The History of Tawa

 

arrow bullet   Existing Publications

We would remind readers of the existing publications relating to aspects of the history of the Tawa area that are available from most libraries :

1.   Tawa Flat and the Old Porirua Road 1840 – 1982.   Arthur H. Carman, Wright and Carman Ltd.   1982.   Hard-cover book 142mm by 223mm 266p.

2.   Tawa – Enterprise and Endeavour.   K. R. Cassells, Tawa Borough Council, 1988.   Hard-cover book 142mm by 223mm 210p.   ISBN 0-473-00715-0.

3.   The Old Porirua Road.   Porirua Museum History Series, No 5, Kelvin Day, 1991, published by the Porirua Museum and the Porirua City Council.

4.   I Remember Tawa : A Collection of memories.   Barbara Adams, Brasenose Press 2002, 120p – a series of personal reminiscences of Tawa residents about their life and times in Tawa.   ISBN 0-473-08904-1.   For library copy see NZRef 993.141 ADA.

5.   Northern Suburbs Heritage Trail – Part 2: Following the Old Porirua Road.   Onslow and Tawa Historical Societies / Glenside Progressive Assn. / WCC / et. al.   2nd edn.   2004.   Booklet 99mm by 211mm, foldout maps.

6.   The Streets of Tawa.   Bruce Murray, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2005.   Soft-cover book A4 100p.   ISBN 0-473-10188-2.
The Streets of Tawa is the first significant publication by the Tawa Historical Society since its formation in 2001.   In writing the foreword, Kerry Prendergast says, “The Streets of Tawa is a fascinating insight into the history and overall development of Tawa as a community, and I know you will enjoy reading it.”   Only limited copies remain from the first printing.   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa at a cost of $20 each, plus $5 p&p delivered within NZ.   This edition is currently out of print.

7.   An Historical Atlas of Tawa.   Bruce Murray, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2006.   Soft-cover spiral bound book A3 85p.   ISBN 978-0-473-11603-3.
An Historical Atlas of Tawa is the second significant publication by the Tawa Historical Society since its formation in 2001.   The first limited printing of this publication was released in November 2006 for members.   Orders for any excess not taken up by members or for a subsequent print run may be made to; The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa at a cost of $60 each, for local delivery only.   This edition is currently out of print.

8.   Best of Tawa, Volume 1.   Edited by Bruce Murray and David Wood, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2007.   Soft-cover book A4 107p.   ISBN 978-0-473-12942-2.
9.   Best of Tawa, Volume 2.   Edited by Bruce Murray and David Wood, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2008.   Soft-cover book A4 130p.   ISBN 978-0-473-14583-5.
10.   Best of Tawa, Volume 3.   Edited by Bruce Murray and David Wood, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2012.   Soft-cover book A4 78p. and cumulative index of all three volumes.   ISBN 978-0-473-16387-7.

The Best of Tawa series provides the publication for the first time in book form the articles by Elsdon Best that were serialised in the Canterbury Times in 1914.   Volume I concentrates on the pre-European and early European settlement of the Porirua District.   Volume II covers the Maori troubles in the Wellington area culminating in the battle at Battle Hill, and the building of the Old Porirua Road.   And Volume III concludes the articles with miscellaneous jottings by Elsdon about the Wellington area including information about some place names, and also a reproduction of an obituary article that was written about the life of Elsdon Best.   Volume III also contains a comprehensive cumulative index for all three volumes   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa, at a cost of $20 per Volume, plus $5 p&p delivered within NZ.   Please make cheques payable to Tawa Historical Society Inc.   Copies of any remaining stock may also be purchased from the Tawa Library.

11.   Lest Tawa Forgets.   Bruce Murray, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2008.   Soft-cover book A4 100p.   ISBN 978-0-473-13412-9.
Lest Tawa Forgets is the fourth significant publication by the Tawa Historical Society.   This publication recalls the three main theatres of war that New Zealand has participated in and details the involvement of 13 men that once lived in Tawa who died in those endeavours.   Its publication coincided with ANZAC Day 2008 and also the laying of a plaque at the foot of Memorial Oak Tree outside the Tawa School planted in 1945 in memory of those from Tawa that gave their lives in the service of New Zealand forces overseas. nbsp; Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa at a cost of $20 each, plus $5 p&p delivered within NZ.   Please make cheques payable to Tawa Historical Society Inc.   Copies of any remaining stock may also be purchased from the Tawa Library.

