Thursday, 11 February 2016

February of Yesteryear in Rotorua : Pt 2


It happened on this day.


The display of events that happened on this day in history in Rotorua is being added to every day on the 2 nd Floor of Rotorua District Library. Keep following the events online with our weekly blog posts. This is the second post in a series of four. If you missed the first post, read it here. Dates for events are drawn from the works of Don Stafford

8th February 1960

First traffic lights.

Traffic lights were used in Rotorua for the first time at 2:50pm on the 8th of February 1960 on the corner of Hinemoa and Tutanekai Streets.

Want to know more?

Read about the ensuing confusion in the Rotorua Daily Post for February 9 th 1960 available on Microfiche at Rotorua District Library.

9th February 1959

THE STEADY GROWTH OF NEW ZEALAND'S RAILWAY TRAFFIC THE ROTORUA EXPRESS ON ITS WAY FROM AUCKLAND TO THE DOMINIONS WONDERLAND - Auckland City Libraries

Diesel Railcar Service replaces Steam Express


The first diesel railcar service from Auckland to Rotorua started on the 9th of February 1959. The new daily service meant the end of the Steam Express. The railway to Rotorua had officially opened in December of 1894.

Photograph from Auckland City Libraries of the Rotorua Express.

Want to know more?

Last train to paradise: journeys from the golden age of New Zealand railways by Graham Hutchins
The New Century in Rotorua by D.M. Stafford.
Rotorua Post 9th & 14th of February 1959 available on Microfiche at Rotorua District Library.
Kete Rotorua


10th February 1970

Kepa Ehau Dies at Home in Ohinemutu.


Kepa Hamuera Anaha Ehau was a law clerk, interpreter, WW1 soldier and Te Arawa Leader. He had vast knowledge of iwi history and whakapapa and was most noted for his whaikōrero or oratory.

Kepa Ehau was of Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Tarawhai/Te Arawa descent. As well as speaking Te Reo Māori and English, he also spoke French, German and Italian.

Want to know more?

Kepa Ehau me ōna hononga = Kepa Ehau and his affiliations by Darrell Guy Rangitihi Pene.
Te kaka tarahae : he kohikohinga pakiwaitara, poroporoaki hoki  = a collection of stories and speeches of farewell by Kepa Ehau of Ngati Whakaue, Te Arawa ; compiled by Hamuera Walker Mitchell.
Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand


11th February 1966


A & P Showgrounds becomes Utuhina Park Subdivision.


The old Rotorua A & P Showgrounds were across from Rotorua High School on Old Taupo Rd. The first Rotorua Agricultural, Pastoral, and Industrial Association show was held in 1910. ‘Utuhina Park’ subdivision was advertised on the 11th of February 1966 and the A & P showgrounds has since been at the Western Road site in Ngongotaha.

Want to know more?


Daily Post 11th of February 1966 available on Microfiche at Rotorua District Library.
Papers Past


12th February 1893

First Race Meeting at Arawa Park.



Race meetings of the Rotorua Jockey Club or Rotorua Racing Club were held in Rotorua as early as 1872. The earlier course was in the area now encompassed by Pukuatua, Fenton, Amohau and Amohia Streets.

The first race meeting was held at the new Arawa Park course on the 12 th of February 1893 and they continue on the same site to this day. Photograph of a Scene at Arawa Park in 1901 from the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Want to know more?

The Founding Years in Rotorua by D.M. Stafford

13th February 1946

Gas Producer Cars Banned in Rotorua.


Cars converted to run using charcoal burning gas burners were called gas-producers. It was an alternative to petrol in the 1940s when petrol was rationed.

Gas producers were less powerful and some motorists dropped live embers on the roadside. It was thought that some large fires in the North Island may have been caused by gas producer cars.

Photograph of car with rear charcoal gas producer from Wikimedia Commons.

Want to know more?

The New Zealand People at War : The Home Front Vol. 2
See video footage of coal gas for cars in the 1940s
Rural fire history of New Zealand


14th February 1900


Ohinemutu residents raise patriotic funds for Boer War

The 2nd Boer War started in October 1899 and ended in May 1902. Over 6100 New Zealanders served in South Africa over this time. 

Government funding for the soldiers needed to be supplemented and the New Zealand public, women in particular, raised Patriotic Funds by selling items and running events.


Want to know more?

Papers Past
Rough Riders at War by Richard Stowers.
NZ History - South African War 1899-1902  


This series of posts is written by Sandra Quinn, Heritage Collections Librarian, Rotorua District Library.