State Highway 5 – Transport

HAWKE’S BAY MOTOR COMPANY was founded 1903 with a capital of 10,000 pounds in one pound shares. H.B Motor Company purchased the livery stables at Napier of John Thomas Harvey and William Harvey. Both brothers were offered employment in this new company. John (JT) as traffic manager and William as accountant. John Thomas Harvey. (JT) was considered to be one of the finest judges of horseflesh in the coaching business in New Zealand.

NAPIER TAUPO ROAD – 1906. J .T. Harvey persuaded his directors that the HB Motor Co should purchase the well founded coaching firm of Crowther and McCauley and launch the HB Motor Co, on to the Napier Taupo Road. Crowther and McCauley had laid the groundwork for nearly 20 years with a regular well run transport and coaching services and owned the Rangitaiki Hotel. To this the director agreed.

The Hawke’s Bay Motor Company, Coach service left Napier twice weekly, for this two day journey. A single trip required a total of 30 horses, with 5 team changes along the route at Petane (Bay View) Te Pohue, Mohaka, Tarawera (night stay), Rangitaiki,

A loaded coach would require a team of 5 horses. 3 leaders and 2 on the shaft.

1913 – Hawke’s Bay Motor Company launched its first motor vehicle service on to the Napier Taupo Road. A 1912 nine seater Cadillac motor vehicle equipped with chains, spade and tow ropes. This service left Napier 3 days a week for Taupo, taking one day (9 hours) in good conditions to complete the trip. A single fare cost five pounds.

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, – 12/5/1939 purchased the trucking business and goods service licences of Kelley’s Transport Ltd, Taupo. The HB Motor Company sold its freight service licences, about 1947 to J .T. Harvey’s grandson Russell Pettigrew, who formed the company of R.H. Pettigrew Carriers. Bay View.

1972. Hawke’s Bay Motor Company merged with Mount Cook Landlines Group. In effect it was a takeover as Mount Cook had more board members than HB Motor Co. It was not until 1981 that the Hawke’s Bay Motor Co name was dropped and Mount Cook appeared.

April 1991 saw Newman’s take over Mount Cook Land Lines North Island services including the Napier depot. Mount Cook Lines in tern [turn] operated all Newman’s South Island services.

The Napier Taupo Road, for many years taxed the skills and endurance of drivers.

Now days 2012, a modern, comfortable air conditioned coach completes the journey in 2 hours. (Information researched by – Michael Palmer Tuck. May. 2012)

Hawke’s Bay Motor Company coach drawn by 5 horse team. 1950 Napier City Celebrations. HB Motor Co. later donated this Coach to the Napier Museum.

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. – Coach service routes.

Hawke’s Bay Motor Company mail coach Napier Taupo Road, Runanga bush. 15th August 1907

HAWKE’S BAY MOTOR COMPANY – extract dates of events.

1903   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co was founded with a capital of 10,000 pounds in one pound shares.

1906   To launch onto the Napier- Taupo Road. Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. bought Crowther and McCauley’s Napier Taupo mail coach service. Early drivers were Harry Hayhow, George White, Billy Wood, and Charlie Jones. (book – Tails of the Mails, by Lester Masters) A trip to Taupo took the best effort of 30 horses – 6 teams of 5, three leaders and two harnessed to the pole. Teams changed at Petane, (now Bay View) Te Pohue, Mohaka, Tarawera, Rangitaiki.|
Hawke’s Bay Motor Co owned and ran hotels at the two last posting houses of Tarawera and Rangitaiki. It took two days to travel from Napier to Taupo.
For nearly 10 years the Hawke’s Bay Motor Co experimented with self-propelled vehicles on the flat. Napier to Taradale service.

1913   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, on the Napier to Taupo Road launched a 1912 model, 9 seater Cadillac. In good conditions reduced the time to 9 hours at a cost of five pounds per passenger.

1/9/35   Owner-driver (previously AARD) service, Napier -Taupo sold to Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. and Napier -Wellington service, sold to Newman Bros (North Island Ltd in which, Hawke’s Bay Motor Co had a 40% shareholding. Hawke’s Bay Motor Co ran two cars at the same time to Wairakei as a result of being required to because of having two service licences.

12/5/39   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co brought Kelly’s Taupo Transport Co and R Kelly’s Taupo, Goods Service Licences. Thus entering into the trucking freight service on the Napier Taupo Road.

1/3/43   Gillies Motor Services National Park-Chateau-Taupo service was taken over by the Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. including along narrow Fargo service car. The service car, purpose built, was narrow to be able to cross a narrow bridge near Turangi.

1945   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co side loader service cars (cars with multiple doors along left side) were used on the Napier Taupo Road from about 1946 onwards, only for overloads. (holiday times)

1946   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co sold the Taupo-Putaruru run to Wally Stevens who sold to Tommy Cooper. Tommy sold the run to Charlie Edwards who had the Herald paper run from Auckland. Charlie passed on to the Hawke’s Bay Motor Co the Taupo- Auckland via Matamata run. Kusabs of Rotorua (ARRD) ran from Rotorua to Auckland.

1958   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co disposed of properties at Wairoa, National Park, and Taupo. Taupo section facing the main street, including the garage and office, formally Gillies Garage, but retained an adjacent section intending to build a suitable Taupo depot and office. Properties still owned were at Napier, Hastings, Taradale and Taupo.

29/11/66   first day of “A” coaches combined service through to Auckland. Coaches A1, A2, & A3 were three new AEC’s purchased on 24/ 11/66 for the joint Hawke’s Bay Motor Co – New Zealand Rail Road Service, – Auckland – Hawke’s Bay service. Drivers changing over at Wairakei.

-/2/70   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co purchased – Taupo Scenic Tours and two mini buses.

1/4/70   Mount Cook Lines purchased Luxury Landlines Auckland- Wellington service.

30/10/70   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co. purchased Kowhai Scenic Coach Tours Ltd, prompting tours principally to the South Island from Palmerston North. Jones Motors Ltd and Pahiatua Passenger Services with 18 buses, operating a Palmerston North -Pahiatua – Masterton service, charters from Pahiatua and Palmerston North and school runs.

2/11/70   Start of three daily services from Auckland. Starting overnight Auckland arriving Napier 6.45 am. Hastings 7.20 am.

1972   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co merged with Mount Cook Line. Hawke’s Bay Motor Co had 30 buses. Arthur Giles (present HBMC Managing Director) had been talking to Wigley (Mount Cook) and Newman’s about combining. The three big tour firms were Mount Cook Line, Newman’s, and Hawke’s Bay Motor Co.
Newman’s and Hawke’s Bay Motor Co (Arthur Giles), wanted a merger of the three. Newman said he wanted nothing to do with Mount Cook aircraft. Ken Sherry of Mount Cook arrived with a takeover offer and Hawke’s Bay Motor Co fought it.
Newman made a better offer which was then bettered by Mount Cook Line. Newman then quit saying that they were not interested in an auction. The Mount Cook offer was good for Hawke’s Bay Motor Co Directors who could state their terms and have three Directors on the Mount Cook board. They were Arthur Giles, Managing Director of Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, Don Bisson and Bob Dockery. For a short time the Hawke’s Bay Motor Co ran as a separate company. Then was absorbed into the Mount Cook Line. Hawke’s Bay Motor Co then had very little say on the board. The Mount Cook North Island operation, including Luxury Landlines which they operated under the Hawke’s Bay Motor Co name and progressively changed Hawke’s Bay Motor Co signage to Mount Cook Line with Napier urban services last to change in 1981.