12.   Rails Through the Valley - The Story of the Construction and Use of the Railway Lines through Tawa.   Bruce Murray and David Parsons, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2007.   Soft-cover book A4 56p.   ISBN 978-0-473-14410-4.
Rails Through the Valley is the fifth significant publication by the Tawa Historical Society.   Amply illustrated with colour photographs and maps this publication tells the story of the construction and use of the railway lines through Tawa which were so critical to the subsequent growth of the Tawa area.   Its publication also coincides with the Centenary of the completion of the North Island Main Trunk rail line and the privatisation of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway.   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa, at a cost of $25 each, plus $5 p&p delivered within NZ.   Please make cheques payable to Tawa Historical Society Inc.   Copies of any remaining stock may also be purchased from the Tawa Library.

13.   Tawa Historical Series No. 1 - United States Marine Corps, Second Division, Ammunition Bunker, Takapu Road, Tawa Flat, Wellington, New Zealand, 1942 - 1945.   Philip Harland, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2007.   Soft-cover book A5 32p.   ISBN 978-0-473-12466-3.   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa, at a cost of $10 each, plus $2 p&p delivered within NZ.

14.   Tawa Historical Series No. 2 - The Tawa Flat Cemetery 1861 - 1978.   Bruce Murray and Richard Herbert, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2009.   Soft-cover book A5 55p.   ISBN 978-0-473-15160-7.   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa, at a cost of $15 each, plus $2 p&p delivered within NZ.

The Tawa Historical Series are planned to be a series of smaller booklet publications in A5 format on topics of specialist interest to the Tawa area.   Titles under preparation in this series for publication during 2009 include booklets on The Tawa Cemetery, and the Bartlett Homestead.   Further titles on other historic homes around Tawa can be expected.

15.   26 Oxford Street and the Bartlett family.   Michael Steer, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2010.   Soft-cover book A4 44p.   ISBN 978-0-473-17881-9.
26 Oxford Street and the Bartlett family is the sixth significant publication by the Tawa Historical Society.   Amply illustrated with colour photographs and maps this publication tells the story of the house at 26 Oxford Street, built in the 1860s, and the Bartlett family that occupied it.   The Bartlett family came from East Chinnock, Somerset, England to New Zealand on the Clifton arriving in 1842.   After farming for a time in Ngaio they purchased a Section 44 at Tawa Flat and build the house that stands at 26 Oxford Street.   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa, at a cost of $25 each, plus $5 p&p delivered within NZ.   Please make cheques payable to Tawa Historical Society Inc.   Copies of any remaining stock may also be purchased from the Tawa Library.

16.   Arthur Carman’s Suitcase – The Life and Times of Arthur Herbert Carman.   Bruce Murray and David Wood, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2011.   Soft-cover book A4 156p.   ISBN 978-0-473-18733-0.
Arthur Carman’s Suitcase is the seventh significant publication by the Tawa Historical Society.   Amply illustrated with photographs this publication tells the story of life of AH Carman.   Arthur was a well known Tawa identity from the early 1930s till his death in 1982.   He played a huge role in community service for most of those years, and led a most interesting and at times controversial life.   His book, Tawa Flat and the Old Porirua Road, is of inestimable value to anyone interested in Tawa’s history.   This comprehensive book relates the life of Arthur and his family, and aspects of his sometimes controversial life in Church, Politics and Sport.   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa, at a cost of $30 each, plus $5 p&p delivered within NZ.   Please make cheques payable to Tawa Historical Society Inc.   Copies of any remaining stock may also be purchased from the Tawa Library.

16.   Memories of Tawa Flat 1928 – 1958.   Brian Mexted, as told to Michael Steer, Tawa Historical Society   1st edn.   2013.   Soft-cover book A4 50p.   ISBN 978-0-473-23743-1.
Memories of Tawa Flat 1928 – 1958 is the eighth significant publication by the Tawa Historical Society.   Amply illustrated with photographs contemporary newspaper reports and Tawa School class photographs.   This publication tells the story of life of Brian Mexted in the form of a collection of memories and stories edited by Brian Steer who has also researched the supporting background illustrations.   Orders are welcome to The Secretary, Tawa Historical Society, PO Box 56-076, Tawa, at a cost of $20 each, plus $5 p&p delivered within NZ.   Please make cheques payable to Tawa Historical Society Inc.   Copies of any remaining stock may also be purchased from the Tawa Library.

