The Dairy Factory
As promised, the Waikato Land Association began erecting the framework of the Cheese Factory in June 1885, and by the 1st September it was nearly completed. It was seven chains back from the main Morrinsville Road, behind the present hall.
A report of the 20th October 1885 announced the beginning of cheese-making in the new factory. A four horse-power engine was in use and the presses were of the improved design. The curing room was large and airy and measured 50 feet by 30 feet and would hold between 35 and 40 tons of cheese.
A glowing report in the Times in April 1886 noted that the country around Tauwhare had an exceedingly fresh healthy appearance. There were several large patches of turnips and a large area of improved pasture. The district was well suited to dairying and stock raising. The new Cheese and Bacon Factory was proving its value.
Diversification was the vogue in 1887 when a report in April said that cheese-making for the season had been replaced by butter-making to take advantage of good prices for butter. A large tank had been installed to receive the milk which gravitated at a regulated speed to the separator. A large churn was working splendidly. It held 100 gallons of cream. The separator worked well leaving less than 1% of cream in the milk. The daily supply was 400 gallons from which 140 pounds of butter was made. Three more large pig paddocks had been fenced and existing ones drained. This was a good idea as people had been forcibly reminded that they were not near a flower garden. The Manager, Mr F. Allen, had resigned as he was leaving the colony.
In the spring of 1888 some former lessees of the company had renewed their leases and a Mr Speake and his family had begun milking for the company for one penny halfpenny per gallon. All the cheese made the previous year had been sold satisfactorily. By December 1888 the milk supply had reached 800 gallons a day. Mr T. Dodd was the biggest supplier at 280 gallons and he hoped to reach 300. Farmers milking during the winter were receiving threepence three-farthings per gallon of milk, and were feeding hay and oats or grass and silage.
In August 1895, a meeting of suppliers of the factory decided to form a co-operative company. The Land Association which owned the building would receive 7 1/2% on the factory as rent (presumably on valuation of the building) and suppliers would receive twopence halfpenny per gallon advance payment. Those whose milk was 3.6% test or better would get an extra halfpenny.
A year later the first year of operations could be considered highly satisfactory, according to the "Argus", a contemporary of the "Times". The bonus was three farthings, reflecting the lower costs of making cheese, about which there had not been a single complaint concerning quality from any part of the world. The factory's results were better than other factories around.
According to returns supplied to the Department of Agriculture, the Tauwhare Factory was allocated supply Number 183 in 1897, when it made 90 tons of cheese. In 1898 it made 98 tons of cheese. In 1899 a star over T was the brand registered by the Department. This and the supply Number 183 were transferred to the Eureka Dairy Factory in 1903. The New Zealand Land Association (formerly the Waikato Land Association) owned both factories.
In the 1905-6 season, Tauwhare became a skimming station for Eureka which had 28 suppliers. At the same time Eureka became a co-operative.
In the 1916-17 season, after producing 25 tons of butter only, the Tauwhare Factory closed down. Thereafter, suppliers had to take their milk to Eureka or Matangi. In the same season, 1916-17, Eureka produced 85 tons of butter from 25 suppliers, and merged with the New Zealand Dairy Association.
Mr Henry Reynolds, a well-known promoter of the dairy industry, and Manager of the Waikato Land Association, helped to establish the Tauwhare Cheese Factory. Early Managers were: F. Allen, A. Milne and A. Beange.
The Flax Industry
Tauwhare had a Flaxmill in 1893, situated alongside the Waitakaruru Stream on Mr V. Jones' present farm. This low lying area flooded often until comparatively recently and would no doubt have grown flax well. The owner was an enterprising Hamilton resident with interests in many business activities. He was Isaac Coates who came from Yorkshire, arriving in Hamilton in 1868. He eventually farmed 700 acres at Ruakura which he sold to the Government in 1901. This was the beginning of what is known today as the Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre. In the 1880's he was Mayor of Hamilton for a time, and in 1882 when the Tauwhare township sections were auctioned, he paid Thirty one pounds for a section about where the church stands today. Perhaps he contemplated retirement in Tauwhare! He was one of the first to introduce mowing machines, reapers and binders, threshing and chaff cutting plants into the Waikato.
In 1893 Isaac Coates owned five Flax Mills, one on the river in the present Parana Park, Hamilton, one at Hukanui, one at Morrinsville and one at Maketu, as well as the Tauwhare one.
An earlier report of the 29th May 1890, recorded the loss by fire of a whare owned by one of Mr Clements' flaxmill hands. The flaxmill which was stopped during the threshing season, was once again at work. Whether this is the same mill as Coates operated three years later, is not known. A Mr Clements paid Ten pounds ten shillings per acre for a farm lot at the 1882 auction.
A report in July 1889 quoted Thirty seven pounds per ton being paid for flax on the Paris Market, following a revival in prices. Flax prices fluctuated considerably and Coates was disappointed with the returns. In 1903 he sold the Hamilton mill but had to take it back again as prices fell below the cost of production.
In June 1890 the Road Board was concerned that Mr Wyse of Tauwhare was carrying very heavy loads of flax to the Tamahere Railway Station (now Matangi). He used five horses to pull a wagon fitted with narrow 2" or 2 1/2" iron tyres. This cut up roads badly, especially in winter. The County Council was urged to make 4" width the minimum. Later, in 1922, the Road Board limited loads of dressed flax to seven bales - the weight was not specified.
