Sue Matthews with the new history boards in Paengaroa.
By history board project leader Sue Matthews
Paengaroa Community Association has ticked off another project with the completion of thirteen History Boards erected in the Paengaroa Village.
The idea of capturing the history of Paengaroa was first mooted in 2011. It has finally been achieved with special thanks to Seeka and Evocom Signs for sponsoring this project.
The association adopted the term Paengaroa - A Hive of Activity and today the history boards fit nicely against Comvita's boundary fence and situated at the beginning of the cycleway where a snapshot of the history of Paengaroa can be read – whether embarking on a cycle ride or enjoying a relaxing walk or resting at the table with a cuppa purchased from within the village.
The history boards celebrate Paengaroa's early beginnings - starting with Māori.
Since 1350, with the arrival of Te Arawa waka at Maketū, Paengaroa has been occupied by many Tupuna and their hapu of Te Arawa with thriving marae and a network of marakai (gardens) and with the Kaituna River as a food source and as an important transport link.
In the 1840s and 1850s, Bay of Plenty Māori were profitably engaged in trading large amounts of their produce on the Auckland market.
Tapuika owned several trading vessels in this period. From the mid-1850s Bay of Plenty Māori also turned their efforts to the expansion of their horticultural and agricultural efforts although this was thwarted with numerous land confiscations throughout the century.
Early settlers in the 1830s saw expansion of flax trading. In the 1850s many travellers went through from Maketū to Rotorua, including the Duke of Edinburgh in the 1870s. By 1890 Paengaroa was a thriving junction on the main route from Maketū to Rotorua and situated at the beginning of the Old Coach Rd which was the main road access into the Eastern Bay.
At that time, Paengaroa had two boarding houses, a butcher, a general store - Robert King & Co - a post office, saddler and the Royal Mail Coaching Company with stables for 30 horses.
There was a blacksmith, wheelwright, Gilmore's Hall and a book maker.
The churches and a courthouse were at Maketū.
By the 1930s the Bank of New Zealand and Bank of Australia had been established.
Later, a thriving railway station was developed in Paengaroa to transport families, goods and stock to and from Auckland and then the Taneatua express which went east.
Many independent cheese making concerns such as Kaikokopu Creamery were established with the first co-operative dairy company established in 1884.
Initially pumice soils, with a cover of Kaharoa ash, thwarted farming as the soil lacked cobalt, causing bush sickness in animals.
In 1935 this was solved in with the advent of cobalt in fertiliser or a drench so dairy and sheep farming could thrive. Later horticulture became more prevalent with kiwifruit coming onto the scene forty-five years ago.
To find out more visit the site and enjoy a day in Paengaroa.
Paengaroa has a hub of local amenities with a primary school – including a community pool and community garden - kindergarten, hall, excellent parks and reserves with playgrounds and toilets, shops and food outlets.
In 2013 over 250 people attended a business expo in the Paengaroa Hall and it celebrated the more than 60 businesses in and around the village.
Paengaroa Community Association was established in 2011 and continues to work with the Paengaroa community to identify key projects to reconnect Paengaroa as a thriving junction.
There have been many successful projects achieved within the immediate area of the newly erected history boards, for example initially new signage leading into Paengaroa was developed, this was quickly followed by the restoration and housing of the historic
wagon and Maketū Rotary provided the penny farthing bike stand and seating for the then
newly formed cycleway.