• The Tauranga Lodge 125
  • Bay of Plenty Masonic Centre
  • 33 Hairini Street, Tauranga
  • 07 543-9483
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1902 – 2002
Introduction by Rt. W. Bro. W.A.E. Robinson PGW

The historical facts and anecdotes of The Tauranga Lodge No. 125 and all the other lodges mentioned here coupled with those of Tauranga Borough, Tauranga City, and surrounding areas have all been documented and recorded and now lie waiting to be assembled and compiled into a cohesive and comprehensive History.  None of these organizations exist in isolation so these historical facts are now put together and record their relationship during the last one hundred years and more.  It is hoped that this historical narrative will not only highlight some of the important and interesting events of all these histories but also put them in perspective with the growth of the area.
In publishing this historical record of our lodge we are indebted to a number of Brethern who by their diligence, foresight and knowledge have made a contribution to this record that will be read and appreciated by, people not only present day, but by, we trust many of the future generation.
For the first forty years the material was supplied by Rt. Wor. Bro. J.K.B. Lusk a prominent solicitor of Tauranga, Wor. Bro. B.K. Gifford another well-known personage and co-owner of the Bay of Plenty Times, and Rt. Wor. Bro.  J.R. Bongard, Chief engineer of the Tauranga Electric Power Board.
Wor. Bro. T.W. Marchbank Bay of Plenty Times Brach Manager carried on and assembled the information to publish the 75th year History of the Lodge.  From a resume of this material and a comprehensive research of the minuets of the last twenty five years, Wor. Bro. Bill Eltham, IPM. Of the lodge and Bro. Fereday SW produced an unedited Hundred Year History of the Lodge.
The following Historical publication contains an edited version of all of the above paragraphs and I have included more information and facts, both Masonic and non-Masonic that has come to hand in the last few years, and can only hope that it will make this publication an informative and interesting read.
Note from Website Administration.
Additional date content was added to make the search feature more usable by the user.


The first European contacts with local Maori were the missionaries: first, Samuel Marsden in 1820 and then the visit of the Mission ship Herald in 1828 and finally the gradual establishment of the Mission Station between 1834 and 1835. There were a fair number of traders calling in and many Europeans who settled here for the purpose of trade. Nevertheless the story of Tauranga for the next thirty years was the story of the Mission. The Reverend, (later Archdeacon) Brown and his wife, by example and precept, so influenced the Maori that the Ngaiterangi accepted Christianity wholeheartedly. Although work on the main house had begun some time earlier, Archdeacon Brown and his wife Charlotte moved into their spacious home in 1847.

Many important visitors were entertained at The Elms, amongst them Governor Grey Himself. However one particular dinner party always catches the imagination of present day visitors to the Mission House. On the eve of the Battle of Gate Pa a number of officers of the Imperial Forces sat down to dinner at the Oval Table with Archdeacon and his wife. Of these soldiers, all except one were killed at the battle next day.

In 1862 the work of the Mission had come to fruition. Certainly there were many white settlers but they had been there only a few years. The Mission owned approximately seven hundred acres on the Te Papa peninsular which was indeed an oasis of peace. (Te Papa a Maori word meaning, “the flat land “where Tauranga is today.) Yet within two years, Maori and Europeans were at war, which brings us to the battle of Gate Pa on 29th.; April 1864 which the Maori won with much courage and compassion, but were defeated at Te Ranga later on.

Towards the end of 1867 these troubles began to diminish and settlers ventured to leave the town to establish farms. Slowly other things were beginning. In 1870 telegraphic communications were established between Tauranga and Wellington. 1871 the towns wharf was built.

Early in 1872 road making and telegraph building commenced, the Tauranga to Katikati road started and before the end of the year the direct road from Tauranga to Ohinemutu was opened to travelers on horseback. The first issue of the Bay of Plenty Times was published. The first retaining wall was built along the seafront, and then known as Beach Rd. and now The Strand.

In July 1873 the first Royal Mail and passenger coach arrived from Napier and in 1874 a road to Cambridge was begun. Also new immigrants began to arrive. The harbour was most important, as it was by sea that Tauranga communicated with the outside world. A Tauranga shipping service was established in the sixties, followed by a service in the seventies between Napier, Auckland and intermediate ports. In 1873 Tauranga was gazetted as a Port of Entry.

This is an excerpt from a contemporary description of our town in the seventies:

“The township is built on the beach. Beach Road, later named The Strand, is the main street, having two large and commodious hotels, with stores, butchers and bakers shops. The old mission school has been converted into public offices - Post Office and Public Works. There is also a resident Magistrate’s Court, a reading room, a library and two branch Banks. Industries conducted in the district include a brewery, a cordial factory, several boat builders and a fish curing establishment. Also the first church, - Holy Trinity Anglican - outside the
Mission was built in 1875.

This is a picture of a pioneer village beside sparkling waters of the harbour, against the dark green backdrop of the hills”.



Against this background of the growth of Tauranga Town, with a population of approximately five hundred, the Masonic history of the area begins with the formation of the first Lodge in the district. Freemasons lodges in Tauranga can be said to have originated in discussions held by local Brethren late in 1875 with a view to forming a Lodge in the town. The first intimation of such was the appearance of the following advertisement in the Bay Of Plenty Times in February 1876.

“A meeting of the Masonic Order will be held at the Masonic Hotel on Thursday 3rd instant, at 7.30pm for the purpose of taking into consideration the desirability of forming a Masonic Lodge in Tauranga.”
Asher P. M. Lodge Ara No 348 I.C.

The Times in referring editorially to the advertisement says. Feb 2nd 1876

“We would direct the attention of members of the Masonic body to an advertisement in another column, in which they are informed that a meeting will be held at the Masonic Hotel tomorrow evening for the purpose of taking into consideration the desirability of forming a Masonic Lodge in Tauranga. From the increase in population in the district during the last few months, it is only reasonable to suppose, that a corresponding increase in the number of
Masons has also taken place, and doubtless their number will now be sufficient to enable a Lodge to be opened. The institution of a Masonic Lodge in a district is generally one of the first acts concurrent with its settlement, and we trust for the sake of those interested that the movement initiated by Mr. Asher may meet with success.”


As a result of this and other meetings, and a dispensation from the Pro. G. M. of the Irish Constitution, the brethren prepared for the constitution of the Lodge, which was arranged for the 15th. May 1876. After the ceremony of dedication and constitution the brethren repaired to the Masonic Hotel where the Installation banquet was held.

The names of the brethren of the Lodge at that time were recorded as follows: J. Jenkins, A. Asher, H.C.Hoyte, T.D.Wrigley Captain Turner, Rev. W.E. Mulgan, J. Vercoe, R.C. Jordan, W.M. Commons, D. Asher, W. Watson, W.C. Stewart, E.G. Norris, J. Bodell, J.T. Bradley, W. Clarke, G. Vesey Stewart, H. Marks, T. Tunks, A. Forster, A . Gilmore, W. Kelly, J.H. Sheath, E. Lea, W. Quinlan, J. Mitchell

Charter 462

The warrant was finally issued to Lodge Tauranga No. 462 I.C. on the 31st. December 1877.

This Lodge, the Charter of which has been displayed in our lodge rooms for the past century or so, is the original genuine article. This lodge commenced work in Tauranga in 1876 and went into recess in 1891 The Charter or Warrant was cancelled at that time by the Grand Lodge of Ireland and presented to its
successor, The Tauranga Lodge No. 125, in 1902 as a memento.

Some of the men whose names appear as members of this Lodge not only appear as movers and shakers in the previous years of Tauranga history but are again present in the petition to form a Borough in 1881.


The Town Board had previously applied to the Government on six occasions before becoming successful. Of the one hundred and forty four signatures to the petition, the record shows twelve were freemasons.

The Gazette notice was signed by the Governor General declaring the Borough of Tauranga as from 21st. February 1882.

The election for Mayor was held on 14th. March 1882. There were three candidates: George Vesey Stewart polled 106 votes. Richard Coles Jordan polled 42 votes and Ebenezer Goddard Norris polled 31 votes. (All three were Freemasons) G.V. Stewart being elected Mayor. Of the nine candidates elected for Council, four were freemasons and of the seven unsuccessful four were also freemasons. The population of Tauranga at this time was gazetted at 1258 and the area of the Borough as 998 acres. (404 ha.)

Tga Borough Seal

 It was declining however and by 1901 had fallen to 945. This fact and the disbanding of the Armed Constabulary were possibly some of the reasons that Lodge Tauranga No. 462 went into recess having been in existence for just fifteen years.

Of passing interest it is noted that in 1880 a local order of the Ancient Order of Foresters’ Lodge was formed under the name of Court Royal Oak A.O.F. 6497. In 1908 they built their own hall in Spring St. There must have been some special appeal for fraternal societies in those days.

Another time of reference was the Tarawera eruption on 10th June 1886. It is recorded that the people in Tauranga were aware of the rumblings and small quakes, the resultant cloud of ash obscured the sun for some hours and the fall of ash covered many roads and houses.


The next step in Masonic history that had some influence on freemasonry in Tauranga was the formation of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand in 1890. There were 151 lodges at that time working under the constitutions of England, Ireland and Scotland and naturally wanted to retain their own identities. As is documented in the history of that body, it took six years of consultation, discussion, argument and tolerance before 65 of lodges in New Zealand agreed to come under the banner of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.


Also of significance was the formation of Lodge Waihi No.112 in 1898. The town of Waihi had become established following the opening of the Ohinemuri gold field in1875 and was growing rapidly. The whole life and interest centred on the mines, there was no other source of wealth. So it was that members of the Craft, representing many Lodges and onstitutions with a desire for Masonic Fellowship and a Masonic home, were drawn together. A petition was presented to the Grand Lodge of New Zealand under the recommendation of Lodge Ohinemuri, signed by 27 brethren for the grant of a Charter in the name of Lodge Waihi No. 112. It was most appropriate that its charter should be granted by the Grand Master of Freemasonry in New Zealand, Richard John Seddon who, as Prime Minister, visited Waihi on many occasions.

We now enter the next century, where the population of Tauranga had declined to 945, and on the 25th. April, 1901 after the Grand Lodge of New Zealand had come into being, an application was received by that body from the Prov. G.L. of Ireland seeking approval for the revival of the old Charter. This was not possible however as all the four Grand Lodges had agreed that no new lodge would be formed or old Charters revived except by the G L of N Z. There followed a movement to form a new Lodge, which in August 1902 resulted in the grant of the Charter under which The Tauranga Lodge No.125 still works.

THE LINK - researched by V.W. Bro. Ken Smith P.G.LEC

The first Tauranga Lodge, No 462 Irish Constitution Charter, which has been displayed in our Lodge Rooms for the past century or so, is the original and genuine article. Lodge No 462 commenced work in Tauranga in 1876 and went into recess in 1891.

The Charter, or Warrant of No 462 was cancelled at that time by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and presented to its successor, The Tauranga Lodge No. 125, in 1902 as a memento.

Well, you may say, "that is that" - not so! The Irish may cancel a Charter or Warrant, but they reallocate the number. It has been able to be traced back to 1800, but it undoubtedly goes back even further.

In 1801, a list of Lodges erased from the books of the Grand Lodge of Ireland included Nos. 3, 162 and 729. No corresponding Lodge names are given. The Second Series Vol 3 of the Grand Lodge Registers (of Ireland) show Warrant No 462 allocated to Portadown on 6th February 1806.

It didn't last long though. Furnell's "Acta Latomorum" Vol.6 lists No 462 as being erased again along with No 8 and No 878 in 1807.

Now, one cannot be certain that this was correct, for this notice also appeared "Lodge (?) met” in due form when it was unanimously agreed that the following neighbouring Lodges should get an invitation to hear a Sermon from the Rev Paul Borland on the 24th of June, 1813, at the Festival of St John, in the Presbyterian Meeting House of Markethill:- No 60 Loughgilly, No 462 Porterdown and No 776 Keady". No 462 was again cancelled on 5th July 1821.
There is no further reference appertaining to No 462 until this notice appears in 'The Grand Lodge of Ireland History' "Re-issued to Brethren in Tauranga, in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, by Dispensation, 15th May 1876; by Warrant 31' December 1877". In 1901, Brethren of the old Tauranga Lodge No 462 in Tauranga tried to revive the Lodge under its No 462 Irish Constitution Charter; but this was not agreed to by the then, recently formed Grand Lodge of New Zealand. The Grand Lodge of New Zealand instead issued its own Charter No 125 to the Tauranga Brethren.

On 17th June 1919 the surrendered Charter No 462 Irish Constitution was now reissued to Thomas Houston, John J. Donaghy and Robert Nicholas, all from Lodge No 286, to form Concord Lodge' in Bangor, County Down, Ireland. On 24th July 1919 an Occasional Communication of the Right Worshipful the Grand Lodge of the Masonic Province of Down was held in the Masonic Hall, Hamilton Road, Bangor for the purpose of  Constituting the Concord' Masonic Lodge No. 462 Concord No 462 is still alive and very well.


We are indebted to W Bro. C. A Samedini, the first Master of The Tauranga Lodge No. 125, for preserving, in the form of notes, events that occurred during the first year of the lodge.

When the writer of this brief account came, in June 1901, to reside in Tauranga, he found a fair number of Brother Freemasons living in the town, although no local lodge was then in existance. Of these brethren a few were members of Lodges in other places, but more were unattached.
As a result of many conversations on Masonic matters, it appeared to several of the brethren that a lodge might be successfully established in Tauranga. It was felt indeed that a lodge was urgently required and would prove a benefit to the district. In order that the matter might be fully discussed, a meeting of Master Masons was convened by advertisement in the Bay of Plenty Times. This meeting took place in the Theatre Royal on Saturday March 1st 1902 and the following brethren were present.

Bros David Asher, J Murphy, J M West, J Hunt, J A McKenzie, Harston Priestley, E L Smith, Dr. J P Baker, Dr. Huxtable, Joseph Bell, R. C. Jordan, H. C. Hoyte, John Maxwell, M. P. Stewart, The Hon. William Kelly, C. A. Samadini, R. S. Conway- Jones and Chas. F. Spooner.

At this meeting, which was presided over by Bro Samadini, it was decided to petition The Grand Lodge of NZ to establish a lodge in Tauranga. A form of petition had previously been obtained from the Grand Superintendant of the Auckland Province, and this was now filled in and signed by fifteen of the brethren present. It was then entrusted to Bro Priestley to take to Te Puke for the purpose of obtaining some further signatures, and afterwards was forwarded through Lodge Waihi No 112, to the Grand Secretary.

At the same meeting, the following brethren were chosen to act as officers in the event of the petition being granted W.M Bro C A Sanadini S.W Bro John Maxwell JW Bro Chas. F Spooner It was also decided to defer the appointment of the remaining officers until a future meeting.

“It is interesting to notice that of those who signed the petition and whose names appear on the Charter, the following, through age, ill health, or removal from the district, were unable to join the Lodge when it was established, and were not entered on the roll”.

Bros Chas. Henry Huxtable, William Kelly, and Thomas Hardy. Also that two brethren who were original members, viz: Bros Loder and H E Collett, are not named in the Charter, as they were unable to attend the meeting on March 1st and sign the petition. O this being explained to Grand Lodge by Bro Samadini, the Grand Master allowed them to be enrolled as Charter members.”

It was necessary, to obtain from the nearest existing lodge, a recommendation that the petition be granted, and as already stated it was agreed to ask Lodge Waihi to endorse the Petition. This request was at once acceded to and Lodge Waihi also gave authorisation to the Tauranga Brethren to hold lodges of Instruction.

In due time, Grand Lodge, having considered the petition of the brethren and the recommendation of Lodge Waihi, decided to establish a lodge in Tauranga and the date of the consecration was finally fixed for August 12th 1902.

As soon as this became known the brethren set themselves earnestly and consciencously to work to make all preparations, so that everything might be in readiness for the 0pening ceremony. Many meetings were held.
The old minute book kept by Bro Conway Jones contains the records of eleven meetings held between the beginning of June and the 12th August. But besides these there were several informal meetings hurriedly convened to discuss various circumstances as they occurred. At two of the first of the recorded meetings, the remaining officers of the new lodge were elected. They were as follows.

Secretary Bro S Conway Jones: Treasurer Bro M P Stewart: SD Bro E L Smith: JD Bro George H. Wallace: IG Bro A Loder: Tyler W Bro H C Hoyte: Organist Bro Dr J P Baker: Subsequently W Bro Hoytw declined the appointment of Tyler and Bro Joseph Bell was appointed in his place: Bro J Murphey was appointed sole Steward and W Bro H E Collett as IPM.

The appointment of officers having been settled, there were still some matters of importance and indeed of difficulty to be faced. One of these was the question of lodge furniture. There had been formally a Lodge Tauranga in existence being No 462 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, but through a variety of causes this lodge had some years before become defunct.

The furniture of this lodge had been ownerless since that time. It had been carefully kept and preserved by a zealous brother in his own house, often at personal inconvenience and expense, as, on several occasions he had changed his residence. This brother was the Rev. Jeremiah Murphy M.A. Who had been the late secretary of the Irish Lodge and who, in the absence of instructions from the Grand Lodge of Ireland and in the face of, I fear neglect and indifference on the part of the other brethren of the defunct lodge, had felt it his duty to look after the property.

Bro Murphy now offered this furniture to the proposed new lodge stating that he thought nobody could possible object to this offer being accepted., that to the best of his knowledge and belief, there was no surviving brother of the old lodge, save those who were with us in establishing the new lodge, who had any right to object even if they so desired; and that it would be a relief to himself to get the property off his hands.. Needless to say the offer was “thankfully received” and so one apparently insuperable difficulty was mastered. The furniture was duly handed over to the brethren.

It included the Master's chair, the three Pedestals, the Columns, Candlesticks, VSL, Tracing Boards, Gavels, Working Tools, Jewels, Collars, Ashlars, and Harmonium.. The first Secretary's table was presented by Bro E L Smith and the tablecloth for it by Bro R S Conway- Jones.  Bro Murphy also entrusted to the WM Elect the books acquired and papers of the defunct Lodge. Among these were the old Charter from the Grand Lodge of Ireland and a provisional charter from the District Grand Lodge of the Irish Constitution under which, later the Irish Lodge Tauranga had worked for some months pending the arrival of the charter proper.

These interesting relics were afterwards presented by Bro Samadini to the present lodge and are carefully preserved in its archives. Many of the papers which were not of any particular value, or interest, were by the expressed desire of the brethren, and after careful perusal and examination by Bro Samadini, afterwards destroyed. The matter of the furniture being thus happily settled, the question of where to place it arose. In other words a lodge room had to be the WM Elect, to see if he would let to the brethren part of the upstairs floor of his brick building at the corner of the Strand and Wharf ST. This room was then A loft unlined and unceiled.. Mr Stuart readily agreed to make the place habitable and to let part of it for the purpose of the lodge room.

