My Grandmother's Memories - by Maureen Bruning
Remember the Halcombes’ cow, with a bell on her neck, grazing on the grass where the Mount Maunganui hot pool complex now is? The local men laid down their bowling green on that spot, and a newly formed Ladies’ Bowling Club used the greens for a few seasons, which then became the Croquet Club.
The Kimbers supplied milk for the settlement from their eight cows, using the bucket and dipper method with the necessary money inside the billy left at the gate. I remember a farmer brought his cows to graze on Mount Drury. He had a pet cow that would graze on the camping grounds at the foot of Mount Drury, having to be driven off.
My sister had prepared the vegetables for our midday meal, a pot of peeled potatoes and a pot of cabbage, before going for her midday swim. The cow, seeing the tent open, walked in and ate the vegetables. Another time the cow ate our twelve-inch date cake from our tent.
The Tappendens’ campsite extended from the Peter Pan Hall (built just alongside our boundary fence) to Neno’s hardware shop. Another old campsite was on a low-lying section between Leinster and Grace Avenues which was prone to flooding. I recall during a heavy rainstorm in our tent there, we sat on our canvas camp-stretcher beds with our parasols up.
The Halcombes built a two-storeyed concrete brick house, opposite where the hotpool is now (purchased in 1939 by Fan and William Reid who renamed it Mount View Guest House. The Reids had sold their 553-acre farm up the winding Reid Road atop Papamoa Hills and moved to Mount Maunganui.)
Taffy Davis and his family lived in the Pilot House after Mr. Clark retired – he being one of the first pilots to guide vessels into the harbour. Taffy Davis had donkeys which were popular with children for rides along the beach.
Other families residing there at that time were the Armstrongs, Courtenays, Wests, Adams, Ludwigs, Mrs. Groves, Mrs. Mellish and the Halcombes. Tragically, Winnie Halcombe was killed when she fell from the top of Rabbit Island on to the rocks below. Shopkeepers were butcher McGee, grocer store Barney’s, postmistress Miss Pearce in her one-room Post Office in the Merrilees building, Constable Hodge (with a few house cows for his own supply of milk. Our own heavy milking shorthorn cow disappeared while left there to be grazed and milked when we were away on a business trip).
Many narrow tracks led the climb to the top of the Mount and local children were encouraged to pick up karaka berries, being paid one shilling a sugar bag, which were broadcast around the Mount to encourage the growth of trees. A karaka tree grew on our section, ideal for building a tree-house in. Pohutukawa trees flowered around the foot of the Mount making many popular picnic spots. The Pilot Bay foreshore was a forest of lupins with tracks leading the water’s edge. Trees planted were used for hitching posts by horseback visitors. The pines and palms were planted about 1914-15.
The railway into Mount Maunganui had been completed and the Guest House received many visitors when picnic trains from as far away as Te Kuiti visited the beach throughout the summer. When war was declared, we had by order of the E.P.S. to blanket our windows with black blinds with a night watchman on duty checking the whole area was blacked out in case of a raid by enemy aircraft.
Building materials were rationed. Cooking was done on a wood stove, but wood was hard to procure. William Reid arranged with Mr. Barney Faulkner, who was operating a scow service to Matakana Island bringing out timber and firewood, to drop a load of firewood at Pilot Bay where the boat ramp now is and from there, William wheelbarrowed the wood and packed it neatly at the back of the Guest House. After much hard work to build up the standard, the Guest House was awarded a four star rating.
A South Island firm won the contract to build the first aerodrome and we were given the contract of housing the working men with board and lodgings at our Guest House. It was a colossal job, but my training in feeding and housing shearers on our farm with substantial meals on a timetable helped me to cope. Once the aerodrome was completed, the contractors departed. However, there were soldiers in camp with their wives and families coming to visit, so our Guest House remained busy.
A railway was built across the beach to the Blow Hole (Motoriki Island) by the Ministry of Works who took the metal for the ballasting of the railway that was making its way down the coast to Papamoa, Te Puke and eventually to the railhead at Whakatane so that by and by we had a passenger train that conveyed us to Hamilton and Auckland.
Jim Higgins and my son taught the Sea Scouts to row their first scout boat. Much fund-raising procured the scout boat, with the launching party attended by the District Scout Chief, Clive Kingsley-Smith from Whakatane, the Mayor of Mount Maunganui, Mr MacDonald, the headmaster and Mr Hillford. They all made speeches, and to my son Maurie went the honour of unfurling the flag.
When we looked across the harbour to Otumoetai there were about five houses to be seen.
Barry Beazley built for me his first double-storeyed house on a soft sandy section on the Oceanside at Omanu. (At that time, Marine Parade did not connect up and a short, hard-packed track ‘roadway’ was accessed from Hart Avenue.) The double-storey house still stands, albeit renovated and altered, with grass and garden taming the sandy section.
Author’s note: Self-publishing her memoirs in 1970, entitled From the Beginning to the End, my paternal grandmother recorded her autobiography in a book with Mauao penned on the back cover. The above memoirs are from her later notes.
 Later tennis courts were laid beside the greens.
 Their daughter Nancy married Donald W. Reid, son of Fan and William Reid.
 Later Cabana Lounge and later still removed where now stands Calais Mount Resort, 6 Adams Avenue which was first called Beach Avenue.
 In 1939
 1938 Tauranga Electoral Roll: Courtenay, George Cyril Aubrey de Vere, Mount Maunganui, Storekeeper’s Assistant.
1938 Tauranga Electoral Roll: Courtenay, Winifred Rosina, Mount Maunganui, married.
 1938 Tauranga Electoral Roll : West, Cyril John, Mt. Maunganui, Manager
1938 Tauranga Electoral Roll: West, Helen Vera, Mount Maunganui, married.
 1931 Tauranga Electoral Roll : Ludwig, Robert Griffen, Mt. Maunganui
1931 Tauranga Electoral Roll: Ludwig, Mary Collins, Mount Maunganui.
 1928 Tauranga Electoral Roll : Mellish, John Alfred, Mount Beach, Settler
1928 Tauranga Electoral Roll, Mellish, Louisa Blanche, Mount Beach, married.
Mr. John Alfred Mellish died in 1935 aged 63.
 Winifred Hastings Halcombe, age 17, in 1923.
 Originally sited in Merrilees buildings on Pacific Street corner immediately opposite from the Barney's building position today.
 1943 Tauranga Electoral Roll: Pearce, Edith Christina, Mount Maunganui, spinster.
 1943 Tauranga Electoral Roll: Hodge, Harold Gregor, Police Station, Mount Maunganui, Constable.
 ?Evacuation Protection Society
 Aerodrome opened in January 1939. Tauranga Aero Club formed 16 June 1932
 Sea Scouts started in 1944 in Peter Pan Hall.
 Mayor of Mt. Maunganui from April 1945 to November 1947.
 Maurice Reginald Reid, born in Tauranga 1928
 Written by “Effie Rogers” born NZ 1889, died aged 101 in 1990 – Mrs. F.E. (Frances Eliza) nee Rogers, married William Reid, widowed 1943 and remarried Mr. J.D. Best 1949, again widowed 1952. Copy of book in Tauranga Public Library 993.421