1973   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co sold the last 20% of its shareholding in Newman Bros (North Island) Ltd to Newman’s at a good price.

– /8/73   Finley Motors, Taupo purchased 8 Hawke’s Bay Motor Co fleet vehicles.

– /8/81   Hawke’s Bay Motor Co name completely disappears. Now Mount Cook Line.

1983   Taupo-Chateau-National Park service sold to New Starr Coaches. (New Starr ceased 27/ 10/84)

30/4/84   Last day of Mount Cook Lines – New Zealand Rail Road Service combined Hawke’s Bay – Auckland service.

1/7/85   Mount Cook Line lost the Napier suburban and Napier- Hastings contract to New Zealand Rail Road Services.

1/11/89   Mount Cook Line started, a one daily Napier-Wellington service.

-/4/91   Newman’s took over Mount Cook North Island services including the Napier depot. Mount Cook Line operated all Newman’s South Island services.

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, Cadillac service cars. Clyde [Clive] Square Cenotaph Napier. :

Hawke’s Bay Motor Company. – A ‘WHITE’ service car (Fleet No S.848). 1930’s to mid 40’s – Often referred to as ‘side loaders’ a design of low height, – row of doors (from memory 6 doors) along the left side opposite seats that went full width. The rear door was for passenger luggage and roadside freight deliveries of which there were many, for the families living at sawmills, forestry camps, road maintenance camps, hotels and farmers relied on this service for delivery of their groceries and meat that were either loaded at Napier or collected from Bay View and Te Pohue. The driver’s door on his right, had a wind-down window from which the news papers were thrown out or mail bags hanging from a hook on a post were collected or delivered.

After about 1948, on the Napier Taupo Road these ’side loaders’ were mainly used when holiday bookings were heavy. Christmas holidays; a great sight to watch 5 to 7 buses climbing the hill passed Tataraakina sawmill, spaced apart only by the amount of dust created by the one ahead. 1948 – Distance from Napier to Taupo – 97 miles (156 Kilometres). Leaving Napier 8am and arriving at Wairakei 1 pm. The journey took 5 hours. – The drivers returned to Napier arriving 7pm.

(Past memories. Michael Tuck. 2012)

Titiokura Saddle

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co’s Fargo. S839. in snow at Turangakumu Summit. 2,650ft above sea level. Napier Taupo Road, about 1951. Driver Merv Doidge.

Text on sign –

2650 FT.

Hawke’s Bay Motor CO’s Fargo. S839. In snow at Turangakumu Summit 2,650 ft above sea level. Napier Taupo Road. About 1951. Driver Merv Doidge. Note: The Summit Tearooms building.

These service cars were often referred to as “side loaders” (Service cars with multiple doors along one side) On the Napier Taupo Road, after about 1947 onwards, HBM Co used them mainly for the busy over load holidays. Above No 42. S.848 a “WHITE” chassis with a Napier built Nuttall body.

[Ford service car]

TITIOKURA DEVIATION opened, Thursday, 12th May 1966.

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, AEC Coach No 27. EN7428. Top of Titiokura hill – Napier Taupo Road. Driver Merv Doidge, standing nearest coach Arthur Giles HB Motor Co, manager.

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, AEC Coach No27. EN7428. Top of Titiokura hill. Napier Taupo Road. This coach on the Motor Co’s daily service from Napier to Wairaikei [Wairakei] was the first vehicle over this new deviation. Opened 12th May 1966. Driver Merv Doidge.

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, AEC coach. A1 at Stoney Creek near Tarawera Napier Taupo Road. Driver Merv Doidge, standing Bill Broughton Ministry of Works Overseer, Tarawera Depot. :Photo December 1966.

29th November 1966 was the start of combined Hawke’s Bay to Auckland service with Hawke’ s Bay Motor Co and New Zealand Road Service, changing drivers at Wairakei.

Three new AEC coaches A1, A2,  A3, were purchased, 24th November 1966 for this joint venture.

This service lasted till 30th April 1984.

Tuck Bros (Napier) Ltd. – Bullmoose Forklift (9 ton lift)

Demolition of Hawke’s Bay Motor Company building Dicken [Dickens] Street Napier. : Photo 1956

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co – Napier Taupo freight service. Fargo Truck No27. Napier Taupo Road. Driver Merv Doidge. Photo : about 1939.

12/5/39. Hawke’s Bay Motor Co purchased Kelly’s Taupo Transport Co’s trucking business and Goods Service Licences.

About 1947 Hawke’s Bay Motor Co sold their freight goods service licences to R.H. Pettigrew, Bay View. (Pettigrew a nephew of J.T. Harvey, HBMC Managing Director)

Sign on truck door –

Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, Ltd. Napier Taupo Freight Service.

Fargo truck, No27. 1930’s. Driver Merv Doidge.

Sign on truck door –

Kelly’s Napier -Taupo Transport Co. Ford Truck. Napier Taupo Road. 1930’s.

Standing, Eddie Hubbard.

Sign on truck door –

Kelly’s Transport Taupo. Fargo truck H7. 450. Napier Taupo Road. 1930’s.

General freight for Taupo. Driver Merv Doidge from Taupo.

Sign on truck door –

Kelly’s Transport Taupo. Fargo truck H7. 450. Napier Taupo Road. 1930’s.

9 Full 44 gallon petrol drums for Taupo (6 drums to the ton.) Driver Merv Doidge.

Sign on truck door –

Kelly’s Transport Taupo. Fargo truck H7. 450. Napier Taupo Road. 1930’s.

Load empty petrol drums to Napier. Driver Merv Doidge

Sign on truck door –

Kelly’s Transport Ltd, Taupo. New Fargo Truck H8.43 6. Napier Taupo Road – Runanga Bush in back ground. Photo; about late 1930’s.

Kelly’s Transport Ltd, sold their trucking interests and goods service licences to Hawke’s Bay Motor Co, 12/5/1939.

Sign on truck door –

Papers Past – Daily Telegraph – 26 Haratua 1892 – Page 4


A COACH will leave Napier every Monday at 6.30 a.m., arriving at Taupo 4 pm. Tuesday; leave Taupo every Thursday at 7 p.m., arriving at Napier 6 p.m. Friday.

THOS. COOK & SON, Agents.

Criterion and Clarendon Hotels, Napier.

Special Coaches or Buggies at any time.