He was in fact glad to have some inducement to line and finish the upper storey.

He had wished to do this before, so as to improve and strengthen the building (which had at some time been somewhat shaken by an earthquake) but had not till then seen any way of obtaining any return for the necessary expenditure. Mr Stuart then, for a reasonable rent, (eighteen pounds a year if writer's memory is correct) provided a very convenient lodge room, with dais and ante - room all complete.

From him also were purchased some chairs and floor coverings to complete the furnishing. A minor difficulty was the procuring of the tessellated pavement for the centre of the lodge. That of the old lodge had disappeared. It was said to have been cut up and used as a floor covering for his kitchen by one of the members when the old lodge became defunct. None of the brethren knew where such an article could be obtained. Inquiries of several well-known furnishing establishments in Auckland were fruitless and this was in a sense a relief although a disappointment, for it was expected to be a somewhat expensive article and our fund was small. In the end with little time left, the difficulty was overcome by having one made locally. It was painted on linoleum by Mr T Stuart from a plan made from memory by Bro. Samedini.

Often afterwards, when my eye fell on the pavement. I used to recall the skill and patience of Mr Stewart in doing the work, and the time he spent in getting the central star symmetrical. I had told him quite (quite incorrectly, I know now) it had to be seven pointed and so caused him much needless labour. For his time and labour Mr Stuart would accept no remuneration, indeed all through, he acted most generously towards the brethren. This was due , partly no doubt to the fact that he was the son in-law of the SW elect, Bro J Maxwell, but more largely, I cannot help thinking, because he was even then Himself a freemason at heart.

While all these preparations were being carried on to enable the lodge to make a creditable start, the officers elect strove to render themselves proficient in their duties. Lodges of instruction were frequently held and were well attended. First the openings and closings in the Three degrees were practised until quite mastered, and then the Ceremonies were rehearsed until the brethren were satisfied that their work would be, at any rate, satisfactory. Constant practise was necessary as the brethren had been accustomed to the workings of various different Constitutions, and in addition, many of them were very “rusty” The majority of them, in fact had not attended a lodge meeting for years. We used to meet before the lodge room was finished in a large room behind the shop of Bro Conway Jones the first Secretary.

The By-laws of the new lodge had to be drawn up and submitted to the Grand Secretary for approval. This was done at a full meeting of brethren. The night of the regular monthly meeting was fixed for “ the Thursday on, or next before full moon,” although several brethren, including the WM elect, were in favour of Friday. One argument against the latter day carried considerable weight although it caused some amusement. It was put forward by Bro J Maxwell and was to the effect that Friday had been the meeting day of the defunct lodge and had indeed proved an unlucky day and it might be possible for history to repeat itself.

Another of the by-laws calls for some comment. It declares that, after the WM's election he may decide whether the other officers shall be elected by ballot, or chosen by him. Once only has the WM chosen the latter course and that was for the second year of the lodge's existence, when I appointed my own officers. The circumstances were unusual. For the WM was elected for two consecutive years. And the brethren expressed a wish that he should appoint his officers.

I may state that I was responsible for the inclusion of the second alternative in the selection of officers, as I had recently seen a lodge weakened, indeed almost destroyed through dissention over the election of one of its Wardens. The trouble had been foreseen, but could not be avoided; and it seemed to me that such an alternative might in that particular case, have saved the situation. Such an occurrence has never been experienced in No 125 and I trust is not likely to occur in this safe and sacred retreat of friendship and brotherly love.

It was decided to signalise the great event of the opening of the Lodge by holding a Masonic Ball, and for the purpose, the Theatre Royal was generously given, free of charge, by Bro Asher. The work of preparing for this; issuing invitations, getting the hall ready, arranging for supper, music, decorations etc. It was borne heavily on the already hard working brethren, but they were nobly assisted by their wives, daughters or sisters who seemed to take as keen an interest in lodge matters as the brethren themselves.

At last the great day arrived. At 3pm RW Bro Murdock McLean Grand Superintendent (as the Provincial Grand Master was then called) duly constituted and consecrated the new lodge with full and solemn ceremonial. There was an attendance in all of 51 brethren which, until the present year, remained a record attendance, in spite of the fact that Tauranga has since then has become such a busy and flourishing town. Of the visitors, fourteen came from Lodge Waihi which was the sponsor of our infant lodge. The ceremony was most impressively conducted, and all the brethren entered into it heartily and reverently.

Various odes and hymns were sung, pious invocations recited and the burning of incense, the pouring of wine, anointing with oil, scattering of corn and sprinkling of salt, together with the explanations of these symbolic acts, must remain indelibly fixed in the memories of the brethren (alas how few after nine brief years) who still survive and are numbered among our members. After the consecration of the lodge was concluded the brethren were dismissed, but before they departed, the Grand Superintendent commanded the WM (Bro Hume) and officers of Lodge Waihi to return and open the lodge at 6pm. Thus the first opening of Lodge Tauranga No. 125 was performed by the Waihi brethren.

It is interesting to note that the Consecration programme refers to “Lodge Tauranga No.125.” This error continued in lodge publications, programmes and on Past Masters jewels until about 1940 when some observant brother, referring to the Charter, brought this matter to the attention of the lodge whereby it has remained correct since.

In due course the Grand Lodge Officers were received and the Installation of the first WM: (Bro C A Samedini) was performed by R W Bro McLean. The WM himself invested his officers. Their names have already been mentioned. Following the ceremony of Installation and Investiture, came the Ball which was a phenomenal success.

The various committees appointed to carry out the arrangements had worked like heroes to make everything go with a swing. The dull interior of the Theatre Royal had been transformed into a magical scene of beauty by decorations of evergreens, bunting, pictures, mirrors and fairy lights. The floor was as nearly perfect as such a floor could be made, and a small but capable band supplied good music and the supper room most artistically arranged. In short, the function was such as had seldom, if ever been held in Tauranga before.

The supper on a lavish scale at 11pm was followed by more dancing to the tunes of Mr J B Mann's quadrille band until about 4am. Such was the beginning of the senior lodge in this area which celebrated it's Centenary in 2002. Suffice it to say that although the lodge members and their ladies celebrated the Centenary meeting with as much enjoyment as those that did one hundred years before, they did not dance until 4am.

Such in brief is the story of the inception of Lodge Tauranga No 125. The writer is aware of many faults in the narrative, but believes it to be, in the main, a true and faithful record. Of the Lodge's subsequent history, it is not necessary to say much, as it is duly recorded in the minutes, but perhaps the brethren will permit me to add one or two remarks.

From the very first the Brethren, recognising their great responsibility, determined on no account to admit any man to membership, unless quite certain that he was of such a character, as to be a credit to the craft. I trust that the same high sentiment still prevails, and always will prevail.

Tauranga in the 1900s was little more than a small village, although the largest town in the Bay, a cluster of shops and offices on the Strand. The only shop outside the commercial centre on the Strand were Crabbe’ grocery store on the corner of sixth Ave. and Cameron Road, and Gilmores store on the corner of Elizabeth St. and Cameron Rd. Family dwellings mostly built of wood with corrugated Iron roofs were scattered over the Te Papa peninsular. Most households had their own cow and these cows grazed freely on the grass verges on the streets, provided they were licensed and wore a collar. In 1903 the first motor car in the district was driven from Waihi to Tauranga in four and a half hours. Basic services were being established in the Borough, older streets were to be maintained and new ones formed. By 1907 a water supply was established, a gas works was constructed and the main streets reticulated in 1909, and a telephone system was installed to serve the Borough and the adjacent County areas.

By 1906 the population of Tauranga had risen to 1047.


August - The following Minute is the only entry on pages one and two of the first Minute Book of the inaugural meeting of The Tauranga Lodge No 125. The venue was the upper floor of a building on the corner of Strand and Wharf St.

'Tuesday August 12th 1902 at 6 pm. The Lodge was opened in due form. W Bro J Hulme occupied the Mastre's Chair (Lodge Waihi No 112) Brethren as per the attendance book.'

September - It was recorded that the Consecration Ball had a deficit of £8-0-0 odd.

October - Moved "that Brethren subscribe eight shillings each to make up the Ball shortfall." (Imagine the uproar today if we were all levied $80.00 each on the basis of one shilling equalling ten dollars)

Meanwhile The Tauranga Lodge was making some progress. In February 1903 they worked three separate degrees concluding at 11.30pm.

1903 - April
It was moved that 'Masonic Hall' be painted on the front of building. Carried! (The building appears to be generally referred to as The Lodge Room, Wharf Street) Tauranga')

1903 - May
Motion to change Meeting from Thursday to Wednesday before or on Full Moon. Lost!

1903 - June
In June they worked two first or Initiation Degrees and one Third Degree and in July a First Degree and two Second Degrees. It was also moved that the Secretary be paid two Pound in recognition of his services to the lodge.

In 1906 the minutes record the death of the Prime Minister R.J. Seddon, who had been Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand 1898-1899.

In 1907 a resolution was passed to support a new lodge in Rotorua, the first of many that would be sponsored by The Tauranga Lodge and six years later a petition to form a new lodge in Whakatane was supported but the outbreak of the war in 1914 affected the outcome. At a later date a lodge in Whakatane was eventually sponsored by Lodge Rotorua No 153.

1907 - August
The Consecration of Lodge Rotorua No. 153 took place on Friday 16th. August 1907 followed by the Installation of the Master and Investiture of Officers. The ceremony was carried out in the lodge room and in full report of the proceedings by the “Rotorua Times” of Tuesday 20th August 1907, is referred to as “A brilliant gathering and one of the most important meetings ever held in Rotorua.” One hundred and fifty members of the Craft were present. Including, besides twenty Grand Lodge officers, the representatives from thirty sister lodges.

1921 - 1930
The war also had an adverse effect on The Tauranga Lodge, there were very few if any candidates for some years and from the minuets there seemed to be much controversy. The period from 1921 to 1930 was not marked with any occurrence of significance, but 1931 until 1934 saw a further period of decline.

At the December meeting in 1910 an event was taking place that was to have far reaching effects in the distant future. W. Br. Sharp gave notice that the Lodge purchase part of allotment 239 a section in First Ave., for the purpose of building a lodge room. At the next meeting in January 11th., 1911, W. Br. Sharp’s motion was carried and the first step towards acquiring a Masonic meeting place was accomplished.

In March the purchase of the section had been completed and ways and means were sought to proceed with the building. At the meeting in October the lodge was able to proceed to prepare plans and specifications after having had a very generous offer by one of the brethren. (It is a pity that the records do not indicate who that brother was.)

In December tenders were called and in January 1912 an emergency meeting was called to receive and deal with the tenders for the lodge building. An article in the Bay of Plenty Times dated 12th. March 1912 records a social evening and dance to celebrate the opening of the Masonic hall in First Avenue.

The Insurance on the First Avenue property was ten shillings and eight pence.


In 1902 after the old wooden Government Building which had stood since 1874, burnt down, complete with all the Borough Council’s records, many representations were made to the Government to build a new building, but it was not until 1905 that the work began and 29th. June before it was completed. The postal department occupied the ground floor and the court and associated offices were located on the first floor. Gas lighting was used at that time. The building was extended in 1916 and as the Borough then had a electrical generating station it was reticulated for electricity. The post office occupied this building until 1938. This is one of the oldest buildings still standing and used in Tauranga.

About 1912 the Borough fathers felt the time had come to build a suitable structure to house the Borough Council offices and provide a meeting place for the community. It was thought at the time that the plan of the Town Hall was too ambitious, however the Council’s proposal for a loan of 7,500 pounds was approved by the ratepayers and a suitable architectural design was presented by Mr. C.J. Kirk. Tenders were called and that of Messrs Ashton and Crump, (both freemasons) a local firm of builders was accepted. As was stated at the time, “Tauranga stands possessed of one of the most attractive and commodious halls to be found outside the larger cities of the Dominion.” It was used for the first time in December 1915. It was the centre point of the town, used for Balls, Civic receptions, Plays and Musicals. The “Talkies came to town” in 1929 and it was used as a Picture Theatre until about 1950. After much controversy it was pulled down in 1987 and replaced with a more modern Library, Council Chambers and Commercial Tenancies.


1912 – March
The first Regular Meeting of The Tauranga Lodge to be held in the new Masonic Hall, First Avenue, Tauranga.

1912 – August
Motion changing Regular Meetings from Wednesday to Thursday on or before full - moon in every month. Carried!

NB: This would have the flow-on effect of Meetings being held on the first, second, third, fourth and even fifth Thursdays depending on the moon phase: see for example the Meeting Minutes- for the period August 1913 through August 1918.  It will be noticed that during this period there were two Regular Meetings in some months, e.g. October 1914 on the first and fifth Thursdays, no meeting at all in the November, and the next was the first Thursday in December. Also, it appears that the Lodge held no meetings in January nor February for a number of years until 1915 when the Regular January and February Meetings were recorded.

Through to late 1918, the moon jurisdictions must have played havoc with the Secretary's schedules but in 1918, it was resolved to stabilize the meeting nights to the third Thursday every month although it took until September 1918 to become effective. However, this wasn't the end of the matter for in October 1919, Bros Armstrong and Poole had a subsequent motion carried to reinstate the original wording of "Thursday on or before the full moon every month" into the By-laws and thus allowing the moonlight once more to control the Meeting dates.

Thursdays, or Wednesdays, with or without full moon was bandied about, chopped and changed for years to come.

September - A vote of thanks was sent to W Bro I H Phillips for the two Wardens' chairs and Bros A J Merrilies and W H Poole for the gift of one Deacons' chair apiece.

1914 - April
It was confirmed to allow the Ladies Guild continued full use of the hall free of charge for their hospital work. This action was re-confirmed at the May 1915 Meeting.

October - An interesting motion was put to this Meeting, namely to abolish intoxicating liquor in Refectory henceforth and surprisingly, the motion was Carried! Surprising? Well, an erring sibling Lodge at Waikino evolved from its Lodge of Instruction; "wet days" under the control of Lodge Waihi but Waihi was in the province of Ohinemuri County which had been declared 'non intoxicant' by the parishioners thus forcing sobriety upon Waihi who called "time" to the drinking preference of its members.

Something of a hangover developed between the two since Waikino's gold mining members, who came from Lodges worldwide, fermented the brew into a hopping row. Waihi said, "we're dry. We control Waikino.  Therefore, Waikino is dry too". Grand Lodge entered the fray and changed Waikino's allegiance from Waihi to Ohinemuri. Eventually, a special Charter was issued to Waikino without being officially Consecrated and they were open until it's ore seams ran out forcing closure through falling membership.

1915 - January
The Borough rates of 17 / 6d were paid.

1915 – March
The first mention of the 1914 / 1918 war in the Minutes was to send congratulations to Bro J H Frazer-Hurst on accompanying the Expeditionary Force as Medical Officer. In the following month the Lodge resolved to remit his dues during his Expeditionary Force service.

1915 – October
A motion was put to the Brethren for a two shilling levy per member per month for the Special War Fund. This motion was carried and was to be enforced for the duration of the war.

1915 – August
An appeal from Grand Lodge asking for the greatest economy in refectory plus the abolition of alcoholic liquor until the end of the war.

1915 – September
The Secretary hurriedly responded by proposing that the motion put in place in October 1914 for the exclusion of intoxicants from refectory now be rescinded. This reversal motion was eagerly carried - fourteen for and five against.

Hire of the hall, which had hitherto been a minor revenue earner, came under scrutiny and a motion that all rentals carry a minimum of ten shillings was immediately amended in favour of the Lodge Rooms withdrawing all leasing permanently and without exception. This included the Women's Guild working on behalf of the hospital and the Red Cross tea afternoons.

Looking upon this from a year 2002 perspective, one might consider their forebears supporting such a motion a most un-Masonic act, especially as the Country was embroiled in a World War. The amendment however, was carried unanimously. In spite of this ruling, subsequent Minutes suggest the generosity of the Lodge was always more than creditable with respect to a wide selection of wartime charities.


The Omanawa Falls hydro-electric power project of 1915 enabled Tauranga to be supplied with electricity and with the promotion of the energy by Lloyd Mandeno, the town began to be reticulated. This enabled the main streets of the town, which had previously been lit by gas lamps, to now be lit by electricity. This was the beginning of a great asset, which has expanded and become a major supplier of electrical energy up to the present day. The population of Tauranga in 1916 was gazetted at 1685. The Borough was raising loans not only for the electricity reticulation but also for Public works and street formation, and a sewerage system for the area north on fifth Avenue.

By the 1920’s service cars were operating a daily mail and a passenger service between Tauranga and Waihi. There were high hopes that the completion of the East Coast Main Trunk Railway would improve communications and encourage development in the district.


In the latter half of the nineteenth century the building of railway lines throughout New Zealand was taking place. The Railways Act of 1870 authorised the building of the North Island Main Trunk Line and beginnings were made in 1873-74 on the line from Penrose to Onehunga. This line between Auckland and Wellington was completed and officially opened in November 1908. For many years railway transportation of goods and Passengers was the easiest and most efficient form of transport.

This fact must have been recognised by many well known and influential people in The Bay of Plenty. The first reference to a Railway to Tauranga was made in January 1873 when it was suggested that a line from Cambridge to Tauranga be built. This was not favourably received at that time by the Minister for Public works. Another proposal was made in 1879 for a line to be built between Tauranga and Rotorua, but this lapsed as the government did not have the money. As a result of this the “Tauranga and Hot Lakes and East Coast District Railway Company” was incorporated in July 1882 to construct the line. Mr. Geo Vesey Stewart, as a prime mover in the project, made several trips to England to raise money, but to no avail.

The Railway from Hamilton reached Paeroa in 1895 and continued to Waihi in 1905. A survey of the line from Waihi to Tauranga was carried out and in March 1912 Sir Joseph Ward , The Prime Minister turned the first Sod on that link. Work slowed down during World War One and finally a contract was let to Messrs. Armstrong and Whitworth Company to construct the line from Katikati to the Wairoa Bridge. They began this section in 1924.

The Government decided in 1910 to use Mount Maunganui as the headquarters for the construction of the East Coast Railway and set up a Public Works camp and workshop. The first scheduled trains commenced running from The Mount to Te Puke on October 1913. Local interests were agitating to have the line extended into Tauranga and much discussion took place as to the route to be taken through the Town, and to the site of the railway station.

At one stage the line was to come off the railway bridge, pass along Elizabeth St. and thence to the Waikareao estuary. It was finally decided to adopt the present route. The decision to adopt this route was most probably the best at the time but in recent years there has been much debate on how to remove the railway from going through the centre of the City as there is now no Station and no passengers. One can only wonder at what might have been had the rail bypassed the Strand.