Mr Alex Shaw who was born in 1909, remembers the large areas of flax which grew on the low lying areas of the district. It grew on his father's farm, where Hugh Davison's sheds are now, on his uncle James Shaw's farm on land now farmed by Messrs Berry and Lang, and on the farm now owned by M. O'Connor. Many other swamps in the district grew flax, and even after the Tauwhare Flaxmill closed down, it was processed either at Morrinsville or Hamilton. Drainage spelled the end of the industry.
Mr John Hobbs, who is listed as Postmaster from 1894-97, also owned a large apiary in Tauwhare for some years. . The distriwas very favourable for honey productton, according to the Cyclopeadia of New Zealand, published in 1902. Mr Hobbs had adopted the best American methods of honey extraction, and after supplying the Auckland market, exported about five tons to London, where it realised about Forty pounds a ton.
One of the earliest carriers in the district was Mr Walter Goodare who had a contract to deliver cream from neighbouring farmers to the Matangi Station. From there it was railed to the Butter Factory at Frankton. This was in the early 1920's and at first horses and a wagon were used. Later he bought a Model T 30 hundred-weight Ford truck.
Mr Vic Lynds, like Mr Goodare a returned solider, took over the cream cartage contract and lived in the house now occupied by Mr and Mrs P. McKenzie. Mr Lynds, who had been working for Mr A. W. Playle across the road, developed the business into general carrying, with fertiliser from the rail being a major activity. His truck, fitted with planks across the deck, was much in demand for carrying sports teams to various venues. He first owned a Chevrolet 30 hundred-weight and then bought a Stewart Two-ton truck. From 1931-37 the family lived in Ringer's Road. In 1937 he sold to Mr Harry Hall of Matangi and had just bought a small farm when he died suddenly.
The first farm in Tauwhare to be topdressed from the air was Mr Alan Bullick's and the date was the 7th July 1951. The airstrip used was created on Mr M. Hanan's flat farm by re-arranging fences, and levelling paddocks with the county grader. This farm is now Stokes.
The company of Robertson Air Services Limited was formed in July 1950 by a former airforce pilot, Guy Robertson, and began operations later that year in Whitehall on W. Gardiner's farm. Three tiger moth bi-planes were used on Bullick's job, the pilots being Jim O'Donnell (later Operations Manager for the Company for many years), Bob Gummer and "Happy" Neville. The planes each took five hundred-weight in the passenger's cockpit, loaded from trucks or trailers standing by. Super-phosphate in man-sized bags of 12 to the ton was the norm then, and these bags had to be man-handled from truck into hopper. Alan Bullick has unhappy memories of the all-pervasive dust blown into eyes, as the propellers did not stop while re-loading.
Other early strips used by Robertson's tiger moths were Nicholl's, Playle's and Hoult's, the latter two in June 1952. On Hoult's strip, two planes sowed 6 1/2 tons per hour. Two invoices both in March 1955 showed that D. Hoult spread 12 tons at a cost of Three pounds per ton and R. Nicholls 12 tons at Three pounds five shillings per ton.
Fletcher aircraft came into service in December 1954 and proved their suitability by being the plane still in use 30 years later.
Some time in the 1930's a privately operated quarry began in Scotsman's Valley, west of the former Road Board quarries, on land then owned by Mr Vere Chitty.
The three partners in the venture were H. Hyde, Z. Rothwell and Bert Sandos (a N.Z. representative rower). They lived in a caravan near where Pukemoremore Road now enters Scotsman's Valley. At first they leased 12 acres from Mr Chitty, and then a further 13 acres. Later their interests were bought out by Messrs Sandy Patterson and Aitken. In 1960 Aitken's shares were bought by Messrs Rolf Lockhart and Alan Firman. The partners formed a company called Tauwhare Metal Supplies Limited. Mr Lockhart built the house where Mrs McCleery now lives.
In 1962 Mr Firman bought out the other parties and sold 75% of the shares to Winstone Limited. He stayed on as Manager until 1972. During this time the creek was straightened and the bridge built, and business boomed in more ways than one. One morning two young dairyfarmers, Alec and Warwick Silvester, were milking their cows when suddenly the cows decided they had had enough. Motivated by a series of very loud blasts caused by "blistering" (breaking of rocks by explosive placed on the surface), a very noisy operation, the cows departed to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the noise across the road.
The original quarry became very deep and was later used by some as a swimming pool. Drilling was done to the north to find another source of supply. A road was formed around the hillside and stripping of topsoil was begun, to expose the rock, which was carted in dump trucks to the site of the crushers near the public road.
Winstones continued to operate the quarry, building up he tonnage crushed, from approximately 100,000 cubtc yards to 150,000 cubtc yards per year. Fifteen men were employed. At one time five Timoko brothers and one cousin worked there together.
The quarry was closed in 1977 because it ran out of blue metal. The site, surveyed into three lots, was sold to new owners in 1983.
Twenty five years ago Mr Rob McHardie began the business known as Tauwhare Contractors with a tractor hay baler and various ancillary gear. In the intervening years the business has encompassed cultivation, drilling and harvesting and drying grain crops, land contouring, bulk spreading of fertiliser, supplying of metal and gravel etc., and other services to farmers. The firm owns and operates 10 trucks, 5 tractors, 2 harvesters. To service this machinery it has a repair shop. At the moment the firm has a staff of 28, making it the largest employer of labour in the district.
The Tauwhare Gold Rush
In September 1896, it was reported that prospectors had been busy looking for gold in the Tauwhare district. A sample of gold had been sent to the School of Mines at Thames for assay, and the report, when it came was disappointing. It was "fool's gold". The "mine" is believed to have been along a small creek at the back of Fletcher's farm.