A heritage and cultural impact assessment detailing the history of the Wairoa district and its main street is now available to the public.
The assessment was created by Wairoa Museum director Mike Spedding and curator Nigel How for Te Wairoa E Whanake project.
This significant document offers a glimpse into Wairoa’s past and shares the district’s rich history.
The heritage and cultural impact assessment is available for purchase at Wairoa Museum.
Below is a snippet from the document:
Wairoa Post and Telegraph Office.
There were two buildings built on this site. First a single-storied building replaced by a two-storied building with a clock tower. The post office had its own wharf. The concrete staircase on the riverbank opposite the site lead down to this wharf. Mamahanga Cemetery is recorded as being directly in front of these buildings.
The official opening of the two-storied building took place on 23 January 1913, though it had been in use for 15 months prior. The honour of opening the facility fell to the Member of Parliament for the area the Hon Mr Campbell, who was accompanied by Sir James Carroll. After a speech from Mr Campbell, the Mayor Mr Joseph Corkill stated "the Natives have most liberally contributed to the clock and chimes fund, and I believe they would like to give it a Māori name." He then called upon Sir James who spoke the following.
"...Wairoa was tick in history, even before the white migrants came, and two chiefs of importance ruled where I now stand - Tapuwae and Te Maaha of Ngāti Kahungunu of Te Wairoa, where a huge community had been built up that extended even to the Wairarapa. Tapuwae and Te Maaha had evidently formed themselves into a harbour board with Tapuwae being sole chairman - with no one to rule him out, had everything his own way. When he wanted the bar blocked it was blocked and when he wanted it opened it was opened. I will name the clock Tapuwae, and hope it will be always on time and that its melody would have a soothing effect on the people when they grieve or are sorrowful, or when they don’t want to get up, or when they have to meet a bill..."
This clock tower was destroyed in the 1931 earthquake. Two of the four bells were severely cracked and eventually sent to England for repair, but the prohibitive costs saw them abandoned. The remaining two bells were repurposed for use at St Paul’s Anglican Church and Wairoa Primary School. Wairoa Museum holds the clock counterbalance and one of the hands from one of the clock face.
Small snippets of Wairoa's history is also told through a series of window decals along Marine Parade. The decals can be seen on the windows of the Winter's building, on the corner of Marine Parade and Locke Street and tell the story of the Gemmell's and Winter's buildings.
If you fancy a glimpse into the past history of these spaces and a sneak-peak of what their next chapter is set to look like, pop down and check out the decals!
Where we are at
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