A start on this section of the line between the Mount and Tauranga and the construction of the Railway Bridge was made in March 1914 but because of the shortage of steel during the war, it was not until February 1924 that the bridge was completed and the rails laid to the Town Wharf. After the opening ceremony in June 1924 trains ran regularly from Tauranga to Taneatua. The through connection to the North Island Main Trunk Line was not completed until the Katikati – Wairoa Bridge section was completed, when the official opening took place in March 1928. The population of Tauranga was slowly increasing and by 1926 had reached 2503.


1916 – March
Insufficient Members arrived for this Meeting which was then cancelled. Now why, in those days, with so much patronage of the Craft did this happen? Perhaps the answer can be found in the Minutes of the next Meeting when we read - "The Lodge carried a motion that all Members joining any reinforcement of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force would henceforth be relieved of paying dues until their return to New Zealand.”

This circular was prepared to be sent out with the July meeting notice urging attendance to reconsider the future survival of the Lodge. However the Minutes do not mention any response from the circular, or in fact if it was ever sent. Neither does there appear to be anything to record following the Master's invitation.

Much deliberation over the construction of a concrete path measuring seventy five feet long by four feet wide from the gate to the door of the Lodge which would cost, depending on whether it would be two or three inches thick, £5-0-0 or £6.15.0 respectively. A notion to defer the matter for six months was amended to construct the path to the thickness of two inches and was carried!

1917 - September
Some of the trials of "visiting" came under scrutiny when It was resolved to write to Lodges Rotorua and Whakatane asking if they were willing to have the Installation and Investiture of Tauranga's Master and Officers rescheduled to November, explaining that in August the roads in the District being so bad, militated against a good attendance of Members.

1919 -  January
The Special War Levy on every member ceased.

1919 – October
W Bro Hall proposed that the Installation be changed to November. Carried!

1919 – August
This was the last August Installation meeting The Master who was Installed at that meeting was W. Bro. E. E. Hammond and illustrated here is a copy of the Banquet Menu. Things have certainly changed.

1921 - May
A requisition was received from a number of Brethren at Te Puke asking for permission to form a Lodge of Instruction there. A situation that grew with enthusiasm to the extent that within wo years Tauranga would sponsor the formation of a new Lodge at Te Puke.

1921 – August
A motion to present all retiring Past Masters with a Past Masters' Jewel at Lodge expense was carried and sensing that the Lodge was entering a generous period, a Brother gave Notice of Motion one month later- for "The Secretary to be paid a sum of £12-0-0 per annum for his services". Now this would compute to a healthy increment over his current gratis membership entitlement but for some reason, the same Brother chose to withdraw the motion at the next Regular Meeting. This must have stewed in the minds if some Members though for at the June 1923 Regular Meeting, a motion for the Secretary to receive £26-0-0 per year was carried!

1921 – March
The purchase of a suitable safe to house the Secretary's books was a topic for discussion. A safe was eventually purchased and retained in the Lodge Rooms until the 2002 move to the Bay of Plenty Masonic Centre.


It is fortunate that all the minutes of all the meetings of the first Royal Arch Chapter to be formed in Tauranga are available, from which a comprehensive seventy five year history was researched and compiled by M.Ex. Comp. W. P. Wyatt.

The first meeting of those interested in forming a Chapter was held in Tauranga Lodge rooms at First Ave. on Monday 23rd. May 1921. At the meeting it was proposed and seconded that “We apply to the Scottish Constitution for a Charter.” During the debate that followed it was pointed out by companions that it was our duty to apply for a New Zealand Constitution Charter. Another companion also pointed out that under New Zealand Constitution rules, Companions cannot take the office of Principle until they had passed through the Master’s Chair in a Craft Lodge. An amendment to apply for a New Zealand Constitution Charter was lost by five votes to four.

The original motion was then put to the meeting and carried. That is how they came to apply for and receive a Charter in the name of Tauranga Kilwinning Royal Arch Chapter No.515 S. C. and dated September 16th. It would appear that one of the factors that influenced the companions to vote this way, was so that those brethren who had not previously occupied the Master’s chair in their lodge could still take office in the Chapter AS First Principal. The Charter is dated 16th. September1921 and records the names of twenty petitioners and was presented to the Chapter at the opening Convocation which was held on Monday22nd. February 1922.

In view of the fact that the Supreme Grand Chapter of New Zealand was formed in 1892 it is intriguing to know how the Supreme Grand Chapter of
Scotland was still able to issue Charters as late as 1925. This lengthy and controversial subject is well covered in R. Ex. Comp. I. J. Nathan’s book, “A Centennial History of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New Zealand, 1892-1992.”



1922 - January
Notice of Motion for the establishment of a Building Fund of £50-0- 0 to be deposited it the Post Office but an amendment was proposed to first set up a committee to look into the necessity for such a fund and report to the next Regular Meeting. The Brethren of that era could not be expected to realize the significance of this motion in respect of the subsequent Property Management Board formation which evolved into today's Masonic Trust Board with its own bank account. No reason is given for this motion unless it had been sparked by the Lodge seeking Permission (December 1922), and funding, to fell two trees at the back of the Lodge?

1922 - February
A committee set up at the previous Meeting to look into the possibility of improving the size of the Masonic Hall accommodation proved rather meagre. It was therefore decided to "arm another committee dedicated to preparing a rough sketch of a new Lodge Room in good and permanent materials to be presented at the next Meeting of the Lodge. They were required also to submit an estimate of costs both to the building and its furnishings. In the event, it would take till the 1950's to accomplish any extension scheme or costing estimates.


By 1921 Te Puke with a population of 852 and many shops and local industries was servicing the farming district. The Bay of Plenty Times described the Te Puke Town District in 1924 : The East coast road runs through the Town District and the portion of it in the business area is permanently improved and nicely set off with trees and grass plots. A good water supply from a source in the bush country to the south west has been established. The Town Board has an arrangement with The Tauranga Borough Council for the supply of electricity to the district and is well reticulated. The business premises of the town include many permanent buildings and the railway station is close to the town.

Local pride was well established and there were continuing hopes that the town would outgrow Tauranga in size and importance to become the regional centre for the western Bay of Plenty, but there was little further development. Population increased to 938 in 1926 but by 1936 was still only 943.

Right from the early establishment of The Tauranga Lodge the membership records show that there were many brethren from Te Puke and the surrounding areas that had joined the lodge, so it is possibly no surprise that many of them wanted to have a lodge at Te Puke, and that in December 1921 they obtained the support of this Lodge for a petition to form a Lodge at Te Puke. The petition does not appear to have been signed until August 1923.



The first meeting of Masonic Brethren was held in the Security Buildings, Te Puke on 24th. October 1922 and the following were present Bros. A. Montgomery, W.A. Thomas, W Vallance, C. Bishoprick, T E Palmer, J M McDonald, O P M Duncan, R Reekie, A B Mollgaard, W Pilcher, S R Heyward, W E Hookey. Bro. Montgomery explained that the meeting had been called to make the necessary arrangements to receive the Master of The Tauranga Lodge who would open a lodge of Instruction at Te Puke on 25th October 1922. This would have been a meeting of old friends as all of those present were members of The Tauranga Lodge. Further meetings were held in 1922 and 1923. It is recorded that the train to Te Puke provided much needed transport.

Lodge Te Puke No. 261 was constituted on 28th. February 1924, the meeting being held in McDowell’s Hall, the ceremony being conducted by M. W. Bro. Oliver Nicholson B.G.M. Prov. G.M. The Grand Secretary read the Petition which was signed by 29 brethren. (Eighteen of whom had belonged to The Tauranga Lodge)

During a meeting in 1925 it was decided to purchase a section in Oxford St. from W. Bro. Brown for 100 pound. During 1926 it was decided to take steps to build a Lodge room. In February 1928 decisions were made to build a lodge building at a cost of no more than 850 pound, that specifications be drawn up and exhibited at the next meeting, that tenders as per plans and specifications be called for and that a mortgage of 500 pound be raised from the bank of New Zealand. To assist the financing of this building , contributions from members by way of debentures raised 275 pound and one shilling.



1924- April
The Brethren must have considered the sanitary arrangements a mite primitive as tenders for improvements to the conveniences and drainage were read out as follows - £64-17-6, £64¬ 12-6 and £54-0-0. Well, they didn't stand a chance after Bro Petherbridge offered to do the job, all up, for £8-10-0. It was accepted of course. Painting and renovating were held over to the next Meeting. More voluntary work was called for in October 1923, when Bro Snelgrove was invited to give an estimate of his costs to paint the building. He'd completed the painting by February 1924, Bro Snelgrove submitted his account for £32-0-0 which did not include extra work to the inside of the rooms. He was duly thanked.


1928 – November
W Bro W H L Poole gave notice to move at the next Regular Meeting that the following rule be added to the By-laws of Lodge Tauranga (it is interesting to note that entries in the Minute Book referred to Tauranga Lodge' and never as "THE" Tauranga Lodge) --- "That no Brother shall hold an office higher than Senior Steward who has not been three clear years a Master Mason." Even today, this statement would cause a flutter in some breasts!


1929 - February
Further to his Notice W Bro Poole now formally proposed his Motion but after some discussion the wording was altered to read - " that no Brother shall be eligible to hold any office in the Lodge excepting Chaplain or Organist until he has been one full year a Master Mason." Not quite so revolutionary!


When a region is colonised, it is not always clear where the most convenient central place will be. While Tauranga was indisputably the regional centre in the hierarchy of central places, it was some time before the pattern of smaller local service centres in rural areas around Tauranga was established. As the European immigrants settled the Katikati and Te Puke districts it appears obvious that some central service centre would evolve, but neither township grew where the first surveyors had designated a town should be. While the proposed Te Kauri Village remained a paper town, the commercial centre of Katikati evolved along the main highway south of the Uretara river.

In 1924 it was reported in the Bay of Plenty Times, Katikati Township is 25 miles from Tauranga. General stores and other premises cater for the business and trading requirements of the community. Service cars were operating a daily mail and passenger service between Tauranga through Katikati to Waihi, although much of the freight carried to and from the area went by launch from the wharf and goods shed on the Uretara river. There were high hopes that the Completion of the East Coast Railway would improve communications and encourage development in the district. In fact the site chosen for the railway station and buildings was to become the centre of the town. The Public Works Department had already built two residences for railway officials.



During the formation of lodges, some have an easy transition from fraternal interest, to sponsorship, to final establishment and dedication, while others have a turbulent, controversial and sometimes acrimonious beginning. The formation of Lodge Katikati seems to fall into the latter category. Because of this it is necessary to quote extensively from the History of Lodge Katikati compiled in 1978 by Wor. Bro. T.A. Clougher.

Pre-History. Where did the history of Lodge Katikati begin, why did it begin and who began it? Ostensibly, it began with a meeting of interested masons in the Katikati tearooms on March 14th. 1927. That covers the “where” and the “who” but the “why” is much more intriguing and leads to our history far back beyond 1927, through a tangled involvement with the early history of Lodge Waihi, finally coming to rest deep in the shafts of the Martha mine, amongst men who, for the most part, disliked freemasonry, it’s precepts and its adherents.

The three factors which led to the formation of a lodge at Katikati were, in chronological order, the social climate of Waihi itself, the effect of that climate on Lodge Waihi, and the geographical distribution of the Craft in the Western Bay of Plenty and Eastern Hauraki Plains. Therein lies the intrigue.

Waihi itself had developed into a typical mining town, turbulent, boisterous, and governed by rules rather than laws. Although most of the small claims had been abandoned and the Martha had been developed as a sizable enterprise, there was, as with all gold seeking operations, a feeling of impermanence. The town was “dry” so the miners brewed and distilled their own. Many of the miners were Irishmen who had imported with them the intransigent religious intolerances which were so incomprehensible to anyone outside the Emerald Isles. Waihi town existed for the mine, so it is fair to assume that most of the members of Lodge Waihi were involved, either directly or indirectly with it’s operation.

The lid blew off in 1912 with the Miners Strike, perhaps the most destructive and bitter industrial dispute in the history of New Zealand. Latent bitterness erupted in a violence which divided the town, divided it’s families, friendships and it’s religions not only for the eighteen months duration of the strike, but for more than two decades after it.

The Masonic Lodge at Waihi reeled under the external pressures incited by it’s religious orientation and externally by the friction between the striking and non-striking members. Attendances fell because the streets were dangerous at night and womenfolk could not be left alone. That the Lodge survived is a miracle and much credit must go to it’s members for their courage in taking drastic action in drastic circumstances to preserve the Lodge and it’s harmony. The P. Ms appear to have ruled the Lodge like a military junta, with particular reference to the scrutiny of new or joining members, a situation which persisted long after the “troubles” receded.

Not a happy situation. Lindsay Cornwall’s 1973 history of Lodge Waihi sums it up - “We have, I feel only in the past twenty years accepted the true meaning of Freemasonry in our Lodge, when the members who have joined our Lodge have broken from the hard core who ruled with a rod of iron and allowed none to enter who did not conform.” In that sentence lies the seed of Lodge Katikati.

By 1927 the evidence was unmistakeable that many of those who did not conform, or who did not want to conform lived in the area between Athenree and Aongatete, which was most definitely Waihi territory, for when Lodge Waihi sponsored the formation of the Tauranga in 1902, a condition of that sponsorship – by “gentlemen’s agreement,” of course, was a territorial division with a boundary roughly in the Aongatete area.

A quick breakdown of the list of 20 charter members, plus the three who affiliated a few weeks later, proves very conclusively that there was no breakaway element from Lodge Waihi, but it does hint by the large proportion of unattached masons, that an unhappy situation existed in the area. There were of course other considerations supporting the desirability of a lodge at Katikati , not the least of which was the challenge to a small group of strong willed men who were to prove themselves dedicated to Masonic determination in the area. Of the 23 masons mentioned, 5 were from Lodge Waihi, 8 were from The Tauranga Lodge and 10 were unattached.

In early March 1927 a note was sent to Masons residing in the district notifying them of a meeting to be held in the Katikati Tearooms to discuss the possibility of forming a Lodge in the district. Thirteen Brethren attended the Tearooms where they proceeded with an efficiency that showed that the discussion stages were many miles behind them. It is recorded that a proposal to form a Masonic Lodge At Katikati was carried. The name of the Lodge was discussed and after considering, Katikati, Whiti te Ra, and Thistle, the name Katikati was adopted by a large vote. Regular meetings were set for the first Tuesday in each month and were to be held in the Parish hall which had already been offered by the Rev. Wayne, Vicar of St. Peters.

Later they met again in the tea Rooms to prepare the petition and discuss the ominous storm clouds rolling in from the direction of Waihi . Bro. Alley’ gift of a section for a Masonic Hall was greatly accepted, and arrangements were made to present the partition to Lodge Waihi at their next meeting on April 11th. At a meeting on April 4th, it was decided to send a delegation to Waihi consisting of Bros, Wills, McLeod and Dauber.

Later they met again in the tea Rooms to prepare the petition and discuss the ominous storm clouds rolling in from the direction of Waihi . Bro. Alley’ gift of a section for a Masonic Hall was greatly accepted, and arrangements were made to present the partition to Lodge Waihi at their next meeting on April 11th. At a meeting on April 4th, it was decided to send a delegation to Waihi consisting of Bros, Wills, McLeod and Dauber.

No records were kept of this confrontation, but the results were eloquent. The petition was not presented on the 11th. April. The brethren from the Tea Rooms had come face to face with the Hard core, many of whom, let us remember, were men who had fought for the survival of their Lodge, risking fists and pick handles to attend their meetings and who had already effectively squashed an attempt to form a Scottish Constitution Lodge in the area. There is no record of who met the Katikati delegation, where they met or what was said, apart from a short note by Bro. McLeod, written for posterity with his usual understatement; “Our petition, with covering letter was not considered at their meeting on the 11th. And as the opinion of several members of Waihi were not favourable, the matter was deferred.” Whoever the delegates for Waihi were is no longer important except that their strong and inflexible front gave them a clear victory and they may have felt that the matter was going to end there. The months to follow were to prove them very wrong, because the Brethren from the Tea Rooms were to prove themselves equally determined and formidable. The final statement to this Pre-History is ably set out by our Historian with the following:

“The original partition lies before me, slightly yellowed, but showing little sign of it’s ill-fated travels of over fifty years ago. The petition bears the names of 22 signatories, including Wor. Bro. Willcock, Master of the Tauranga Lodge and nine of his brethren, but only two from Waihi. Still pinned to the petition is the reply from Lodge Waihi:”

Sept.13th. 1927
Wor. Bro. McLeod Esq.         Re Lodge at Katikati

Dear Sir and Brother,

This was brought before the Lodge by the delegates appointed to meet you and after discussion, the following resolution was carried:- “That this meeting cannot recommend at present a Lodge at Katikati, but would recommend a Charter being granted for a Lodge of Instruction.”

Yours faithfully,
P. G. Brady Sect.

The formation of a Masonic Lodge was in abeyance for some months until a few brethren met with R.W.Bro. S.S. Allen when a new petition was signed and duly presented to Lodge Te Aroha and recommended by them. The petition was later presented to Lodge Waihi and also received their recommendation and the Charter was duly granted by Grand Lodge. During those intervening months the Katikati brethren had enlisted some powerful aid in the persons of R.W.Bro Allen Ass. PGM and M. W. Bro. Oliver Nicholson P.G.M.

Lodge Waihi being the closest should have been the sponsor but because of their refusal to do so it was left to R.W.Bro. Allen to devise a rather novel solution to their difficulties. He found that Lodge Te Aroha was in fact closer to Katikati than Waihi, not over the Kaimai Ranges, or around them but through them. It is very pleasing to see in the records that the Waihi Lodge accepted their new Masonic neighbours when the Charter was granted on April 6th.1928 and did everything possible to assist with both moral and material help. By May 25th. The Katikati brethren had elected officers, made all the necessary arrangements and organised a combined Consecration and Installation at which a gathering of approximately 160 were present at the Parish Hall. This St. Peters Parish hall was the first meeting place of the Lodge.

One year later the Lodge had not only accepted the donation of a section from Bro. Alley but also, when tenders were called for the Lodge building, received a very favourable loan from him to complete the project .The Lodge room was dedicated on June 28th. 1929, just four months after accepting the tender and a little over two years since the first meeting at the Tea Rooms.



It is now nearly fifty years since the proclamation of the Borough of Tauranga and we find that the population is now 2930.

From the very early settlement of Tauranga the education of the young was mainly in the hands of the Mission and teachers who operated numerous private education facilities and it was not until about 1872 that the public schools began to appear. And after many moves to different parts of town, the Tauranga Primary School opened in 1904 on the corner of Cameron Rd. and Fifth Avenue, where it is still today. The Otumoetai School opened it’s own single room building in1897. Greerton Village Primary School first opened for Classes in October 1876. Over the years it was only natural that other primary schools would open in the different districts and suburbs.

