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History Group

We plan this year to help Omokoroa Point School with History resources as it is 90 years since this school began in 1928.

So far Jocelyn Hicks and Colin Pettigrew have produced 5 pictures folders of early Omokoroa for classroom use and Jocelyn has talked to one of the classes.  We also are producing a large pictorial history board outlining the changes in the school history. The first Omokoroa No 2 School was the little hall at the front of the larger Settlers’ Hall.

In our meetings so far this year we have had Keith Maxwell talk about living in Omokoroa in the 1930’s. The Maxwell family farmed where Les Goldstone now lives.

We also watched a DVD made by BBC Northern Ireland who came and recorded the Irish Vesey Stewart settlement of Katikati in the 1870’s. Jocelyn Hicks and Colin Pettigrew have worked on part of an exhibition for the WBOPDC museum in Katikati called Suffrage 125.

In 1893 NZ women first gained the right to vote and Mary Ellen Freeth of Freeths Point (Plummers Point today) was one of these women. We managed to find interesting information about her.

Debbie McAuley from Tauranga library came to speak to us about several of the books she has written mainly for children which are beautifully illustrated. For example about the Rena, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in Tauranga and the battle of Gate Pa.

We are planning another History of Omokoroa evening in the Settlers hall on September 5th at 7.00 pm as there have been many requests from new residents. We also are planning with WBOPDC to erect a sign in Holyoake Terrace about the Wall family Jersey stud farm known as Lynley Park. The family farmed there for over 90 years.

Copies of many of our resources continue to go the WBOPDC archive in Katikati so that material is always available to researchers and to the general public.

Jocelyn Hicks


The History group has had several interesting meetings so far this year.

In February we had a very well attended meeting at Fran Ashley’s home. Anne van Leeuwin who originally built the house came to talk about the process. She also spoke about the “Boy Roel “ and the plans to protest against the French nuclear testing at Mururoa in Tahiti.

Mary Parkinson also spoke about the WBOPDC archives based in Katikati and the work she is doing there. She is keen to have some of the Omokoroa historic pictures we have in their archives collection as well. Colin Pettigrew has worked very hard recently to sort suitable pictures to go into this collection.

In April at our AGM the committee was re-elected and plans were made for this year. Our speaker at this meeting was Rachel Darmody who is a senior archaeologist in the Tauranga NZ Heritage office. She spoke about her work over the past 16 years. This included insight into the archaeological digs which have taken place in Omokoroa with all the new development. We learnt a lot from her explanations.

In June we met at Betty Gane’s home and invited four ladies from Matakana Island to tell us about recent things happening there. Heeni Murray talked about the book she has written on the history of Matakana Island and Adelaide Ngatai spoke about “Piata Mai” which is her book describing the lives of all the residents who are now over 80 years old. This was a very successful afternoon .

Recently we gave a set of booklets which Colin Pettigrew had put together on the historic history articles we have written for the Omelette newspaper since 2009 to the Principal of Omokoroa Point School and another set to the Omokoroa library as they are useful resources for the children and the general public.

Jocelyn Hicks

President Omokoroa History Group

So far we have had two speakers at our meetings this year who have been very interesting.

At our first meeting in March Richard Hart talked to us about his research on the flax milling industry in Te Puke in the 1900’s Most people were not aware how important this was to the area before dairying and then later kiwifruit growing took place.

In May Tommy Wilson from Pirirakau in Te Puna came and spoke about the French connection that his family and others in Te Puna have. It was interesting to hear about his visit to Honfleur in France.Tommy also talked about the valuable social work his group does in the Greerton area in Tauranga.

The updated Omokoroa history book Colin Pettigrew compiled has proved very popular and has now almost sold out. We have sold over 320 copies and may consider another reprint in future if we receive enough orders to make it financially viable.

We plan to have an evening function in August or September to display our collection of historic photos and to show some of our historic videos for the benefit of the many new people coming to the area. We will advertise this in the Omelette and with notices in the local shops and library.

On the 7th September we held we held a very successful History evening in the Settlers’ Hall We had a series of pictures of the early history of Omokoroa on display boards and Colin Pettigrew showed several DVDs of local history he had made which brought back many memories and caused some laughs. We had no idea how many people would attend and were amazed when over 150 people turned up. People chatted over supper and seemed to enjoy themselves. There is certainly a desire by many newcomers to the area to learn more about the district they have recently moved to.

We now have the pictures at Omokoroa Point School so the teachers and children can look at them this week.

Chris Wright has been busy this year writing more history articles for the Omelette especially about early bach life in the 1940’s and 1950’s in Omokoroa and these have been very well received by the readers.

We have also had some interesting speakers to our History Group meetings including Richard Hart, Julie Green from The Elms and Tommy Wilson from Te Puna. We look forward to hearing Anne van Leeuwin talk about building her house and the ventures of the Boy Roel at the time of the nuclear tests at Mururoa.

We hope next year to be able to provide more permanent historic picture resources for the local school.

Jocelyn Hicks

The History Group has had another busy year. We have continued our history articles for the Omelette each month. This year we have included some pictures of early settler houses as well as further bach stories and an article on the history of the Settlers’ hall dating back to 1928.

A story board for the Wall family Lynley Park Jersey dairy stud farm which existed for over 8o years has been made and is with the WBOPDC ready to be erected in the Lynley park area.

For ANZAC day and especially to remember Gallipoli this year we mounted a display of historic pictures in the library as well as a display at the school.

The major achievement has been the up dating of the Jenny Woods’ book on Omokoroa and in particular the history of the Gellibrand/Crapp family dating back to 1877. Colin Pettigrew has done a marvellous job with this book and the first printing of 200 copies has sold already. We are now well on the way selling the second print of 125 copies.

A big thank you goes to all those who supported us and in particular the Resource centre and the WBOPDC matching fund as well as many members of the Crapp family who made this venture financially viable.

Jocelyn Hicks – President of the Omokoroa History Group