Friday, 30 October 2015

Rotorua Transport Companies of Yesteryear.

Tourists Travel by Luxury Car to Rotorua

With thanks to Don Stafford's 'The new century in Rotorua' for the following information.

In 1902 it took just 2 days to drive from Auckland to Rotorua by car, the road conditions were deemed acceptable, with the stretch of road through the 'Oxford Bush' (now Mamaku), which had been cut up with the timber and fire wood wagons, being the only exception.

Mr Edwin Robertson's coaching company was the biggest private employer during the early 1900s, by 1903 his company was taken over by a group financed by two Auckland businessmen and two other men who had also been in Rotorua coaching circles, William Carr and Thornton Walker.

The new company was titled "Rotorua Motor Coaching Co. Ltd" By 1908 R.M. Coaching Co. had a fleet of cars as well as the coaches, however the condition of the roads between 1910-1919 was of greater concern for those using motor cars than it was for horse-drawn vehicles.  Unfortunately by 1918, the R.M. Transport Co. was in dire financial straits and folded soon after in 1919, at that time the last coach ran also.

 In September of 1920 a new company by the name of Rotorua Motor Transport Co. was formed that also took over the Hot Lakes Transport Co. as well.  During 1922 the Kusab's transport company became "K Motors"  from this time the new players in the transport industry grew and Taxi companies were formed and later Bus companies began operating between town's making travel that much easier albeit a little bumpy! and sometimes the roads were impassable too.

From "Wises New Zealand Post Office Directory" 1898

One of the first ever transport companies in the Rotorua region.

c1910 Map of  Hot Lakes Transport Co. Trips around Rotorua.
From the Rotorua District Library Collection

From : Papers Past, article in 'Auckland Star' 3rd September 1937

Friday, 23 October 2015

Book Review : "Last train to paradise : journeys from the golden age of New Zealand Railways" by Graham Hutchins

Romantic Rail

Rail travel has long been the only way to see the country, especially when you are not driving!

This lovely book "Last train to paradise" gives us a picturesque look at how it once was for sightseer's and visitors to our fair country from 1920 to the 1950s. Written not as a travel guide, but giving much detail about the countryside the train passed through and where it stopped. From North to South "trains not only linked communities, they were communities in themselves"

In the chapter on the 'Rotorua Limited' (previously 'Rotorua Express), the author tells the story of how it was for the passengers of this new style of train "with enclosed vestibules between carriages. It was now possible to walk the length of the train without having to negotiate the vagaries of wind and weather" you can almost imagine yourself on that train, so vivid the description of scenery, smells and stations. The black and white photographs capture the essence of rail travel in the golden age. 

This book can be borrowed from the NZ History and Travel section on the 2nd Floor.

The Rotorua Express
From 'NZ Railways Magazine, Dec 15th 1926"

Friday, 16 October 2015

Aeroplane Travel 1960s Style

Rotorua Airport 

Officially opened by The Rt Hon Keith Holyoake on Saturday 3rd October 1964. 

Rotorua Photo News 24/10/1964 p7
Festivities on the day included over 100 aircraft from a 'Friendship' to a 'Tiger Moth' converging on the airfield, sightseeing trips took 100s of trippers round the lakes, Aerobatics, gliding, topdressing, supply dropping and parachute skydiving. The Prime Minister's arrival coincided with an artillery demonstration by the Australians, their blank shots making a fitting salute.  The day was organised and run by the Rotorua Aero Club and local Jaycees. (Source : Rotorua Photo News October 24th, 1964)     

Rotorua Photo News 24 October 1964, pg 8.

In March of 2014 Rotorua celebrated with the Airport on it's 50th Anniversary 

Excerpt from the Daily Post, Saturday 29th March 2014 : "Retired Rotorua electrician Maurie Street recently dropped off the official programme of events from the big day to the Rotorua Daily Post, which included messages from then Prime Minister Keith Holyoake, Rotorua Mayor Murray Linton and Rotorua County Council chairman Neil Hunt.

  • The programme states the original cost for the airport and new terminal was 350,000 (approximately $12.5 million).
  • The terminal itself cost 30,000 and was wired up by Mr Street and his team of electricians.
  • Work began on the new 4500ft (1371m) runway set on 143 acres (58ha) on land bought from Te Arawa hapu Ngati Uenukukopako.