Secondary Education was not provided until 1907 and at the time of the Headmaster, Mr. Samedini, (The first Master of The Tauranga Lodge No. 125) District High School status was conferred. By 1938 overcrowding necessitated the use of church halls for classrooms and after long years of planning by the community a separate secondary school was built on what was called the Hillsdene Block on Cameron Rd. between Morris St. (now Thirteenth Ave.) and Robert St. (now called Fourteenth Ave. )

At this time Robert St. was the main Rd. out of town to Te Puke and beyond. Hunter St. (now Fifteenth Ave.) existed only to Grace Rd. and down the hill towards Turret Rd. was only swamp and scrub. Towards the end of 1945, during the school holidays and about the time of VJ day the pupils and teachers assisted in transporting the Tauranga District High School equipment to the new Hillsdene building. The combined roll was then approximately 450 pupils. At the beginning of 1946 the new complex opened as The Tauranga College with the Principal being Mr Arthur Nicholson. The large playing field adjacent is Nicholson Field.



The opening pages of this the 1931 to 1945 Minute Book reveal a selection of cuttings from 'The New Zealand Craftsman' which the Secretary at that time thought worthy of keeping. These cuttings are of infinite value today to the Lodge as evidence of its history. Of the original Tauranga Lodge No 462 Irish Constitution through to the events of the establishment of our Lodge No 125 with other pertinent details included. This must have contributed greatly to the research of W Bro T W Marchbank in preparing the 'First Seventy Five Year History of the Lodge.' Even a short profile on each of the founding Brethren is included plus a paragraph alluding to the generosity of Bro T Stuart who, having taken such an active part in domiciling the Lodge.


1932 – April
W Bro T H Hall brought to the Brethren's attention that Candidates should not be brought onto Lodge premises before the Lodge had been opened and not before 8.00 p m. Agreed! The partition between the Lodge and the Refectory at that time (the only alternative accommodation, such as it was) may not have been designed for its sound proofing qualities.


1939 – September
With World War II being declared, it was moved that all members on military service would have their dues remitted during the war period. Carried!


1945 – April
Among the correspondence was a letter from W Bro G.B. Murray, on behalf of twenty-eight signatories to a petition for the granting of a Charter for a new Lodge to meet in Tauranga; he sought the endorsement of the proposal, by Lodge Tauranga No 125. The motion was carried! Hence was born Lodge Te Papa No 316

1945 - August
Thursday 16 August, 1945 PEACE This night was the evening of the Official Celebration of Peace. The Master spoke feelingly on the subject. He reminded the Brethren `that the world had passed through almost six years of anxiety and strife. While tonight some were jubilant and celebrating, others were sorrowing and suffering.' He called on the Brethren 'to express their gratitude to The Great Architect 0f The Universe for his protection of our Nation, and for granting us victory and peace'. The Brethren stood for a few moments in silence as a mark of their feelings.

This appears to be the only reference of any note regarding major current events in addition to Masonic records in the Minutes with the exception of the Hawkes Bay earthquake disaster.


Growing towns and communities require certain amenities. These take time to establish, not however without the determination of the community and officials. The Fire Service is an example. As early as November 1867 an editorial appeared in the Tauranga Record which said that were a fire to break out in Te Papa (Tauranga) the inhabitants could desert their buildings and gaze in terror on advancing ruin. The editor said that no time should be lost in procuring a fire engine. Early in 1873 a fire occurred which triggered another demand for a fire brigade

A public meeting was advertised and held on 25th. February and a report from this meeting said that a brigade was about to be formed At a further meeting in July 1874 and at the request of the New Zealand Insurance Co. a brigade was formed with a promise of a small fire engine from the Insurance Co. and subscriptions collected of Sixty Pounds.

By 1876 the brigade was in recess. After serious fires in1877 and 1878, many meetings and further requests for subscriptions it was announced in 1880 that all had failed. As a result of another disastrous fire in May 1881 which destroyed the north end of the town more determined attempts were made to raise the necessary finance and get things moving. Finally two Merryweather engines were ordered with the necessary equipment, volunteers recruited and the first practise was held on 10th. April 1882.

The brigade history tells of many trials and tribulations for the next few years but by 1912 the Council had let a contract for a fire station to be built on the corner of Durham St. and Wharf St. As the Town grew the need for a new fire station became evident with the result that the present station was constructed on Cameron Rd. and opened in June 1957. It is of interest to note that this was exactly forty six years to the day after Canon Jordan had laid the foundation stone for the first building. Such was the beginning of this enduring and excellent service.



For most of the nineteenth century the principal method of access to the Tauranga district was by sea through the port of Tauranga. The forested Kaimai ranges made travel inland difficult and any proposed railway development was far in the future. It was not until 1873 that Tauranga was officially declared a Port. The first known European ship to enter the harbour was the schooner “Herald” in 1826 under it’s captain Gilbert Mair. . In April 1864 during the New Zealand wars a naval blockade was imposed on the port to prevent the trading of guns to the local Maori hostile to central Government.

It appears that Tauranga was the only port in New Zealand to suffer a blockade. By the early eighteen seventies the Tauranga settlers were optimistic about the potential of the area with large supplies of timber and a safe harbour. The Town wharf was built in 1871 at the end of Wharf St. and extended in 1878 and the Victoria wharf was built in 1877. The residents believed that the Bay of Plenty was on the high road to prosperity. It would however take until 1953 before that the Port would take that high road and another fifty years for it to reach it’s possible potential.

The first mention of a Harbour Board was in 1881. It would be another thirty years before the combined efforts of The Tauranga Borough Council and the Tauranga County Council were able to overcome the rebuffs from Government to the many applications for a Harbour Board Bill. and to overcome the opposition from Auckland, and Whakatane which was being seriously considered as an export port.

October 1912 the Tauranga harbour Board Bill was passed in Parliament. Those concerned with shipping in Tauranga felt that the port could be developed as an overseas terminal to accommodate the upsurge in shipping after the war.

August 1919.  Tauranga seemed destined in the natural course of events to become the principal outlet for the produce of the Western Bay of Plenty. The Tauranga Railway Wharf , beside Dive Cr. Was completed in 1927 providing 320 feet of berthage. The vision of Tauranga as a thriving export port was soon to be realised. It was reported on 27th. October 1948, “With about 1,200.000 superficial feet of pinus insignis and rimu timber loaded in seven working days, the Sleigh Line steamer James Cook left Tauranga for Sydney.

This is the first experimental shipment of timber from Tauranga and the James Cook of  2181 tons was the largest vessel ever to berth at the  wharf”. Such was the beginning of the expansion of the Port which fifty or more years later would see it as the largest export port in New Zealand.


Tauranga was at this time a pleasant seaside provincial town, recognised as a place to retire and providing all the amenities for pleasant living. The harbour provided a playground for yachties with the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club having been formed in 1920 and establishing the clubhouse at the south end of the Strand by the Railway Bridge in 1933. The Swimming club conducted their activities at the tidal Baths on the harbour at the east end of first Ave., and the long established Rowing Club was situated at the north end of Dive Cr., having originally been situated close to the Baths. Most other sporting and cultural activities were also well catered for. Although Tauranga was now well served with roading and transportation, it was still a major trek by today’s standards to travel to Waihi and north, to Hamilton over the Kaimai Ranges, to Rotorua and beyond and to Taupo and to Whakatane. The Tauranga R S A and the war memorials bear witness to the contribution and sacrifice that the district had made in the times of war. In the early 1940’s food rationing was in force, and an unusual site was to see a car with a gas bag attached to the roof calling in to the Gas works in grey St. to fill up in order to make the rationed petrol go further.


The peninsular dominated by Mauao at the entrance to the Tauranga harbour and including the areas of Mount Maunganui, Omanu, Arataki and Papamoa is today accepted and taken for granted as being a part of the city of Tauranga, but this of course was not always not so. Wherever you go in the Western Bay of Plenty the volcanic dome of ‘The Mount” dominates the landscape.  In 1888 the Maunganui reserve was handed over to the Tauranga Borough Council, its members also becoming members of the Domain Board. In1893 the first school site was surveyed and in 1906 quite a settlement was springing up at Mount Maunganui.

After several attempts, a successful ferry service began and was continually operated by the Faulkner family for the next sixty years. During the 1940’s and 1950’s George Faulkner became a “character” on the harbour. He appeared a gruff and sometimes rude man and there were many stories about his activities, but in fact was always prepared to offer assistance with his ferry service. If a small yacht or boat was in trouble on the harbour, he would willingly accept a rope and tow the boat back to the town wharf. By 1913, stores tearooms and accommodation houses were also established and a new school was built. By 1918 Mount residents began to question whether The Tauranga Borough Council was the right and proper controlling body for Mount Maunganui. They agreed with the way the Mount had developed but felt that the time had come for a change. This state of affairs continued for the next ten years, during which period the Mount became widely known as a summer resort.

In 1929 some eighty five residents partitioned the Government to have an area of some three hundred and forty five acres declared a Town District. This they said was necessary so that a controlling body could provide a water supply, sanitation and public conveniences. These and other arguments were successful and it was gazetted a Town District in September 1930. During the next seven years the administration of the district was discussed at length with the outcome being that the Mount Maunganui Town Board became an independent body in 1937. Mount Maunganui grew for the same reason that encouraged that of Tauranga. It was declared a Borough in its own right as a result of a poll held in January 1945. This of course was only the beginning of the future growth of this whole area but it will take almost another fifty years before both Tauranga and Mount Maunganui become united in a City.



The Beginning of another Lodge... In 1944 the continued growth of the Tauranga Lodge was causing some concern and the question of forming a new lodge was discussed. A Lodge of Instruction was organised under the supervision of a committee of Past masters of the Lodge. This progressed very satisfactorily and in the middle of 1945 steps were taken to bring the new Lodge into being.

A special meeting was called for the evening of 3rd. July 1945 in the lodge rooms at First Ave Tauranga. Those Present were, W.Bro.s J.W. Kenyon, H.E. Olding, G.B. Murray, A.M. Paul, H.L. Duncan, W.A. Patterson, J.K.B. Lusk and J.R. Bongard and Bro.s J.G. Dickson, D.V. Ensor, C. Davidson, R. James, H. T. Bradshaw, T.F.A. Peterson, B. Barugh, J.H. Purcell, S.J. Reid, N. Sinclair, T. D. Murray F.G. Gresham, J. Auld, R.A. Harvey and J.A. Dashwood. J.K.B. Lusk was appointed chairman.

Without a lot of discussion a proposition was put that a new lodge be formed in Tauranga. This received the unanimous support from the brethren. W. Bro. G.B. Murray, a past Master of Lodge Opotiki No.1930 E.C. , who was affiliated with The Tauranga Lodge, was invited to be the first master. Another proposition unanimously supported was that the Lodge should be called Te Papa. In selecting Te Papa as the name for the new Lodge, strong ties with the district were further established. From earliest times, land , from the Mission Cemetery on the northern tip of the peninsular to the Gate Pa in the south, some 1334 acres was known as Te Papa: in fact survey charts still record the area under this name. The name in Maori means : “the earth” or “the flat land”.

On the evening of Friday 28th September in the old lodge rooms in First Ave. Lodge Te Papa was constituted and dedicated with twenty eight Foundation Members of whom seven were Past Masters of the Tauranga Lodge and twenty one other brethren , mostly unattached, although some were also members of The Tauranga Lodge. It is interesting to note that, The Tauranga Lodge, for the second time in forty odd years had supplied the brethren to form a new lodge. In June 1946 the Master presented, on behalf of our members a Director of Ceremonies Baton to our daughter lodge, Lodge Te Papa No. 316

We will now pause for a moment to reflect that since 1882 and the formation of the Borough of Tauranga when the population was recorded as being 1253, we have arrived at the year 1950 and the population is now 7823. The significance of this will be clear when putting into perspective the next fifty five years.



At the beginning of the second half of the Twentieth Century in 1950, Tauranga had developed into a pleasant provincial town, providing for it’s residents the natural beauty of the surrounding hills, the sparkling waters of the harbour, the sandy beaches and holiday camps at the Mount. The residents and holiday makers enjoyed all of the aquatic pursuits that were available, big game fishing, which was known world wide, small boat yachting where the young sailors had won national awards, swimming, life saving and rowing. The residents, many of whom were retired also enjoyed a low rating system and public amenities in keeping with the population of nearly 8000. This was about to change, slowly at first but continually increasing until, by the end of the century the population had boomed to more than 100,000. The reason for this can be seen in the events that were taking place in the surrounding area.

By 1950 successive plantings of exotic pine trees in the Kaingaroa state forest were reaching maturity and to utilise this vast forestry resource, Government decided to established the country’s largest pulp and newsprint mill, the Tasman Complex, at Kawerau. Over at Kinleith, New Zealand Forrest Products Ltd., which had been producing timber for many years, was also busy constructing a 65,000 ton output pulp and kraft paper mill. At Waipa near Rotorua, the ten year old New Zealand Forest Service sawmill was expanding its activities and throughout the whole region a greater awareness of forestry’s export marketing potential was awakening.

The phenomenal growth of the Kiwi fruit industry in the Bay of Plenty is also responsibility for the prosperity of this area and has played an important part not only in earning foreign exchange but also in the expansion of the port facilities and the population growth. This industry had its beginning as far back as 1906 when it was recorded that The Experimental Farm of the time had some Chinese Gooseberry vines. Interestingly in 1926 a Mr. Lasenby was growing them in his nursery which at that time ran from Edgecumbe Rd. to St. John St. between Ninth and Tenth Avenues He reported that he had obtained a crop of 50 lbs. from one vine in the first year and that Tauranga was eminently suitable for their growth. In 1952 after some years of experimentation, sufficient was known for the cool storing to be considered successful and subsequently many cases of the first ever cool stored Chinese Gooseberries were marketed in Wellington and the on New Zealand Market floors.

The first commercial plantings were made in Tauranga and Te Puke in 1931 and continued for the next few years. Exports began in 1952 but met with only spasmodic success until the Hayward variety began to be exported in 1964. From then onward the industry with all the ancillaries of research, cool stores, marketing, transport and shipping continued to expand. By 1970 the industry began to organise itself, setting up the Export Promotion Committee, registering the name “Kiwifruit”, and making it known worldwide.

In 1950 Judge Kenneth Archer, presided over the “ Committee of Port Development in the Bay of Plenty “, the first of many involving the Port, recommended to the Government that timber products originating within the Bay of Plenty / Rotorua districts should be exported through a new port to be developed at Mount Maunganui, rather than through Auckland or Whakatane. The Government’s decision to finance and construct a $2,000,000 deep water port was just the stimulus needed by a harbour board, local authorities and business people within the “Bay “ and further afield who had for years sought greater recognition for the port.

The Government finally decided to direct the Ministry of Works to undertake the design and construction work. In June 1953 bulldozers and heavy earth moving machinery moved in to clear the site and construct a retaining wall. The dredger “Eileen Ward “ was brought up from Grey mouth to deepen the channel. The New Zealand Railways laid out branch lines and marshalling yards to connect the forest mill at Kawerau to the port through the East Coast rail line from Taneatua.  Five days after the new wharf complex was officially opened by the then Prime Minister Hon. S G Holland on Dec. 3rd.1955, the first consignment of newsprint from the Tasman Pulp and Paper Co. mill was shipped to Melbourne. Thus major construction began on the export wharves which continued to grow and expand into the next Century. On November 1957 the first shipment of logs was exported to Japan from the Port of Tauranga.



December 28th. 1950 will be remembered for the worst boating tragedy at the entrance to the harbour at Mount Maunganui. 22 people lost their lives when the fishing boat “Ranui” was wrecked while returning from Mayor Island, and negotiating the entrance to the harbour. The Ranui had earlier taken campers and fishermen to the Island and after off loading, the campers decided to return to port as the weather was not suitable for fishing. After being overturned by huge waves the boat was completely wrecked and only one person survived. This sad event cast a cloud of gloom over the Mount and holiday population for the remainder of the holiday season.



Freemasonry was now well established and flourishing in Tauranga and the Western Bay of plenty. Both Lodge Katikati No. 295 and Lodge Te Puke No. 261 were now part of their respective towns and attracting steady membership. Young Lodge Te Papa No.316 and The Tauranga Lodge No. 125 now fifty years old was going from strength to strength. It now became apparent that the next move would be to form a lodge at Mount Maunganui. With a number of Tauranga Lodge members residing at the Mount, together with an increasing population, little difficulty was anticipated in reaching this objective.

The Tauranga Lodge sanctioned a Lodge of Instruction to be held on the first Wednesday of each month at Mt Maunganui, with the first meeting taking place in August 1951. The Lodge also decreed that any Brother - then currently a member or considering joining the Tauranga Lodge and domiciled in Mt. Maunganui - would have their dues paid into a separate account earmarked for transfer to any new Lodge Registered and Chartered under the New Zealand Constitution. The Members were active and enthusiastic for their new Lodge, for at the June 1953 meeting of The Tauranga Lodge, a petition from thirty-three Brethren proposing a new Lodge at Mt Maunganui, and seeking support for same. was endorsed as requested. (It was nineteen miles by road from the Mount to First Avenue).

Ten Members of No 125 resident at the Mount resigned forthwith to join the new Lodge as Charter Members plus a little spice to go with them. It was decided that should any of the Charter Members have been initiated at The Tauranga Lodge No 125 then they would still be liable for dues of £1-1-0 although paying full dues to the Mount. Further, there would be a compulsory levy of four shillings for the Widows and Orphans Fund should they continue to hold dual membership.

At the first meeting of the Lodge of Instruction held in the Golf Club House, W. Br. A. M. Poole came from Tauranga to take the chair. There were fourteen brethren in attendance. After many of these meetings it was obvious that the brethren were keen and able, and time was approaching when the formation of the lodge should be considered.

The first priority however seemed to be the location of a suitable section for a permanent home. Two sections were available from Golf Lands Ltd. After it was decided to purchase them, W. Br. Poole donated one section and arranged finance for the other. His very generous offer was accepted and this was where Lodge Mount Maunganui made their home in what later became Lodge Avenue. Following on from this a Building committee was formed, planning discussed, and finance arranged with the Bank of New Zealand.


At the meetings on 1st. and the 11th. July 1953 arrangements were made for the preparation of the site, for the appointment of Br. McKenzie as building supervisor, and finally to appoint Br. H. Jones as the building contractor, to be assisted by as many brethren as available on a voluntary basis. The next business of the meeting on the 11th. July was to elect the Principle Officers of the new lodge. Those elected were Master, Br. G. E. C. Petley, Senior Warden

Br. Burton, Junior Warden, Br. A. Courtenay. And finally at that meeting it was agreed that a petition for a Charter be forwarded to Grand Lodge for approval, the petition to be signed by all present and other interested members. The Charter Member fee was set at ten pound ten shillings.

