St.David's Anglican Church
Church Services were first held in the Matangi Hall in 1905. At the first service on the 16th April, 23 people were present. Services continued monthly at the hall for many years. The Cathedral of St. Peter in Hamilton supplied a Minister for these services. It says something for the state of the roads in those days that on several occasions the service was cancelled because of very heavy rain. It is also probable that the Minister came out to take the services on horseback.
In 1923 at the parishioners Annual General Meeting, a Building Committee, consisting of Mrs H. Taylor, Miss Garland, Mr H. Taylor, Mr J. Ranstead and Mr C. Dunford was formed. Mr D. Taylor had offered to donate a quarter acre of land next to the school and Mr Marychurch was also prepared to make available a block of land for a vicarage. The following year a Social Committee was formed and it organised social evenings, play readings, dances and childrens fancy dress balls in order to raise funds for a church. On the 13th June 1927 the land was transferred to the Waikato Diocesan Trust Board from the Estate of David Taylor. Regular working bees were held to keep the section fenced and in good order. It was not until early in 1932 that the first plans were drawn up for a building to accommodate 100 people. In order to cut costs, the plan was redrawn by the architect, Mr Edgecombe to seat 80. A final plan seating 78 was submitted in August 1932 at an approximate cost of five hundred and twenty pounds. A tender was let to Messrs Short and Murphy for four hundred and seventy four pounds to build the church of weatherboard with an iron roof.
The foundation stone was laid on the 19th November 1932 by Bishop Cherrington, who consecrated the completed church on the 5th February 1933. Mention should be made of Messrs J. M. Ranstead, J. H. Taylor, L. V. Judd, E. Pawson, W. Martini, W. A. Tomlinson and J. Wainwright who worked tirelessly for the church during the period leading up to the building of the church. Mr Ranstead in particular served the church as a Committeeman and Churchwarden for over 30 years.
Mr W. Ranstead, senior, made a gift of an organ to the church and Mr and Mrs P. Dingle donated the altar. The windows, font and bell were saved from the old St. Peters Church in Hamilton and given to St. Davids. The bell tower was erected in 1934 at a cost of twenty six pounds and the fence and gates along the front boundary were erected the following year.
Services in the church were held weekly until 1940 when, because of petrol rationing, services were held fortnightly and additional services were held in the Newstead and Eureka Halls.
In the post-war years with falling numbers, services were held monthly and with the establishment of St. Francis Church in Hillcrest, St. David's came under St. Francis' jurisdiction.
Matangi Presbyterian Church
The Waikato East Charge of the Presbyterian Church was established on the 7th July 1915. This rural parish was centred on Matangi and included Tauwhare, Kaipaki, Eureka and later on Eureka, Newstead and Tamahere. The first Minister was Mr Burchell and he arranged for the Presbyterian congregation to use the Methodist Church for services after it was built in 1918. This was a somewhat unusual parish, it was centred at Matangi which never had a Presbyterian Church building and the Minister was obliged to spend a lot of his time travelling to outlying districts. In 1918 a motorbike was bought for the Minister to replace the pushbike. The motorbike in turn was replaced by a horse in 1922. In this year the Ladies Guild started a fund raising effort towards the establishment of a manse. Mr H. Marychurch donated half an acre of land on the corner of Marychurch Road for the manse and a hall, and by the end of 1925 plans were drawn up for a manse which was built for six hundred and thirty pounds, together with a motor shed costing twenty nine pounds. Rev. J. W. Martin was the first resident Minister.
In 1927 the Minister was now visiting his parish in a rubber tyred gig, bought for eight pounds. This was soon to be replaced by a car as grazing had become unobtainable. A feature of Presbyterian life was an annual "Field Day" at the beginning of each year. This was held on a farm and consisted of such things as donkey rides, wood chopping, croquet, darts competition, throwing the shot, and sports events and a treasure hunt for the children. Other fund raising activities at the time included an annual Flower Show, Drama evenings and an Irish Concert.
In 1936 the idea of building a hall was first put forward. Various sites were investigated but the Methodist Church proposed that a spare section next to the Church be transferred to the Presbyterian Church for the hall and that the hall be shared on a similar basis as the Presbyterian congregation currently shared the church building. This was agreed and during 1937 the hall was built for five hundred and fifty pounds by Taplin Bros. The hall was immediately put to good use by various organisations. W. E. A. lectures were held there in 1940 and on several occasions the school used the hall for a classroom, because of overcrowding or while alterations were being made. The hall has also been the home for Scouts, Brownies, a Gym Club and Playcentre.
