It was the first theatre in the town, built in 1912, with a stage and velvet seats set in heavy, decorated iron surrounds, very "olde worlde" and most attractive and popular. Apart from films the stage was used for local and visiting shows, musical and drama, and in the 1960's the stage was enlarged further for this purpose. There was a beautiful curved staircase to the dress circle and later included a shop at the front. Eventually the theatre closed and the building was converted into a "Cash & Carry" shop and then an Arcade. It now houses a Real Estate Agency, and a Government Agriculture Department and coffee shop. The ticket office, entrance doors, emergency EXIT doors and a decorative window are now in use at the Regent 3 Cinema.
This paper was first published in 1911 as the "Waipa Post" by A.G. Warburton, and is still owned by this family. It has been published twice weekly throughout. At first it was a tri–weekly broadsheet but is now a bi–weekly tabloid. It has always fully covered the local and rural areas and all sports. The Te Awamutu Museum has the only existing copies 1911 to 1932 on micro–film, all are accessible to researchers. The collection now includes issues up to the 1990's – Once a month there is a print of "What's On", a list of meetings of all clubs and organisations, and contact numbers. This is an incredible service to the public, offered by the i-SITE Information Centre.
17. Pre European
Otawhao Pa, at the top of Wallace Terrace, had great views in all directions, with the Waipa River in the distance and the Puniu at the foot of the hills the pa was built on. It was certainly the most popular pa in the area, with the smaller Kaipaka (Christie Ave) and the old abandoned Awamutu down opposite the present day Squash Courts. Awamutu means "the end of the navigable river" (for big canoes) and goods carried that far had to be transferred to smaller craft or moved by horse drawn carts.
Originally the Te Awamutu Borough Council and the Waipa County Council, both of whom operated from the old Town Hall building on the corner of Redoubt and Roche Streets. It was a large two storied building with the offices at the front and a huge public hall behind, the latter being used for dances, concerts, skating, formal functions and all the schools end of year concerts. Waipa County Council then built a 2 storied flat roofed building opposite facing Bank Street. In the early 1970's both buildings were demolished, the new borough offices being a part of a Council complex, with a new library and new Museum all side by side. Then in 1989 the Te Awamutu Borough, the Cambridge Borough and the Waipa County Council amalgamated, forming the Waipa District Council with considerable additions being made to the County Buildings, to cope with the added staff and H.Q. status.
Our main street was first called Station Road from the Post Office to the Railway Line, but it was later renamed to celebrate the engagement of Prince Edward to Princess Alexandra. Originally, the Arawata, Sloane and Market Street area was the main business centre but this changed when the railway came through in 1880.
In the mid 1800's there was a creamery built in Arawata Street were Homeward is now. This was followed by the cheese and bacon factory in Te Rahu Road. A Historic Places Trust plaque marks the spot. Land west of the railway line and facing Alexandra Street, (the site of Hydes Brewery) was bought and the new factory built in October 1925 with the butter processing starting the following month. The name "Lotus" was registered and the yellow flower insignia was seen on the butter, vehicles and buildings. This factory was the first to use tankers. Expansion was continuous, huge storage tanks and casein vats were installed. The Lotus Trading Co. founded in 1944 was incredibly successful and had to be rebuilt 30 years later to house the tonnes of farmers supplies and general grocery items. The Company amalgamated with two other Waikato Co–ops becoming the Waikato Dairy Company.
Tawhiao Street. William North had brickworks firstly at Te Rahu Road, then down by the Railway and finally a huge business in Park Road. He built this house as a wedding present for his son Charles, and being double-bricked, it was very warm in winter and cool in summer. William was a J.P., he served on the Town Board and there are still many older houses here with the distinctive North's Chimneys.
