Welcome to the Tawa Historical Society Web Pages

 Introduction

Tawa Historical Society was established in 2001 from an initiative of the Rotary Club of Tawa.   The Society has membership of approximately 50 people interested in the heritage of the community of Tawa.

We aim to accurately identify and to educate the Community about aspects of historical significance in the Tawa area and where appropriate to also advocate for their conservation.

Our activities include research, field work, publication, advocacy, and submission on heritage matters to the Wellington City Council.

 

 Meetings

Executive Committee Meetings are normally held at 7.30 pm on a Monday every second month at the Tawa Community Centre, Cambridge Street.   Click here for the 2019 schedule.

The AGM is scheduled for Wednesday 20 August 2019.   Usually two special public meetings are scheduled each year.   These will be advertised to members and on this site when details are available.

 

 Recent Society News

NEW BOOK FOR SALE     Willowbank Reserve, Tawa, and its Environs.

The Society’s latest book, Willowbank Reserve, Tawa, and its Environs, by Bruce Murray and David Parsons, is now on sale.

This book is essentially a series of stories about Tawa (Flat) figures of days gone by, such as Te Patukawenga; Thomas Robert McCoy; the Greer family; William and Elizabeth Earp, and their grandson William Edward Earp (killed at Gallipoli); the Tawa Flat ‘Deckites’; and James and Rachel Taylor.   The book also brings to notice the famous Tawa Bucket tree; Earp’s orchard; Boscobel Lane and its farmstead; the railway lines through Tawa (Flat) of 1885 and 1937; and Arohata.   It is illustrated by numerous photographs, some of which are aerial, and some maps produced especially for this publication.

The book is on sale at the Tawa Library, Corner Main Road and Cambridge Street, Tawa, or from Ken Woodgate, Secretary, Tawa Historical Society: ken.woodgate (at) xtra.co.nz and is available for purchase at $20.00 per copy (+p&p).

When placing an order with The Secretary, please indicate the details of the address to which the book is to be sent, and the intended method of payment to be made to the society.   There is likely to be a small charge for postage and packing.

Willowbank Reserve book poster

 

Tawa the tree, the community and its reserves was published in October 2017.   It costs $35 (+p&p) and can be purchased directly from the Tawa Library, Corner Main Road and Cambridge Street, Tawa, or from The Secretary.

Author Gil. Roper is a member of the Tawa Historical Society and Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves and the book launch was sponsored by both these groups.

This new, colour-illustrated, 180-page A4 size publication features:
•   an in-depth description of the tawa tree, its discovery and distribution in NZ
•   native vegetation associated with tawa
•   the native bush in the Tawa area - before and at the time of human settlement, and today
•   eyewitness accounts of flora observed by early settlers of the region
•   the uses of tawa - it is related to the avocado, bay tree and cinnamon
•   the origins of the names ‘Tawa Flat’ and ‘Tawa’
•   the history and work of ‘Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves’ with details of pest control in the bush reserves and other community activities
•   the WCC purchase of the Forest of Tane and its importance
•   detailed coverage of eleven reserves in Tawa - source of names, history, vegetation, development, aerial images, maps, tracks and photos taken in each reserve
•   history of bird species in Tawa and comparative data on bird populations recorded in 2008 and 2017 in Redwood Bush Reserve
•   a detailed list of the plant species in the native bush reserves in Tawa common names, Maori names and botanical names.
Tawa Tree poster

 

Life and Soul – Tawa Hall 1933–1963 was released in October 2016.   Copies are available for sale for $20 (+p&p) and can be purchased directly from the Tawa Library, Corner Main Road and Cambridge Street, Tawa, or from The Secretary.