Over the years there was a steady turnover of Ministers, due to the fact that because it was such a widespread Parish and that there was no church, Ministers did not stay for very long. Rev. J. W. Martin was Minister for four years in the late 1920's and Rev. A. Wilde for nearly 10 years from 1954. Renovations to, and upkeep on the manse were a constant problem, and it was proposed to build a new manse in the early 1960's. However, a sudden building boom in the Hillcrest and Silverdale suburbs of Hamilton at this time shifted the focus of church activities. With Rev. Wilde's retirement in 1963 the manse was sold and a new Hillcrest Parish was formed. The Hillcrest Minister conducted services in country areas, on a rotating basis, Matangi services at this time were held once a month. By 1967, with falling congregations, services at Matangi ceased, the last one being held in July.
An Anecdote from Norman Thompson
About fifty years ago, the opening of the Presbyterian Church Hall, right next door to the School House, was a Gala Evening, with masses of food, including ice-cream, kept chilled in chunks of ice.
The following morning I was tidying-up when in at the gate came a huge man on a bicycle - Constable Donnelly from Hamilton. With an accent as broad as his smile - "Good morning, good morning, would this be the Presbyterian Hall where there was a disturbance last night"? "Yes, this is the hall, but I know of no disturbance". Out came the notebook : "At 10.30 last night the Police received a complaint from the Headmaster of the Matangi School that he and his family had been disturbed by stones thrown on the roof".
By now the Headmaster was present, and in order to obtain evidence, first the constable, then the Headmaster, and lastly myself went up a ladder to look for stones. To the Headmaster's amazement not a stone was to be seen. "Ah, well", said the constable, "no evidence, nothing further can be done".
Years later, the mystery was solved when I was told by a most reputable resident - "Yes, we threw things on his roof that night, but it wasn't stones - it was ICE".
A meeting of representative Methodists and Presbyterians was called on the 6th December 1917 to discuss the building of a church in Matangi, to be used by both congregations. Both churches had been holding services in Matangi Hall prior to this date. A Church Buildirig Committee was formed and early the following year they inspected a church building at Karangahake with view to moving it to Matangi. The sum of three hundred pounds ($600) was offered and a further sum of one hundred and eighty five pounds ($370) was set aside for removal costs. It was later decided not to proceed with moving the Karangahake church, and instead a new building was planned. Plans were drawn up by Mr F. Daniell and the building contract was let to Mr Oements. A block of land was given by Mr J. T. Bryant, and Mr Bryant and Mr A. C. Caughey laid the foundation stone for the church on the 19th July 1918. The very substantial concrete roughcast church was opened on the 15th December 1918 by Rev. J. D. McArthur, the cost of the building being about one thousand pounds ($2,000). An organ from the Bryant homestead was used in the church until a new one was purchased in 1930. This instrument was given to the Anglican Church when the Methodist Church closed, and the Ranstead organ was restored to that family.
With the completion of the building, the Building Committee was disbanded and a Board of Trustees elected, consisting of both Methodists and Presbyterians. This combined Board was responsible for the smooth operation of the Church. Services alternated - the Methodists having the morning service for two weeks and the Presbyterians the evening service. The following two weeks the services would reverse. When the section adjoining the Church became available, it was purchased for the sum of two hundred and thirty five pounds ($470). It was another 17 years before the land was transferred to the Presbyterian Church who built a hall on the site.
A very active Sunday School and Bible Class was functioning - it met in the afternoons and filled every nook of the church building, classes were held in the vestry and on the porch was well as in the church. Sunday School classes were often held at Mr Bryant's home. Mr Bryant superintended the Sunday School for 40 years, followed by brief periods of service by Mr B. Hillary and Mr S. Smith, then Mrs Gwen Ringer gave 21 years to superintending the Sunday School during which time the roll reached 96. With the building of the Prebyterian Hall in 1937 the Sunday School was able to spread out a bit, but the need for a separate building was clear. Discussions about a new Sunday School building had started when Mr J. T. Bryant died in 1956 and in his memory his family agreed to assist towards the cost of a Sunday School building. The J. T. Bryant Memorial Beginners Department was opened on the 25th May 1957. It consisted of a large classroom and two smaller rooms and a large concrete verandah. The building opened to a Sunday School roll of 85.
In1968 a Jubilee Weekend was held to mark 50 years since the Church was built. Over 150 people attended the celebrations conducted by past and present Ministers of both churches. At this time, however, the church members numbered only 16 and by 1970 the last service was held in April and the church closed. The Playcentre started using the Sunday School rooms and as the church building was deteriorating it was demolished in 1975.
