park Motor Inn.

This page was archived at Perma cc February 2017

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Bureta, Tauranga, New Zealand

City:Tauranga, New Zealand