Papers Past – Daily Telegraph – 26 Paengawhawha 1888


Coaches leave Criterion and Clarendon Hotels, Napier, and Joshua’s Spa Hotel, Taupo, every MONDAY and THURSDAY, at 6.30 am. for Napier and Taupo, arriving every TUESDAY and FRIDAY, at 4 p.m.

For Fares. &c., apply to Agents –
T. PEDDIE, Clarendon Hotel Napier Agents
J. ROSS, Criterion Hotel
F. WATKINSON, Agent, Oram’s Hotel, Auckland.


No 50-Mile Stages for Coach Horses by this Line of Coaches.

S. CROWTHER & W. MYERS, Drivers.

Papers Past – Daily Telegraph – 20 December 1888 – NOTABILIA.

The DAILY TELEGRAPH has always distanced all its rivals in circulation, because it is a high class family paper.

Port Ahuriri District School concert, St. Andrew’s Hall. to-morrow, 8 p.m.
Tent meeting to-night ; see advertisement in Wanted column.
Prices of admission, &c., H.B. Jockey Club’s Boxing Day meeting, inserted.
N.Z. Lawn Tennis Association championship meeting, Farndon Park, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th inst. ; see advertisement.

Baron Wolseley Lodge, U.A.O.D., Hastings. to-night, 7.30.

People’s Auction Mart, H.P. Cohen, furniture, poultry, produce, &c., Saturday, 11 a.m.
People’s Auction Mart, H.P. Cohen, Napier town section, Friday, January 4th, 2 p.m.
Albion Hotel Saleyards, H. Monteith, Poverty Bay horses. &c., Saturday, 12.30 p.m.
Near railway station, P. A. Herman, building timber, to-morrow, 11 a.m.
At Papakura, H.P. Cohen, farm stock and section of land in estate of J. Bullock, to-morrow, 11 a.m.

Tenders invited by Public Works department up to noon of Friday, January 11th, 1889. for painting Awapurua bridge.
Train arrangements for the holidays advertised.
Neal and Close change their advertisements on third page.
Crowther and McCauley, Taupo Royal mail couches, announce cheap excursion fares to Hot Lakes during Christmas holidays.

Papers Past > Evening Post > 3 July 1897 > Page 2 > TAUPO-NAPIER COACH ROAD. TO THE EDITOR


Evening Post, Volume LIV, Issue 3, 3 July 1897,  Page 2



SIR – Whilst jubilee is the order of the day in the towns, can you not help some of the country people who are suffering from the effects of the late floods? We are not asking for charity, only for the Government to do what is right in the way of helping those who help themselves. There is a great deal of talk about opening new roads for tourist traffic, yet at the same time one of the finest roads for scenery and direct communication with the pet Government township, Rotorua, is closed entirely against heavy traffic, and were it not for the exertions of Messrs. Crowther, coach proprietors, and Harvey, carriers, nothing would be done to clear the roads for light traffic. The Mohaka bridge was swept away, and a canoe has been placed there – most inadequate for the requirements, and a bridge is most necessary, yet the order for the timber to construct it has not yet been given. The wool and tourist season will be soon on us, to so nothing of the people living along the road who require stores, and as all stores have to he carried down the Mohaka cutting to the canoe, freight is ruinous. The County Council at Napier had its part of the road open and in perfect order in a couple of weeks; yet the remaining 35 miles in the hands of the Government up to date (23rd June) is a very little better than a week after the flood. The engineer has been down once and the overseer twice, and the men employed seem to “go as you please,” as there is no one to control them in any way. Cannot the Government spend some of the surplus they are always talking about on putting in perfect order a road that for years has been the admiration of hundreds of tourists, and spoken of by Mr. Cooper, the editor of the Scotsman, as the finest he had ever seen? Apologising for troubling you, and hoping you will give publicity to our just grievance,
I am, &c.,

Papers Past > Hawke’s Bay Herald > 8 December 1884 > Page 3 > THE TAUPO-NAPIER ROAD.


Hawke’s Bay Herald, Volume XXI, Issue 7032, 8 December 1884, Page 3


SIR, – I noticed an article in the HERALD a week ago complaining about the Taupo-Napier road. I was very glad to see that some one thought it time to speak about it, and I hope you will still use your influence towards getting something done to it. The road is in a disgraceful state, and quite impassable for heavy loads (such as wool) when the load is top heavy. All the wool will have to be packed to the Petane Valley this season if there is not something done to the road immediately, as every heavy rain makes it worse and increases the cost to put it right. I think it is very unfair when we have to pay Road Board and County Council rates that we can’t get a fair road to cart our stores up and our produce down. Some months ago there was a sum of money voted to put this road in repair. and still there seems to be no move made in the matter. There are many men travelling through the country who would be glad to get such work. Hoping. Mr Editor. that you will again give publicity to the disgraceful state of this road, – I am, &c.,
Loch Inver, December 4, 1884.

Papers Past > Hawke’s Bay Herald > 23 Mahuru 1887 > Page 1

Page 1 Advertisements Column 6

Hawkes Bay Herald, Rorahi XXII, Putanga 7855, 23 Mahuru





Three days’ drive through Lovely Scenery.

Leave the

Every Monday Morning at 6.30 o’clock, for Taupo, Ohinemutu, arriving at Tarawera same evening, Taupo on Tuesday, staying at Taupo all Wednesday, leaving for Rotorua on Thursday, and on to Auckland by Saturday night. Returning from the Palace Hotel Ohinemutu, every Tuesday morning at 6.30 o’clock, arriving at Taupo same evening. (Tourists can break their Journey at Taupo for 3 or 4 days, or a week, as there will be a coach to convey them on to Napier when they want to continue their journey), leaves Taupo Thursday at 6.30 a.m. and arrives at Napier on Friday at 5 p.m.

Tourists from Melbourne and the South by breaking their journey at Napier, instead of going on to Auckland, see some of the finest scenery in the North Island, by so doing they save both trouble and expense of Return Journey.

Special arrangements can be effected for Private Parties at any time, therefore two or more passengers can leave whatever day they like.

P.S. – Lunch and change of Horses first day at Pohui: second at Runanga (between Tarawera and Taupo): and third day at Atiamura [Atiamuri] (half way between Taupo and Ohinemutu).


Single –
Napier to Tarawera   £1 10
Napier to Taupo   2 10
Napier to Rotorua   4 5

Return –
Napier to Taupo   £4 10
Napier to Rotorua   £7 10
Available for One Month.
Specials on application to
Masonic Hotel, Napier.
And   P. McILROY,
Palace Hotel, Ohinemutu.




