Thursday, 31 October 2019

Celebrating our Blog's 5th Birthday

Celebrating our Blog

It’s our 5th birthday.
We (me mostly) started this blog as a way to share Rotorua’s rich history with our community in an easy-to-read online format.

After a steep learning curve, I got quite good at thinking up topics [or eras] to cover each month and proceeded to research each topic. That was the easy bit as Rotorua Library has a comprehensive collection of books, ephemera, early Rotorua maps, Don Stafford’s Research folders, the early Rotorua newspapers and the Rotorua Photo News. 

Rotorua’s history has been very well documented for us in both photographs and the many stories of those early intrepid explorers and missionaries.

To celebrate our 5th birthday the Heritage and Research team have picked out some posts to highlight and share with you.

From me a couple of topics I enjoyed writing about the most was the early [Royal visitors] and all about Rotorua’s Beauty Pageants. I hope our readers will continue to enjoy our blog and tell all your friends about it too.  Alison

Click the links to these blog posts : 
Rotorua Street Names Disappear 
This map was published in a
brochure for tourists c1940
Rotorua Transport Companies of Yesteryear

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

 NZ Music Month : Sir Howard Morrison

From the Clive Trio to the Howard Morrison Show
in Rotorua Photo News Jul 31, 1965 p.33.
 Christmas in Rotorua 

Rotorua Library - our first Christmas Parade Float
Joanne Hatcher and Mary Ellen Wilson
Rotorua's Arty Makeovers 

Fish out of Water : Princess Fishy 2016
Please enjoy our blog posts and let us know what you liked and maybe some topics you would like us to cover in the future. 

Friday, 25 October 2019

October Tourism Attraction News

This blog post highlights tourist attractions that opened in Rotorua during the month of October. There were also other related events mentioned that occurred in the month of October.

Related Events of Note in Rotorua

October 1895
Tolls were in introduced for those visiting Mokoia Island
6 October 1900 
First outbreaks of Waimangu Geyser noted
October 1963
‘Rotorua Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Act’ (New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Act 1963) passed by Parliament. This act was to preserve Māori heritage and culture and promote and foster an awareness of and appreciation for it.

Tourist Attractions Rotorua

Rainbow Springs
22 October 1938              Rainbow Springs opens as a tourist resort

Daily Post 22 October 1938

Tourism Leaflet 1969, Rotorua Library
Photo Provided

Located at the foot of Mount Ngongotahā, Rotorua. Early visitors paid a toll of sixpence where they could see the rainbow trout in the clear icy cold pools. One visitor included the Prince of Wales who fed the trout during a 1920 tour. 

23 October 1939              Paradise Valley opens as a tourist resort

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19060412-4-5

Located 6 miles from the Rotorua Township. The new attraction includes native bush, gardens, pumice paved walks, a large spring and terraced pools. Visitors can enjoy afternoon teas and other refreshments.

11 October 1960              Toot & Whistle Railway begins operating in Kuirau Reserve

Daily Post 12 October 1960

15 October 1986              Rainbow Farm opened

23 October 1986              Paddlewheeler, Lakeland Queen, launched on Lake Rotorua 

Daily Post, 23 October 1986

This Post was written by Ani Sharland with thanks to the Daily Post and Auckland Libraries Heritage Collection.

Friday, 18 October 2019

October 18th yesterday

Do you remember what you were doing on this date last year, five years ago, 10 years ago etc? This blog post looks back at what was happening in Rotorua on 18th October, yesteryear.

18 October 2004 - 15 years ago

The Daily Post had coverage of the second annual Rotorua Reebok Ekiden Relay that had been held on Saturday. 260 teams of six team members walked the marathon distance of 42.2 kilometres in rainy conditions around the shores of Lake Rotorua.

Source: Rotorua Daily Post, Monday 18 October 2004, p. 2. Photos: Tracey Robinson

18 October 1994 - 25 years ago

Lakeland Health chief executive David Buckleigh announced his resignation after 18 months in the role.

