Friday, 19 July 2019

Rotorua Police Station - 50 years in Fenton Street


The news for Tuesday 22nd July 1969 was dominated by the Moon Landing, but also in the news that day was the new Rotorua police station, which opened on Fenton Street for business at 8am. At that time the telephones and radios were changed over, and the doors of the old Tutanekai Street station (now the Pig n Whistle) were closed by Inspector E. C. Welsh.

Inspector E. C. Welsh closes the doors of the old Tutanekai Street station. Credit: The Daily Post, Tuesday 22 July 1969, 3


The new police station


The watch-house was located on the ground floor directly opposite the main entrance. The two-storey, 22-cell block building had facilities for both male and female prisoners, with proper meal, recreation and toilet facilities, and thermal heating.

Also on the ground floor were the uniform senior-sergeants, sergeants, and constables offices, and muster rooms, with a self-contained kitchen for night shift staff. The arm office was also on the ground floor to the left of the watch-house.

The Criminal Investigation Branch was based on the first floor, along with Inspector Welsh, the officer in charge of the station, and Superintendent B. R. Alty, the officer in charge of the Rotorua police district.

The top floor had a photography darkroom, a large recreation room, and the records and administration offices.

The site for the new Rotorua police station in Fenton Street in August 1967 (left), and construction work under way in November 1967 (right). Source: Policing two peoples: a history of police in the Bay of Plenty (Jinty Rorke, 1993)

Police Station, Fenton Street. Credit: The Daily Post, Tuesday 29 July 1969, p. 11.

Official opening


The new station, which was Rotorua's fourth station since 1886 and cost $207,000 was officially opened a week later on Tuesday 29th July by Minister of Police Hon. Percy B. Allen. Other dignitaries present included Mayor Murray Linton, Rotorua MP Harry Lapwood, F.O. Scott (Assistant Commissioner of Police, Auckland), S. C. Browne (retired Superintendent of Police, who had served in Rotorua), P. A. Byrne (Chief Superintendent, Auckland), W. H. A. Sharp (Assistant Commissioner of Police, Wellington), and Joseph Saunders (Superintendent of Police, Wellington).

The opening was preceded by a parade led by the Auckland Highland Pipe Band under Drum Major P. Faulkner. The parade featured members of the uniform branch, the Criminal Investigation Branch, the women's division, and the dog unit.

The Rotorua Aero Club also flew three Cessna aircraft over the parade.

After the official ceremony, members of the public were invited to view the station and tea and light refreshments were served in the canteen.

Click on the images below to see them full size.

The Daily Post, Wednesday 30 July 1969, p. 9.



Rotorua Photo News, No. 72, 30 August 1969, pp. 22-25.

Rotorua Police Station in the 1980s. Credit: The Daily Post.

An upgrade


There have been minor changes to the station building over the years. For example, in 1989 the station was painted lilac with eden green and chetwode blue highlights. A colour scheme, which divided opinion at the time.

The first part of a major redevelopment occurred in 2008 when the cell block was replaced with a $14 million custody centre.

In 2012 the Fenton Street Police Station underwent a much needed $18.5 million upgrade.

During the demolition and construction of the new building the temporary police station was located across the road in the former Spence's building. Some staff, such as the patrol group, road patrol group, dog handlers and tactical group worked from the existing Fenton Street site out of temporary buildings located behind the custody centre.

The newly renovated station was blessed at 5.15am on Monday 19th May 2014 by several iwi representatives. It had its official opening on 6th June 2014.


Police station under construction. Credit: The Daily Post. Photographer: Stephen Parker

This post was written by Graeme. Thanks to The Daily Post and Policing two peoples: a history of police in the Bay of Plenty (Jinty Rorke, 1993).


Friday, 12 July 2019

Rotorua's First Police Force

Armed Constabulary and Road Builders

Don Stafford records for us in his book "The Founding Years” that the first police requirement for the town involved Armed Constabulary from 1870 located mostly at Kaiteriria (Green Lake) building roads and occasionally doing Police work.  At this time they supported the Arawa troops led by Gilbert Mair.