The Dedication ceremony took place at Tauranga in Hayman’s Hall. Arrangements were made for the use of The Tauranga Lodge furniture for the occasion. The Dedication Ceremony and the Installation of the Master and officers of the Lodge were carried out with the usual dignity and sincerity by the Grand Lodge officers of the day. The evening was very enjoyable and a pleasant time was had by all, thus Lodge Mount Maunganui No.376 came into existence on the 7th. November 1953. Since the first meeting to decide on the formation of the Lodge up to the present time, everyone had been very busy on the building by day and many hours were put in at night by brethren not available at other times. It must have been an exciting time for the brethren to see the end of this monumental undertaking and to receive many donations from sister Lodges and individual brethren to complete the furnishing of the new building and Lodge room. The history that is available to the compiler does not indicate when the first meeting of the Lodge was held in the new building.



From the minutes
Feb 52 A milestone entry by way of a ‘paste-in’ document appears in the minute book regarding some startling changes to the By-laws. The five principle items are:

The January meetings were to be ‘Eliminated’ Permanently.

Fixing the month of October as the month of Installation in lieu of November.  Here indeed was a huge benchmark Minute. Since March 1918 the Installation s were held in November and good reason was given for that Month. No reason is apparent for this diversion to October but the Motion was Carried and November for Tauranga’s Installation has survived until this day. The Lodge ‘Books’ were to be the responsibility of the Treasurer.

The Tyler would henceforth be responsible for the cleanliness of the Lodge Buildings. Of course, this aspect of the lodge functions ultimately came under the control of the Property management Board.

One of the five Trustees was obliged to retire annually. Today we have only three and are re-elected periodically.

1952 – May
May 52 - During this meeting talk of renovating and repairs to the 1st Avenue Lodge rooms was deferred to the Building Committee’s enterprising plan, costing and specifications being shown to the assembled Brethren of the proposed new additions to the lodge building . (presumably on the existing site). The Brethren were eager to promote this plan into execution but the Master saw fit to delay finalisation until later in the evening after the members had perused the plan and deliberated during an interval in the ensuing Passing Ceremony. After Greetings and Apologies had been received, the Master re-opened the discussion and the motion to proceed with a new building was Carried!

1952 – October
Oct 53 - At the first regular October Installation, W Bro Russell M Poole, was installed as Master of The Tauranga Lodge No.125. He was not of a mind to dally with the improvements to the property and wrote to the Brethren accordingly.

Building operations in accordance with the plan approved by the Lodge are about to commence; the steel is on the ground and other materials ordered. The cost of the building, the interior work and consequential renovations to the present building would on a normal contract basis be approximately £7,000. So generous have been the offers of concessions on cost and of free labour, that the actual cost is estimated at less than half of this sum, thus making the scheme one that is within the capacity of the Masons in Tauranga to entertain. Concessions promised by Brethren would, when reduced to money value, amount to three figure sums in some cases.

Considerable further help from all Brethren will be needed to reduce the capital cost, and consequently the recurring annual charges of paying for and maintaining the building. There must be ample money available to enable the finish to be worthy of the principal Masonic building in the area. That help can take the form of a gift of money, a loan free of interest or on advantageous terms, free labour when required or a combination of these. There will be no large "working bees" but Brethren promising labour will be approached by the clerk of works when that type of labour is required and there will be no waste of time or duplication. If any brother feels that he can give free labour through the week it will be of particular value. It is realised that much of it must, of necessity, be on Saturdays.

Very generous participation in the scheme has been offered by members of Lodge Te Papa No. 316 and the Lodge itself is likely to assist. These Brethren have approached the matter from the broad view that this is likely to be the home of Masonic bodies in Tauranga for many years and they are assisting to make it a worthy home accordingly. Members of the Chapters are also promising support. The Building Committee now invites Brethren to indicate what they are prepared to do to make this scheme a success. To avoid any feeling that there is a stated amount expected from Brethren, there will be no publication of the amounts either of donations or loans, the figures being confidential to the Master, Secretary and Auditors.

Loans will be interest free' or at three per cent interest thus allowing monies now in investments such as the Post Office, to be lent to the Lodge without loss.  An annual repayment will be made of portion of the loan monies, the sum available being dictated by the final figures of gifts as opposed to loans. Whose sums will be repaid in each year will be decided by ballot but cases of emergency will take precedence over the ballot. Whatever amount is still needed for the scheme over and above gifts and members loans, will be raised from our bankers on table mortgage over a reasonable period at approximately five per cent interest, plus sinking fund.

If Lodge Te Papa No. 316, as a Lodge makes any of its funds available for the scheme, the contribution will be regarded as repayable if that Lodge ever embarks on a building scheme of its own. If any Te Papa Members making donations wish their payments to be similarly treated, they will contribute through their own Lodge Secretary on the same terms. If, however, Te Papa Members or Members of the Chapters wish to make outright gifts on the same basis as the members of this Lodge, then gifts will be received by the Tauranga Lodge direct and recorded on the same confidential basis as mentioned above. Should Te Papa ever embark on a building scheme the Tauranga Lodge No. 125 would hope to have the chance for its members to assist such a scheme with concessions and labour on the same generous scale as has now applied here.

You are urged now to give the foregoing careful consideration having regard to the high reputation of the Craft in this area and its prospects. It is up to the present generation of Masons to do as thorough a job on this scheme as our predecessors did forty years ago on the original building; thirty-four Charter Members of Lodge Mt. Maunganui No. 376 have undertaken the liability of a building more expensive than that now proposed for over two hundred members in Tauranga and their building is nearing completion. They do not start off as we do with a valuable unencumbered asset already. Payments of loans or gifts can usefully be received at once but it would not prejudice the scheme if some of the donations or loans come in by monthly installments over a period, or on a stated future date.

The Worshipful Master commends the scheme to the generosity of the Brethren.  By command of the Worshipful Master, J. K. B. Lusk, Secretary.

The scheme was put into practice, and with the assistance and the use of much voluntary labour, addition to the lodge rooms was eventually completed in September 1954. The old lodge room was converted into a refectory, resulting in all meetings and refectory proceedings being accommodated in the one building.


In 1952 arrangements were put in hand to mark the completion of the first fifty years of The Tauranga Lodge no. 125. At the Jubilee meeting on the 30th. August, a brief outline of the History of freemasonry in Tauranga, from the foundation of the Irish Lodge in 1876, up to 1952, was presented by W. Bro J.K.B. Lusk and Br. B.K. Gifford. Among the many visitors were representatives of Lodge Waihi No. 112, our Mother Lodge, and Lodges Rotorua No.153, Whakatane No.198, Te Puke No.261 and Te Papa No.316: A gesture was made to Lodge Waihi towards the end of the evening, when the Master invited the Master and officers of Lodge Waihi to occupy the respective chairs and conduct the closing ceremony, as had been done at the opening of this Lodge at the Consecration 50 years before.



As will be recorded later the population of Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and surrounding districts was beginning to increase, and as the population increased the Masonic fraternity increased also. The Tauranga Lodge No.125 was well established, Lodge Te Papa No. 316 constituted in 1945 and more recently, Lodge Mount Maunganui No. 376 were admitting joining members consistent with the upsurge in population, and a steady stream of candidates were being initiated.

In 1955 after some discussion within The Tauranga Lodge, a group petitioned the Master to call a meeting of all those interested in forming a new lodge. The signatures recorded, of those attending show that of the total of 35 present, 25 were Tauranga Lodge members. The chairman outlined the reasons for the meeting, and after a lengthy discussion the following motion was carried.

“That the meeting recommend to The Tauranga Lodge No. 125 that a sanction be issued pursuant to rule 169 B of the Book of Constitution for the formation of a Lodge of Instruction with a view to the ultimate formation of A Lodge in the Tauranga south district.”

The Tauranga Lodge agreed with alacrity and after appointing a preceptor
and a Secretary, made preparations for the inaugural Meeting of the Waimapu Lodge of Instruction which was held on 31st. August 1955. From that night in 1955 through sixty one meetings, the last being held on 24th. September 1958, the three regular degrees were painstakingly rehearsed. In addition the three sectional lectures were learned and delivered.

The origin of the name “The Gate Pa”

To name a Lodge after a bloody battle between Maori and Pakeha which took place over 100 years ago appears to be rather unusual, but during the battle of Gate Pa in 1864 a mutual respect between the two races emerged, and tradition was born of which both can be proud.

The young settlement in the Bay of Plenty took the name of Tauranga meaning “The place of the canoes”, and the hill where St. George’s Memorial Church now stands was known as Pukehinahina Ridge (a narrow neck where swamps from the Waimapu and Waikareao branches of the harbour were about three hundred yards apart). Here it was that a ditch and bank had been erected on the boundary between Maori and Mission land. A gateway with sliprails gave access from one to the other. Hence the name Gate Pa.

Over the years the local people came to refer the Pa site as “The Gate Pa”. In 1864 a strong detachment of British forces landed at Tauranga to oppose reinforcements on the way to assist the Maori in the Waikato, and in April of that year they attacked the Gate Pa with a force of two thousand men, but were repulsed by about two hundred Maori armed with primitive weapons.

What made this battle and conflict memorable and worthy of special mention was the message sent to the British bearing written “Rules for the fight “ which had been composed by a Christian Maori named Henare Taratoa who had been influenced by Bishop Selwyn.

Henare Taratoa fell at the battle of Te Ranga some six weeks later, and on his body was found a copy of the Rules followed by an injunction (in Maori) taken from Romans x11.20 :

“If thine enemy hunger, feed him. If he thirst, give him drink.”\

The seed sown by Bishop Selwyn had most surely fallen on fertile ground. The Constitution and Dedication of The Gate Pa Lodge No. 407 with a Charter membership of twenty nine was carried out on the 1st. October 1958, thereby bringing into being another lodge in Tauranga, and another one sponsored by The Tauranga Lodge No.125. It was only fitting that the brother who had done so much in forming the Lodge of instruction, guided it through its sixty six meetings and worked steadfastly towards the formation of the lodge, should be installed as the first Master. Namely, W. Br. G. A. Sherson

The other Office Bearers were :-
Deputy Master         V.W.Bro. G. B. Henry Past Ass. Prov. G.M.
Senior Warden         Bro. R. J. Silvester
Junior Warden         Bro. J. K. Holdaway
Chaplain                  Bro. W. Miller
Treasurer                Bro. A. F. Sherson
Secretary               W. Bro. H. R. Pascoe P. G. S.
D. of C.                 W. Bro. G. D. Hynds
Senior Deacon        Bro. I. W. Steward
Junior Deacon         Bro. N. J. Robson
Almoner                  Bro. F. W. Attwood
Ass. Secretary         Bro. A. M. Bull
Inner Guard             Bro. J. E. T. Asbury
Senior Steward         Bro. F. H. Willoughby
Junior Steward         Bro. R. S. Rowe
Tyler                      Bro. J. M. Worthington

Other Charter Members were:-
W. Bro. S. A. Woods     Br. H. B. Gasson         Bro. E. C. Hammond
Bro. R. D. McCully        Bro. W McNutt            Bro. K. unro
Bro. R. J. F. Porter       Bro. R. I. Sare             Bro. I. W. Smith
Bro. K. N. Stott            Bro. P. S. Sygrove        Bro. S. A. Wylie
Bro. D. G. Hayter


Memories of a member

W. Bro. Jack Turner recalls in this, his fifty-fifth year of membership, the day of his Initiation at The Tauranga Lodge in 1947 and the subsequent sixteen year wait until 1963, to become its Master. He speaks not only of the demanding visiting schedules of those times, and reflects on the high standards demanded in the performance of our ritual - but enthusiastically adds "we had some great times in those days!"

He recalls an occasion during his Mastership, he was advised at very short notice that a Grand Master's nephew needed to be Raised to the Third Degree. The message continued to explain that M W Bro Frank Prideaux would be in attendance. Despite the haste of the preparations, the Grand Master reflected afterwards, "it had been an outstanding ceremony and one of the best he'd experienced in many a long day!" Such was the result of continual and ongoing dedicated practice.

Brethren were expected to be word perfect in their ritual and prepare well before attending practice. He speaks of the Charges, which the Secretary would only prompt when requested and that was indeed rare. So much was this the case that on one occasion during the Initiation Obligation, which Jack was rendering, he saw beyond the Candidate that a Brother had collapsed. Without interruption to his rhetoric, he hand signalled the man to be carried from the Lodge.

Such was the standard of work expected of the Brethren that only the very best made the Chair. The Lodge being so proud of its faultless ceremonial, life in the Chain of Office was of a necessity very strict. On one occasion a Tyler turning up late for a meeting and in a rather inebriated state was asked to resign. Once each year a "Floor Members" Night would be held as a measuring device for future Officers. If the members involved were deemed not to be up to a high enough standard, they could be "down-pegged" on the journey to the Chair of the Lodge. In those days, the Refectory was quite small in area. Candidates were prepared behind the piano in lieu of a better facility - the luxury of a changing room naturally being unheard of. As Jack put it, it befell his lot as Tyler to instruct the Candidate to prepare Himself and to change his attire as required for the ceremony, but one particular Candidate wasn't having that, and steadfastly refused to obey until his father could be called from the Lodge Room to persuade his erring son that the Tyler's request was quite honourable. According to Jack, there was more than one recruit during his time at the door that hurriedly left, never to return, after a Degree working.

It is interesting to note from this revered Brother's memoirs that the Waikino Lodge (which was never Consecrated and operated throughout its life as a Lodge of Instruction under a special Charter granted by Grand Lodge) lying deep in gold mining country, found their numbers dwindling as rapidly as the gold resources until the doors closed forever. When they did, it was The Tauranga Lodge, according to legend, which benefited from the fine pillars of that early Lodge and which today stand adjacent to the West wall of the Bay Of Plenty Masonic Centre Lodge Room. Unfortunately this was just legend for according to the summary of the History of Lodge Waihi No 112 published for their Centanary in1998 it was revealed that the pillars, reportedly cast at the Victory Battery Foundry at Waikino were sent to Paeroa for the use of Lodge Ohinemuri No. 107.


1959 - January
The dispensation certificate (costing £1-1-0) attached to this page affects the regular meeting of January to be held on the 4th Saturday being the 24th Jan instead of the 3rd Thursday being the 15th Jan. There is no reason given. Apart from the business sessionwhich records a moments silence for Bro F Hodgeman and a notice of a resignation, there is little else. That was the meeting! In the same month a second dispensation (costing £1-1-0) was issued, for an Emergency Meeting (see p24 Jan 59) set down for the 5th Thursday being the 29th January. This meeting was primarily to ballot for two Candidates, Richard Ian Durdle and William Arthur Earl Robinson with the “next business to ‘Pass’ Bro E Allenson”. Now there must have been a Motion resolving to change the Regular January Meeting from the 3rd to the last Thursday for adhered to p29 Mar 59, the Lodge gave official notice to this effect.

The Tyler’s By-law was about to suffer too with an alteration to clause 9 giving him remittance of dues and payment for services only after holding the position for more than one year. The Treasurer did not escape either; he had to be re-elected to enjoy remitted dues under clause 7. This odd situation arose again in Oct 1960 when an Emergency Meeting was
dispensed on the 3rd Thursday for an Initiation Ceremony preceded by the
Installation Meeting being held on the 2nd Saturday.

1959 - April
A well preserved Notice Paper / Summons for April is appended to this age. It is simple, well designed, clearly states its intention to inform and is uncluttered.

1959 - December
A Fifty Year Service Badge and Certificate was presented to W Bro W H Poole by the Master W Bro R McCully. From his Initiation in 1909 to his Mastership in 1921 through to this date the Minutes reflect his outspoken and determined character. Little was achieved without his input which developed into a family trait within the Lodge through first his brother, A M Poole, P G W, making Master in 1938 and then in 1953 his son Russell Poole took the Chair. It was Russell who inspired the extensions to the First Avenue building during his year. This was no doubt a unique Fifty Year Service presentation to a uniquely Masonic family and witnessed by yet another relation, his eldest son W Bro W A Poole a P M of Lodge Katikati 295.


1961 - May
The Lodge debated the purchase of a new organ but deferred a decision at this time thus forcing the old organ to wheeze its way through the next two deferred years until Jun 63 when the Master announced “that a very fine organ had been donated to the Lodge by VW Bro A M Poole GDC. ‘This fine gesture was very much appreciated by the Brethren of this Lodge and that the organ would give much pleasure to all Brethren meeting in this Temple.’ Said the Master.  At the same time, the Lodge gave VW Bro Poole the old organ to dispose of as he thought fit.

1961 - October
A Saturday Installation Meeting was held under R W Bro J R Bongard Prov GM. when William Arthur Earl Robinson was invested as the first official Asst Steward of the Lodge. W.A.E.R. or Robbie as we prefer to call him jumped the rank of Junior Steward at the1962 Installation by moving straight to Senior Steward. He managed another jump in 1963 to Jun Deacon and within one month acted as Senior Deacon. This was also the Installation year of W Bro NJ (Jack) Turner and it is of this period that Jack relates his reflections on the strictness of the Lodge on Page 1 hereof. Robbie got to be Senior Deacon officially in Oct 1964, and arrived at the Chair of King Solomon 1967.

Also in the month of October 1961, Lodge Kawerau No. 422 was constituted on Wednesday 4th October. The Grand Master MV Bro F Predeaux made a visit to Kawerau one year later in Dec 1962 for which the Tauranga Lodge contributed £2- 2-0 to assist with their high profile meeting in the Kawerau Lodge.



When Lodge Mount Maunganui No. 376 came into being in 1953, and for some years to come, freemasonry enjoyed some popularity and the lodges in the district were not only admitting joining members who were coming to live in the area but were also initiating many candidates. Although there was already a Royal Arch Chapter in Tauranga working under the Scottish constitution, it was understandable that the brethren at Mount Maunganui would wish to form a Chapter under the New Zealand Constitution. As the nearest Chapter of that Constitution was in Rotorua, that is where the companions had to go to participate in the relevant degrees.

This state of affairs caused the then Master of Lodge Mount Maunganui to investigate the possibility of forming a New Zealand Chapter in the town. With the help of other chapters in the Hauraki district, events went fairly smoothly and 28 brethren had indicated their willingness to become members. By 1962 most of the donkey work had been done. The mechanics of forming the chapter were well under way. Equipment was obtained, regalia purchased or donated, fees set, a bank account established and Trustees appointed.

The Constitution and consecration of the Mount Maunganui Royal Arch Chapter No.103 was carried out on Saturday 17th. November 1962 by M E Comp. Ross Hepburn 1st. G P. These impressive ceremonies as well as the Installation of the Officers of the Chapter are well documented in notes written by Companion H A Mclean Gibb and it is to be hoped that some interested companion of the Chapter will soon write it’s History.