 


arrow bullet   Northern Suburbs Heritage Trail description of Tawa - 2004

Tawa

Tawa is Wellington’s most northerly suburb.   It began life as a rural settlement straddling the Porirua Road.   While the road was being built in 1846-47, soldiers and workers were protected from possible attack by two stockades, a kilometre apart.   At this time the surrounding land was heavily forested and the first settlers had to clear this before building and farming could begin.   The name of Tawa was presumably derived from the species of tree that grew there.   Although Tawa’s first church opened in 1851 and the first school opened in 1855, the settlement remained predominantly rural into the 20th century.   The first attempt at housing subdivision came in 1896 and in 1906 the Tawa Land Company was established, but these early initiatives attracted relatively little interest.   Subsequent subdivisions attracted more support but it wasn’t until just before (and after) World War II, that increasing suburbanisation in greater Wellington saw Tawa grow strongly and its semi-rural character disappear.   Tawa’s 19th century origins mean that some very old structures remain, a few of which are included in the Heritage Trail.


[Northern Suburbs Heritage Trail Part 2: Following the Old Porirua Road.   Onslow and Tawa Historical Societies/ Glenside Progressive Assn./WCC/ et. al. 2nd edn. 2004.   Booklet 99mm by 211mm, foldout maps.]


arrow bullet   Cyclopedia of New Zealand description of Tawa - 1897

TAWA FLAT

Tawa Flat.

Tawa Flat

Four miles north from Johnsonville by rail, and rather more by coach road, brings the traveller on to Tawa Flat, a picturesque arcadian settlement, making hay and growing corn and fruit, wool and rich grasses, and raising cattle and sheep for the markets.   The many well-tilled farms and beautiful homesteads, and the other natural bits of landscape hereabouts, fail not in producing pleasing effects on the beholder.

Tawa Flat is blest with a flag station on the Wellington-Manawatu railway line, the train stopping only when signalled to pick up or set down passengers.   The population of thirty-eight souls, are chiefly engaged in farming and pastoral pursuits.   The settlement is part of the riding of Porirua, in the Hutt County, and the nearest towns are Porirua village, three miles to the northward, and Johnsonville about four miles south.   It is 128 feet above sea-level, and the climate is naturally dry, but windy.

Tawa Flat has a public school, over which Mr. Herbert Sanson presides, and a church, where services are held periodically.

Mails for Tawa Flat close daily at Wellington at 6 a.m., arriving at Tawa Flat at 7.30 a.m.   The return mail closes daily at Tawa Flat at 10.30 a.m., arriving at Wellington at 1 p.m.

Earp, Edward William, Sheepfarmer, Tawa Flat.   Mr. Earp is all but a colonial, having been born shortly before his father, Mr. William Earp, set sail for New Zealand in 1855, per ship “Putsey Dawson”.   Educated in the Colony, and brought up to a country life, Mr. Earp succeeded, on his father’s death, in 1888, to the splendid property – 600 acres in extent – with its well-kept live fences an beautiful lawns and flower borders.   The estate, which is one of the best in the district, carries 1400 sheep.   In 1888 Mr. Earp was married to a daughter of Mr. George Shand, of Taieri, Otago, and has three children – two daughters and a son.

Nott, James Thornton, M.A., Sheepfarmer, Tawa Flat.   Mr. Nott is a son of one of the earliest Tawa Flat settlers – the late Mr. William Nott, who arrived in Wellington by the “Birman” in 1842.   Born at Johnsonville in 1864, and educated at Wellington College, Three Kings College, Auckland, and at the Auckland University, Mr. J. T. Nott gained his B.A. degree in 1889, and his M.A. with honours in biology in the following year.   After four years at the Kings, Mr. Nott was accepted as a probationer in the Wesleyan ministry, being appointed to Riverton, where he remained two years.   He was then transferred to Christchurch, where two years later he resigned, having determined to devote his time to country life.   Mr. Nott’s hobby is in biological studies, on the results of which researches he often lectures, being ever willing to lend his services to any worthy object.