There was also what was called ‘a station’ at Ohinemutu where Constables Nicholas Marsh and James Kelly operated from a hut in 1873.  The next known policeman was Constable Henshaw, he did not stay long in the area as he married in 1874 and a Sub-Inspector Forster was left in charge when Mair went to Maketu.

In the 1880’s there was a paid contingent of Native Police which included Constables Hare Takerei (1879-1888), Hiwinui Haupapa, Mikaere Te Kati, Hingawaka (1889-1984), Arama Karaka (1894-1899) and George Pratt (1899-1907) 

During this early period of Rotorua’s settlement a constable was stationed here to mostly handle what was listed in the ‘Armed Constabulary Force’ Charge book as ‘drunk and disorderly’.

By 1905 a gaol was situated behind the courthouse, this was still in use in 1965. 

The gaol was also used for the Queen Victoria bust which arrived in 1883, as reported around the country : "An event causing considerable amusement and consternation occurred on Saturday. A Statue of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, lately presented to the Arawas, was being placed in position in Tamatekapu[a], when a cart arrived with an escort of police who took possession of the statue and carried it off to the lockup. No reason given for the proceedings" Wanganui Herald, 24 April 1883, pg. 2 


Here we have a brief biography of one Constable Bill Neil who joined the Rotorua Police in 1907.
Rotorua Photo News 5 May 1967, pg.83

With thanks to Jinty Rorke’s 1993 Policing two peoples: a history of police in the Bay of Plenty, 1867-1992 for the following list of officers : 

1898-1905 Constable William Bern ; 1904-1906 Sergeant William J. Phair ; 1905-1906 Constable Francis J. Blake ; 1906-1909 Sergeant John Watt ; 1906-1909 Constable Luke Spellman ; 1907-1909 Constable James A. Annison ; 1907-1924 Constable William (Bill) Neill ; 1908-1911 Constable Peter Giles ; 1909-1910 Constable Sydney H. Bishop ; 1909-1911 Sergeant Lawrence Carroll ; 1909-1915 Constable Albert Clark ; 1909 Constable William G. Wright ; 1911-1915 Sergeant Edward Eales ; 1913-1916 Constable Patrick J. O'Hara ; 1915-1918 Sergeant Denis J. Cummings ; 1915-1929 Constable Thomas Johnson ; 1916-1927 Constable Donald A. C. McLean ; 1918-1921 Snr. Sergeant Michael McKeefy.  

There are many more men (and Women) who have served our community since then and you can read about them in Jinty Rorke's interesting book.

Our second Police Station as written about in another blog post this month 

Photo courtesy of Kete Rotorua, photographer Faeryl Rotherham, 2012


This post written by Alison. 



Saturday, 6 July 2019

June Berry: the first policewoman to be appointed to Rotorua

June Ann Berry joined the New Zealand Police Force on 1st August, 1955. She was one of four women on the six-week training course which was held in Lyttleton. After her training she was posted to Christchurch where she served till September, 1956. This was followed by some years in Palmerston North. On 1st September, 1964 June came to Rotorua, making her the first policewoman in the Bay of Plenty.

Her early years in Rotorua involved what would now be called Youth Aid, working with young offenders, plus accompanying female offenders during interviews (a role previously filled by policemen's wives), to court, and escorting them to prison. In 1970, she was appointed bodyguard to Princess Anne, while she was visiting Rotorua.

Outside of the force, June had many pursuits. She was a charter member of Zonta when that club formed in 1973, becoming the president in 1978. She played golf and was part of the Arawa Women's Bowling Club. She was also apparently a very good baker. In her obituary, Jill Nicholas of the Daily Post told how June, with much secrecy, created her wedding cake.

In  May 1980, a photo of June and two young policewoman appeared in the Daily Post, along with an interview, celebrating her approaching 25 years in the Police Force. By this time, June was working as a full-time plainclothes officer, following up on serious accidents and other incidents. In 1983, June was once again a bodyguard when Princess Siu'ilikutapu of Tonga visited Rotorua.