As we have seen, the three churches, from strong congregations in the 1920's and 1930's, dwindled through the war years, and with the extension of Hamilton city to Hillcrest and Silverdale in the 1950's and 1960's, new churches for all three denominations were built in Hillcrest. With greater mechanisation of the farming industry, the population in Matangi fell, and many country families started worshipping at the Hillcrest churches. Presbyterian services ceased in 1968 and Methodist services in 1970. In the meantime, the three Hillcrest churches amalgamated and became St. Francis Co-operating Parish in February 1977. This brought the three church properties in Matangi under the one parent church. In 1982 the unused buildings were sold - the Presbyterian Hall was sold to the Hamilton Hot Rod Club and the Sunday School rooms and church site became a private residence. St. David's Church continues to serve all three congregations, with one service being held each month.
Assisi Home and Hospital
The Assisi Home and Hospital are situated on a 12 acre block, part of the original Leslie Estate. Mr Archie Hamilton gave the land for the site of the Home. The Home is run by the Franciscan sisters of the Divine Motherhood. Funds for the building of the Home were raised by Catholic Parishes throughout the Waikato. The tender for the 20 bed Home was let to the local firm Taplin Brothers in February 1971. The plan shows single rooms with lounges and kitchenettes for residents to entertain visitors. The emphasis throughout the Home is on light, colour and brightness. Of the 20 beds, three are kept for short stay residents. The Home was opened by the Minister of Health, Mr McKay on the 11th December 1971.
Less than a year later the tender for a 20 bed hospital was let and this was opened on the 18th November 1973 by the then Prime Minister, Mr Norman Kirk. Residents can now transfer from the Home to the hospital without the upset of moving from one institution to another. The beautiful rose gardens which are so carefully tended were planned by a former Mayor of Hamilton, Dr. D. Rogers.
A small news item in the Waikato Times dated 17th November 1919 states that "The Catholic Community in Matangi, who have been holding their services in the Public Hall are contemplating the erection of a Church, and at the present time are considering a suitable site".
Prior to 1902, the nearest Post Office was at Tamahere. On the 1st September 1902 a postal counter was opened in Mr Ellis' store, run by Mr F. Worthington. During the first year of operation 5,580 letters were sent, resulting in an income of fifty two pounds. Ten years later the turnover had trebled, which no doubt precipitated the construction of a permanent building. A modest building, comprising a public space, office and telephone room was built by Post Office staff and was officially opened on the 16th June 1914 by Mr R. F. Bollard, M.P., for Raglan. A photograph of the just completed office shows a hitching rail at the front for horses. The throughput of business continued to increase until in the early 1970's a larger office was needed. In 1972 a building at the Wairakei Works Camp was earmarked for removal to Matangi, which took place in 1974 and the present office came into being.
In 1906 Matangi was provided with a telephone service. In the following year an incredible 514 telegrams were received and 649 were sent. In those days of limited telephone service, telegrams were a quick, cheap and efficient means of communication. Gradually the manual party line service was updated - in 1953 it progressed to a semi-automatic service, still run from Hamilton. The Matangi Exchange was brought into service in 1964 providing individual and two-party service for 230 subscribers. The capacity has increased three times and Matangi subscribers can now reach a large free-calling area and have access to subscriber toll dialling.
The focal point of any small community is the local Hall. The original Hall was built in 1904, and a Deed of Trust dated 29th February 1904 names A. Furze, G. A. Cruikshank and R. Petersen as Trustees. The Hall soon became the hub of the township - Anglican Church Services started there in April 1904, and at one time four different denominations were using he Hall for Church Services.
In 1910 the Hall became home for the Matangi School for seven years. One wonders how much the children actually learned - up to 100 children being taught by two teachers, no playground and one shelter shed.
In 1924 it was decided to make alterations and additions to the Hall. A very successful Queen Carnival raised a large sum of money and an issue of debentures was proposed. The sum of one thousand pounds ($2,000) was required and nine hundred and fifty pounds was quickly raised. The debentures paid 8%, a very good rate for those days, and were to be repaid within five years.
Over the years the Hall was the venue for many local activities. An Annual Bazaar, run by the Ladies' Guild of the combined Methodist and Presbyterian Churches was always popular, the proceeds were shared equally between the respective congregations. Other functions held were school Concerts, Dances put on by the Hockey Club and Swimming Club, Weddings, Kitchen Teas and Flower Shows. Band of Hope meetings were also held here for some years in the 1920's, run by Mr and Mrs Edward Hicks. The final chapter in the life of the old Hall was written on Saturday 4th April 1959. Mr Graham, the storekeeper, noticed smoke coming from the back of the Hall, and asking his daughter Mary to raise the alarm, he ran up to the Hall, which was well alight at the back. A group of ladies in the supper room were preparing for a function that night, quite unaware of the danger they were in. Mr Graham told them to get out, and on entering the main Hall he prized the Roll of Honour Board off the wall and passed it out the window to the rapidly gathering crowd of spectactors. All the Gym Club equipment was lost and the Hall was a smoking ruin in a very short time.
