Topic: John Maxwell of Tauranga's Belfast Bakery

Topic type:

Belfast Bakery was established by John Maxwell in Tauranga, 1870 and eventually taken over by his son George Maxwell in the early 1900s.

Looking strange? see an archived version here

Text about the image

John Maxwell (pictured 5th from left above) immigrated to New Zealand from Ireland. He established the Belfast Bakery on the Strand next to the Masonic Hotel in 1870. Reference number 14-0176

John was born in 1836 and died March 15, 1904. See this in context at HistoryPin (click here)The Bay of Plenty Times recorded his passing on March 16 with:


BOPT 1904 March 16 - Rifles and Lodge

Some months ago his health began to fail owing to advancing years and despite what medical skill could do, and change of air. etc., he gradually faded away, succumbing eventually to dropsy and heart complications as above. Few figures will be as much missed in the town as his, and from all classes and creeds come expressions of the deepest regret at his removal. The funeral has been fixed for 2.30 p.m., to-morrow, and deceased will be interred with both Military and Masonic honours, at the New Cemetery. Deceased left behind him a wife and grown up family of four sons and one daughter, for which much sympathy is felt in their sad bereavement.Yesterday afternoon death removed from our midst one of the oldest residents in this district, namely Mr John Maxwell, head of the well known firm, of Maxwell and Sons, and always a prominent citizen of Tauranga. Deceased was in his 69th year, having been born in Armagh, Ireland, on June 25th, 1835. Taking up the army as his profession he was drafted to the 40th Regiment, then commanded by Col. Leslie. In March 1860 he came with the regiment from Melbourne to New Zealand and went through the Taranaki war. After this he became clerk in the Commissariat Department in Auckland, where he served four years, eventually purchasing his discharge in May 1866. Mr Maxwell then came to Tauranga, where he has remained ever since after serving various employers, he embarked in business on his own account, and as his sons grew up, he took them into partnership. Deceased was among the founders of the first Masonic Lodge in Tauranga, and in the early eighties was elected Borough Councillor, an office in which he served the public for many years. He was a man of warm sympathies and many interests, and never backward in lending a helping hand to friend or stranger who stood in need of one.

Bay of Plenty Times, March 16 1904


On March 25 the Katikati section of the Bay of Plenty Times revealed he was well respected in that region and hailed from a similar area in Ireland. 


(Own Correspondent.) The sad news of Mr John Maxwell's death has been received here with feelings of the most sincere regret and sorrow he came from the same district of Ireland as the great majority of the No 1 Party, and was closely identified in business and other relations with its members, taking a warm interest in our progress and prosperity; stauuch and true to his political principles, which he fearlessly expressed and supported, conscientious and honorable in all his transactions with his fellow-men, he has left a blank in society that will be hard to fill,, and I need not add in conclusion, that the greatest sympathy is felt and expressed in Katikati for his widow and family in their sad bereavement.


Belfast Bakery had catered for local events such as St Johns Day.

The festival of the anniversary of St John's Day was celebrated by the Freemasons in Tauranga by a ball given under their auspices, in the Temperance Hall, on Tuesday evening. The evening passed off very pleasantly, and dancing was kept up with great zest until nearly five in the morning. A well provided refreshment table was laid out on the stage, at which the guests were invited to regale themselves as they desired, the catering being undertaken by Mr Maxwell of the Belfast Bakery, in a most satisfactory manner...

Bay of Plenty Times June 30 1877

John (sometimes called Johnny in the paper's advertisments)  was also an advocate for local industry as attested to by this 1878 (August 3) mention.

Mr John Maxwell, of the Belfast Bakery, has brought to our office for inspection a 2lb. loaf baked from Tauranga grown and Opotiki crushed wheat. The bread is light and apparently quite equal to that baked from the T.S.F. brand. It is to be hoped that our bakers will encourage the growing and grinding of wheat in the Bay of Plenty.

Bay of Plenty Times August 3, 1878


The Phoenix Bakery and the Belfast Bakery seems to have had a spirited competitive relationship. Advertisment at left from Bay of Plenty Times 1880, and below from 1881.

To explore further go to Papers Past (click here) and:

                1. Search for "Belfast Bakery", or "Phoenix Bakery" or "John Maxwell"
                2. Click Refine Search
                3. Choose Bay of Plenty Times
                4. Choose dates from 1872 onward. The first BOP Times was September 4 1872, though Papers Past have (as at May 2014 anyway) digitised from 3 November 1875 to 31 December 1920 (7461 issues).
                5. Sort results by date
                6. Click Search

























Acknowledgement Sue Hays (granddaughter to George Maxwell). Not for Commerical Use. The Strand showing George Maxwell’s (1871 – 1950) Belfast Bakery (established by his father John in 1870) next to the Masonic Hotel. George’s father John past away in 1904.

Reference number 14-0175

his page was archived at perma cc March 2017

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion


John Maxwell of Tauranga's Belfast Bakery


Latitude and Longitude coordinates: -37.6829903,176.1699281

javascript needs to be on to use Google Maps