Porirua Stream.

Porirua Stream

Taylor, James, Farmer, Tawa Flat.   Born on the 17th of August, 1823, at Turnbridge, Wells, England, and educated in his native land, Mr. Taylor came to Port Nicholson with his father, the late Mr. William Taylor, per “Martha Ridgway”, in 1840.   The subject of this notice settled in Johnsonville as early as 1844.   Three years later he removed to Pahautanui, where he started a small dairy farm, and in 1849 he became a pioneer settler in Tawa Flat, then a dense forest.   The section Mr. Taylor acquired at that time is still in his possession, his farm consisting of 276 acres of freehold and 112 acres of leasehold.   In the early days Mr. Taylor represented Porirua district for eight years in the Wellington Provincial Council, and was for twelve years afterwards a member of the Hutt County Council.   Before the County took over the Road Board he was the representative of the Porirua Ward on the latter body, and for many years since he has been a member of the Tawa Flat School Committee.   During the native troubles of the early days Mr. Taylor took his share of duty, and for fourteen years was associated with the volunteer movement, first as lieutenant of the Porirua, and afterwards as captain of the Pahautanui Rifles.   As a member of the Primitive Methodist Church, Mr. Taylor established a Sunday School on the first Sabbath spent in the district and is still superintendent of the Tawa Flat School.   He was married in 1844 to Miss Hook, of Wellington, and has seven sons and six daughters, who are nearly all married and settled.   Mr. Taylor has fifty-four grandchildren and three great children.


[p1072-1073 Cyclopedia of New Zealand Volume 1; Wellington Provincial District, published 1897] .


arrow bullet   Newspaper articles describing Tawa's history

Historical Places of Tawa

The following series of articles were sponsored by the Historical subcommittee of the Tawa Borough Council

This series of articles by Bill Secker appeared in the Kapi-Mana newspaper between October 1975 and February 1978, around the time of celebrating a centenary of settlement in Tawa.   Click on the title to go to the article.

    1. “Tawa's first school records history”

    2. “Colonial Cottage – a fine memorial” (Brown’s cottage)

    3. “Bartlett house reflects changes”

    4. “Tawa’s history is not tied to present boundary”

    5. “Boscobel farm tells and interesting story”

    6. “Earp orchard – a treasury”

    7. “Early land sales at Tawa met demand”

    8. “Harrison’s cottage preserves the past”

    9. “Greer home a historic relic”

    10. “Methodism at Tawa Flat grew”

    11. “Pioneer farmers relied on waterwheel”

    12. “Clay houses were common as pioneer homes along Old Porirua Road”

    13. “First doctor in Tawa Flat studied grasses”

    14. “Road unified scattered folk”

    15. “Epitaph clue to change of attitudes”

This series of articles by Bill Secker describe the improvements made to Old Porirua Road.   They appeared in the Kapi-Mana newspaper during 1978-81.

    “From Track to high-way”

    “Reminders of the British Army along old road”

    “Ngauranga’s early history”

    “Ngauranga Road work of navvies”

    “KAIWHARAWHARA – the gateway to the north”

    “Tempestuous days along the old road to Porirua”

This series of articles by Bill Secker appeared in the Kapi-Mana newspaper during 1982.   Click on the title to go to the article.

    1. “Colonial Knob Walk gives a lesson in geography and Maori lore”

    2. “Painting shows mid-19th century country life”

    3. “Century old orchard memorial to pioneers”

    4. “Sawmillers Recalled”

    5. “Country’s Past Often Lost – Placename changes”

    6. “Town of East Porirua held much promise”

    7. “Census of 1848 gave misleading details”


This article by Arthur H Carman originally appeared in a Tawa District Directory in 1976 and was reprinted in the Kapi-Mana News.

    “The History of Tawa”


These articles by Elsdon Best under the series title of “Porirua and They Who Settled It”, originally appeared in Canterbury Times during 1914.

    “PORIRUA AND THEY WHO SETTLED IT”

    “THE SHADOW OF WAR”

    “THE PORIRUA ROAD”

    “MANA ISLAND”

    “OLLA PODRIDA”