Patumahoe History – starting a conversation…

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Kay Carter rang me just after the successful 150th Patumahoe School Reunion, with the news that my preordered copy of the Patumahoe history book (published to coincide with the reunion) was available.

During the same conversation, she mentioned an article in the Franklin County News (Oct 26 2016, Page 3) and an online article “Has the Time Come?” written by Gary Wilson (a journalist, local historian, and author of Patu – a book on Patumahoe Rugby) that referred to that original Māori hapu that lived, farmed and exported from this area.

As I had seen neither, I reassured her that from what I knew of the project the heritage group had worked to collate all they could with care, and that any projects relating to history are perhaps best viewed as a beginning for conversation rather than a definitive work.

Some background…

Part of the initial grant received by Patumahoe Village Inc, was used to help create a history display for the first Open Day in May 2012. I was present for the inception of the idea for the history archive, and spent a very minimal amount of time setting up the Google email for Kay, and the Google group so members could communicate with each other easily. I attended the first few meetings, and offered assistance where I would be of any use, but it was apparent that there were enough passionate and much more knowledgeable members of the community that had everything in hand.

Superfluous would be the best word to describe me at that point.

I was aware, though, that contact with local iwi was to be sought, and I provided the heritage group with the contact details that Patumahoe Village Inc and Whakaupoko Landcare used when keeping Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāti Te Ata informed, and I know they were used as a starting point. I was pleased to hear that at one stage a professional writer was engaged, who created a framework that included the significance of local Māori ownership as part of the history.

Patumahoe Village Inc also offered the heritage group the use of this website to make material available to the wider community, but this option was not taken due to concerns over the release of sensitive or copyrighted material. But Patumahoe Village Inc was still able to help promote and publicise the group when asked. They also were instrumental in acquiring the Looking After Locals grant, which gave financial assistance to the group to help with publication costs when the Looking After Locals project was finalised.  I understand that now the book has been published an archive is available via the Patumahoe History & Memories Facebook page.

In my conversation with Kay that day I expressed my opinion that any historical collation could only work with the archival material available, and that because of that restriction, you could only truthfully say that despite all effort any conclusion would give a truncated view, and often would be from limited perspectives.

Adding to this, is the oral history that is often not recorded, particularly for Māori in those times, and the fact that the local hapu that occupied this land were dispersed around the country when they lost it, and their stories are hard – if not impossible – to collect.

However, this lack of material could be acknowledged and noticeably regretted in order to give significance to that loss. (I think this is true, regardless of location and group and intent, but that is a topic for another post no doubt.)

So without any preconceived intent – but taking advantage of the dialogue with Kay that day – this post is primarily to start a conversation which begins with a question, (particularly for those not intimately involved with Patumahoe history):

Did you know that the residential village of Patumahoe rests entirely within the “Native Reserve” allocated at one time to local Māori?

And the slideshow above – with it’s amateur graphics by yours truly – which allows a transition that the printed page cannot, shows you how.

I live within that boundary… do you?

Paula Crosswell

Comments are encouraged and welcome.

Patumahoe: A Social History

old patumahoe

Kay Carter has provided us with an invitation to pre-purchase a much awaited publication – Patumahoe: A Social History.

Update: Book is now longer available at the pre-purchase price, but you can still obtain a copy by going to this page.

The Patumahoe Heritage Group has worked assiduously for several years, collating, compiling and archiving local material in order to provide local residents with a gold-mine of information and local history.


Patumahoe Order Form by PatumahoeVillageInc on Scribd

Patumahoe History project – Open Meeting

Image provided courtesy of Mike Michie

Image provided courtesy of Mike Michie

Patumahoe History Project


Recording the past for the future

The proposal is to record our history over 3 years, engaging the skills of a funded senior journalism/history student to collate and edit our collective knowledge.

This would be separate from, but would dovetail with the upcoming 150th school reunion in September 2016.  (Edit: 18/1/2016   Date of reunion is Labour weekend – 22nd – 24th October 2016)
You are invited to a public meeting at 7.30 Tuesday 26th Feb in the School Hall for more information, and to share ideas.

If you have local knowledge or wisdom, ideas, enthusiasm or skills which could be useful for this project, we look forward to your input!

For more information, contact Kay Carter 236-3809.

Patumahoe Community Support Charitable Trust

Was set up in 2003, as a vehicle to hold assets for the Patumahoe community.

As the local community had raised the money for the local Fire Brigade’s Rapid Response Vehicle and equipment, this was the trust’s first project.

It was designed to be separate and autonomous with the Fire Brigade, and was originally named Patumahoe  Emergency Support Charitable Trust. Two trust members are Fire Brigade representatives.

