Issue 41

The 2019 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.

2019 journal cover.jpg

Forty One Years of History

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


The 2019 journal is $25 (+ $4 (each) post and packing for mail orders) available by ordering and paying via the link below; by contacting Maurice King ( or 06 364-7311); by sending payment details to Otaki Historical Society, PO Box 50, Otaki 5542; or from Otaki Museum, RiverStone Café, Otaki Postshop, Railway Bookshop.


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


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.

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. 


You can download a copy by clicking on the PDF icon or this link. 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 Otaki Historical Society thanks professional indexer Elaine Hall for her valuable work and welcomes our new indexer Lynn Peck.

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:

Volume 41
Volume 41
Volume 40
Volume 40
Volume 39
Volume 39
Volume 38
Volume 38
Volume 37
Volume 37
Volume 36
Volume 36
Volume 35
Volume 35
Volume 34
Volume 34
Volume 33
Volume 33


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 $25, plus postage of $4 per journal for NZ customers and $10 for Australian customers.

To pay for a journal:


• Transfer $29 by internet banking to the Otaki Historical Society, account number 38 9004 0987739 00; or


Please ensure you include your name and itemise "2020 Journal" and/or "Donation" etc for our file purposes.


Journals are also available for purchase at the Otaki Museum (Thursday - Saturday), PostShop, Railway Bookshop (in the village),  RiverStone Cafe.

Note: Past issues are available at varying prices from $5. Please contact for pricing.

Success! Your order has been received.