History - In memory of Mavis

On May 27, 2004, the citizens of Leigh were saddened to hear of the death of a much-loved neighbour, 94-year-old Mavis Davidson. Mavis was a pioneer in the fields of mountaineering, exploration and zoological research. She, together with Warkworth’s...... Read More

History - Puhoi church

It took the settlers of Puhoi just a year to build the original Puhoi Catholic church. In 1877, Puhoi was named as the centre of a parish that extended from Auckland’s North Shore to Whangarei. Father Adelaar travelled to all corners of the parish...... Read More

Albertland’s Archie

Recent news of the latest royal baby brought to mind an interesting second-generation Albertlander. Archibald Edwin Brookes was born in 1878 in Taranaki, where his father, Edwin Stanley Brookes Jnr, was working as government surveyor. When Archie’s...... Read More

Overcoming opposition

Successive bishops and priests of Puhoi parish attempted to establish a convent school. They were met with resistance, probably because in Bohemia, the Chotieschau Convent had been the feudal overlord of the region where Puhoi residents once lived. This...... Read More

Logging at Mangawai

By the 1850s, native tree felling was taking place all over the north of New Zealand. The prime target was giant kauri. No matter how remote the tree location, man sought it out, cut it down and shaped it ready for transportation to the nearest port....... Read More

Delightful destination

Even before motor transport was available, picnic parties and summer campers found their way to Snells Beach. My grandmother, like others of her generation, brought her family to stay in home-made ridge pole tents. A letter survives, written in 1917,...... Read More

The rise and fall of Tungacres at Te Arai

In 1930, a new-found wonder filled the newspapers as they wrote about the benefits of tung oil. Tung trees originated from China and the oil from their nuts became the ‘lifeblood’ of the paint and varnish industries. Later discoveries showed...... Read More

£22 house

Building a house 150 years ago was simple. Settlers chose the best site on their property and either erected their own dwelling or hired an expert to do it. In 1865, the Rev Edwin Stanley Brookes arrived in New Zealand with his family, staying temporarily...... Read More

A love of gardens

Driving down country roads, we often see random clumps of arum lilies and, in summer, fence lines covered with the lovely old pink rose, Dorothy Perkins. These flowers often mark the site of a pioneer’s homestead. When settlers arrived, their priorities...... Read More

Discovering her Bohemian roots

Biddy Orr adored her grandmother, Elizabeth Karl. When Biddy was aged four-and-a-half she was brought north from the Waikato for Christmas and met her Puhoi family, including her great grandmother, Mary Remiger, who had emigrated from Bohemia as a child...... Read More