Topic: Tauranga Police Station

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2013 saw the opening of a new multi-million dollar police station on Monmouth Street in Tauranga. The site has traditionally been the centre of law and order in Tauranga since 1864.


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The Monmouth Street site has been the centre of law and order in Tauranga since 1864.

Originally, Ngaiterangi inhabited the Taumatakahawai Pa site. However, it was abandoned in 1828 after a devastating attack by Ngati Maru from Thames.

Soldiers from the 43rd Monmouth Light Infantry rebuilt the site in January of 1864. Several buildings eventually made up the site.

A portion of Army Barracks from Monmouth Redoubt was shifted to No. 1 Monmouth Street sometime after 1864 for use as a police house. When the Monmouth regiment withdrew from Tauranga in 1866, the 12th Regiment took over the site until they too departed from Tauranga in December of 1866.

The 1st Waikato Regiment assumed responsibility for law and order in the local area. During the Tauranga Bush Campaign of 1866-1877 various government forces joined together to enforce Crown policy.

The Armed Constabulary was established in October 1867 and took over several sites that had been used by the Imperial regiments stationed in Tauranga, including those fortified positions used during the 1864 Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga. One of these sites was the Monmouth Redoubt overlooking the harbour.

In 1870 an addition was made to the police house building. The Armed Constabulary Station at Tauranga was disestablished in January 1877. The Police Force Section of the Armed Constabulary had a Sergeant and three men stationed in Tauranga by 1878. 

In April 1879 the Tauranga gaol was closed and prisoners sent to Auckland. Two years later a new building was erected which was described in the Bay of Plenty Times on 14 February 1882:

NEW POLICE BUILDINGS. The new Police Station, which is to be erected near the Government Buildings, at the corner of Monmouth and Willow streets; will be a very handsome addition to this part of the town. The buildings will consist of two four roomed cottages, a lock-up with three cells, a stable, a storeroom, with other necessary housing. One of the cottages is to occupy one of the sides of the allotment, and is intended to accommodate the members of the Force when desired. In front of the Lockup will be a police-room, and on the other side of the allotment the other cottage will be situated. The latter will be divided from the other premises by a fence, and, we understand, will be occupied by the Sergeant and his family. The two front rooms of the cottages will be 12ft. x 12ft., the back room being 12ft. x 14ft., and the kitchen 12ft. x 12ft., leaving a 4ft. passage through the centre. In addition, the kitchens will be provided with pantries and porches, and each house will be furnished with two 800-gallon tanks. The buildings are to be fenced in front with a batten fence and gates, and on the side with a paling fence. They will have a southerly aspect, commanding a fine view of the town. The work, which has just been commenced, has been entrusted to Mr David Lundon, and it is to be carried out in accordance with plans prepared by the Government, architect. The entire cost will be about £1,000, and from our knowledge of Mr Lundon we have no doubt that he will complete the contract in a most satisfactory manner. The work is to be finished by the 24th of May... When these works are completed, there will likely be a considerable change in the distribution of the Police Force, which cannot fail to have a very salutary effect on the population, both native and European (pp. 2-3).

Constable Thomas Whelan appointed as Keeper of the Police Jail. Another early police officer was Constable Rawiri. The two were former members of the Armed Constabulary.

The 1886 Police Force Act established the New Zealand Police Department.

In February 1894 a boat for used on the harbour was purchased by the Tauranga Police Department.  It was called the 'Roia'. The following year, in 1895, another police house was built at No. 5 Monmouth Street. In 1964 this building was later cut into section and transported away from the site.

Monmouth Redoubt (c1910)

Monmouth Redoubt. Shows moat around the Redoubt, which is still there. Upper left is Police Station on same site as now [c 1970s]. Bottom left is Guinness Bros. building [Bond Store, No. 1 The Strand]. Small building in centre above moat is Ammunition Shed. Guinness house behind cannon (later burnt down). Flag pole in front, original wooden one, now replaced by steel (has square wooden base in photo). Washer family home in centre behind ammunition shed was called Oki Oki, meaning 'Place of rest'. In trees to left of Oki Oki is Mann's house, Park Street; still standing. (Photo: Tauranga City Libraries).

The second Tauranga Police Station on the Monmouth Street site was built in 1942 between the two police houses in Monmouth Street. It consisted of three offices of 462 sqft and 616 sqft of residential accommodation. 

Original Police buildings, Monmouth Street, Tauranga in 1955. The art deco house on the corner can be seen behind the building on the left. It was built by Charles Hartley. (Photo: Tauranga City Libraries).

The first police car in Tauranga arrived in 1956, a Consul patrol car. On 11 December 1964 the original Police Office building was moved to 1st Avenue.

The station built in 1942 was demolished in 1965. Police were accommodated at the old Methodist Church Sunday School building in 1st Avenue from December 1964 until the new Police Station was finished.

The third Tauranga Police Station at Monmouth Street opened on 1 November 1968 and comprised three storeys.

In 2011 plans for a replacement building were announced by then Police Minister Judith Collins. During the construction phase, a temporary police station was located at 111 3rd Avenue.

The fourth Tauranga Police Station building, costing $20.8 million, was officially opened on 22 July 2013. The energy efficient 3900sqm structure features a Maori carving, forensic laboratory, decontamination shower, interview rooms, a medical room, and 23 cells. There is an on-site gym for the staff of 150, and underground parking.



Bay of Plenty Times (14 February 1882)

Policing Two Peoples: A history of Police in the Bay of Plenty 1867-1992 (1993) by Jinty Rorke.

Tauranga 1882-1982: The Centennial of Gazetting Tauranga as a Borough (1982) Tauranga City Council.

This page was archived at perma cc March 2017

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Tauranga Police Station


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