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Te Puke, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

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  • James Geraghty (1872 - 1948)
    "James Geraghty tried his hand at flax milling in the Te Puke District, but his early attempts were thwarted due to a lack of flax. Supply increased and his next ventures were successful. James was inv...
  • Debbie McCauley.
    George Vesey Stewart, OBE (1831 - 1920)
    George Vesey Stewart (MBE, JP) was elected the first Mayor of Tauranga in 1882. He had arrived in New Zealand in 1874 searching for suitable land to create a new settlement, his ‘Ulster Plantation’ whi...

The Te Arawa canoe under chief Tamatekapua is said to have landed at Maketu from Hawaiki in c1350. The name Te Puke comes from Hei on the Arawa Waka – he called a hill he could see from the ocean Te Puke-O-Tawa – the hill of Tawa - after his wife (the hill is now called Otawa). Hei’s people known as Waitaha had a marae on what is now No 1 Road called Te Puke (now Otaraninia urupa) – it was in the corner of the block drawn up by the surveyors which became known as the Te Puke block

James Cook is the first documented European to visit the area, sailing between Motiti Island and the coast in 1769. In 1830 Danish sailor Philip Tapsell settled at Maketu and operated as a trader.

In 1876 surveying of the Te Puke Block started, being completed in 1879. The Tauranga Working Men’s Land Association was formed in 1877 and members petitioned the government for 4000 acres at Te Puke. At the same time Katikati founder, George Vesey Stewart, applied to the government to bring settlers to Te Puke. In 1879 the first Te Puke settlers arrived. Included were Peter Grant and his wife Caroline (nee Moon), William Bird and his wife Sarah (nee Leitch), and Joseph Malyon and his wife Sara (nee James). The Te Puke settlers organised by George Vesey Stewart arrived in New Zealand from London aboard the Lady Jocelyn on 2 January 1881. However the Malyon family had arrived earlier in 1878 with George Vesey Stewart and lived for a time at Katikati.

Source: Tauranga Memories Kete: Te Puke History