On November 12, 1962, machinery began to crush scrub and Waikato Earthmovers Ltd began to fell trees which dotted the area. A few problems caused by bad weather, hidden underground springs and a layer of hard rock delayed construction, but by March 1963 a workforce of 24 men driving seven bulldozers, five large scrapers, three water carts and six heavy rollers were preparing the site for the new sealed runway.
Lots of local firms were involved in the construction, including MJ Street Electricians, GN Dodds painters, Larkin Bros construction, Walsh and Cox roofers, H Allen Mills engineering contractors and Lee Brothers joinery."

This image was published in a booklet by the Photographer D. Therkleson "A scenic Souvenir of your Rotorua holiday" c1960s

The above sources can be viewed at the Library on the 2nd Floor and you can read the Daily Post coverage and see the photos online. 

"I still remember my very first Aeroplane flight at age 5 or 6, it was an NAC plane from Gisborne to Napier" Blog Author, Alison Leigh.  

Monday, 12 October 2015

5 Ways to see New Zealand

Travelling around New Zealand

This can be managed many ways as evidenced from the many travel guides on offer, so I've decided to give you just a few.  All titles are available to borrow from the 2nd Floor,  New Zealand history & Travel section.

1. "New Zealand the great walks" by Alexander Stewart c2009.  993z TRA 

This compact guide covers 'the great walks' as the author dubs them, these being : The Lake Waikaremoana Track ; Tongariro Northern Circuit ; Whanganui River Journey ; Abel Tasman Coast Track ; Heaphy Track ; Routeburn Track ; Milford Track ; Kepler Track and Rakiura Track.  The tries to cover some historic facts, geology, flora and Fauna and supplies an overview map for each, though helpful if you own a copy of this guide it would be better for eager walkers to obtain up-to-date maps from the local Dept. of Conservation offices or go on a guided walk there are many options available.  

The author also gives prices for a realistic budget, these are liable to change from one year to the next so be careful to get up-to-date prices online.

2. "Classic New Zealand road rides : 100 recreational road rides in New Zealand" by Jonathan Kennett and Kieran Turner with Foreword by Sarah Ulmer. c2010. 993s TRA

This is a really helpful guide if you plan to ride around NZ in your own time, the ride times for each of the featured rides are based on people averaging between 15 and 30 km/h. You can read up on road conditions, ride gradings (i.e. easy to hard) and what clothes and gear you'll need depending on where you are in NZ. The authors cover the whole of NZ taking you from Northland to Bluff and are experienced road riders as well as competition rides.
  This guide is great for the novice as well as more experienced riders.  

3. "Pubs with personality : a personal selection of over 150 of New Zealand's best" by Peter Janssen & Steve Reid. c2008. 993z TRA

A great way to see historic New Zealand and meet the locals. This is a pocket history of each of the featured pubs, where you can stay or just get a meal and wet your whistle.  The oldest pub in NZ is the Horeke Hotel in the upper Hokianga Harbour built in about 1833 to supply liquor to the local workers at the ship builders yard even though it wasn't licensed until 1842!.   Find out all the amazing facts (and tall tales) of this fascinating part of New Zealand's history and see the country at the same time.

4. "Let's go camping : 66 great places to pitch your tent or park your van" by Sarah Bennett and Lee Slater c2009.

"No matter where you are there will be campgrounds less than an hour away" This book covers just 66 of them in depth, but also lists other campgrounds as supplied by the AA. As you read through each review you can see that the authors know what they are talking about and have sampled many a campground throughout the country, they also cover (briefly) freedom camping for those who prefer the wild side. Beautiful colour photographs throughout make you wish you were there! 

5. "Twisting the throttle : New Zealand a Kiwi's guide to the top 50 motorcycle rides in the land of the long white cloud" by Mike Hyde c2013.

Part travel guide, part personal experience and part history lesson Mike Hyde style. The author covers from Ninety Mile beach in the North to The Catlins in the south, he makes no apologies for his forthright advice and let's the reader know that if you want spoon fed information you should buy a Lonely Planet Guide. Beautiful color photographs lead you into the by-ways and hi-ways that make our country unique. 
An easy read with kiwi humour thrown in for good measure.