Community activities transferred to the Presbyterian Hall and in September 1959 plans were underway to build a new Hall. It was decided to rebuild the Hall on the old site enlarged, and the tender was let in October 1960 to Taplin Brothers for $10,040. A delay in the supply of Huntly brick resulted in bricks being rushed from Plimmerton in order to finish the Hall in time for the official opening. The Hall was opened by Hon. W. S. Goosman, Minister of Works on the 15th April 1961 and a Celebration Ball was held that night. The first major function was the school Golden Jubilee, which was delayed a year, awaiting the completion of the new Hall in which to hold some of the functions. The builders went to a great deal of trouble levelling the floor, so that it would be suitable for indoor bowls.
In July 1962 the Matangi Public Hall Society was wound up and all assets were handed over to the Waikato County Council. The running costs of the Hall are partly met by a levy on all ratepayers in the area. The Hall continues to be used regularly by the Indoor Bowls Club, Badminton Clubs and Gym Club. Dances are held regularly and Plunket is held fortnightly in the Plunket Room.
The Cambridge Branch Railway
In 1879 the Waikato County Council employed a Mr Breakell to survey the route for a rail connection from Hamilton to Cambridge. It was the hope of every small town to have a railway connection and access to a port. This lead to a lot of wild promises by politicians and resulted in a Royal Commission being appointed in 1880 to enquire into the cost and economic value of each line. The Cambridge Branch line was among those investigated. The Waikato County Council spent a lot of time at Council Meetings discussing the delay in the building of the line and several times petitioned Mr Whitaker, M.P., for Waipa and Mr Whyte, M.P., for Waikato. Permission was finally given to build the line in 1881, but progress was held up until the bridge over the Waikato river was completed on the 5th February 1884. Before this, the track had started to be formed, but no rails or sleepers could be laid until the bridge was completed. Construction continued with only minor problems until on the 1st October 1884 the line was passed ready for traffic.
The first passenger train left Cambridge on the 8th October, taking 100 people to Hamilton then on to Huntly, returning to Cambridge in the afternoon. The local school children were then treated to a ride to Matangi (then called Tamahere Station) and back to Cambridge. Festivities continued with a Cricket match, boating on Te Koutu Lake, a Fireworks Display and a Ball at the Public Hall.
Train service fluctuated according to the economic state of the country. Slumps, coal strikes and war time coal shortage resulted in services being curtailed. The first train left Cambridge at 9.25 a.m. and returned at 2.40 p.m. It is probably this train that took Matangi children to school at Newstead before the building of their own school.
In 1906, following a petition from local residents, the name of the station was changed from Tamahere Station to Matangi. This co-incided with the opening of the Matangi Post Office. Goods traffic to Matangi for many years was mainly to and from the private siding, built in 1913 by the N.Z. Packing Co. Limited, then transferred to the Matangi Cheese Co. Limited in 1917, then to the Glaxo Manufacturing Co. (N.Z.) Limited in 1921. The N.Z. Co-operative Dairy Co. Limited took the siding over in 1936.
In a six-month period in 1917 2,500 tons of coal and 300 tons of tin plate were unloaded at Matangi and 876 tons of cream, Glaxo and cheese were sent away from the station. The following year a "considerable increase" in traffic was recorded owing to the construction of a large dried milk factory and nine houses for factory employees. In 1919 part of an old station building was moved from Drury to Matangi to provide an office, lobby and waiting room. With the completion of the Glaxo Factory and the increase in traffic an extra train was put on the line and a porter was stationed at Matangi to assist with the shunting.
By the mid 1920's passenger traffic started to drop owing to competition from buses and private cars. During the Second World War passenger traffic increased owing to petrol rationing, but with the end of the war passenger loading dropped again. In the final year the trains carried only four passengers per train. The last passenger train ran on the 9th September 1946.
Goods traffic also declined, the stockyards being removed in 1965 as they had not been used for three years. The goods shed was sold for removal in 1973. By the mid 1960's the track was in a bad way, but a 1964 report stated that the line was suitable for the traffic offering and that it would probably close by 1973. By this time, however, there was no fear of closure and the rails were renewed. The original rails had, over 90 years, been worn down to half the original size and weight. The line remains open and busy, with two return trains each day.
On the 7th October 1984 the Cambridge Historical Society, Cambridge Lions and Pakeke Lions organised two ten carriage excursion trains to Tauranga to celebrate 100 years of railway traffic to Cambridge.
School Baths and Swimming Club
The construction of Matangi School's fine 10m x 28m Baths started in 1928. Money was raised at seven-a-side Basketball and Football Competitions held with surrounding schools. There was also a Sports Gymkhana with girls and boys sports and pony events. Excavation started in November 1928 and was done by Harry Taylor using a horse-drawn scoop. The bore and pump to supply water for the Baths was donated by Harry Robinson. The Baths were opened in November 1929 by the Minister of Education, the Hon. Mr Attmore. The Baths have long been the envy of the surrounding schools and for many years have been the venue of the combined school swimming sports.