This is the record of the charter Members.
E. C. Banks             Junior Steward     J. E. Lloyd
F. O. Bartram         K. A. Martin 3rd. Soj.
A. R. Bongard         Scribe E               I. A. Martin
W. W. Bell             D. R. Munro Janitor
M. W. C. Claris       2nd. Principal H     L. F. S. Maultsaid
A. Courtenay         3rd. Principal J       W. McNutt
S. R. Davis            R. W. Paxton D C
H. Gilchrist             H. R. Pascoe
R. P. B. Hansard         Treasurer         K. G. R. Salt     1st. Soj.
H. A. C. Hodkinson     D. Tonkin         Scribe N.
H. S. Herbert         Organist         H. H. Wall         1st. Principal Z.
G. W. Higgins         S. Steward         H. Wilkinson     2nd. Soj.
F. H. Ibbotson         G. Supt.         L Winks
L. Johnson             Sup. of Wks.     S. H. Wilson


1963 Royal Visit
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh may have visited Tauranga for only a few hours on Saturday February 9th. 1963, but the soon to be City and Mount Maunganui didn’t skimp on the red carpet treatment. At 8.35 am. The Royal Yacht Britannia steamed through the harbour entrance to be greeted by a large flotilla of small craft and an estimated 30,000 people on the shore. The Britannia berthed at the Mount wharf with flags flying from the masts.

A crane swung a specially made red carpeted gangway alongside, and the Tauranga Highland Pipe Band piped the couple ashore. At Salisbury wharf  the Royal couple were greeted by the Mayor of Mount Maunganui A R Harris, after which they boarded the Royal Barge to be transported to Coronation Pier.

At Tauranga crowds lined the Strand and Devonport Rd. as the Royal Couple travelled to Memorial Park for the official reception. The Park was decked out for the occasion with floral tributes, children with flags, the heralds from the Tauranga Municipal Band proclaiming their arrival and pink and white rose petals sprinkled on the path. They were officially welcomed by the Mayor of Tauranga D S Mitchell M. B. E. During the ceremony gifts of 5,000 Pounds were received from the Tauranga County and Borough Councils to help build a sports centre. The foundation stone for this was laid by the Governor General in March 1965 and became known as The Q E. !! Youth Centre. The Queen and the Prince then travelled to the Domain where they were greeted by some 15,000 school children from the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato. The festivities were soon over and the Queen was then on her way back to Coronation Pier and then on to Britannia to continue the remainder of the New Zealand tour.


City status First Time Proclamation

The Town Board elected in 1870 was the first body to govern a portion of the town on the Te Papa peninsular which had been classified as far as what is now Eleventh Ave. After a petition to increase the boundary was circulated in 1874, it was extended to Hospital St. (now seventeenth Ave.) This was to remain the area of the Borough until the late forties. The years after WW2 have been described as “The Years of continued Growth”. As far as The Tauranga Borough was concerned this occurred not only by the incoming residents, but also by increasing the area.

The first major increase in the size of the Borough came in April 1946 when the boundary was extended from Seventeenth to Twenty Third Avenue. Otumoetai East and Judea came into the Borough in June 1949. In 1958 and 1959 further extensions were made to include Fraser St. extension, Maungatapu, including part of Hairini, In April 1961 the balance of Otumoetai, including Darraghs Rd., Judea, Millers Rd., Bellevue, Levers Rd. and the southern part of the Waikareao Estuary were then also included. 

These are some of the census Population figures :
Tauranga Borough         1942     3910     1952     7823     1962     13,468
Mount Maunganui          1942     690       1952     1867     1962     5091
Te Puke Borough           1942     1020     1952     1461     1962     2298

It is fairly obvious from articles and documentaries of the day that the City Fathers and Merchants were very eager to obtain City status for the Borough. At that time 20,000 of a population was required. The way to do this was to annex the area of Greerton. The Greerton County Town had been established for some years, had been administered by a Town Board Chaired by W H Bongard and had been successful in providing residents with improved roading and amenities and establishing a shopping centre so the move by the Borough Council was not at all popular This was achieved on 1st. April 1963 when Greerton became part of the Borough, the necessary population acquired, and Tauranga declared a City on 17th. April 1963.



1963 - July
The time line of any decade includes historical events that are exciting, significant, mundane, pleasant and sometimes disastrous, but all must be recorded to affect a balance.

One of the disastrous events occurred on a black day in Tauranga’s aviation history. On the 4th. July 1963 the National Airways Corp .DC3 Airliner ZK AYZ, on a flight from Auckland to Tauranga, went off course in bad weather and crashed in the Kaimai Ranges with the loss of the lives of the twenty three people on board. This is still the worst accident that has occurred on a domestic air service in New Zealand.


1963 - February
February a letter was received from Lodge Te Papa requesting repayment of their interest free loan of £700-00

1963 - June
The WM drew the Brethren’s notice to several items of maintenance necessary at the present time and of certain improvements that were desirable in and around the building: such as:- Repairs to plywood panels, general paint work, tiles to be laid in the entrance lobby, foam rubber pads to seats within the Temple. The Master empowered to have this work done.

1965 - July
The Lodge resolved to have included in the agenda for the next Communications, that the Board of General Purposes and Benevolence appoint a committee to give suitable information of among other aspects, our charitable work in particular. Much discussion followed for as the minutes point out “some of the older members did not understand what the Motion implied and had spoken very strongly against it. Eventually, it was carried!

1965 - November
The Lodge was again concerned over the maintenance of the building and had commissioned the architect to prepare a report accordingly. The result was a motion to have the work affected. Carried!

RW Bro J R Bongard had completed his tour of duty as Prov GM in the district and this is recorded as being his last meeting in the office. Being a member of The Tauranga lodge this seems most fitting. The Lodges of Te Puke, Mount and Gate Pa joined the Tauranga in subscribing to an electric heater ‘which Mrs Bongard did appreciate.’

1966 - October
A balance sheet is appended to the minutes of this meeting which shows the 1965 values of 1st Av property of Land @ £900-0-0, Buildings @ £6827-14-0, Furniture and Equipment @ £476-3-3 and Regalia @ £57-0-9.

1967 - July
A time of good cheer was had by the combined efforts of the Western Bay Lodges who, expanding on The Tauranga Lodge’s successful Ball of Sept 1963, elected for another in July 67 and a Debutants Ball for a 1969 celebration. Mrs Norma Hildebrand recalls the excitement of preparing the Greerton Hall (still being utilised) and the five piece orchestra which would play on till 1.30 am in the morning and the dashing about to get ones dance partner signed up. The Debs, their Dads and Beaus each had their written instructions from the organizing committee – ‘Your daughter is to produce her invitation to attend at the entrance. Your daughter, her escort and yourself to be in the supper room between 8.30 and 8.45 pm. Your entrance will be by the rear door on the south side of the building.

The presentation ceremony will commence at 9 pm sharp. Everyone involved to be punctual. Escorts should be in dinner suits with white gloves. Fathers should be in tails with white gloves. Provision for portrait and candid photographs has been made for those who wish to take advantage of the occasion. A section of the stage has been reserved for daughters and escorts.’

From the Bay of Plenty Times 25th Sept 63 :- ‘ Programmes, complete with pencil, on which holders noted dance "bookings," were issued to guests at a ball held by the combined Masonic Lodges of Tauranga. The function was the first Masonic ball to be held in Tauranga for about 40 years. Guests were received by the Masters of the three lodges, W Bros D E Stevenson (Tauranga) V T Crossman (Te Papa) N J Robson (Gate Pa) and their wives. The hall was decorated for the occasion in the Masonic colours, blue and gold, Masonic emblems and flowers and greenery. A grand march, led by the lodge masters and their wardens, was one of the highlights of the function. Guests attended from lodges throughout the Bay of Plenty, the Hauraki Plains and as far away as Auckland.’

Although a section of the stage had been reserved for debs and escorts to take advantage of the occasion, alas! There seem to have been no photographs taken for later display.

The July 1971 Combined Masonic Ball cost the attendees $10 per double ticket.

1968 - July
This was to be a landmark Emergency Meeting for hosting the United Masters Lodge of Research No 167 at Tauranga on the 4th Saturday. The invitation was sponsored and financed by the Tauranga, Te Papa and Gate Pa Lodges with their Masters occupying the three chairs of WM, SW and JW respectively. The programme included three short lectures of which one was entitled “The Establishment of Freemasonry up to 1717” The Master of United Masters in that year presented the lecture. That WM is our present Northern Division Grand Master, RW Bro Howard Wyatt.

Copy of Notice

1968 - August
An oddity occurs within the minutes as the Secretary drifts between July’s Regular and Emergency Meetings and this particular August Meeting in his record keepings. However, at this, or was it that, meeting developed into a major debate regarding future Installation dates. It all boiled down to changing the Installation from the now established 3rd Thursday in October (sometimes dispensated to the 3rd or 4th Saturday) to the 2nd Saturday.

A motion was moved accordingly and amendments followed. The Secretary scratched away as the members discussed the issue until the Master ruled that the amendment was not acceptable. The motion was then resolved. Carried! So now we were going to 2nd Thursday Installations.

1968 - October
Installation day. Thursday 17th October. The 3rd Thursday in the month.

1969 - March
“Brethren expressed concerns about alterations to the ritual, but these alterations shall not apply to any Lodge to which a Charter was first issued by the Grand Master on or before the sixteenth day of May 1912 so long as the method and mode of working customary in that Lodge on that date are adhered to.”


The historian of this Chapter does not record any particular celebration for the Fiftieth Anniversary in 1971 but probably the most exciting event at this time was the visit to Auckland of the First Grand principal of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland, The Earl of Elgin and Kincardin accompanied by the Third Grand Principal and Grand Scribe E. Because the Tauranga Chapter had been selected as the host Chapter for the special meeting and reception of the distinguished visitors, Me. Comp. George  Muir, the First Principal, took the Charter, Office Bearers and a delegation of companions to Auckland to open a Chapter and receive them.


This Silver Jubilee of Lodge Te Papa No 316 was celebrated in 1970 at a time when Masonic interest and activity was most evident. The membership was 102, the officers on the chain of office were all master masons and also on the list were four Stewards. This also was the situation in the other lodges in the area. This was the boom time for Freemasonry but unfortunately it was also the beginning of a decline as the changes in our society affected the manner in which men and women worked and spent their leisure time.


As early as the 22nd. June 1970, at the invitation of The Tauranga Lodge No.125, an advisory committee comprising members of The Tauranga Lodge No. 125, Lodge Te Papa No. 316 and The Gate Pa Lodge No. 407 was called together to look to the future of Freemasonry in Tauranga, to make available Lodge property in First Avenue and administer it for the efficient use of all Freemasons.

Those present were:-

The Tauranga Lodge No. 125
W. Bro. R. McClymont     W. Bro. D. Stevenson
Bro. G. Macrae               Bro. N. Palmer

Lodge Te Papa No. 316
W. Bro. G. Hall               W. Bro. B Figg
Bro. A Miller

The Gate Pa Lodge No. 407
W. Bros. J. Griffith          P Wyatt
K Wood                         W. McNutt

After Bro. McClymont was elected Chairman and Bro .Hall Secretary, the Chairman welcomed those present with the hope that firm foundations would be laid for the future development of freemasonry in Tauranga and informed the meeting that the purpose of those present was to develop a situation, by possibly forming a company, so that all Lodges and freemasons would be a part of a combined group. W. Bro. Stevenson, in addressing the meeting as a trustee of The Tauranga Lodge, made the comment that even though the property legally belonged to the Lodge, in fact it really belonged to all freemasons of the local lodges and it was their responsibility to maintain and improve it for future generations. Another meeting a few months later dealt with the ways and means of utilising the property, a possible new building, the sharing of responsibilities and the necessity of the three lodges being in agreement with the details of any such proposals.

The initial proposal of the trustees of The Tauranga Lodge, the foresight of the attending brethren and a sincere willingness to promote Freemasonry, was the foundation laid for the present Masonic centre. The idea had been planted in fertile soil and was to germinate profusely albeit somewhat slowly. 


Although there does not appear to be any further records from this committee, the minutes of the Trustees meetings of the Tauranga Lodge show that steady progress was made with the help of Bro. Frank Willoughby, solicitor, in formatting the legal and practical contract necessary for the Lodges involved to become a combined management board in 1974.

One of the main considerations to be overcome was the ownership of the property. This of course was owned by The Tauranga Lodge and to transfer this to any other legal entity was going to incur considerable stamp duty which was considered unaffordable and in the long run not necessary. This problem was overcome in the meantime by terms of the Trust deed, finalised with the advice of Bro. Willoughby solicitor and the agreement of The Tauranga Lodge No. 125, Lodge Te Papa No. 316, and The Gate Pa Lodge No. 125

A brief summary of the deed is as follows:
“This is an agreement between the trustees of The Tauranga Lodge who administers the property and the Trust Board, being the elected members of the three named lodges.

Subject to certain conditions, it is the wish of the said Tauranga lodge, to make such property freely available for the joint and several ownership, control and use of presently the three named lodges and possibly other lodges and Masonic Orders. The Board of trustees shall comprise of an equal no of members from each of the three craft lodges afore mentioned.

The property shall not be sold without the consent of The Tauranga Lodge. Such consent to be evidenced by a duly recorded and signed by resolution of that lodge.”

While this last condition was put into the deed, more than likely by the more conservative members of the Tauranga Lodge, it was removed in another agreement in 1983.

At the last meeting of the Lodges representatives held on 23rd. march 1974, those present were:

The Tauranga Lodge
W. Bros. D. E. Stevenson    , R. T. Howells, W. R. McClymont    ,W. A. E. Robinson, T. W. Marchbank

Lodge Te Papa
W. Bros. T.D. Murray, A.H. Miller R Kennedy, Bro. J. Kennedy

The Gate Pa Lodge
W. Bros. P. Sanders, K. Wood, J. E. Griffiths, W, McNutt, Bro. K McIntyre

The following resolutions were passed:-
That the Trust Deed under which the Combined Board shall operate be accepted.
That representation will be three members appointed from each participating Lodge, with power to co-opt for specific duties. One elected representative of each lodge shall retire annually and be eligible for re-election.
That the Board shall elect a chairman annually from board members.
That the board shall have the power to appoint a Secretary and / or Treasurer.
That the date to transfer the Tauranga Lodge property to the Combined Trust Board be October 1st.1974.

This is the end of the work done by these brethren during the last four years and the beginning of a new era of co-operation and management of Masonic activity in Tauranga.

In the meantime the three Lodges involved each elected three brethren to represent them as Trustees on the new Board and on the 29th. May 1974 held their first meeting in the Masonic hall, First Avenue Tauranga. Following is a summary of the first meeting of the new Board of Trustees and the resolutions passed:

Those present were:
W. Bros. D.E. Stevenson, W.A.E Robinson
W.R. McClymont, representing The Tauranga Lodge No. 125.

T.D. Murray, W.A.R. Churchouse, E.J. Scotland representing Lodge Te Papa No. 316
J.E. Griffiths, W. McNutt, K. Wood representing The Gate Pa Lodge No.407

W. Bro. T.W. Marchbank being the Secretary of the previous formative meetings was also present and handed over the previous minutes and other relative documents. He was thanked for his assistance and retired.

The following propositions were seconded and carried:
That - W. Bro. W.A.E. Robinson be elected Chairman and W. Bro. E.J. Scotland be elected Secretary. 

Bro. F. Willoughby be appointed Solicitor to the Trustees, and the title of the board be “The Tauranga Masonic Trust Board”

The Solicitor be instructed to complete the trust Deed and submit it to the Grand Registrar before it is signed.

The Secretary to make application for a Post Box and the next meeting to be held on Wednesday 26th.Jjune. The meeting closed at 9.15 p.m.

This Board had been entrusted with the task of either making the best and efficient use of the present Lodge Rooms, or building new ones and encouraging freemasonry in general. This they did during the lifetime of the Board.

A summary of the minutes of the next ten years show that the Board appraised an option to buy the property next door owned by the Lyceum Club, but while it was considered that the finance may have been available, the board would not be able to generate enough income to pay the interest on the money. Much the same problem arose when they pursued the project of a new building on site. Consultants gave advice and plans were drawn up but financing was always going to be the problem.

In 1975 the Board opened a building fund which was added to each year by a $100 contribution from each lodge. While this did not appear to be a large amount when considering what building costs were, it never the less proved to be one of those decisions which was to have an important bearing on the establishment of the Hairini centre. There was other work however to go on with such as repainting the lodge room, completely renovating the refectory by laying a new floor, putting down carpet and repainting walls and ceilings. The old store room urinal and kitchen were then upgraded and modernised. A better stove and hot water system installed. Most of this work was done with financial assistance from the Lodges and by the brethren at working bees which were well supported. As the stewards of the lodges changed regularly it was difficult to get a proper system going for the disposal of rubbish, washing the dishes and general cleaning so the Board began to employ a regular cleaner which proved to be much more satisfactory.

The Council planners had initiated a town plan whereby a commercial property owner like ourselves was asked to give the council so many metres off the rear of the their property in order to form a service lane. Our solicitor Bro. Willoughby was opposed to this Council policy and advised the board, as he had with many of his other commercial clients, not to do this without some compensation.  In 1978 at a consultation with the Council about this matter, it was pointed out by them that if we ever wanted to build on our property, and if there was no service lane, then the Board would be obliged to provide access to the rear of the property, thereby reducing the area for building purposes. The Board agreed that it would be more beneficial to it to allow the council land for the service lane and instructed our solicitor to carry out the necessary legal work to make that happen.

At the meeting in July 1982 a letter was received from the solicitors representing the Council, advising us that the Council would be making a compulsory acquisition of the necessary land for the service lane. The Board members were somewhat upset by this, as they had previously agree to give the service lane and had instructed our solicitor accordingly. As agreed at the previous meeting, on 14th. July 1982, the Board’s Chairman contacted the Board’s solicitors with all the correspondence relating to the matter. Unfortunately Bro. Willoughby who had been handling the matter was away overseas until September and his partner was unwilling to take any action in the matter. In view of the notice served by the City Council, the Chairman advised that to comply with the notice it required the signatures of the Chairman and Secretary on the necessary documents. This was then authorised by the Board.

At the meeting of the Board held on Wednesday 14th. September 1983, the Chairman W. Bro. W A E Robinson tendered his resignation as Chairman which was accepted with regret and a vote of thanks for his work and Chairmanship during the first ten years activity of the Masonic Trust Board. Four years later he was again elected to the office of Chairman'


Even as early as 1955 after the official opening of the first wharf at Mount Maunganui the Harbour Board had already made representation to lengthen the Quay by 183 metres and in the subsequent sixteen years a continuous berth construction programme extended it north and south in eight sections, to 1744 metres. A further extension of 91 metres was completed in 1977 and a specialised bulk cement tanker berth was completed in 1980.

