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Issue 43

The 2022 Otaki Historical Journal is available now. Once again this edition of the Journal reflects the diversity of Otaki, and how people of different backgrounds and ethnicities have shaped our community.

Cover 2022 001.jpg

Forty Three Years of History

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.


The 2022 journal is $20 (+ $5 (each) post and packing for mail orders) available by ordering and paying via the link below; by sending payment details to Otaki Historical Society, 49 Main St, Otaki 5542; or from Otaki Museum, Otaki Postshop, Railway Bookshop and Books & Co, Otaki Railway

Price List for earlier issues

Vol 01 - 39      $10     (1978 -2016)

Vol 40 - 43      $20     (2018 -2022)

Digitised 1-38 $10


Overseas post and packing

Australia: $18.63

UK: $30.64

USA: $33.30

Contact us or see the journal to purchase past issues of journals or digitised copies of articles at


An issue of the Historical Journal has been published by the Otaki Historical Society each year from 1978, with the exception of 2001, when it was substituted by Rex Kerr's book Otaki Railway and 2021 due to the impact of theCovid 19 related lockdowns.

Gordon Dempsey wrote in his editorial of the first issue of the Historical Journal that the idea of publishing a journal was believed to be one of the most suitable ways of fulfilling the aim of the Otaki Historical Society "to collect, record and preserve items of historical interest pertaining to Otaki and to sponsor … publications in order to preserve the heritage of the past".

The primary area of interest of the society is the Otaki region. However the journal has also published material relating to the rich history of the broader region, stretching from the mouth of the Rangitikei River in the north, to Paekakariki in the south, and to the Tararua Range in the east.

The Maori heritage of the region has, throughout, been a key feature of the content of the journal. The broad scope of topics covered has created a resource that is of interest and value for example to current and former residents of the region, to local history researchers, to those involved with local, organisations and societies, as well as to students at all levels of the educational sector, and to family historians.


The society commissioned freelance indexer Elaine Hall to prepare an in-depth index to all published volumes in the belief that such an index would enhance access to the impressive wealth of material that had been published in the journal over the years. The index is now approaching 500 pages, which is an indication of how much information it contains. 

Vols 1-40 Vols 41-43


          You can download a copy by clicking on the PDF icons at left. If you find any discrepancies            in the  Index, or  you believe you can correct or update any part of it, please contact the                  Journal editor, Sarah  Maclean at 

The index presents, in one alphabetical sequence, entries for:
– names of, for example:

o people, including the authors of contributions to the journal – Meyer, Daphne

o clubs and societies – Otaki Players Society

o churches – Rangiatea Church

o iwi and hapu – Muaupoko

o ships and other vessels – City of Auckland (ship)

o schools – Te Horo School

o businesses – Penray Gardens

o places – Kapiti Island

– subjects, for example:

o flooding

o influenza epidemic, 1918-1919

o market gardening

o rope-makers and rope-making

o whaler/Maori partnerships


Each entry is followed, on the line below, by one or more subentries (in alphabetical order of first significant word), giving information on the particular aspect of the name or subject covered, for example:

Brown, Byron Paul

planted marram grass on sand dunes

Otaki Maori Brass Band

performances on opening of Cottage Hospital


The location of the information relating to the entry follows each subentry, in the style of the volume number, and then the page number. For example, the article by Hugh T. Jones is on page 55 of volume 27.

Jones, Hugh T.

'V.J. Day – Far from Otaki' 27:55


When the index entry is for a photograph, map, drawing, or other type of illustration, this is indicated by the appropriate term following the page number, as shown below:

Tararua Range

adze found by Vosseler in Tararua, 1932 19:16drawing

Otaki Forks: sketch map detail 20:42map

Tararua Peaks 19:17photo

See references alert the user to look under a different entry. For example,

Colenso, Frances see Simcox, Frances Mary (Fanny) (née Colenso)


See also references alert the user to other entries that may be of interest. For example:


see also aircraft accidents

Battle Hill, Horokiwi

see also Horokiri engagement

Otaki Theatre

see also Cosy Theatre


The index is an Adobe Reader PDF (portable document format) file. There are three ways in which you can search
the index.

1. Find

Either: right click on your mouse and choose 'Find' from the menu

or click Ctrl + F

or choose 'Find' from the drop down 'Edit' menu at the top.


Type the text you want to search in the text box where the curser is blinking. The first occurrence of the text that you have searched will be highlighted in the index. To see any further occurrences of the text, click on the right-pointing arrow. The left pointing arrow will take you back through a sequence of occurrences. Searches are not case sensitive.

A search for a word such as 'garden' will find all occurrences of words that begin with 'garden', including: gardens, gardening, and gardeners, and whether they are the first word of a heading, or a word within a heading or subheading.

2. Full Acrobat Search

Either: click on the down arrow adjacent to the text box for the 'Find' search

or click Shift + Ctrl + F

or choose 'Advanced Search' from the drop down 'Edit' menu at the top.

A new window opens at the side of the index. As well as a box for typing in the text of your search query, there are options to limit the search to whole works only, and to words with upper- and/or lower-case. The outcome of a search is a summary of all occurrences of your search word or phrase.

For example, a search on 'Dunstan' as a whole word with an initial upper-case letter, retrieves 54 results. Clicking on those results in sequence will take you through the index to show the full entry.

Open the bookmark panel by clicking on the bookmark icon on the left of the screen (the second of the four icons).
Clicking on a letter takes you to the beginning of the alphabetic sequence for entries beginning with that letter in the index.
You can then browse the index, using either the scroll bar on the right of the screen, or the scroll bar on your mouse.
Using bookmarks is the most effective way for browsing such a large file.


To discover the contents of our previously published journals click on one of the covers below:

Order a Journal


To purchase a Journal online please fill out the form below. We will post it out as soon as your funds have been received. Journals cost $20, plus postage of $5 per journal for NZ customers.

Australian customers, postage is $18.63

UK customers, postage is $30.64

USA customers, postage is $33.30

To pay for a journal:


Transfer the cost of the journal and postage via internet banking to the Otaki Heritage Bank Preservation Trust, account number 38-9000-0293764-03 


Please ensure you include your name and itemise "2022 Journal" and/or "Donation" etc for our file purposes.


Journals are also available for purchase at the Otaki Museum (Thursday - Saturday), PostShop, Railway Bookshop, Otaki Railway and Books & Co. 

Note: Past issues are available at varying prices from $10. Please contact or see above for pricing.

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