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Katikati Cemetery, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

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Katikati is a town located in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand’s North Island between Tauranga and Waihī. The Uretara Stream flows next to the town and into the northern end of Tauranga Harbour. The area was first settled by tangata whenua, and the following marae can be found nearby;

• Te Rereatukahia marae located in Katikati. The principal hapū is Ngāi Tamawhariua of Ngāi Te Rangi iwi.
• Tuapiro marae located in Katikati. The principal hapū is Ngāti Te Wai of Ngai te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui.
• Otawhiwhi marae located at Waihi Beach. The principal hapū is Te Whānau a Tauwhao of the Ngāi Te Rangi tribal collective.

During the New Zealand Wars land was taken from Māori during a process known as raupatu or confiscation. The Katikati block was part of a contested and pressured sale to the Crown.

The ‘Ulster Plantation’ of Katikati with Ulster Scots settlers from County Tyrone in Ireland was the brainchild of George Vesey Stewart from Martray Manor in Ballygawley, County Tyrone. He founded both the Katikati and Te Puke settlements. Most of the Katikati settlers arrived in the ships Carisbrooke Castle (1875) and Lady Jocelyn (1878).

Land had been set aside on a hill covered in fern for a Cemetery Reserve between the Mania and Rereatukahia Rivers. The first burial took place on 9 November 1878 and was of Rev. John Crossley who died on 5 November. The first six burials were as follows;

1. 1878, November 5: Rev. John Crossley
2. 1873, September 30: Dorothy Major (age 8)
3. 1886, September 9: Capt. Mervyn Stewart (age 92)
4. 1887, February 17: Robert MacDonnell (age 2)
5. 1887, February 27: Christiana Elizabeth Wahab (nee Zscherpel)
6. 1887, December 1: Rev. John Mark

In 2010 the cemetery underwent a major restoration which included the installation of white crosses for previously unmarked graves and the repair of many historic headstones. The Legion of Frontiersmen J Troop, led by Captain Val Baker, won the 2010 TrustPower Western Bay of Plenty Community Awards for the restoration of the Katikati Cemetery. Val and others were interviewed by a crew from TVNZ 6 for the program 'Volunteer Power' which can be viewed at this link:

by Debbie McCauley (two branches of my ancestors were Ulster Scots settlers and I have many relatives buried in the Katikati Cemetery).