Site Clearing at the Tauranga Historic Village - Nov. 1974


  Boys and Steam Engine - Tauranga Historic Village - 1976

I joined the Tauranga Electric Power Board as an Electrical Engineer towards the end of 1972.

In December of 1972 a Historic Village style museum was proposed for Tauranga, 14 acres of city council endowment land considered. The 17th Ave West site was mainly flat, covered in scrub and in need of draining. Plans for the Historic Village were published by the Bay of Plenty Times.

I thought it was an interesting project, and over the years that followed, until I left Tauranga in 1985, I took occasional photos related to the development.

I developed a website on the Kaimai Hydro Electric Power Scheme in 2007. Now 45 years after the initial development of the Village I have decided to publish some of the photos I took, while living in Tauranga, which may of interest.

Initially I contacted Noel Nicholls to get the OK for taking some photos of the initial development. He seemed to be a major driving force behind the Village/Museum project. Due to personal pressures of employment and family I made a less than ideal number of visits to the site, so my record is rather scanty.

The photos are all B/W because that was what I could reasonably afford for this endeavor; to further cut costs I did my own developing and printing.

Reference: Historic Village Timeline

Reference: Charlie Haua: A Tauranga Legend

Noel Nicholls and helper at Tauranga Historic Village site - Feb. 1974

* 1972 December; Historic Village style museum proposed for Tauranga. 14 acres of city council endowment land is under consideration. The 17th Ave West site is mainly flat and at present covered in scrub and in need of draining.

* 1972 December; Plans for Historic Village published. The plans include a hospital. Cheese Factory, Kiwi house. Mine, Timber Mill. Black Smith Shop and the Old Matapihi Churchh

* 1973; January Work has begun on clearing the site and reforming drains at the Historic Village Site

* 1976, December 11; Village opens to the public.

* 1989; Compass Community Trust took over operation of the Village which is to become a center for community resources and activities. The buildings are to be tenanted by community and not-for-profit organizations. 20,000 artefacts are being sorted and stored for eventual relocation to a new museum.

* 2005; Tauranga City Council takes over management of the Village.

Tauranga Historic Village Site - January 1974
Site Surveying - Tauranga Historic Village - 1974

Laying Drains - Feb. 1974
Round House, Gilmore's store and Steam Engine - Nov. 1974 - Tauranga Historic Village
Ngaroma Steam Engine on its way to the Tauranga Historic Village Site

Ngaroma Steam Engine at Sulphur Point
1907 Blackstone Steam Engine in the Tauranga Citrus Parade October 31 1974

Steam engine from Saroma Sawmills which was built in 1923 - type E 0-4-4-0 at the Tauranga Historic Village Nov. 1974
Tauranga Historic Village - Nov. 1976
Inside the Blacksmith Shop - Tauranga Historic Village - Dec. 1976
Charlie Haua - Village Blacksmith - Dec. 1976

Born in Tauranga in 1903 Charlie Haua attended Tauranga District High School and went on to become one of the towns best known and longest serving blacksmiths.

Working for forty-nine years as a smithy, in ‘retirement’ he made thousands of horseshoes for visitors to the Tauranga District Museum and Historic Village. In 1976 he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the community.

Inside the Tauranga Historic Village Stables - Dec. 1976
Horses and Dray - Tauranga Historic Village - circa 1976
Tauranga Historic Village November 1981
Sir David Beattie and Noel Nicholls - Tauranga Historic Village - circa 1982
Sir David Beattie - Gov. Gen. NZ at Tauranga Historic Museum - circa 1982

Brass Band at the occassion of Sir David Beattie's visit circa 1982
Releasing Balloons at the Tauranga Historic Village site - Xmas 1978
Anchor House - Tauranga District Museum
Tauranga Electric Power Board Transit House - 66 Durham Street

When I arrived in Tauranga near the end of 1972 temporary accommodation was provided at 66 Durham Street. This was next to the main Tauranga Electric Power Board (TEPB) Building.

This was an interesting location. It was only one block away from Anchor House, which acted as a temporary District Museum from November 1969 until November 1975.

SS Taioma

On 30 June 1978 the Taioma was officially donated to the Tauranga Historic Village as a tribute to all the merchant seamen who lost their lives in WWII.

Arriving in Tauranga on 15 July 1978, after a 450 nautical mile tow by the “Herenui”, the tug was opened to the public at Coronation Pier until she was slipped on 5 March 1979.

Four large steel beams were Welded to the tug’s bottom plates to make a permanent cradle, after which it was side slipped onto a 13 axle, 104 wheel, trailer.

Before the trucks were able to move the trailer, the tug had to be made lighter and the funnel, wheelhouse, mast and some of the engine equipment was removed.

The tug began its move on 7 April 1979 and arrived at the Museum on 9 April 1979 after a journey of 5kms.

Reference: The Steam Tug “Taioma”

Bob Owens? and SS Taioma at Sulphur Point 17 Mar. 1979
SS Taioma descending 17th Avenue on its way to the Tauranga Historic Village - 14th April 1979
SS Taioma entering the Tauranga Historic Village - 9th April 1979
Steam Tug SS Taioma at Sulphur Point, 24 March 1979