The long term vision was that, as a charitable Trust, it would be in a position to respond to further community projects as appropriate.

The church project came to the Trust members’ attention in 2006, and for various reasons it has taken until now for this project to near fruition.

The name has changed recently to the present more appropriate name of Patumahoe Community Support Charitable Trust, with the advantages and transparency Charitable Trust registration brings.

Trustees are Graeme Weck, Lex Wilcox, Bruce Carter, Norman Taylor, Craig Howe, Paul Wallbutton.

Patumahoe Community Support Charitable Trust

Scout Hall – Relocation progress and appeal

The project started several years ago when the Scouting Association indicated their intention to sell the Mareretu site of the Patumahoe Scouting and Girl Guide Hall.

The hall was a gift to the Scouting & Girl Guide associations from the local community in the 1980’s. Unfortunately after several years, the attendance of parents and families at both these groups did not warrant continuing a Patumahoe troop. The hall lay empty for many years, until Patumahoe School made use of it – as a new entrants class, and a storage area.
For the Scouting and Guiding Associations this building was no longer required, and many of the other landholdings had already been divested. Several years ago they notified the council and the community of their intention to sell the site. The project to relocate the scout hall so that the building and it’s community connection remained began at that point.

The Patumahoe Village Community Trust found itself in regeneration, and skills that had proven valuable to the community in the past – proved their worth once again.
After negotiations were completed between the Scouting and Guiding Associations and council resources were obtained, Kay Carter was instrumental in obtaining funding from the Lotteries Board, Lions Foundation & Charitable Trusts Foundation for $30,000 to pay for the initial shift and relocation costs of the building to it’s new site.
Built in 1907 from locally sourced kauri, the church originally stood between Mauku and Patumahoe before being shifted to Mareretu Avenue in 1958. The Scouting and Guiding Association used it from 1982-2002.

Below is an appeal from the Trust – please read and contribute to this wonderful project.
The letter can be printed below and distributed.
Community Appeal June 2012
You will now be aware that the Historic Presbyterian Church has been resited on Council land, is now preserved as an Auckland Heritage Building and under the stewardship of the Patumahoe Community Support Charitable Trust. After refurbishment it is intended for community use; clubs, celebrations, history open days etc. To clarify, the school intends to keep using it, but not exclusively and not full time.The cost of $30,000 to date has been enabled with funding from Lotteries Board, Lion Foundation, and The Trusts Charitable Foundation at no cost to the local community
In order to bring it up to tidy condition and council requirements, the following is necessary: Fire safety, redesigned toilet area with wheelchair access and ramp, exterior painting, kitchen freshen, some exterior weatherboards, heating, and general facelift.Therefore we are making a one-off local appeal before looking to a further funding round

9 June 2012 – Church Appeal Patumahoe



Project: Relocation of Scout Hall

Project outline as at October 2011:

“How we got to this point
This building was deconsecrated in 1982. Local families raised $15,000 at the time to pay the parish and it became the property of Scouting NZ with provision it be available for community use. It was maintained and used by local scout and guide groups until they ceased to operate.   Now that the site is to be sold, Scouts and Guides NZ have indicated that they would like to offer the building back to the community for our continued use. At present the local primary school is utilising the building part time, and this will continue after it has been resited. Relocation of the building would allow community renovation to take place, and give all members and groups of the community the opportunity to use it. If this does not occur at the same time as removal, we envisage the possibility that the building will deteriorate and be less likely to be retained. Local history searches have ascertained that the church was built in 1907 from swamp kauri milled from a local farm. It is one of only a few local historic buildings in public ownership. Patumahoe has been targeted for growth in the Auckland plan, and there is need to preserve our history and character.

Council approves in principle the proposed site which fits with neighbouring school, playground, sportsground, residential properties and walkways.

The project has been well publicised with a notice in the village dairy, participation in an open day, and information in quarterly village newsletters. After the resiting we intend to canvas locally for donations, products, skills and voluntary labour to complete the renovations which will be necessary”

November 2011: “ We have had a meeting on the proposed site with local Council staff, and are proceeding with finalising plans. As council does not meet until February, the move will probably not take place until March, but needs to be done before the winter sets in.”

November 29th: “This morning we received confirmation of $20,000 from the Lotteries Board!”

Information provided by Kay Carter

Site Plans and visual drafts available below for review:

Past … present … and future

While compiling information for this site, it strikes me how easy it would be to lose valuable local history by letting the years pass by without making an effort to record and archive reminiscences.

Gary Wilson, is working on a project at present for the Patumahoe Rugby Club.  He was the author of the ‘Patu‘ publication, which was produced for the Rugby Club many years ago – and is a valued possession for those lucky enough to retain their copies.