Daily Post 17 May 1980, p 4

In 1985 June became the Police's first woman District Arms Officer. By 1986 the New Zealand Police Force had been in existence for 100 years.  An ecumenical service was held at St Michael's church to commemorate. Flags from around the world were paraded into the church to show the diversity of past and present police members. June was one of those flag-bearers. On the 3rd February, 1988 June retired. At that point she was the longest-serving female police officer in the country.

In 1993 New Zealand celebrated the Women's Suffrage Centennial. Enid Brinkler compiled a book as part of the celebrations entitled Women to remember: Rotorua and District. June Berry was one of the women featured and in November, 1993, that information was published in the Daily Post.

Daily Post 13 November 1993, p 18


Jinty Rorke released her book Policing two peoples: a history of the police in the Bay of Plenty, in December, 1993. The launch of the book was combined with the Police retired officers Christmas luncheon. In an article in the Daily Post 2nd December 1993, p 2,  June Berry reminisced about prisoners having to escape from the cells due to flooding!


Daily Post 2 December 1993, p 2

In 1996, June Berry was one of the recipients of the Rotorua Community Awards, presented by Mayor Graham Hall to acknowledge the contribution people had made to the city.

Daily Post 14 December, 1996, p 1

In 1999 June organised a successful reunion of those who'd served part of their policing careers in what is now The Pig and Whistle.

June Berry died on 12th March, 2000. Death notices from family, police and staff of Joe's Diner all appeared in the Daily Post. Her obituary featured in the Daily Post on 20th  March 2000, p 2.

Rotorua Library holds two books which contain references to June Berry which I used in the writing of this blog:
  • Policing two peoples: a history of the police in the Bay of Plenty by Jinty Rorke (1993)
  • Women to remember Rotorua and Districts compiled by Enid Brinkler (1993) for the Women's Suffrage Centennial
This blog is written by Trish, with thanks to Daily Post, Jinty Rorke and Enid Brinkler.




Friday, 28 June 2019

The winter season brings bowls of savoury soups and casseroles and a chance to get the flannelette duvet cover and winter coats out of the airing cupboard.

This post will look at winter fashion through the lens of local retailers and local events in Rotorua. This snapshot of fashion from the early 1900’s to the 1990’s shows the change in style, fabric and price.
Miss French’s Ladies Emporium on Tutanekai Street, promoted dressmaking and millinery as their specialty in 1910. In 1935, Cauldwell’s: The Men’s Store on Tutanekai Street offered fancy pullovers starting at about $50 (approximate) in today’s currency. Note the flannel undershirts and fleecy singlet’s. Meanwhile, the fashion fabric of choice at Teresa’s frock and millinery specialists also on Tutanekai Street was Tweed.  
Hot Lakes Chronicle 5 Feb 1910, Rotorua Morning Post 17 July 1935

During the winter of 1945, Cauldwell’s sold wool dressing gowns in a “smart two-tone effect”, heavy woollen waterproof Swandri’s for men  and tweed overcoats & caps for boys.

Rotorua Morning Post 12 Jul 1945

In 1956 a group of dancers showed their dance and fashion style at Geyser Hall. At Economic Outfitters on Hinemoa Street, one could find “woollen underwear” and “heavy sheepskin pyjamas”. On Eruera Street, Wisemans offered a choice of “free gloves or free nylons or 2 free belts” if you purchased a “WONDA Handbag”.

The Rotorua Post 18 Jul 1956
In the 1960’s fashion could be found in many places and at many events. In 1963 the ‘Gown of the Year’ event featured, amongst others, 13 beautiful gowns by New Zealand designers. The gowns were modelled by Tam Cochrane’s girls. An example of everyday wear was on show when Pop and Ani Dohery demonstrated their ‘twisting’ dance moves in 1963 at the Murupara Anglican Church Gala Festival. In 1966 workwear fashion was seen on the streets and in supermarkets. Two meter maids are stylishly dressed in their uniform and staff from ‘Mckenzies Supermarket’ show that their uniforms have some flair as well. If a fashionable suit was needed, one could find it at Finns Fashions and “Charge It” to an account. Finns Fashions used to occupy the site where ‘Max’ Women’s Retailer is now located, on the corner of Tutanekai Street and Eruera Street.