Also a general meeting was held to vote on the proposed merger of Rotorua Electricity with Bay of Plenty Electricity. There were angry calls for Rotorua Electricity chairman Jack Butterworth to resign after he announced the meeting would be adjourned for three weeks.

18 October 1969 - 50 years ago

On Saturday morning Malfroy Road School pupils held a mini-walkathon. The picture below shows signs, such as 'Miles for piles of books', which would suggest the walkathon was to raise funds for new books.

Also in education news, nine-year-old Rotorua Primary School student Shane Eaton was preparing for heats for the national frog jumping championship being held at Rotorua Primary School.

Malfroy Road School walkathon. Source: The Daily Post, Saturday 18 October 1969, p. 1.

Rotorua Primary School student Shane Eaton prepares for national frog jumping championships. Source: The Daily Post, Saturday 18 October 1969, p. 1.

18 October 1939 - 80 years ago

In October 1939 petty theft was an issue.

Firstly there was a word of warning to those stealing flowers that they would face penalties under the law. It had been reported on several occasions that flowers had been removed from Kuirau reserve, and in some case entire plants and bulbs had been taken.

Also it was also reported that petrol was being siphoned out of tanks. Motorists had been returning to theirs cars to find their tanks nearly empty.

18 October 1919 - 100 years ago

On Saturday 18th October 1919 the Arawa tribe gave a reception to General, Lady and Miss Russell at Ohinemutu. Sir Andrew Russell was presented with a feather mat as a gift.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle, Monday 20 October 1919, p. 9. Courtesy of Papers Past.

This post was written by Graeme. Thanks to Rotorua Daily Post and Papers Past.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Rotorua Mile Stones & random news events recorded in Rotorua and other NZ Newspapers c1889-1980.

Rotorua as seen in the News

October 1889 & 1890 Bay of Plenty Times (BPT)

Local talks and negotiations with Government continue as they seek to purchase the new Town.  See the Fenton Agreement.

BPT 12 October 1891: The Town Board offers a £5 reward for information on the person or persons who destroyed recently planted willow trees on the Esplanade.

BPT 26 Oct 1891: Many applications are being received for business and residential sections in the new Town. Minister of Lands assures them he will arrange matters to the gratification of the applicants.

BPT 26 Oct 1894: An Auckland builder W.H. Holman’s tender to build the Rotorua Court House is accepted.

Hot Lakes Chronicle 2 October 1895 : 
 ‘The Town Board calls for tenders for the formation of Pukuatua & Hinemoa Streets between Fenton and Tutanekai Streets, and for grubbing the extension of Hinemoa Street’

 ‘Town Board has estimated that the cost of water pipes to be extended along Tutanekai and various cross-streets would cost £972 and a further sum of £500 would be required to extend the Postmaster’s Bath’

‘Stray cattle & horses might still be seen at large about the streets, in spite of the ‘stringent’ instructions to the Poundkeeper. He recently manifested his zeal in impounding the [Town Board] chairman and secretary’s horses and it was gratifying to see that he showed not fear nor favour’

‘Mr Dansey proposed a ‘Fire Brigade’ for the town and asks for funding from the Town Board. The Chairman, Mr Malfroy, said “that in the meantime it was only a moral support that could be given, but he believed that in a measure now before the House [Parliament], power would be given whereby the Board could aid them financially.”   Mr Corlett one of a deputation for the Fire Brigade, stated that some work had already begun to form a Brigade and would like assistance from the Board in “obtaining a site for a fire station in the new town” in the conversation that ensued, it was suggested that there would be plenty of room in the Courthouse enclosure and it was not likely that the Dept. of Justice would make any objection’ [This did eventually occur in c1905 after the Grand Hotel burned to the ground on October 24th 1904] 

Fire brigade outside station, Haupapa Street, Rotorua; Circa 1921; OP-864
Owner of Photograph : Rotorua Museum 

Hot Lakes Chronicle 7 Oct 1896 the Local news includes the following:

‘The Native Land Court has been engaged during the week in dealing with succession orders, and the partition of the Paeroa Block, Waiotapu. The Horohoro cases will be taken on the 15th.’