One method of recording information is by dictaphone, or video and both of these add another dimension to the stories and memories as they are related to the interviewer.

Kay Carter and Angela Smith are also coordinating collections of stories and histories from local residents and families, and even before they are completed these archives will give a fascinating insight into the life narrative of Patumahoe village and Mauku.

In terms of future proofing, this information is necessary in order for us – as a community – to determine what needs to be preserved, and not just recorded.

There are historical sites and buildings that all contribute to our sense of place and home, and we need to determine which of these should be identified and featured in our Structure Plan to Auckland Council in 2012.

Looking back … will help us in looking forward…

Local Heritage Map

This detailed map was thoughtfully produced by C Eggleton for the Mauku School Centenary booklet published in 1983.

We are looking to take advantage of the tools of technology in order to produce an online historical map – which will utilise Google Maps and Google Earth.

We would like to invite contributions from our local community regarding forgotten places, or historical names.  We have begun our project by creating a blank Historical reference map which you can view on these pages.  But it needs a lot more work.  Google Maps can be edited by multiple authors so if you think that you would like to be involved – we will invite you to a training session and add you to our author list.

It is great fun – and a useful way to learn a new skill!

Contact us by email on

Collecting memories

Alongside the project being undertaken by Patumahoe Rugby Club to celebrate their 125th anniversary – a Patumahoe based Heritage group is taking shape under the guidance and enthusiasm of several of our residents.

The initial project that they wish to undertake is the contact and interviewing of long-time residents and business owners who remember – first hand – what Patumahoe and Mauku life was like in the past.

If you have stories or photos or documents to share, please get in contact with us and we will arrange a visit from one of our committee members. Even better – if you would like to become involved yourself – email us on

We are hoping to create a local archive of history – and to do this – the more input we have from the community the better!!

Historic Church project (Scout Hall – Mareretu Ave)

Most of you probably know the history of the church at Mareretu Ave by now, and the intention to shift it to the Clive Howe Drive reserve passive land.

The vision is to have the building used as a repository for community historical documents—as much as possible on discs.

Initial ideas:

  • We could have open days with focus on one or two families and invite families to provide a genealogical record of their time in Patty along with brief family summary or report by an/ some older members;
  • Interviews with the oldest members of our community are most valuable and I suggest should be our first project Oral? Video? Written? Open days—or a month of open days could have an eras theme: (eg what did we look like in the 40s and 50s? what businesses were there?). the war years: when the Americans were based at Schlaepher Park and Helvetia, and local land was requisitioned for War gardens with land girls doing their bit;
  • We could have guided historical walks/drives/bike rides associated with the current display, so as to build and catalogue an accumulated community memory, as well as, within that, family memories;
  • The church could also be available for celebrations, weddings.

We would like to see the building continue to be used by the school as a part time teaching space with the result that our young people know and appreciate our history and the building lives. A heritage garden could be a great project for the local gardening group.

I would envisage an interested group visiting local groups (eg Pukekohe East, Karaka, Waiuku and of course Pukekohe) to brainstorm, and for ideas about fundraising.

Where we are at:

  • The Council building inspector has approved the building for removal.
  • We have had a positive meeting with Greg Lowe (parks and rec.) and get the impression Council will do all they can to smooth the path.
  • We will probably not have to provide toilets as it will be adjacent to the public toilets on the reserve.
  • The Patumahoe emergency Support Charitable trust is the vehicle through which negotiations have been carried out so far. We are meeting to decide if the trust is still suitable, interested, and prepared to continue in this role and to be the vehicle through which funds are applied for, raised, received and administered.
  • We now need a site plan prepared to present to Council, along with resource consent. Before that, we need to visit the site with interested parties (including the person who is going to do the plan) to find the best position for practical and aesthetic purposes.
  • Canvas for local people who are prepared to underwrite the venture, put in debentures or contribute financially in any way to start the project.
  • Get approximate idea of the costs we are about to incur. Council costs and requirements ,site plan, removal costs, upgrade and repairs, painting, and get support of local people who are interested in contributing skills, labour, equipment etc.
    Contact interested parties with a view to a fuller presentation at the April meeting of Patumahoe Village Inc. These include Council rep, Patumahoe School BOT, Scout rep, Guide rep, sports clubs which use the reserve (cricket club, junior boys rugby).
    Prepare a display for the April open day.

Who is interested in getting more involved now??

(Copy of report presented by Kay Carter, at PVI meeting Monday 14 March 2011.  Please contact PVI at if you would like to be involved with this project and your details will be passed on to Kay.)