1. Rotorua Photo News 19 Oct 1963, 2. Rotorua Photo News 14 Dec 1963, 3. Rotorua Photo News 30 Jul 1966,
4. Rotorua Daily Post 18 Jul 1966, Rotorua Photo News 12 Feb 1966 

In the local ‘Photo News’ publication, a double page spread titled, ‘New Zealand Fashion Scene’ showed the current fashion styles for the country. In this issue for 1966 white wool, checks and tweed are on trend.

Rotorua Photo News 22 Oct 1966

In 1976 the “Great Annual Sale” was in full swing at Bell’s Busy Centre on their winter fashion items. There were discounts on “fashion coats”, “vyella and clydella blouses”, “winter weight wool mixture slacks” and “warm skirts in wool and wool mixes”. Bell’s was on Tutanekai Street next to the Post Office. Gardner Fashions on the corner of Pukuatua and Tutanekai Streets offered the option of paying by “visa bankcard” or putting items on “layby”. Fashion wear such as “Pinafore Frocks”, “Angora Sweaters” and “Skinny Ribs” were all the rage in 1986.

Rotorua Daily Post 14 Jul 1976 & 15 July 1986

Hallensteins offered fashion items such as men’s sweatshirts in ‘100% cotton with a crew neckline’ and 'western style jeans in powder blue denim and with 5 pockets' were unbeatable value at $39 in 1990. Christmas came early in 1998 in an event held by Rotorua Community Hospice at Waiariki Polytechnic. The event featured clothing designed by students from Waiariki Polytechnic. Two gowns designed by Sara Oh were modelled by Rochelle Pike (standing in image on right) and Rita Joy (seated) models her own dress.

Rotorua Daily Post 17 July 1990, Rotorua Weekender 3 Jul 1998
This blog was written by Ani Sharland with thanks to the Hot Lakes Chronicle, Rotorua Morning Post, The Rotorua Post, Rotorua Daily Post and Rotorua Photo News.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Snow in Rotorua

Snow on Mount Tarawera, Mount Ngongotaha, and at Mamaku is not uncommon during the winter months but snow falling around the city is a more rare occurrence.

Nicola Marvin and Vanessa Marvin play in the snow at Mt Ngongotaha. Credit: Daily Post, Monday 7 September 1981, p.1.
On the 13th July 2017 around 12.45pm snow was seen falling in the city. It was not heavy enough to settle on the ground. Library staff remember standing at the windows at the Transition Library in Pukuatua Street watching the snow fall.

Metservice meteorologist Tom Adams told the Daily Post that snow fall in Rotorua was a 'a good indication locals won't have to go far to find snow'. Adams added that the snow in the city is 'sleety snow' and that this type of snow 'never lasts long but it's pretty cool to have it down at those residential levels.'

The outskirts of Rotorua, such as Mamaku, Waikite Valley, Reporoa and Broadland had heavier snowfall, and many locals made the trip to play in the snow. Rebecca Breitler of Ngongotaha took her sons Daniel, 15, and Josh, 13 to Mamaku to see the snow. She told the Daily Post that 'it's beautiful but cold, and good timing for the school holidays.'

Snow falls in Haupapa Street, 13 July 2017. Credit: Daily Post

Snow at Waikite Valley, 13 July 2017. Credit: Daily Post

Previously snow fell in the city on the 15th August 2011. It was reported that is was first time in at least five decades of snow falling in the city centre.

On the same day snow fell in downtown Auckland for the first time since the 1930s. It was also reported that the level of snow that fell in Wellington had not been seen since at least the 1970s.

Rotorua Primary School principal John Naera told the Daily Post that is was the first time it had snowed in his eighteen years at school. He said 'it was a real experience for [students], some of them haven't [touched] snow before. They were running around with open mouths and with their tongues out trying to catch snow flakes.'