The main credit for the construction of the Baths should go to the Headmaster of the time, Mr A. R. Coltman, who during his two years at the school was responsible for arranging many new amenities- i.e. flush toilets, bicycle shed, water drinking fountain, piano (still in use), urn for cocoa making, a small library, culminating in the completion of the Baths. In addition the seven-a-side Basketball and Football Tournaments with neighbouring Schools and Gymkhana's for raising funds were his idea.
A Swimming Club has been operating at the Baths, probably for as long as the Baths have been there. Floodlights were installed so that the Baths could be used at night. Cleaning of the Baths in the early days seems to have been quite a chore. Swimming Club members were put on a roster and the Baths were emptied, cleaned and re-filled every Thursday. During 1950 and 1951 the Headmaster organised relays of boys to clean the Baths. It is noted that at this time it took 23 hours to re-fill the Baths. In the late 1940's the Swimming Club held regular Dances at the Matangi Hall for fundraising. These Dances must have been very popular - they were advertised in the Waikato Times and a free bus ran out from town each time to bring members of the public.
Club nights were held regularly once a week and some years a `learn to swim' night was held as well. At the conclusion of each session a Championship Night was held, followed by a Carnival Night. In 1966 when the Club was very strong, the Championship program me consisted of 19 races of heats followed by 26 final events. Races ranged from 10 years and under width, to ladies and mens 100m freestyle.
The Swimming Club members were constantly fundraising to improve the Baths and surroundings. In 1954 more floodlights and dressing room lights were installed. In December 1955 the Minute Book records that the School House was broken into during the holidays and eighteen pounds of club funds was stolen. However, a note in the book in the following March states that the money had in actual fact not been stolen, but had been hidden so securely no-one could find it.
A set of rules was drawn up in 1963 and put up on the wall of the Baths. Twenty-two years later the board is still there, and hopefully, the rules are still being obeyed.
In 1966 fund raising recommenced so that a filter could be installed. This was installed in November 1966, which must have made the job of cleaning the Baths a lot easier. In 1968 new seats and a new fence at the deep end of the pool were welcome additions.
The Swimming Club continues to function as a community service and thousands of Matangi children over the years have a forward-looking Headmaster and School Committee to thank for the fine pool in which they have spent so many enjoyable hours.
Matangi Polo Club
When the Hamilton Polo Club was wound up in 1925 a new club was formed on a nucleus of ex Hamilton players and commenced in 1926 using as club grounds a farm then owned by Messrs G. de V. Chitty, R. A. Miller, T. Platt and one other. This land is now farmed by Messrs Lindsay and Stewart Macky.
Later polo was played on Mr Arthur Pretty's run-off at Tainui (on Marychurch Road) arid later still on Whewell Bros. farm on Lee Martin Road.
The foundation members of the Club were G. de V. Chitty, W. L. Ranstead, R. H. Townsend, R. A. Hinton, G. E. Hinton, W. Phillips, T. L. Ranstead, R. Ranstead, G. M. Ranstead, W.I. Taylor, A. L. Yule, C. Kendall, A. Johns, L. P. Swarbrick, T. Clarkin, T. Harper, G. Shaw, C. Clarkin and S. Pilkington.
Matangi Club had the distinction of being the first Auckland Provincial team to win the Savile Cup, and throughout its existence won very many trophies.
With the general use of motor transport the Club playing strength declined and the Club was wound up in 1955.
A Bowling Club was established in Matangi in 1939. An area of land to the east of the School between dairy factory houses and the railway line had been set aside for a Tennis Club. As the dairy factory maintained two grass courts, the Trustees, Messrs W. L. Ranstead, J. T. Bryant and E. T. Robinson, gave the land over for use as a Bowling Green. The first Club House was built by H. Robinson and later was used for storage. After the war a new Club House was built by Taplin Brothers.
The Bowling Club's first President was G. H. Russell and the first Secretary was T. L. Harper. The Club was very popular for many years. When it was established more activities were centred in the Matangi area, and it had a large membership. Dairy farmers used to enjoy the game, it giving them a break from twice daily milking and farm maintenance.
A Women's Bowling Club was established in 1954, 16 ladies being present at the first meeting on the 11th August. Mrs G. Powdrill was the first President, Mrs Carter the Vice-President and Mrs E. Taylor the Secretary. Other members of the Committee were Mrs Lye, Mrs Bargh, Mrs Inglis and Mrs Hinton. Both Clubs flourished and enjoyed some success until in the 1970's, with dairy farms being sub-divided into 10 acre blocks, attendance fell away. The new style 10 acre block owner, who worked Monday to Friday needed the weekends to work on his land and interest in bowls on Saturdays fell away, as older members resigned there were few coming forward to take their places. By 1984 the members, some of them having been connected with the Club since the early days, found that with declining membership and advancing age, they were no longer able to maintain the grounds to a satisfactory standard. Consequently, both Bowling Clubs were wound up and the property sold. The old club rooms are now the home of a potter and his family.