CROWTHER AND McCAULEY’S Taupo Electric Line of Royal Mail Coaches leaves the Clarendon Club Hotel Booking Office every Monday at 6.30 a.m.. calling at the Criterion Hotel, for Taupo and Rotorua, arriving at Tarawera same evening, Taupo on Tuesday staying at Taupo on Wednesday, leaving for Rotorua on Thursday,


Leaves Lake House, Ohinemutu, every Wednesday. at 6.30 a.m., calling at the Palace Hotel, arriving at Taupo and running direct to Mr Joshua’s Sanatorium same day; leaves Taupo on Thursday. at 6.30 a.m., arriving at Tarawera same evening: leaves Tarawera 6.30 a.m., arriving at Napier at 5 p.m. same day.


£ s. d.
Napier to Tarawera   10 0
Napier to Taupo   1 0 0
Napier to Rotorua   1 10 0
Specials as per agreement.
Clarendon Hotel Agent





Wishes to inform the public of Napier and the surrounding districts, that he has a





Historic photo mystery


Napier woman Dulcie Cornthwaite has a mystery to solve and wants to know if readers can help her.

Ms Cornthwaite inherited a photograph album from her father, Thomas Harvey Cornthwaite, and she would love to identify some of the unknown people captured within its pages

“My father immigrated to New Zealand from Liverpool as a boy and some of the first photographs are taken in England, on board ship and the Suez Canal,” she said.

“The later photos appear to show the beginnings of the Napier-Taupo Road.

“My dad was a ‘service car’ or bus driver in those days and he loved fishing, so we often went to Taupo when I was a child. Many of the photos reflect those days but I just don’t recognise any of the people in the album.

“Ms Cornthwaite’s mum, Mary Jane Kells, moved to New Zealand when she was just nine years of age, never speaking of her old life in County Cavan, Ireland.

“Mum was a bit of a closed book and I would love to have known more about her and what troubles they may have been through in Ireland that caused the family to emigrate,” Ms Cornthwaite said.

“I’ve learned a little about my family tree and I know that my grandfather on my mother’s side had a farm at Te Rapa in Hamilton. My parents married in 1924 but many of the pictures in the album predate that.

“All I know is that I have the album and I’d love to know all about it.” Another mystery is the fact that the photograph album is named as being owned by someone named “Hunt”- and inside there is a photo of a grave, with a headstone reading “Thomas Hunt”.

No dates can be made out.

“I really wish someone had written underneath the photos, to explain who the people were,” said Ms Cornthwaite.

If you recognise the people in these photographs, please phone Napier Mail reporter Claire Hamlin on 833 5774.

Family portrait: does anyone recognise this family?

Flight: An aeroplane landing would have been cause for great interest.

Tea time: An inscription on the back of this photograph says: “Mr Gray looking as though he was very thirsty” and is dated May 1922.

On the road: The former Lake Hotel at Te Pohue in the early 1920s. Travelling to Taupo could take up to three days.

Unidentified Flying Object. (UFO Sighting South of Te Pohue. Napier Taupo Road. Thursday. 8th January 1953.

The Daily Telegraph

Circular Light


Bright Object Seen Under Cloud Base


A Greenmeadows man has reported seeing a bright object hurtling at high speed through the sky west of Napier early on Tuesday evening.

Mr S. P. Tuck, who is chairman of directors of Tuck Bros, Ltd., said today that he saw the object just over two hours before people in Taranaki, as well as an airways pilot, saw a similar object. When he first saw the object, about 7 p.m., it was a bright circular light. Within a minute it had faded into a reddish glow and disappeared.


First to see the object was Mr Tuck’s 18-year-old son, Mick. Mr Tuck and his son were travelling to Napier and were just south of Te Pohue, on the Taupo road, at the time.

“At first I thought it was the evening aircraft taking off from Napier.” Mr Tuck said this morning. “It looked like a side view of a plane with all the cabin lights on.” The speed at which it disappeared proved it was not a plane.

“It must have been fairly high up.” Mr Tuck said. “The cloud base was 5000 to 7000 feet and it was just under the clouds.”

Mr Tuck, who is interested in astronomy was certain it could not have been a star. “A star would not disappear like this object did,” he said.


Describing the object, he said: “It was quite a large, very bright, circular object. It faded into a reddish glow, then disappeared. It appeared to be travelling at a terrific speed towards a rift in the clouds about 12 miles from Napier. It was a peculiar thing: l would not like to say what it was.”

Mr Tuck is equally certain the object was not a meteor.  “A meteor would have reacted in the opposite way and become brighter.” he explained.

Mr Tuck served in the Pacific during the war and travelled extensively by air.


Flying Object Seen In Broad Daylight

(P.A.) NEW PLYMOUTH.  This day. An object flying at a terrific speed just off the sun was seen in New Plymouth at 4.15 p.m. on Tuesday by Mr G. Flett, of New Plymouth, an experienced observer of weather conditions.

Mr Flett was watching the course of a weather balloon when he saw the object, which he said to-day was round but ill-defined in shape. The object appeared to be falling, he added, and because of its speed he does not think it was the same object seen by four fishermen off Bell Block at 9.20 pm. on Tuesday, by a co-pilot aboard a National Airways aircraft at 9.27. and by a Nelson woman two minutes later.

Papers Past > Hawera & Normanby Star > 9 January 1885 > Page 2 >



Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume V, Issue 908, 9 January 1885, Page 2

Our Manaia correspondent sends us the following interesting account of the march of the detachment of A.C.’s under Captain Gudgeon, written by H.S.R. : –

After a pleasant voyage of about 20 hours from Wellington, we reached Napier at 8 a.m. on the 3rd December. I can give you no description of the latter town, for immediately on landing we started on our march, which today was a very short one of five miles, and by a very uninteresting road, round the bay to Petane, which we reached about 10 am. Here we spent the remainder of the day, whilst arrangements were being made with regard to rations, baggage, waggons, etc. A few words about Petane, which I regard as one of the first of the gardens of New Zealand. It is a beautiful spot. The place itself is small, consisting only of post and telegraph office, hotel, store, and the residence of Major Richardson, which latter is situated on the bank of the river. There is a racecourse, fine cricket-ground (where we this afternoon played a match with the Napier Imps, getting badly beaten), tennis-grounds, and lovely gardens beautifully planted and one mass of blossom. The shrubbery full of red and blue gums, firs, pines, and accacias, all in the highest state of perfection; while the banks of the river, down which

gigantic willows, showing now and then through their interstices glimpses of the distant hills, and making up vistas I have seldom seen equalled for beauty. It is essentially a place for a honeymoon, and where even a melancholy bachelor like myself was struck with the goodness of Nature’s God and Master. I could write for an hour on the attractions of this place, but with I know not what before me to-morrow I feel more inclined to “turn in”; so for to-night enough.