Snowing in the city, 15 August 2011. Image and video credit: Adrian Hodge Photography

In 2006 while it did not snow in the city. There was another record. The maximum temperature for the 19th June was only 5.9°C, which was the lowest since at least 1964.

Also on 29th June 1994 while it did not snow in the city snow was reported falling in the areas of Fenton Park, Koutu and Sunnybrook. Orion Street resident Doug McLellan told the Daily Post that it was the first time snow had fell since he moved to Sunnybrook four years earlier.

This week Rotorua reached its coldest temperature for the year with a morning temperature of -2.6°C on Thursday. Will we see snow again?


This post was written by Graeme. With thanks to Adrian Hodge Photography and the Daily Post.


Friday, 14 June 2019

The Winter Show : Rotorua Agricultural & Pastoral Association


 The A&P Winter Show c.1923-c.1966

The first Rotorua Winter Show is recorded as being in 1923 just before the successful Auckland Winter Show, and was modeled on the 1922 Auckland Show. 

In 1927 the Summer Show was dropped in favour of the Winter Show as this was more popular. The winter shows were held in a garage owned by the Rotorua Motor Transport Co.

The Ritz Hall built c.1935 for the A&P Shows was rented out in between shows.

The Ritz was taken over by the RNZAF in 1942 as a training venue (and for dances) and handed back to the Association in 1946, and the Association ran its Winter Show again for the first time since 1941.

c.1930’s the Association bought a section of some 30 acres on Old Taupo Road which ran between Uta Street and the Utuhina Stream. 

At some point prior to the 1962 document shown here, the Summer Show’s began again.

Unfortunately on New Year’s Eve of 1962 a fire destroyed the main hall of the ‘Ritz’. The Associations insurance company was quick to pay out and the hall was rebuilt with improvements and a geothermal bore was installed to supply hot water, but the heating component for the hall was delayed until funding could be found. The heating was installed in c1963 to the three halls owned by the Association.  In 1964 there was some discussion around the revenue from the rental of each hall as the Association required the use of all venues for the Winter Show and the annual one day Summer Show. 

Rotorua A&P Association Inc. Annual Report for the year ended 31 Dec 1962

By 1964 the Rotorua Photo News had begun publishing photos from the Winter Shows. As seen below the show included a range of events not seen today. 

Rotorua Photo News 1 Aug 1964 pg 30

A Beatles Impersonation Competition proved very popular...

Rotorua Photo News 1 Aug 1964 pg's 31-32

The Winter Show was held again in 1965, 1966 and 1969. Beyond 1969, the winter show no longer features as an event in the annual reports of the Association.  As shown below there was some concern about the financial state of the Association in 1966. The Association took possession of a new property at Ngongotaha on the 1st June 1968 and the 1969 Summer Show was held there with much success.  This property was called Riverdale Park and a portion of this park is still in use today for the A&P Shows every Auckland Anniversary weekend. The Ritz Hall was sold in 1980.


A programme that was printed by Rotorua A&P Assoc. 
This Post was written by Alison, with thanks to the Don Stafford Collection and Norma Evans collection and Rotorua Photo News held by the Library.


Friday, 7 June 2019

Mid-winter Festivities

Daily Post 3 June 2019, p 6

As winter approaches, it's become a New Zealand tradition to host or attend a mid-winter Christmas party or similar event. This year, during June and July, The Prince's Gate Hotel is hosting Rock'n Rolling' mid-winter parties and Stratosphere is also hosting mid-winter celebrations which look very Christmassy. What have been some other winter activities available in the past?

Daily Post 5 Jun 2019, p 7

In 1994 Rotorua hosted the Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival. Aimed at trying to boost Rotorua as a winter tourist destination, even for mountain bikers, the Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival ran for three days in July. Mountain biking featured heavily with a ten hour enduro race, the Moonride race, a 30 km treasure hunt on bikes, and a family mountain bike gymkhana. AJ Hackett helicopter bungy jumps were also available for the adventurous.