The Matangi Indoor Bowling Club was formed in 1949. At an Inaugural Meeting on the 6th September it was proposed Mr Rowe, seconded Mr Libeau, that an Indoor Bowling Club be established. The first office holders were: President H. Baird, Secretary A. Wald, Treasurer J. Taylor and Committee L. Robinson, W. Rowe, F. E. Cooper and Mrs R. Cooper. 23 members attended the first meeting. The Club has always been very active as the Honours Board in the Hall shows. When the Hall was rebuilt in 1961 after the fire, a great deal of trouble was taken in getting the floor exactly level for the benefit of the Indoor Bowling Club.
In 1979 a 30th Anniversary Dinner and Dance was held at the Hall. Over 200 past and present members enjoyed an evening of reminiscing and replaying that last vital ball that won the match. Today an active and flourishing Club meets regularly and enjoys tournaments with neighbouring Clubs. A large number of competitions are competed for annually.
Matangi Tennis Club
A meeting was called on the 4th November 1947 by Mr A. Webster to discuss the reformation of the Matangi Tennis Club. Tennis had been played on two courts in front of the dairy factory for many years between the wars. There was one grass court and one sealed court and croquet was also played on the grass court. Those present at the meeting were Messrs A. Webster, L. McHardie, L. Ashford, J. Taylor, W. Cooper, B. Jamieson, E. Taylor, E. McGough, M. Harper, J. Harper, W. Taylor and A. Wald.
All those present formed a Committee. The subscription was set at five shillings with tea and biscuits being provided at 3d. Hours of play, rules for ladder matches were set, and it was resolved that offenders in the way of bad language would be warned. From 1948-1950 the Club entered a team in the Hamilton Suburban Competition. The Men's Team was headed by Bob Chandler, Jim Taylor and Alby Smith, and the Women's Team by Edna Smith, Nan Macky and Mrs.Cullen. The Harper, Jones, Webster and Cooper families filled most of the other places.
The Junior Boys Tennis at this time was very strong with Terry Jones and Ian Webster playing for the Hamilton Suburban Junior Team in1948-1949 and these two with Ron Jones as well formed half of the winning Keeley Club Team in 1949-1950.
The Wednesday Ladies Day was also very popular. Among those playing at this time were Mesdames Smith, Macky, Cooper, McDowell, Cullen, McGhie, Webster, Jones, Gunson, Carter, Pretty, Taylor, Newey and Bettley.
Local play with occasional matches continued until 1955 when the Eastern Combined Tennis Association was formed. This included Matangi, Newstead, Eureka, Tauwhare and Motumaoho (replaced later by Hillcrest).
The Competition with a team of six ladies and six men continued until 1961. Falling interest in 1962 caused the Club to go into recess. A few years later the Tauwhare Tennis Club, who at that time only had one court, moved to Matangi and organised local Saturday tennis for the next ten years. This too has now ceased.
Matangi Sports Ground Athletics Club
An item in the Waikato Times dated the 17th November 1919 stated "The Soldiers Memorial Committee met on Monday. The Secretary reported that matters were proceeding satisfactorily and it only required the co-operation of the settlers to achieve the end in view. The proposal is to secure a recreation ground of about five acres, at the entrance of which memorial tablets will be erected with the names engraved thereon of all men of the district who fought in the great war". This project apparently did not even get off the ground as it was nearly 50 years later, that the sports ground opened in 1967. The Matangi Athletic Club, which had been operating at the School for some years moved to the sports ground as soon as the grounds were in playing order. The Tauwhare Sports Club which had also been operating for some years decided to amalgamate with the Matangi Club and the Tauwhare-Matangi Athletic Club was formed. The Club became affiliated with the Waikato Amateur Athletic Association enabling children to compete at Open Ribbon Days and compete at Zone Championships.
The fall off in attendance caused by serious runners seeking stronger competition at larger clubs and falling rural population has led to the Club going into recess.
The sports ground continues to be the home ground of the Hillcrest-Matangi Rugby Football Club, which fields several teams at all levels in Saturday competition. The fine Club Rooms are credit to the hard work and effort put in by members of the Club over the years.