Sustained pressure on the government for many years to improve road and rail access eventually resulted in substantial upgrading of the roading and rail network, linking port and hinterland and providing faster and more efficient services for the ever expanding freight transportation. Destined to have a profound influence on port growth, employment and forestry production, a 158 ton trial, log shipment initiated by Messrs Owen Rainger and Bob Owens was sent to Japan in November 1957. By 1959 log shipments had shot up to 85,000 tons and timber shipments had increased by 24%, marking the beginning of a spectacular trade which reached a peak of 1,623,000 tonnes in 1973 and represented 70% of the port’s total exports. By 1980 The Port of Tauranga was handling 67% of New Zealand’s log and sawn timber shipments and almost 79% of the country’s processed wood products exports, worth in total an estimated $350 million in overseas exchange earnings.

By this time many other major industries had been established including two large flour mills, a fertiliser processing works, tank storage for four petroleum companies, cool stores and many other ancillary companies necessary for the performance of this industrial complex. The Port of Tauranga has come a long way in a comparatively short time and it’s sphere of influence has gradually extended throughout the whole of the highly productive central North Island region bounded roughly by Taupo, Raglan, Whitianga and Opotiki.



1974 was also the year that Lodge Te Puke celebrated its 50th anniversary. From the early records we see that the Lodge progressed steadily over the years. The first meeting of the lodge in their new building was in August 1928. The following year an additional room and porch was added, a decision was made to let the hall for private functions at a hire rate of 2 pound and the first Ladies evening was held. In 1930 a piano was purchased and in 1943 a donation was made towards the R S A Memorial hall. Of particular interest was the beginning of the annual working of degrees with Lodge Te Papa in 1948, a practise that continues to this day. By 1958 alterations were being carried out to the building and two years later alterations to the kitchen were completed.

W. Bro. Wynn Judd was the Jubilee Master and this is his greeting on that

I extend to each one of you fraternal Greetings on this the occasion of our 50th Jubilee. To you our visitors, Lodge Te Puke welcomes you and thanks you for being with us, for, by your presence now and through the years you have added greatly to our celebration and our Lodge.

To members of Lodge Te Puke, I say how fortunate we are that chance has made us officers and members of this Lodge on this occasion, and particularly so, in that over the previous 50 years the Lodge has been guided from strength to strength by the calibre of its earlier members so that we now enjoy their labours.

I extend particularly warm greetings to our two foundation members, Bro. A. J. Gallagher and W. Bro. W E Hookey, P G S, also to W. Bro. W R Gray, P G Std. B who though not a foundation member is very close to it. We are indeed fortunate to sit with you who have given so much to Masonry.

To those who have assisted in organising this function and the Cabaret evening to follow on 23rd. March, I extend my sincere thanks and in particular I would say “Thank you” to W. Bro. A G Cradwick, who, virtually unaided has compiled this history and programme.

Brethren, may the next 50 years be as rewarding as the first.”
Wynn Judd. W M


1977 – August
Minutes of the 915th Meeting, being the 75th Anniversary Meeting record:-

By dispensation No 6342 from R.W. Bro. M. E. Hyde. Prov. G.M.,‘the Lodge Tyled at 1 pm Saturday 13th Aug 1977’.

The Master at that 75th Anniversary Meeting was the late W Bro Brian Howells, with his Brother W Bro Trevor Howells as DM, W Bro Bertie Parnwell was the IPM, Bro Alistair J McEwan, SW and Bro M Murray Goodhue, JW. Other Brethren were as per the attendance register. Currently held in the Lodge archives at the BOP Masonic Centre.

There was little else to report. As with all Masonic minutes of all Lodges before and afterwards, more attention was detailed on those missing than those present. Among the list of apologies for the 13th were W Bro J Kenyon PGDC, VW Bro K Smith PG Lec, W Bro M Goodhue and Bro Charlie Belk. All staunch Members of Lodge but who were the staunch members present that could be readily identified from the same journal?

Also in those Minutes was reference to a letter supporting a request from the Waikato Dist Prov. GM, RW Bro M E Hyde (who so happened to be in attendance that day) seeking a date in December 1977 convenient for him to visit the Lodge.

The Prov GM, it is respectfully recorded, had “Ceremonially received M Wor Bro H J Donaldson, Grand Master, who very suitably replied and acknowledged the welcome received.”

The work of this Celebratory Meeting was a presentation of the First 75 Years history of the Lodge by its author W Bro T W Marchbank. In the preface to this history the Master wrote.

“The compiling of the history of a lodge is an obligation on it's members to preserve the past, and as we celebrate the first 75 years of The Tauranga lodge and look ahead to it's Centenary, we trust records will be faithfully maintained and protected against indifference and neglect.

I therefore charge present and future generations to be vigilant in recording Lodge activities so that Brethren in years to come will not be ignorant of the traditions of our Masonic forefathers and historical traditions so proudly retained and practised to the present time.” B. R. H. Howells Master

The refectory was equally inviting and warmed by the presentation of 50 year service badges to W Bro G Young and Bro M Clark.

During the next 25 years there were to be another recorded 8 badges presented for 50 years of service, 4 bars for 60 years and to our eldest and most long service Initiate, Bro Harry Graham, a rare 70 year bar. Bro Jack Armit had no sooner received his 60 yr badge when RW Bro George Muir P dep GM pinned the Roll of Honour next to it on the same night.

The evening’s programme for this cause celibre, under the direction of Master of Ceremony Bro Jack Armit RH, comprised a social gathering and dinner at the Erinlea Lounge (upstairs centre Devonport and 1st Ave ) followed by dancing and when it came to proposing the toast to the Ladies, who better than to be called upon than W Bro W A E Robinson GS, our present Centennial Worshipful Master Mrs Jill Howells, the Worshipful Master’s wife gamely replied to the accolade.



Rapid economic growth in both the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty in post-war years prompted a search for an improved transport link between the two regions, a link which would give direct access to the Bay of Plenty’s port at Mount Maunganui. The Kaimai Range lies between these two regions, a range which reaches heights of between 500 and 800 meters and which runs from the Karangahake Gorge in the north and the Mamaku Range in the south. After considerable study beginning with the first Commission of Inquiry set up in 1962 and many further consultative bodies including those from Government, the Railways Dept, and many commercial interests, it was decided that the best course of action would be to construct a railway tunnel under the Kaimai Range which would become not only the longest of its kind in New Zealand but also the longest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Kaimai Tunnel 8.9 Km   Rimutaka Tunnel 8.8 km    Otira Tunnel 8.6 km
In 1964 and 1965 the Cabinet approved the construction of the deviation and tunnel by the Ministry of Works and Development at an estimated cost of $11,434,000, granted initial expenditure of $710,000 and forecast a completion date in 1970. On the Eastern side of the Kaimai Ranges at a small place called Apata, on the 2nd. October 1965 a ceremony took place when the Minister of Works, Mr Allen turned the first sod to signal the beginning of this massive and important enterprise.

From the beginning many major problems had to be overcome before the job was completed. On both the east and west sides, approaches had to be built with many bridges, embankments and culverts in order to reach the portals. On the eastern side, only after fifteen meters of tunnelling there was a cave-in with some loss of life. After a long delay and much more preparation the Java tunnelling machine, which had been purchased from America began operation in1971. Problems arose as soon as the machine began. It was not able to operate and drill the andesite rock so a decision was made to dismantle the machine and transfer it to the Western portal where it drilled 4779m of the tunnel. While progress was satisfactory it did not reach its expectations due to many repairs and much servicing. High air and water temperatures were overcome but at a cost of time and money.

Construction of the Kaimai Tunnel had been a long and difficult job but its opening on 12th. September 1978 by the Prime Minister Mr Muldoon ushered in a new era of faster and more economical transport to and from the Bay of Plenty and became another major influence in the development and progress of Tauranga.

D S Mitchell Mayor of Tauranga and a Freemason spent much time on behalf of the City, negotiating in Wellington for the necessary finance and consents for this important project



In celebrating this first fifty years in the life of Lodge Katikati their historian has provided for posterity a comprehensive insight of events. Through the determined efforts of the foundation members and the magnanimity of a generous brother, the lodge had been set on a solid foundation, so that when the Wall St crash came late in 1929 the brethren were able to weather the worst of the economic pressures during the next six years. One of the novel ways of assisting the depleted finances of the lodge was to introduce “Fees of Honour” confined to the seven working officers of the lodge and this was duly incorporated into the By-Laws.

Exchange visits with other lodges were frequent, and the new lodge rooms saw degrees worked for Waihi, Tauranga, Te Puke, Te Aroha and further afield, for Tirau and Piako. A visiting Master was often given a part in the ceremony. Ponder here on the problems of time, distance and transport and the abominable roads at that time. The progress of this lodge as with many others was influenced over the years by, not only the “slump” of the thirties but also the years of the Second W W , and the ever changing economic and social events.

Overall, the post war years brought some ups and downs to the lodge, also its consolidation as part of Freemasonry in the bay of Plenty, the strengthening ties and affinity with the new lodged formed in the Bay, sharing with them all the newly generated problems of unwitting encroachment by service organisations, the hypnotic attraction of that little square box, and the more frightening disinterest of society towards any organisation which promotes the practise of moral discipline and the sanctity of the home and family unity.

Meetings were never dull and one cannot escape the feeling that the lodge, its functions and the practical application of its precepts, occupied a more meaningful place in the lives of its members, and more importantly, in the community than it does today. In keeping with the times the lodge has been increasing aware of the need to bring wives into the social activities by having Ladies nights and picnic barbecues.

From the secretary’s desk:-
1930     Proposed that an early history of the lodge be prepared by the Master, Wardens and Secretary. “Where oh where did they hide it?”
1931     Brethren contribute to the Hawkes Bay Earthquake Relief Fund.
1933     The rates demand was six shillings
1952     Respects paid on the death of Most W. Bro. His Majesty King George V1
1960     Brethren travelling in another brother’s car to pay one penny a mile. (W. Bro. Salt has a bag of pennies if anyone wants change.)
1970     Legacy of $1000 from the late W. Bro. Edgar Warn. This was used to build the new refectory

The Historian concludes with: Katikati Lodge enters the second half century of it's history in relatively good heart, with the opportunities there for the taking, opportunities to promote the destinies of our Lodge and Freemasonry in the area, promote the basic principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth within the Craft and amongst the community at large.



1978 – August
From the minutes
An oddity occurs within the Minutes as the Secretary drifts between July's Regular and Emergency Meetings and this particular August Meeting in his record keepings. However this, or was it that, Meeting developed into a major debate regarding future Installation dates. It all boiled down to changing the Installation from the now established third Thursday in October (sometimes by Dispensation to the third or fourth Saturday) to the second Saturday. A motion was moved accordingly and amendments followed. The Secretary scratched away as the Members discussed the issue until the Master ruled that the amendment was not acceptable. The motion was then resolved. Carried! So now we were going to second Thursday Installations.

1978 – October
Installation day. Thursday 17th October. The third Thursday in the month.


1979 – March
Mr Charles J Cheeseman was Initiated into the Lodge from his wheelchair. A few changes in procedure were initiated too as the Candidate was severely handicapped in his legs. Therefore, preparation to his dress was adjusted accordingly; the Volume of the Sacred Law being placed in his lap, Mr Cheeseman took his Obligation from a sitting position. . The Candidate participated where able although the Deacons had more than usual to do for while the Junior Deacon held his hand as is customary, the Senior Deacon was obliged to push the wheelchair.


1980 – June
W Bro Young made the following suggestions to improve attendance levels:

That Charges in the Degrees be related more clearly.
Use of telephone lists to remind Brethren of Meetings
Study nights for younger Masons four nights per year.
Exchange visit with a larger Lodge.
Project to be set by each Master to have a goal for the year.

Items one and two were easily accomplished. Item three was shelved for reasons unexplained and remain shelved to this day. Item four was never adopted as practical and whilst its motives were credible, the practical aspects of instituting such an arrangement were much more complex since our own programmes often lacked initiative and fervour. In short, what could we offer any progressive partner to such an exchange? Item five eluded many incumbent Masters, although nine years on, in 1999, when a mission statement of attainable goals was drafted in writing. This is not to pretend that all subsequent to 1980 Masters were devoid of imagination. On the contrary, some were extremely enterprising in producing a variety of work into Lodge.


Tauranga Centennial 1882-1982


This milestone was celebrated by the Bay of Plenty Times publication of The Tauranga City Centennial Supplement which comprehensively revued the historical events, the commercial, business and population expansion and the general progress of the City. This can be best summed up by quotations from this publication.

Area poised to develop.
“Tauranga will enter its second century poised on the verge of even more substantial developments than have marked its progress in recent years,” the Prime Minister, Mr Muldoon said in a centennial message. “It was in its infancy, the only port in the Bay of Plenty with its revenues based on fishing and gold. Today it is the largest export port in the country in terms on tonnage handled; logs, newsprint, and pulp from the vast forests of the region and the sawmilling and processing plants as well as agricultural produce and fishing. The population grew 10.5% in the 1976-1981 period and jobs 14.65 %, the highest increase in New Zealand”

Unselfish work built lovely city.
“The time of the centennial of Tauranga local government, is a time for celebration, a time for looking back and remembering,” the M P for Tauranga Mr K R Allen, said. “But most of all it is a time to thank those people who voluntarily have given us much personal effort to council work and the development of our lovely city.” He said. “ We lead New Zealand as an area which is really progressing, and much credit can go to those who, in the last one hundred years, showed deep faith in Tauranga and its future.”

Celebrating local role.
“A Centenary is a time for history to be written and a time to record the progress of a community.” said the Mayor of Tauranga, Mr. R F Dillon. “In writing this message, one is particularly conscious of our record of progress,” he said. “This message will issue from a newspaper, indeed a local newspaper, which has played its full part in recording Tauranga’s development through its history. Our pioneers have laid the foundations on which successive administrators and citizens have continued to develop, firstly our Borough and now our fine City. On behalf of the Council I extend every good wish to all your readers, to enjoy to the full our centennial celebrations.”

The Town, the Borough, the City has come a long way since those early and relatively primitive times and not even the most optimistic of the Elders or the Citizens of this place could foresee that in the next twenty years, the population and the area of Tauranga would nearly treble in size.


1982 - November
Oct 81 First rumblings for a B of P Almoners Assoc came from The Tauranga Lodge when a Motion from W Bro McClymont / Bro Riddell to examine the feasibility of forming such was put and Carried!

The appointment of W Bro D Riddell as Lodge Mentor is recorded.
Feb 84 The BOP Masonic Golf Assoc. sent a cheque for $70 to assist with the Lodge benevolence work.


J. A. Redwood Masonic Village  Rotorua

As early as 1965 the Masonic brethren of the lodges in Rotorua had established a need for a rest home and village for elderly residents. This was brought about with the assistance of the Northern Masonic Association Trust Board, Government subsidy and generous financial support from the freemasons in the Waikato district which at the time included the Bay of Plenty area, a total of forty four lodges. When established the Masonic Village was also supported by brethren in a more practical manner by working bees to help maintain the gardens, clean windows and do any painting necessary. Also each year there was a Fair (now called a garage sale) where lodges through the district brought the goods for sale. These were mostly held at the Masonic Village but from time to time the fair was held in another area.

There appears to be no record of how the Lodges in Tauranga got involved so the following paragraph is from the memory of V. Wor. Bro. Arthur Robinson Ass Prov GM at that time. At the request of the Village committee it was agreed to hold a fair in Tauranga early in 1983. A committee was formed consisting members of Lodge Te Papa, The Tauranga Lodge and The Gate Pa Lodge and some of the ladies who all showed a keen interest in making this project a success.

BACK ROW: D.B Quigley, G.S MacPherson P Prov. GM, R.F Elsom, C.A.M Belk, C.S O’Neil, N.J Turner, W.A.E Robinson, K. Smith PGL, D.G Warner
FRONT ROW: Jack Armit, J.L Hurreil, R.F Tozer, J.G Kirkland, Master S.S.D McGrath, I.J Lewis, W.D Riddell

The venue was the Memorial hall in Eleventh Avenue, and held over a weekend, goods began to arrive by the trailer and car load and stalls were set up on Friday evening and early Saturday morning ready for the public to invade and buy. The crowd exceeded our expectations and by about 3 pm most of the goods had been sold and it was only left to Bro. Arch Brown auctioneer to sell off the left overs. Once again the willing volunteers cleaned up the venue to be left as we found it.

At the final committee meeting held to finalise the financial position it was found that the Fair had made a profit of approximately $18000 and combined with the proceeds of an approved raffle made a total of approximately $21000. Later with the sanction of the grand master M. Wor. Bro. A. M. Dick a gathering was held in the Tauranga Lodge room comprising of Brethren, Ladies and other men who had been involved, to make a presentation of the cheque to The Grand Master for the use of the J. A. Redwood Masonic Village.


1985 - March
The definitive 'summer dress' code was finally categorised for the Lodge and to be the apparel worn throughout December, February and March.

1985 - April
Prior to the closing, V W Bro Ken Smith demonstrated 'The Ceremony of the Empty Chair'. This was an ANZAC Day tribute to Masonic Brethren of the two World Wars who had given their lives to their country and thus were deprived of the chance of occupying the Chair of King Solomon." A short though moving tableau in memorial to our fallen Brethren, it was to be subsequently revived as an annual ceremonial epitaph in The Tauranga Lodge. According to W. Bro Pibworth the first performance of the Empty Chair ceremony appears to have occurred in 1941 and by Ohakea Lodge No.309.

1985 - May
The 1000th Meeting. Dispensation for this fourth Saturday Celebration Meeting was signed by R W Bro George Muir Prov G M, for Bro A L Solomon of the Greytown Lodge No 74, to be passed to the Fellow craft Degree under the watchful eye of the Master, W Bro Jim Kirkland.

The Dep G M, R W Bro D M Holmes was also in attendance. Ironically, this "Solomon" was to have more impact on the Lodge during the next month or so than his namesake.

1985 - August
The Lodge's 1003' Meeting was to be a very long one, technically that is, for the Ceremony of Raising Bro A L Solomon, FC, on behalf of the Greytown Lodge, was 'suspended' n the Third Degree due to illness. The Lodge resumed labour in the Third Degree one month after at its 104th Meeting on 19th September 1985 to complete the Raising Ceremony for Bro Solomon. Despite a whole month having transpired, the Ceremony was deemed to have ;oncluded at the 1003' meeting in August. The Raising being successfully performed, the lodge then closed in the Third Degree and commenced its normal business session in the First Degree.


1988 - March 13th.
From the Bay Of Plenty Times
Tomorrow the Tauranga Harbour Bridge will be officially opened. The bridge is a project of long standing in the district, one which has aroused passions and parochialism on both sides of the water. The engineer, who produced the first definite proposals for a harbour crossing 24 years ago, considered it a simple project and was astounded by the opposition from some quarters.

