Tauranga City Library, Research Collection Room, 16th June 2013, 11 am
The turnout for the launch of Christine Clement and Ellen McCormack's new book about the settler families of Katikati was excellent, with almost double the numbers expected braving the cold, wet weather to gather in the Tauranga Library's Research Collection Room. Fortunately, the Stephanie Smith and her staff found enough extra chairs between the reference shelves to cope.
After a short introduction from Stephanie, Christine gave us some background to the book. Ellen has been compiling an archive of material relating to Katikati for some 4 decades. She also helped Christine with the compilation of her two books on Te Puke, during which they learnt that the two districts shared much history, and had many interlinked families. The ensuing collaboration is a melding together of Ellen's passion and accumulated archive packages on each family, with Christine's considerable research skills.
The book covers the early years of the settlement from 1870 to 1910, containing the histories of over 125 pioneer families from Athenree to Apata. Many previously unpublished photographs, letters and testimonials’ are included within the book which had its impetus from Ellen McCormack's over forty years of research into Katikati's history.
The book details the triumphs and tragedies that befell the settlers. From the story of George Alley who established the Homewood Trust to assist returning soldiers from World War II; Reverend Katterns and his Ostrich farm; publican Barney MacDonnell the six-foot two big-bearded twenty stone Irishman who dealt out his own form of justice; Joseph Shaw who had his cow bails varnished; at least three men who had wives back in England as well as one in Katikati; a bigamist; some fudged CV’s; World Champion axeman George McCauley; the honourable Charles Macmillan who was both mayor and MP for Tauranga; photographer Albert Diggelmann who experimented with trick photography and the honourable Randolph Thomas Rowley.
In the audience were a number of representatives of the families mentioned in the book, including a healthy proportion of Katikati residents, and several distant cousins were reunited. There are sure to have been many entertaining stories told during the tea served in the library's canteen afterwards.
Christine Clement is the author of two previous books on Te Puke. Copies of these, as well as the new volume on Katikati, may be ordered from the author by email.
Te Puke – Nga Tangata Me Nga Wahi – People and Places covers an area from Otamarakau to Upper Papamoa, and Ngawaro to Maketu, including Te Puke township, with over 3000 surnames in the comprehensive index. It deals with the period from the arrival of the Te Arawa waka to 31 December 2006. (Surname lists A-L, M-Z)
The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Te Puke and District covers the same geographical area as its predecessor, but is more biographically oriented. It deals with the period from 1830, with the arrival of Philip Tapsell, to 1909. (Surname list)