Scouts and Cubs
The first Scout group in Matangi was formed in about 1915 by E. T. Robinson, the Headmaster of the School. Norman McLennan was a Troop Leader and two of the early Scouts were Henry Thomas and Vic Philips. These Scouts went on outdoor camps, at Whites bush, and a one week camp at Kopu. They formed part of the Guard of Honour for the laying of the foundation stone for the Hamilton Cathedral. This was laid on the 5th October 1915 by the Governor General, the Earl of Liverpool. The Scouts rode into Hamilton on horseback for the service. This group went into recess and was reformed again in 1940. An extract from the Presbyterian Church Minute Book dated the 10th October 1940 states that a Public Meeting is to be called to discuss the formation of a Scout Troop. A Troop was subsequently formed the following month with Roy Falconer as Scout Master. A photo of the Scouts at the time shows 29 boys all correctly attired in uniform which included "lemon squeezer" hats. This Troop functioned for some years before disbanding, no doubt because of lack of leaders.
A Scout Troop we reformed in 1965 with I. Playle Chairman, Jack Foster Secretary/Treasurer and R. Boggust the Scout Master. This started as a lone Scout group, meeting at the School grounds if the weather was fine and in the Presbyterian Hall when wet. As the numbers grew the group became a full Troop and in 1971 bought the hall that they now meet in. This was very primitive in the early days and has steadily been upgraded over the years. A lot of effort over the past few years has seen the floor area doubled, new toilets installed and a committee room added. The Scout Troop, twenty years on, is very busy, attending camps and hikes and community work undertaken recently includes directing traffic for the School Jubilee and maintaining the Church grounds.
A very active Cub pack of 24 boys is also operating. The Cub's most ambitious event in recent years occurred in 1980, when the boys raised some $800.00 and organised a trip to Wellington. In a few days they visited the Zoo, Town Hall, Cable Car, Parliament, Police Station and a Safari Park and only missed out on a trip to Picton because of bad weather. The boys enjoy a family camp every year and attend Provincial camps in the summer. The steady and continued support by parents and friends of the Scout movement will ensure that both groups continue to flourish in the years to come.
Matangi Brownies and Guides
A Guide Company was established in Matangi in 1958 by Mrs Sheila Inglis, wife of the then Headmaster and Mrs Maureen Weir. The Guide Company ran very successfully for some years, but ran into leadership problems in 1963 and the girls joined the Claudelands Guide Company. The Company was de-registered in 1967.
Before 1958 Matangi girls used to go to Newstead for Brownie meetings but also in 1958 the numbers of girls wanting to go to Brownies who lived in Matangi was such that a Matangi group was formed. The first Brownie leaders were Mrs Ivy Ashton, Mrs Gaynor McGhie and Mrs Raethel. Both groups originally met at the Presbyterian Hall and the girls soon made themselves known in the area, selling Girl Guide biscuits and diaries. The Brownie pack continues to flourish and 27 years later, in 1985, is still running.
One of the most ambitious outings organised for the Brownie Pack was a trip to Auckland in 1968 as guests of the Glen Eden Brownies Pack. The weekend included a trip to Auckland Zoo and Devonport Beach. In 1970 the Glen Eden Brownies returned the visit and spent a busy weekend visiting a chicken farm, a goat farm and horse stables. In 1971 the Brownies made the newly acquired Scout Hall their Headquarters and meetings have been held there ever since.
The Matangi Brownie Pack now serves a wide area with girls coming from Tamahere, Tauwhare, Eureka and Newstead. Recent activities include- presentation of a Christmas Tableau at the Assisi Home, Church Parades at the Matangi Church, a conservation walk organised by the Junior Naturalists Club, hike and cooking lunch on Hobo Stoves and combined meetings, swimming sports, revels and concerts with other Brownie Packs. In recent years the Pack has been away on three Pack holidays with their Leader.
In spite of the difficulty in obtaining Leaders, interest in Brownies in Matangi has been maintained. The tremendous support offered by parents and friends of Brownies will ensure that the Pack continues to flourish for many years to come.
The League of Mothers
The League was formed in 1926 under the auspices of Lady Alice Fergusson for all mothers, regardless of religious persuasion, an undenominational fellowship. Its aims were to help parents to realise their responsibilities in bringing up their children.
The Matangi branch was formed in 1950, the first office holders being Mrs H. Baker President, Mrs G. Ringer Secretary and Mrs J. Newey Treasurer. Meetings were held monthly and gave members an opportunity to get together and discuss matters of common concern regarding the welfare of their children. Guest speakers usually addressed the meetings, some of the topics covered being the Country Library Service, the work of the Child Welfare Department, Adult Education, the Leprosy Mission and the Fire Department. Demonstrations included hair styling, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and craft work. Members undertook visits to elderly people in hospital and every year presented their birthday cake to Tokonui hospital patients.
During the year members visited other branches to celebrate birthdays and visitors were often present at Matangi meetings. The branch thrived for many years but went into recess in 1967 due to falling numbers.