Thursday, 4th December. – Leaving Petane, at 7 a.m., this morning, our route took us for the first four miles up to the top of a chain of hills (Petane), descending which we came to the Petane Valley, where the road for nine miles runs along the river bed. We had to ford this river twenty-five times, but though wide and rather swift it is not very deep, so no accidents happened. Leaving this we came to the Kai-whaka [Kaiwaka] ranges, the ascent of which for the baggage was something terrible, the road up being nothing but the bed of a mountain torrent. However, as everything, has an end, at last we got to the top. The descent was comparatively easy, and after crossing the Kai-whaka river twenty-three times (not so bad, 48 duckings in one day), we ascended the hills to Pia-hemu, here finishing a hard march of nineteen miles, almost too tired to care whether tents were pitched, or not. The scenery today, from an artistic point of view, has been magnificent, but the land is of no value save for sheep runs. Formation, pumice and white clay.

Friday, 5th December. – Left Waterhole Block, cutting Pia-hemu at 5 a.m. The first nine miles took us through a succession of terrific gullies, some of the inclines being fearfully steep, each side of the road in turn shewing sheer precipices hundreds of feet deep. A cloudless

sky overhead, the sun beating down with terrific force, anything but pleasant for marching. At eleven o’clock we halted at Puhoi [Te Pohui], a township with one house in it, and where the whole of us were regaled with a plentiful supply of eggs, milk, tea, and home-made bread. which was swallowed with infinite gusto. About a mile from this place we decended [descended] into a lovely glen, surrounded by well wooded hills, and a beautiful lake covered with wild- fowl at the bottom. Leaving here we had a steep three miles up the Titio-okura [Titiokura] hill, which is covered with large manuka scrub and fern. From this the road runs downhill to Mohaka, which is situated on the river of that name, which is very wide and swift. There are some fine falls here, the water falling, I should say, fully 120 feet. Here were [we] pitched camp, very glad to unroll our blankets once more. The country to-day has been similar to that of yesterday, useless, save for sheep, and even they, I think, would be hard-pushed in wintertime. Formation, pipe clay and pumice, about one foot of sub-soil, very light and sandy.

Saturday, 6th December. – To-day has been the hardest march we have yet experienced – chain upon chain of hills to scale and descend, the most formidable of which were the Titi-parakura range, which took us fully two hours and a-half to ascend. The scenery is grand; far as the eye can reach nothing but rugged peaks and ravines. Bush is scarce rather than otherwise, and water for many miles hard to get at. For practical purposes the land is valueless – sheep, even at this time of year, would starve on it. A noticeable feature is the old Blockhouse of Te Arito [Te Haroto], on one of the highest peaks, where, twelve years ago, forty men were stationed to keep the road open to Napier. Today we passed the first native Village (Te Arito) on the line. Some of the whares are beautifully carved, and the

people seem to compare favorably with their brethren of the West Coast. We left Mohaka at five a.m. and arrived at Tarawera at noon, having marched sixteen miles. This will give you some idea of the country we came through – seven hours for sixteen miles. At Tarawera is the first of the Hot Springs (Iodine), and I enjoyed immensely a warm bath after the fatigues of the march. The township consists of about fifteen houses, including post and telegraph office, hotel, store, and A.C. block house. When in the township you can scarcely see 400 yards in any direction, so totally is it surrounded by hills. I made up my mind to have a good rest here this afternoon, but had hardly got settled when news was brought in that one of the baggage waggons in the rear had gone down a ravine. All hands had to turn out, and after a walk of ten miles, and pulling the horses and waggon up, we got back to tea at Tarawera at about nine p.m. – a clear case of bad luck!

Sunday, 7th December. – What would I not give to hear Mr. Root or Mr. Willis preach this morning instead of starting off on the march! About two miles from Tarawera we came to the Waipunga river, which is crossed by a bridge that would no longer exist if my friend Mr. Stewart was in this part of the country. A little further on we come to a romantic-looking place called the “Nunnery,” which takes its name from a number of Maori vestals having lived there some time ago – I think it must have been a long time ago. After this the Paker-anui ranges, where the road is wonderful in its snake-like windings. On one occasion, after marching for fully two hours, we saw a point we had left scarcely a quarter of a mile away. We saw some fine waterfalls today, but too far away for inspection. From this downhill, to Rununga, where Captain Gudgeon was in command some

night. It is an uninteresting spot, and not nearly what I thought to find it. The country is getting more and more barren – nothing but pumice and a sort of tussock called snow grass.

Monday, 8th December. – We left Rumunga [Runanga] at 6 a.m. taking our route for 12 miles to Rangitaike [Rangitikei] river. Here the Taupo Plains begin. There is nothing to see but an occasional swamp. The country is literally a desert, inhabited, so far as I could see by no living thing, not even a tree or shrub, and to relieve the monotony only in the far distance Tauhara hill, just outside Taupo. Leaving Rangitaike we marched another 12 miles to Opepe, where we stayed for the night.  Here is the scene and burial grounds of the victims of one of Te Kooti’s massacres, which I visited. There is a redoubt here and an hotel. From this place we got our first view – though a bad one – of Tongariro and Ruapehu, and also the famous lake of Taupo.

Tuesday, 9th December. – Leaving Opepe after breakfast, another 12 miles took as into Tapueharuru, where for the present we are stationed. It is a pretty place, the lake and mountains giving out some fine views. There are also some sights well worth seeing in the neighborhood – notably, a geyser called “the crow’s-nest,” which throws up  boiling water to a height of full forty feet; the Waireka falls; the Eagle’s- nest; and numbers of boiling sulphur springs.

One more word, and for the present I have done. People of the Waimate Plains, stay where you are; you will go further only to fare worse. For my part, my lips still water for what I shall always think of as the Land of Canaan.

Papers Past > Press > 5 Poututerangi 1891 > Page 6 > NAPIER TO TARAWERA.


Press, Rorahi XLVIII, Putanga 7803, 5 Poututerangi 1891, Page

The week following we were busy in preparation. We greedily waded through a whole library of literature dealing with the Taupo Zone, from von Hochstetter’s learned volume to the latest edition of Cook’s “Guide.” Russell, as one “who had seen the manners of many men and cities,” and who had moreover been through the country before, was naturally looked up to as an authority on matters of outfit and luggage. On some points he was very emphatic; he especially insisted on large umbrellas as a protection against the sun, and big nails in our boots to facilitate climbing. For the rest, provided these two things were attended to, the less you took with you the better. In fact, so extreme was he in his “no” luggage, theories that he, reminded one forcibly of the tourist who carried as his only impedimentum an empty water-proof bag

“What’s the good of the bag?” asked a friend when he saw him thus equipped.

“Why, when it comes on to rain you take your clothes off and shove ’em in. After the shower is over you’ve got a dry suit of clothes – see?”

This seemed ingenious, yet the friend was still puzzled. “But what the dickens do you wear in the meantime?”

“Oh – a – you wear a smile and a smile is always becoming, you know.”

Russell did wear a smile, not to say a grin, most of the time; but happily, in the interests of decency, he added a flannel suit.

