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Launch of Otaki Historical Journal 2022

The latest OHS Journal was launched in conjunction with the AGM on 18 September.

Our editor Sarah Maclean presented the following address to our attendees:       

'Kia ora tatou

To begin, I’d like to acknowledge two OHS members who have passed away since our last journal. They are Helen Dempsey, who with her husband Gordon began the Historical Society in 1977, and long-serving committee member Alan Stead. We are only here today presenting this new journal because of the work of these stalwarts who have gone before us.


The journal has a whole new look this year because it’s in full colour. This was a big decision after 42 years of black and white. As you can see, the colour really enhances the stories and photos. We’ve only been able to do this because of the generosity of the Philipp Family Foundation and we’re really grateful for their interest in this project and their help.


Other people also gave their resources of time and energy. Thank you to everyone who shared your stories with us so we can share them with the people of Otaki ‒ and the world! You are of course the essence of this journal – at least 25 people wrote for this issue and others contributed photos and images.


The work of putting it all together and checking for those pesky mistakes that insist on creeping in is big team effort, mostly from the committee members along with our friends and families.

I’m always amazed how many people use the journal for research. Many people find out more about their whanau and families of course. But we also get queries from researchers all over the world.


I’ll finish with a little story. Once upon a time I was new here, a young mother with an addiction to reading. Every year I would buy a journal as soon as it came out – and I devoured it. I found it fascinating and always learnt a lot. And after all these years I still think the journal is full of lots of interesting things – and I hope that you’ll like it so much, you’ll devour it too!


So let’s launch this volume 43 of the Otaki Historical Journal!'

The Journal can be purchased from Otaki Railway Bookshop, Books & Co, Otaki Post Shop and Otaki Museum.

It can also be purchased by an email request to the society or by using the online form available on this site. Access the Journal page which will direct you to the form.

Have you looked at our photo gallery and timeline? Access these from the links at the top of this page.

See the Journal page for advice on how to buy the 2022 and earlier journals.


Price: $20 plus $5 postage within New Zealand. - Earlier issues at varying prices.


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 42.

 Click here for Volumes 41 - 42 Index

Click here for Volumes 1 - 40 Index.

Use the indices to check if your research topics or family names have been covered in one of our 42 issues. Follow up your findings in your journals or contact the society to purchase the relevant issue or article. 



Kia ora

It is important to record the histories of our elders and the people who have gone before us, that's because we can understand historical events and trends more easily, whether worldwide or in Aotearoa New Zealand, when we see them reflected in the stories of our own area. The people we write about have made a significant contribution to Otaki, three in particular gave their talent and energy to preserve our history through the Otaki Historical Society and we acknowledge their work.

Our 43rd volume of the journal is full of interesting material. It ranges from new research about Maori-owned flourmills in the 1800s to features where history is recorded through art. There are many types of pioneers and we highlight those who brought new ideas and services to our area, along with one who developed new ways of protecting people at work.

Sometimes we are asked why we put out a journal and there are many answers. We want to preserve and publish stories about interesting events and people from our past. Then there is the fun of research, of hunting for clues and finding information that is new or has been lost. We interview people, read, check dates and records and then weave everything together until the story emerges from all the data. But often there are things we can't solve and so we welcome input from you, our readers to fill any gaps and find more pieces of the puzzle.

We'd like to make these stories available for others who enjoy living here and for families and researchers everywhere. We also want to share these stories with our young people as they learn about the past in the new history curriculum. Most of all, we hope that you enjoy what we have put together for you this year

Noho ora mai ra, 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. 

Join now

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

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