Mill Road Otaki
Mill Road Otaki

Post and Telegraph Otaki
Post and Telegraph Otaki

Telegraph Hotel Otaki
Telegraph Hotel Otaki

Mill Road Otaki
Mill Road Otaki



                            OTAKI HISTORICAL SOCIETY
                                                           May 2021





Kia ora koutou

Members and supporters of the society will be aware that during the past 12 months we have not held as many bimonthly meetings as usual. However, the AGM and the ’Stroll through Main Street’ event were well attended and enjoyed by all. The OHS Journal was not able to be produced due to Covid-19 disruptions.

We are pleased to report that production of this years’ journal is well underway and will be launched later in the year. As usual this issue will feature many articles of historical interest and value to the Otaki community and districts.

Our small committee continues to be active answering queries received by email and through the website, maintaining our collection of documents, photographs etc which are housed at the Otaki museum, and providing support and advice to the community as requested. Please remember the wealth of information we hold that can assist you with your research and interests. Contact details are below.

We welcome new members, people interested in joining our committee and contributions or ideas for the next journal. Please assist our society in its work of fostering and maintaining an interest in Otaki and districts history.

Check out our Newsletter page to see past issues and the News and Events page to read the feeds from our Facebook 



The Otaki Historical Society exists to foster an interest in Otaki’s history. This is achieved mainly by publishing the annual Otaki Historical Journal, which records the town’s history through researched and contributed articles that include personal and family memoirs; researched articles about aspects of Otaki history; reprints of relevant extracts from magazines, books or historical documents; and occasionally personal opinion.


Our popular Journal Index has been updated with the entries from issue 41. This year for Vol 41 of the journal we have a separate index file. Click here for the Volume 41 Index

Use the index to check if your research topics or family names have been covered in one of our previous 40 issues. Follow up your findings in your journals or contact the society to purchase the relevant issue or article. 

Click here to use the index for Volumes 1 - 40.


Kia ora

This year we begin our fifth decade of publishing the Otaki Historical Journal. The journal has survived for so long

because it is embedded within our community. In this issue we present a variety of articles and stories from our area's past.

The Otaki area has lost many of our people this year and we have been able to honour some of them by writing about their lives. Memories are an important part of Otaki stories and in this issue we focus on the Rahui dairy factory and retail, as well as school days.

Learning and understanding history helps us build on the strength of the past to create a better future and one of the ways we see this is in the importance of centenaries. we look at two of them - the history of the museum building and the Returned Services Association. - which featured in recent exhibitions at the museum.

The stories of local campaigns to save our historical buildings and native fauna all show how the preservation of the past has value for our lives today.

With history now becoming a compulsory subject at school the journal will become an important resource for the development oa a local history curriculum. The society already supports students attending the two kura and the college in their studies of history and we hope to deepen that relationship.

Our journal exists because of those who contribute material to it in the form of articles, photographs and artwork. Then there is the small army of detectives (also known as the Otaki Historical Society committee) who wrangle the journal into print. We write, proofread and check, working with our designer and printers to create the final product.

The committee would like to thank our advertisers who sponsor the journal, and Maurice and Janice King, who distribute it. We are very grateful to the trustees of the Otaki Museum who help with information, photocopying and research space. We would also like to thank our friends and families who support us- who sometimes find themselves caught up in the process too, contributing to the historical record of this great and diverse area.

Mauri ora

Sarah Maclean, Editor​


Otaki Museum is a small local museum housed in the restored 1918 BNZ building at 49 Main street, Otaki. The story of our town and its people are told through a changing programme of exhibitions. The museum is open 10 am-2 pm, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free. Please contact the museum 06 364 6886 to arrange group viewings.

More information about the museum and its programme of exhibitions can now be viewed on their website.

Join the Otaki Historical Society by becoming a member. 

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A collection of stories about past events and items of interest. 

The photo gallery includes some of the historical images in our collection.

View the gallery