After a pleasant trip up the coast and overland from Wellington through the Manawatu Gorge we arrived at Napier, and put up at the Criterion, preparatory to leaving by the Monday coach. Napier is not a very lively town in these days. Now that the sea wall is completed it can certainly boast of a very fine “Marine Parade;” but the houses along it are, with a few notable exceptions, such miserable affairs – consisting of cottages with broken down fences, relieved here and there by a dirty stable – that they detract considerably from the pleasure of the view to seaward. However, on the hills are some pretty gardens and villa residences, and a drive there on the Sunday proved very enjoyable.

On Monday morning at 6.30 we left for Tarawera by one of Crowther and Macauley’s [McCauley’s] coaches. Tarawera is the name of the village which forms the terminus of the first days coaching, and is not to be confounded with Tarawera Lake and volcano – two days’ journey further on. For a very moderate extra charge we had secured a “special;” but the ordinary coach with six or seven passengers left at the same time so that we had company on the road. Mr S. Crowther, one of the proprietors, drove us and proved a skillful and careful whip, and a pleasant companion to hoot. After driving over Scinde Island, as hills and flat on which Napier stands are called, we crossed the long Petane Bridge, and then came a monotonous spit of loose sand and shingle stretching across the harbour. We saw nothing of interest here except the bold figurehead and some of the wreckage at the unfortunate vessel Northumberland. Petane is a pretty little village but the approach to it is unhappily not pleasant; for an enterprising firm have erected soap works in the vicinity, and as the wind was blowing strong from that quarter we had a bad five minutes. After driving for about six miles through the beautiful Petane (Bethany) Valley, we came to the first ford of the river Esk. For several hours the road lies along the bed of this river and we crossed it and its tributary the Manga-kopi-kopi-ko (a name the driver gave us in instalments), no less than forty-seven times. This part of the journey not very interesting except an occasional pretty patch of fern along the banks of the river, there is nothing to relieve the tedium of the scenery. As we were about to cross the river for the last time, we noticed two ferocious looking swaggers seated on the bank. They were on their way to Napier, and had just crossed Manga &c. Number 1. They were evidently new to the road, for, to our great amusement they were lacing up their boots which they had taken off to ford the river. One could imagine the increasing

chagrin they would experience as they come to each new ford; and the steady crescendo in their expletives; and we could not help speculating as to what was the nth ford at which they would go through the operation of unlacing before resolving to wade through boots and all. Their fierce appearance seemed to fill Mrs Russell with mild apprehension. “Suppose they were bushrangers!” she exclaimed. We assured her that bushranging like moa-hunting was among the extinct professions in New Zealand: but the remark drew from Russell the following bushranging story :

“You have heard, of course, of Burgess and his gang. That man had the stuff of real greatness in him, but unhappily fate made him a villain instead a hero. While in gaol in Nelson he wrote an account of some of his adventures, and in it he tells this story. He had just broken out of goal in Victoria, and was travelling on foot through the bush when he met a trooper mounted on a superb animal. This was the very thing to suit him, and concealing himself behind a log on the roadside, he waited for his man. When he came up Burgess suddenly covered him with his pistol. “If you move a muscle except to dismount I’ll shoot you.” The trooper’s face twitched for a moment, then in a husky but firm voice came the reply “I’ve been mounted nigh on thirty years – shoot.” It was too much even for Burgess. “By – you’re a game ’un ; stick to your mount then and ride to –  on him,” and the trooper rode on unmolested.

After getting out of the Esk riverbed the road ascends gradually till you reach the top of a plateau and then after a few miles more you come to Pohui. Here the coach stops for an hour or so, horses are charged and the passengers have luncheon. The accomodation [accommodation] house has a somewhat unpromising exterior; it is in fact merely a long, ramshackle shanty ; but inside we found a pleasant cool room and a homely but appetising meal. In the afternoon the road lies, for the first part or the journey, through a pretty bush, and then winds up the slope to Titiokura, to a height of about 2400 feet. From this point an extensive view is obtained ; and as it was a beautifully clear day we had our last look at the Napier hills the bay and Cape Kidnappers in the distance. The descent from Titiokura is the most difficult part of the Taupo road; for, not only is the grade very bad in places but the curves are at times unpleasantly sharp. The worst of them have been improved lately, in that the road has been widened by six or eight feet; but even as it is some of them are so abrupt that you completely lose sight of your leaders before the coach itself begins to turn. The last part of the descent is the notorious Mohaka cutting. When you have reached the bottom and look up at the precipice rising sheer above you – almost perpendicular with the narrow cutting zig-zagging down the face of it, our only thought is one of wonder how you ever managed to come down it, or better, perhaps, of gratitude to the fates for landing you at the bottom with your neck unbroken. It is this cutting that has acquired such a bad name from accident there some five or six years ago. The leaders at one corner were turned too soon, and down the coach rolled. The only passenger who escaped death or serious injury was a Maori. It seems that on the top of the plateau the team bolted for about three miles, and the wary native having no desire to win notoriety by breaking his neck, jumped out of the coach and did the descent on foot.

At the foot of the hill flows the Mohaka, now spanned by a good bridge. On the other side the coach stopped for a few minutes ; the horses were refreshed with bucketfuls from the river, while we were extravagant enough to indulge in beer at half-a-crown a small bottle at a small shanty, dignified with the name at “Mohaka Hotel.” We had now come to the pumice country, the white, breakable stuff crumbling into a light dust, that made travelling somewhat unpleasant. In the side of the pumice cutting could be seen here and there pieces of charred wood, buried there, doubtless for ages and originally burned with charcoal perhaps at a time when the pumice was red hot. The road now ascends again for several miles up the lofty Turanga-Kumu (“Sitting Upright.”) These hills will one day be a favourite resort of sportsmen. We saw several pheasants rise as we drove along and Crowther told us that the country abounds in wild turkeys and peacocks, and that further to the westward there are a good many kiwis.  At the top of the hill is a small Maori settlement where the coach stopped for a moment at the bidding of a handsome damsel, gaily attired in a scarlet petticoat and orange bodice, with masses of shining black hair falling over her shoulders. She gave a letter to the driver – to be delivered at Taupo. It was addressed in a well-formed, and even stylish angular hand to “Rupi te Rangi,” some dusky swain doubtless, who had won her heart. We expressed some admiration for the hand writing: the driver remarked that the Maoris are usually very expert with pen and pencil, and to prove his statement he showed us a small drawing of a stags head which he carried in his pocket book. It was accurate in outline and skilfully shaded and was the

work of a Maori lad living in one of the settlements along the road.

The natives indeed possess intelligence and a capacity for receiving culture far above that of any other aboriginal races in the world and quite equal to that of the average European. But educate them and civilize them how you will, the instincts of generations assert themselves and at the first opportunity most of them go back to the old pa life. Hence arises the anomaly that you may meet a young girl who has a good English education, possess perhaps some accomplishments besides is a  good musician : and an adept with her pencil and yet elects, when she leaves school to go back to her native pa and share a whare with pigs and piccaninies, dogs and fleas.