The first board was formed in 1919, but it was two years later, that power came to Te Awamutu, Leamington being the first. This power came from the Hora Hora grid until work finished at Arapuni in 1932. The first power pole was erected at the corner of Alexandra and Mutu Streets in August 1921. The "Switching On" ceremony that year was followed by a most successful ball. Originallythe TAEPD was in an old mart building on the triangle, corner of Teasdale and Bank Street. However in December 1926 a new building went up on the Alexandra Street site, and a substation in Mangahoe Street, on the Tawhiao Street corner. A second storey was added to the main office building in 1963 and the workshop premises behind were modernised at the same time.
Built by the Reverend John Morgan 1854 to replace the large raupo building on the school side of the road. It was opened on Easter day. The beautiful stained windows were saved from the previous old church and created a lot of interest. There is a memorial dedicated to Maori warriors at the front of the church grounds as a mark of respect for the men of the 65th regiment which was camped at Albert Park. The church has just recently replaced the original shingle tiles on both the roof and steeple. The footprint on the ceiling creates a lot of interest, but was of course put on the plank before it was erected.
Named after W.M. Taylor, who owned the land from the state highway to Paterangi and whose huge wooden house on the top of the hill could be seen for miles. This land had been given to him by his father as a wedding gift and originally included the town's racecourse. The Hunts leaving from the state were famous as was Taylor's Hospitality and he served on many Committees, being particularly involved with the Clydesdales Breeders Assoc and the Te Awamutu Cavalry. W.M. Taylor gifted the large clock for the second post offices tower, having purchased it from the Timaru Town Board and he paid for its installation.
The park was opened by the Prime Minister, Sir Sidney Holland on the 4th December 1955 as a district memorial in memory of those men who served this country in the 1939–45 wars. The park area was swamp and rough farmland lying between Mangahoe Street and Mangahoe stream which runs through the park. Nearby land was donated by a local family, making the park up to it's present day size. All the formation work in the park was done by hand and the first trees and shrubs were planted in 1954. A sunken cross lies in the east end of the park.It is engraved with the names of the men from Te Awamutu and district who fell in the 2nd World War, Korean, Malaysian and Vietnam conflicts.
The park features a children's playground, a stone wall mural, a pergola covered in climbing roses donated by a local family and a weeping fountain.
The Te Awamutu Light Operatic Society, (TALOS) initiated the construction of the building for shows etc... and is built on council land. It is used extensively by top visiting artists and boasts a beautiful Steinway grand piano.The community is indebted to Dr Le Quesne,who paid a very large sum for the piano.
Local competition societies use this facility for their annual performances and end of year concerts and TALOS themselves present several shows, some of which are complemented by dinner and refreshments.
Opened December 1969 by Governor General Sir Arthur Porritt. Previously derelict Crown land with historical significance being the site of a military Drill Hall during the Land Wars of 1863-65. First suggested by Ray Hyams it was taken on board as a Jaycees project and built by community participation, school parties, service organisations, local bodies and many private persons. It was developed within 8 months. The fountain of sculptured stainless steel birds landing on brown lake waters through mist and raupo stalks was designed by Frederick Graham, an art teacher from Auckland. The garden has approximately 1900 roses of over 50 varieties in hybrid teas, floribunda's and grandifloras. Eion Scarrow has been quoted in saying "I have been to over 60 countries and I believe the Te Awamutu Rose Gardens to be amongst, if not the best in the world". It is visited by thousands of visitors particularly in the flowering season.
Rev. John Morgan set up his own mission station in 1841, and called it "Otawhao". The tribal war ended during his ministry, but it took him until 1859 before he was able to report that all of the adult population had been baptised. He then set up a boarding school for children and introduced carpentry, ploughing, animal care and shoemaking for boys whilst girls learnt sewing and cooking. On his initiative the first flour mills were built at Rangiaowhia (Hairini) and other areas close by, with large fields of wheat growing profusely and exported to the goldfields of California, a remarkable feat! He organised the building of old St Johns Church to replace a large raupo building on the mission site, which held 1000 folk and which was destroyed by fire. The precious stained glass windows were saved and used in St John's. Several members of the Morgan family are buried in the church cemetery, and the remaining family left with their gallant missionary father in 1863 before the government troops arrived and settled in south of Auckland.