‘The Whakatane-Te Teko road is now advanced to within five miles of the Tarawera River. The construction party is now working about two miles to the westward of Rotorua and Rotoiti-paku, between which lakes the road will pass’

‘The highly mineralised atmosphere in this locality has a most deleterious effect on the delicate mechanism of watches and enquiries are frequently made as to which watch is best adapted to withstand the sulphur fumes. Mr Kohn a watchmaker of Auckland… supplies a particular make of stem-winding watches… which are warrented impervious to the influences in question’   

‘The Prospecting Association held a meeting to receive reports from the prospectors who have been at work at Horohoro and in the neighbourhood of Tapuaeharuru on Lake Rotoiti. In regard to the former a Mr Macdonald stated that he had found nothing which would indicate the presence of gold.’

‘A highly successful tea and social took place in the Schoolhouse on Wednesday evening last in aid of the funds for the erection of the Presbyterian church’

In the Hot Lakes Chronicle 21 Oct 1896 an article appeared on ‘Work at Whakarewarewa’

The Geyser Area at Whakarewarewa as surveyed by Mr Baber, work had already begun and further work planned to open up the area by road and footpaths. The article mentions a rickety bridge by which access is currently gained to the area and it was expected that a new bridge, ‘strong and wide enough for vehicular traffic’ would be built. The article goes on to say ‘In regard to Pohutu, Mr Malfroy informed us [the people in this entourage] that he intends to do something which will cause it to play regularly every day at a certain hour.’

In the Hot Lakes Chronicle 28th October 1896 a report was published outlining the Library and Reading Room Annual Report.

One of the income items was listed as ‘Sales of Waste Paper’ and they received a sum of £1 and 8 pence.

The listed expenses included Newspapers, Magazines, Kerosene, Insurance, concerts expenses, coal, solicitor’s fee’s and stamps. This all came to the grand sum of £59.  The Library and Reading Room at this time was in a small building next to the Comet Store, as seen in a photo published in our October 2018 blog post.

Auckland Star 3 October 1912: Lands for selection ‘Certain areas of town and village will be offered for sale or lease by public auction by the Crown Lands Department at the Assembly Hall…the greater portion of the land is situated in the town and suburbs of Rotorua.’

Lyttelton Times 7 November 1914: Rotorua Tenures Commission formed. “It has been ascertained that under the ‘Thermal Springs Act, 1881 there were 386 leases’ a further 429 leases were issued under subsequent acts in 1892 and 1908… the ‘Commissioners are of the opinion that it would be in the interests of  the State that any holder of leasehold Crown lands other than the occupiers of the Education Reserve desiring to obtain freehold should be afforded the opportunity’

Rotorua Chronicle 9th October 1920: Rotorua Town Lands Act is passed. 

Evening Star 31st October 1922: Rotorua Borough Act is passed, this enables the first Councillors and Mayor of Rotorua to be elected. This also is when the Tourist Department ceases to administer the affairs of the town.

Rotorua Morning Post 14th October 1937: The First State Houses are built (next to Council Housing Project)

Rotorua Morning Post 14th October 1940: The new Library was officially opened (in the Municipal Building)

Rotorua Morning Post 5th October 1942 : The avenue of Gum trees lining both sides of Fenton Street are to be felled because the Electricity Dept. says they are too tall and are encroaching on the lines.

Rotorua Morning Post 29th October 1945: The Dedication of the Bell Shrine at Ohinemutu takes place. This is a memorial to Mr Tai Mitchell.

Rotorua Post 11th October 1955: Mr Ed Hillary is in town to raise funds for his NZ Team to Antarctica.