“That same fact comes some times as an unpleasant surprise to the uninitiated,” Russell remarked. “A good many years ago I was travelling on Banks’ Peninsula, and when passing a pa near Port Levy, I saw a girl much like the one we’ve just met; shoeless and hatless, digging up potatoes in a paddock by the roadside. I didn’t know the country and wanted to make some enquires. She looked pretty intelligent so I thought that by the aid of signs and gibberish I might make her follow my meaning. I went up to her “Haeremai,” I began, thinking I would start with something she could understand; and then very appropriately I asked her in pigeon English the way to Pigeon Bay.

She didn’t answer, and her face assumed a peculiar expression not unlike contempt; that’s how the Maoris look when they are puzzled, thought I. I tried again with more signs. “You makey tell me road to Pigeon Bay.” This time there was no mistaking the expression on her face; after “taking my measure” with a look of great scorn, with a perfect accent she replied. “I beg your pardon, but don’t you think you had better speak English?”  I have not made the same mistake since.

For several miles the road now runs through bush, scattered and stunted. Then, after we had crossed the highest point in the road, Tupurupuru – some 3000 feet above sea level – and had begun the descent, at a turning in the road there suddenly opened on our view the most magnificent prospect the eye could wish to rest upon. Stretched in a grand panorama before you as the coach rushes down the mountain side you see peak on peak, valley on valley, with the tortuous white line of the road winding like a serpent till you lose it in the distance.  With its rapid interchange of cliff and glen and plain, there is a power and a charm in the landscape you instinctively recognise. There rise the fern-clad hills throwing their cool shadows over the valleys; there the rata, the rimu and the taua rear their heads skyward; and over all the enchanted scene, the cloudless heaven with its arch of serenest blue. Far away, where the village of Tarawera can be seen – a mere white speck in the distance – the varied colours and features of the landscape seem to mingle and lose themselves in the soft, purple haze. No words can describe the delight, the exhilaration you experience as you view the scene, and seem to pass through

“An ampler ether, a diviner air.
And fields invested with purpureal gleams.”

So beautiful was the prospect, and so intent were we on the enjoyment of it, that we did not even notice that the road at this part is anything but a pleasant one for nervous people to travel. In the course of about three miles the driver informed us, you descend about 1600 feet; and the grade in parts is as bad as it can be. Hence passengers who make the mistake of looking at the road instead of at the landscape occasionally have a bad quarter at an hour – especially if they are on the box. Crowther told us that they sometimes got so carried away with fright that they completely lost their heads, and would grab hold of the reins. He had even had to rap their knuckles with his whip handle to make them let go, and he was not unfrequently obliged to order the ladies on the box to go inside. Such people must be no end of a nuisance to a driver and we asked him whether he wasn’t very hard put to it at times to avoid profanity.

Papers Past > Taranaki Herald > 29 November 1907 > Page 3 > ON TOUR.


Taranaki Herald > Volume LIV, Issue 13571, 29 November 1907 > Page 3


New Plymouth to Rotorua via Napier and Taupo, returning via Main Trunk Line.




The Taupo coach leaves Napier at 6.30 a.m. So bidding our friend Mr Eagleton, who had come to see us off, au revoir, we were soon bowling along the road past the Spit to Petane, six miles out of Napier, and where the company’s stables are. Four fresh horses were harnessed to the coach, and we were soon on the trot again. The passengers included the chief postmaster of Napier and his wife, Mr McLenon, a member of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board; and, his wife, and Mrs Peacock, all being colonists of some forty years. We were soon relating reminiscences of the early days, and by the time we reached Pohui, 26 miles from Napier, where we stopped for lunch, we were a happy party. An hour for lunch, and with a fresh team, we pass through sheep country and are soon climbing hills. We cross the Mohaka River. The road so far is fairly good, but very dusty and no metal. However, we were favoured with fine weather, and were glad when we reached

Tarawera, 50 miles from Napier, and the end of our first day’s coaching. Here we find good accommodation in a new hotel kept by Mr Duncan McKay [MacKay], at one time mine host of the Empire Hotel, Stratford. The tea-bell rings, and I can assure you we are all ready to do justice to our meal. There is a hot spring at Tarawera distant half a mile from the hotel, to which we wend our steps and bathe before retiring.

We were up with the lark in the morning and had a plunge in the hot mineral spring before breakfast. The coach leaves at 7.30, and for the first twelve miles passes through some bush scenery. The country then becomes uninteresting, poor pumice, no stock to be seen, only stunted ti-tree growing. We reach Rangitaiki, 75 miles from Napier, and have lunch. All meals and beds along this route are 2s 6d. Off again and we soon get a glimpse of Tongariro, and Lake Taupo comes in view.


We arrived at the terraces at 4.30, and the whole party decided to stay at the Terrace Hotel, which we found very comfortable, Mr and Mrs B. C. Lowery being very attentive. There are some splendid hot mineral baths; the hot douch is one of the best that I have seen. Mr Avery and I were soon enjoying ourselves and forgot all about our one hundred miles of coach ride. The hot swimming bath is 200ft long and 150ft wide. Our favourite was the hot soda bath, and an iron bath was taken, sometimes. We used to drink the mineral waters. All the baths are free and towels are supplied from the hotel free of charge.

[Handwritten] Hotel No 3   Burnt down 15 July 1965.   Orlowski owners 1951-1965.

The township of Taupo is about a couple of miles further on and has two hotels. Mr McRae, who lost his all at Wairoa at the time of the Tarawera eruption, is new mine host of the Lake Hotel, Taupo. The place seems to be at a standstill, and no wonder; the Government are spending all the money at Rotorua; but Taupo’s day will come. There is a post and telegraph office, school, Court house, a few houses, and several stores.

Lake Taupo is a noble sheet of water, on which two oil launches ply to Tokaanu. The distance across the lake is 26 miles, having Mount Tongariro and Ngauruhoe for background. Among the interesting places to be visited is Mount Tauhara, 3600ft. high, on which, I was told, the Tourist Department have cut a path to the top. The Spa is five miles from the Terrace Hotel. We walked there one morning and saw a number of fine hot springs and baths; and the Crow’s Nest geyser, for which we paid 2s. There is a good accommodation house, where the dining room is ornamented with a number of Maori carvings that made my companion blush. On the third day of our stay we made up a party of seven drove to the Wairakei Geyser Valley and Huka Falls, distance eight miles from the Terraces. The price agreed upon was 7s 6d a head. The famous Huka Falls are close to the main road. The Waikato River leaps into a foaming mass. over a rocky ledge, into a swirling pool some 30ft. beneath. It is confined between two cliffs that form a very narrow trough, along which the water races with a swiftness that makes one giddy to watch. These are the Falls that the Government spoke of harnessing to generate electric power to work the railways in the north: The Wairakei