Daily Post 18 July 1994, p 13

Residents and friends of Lara Lodge Rest Home celebrated a mid-winter Christmas in July.

Daily Post 6 July 1994, p 3

In 1995 the Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival had grown to a two week event. It expanded to include events such as mountain rafting down the slopes of Mount Ngongotaha, mud-sliding and a Mad Paddock Party.

Weekender 7 July 1995, p 1

The Friends of the Library hosted a winter series featuring leading authors, local, national and even and Australian, Tim Winton. As well as a luncheon at the tea rooms, a short story competition for children was run and a Trivial Pursuits evening was held.

Weekender 21 June 1996, p 14

In June 1996 students from Waiariki Polytechnic Institute hosted a mid-winter Christmas dinner with entertainment, as a fundraiser for Rotorua Community Hospice...

Weekender 21 June 1996, p 14

Rotorua Pathways Steiner Kindergarten held a mid-winter Lantern Festival...


Daily Post 21 June 1996, p 14

Daily Post 1 July 1996, p 1

The annual Civic Ball, hosted by the Rotorua Community Charity Trust was held at the Convention Centre. Themed as a mid-winter Christmas, guests were greeted by Town Crier Graham Lewis, along with Mayor Grahame Hall and their wives. A Christmas feast was followed by dancing to the music of the eight-piece big brass band, the Barry Smith Connection.

Henk and Nan Bussink  at the Civic Ball which raised $5000
for the Life Education Trust. Daily Post 1 July 1996, p 2


The 3rd Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival, held from 18-21 July, added an outrigger waka challenge, a yacht race to Mokoia Island and a polar plunge to the mountain-biking events. The Moonride event moved to Whakarewarewa Forest.

Fred Christiansen, organiser of Moonride atop Pahaturoa Hill looking
towards Whakarewarewa Forest. Daily Post 12 July 1996, p 1

Pathways Kindergarten celebrated winter with another Lantern Festival in 1997 for the children and their parents. Beginning the evening with soup and singing, the children and families then paraded their lanterns around the block.

Daily Post 20 June 1997, p 16

The Lakes District Stings Ensemble was joined by Joe Malcolm for a Winter Concert. Joe Malcolm plays the pukeae, nguru and koauau, all different types of Maori flute.

Joe Malcolm and Marion Townend  rehearsing for the Winter
Concert. Daily Post 14 August 1997, p 2

In June 19998 there was an account in the Daily Post of The Prince's Gate Academy Awards Evening. Resident actors who'd written the script also ran the show, and guests were designated Hollywood star personas as they dined and danced the evening away, re-enacting famous movie scenes throughout the evening.

Christmas in July was the July headline reporting on the mid-winter Christmas at Waiariki Polytechnic, a fundraiser for the Rotorua Community Hospice. Dance students from Ngongotaha Dance Academy provided entertainment along with a fashion parade by apparel and fashion students from the polytechnic.

Weekender 3 July 1998, p 16

The Bay of Plenty Branch of the Reading Association held a mid-winter Christmas. Their guest speaker was Joy Cowley, who spoke on lessons she'd learnt from children

July 1999 saw a six-day mid-winter Christmas shopping promotion. Just over one hundred shops participated, Santa roamed the streets and there were competitions. For children there was a treasure hunt that entailed finding hidden Christmas symbols in participating stores.

Kylee Grooby (centre) won a hamper of goodies and Nikki Smith (right)
 won a night for two at Sky City. Daily Post 9 July 1999, p 2.

Also in July the Rotorua District Strings Ensemble performed their Winter Collection concert in the upper foyer of the Museum, the first in a series of concerts funded by a grant from the Rotorua Civic Arts Trust.

In June 2000 it was announced there would be another series of four concerts over the winter months to be held at the Museum. The first performance featured Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns, respected performers on traditional Maori instruments.

Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns.
Daily Post 14 June 2000, p 12

Daily Post 29 June 2001


This post was written by Trish with thanks to the Daily Post.