This publication tells the story of life of the Tawa Town Hall during the period 1933 – 1963 when it was the social Life and Soul of Tawa.   It relies heavily on extracts from local newspapers thanks to Papers Past as well as memories and stories edited by Michael Steer who has also researched the supporting background illustrations, photographs and contemporary newspaper reports.
Tawa Hall poster

 

The Ranui Golf Club of Tawa Flat 1923–1929 by Michael Steer was released in November 2015.   Copies are available for sale for $20 (+p&p) at the Tawa Library or from The Secretary.

It’s hard to imagine an 18-hole golf course in central Tawa but from 1923 until 1929 you could tee off there.   The golf clubhouse was located at Bartlett House, 26 Oxford Street and the course was about 4850 metres long with a par of 75.   The seven hill holes in the Lyndhurst Road / Lincoln Avenue area were notoriously difficult in windy weather and the holes on the flat were often rather boggy.   However, while the weather and water posed some problems for the club’s on-going success, it was the constant shadow of subdivision that hung over the club.   In early 1929 the club closed and members transferred to Titahi Bay and houses slowly began to cover the golf course land.   “The Ranui Golf Club of Tawa Flat 1923-1929” relates the story of what was envisaged as being the first stage of the development of a “sporting township” in Tawa Flat.
Ranui poster

 

A History of Tawa was released in November 2014 at a function hosted by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.   Copies are available for sale for $45 (+p&p) at the Tawa Library or through The Secretary.

This new publication tells the story of Tawa over a period of more than five centuries.   The opening chapter deals with the physical setting, and the first inhabitants of the area.   The remainder of the book follows a chronological path, noting the significant developments within the district since 1840.   In particular, it chronicles such matters as the removal of the bush cover and its replacement by grass; the importance of the road to Wellington; changes in agriculture; the arrival of the railway; attempts at suburbanisation; the critical effects on Tawa of the Tawa Flat railway deviation and the motorway; the post WW2 boom in population; and the impact on Tawa of Johnsonville’s and Porirua’s shopping malls.

A History of Tawa contains 256 pages, and is liberally illustrated.   It includes 65 photographs, 17 maps, 15 tables, and 11 illustrations, and has, for example, population figures which include results from the 2013 census, and photos not only back to 1865, but also recent panoramas and pictures.

When placing an order with The Secretary, please indicate the details of the address to which the book is to be sent, and the intended method of payment to be made to the society.   There is likely to be a small charge for postage and packing.
A History of Tawa poster

 

Best of Tawa Volume III was released in December 2012.   It is available for sale for $20 (+p&p) per volume at the Tawa Library or through The Secretary.   This publication continues the stories of Elsdon Best which were first serialised in the Canterbury Times in 1915.   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.   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.   Volume I concentrates on the pre-European and early European settlement of the Porirua District.
Best of Tawa Volume III poster

 

Arthur Carman’s Suitcase – The Life and Times of Arthur Herbert Carman was released in 2011.   It is now available for sale for $30 (+p&p) at the Tawa Library or through The Secretary.   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.   ‘Suitcase’ relates the life of Arthur and his family, and aspects of his sometimes controversial life in Church, Politics and Sport.
Arthur Carman poster

 

26 Oxford Street and the Bartlett family was released in 2010.   It is available for sale for $25 (+p&p) at the Tawa Library or through The Secretary.

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 built the house that stands at 26 Oxford Street.
26 Oxford Street poster

 

Lest Tawa Forgets is a 100 page A4 format book and its publication coincided with ANZAC Day 2008 and the laying of a plaque at the foot of Memorial Oak Tree outside Tawa School.   The tree was planted in 1943 in memory of those from Tawa that gave their lives in the service of New Zealand forces overseas.   The book is available for sale for $20 (+p&p) at the Tawa Library or through The Secretary.
Lest Tawa Forgets poster

 

 Society Projects

See projects for further information on the project areas that the Society has been working on.

 


Contact Tawa Historical Society at:

The Secretary
P.O. Box 56-076
Tawa
Wellington 5249


Chairperson: Bruce Murray Ph. 021 240 5515

Secretary: email: secretary (at) tawahistory.org.nz