Rotorua Post 13th October 1956: The Rotorua branch of the National Council of Women is inaugurated.

Daily Post 3rd October 1964: The new Rotorua Airport is officially opened.

Daily Post 14th October 1966: The premier of Howard Morrison’s film “Don’t let it get to you” is shown.

Daily Post 4th October 1967: Alfred Hitchcock visits Rotorua.

Daily Post 13th October 1969: The new Kiwanis Club receives their Charter.

Daily Post 6th October 1971: The Rotorua Association of Paraplegic and Disabled Persons is formed.

Daily Post 15th October 1973: The Rotorua Supreme Court is officially opened by the Chief Justice of New Zealand Sir Richard Wild.

Daily Post 3rd October 1978: The Citizen’s Advice Bureau officially opens in Arawa Street, with a trained volunteer staff of 44. They will be open 6 days a week.

Daily Post 1st October 1980: The Ritz Hall on the Cnr of Fenton & Amohau Streets is demolished.

This Blog Post by Alison with thanks to Papers Past for access to the online copies of the Hot Lakes Chronicle and other New Zealand Newspapers, Rotorua Museum and the Rotorua Library Don Stafford Collection.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Plane events in Rotorua in Octobers past

This week's blog topic is quirky. I began looking for events that had happened in October over the decades and discovered three separate incidents involving aircraft. The first snippet which I found in Don Stafford's chronology stated Aeroplane crashes on Fenton Street. That piqued my interest...


What's interesting is the way the 1941 headline is structured giving information in pieces as the image below shows.

Rotorua Morning Post 20 October 1941, p 4

So what happened? First of all, the plane was a Moth bi-plane owned by the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty Aero Club. Apparently, when the petrol tap was checked, it was turned past on, to the off position so as the aircraft took off the petrol flow to the engine failed. The pilot, Mr H. Boucher, having lifted off the runway, tried to land on a vacant section over the road from the aerodrome but fell short. So when he landed he caught part of the road edge, which wrenched the undercarriage off. Both the pilot, Mr Boucher and his passenger, Mr E. Shaw were able to extricate themselves without much difficulty the newspaper stated.


The headline in 1965 is much more sobering.

Daily Post 2 October 1965, p 1

The light plane, a two-seater Victa air tourer, clipped high tension power lines at about 10.15 am and crashed in shrub very near to Western Heights High School. As in the 1941 incident, the plane belonged to the Rotorua Aero Club.

The fuselage of the plan where it ended up with wings broken off
. Daily Post 2 October 1965 p 1

The engine was thrown clear of the wreckage.
 Daily Post 2 October 1965, p 1.

Within minutes of the crash nearby residents, ambulance and fire brigade staff were on the scene. The pilot, John Murdoch was pulled from the plane but was dead on arrival at Rotorua Hospital.

John Murdoch (39)  had only been in Rotorua for seven weeks, and was a Rotorua radio announcer. He had come to Rotorua from North Rhodesia where he had also been involved in broadcasting. During WW2 he had served with the Royal Air Force. The N.Z.B.C. team at Rotorua had been testing an idea of doing a programme from the air. It is believed Mr Murdoch, the only staff member to have a pilot's license, was testing this out at the time of the crash.

The crash into the power lines caused a power outage all over the city. Homes as far south as Reporoa and as far north as Mamaku were affected for about eight hours.


The final event is a bit bizarre and the headline says it all!

Daily Post 2 October  1974, p 1

A helicopter flying over Mt Ngongotaha was hit on a rotor blade by a high velocity object, possibly a bullet. The Hughes 500 helicopter was operated by Wishart Helicopters Ltd. When the rotar blade was initially inspected a 10c piece sized gash was found on the surface, not something that would have been done by a stone. A scientific examination would need to be undertaken to establish the cause of the damage according to Detective Sergeant D.W.I. Beck, who was in charge of the inquiry.

This blog was written by Trish. Thanks to Don Stafford Collection and the Daily Post.