Geyser Valley contains within a limited area the most wonderful collection of baths, geysers, and other phenomena in the thermal spring district. The place is full of interesting objects, and to attempt description would make this narrative too long. The Geyser House Hotel is kept by the Grahams, who, I understand, own the freehold of the Geyser Valley and other lands. They charge, sightseers 4s each to view the sights in the Valley. We also wished to see the Aratiatia Rapids. Here the River Waikato, confined between rocky banks some 200ft. high, rushes along at a furious rate and is torn into a foaming mass by the boulders. The road to these rapids is through Graham’s property for which he wanted to charge us another 5s each. We decided not to go. The Devil’s Blow-hole (or Karapiti Fumarole) lies a little distance off the road by which we came. We intended to see it on our return homewards, to which the Grahams replied, “No, your coachman cannot drive you; the road goes through our property, and if you wish to see the blow-hole you will have to hire a vehicle from us and the charge is 3s per head.” We decided to go and a couple of horses were harnessed to a coach. One of the horses refused to budge and another horse was brought up. After ascending the hill a little distance they jibbed. We got out and the driver coaxed them on again, but they stopped again, so we walked to the blow-hole, our own horses cooling their heels and our driver laughing at the fun. I think the Government should acquire these properties and take control of the thermal spring district. Why should visitors who wish to see the natural sights of Nature be fleeced by private individuals?  However

I must tell you what the Devil’s Blow-hole is like. There is no water, but in its stead a great column of steam rushes forth from the aperture with a terrible noise, and ascends a couple of hundred feet in the air. There is an immense force. We amused ourselves by throwing kerosene tins, which were immediately sent flying high in the air.


Napier to Taupo arduous trip

JOURNEY: The Napier-Taupo road circa 1896.


The road to Taupo from Napier, as pictured in 1896, involved crossing rivers and streams many times.

In the foreground is Kaiwaka Creek, which had to be forded (crossed) more than 20 times, and the River Esk, as it was known then, had to be forded 23 times.

There were so many crossings during the trip, it was said that even the most enthusiastic “tripper” gave up on his arithmetic in despair.

The earliest pathway of moving between Napier and Taupo was by way of Maori tracks, of which there were several which were used by tribes in the Waikato region to visit Ahuriri and gather seafood, and sometimes to wage war.

Anglican missionary William Colenso was the first European to reportedly have walked the Taupo tracks from Tarawera to Ahuriri in 1847.

Thomas Tanner, who completed the Taupo trip in 1857 from Ahuriri by horseback, recorded coming across settlements of Maori at various stages on the tracks. In order to get provisions along the way, he made a sound he described as “cooing,” and if any Maori were near – which they often were – they mysteriously appeared. He would greet them by saying “tena koe” and they would offer to cook him potatoes and sometimes pork.

Public horse-drawn transportation continued until about 1913, when a Cadillac, nine seater car was introduced – reducing the time taken to eight hours, instead of days. (Heritage Trails Hastings/Napier to Taupo)

Road has seen plenty of travellers

Michael Fowler
Historic Hawkes Bay

Over the next few weeks thousands of people will travel on the Napier-Taupo Rd (SH5) for their annual vacation. Many will have differing, early memories of travelling on that road which may include chugging up windy, steep gradients; boiling radiators; melting tar and bad cases of car sickness. The first car to travel over the road was in August 1903 when Auckland man Arthur Cleave travelled with his son from Auckland to Wellington in a locomobile. This was an American steam-powered vehicle which was a cross between a locomotive and an automobile, being steam powered and having the appearance of an automobile The trip to Napier from Wairakei took two-and-a-half days. The most challenging part, said Arthur Cleave, was the climb up Mount Turangakumu, travelling 609m in 7km and encountering snow and ice at the summit.

In 1904, Napier woman Mrs H F Butcher, in her 1902 Oldsmobile, which the Napierites named ‘Reindeer’ due to its top speed on 25 miles/h, (40 kms/hr) travelled in convoy with her husband (who had an identical Oldsmobile) to Rotorua.

This feat made her the first woman to drive to Taupo in her 5hp, single cylinder vehicle. The Napier-Taupo Rd in those days was mostly pumice or clay. Unlike Arthur Cleave, the Butchers’ Oldsmobile was powered by gasoline, and supplies had to be sent ahead of them.

Nearing Taupo, and going down a steep hill, she lost her hat, ran off the road and was thrown out of the car after hitting a poplar tree.

She then got back in and backed the car out onto the road. Upon reaching Rotorua the car was sent by rail to Auckland to be repaired. Her journey also took a few days.

The bridge pictured in 1914 is the Mohaka Bridge on the Old Coach Rd. The automobile is on the Taupo side of the bridge, and the present bridge is at the top of the valley on the left. Around the 1870s the first bridge was built and replaced in 1895, to a design by C D Kennedy (Kennedy Rd in Napier is named for him), but this bridge was washed away by the great floods of 1897. It took some time for the bridge to be replaced, and was eventually opened in 1900. Until then the river had to be forded, and resulted in loss of life on one occasion.

The present Mohaka Bridge was opened in 1962.

Michael Fowler’s ( new book Hastings, Havelock North and Napier: A Collage of History is for sale in Havelock North at Wardini Books, Poppies Books, Take Note and Birdwood’s Gallery; Hastings at Denton Wyatt, Hastings i-site, Whitcoulls, Plaza Books, Paper Plus; Taradale at Paper Plus and Napier at Beattie & Forbes, Whitcoulls, Napier l-site, Paper Plus, Art Deco Trust and Waipukurau at Paper Plus. This hardback book contains a pocket history of each location, and my favourite stories about people, places and events.

WELL TRAVELLED: The Mohaka Bridge on the Napier-Taupo Rd pictured in 1914.


Original digital file



Original collection contains information about Taupo landmarks and items of interest as well as Hawke’s Bay – only Hawke’s Bay material included here

Other surnames in this folder – Eagleton, Kusabs, McCauley, McLenon, McRae, Orlowski

Date published


Format of the original

Folder of photocopied photos and typed text

Creator / Author

  • Michael Palmer Tuck


  • Don Bisson
  • J Bullock
  • Mrs F H Butcher
  • Arthur Cleave
  • H P Cohen
  • William Colenso
  • Tommy Cooper
  • Dulcie Cornthwaite
  • Thomas Harvey Cornthwaite
  • S Crowther
  • Bob Dockery
  • Merv Doidge
  • Russell Duncan
  • Charlie edwards
  • G Faulknor
  • G Flett
  • Michael Fowler
  • Arthur Giles
  • Captain Gudgeon
  • Claire Hamlin
  • John Thomas Harvey
  • William Harvey
  • Harry Hayhow
  • P A Herman
  • Eddie Hubbard
  • Thomas Hunt
  • Charlie Jones
  • Mary Jane Kells
  • C D Kennedy
  • Mr and Mrs B C Lowery
  • Duncan MacKay
  • Lester Masters
  • P McIlroy
  • H Monteith
  • William C Munro
  • W Myers
  • T Peddie
  • R H Pettigrew
  • J Ross
  • Ken Sherry
  • Wally Stevens
  • F Watkinson
  • George White
  • Billy Wood

Accession number


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