Matangi Plunket is in its 20th year as a Sub-branch of the Cambridge Plunket Society. Plunket began in Matangi nearly 40 years ago as a Sub-branch of the Hamilton Plunket Society, and was originally held in the Presbyterian Hall. When the Matangi Hall was rebuilt in 1961 a Plunket Room was incorporated in the plan and this is where the Plunket Clinic has been held. A nurse from Cambridge visits mothers and babies at home for three months, after which they can attend the Clinic at the Hall on the 2nd and 4th Thursday afternoons of each month. The area covered by the Matangi Plunket Clinic includes Tauwhare, Tamahere and Eureka.
The main means of raising money to maintain the Clubrooms is the Annual Plunket door-to-door Appeal. From time to time extra fund raising activities are held, recent ones have been a Fashion Parade and Cake Stall. Meetings are held four or five times a year and are an opportunity for mothers of young children to get together in a friendly and informal atmosphere.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Matangi Playcentre was held on the 23rd March 1966 on the instigation of Mrs Sargent, a Welfare Officer from the Maori Affairs Department. Seven women were present at the meeting and they and their children formed the nucleus of the new Playcentre Group. Permission was given for the Group to use the Presbyterian Hall and the first Playcentre Session was held in June of that year. Fund raising began in order to collect together the basic equipment needed and up-grade the Hall and grounds. The roll rapidly expanded and by September there were 30 children enrolled. A period of consolidation followed and under the guidance of Mrs Ruth Taylor, Supervisor and Mrs Margaret Voyle, Assistant Supervisor, furniture, books, play equipment and outdoor equipment was bought and a fence was put across the front boundary. Fund raising included Cake Stalls, Cabarets, Jumble Sales, a Bottle Drive and a Newspaper Drive.
In 1969 the Playcentre opened a building fund with a view to one day having their own hall. A new lease on the hall was renegotiated in 1971 and as the Playcentre were the only users of the hall they undertook to help with painting it. In1974 the Playcentre endeavoured to buy the hall, but they were not able to afford it and were unwilling to commit future members to a mortgage. The roll at this time was very high and so the Sunday School rooms were put into use as well. Eventually they moved out of the hall altogether and used the three Sunday School rooms. The old Methodist Church was demolished in early 1975, which allowed the outdoor equipment to be repositioned and better use be made of the outside space.
Playcentre has continued to flourish, because of the willingness of mothers to train as mother helps, assistant supervisors and supervisors. Fathers have also been more than willing to help with maintenance and building equipment. In 1982 the Playcentre was forced to move as the church properly had been sold. The old Dairy Company Hostel became available and this is their present home. A move to the Scout Hall is envisaged in the near future.
Matangi Young Farmers Club
The original Matangi Y.F.C. was formed in 1936 with Jack Ranstead the Chairman and Les Annett Secretary. Ken Lee Martin and Tom Harper were two of the original advisory members. This Club with about 25 members operated until 1940.
In 1947 George Ranstead was the first Chairman of the newly formed Y.F.C. He and Bill and Bob Shaw were the only members remaining from the pre-war Club. Other early presidents were Trevor Bryant, George Bettley and Waldon Pitt. One of the first fund raising schemes was the growing of one acre of potatoes on Trevor Bryant's farm. These were all dug by hand in three days. In 1950 the Club organised the first ever Waikato Ploughing Match on Robinson's farm, watched by almost 2,000 spectactors. Sponsorship from tractor firms enable good prize money to be offered. Cliff Taylor lined up his three horse team to compete against the tractors. Subsequent ploughing matches were held at Trevor Bryant's farm and Lindsay Macky's farm. John Middlemiss won the Waikato Open Ploughing Cup in 1956 and 1957.
The Club flourished in the 1950's with many and varied activities. A debating team was entered each year and Waldon Pitt, Jack Harper and Bruce McOennan were successful one year in the Waikato area. In 1956 Ian Webster was runner-up in the final of the Australian and New Zealand Radio Leadership Contest. Other club activities included Stock Judging and Rifle Shooting.
Firewood cutting was a popular fund raiser. On one occasion at Court's Bruntwood Sawmill, five tractor driven saw benches and five trucks were in use. Social events included Cricket Matches at the Robinson Oval with John Warren sending down the fastest balls that many opposing teams had seen. Roy and Leo Robinson, Roger Ranstead and Bill Singers were other valued team members.
Visits to the Matamata Hot Springs were also very popular and for many years the Club organised a Guy Fawkes Barbecue at Trevor Bryant's place. These were very popular with the local people but rather disappointng one year, when the wire on which the sausages were threaded, broke, and they all dropped into the fire. Reciprocal district tours with South Island Clubs were a popular form of winter holiday.