Several times the project nearly founded on the fear of costs falling back on the ratepayers. Disproportionate shares of the risk or the economic conditions of the day were other concerns. Changes in the direction of the district and port, changes of personnel on local authorities, led to a remarkable example of cooperation between organisations not noted for it in the past. Now the bridge is built.

The harbour crossing which opens tomorrow is the latest in a series of bridges which have enabled Tauranga to develop. The land surrounding the harbour has been difficult terrain to connect with it's many estuaries and peninsulas.

The Judea Bridge, built in 1869 and the Wairoa Bridge in1874 were the first major bridges in the district and helped open Katikati to wheeled traffic. However, the most important and most controversial was the Hairini bridge which opened, after Te Puke people partitioned the Government to get the bridge underway. The single lane bridge opened on 5th April 1882. The other two significant bridges built in the district were both opened in 1959. The 1040 ft. Maungatapu Bridge and the Otumoetai Causeway.




There is no official and definitive history of Meridian Lodge No 449 yet written, but the information used in this document is taken from records of three well known brethren.

From the resume on the formation of Meridian lodge No. 449 by V.W. Bro. Colpus P.G.C ;

“Having joined the Matua Bowling Club and also The Tauranga Lodge and having been associated with the organising and controlling of Masonic Bowling Tournaments in Wellington, I was invited to assist with one in Tauranga during the 1986 season. I was given a list containing fifty three names of masons belonging to the bowling club and asked to contact these brethren re-entry in the tournament. Whilst carrying out this request I asked each brother which lodge he was a member of, and to my surprise I found that only six were members of a local lodge. Having had a long standing friendship with Phil Oliver, I passed on the information I had obtained, with the suggestion that we consider forming a daylight lodge. His reaction was very much in favour of doing something about it. I also approached Ray Tozer currently Master of The Tauranga Lodge No. 125 and expressed my thoughts along with the information that I had given Phil. His reaction was the same as Phil's, “Let’s do something about it”

The three of us then met three or four times, discussed the subject and worked out the wording for a small pamphlet to be given to the brethren. Finding the response encouraging and also the news that other masons in other bowling clubs were also interested, we decided to call a meeting in the lodge rooms at First Avenue. The attendance was excellent and after hearing what we had in mind and discussing what requirements were needed to form a new lodge, the brethren decided that a further meeting was necessary. It was at this second meeting that we decided to form a new lodge. W Bro. Tozer chaired the above mentioned meetings and he, Rt. W. Bro. P. Oliver and myself decided to select three Past Masters and three Master Masons as well as we three to act as an interim committee. We also suggested that W. Bro. Galbraith be Chairman and Bro. J. Ford be the Secretary. This committee laid the groundwork and eventually, after many meetings the new Daylight Lodge, named Meridian Lodge was given the number 449 on the roll of grand Lodge and was Constituted and Dedicated on Saturday the first of April 1989.”

Before this happened however the Committee decided that further action was necessary and the results are recorded, and some quoted here, from a very comprehensive account published by R.W. Bro. P.J. Oliver P. Dep. G.M. “ To test the sincerity of those professing to support a daylight lodge, a form of Petition for Charter was circulated to which the brethren were invited to append their names. At a meeting in June 1988 when 48 brethren attended, the petition held the names of 60 who had done so.

At that meeting W. Bro. Allan Lloyd of Lodge Te Papa suggested that his lodge would be prepared to consider altering its By-lays to provide two daytime meetings per year to cater for those unwilling to attend night meetings, but there was little inclination amongst the brethren to accept a compromise basis. Several suggestions for a name of the lodge were considered, when Bro. Oliver offered the name "Meridian Lodge” which was promptly and unanimously agreed to. A further meeting in July was attended by 80 brethren and by this time the petition held 92 names.

The Tauranga Lodge was the Mother Lodge of the lodges in the Tauranga region and at it’s meeting in June it’s members had resolved with pleasure to sponsor the petition for Meridian Lodge, while The Tauranga Masonic Property Management Board had offered the use of it’s property at a specially reduced rate for the first year to assist the lodge establish itself. ‘The interim committee went on to elect the first officers of the lodge, to prepare the necessary partition to grand Lodge and to make all the necessary arrangements for the Dedication and Installation Proceedings. From these records it can be seen that the brethren involved were enthusiastic and eager to complete the task, the meetings were well attended and the decisions made were achieved with complete harmony and unanimity. A comment by a visiting Master at the refectory proceedings seems to sum it up nicely “We now feel that the Craft in Tauranga is fortunate to have a daylight lodge, for now members have a choice of belonging to and attending a lodge which best suits their needs and their wishes,”

From the pen of R W Bro. Dorian Prince PGW:
“The first of April was a red letter day for Freemasonry in Tauranga when a new lodge was constituted, the first for over thirty years.

The new daylight lodge, Meridian Lodge No. 449 was constituted and dedicated in accordance with ancient custom by Most Worshipful Brother R. D.

Richmond, Grand Master, assisted by the four Presenting Officers, M W Bro A.M. Dick , P.G.M.; M W Bro. J. deV. McManemin, P.G.M.; RW Bro. P. J. Oliver, P. Dep. G. M. and RW Bro. R. C. Moor, Prov. G. M.

The Tauranga lodge room was packed to capacity, so much so it was found necessary to restrict attendance by invitation only. This was disappointing to many brethren from throughout the Waikato District who wished to be present to witness a ceremony that is seldom seen these days, but it was inevitable due to the fact that the new lodge has no less than 108 Charter members, most of whom were at the ceremony.

At the conclusion of the formal ceremony the brethren adjourned to the Inverness Lounge for the refectory proceedings. In his reply to the toast , the Grand Master congratulated the new lodge and was particularly impressed that the offices of the lodge had been filled by Master Masons, that the brethren had the courage to form a new lodge at a time when other lodges were either merging or going out of existence and that the new lodge fills a gap in the structure of the Craft as there is a definite need for daylight lodges in certain localities such as Tauranga where there are many masons who have retired from other districts and not joined local lodges.

The toast to the Master was proposed by V.W. Bro. C. M. G. Colpus P.G.C. who referred to W. Bro. Hislop’s Masonic career. In replying to the toast, the Master expressed his thanks to the many brethren who had provided assistance and encouragement towards the formation of the daylight lodge. He also made reference to the 108 Charter members who came from no less than 67 lodges of all the constitutions operating in New Zealand and the fact that there were already several new members waiting to join which augers well for the future of the lodge.”

Officers of meridian lodge No. 449 Bro.    
Charles Hislop as Master
Senior Warden Bro R.J.Ford                 Junior Warden Bro. J.B.Carter
Chaplain Bro. A.S. Chiles                     Treasurer Bro. N.S. Nunnerly
Secretary W. Bro. D.N.S. Bright           Director of Ceremonies W. Bro. B.J. Jackson
Almoner W.Bro. R.O. Rump                Senior Deacon Bro. R.J. Peddle
Junior Deacon Bro. N.J. Weatherall     Ass. Secretary W. Bro. D. Galbraith
Ass. DOC W.Bro M.G. Williams
Organist W. Bro. W.R. Suckling           Inner Guard Bro. G.K. Robertson
Senior Steward Bro. T.O. Stevens       Junior Steward W.Bro. T.S. Walker
Tyler Bro. G.I. Thomson   G L Centenary



1990 - April
This Meeting opened for a repeated discussion on ways to improve interest and participation of members in the work and activities of the Lodge. This topic constantly arose in the minds of incumbent Masters whose Brethren perceived that it was for him to provide the 'Work of the Evening' for their enjoyment. Wasn't that what he was there for?

W.Bro. George Macrae opened the discussion and although all present expressed their interest and concerns, he concluded with the following recommendations "that a meeting of the Lodge be held to consider the desirability or otherwise of The Tauranga Lodge No 125 approaching Lodge Te Papa No 316 and The Gate Pa Lodge No 407 with the suggestion that the three Lodges amalgamate into one united Lodge."

As a further recommendation it was agreed
"That in addition to the formal advice of this Business on the Summons for this meeting, the substance of the reasons necessitating this proposal be covered in the Lodge Newsletter, and that a personal approach to all Tauranga domiciled members be made to ensure the fullest possible attendance."

1990 - June
There was a large gathering of Members for this particular Meeting since the subject was electrifying for the Tauranga Lodge. Resolutions (a) and (b) from the April meeting were put to the Lodge as a motion but were lost! It was then moved to form a committee of Master, Wardens .and others to arrange a programme of Lodge activity for the next six months to stimulate the Members' interest and suggesting that a further rise in dues may be deemed necessary.

1990 - August
Determined to enhance the climate within the Lodge, V W Bro Ken Smith moved a notion to embark on a twelve month trial period of alternating business with pleasure by having six conventional working evenings within the period of the motion alternating with social family meetings, the latter to be presented by an appointed committee. This motion was another radical step to reviving interest and eagerly seconded by W Bro Bill Webby and overwhelmingly accepted by the members. The By-laws were altered accordingly plus a little twist at the end of the tale –

This bi-monthly / twelve month 'TRIAL' was destined to remain in the Lodge system for nine years.


1992 - August
V W Bro Arthur Robinson, now emerging as the "patriarch" of the Lodge, having attained the rank of Asst Prov G M, called for an Honours Board to replace the rogues gallery of Past Masters in the refectory. The matter was discussed at some length but a decision was carried forward to a later date. Nine years later, in November 2001, the new Master, 'Robbie' Robinson, on seeing the new facility at Hairini nearing completion and that it was not in possession of an Honours Board, again conspired to obtain one by any means, even to have recourse to W Bro Bill Webby as seconder to his repeated motion which had been generally agreed to at Standing Committee by about fifteen Members. This time it would be deferred for evaluation purposes only and by July 2002 it had been ordered and donated by its proposer with one hundred names duly inscribed thereon. This Honours Board and others on display were the designed and constructed By W. Bro. B. Zumbach


1993 - April
W Bro J Turner reminded the Members regarding the March 1993 informal discussion (not recorded in the Meeting Minutes) concerning the future of the Lodge. He then proposed with W Bro J Lewis seconding, to issue a questionnaire to all members and to convene an Emergency Meeting for 20th May to assess the outcome.

1993 - May
At the subsequent Emergency Meeting, much discussion ensued resulting in two recommendations being passed for submission to the next Periodic Meeting of the Lodge.

1993 - June
 Moved Turner / Howells that a sub-committee comprising The Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, plus any Trustees from our Lodge be empowered to discuss the possibility of amalgamation with our daughter Lodges. (this was a second repeat of yesteryears deliberations
 Moved Riddell / Turner - that a sub-committee comprising V W Bros Robinson and Smith look at programmes for the immediate future of our Lodge.
The mood of the Brethren must have been very low as the Secretary, in issuing the Meeting Notice Paper, thought proper to include in the 'Business of the Meeting':- "the following By-laws are recommended to the Brethren for inclusion as a result of the Emergency Meeting." It continued = "In the event that this Lodge shall be dissolved or shall resolve to cease to exist then, notwithstanding any other provision contained within these By-laws, the residue of any funds, assets, investments or other property vested in the Trustees as may remain after payment of all liabilities, costs and expenses shall be disposed of in such a manner and at such time as this Lodge may determine etc.
Anyone not attending the previous Meetings might well have experienced a twelve volt shock at this most serious communiqué.

At the next Periodical Meeting in August (for remember, the Lodge was in a bimonthly mode), R W Bro Phil Oliver fast pointed out to the Members the ramifications of the Lodge surrendering its Charter and its assets being transferred to the other Lodges. This caused more stir than expected obviously as the Brethren had lengthy debate over ownership of the assets and decided to leave the whole matter in abeyance.



There is no official record of any celebration for this meeting, but there is a History written and compiled by W.Bro. H. A. McLean- Gibb covering that period. At the presentation of this history to the Master and Brethren he commented that to be charged with the task of preparing a short History of the Lodge's first forty years is a particular honour, but due credit must go to all those who made such a work possible. For the older brethren who have grown up with the lodge during these years, I can only hope that it appears as a true reflection of events. When it comes time to write the fiftieth, seventy fifth and centennial histories, I hope that these records will be of some assistance.



1994 - February
The Notice Paper, announced the intention to film Members presenting Charges of their choice from the ritual during a forthcoming Lodge practice. This was to be the subject of a report to the Board of General Purposes for ongoing assessment with regard to future training programmes.

1994 - June
The Newsletter on the reverse of the June 1994 Notice Paper referred to the Lodge attending a 'Strategic Plan Meeting' forthcoming at Whakatane. Read in the context of hindsight from whence one can ascertain the import of this notice, the editor included an introduction to the next Meeting's programme to be called - "The Rise and Ebb of Freemasonry 1914 - 1994"

It was to be a joint presentation between R W Bro Phil Oliver and the Master V W Bro Ken Smith. In part the text read — 'Why has this Strategic Plan become necessary? When did our decline start, why and could action have been taken earlier? Why were previous surveys (e.g. "A Pilot Survey of the Opinions and Attitudes of Members toward Freemasonry in New Zealand?"

Commissioned by the Board of General Purposes and supervised by Heylen Research in 1980) not followed through? Above all, how different is today's society from that of thirty years ago and what changes are needed to restore the prestige it previously enjoyed?

The same Notice Paper announced that the Standing Committee was meeting to discuss 'Lodge Programmes.' It was obvious from the tone of this particular year's Notice Papers, that the Master V W Bro Ken Smith was determined to bring some enterprise into the Lodge's development.

1994 - August
The Master moved a Notice of Motion that the Lodge become a 'Dining Lodge' on a one year trial basis Tyling at 6.00 pm. This was to be ratified in October, but the emotional shock proved too severe for flippant acceptance at the October Meeting and suffered deferment: to the Meeting of November for a full debate as the 'Work of the Evening'. It became the opening shot of The Tauranga Lodge getting on board the Strategic Plan bandwagon as part of a full committal to this new Grand Lodge design.

Now satisfied with the possibilities the Dining Lodge may offer and that this was the track to be on, the Master once more committed himself to the Chair for a further year to see the plan through. A year represented only six Meetings remember, thus loading the Master and Secretary with other administrative tasks in the intervals between Meetings.



The 50th. Jubilee Meeting of Lodge Te Papa No. 316 was held on Tuesday 26th September.

Although prepared in a limited space of time, the compilation of fifty years of Lodge Te Papa No. 316 has provided me with the most interesting research of the available records.

I dedicate it to W. Bro.T. D. Murray who passed away in February 1994. His strength and knowledge will be missed in the lodge, along with his presence at this 50th. anniversary meeting. This small volume, I hope will provide an interesting chronical of the period and furnish the brethren old and new with the opportunity to view in retrospect the past fifty years and to plan more for the future. If it fulfils this purpose, then I feel my efforts have not gone unrewarded.

To W. Bro. Lloyd and to W.Bro. Ecclesfield I extend my sincere thanks for the assistance given whilst completing this manuscript. To all the brethren og Lodge Te Papa, I hope this chronicle motivates us to generate new life to the lodge so that it may continue to prosper for another fifty years.

The History of the lodge was read by the Past Masters. W. Bro. G.W. Kennedy PM



The 75th. Anniversary Meeting of the Chapter was held on the 20th September 1997at the First Avenue Lodge rooms. At the refectory proceedings held in the Tauranga Club dining rooms, with a beautiful view over the harbour, the History of the Chapter, having been researched and compiled by M.Ex. Comp.  Peter Wyatt was presented, and copies were available for those who wanted one.

In a Foreward to this History M.Ex. Comp. John More Grand Superintendent commented as follows: Let us enjoy the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Tauranga Kilwinning Royal Arch Chapter No. 515, pausing to reflect on the dedication and commitment that has been given to this Chapter by so many Royal Arch Masons over the years. It is important to remember that the drive and energy, the confidence and faith of those early members will be required to be given by you. This will enable you to be able to take your Chapter into the next Century and to celebrate your Centennial.

On behalf of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland and of the District of New Zealand, North Island, I convey best wishes and congratulations to all members of the Chapter on this your 75th Anniversary



1996 - February
In his Newsletter, the Master, W Bro Bill Webby made two references to 'reporting from Burns Nights' in the Scottish St. Johns Operative Lodge Magazine:- "At 7.45 Bro Stan Mckay carried in the haggis and at 1.00 am we carried out Stan Mckay", followed by Bro George Jackson who was heard to comment that the Burns Night was without doubt the best three days of the year".


1997 - February
The Chair had by this date passed from V W Bro Smith to W Bro Bill Webby and on to the reluctant hands of W Bro Geoff Watts before the next river needed to be crossed. Nobody's interest could be roused to accept the nomination for the October 97 Installation so once more he Members were summoned to attend a discussion concerning the future.

With the Centennial year drawing nigh, W Bro Douglas Riddell and W Bro Bill Webby (both stout supporters of No125) together put forward a motion that the Lodge struggle on to attain the century and beyond if possible. Stout words indeed, but HOW? Still, without such positive oratory and goal commitment, despite all odds, there was little to predict other than the Lodge collapsing. Doubt prevailed heavily in the air since the Master still had no nominee as his successor and although the Meeting closed on a high if uncertain note of confidence, until a name was forthcoming, clouds were gathering over the Lodge. There were only two interceding meetings before the ballot became due.

1997 - August
With the Notice paper, came the Master's Newsletter bearing an editorial comment that the problem of having no nominee for the Master's position appeared to have been settled. There are no Minutes detailing this important stance, which must therefore be attributed to the grape vine as the Master's notation declared that W Bro Bill Webby would again stand in as Master for the ensuing year 1997/1998. Meanwhile, there were other aspects affecting the patient, which appeared less than healthy since a subsequent remark in the same communique indicated only a handful of Brethren, were attending practices.

Yet another Emergency Meeting was called for (p125 September 1997) in the hope of settling he Lodge's fate once and for all but which took two surprising turns as the Minute's 'full and frank' discussion evolved. A motion by V W Bro Arthur Robinson / W Bro Brian Howells to place he Lodge into dormancy was narrowly defeated on an eight for the motion, ten against vote.

Bro Ron Pibworth (then Junior Warden) astounded commentators with an offer to place himself as the nominee for Master. His presentation to the assembly was more of an apology for himself completely unwarranted, but such was the nature of the man) stating, that as he had yet to sit in the Senior Warden's Chair he did not really consider himself ready for the Master's position, but rather than see the Lodge decline in stature further he would accept the nomination.

Whilst there were some Members who tended to agree with Ron's expressed reservations, by and large they were delighted to move the Lodge on for at least another year and voted unanimously to support him. This Emergency Meeting and particularly Bro Ron Pibworth's gracious action was destined to be the turning point for the Lodge's survival. In hindsight, Bro Ron's action ultimately saved the Lodge from closure.



Like that of the history of Freemasonry, the story of The Bay of Plenty Times, mirrors in many ways, the trials, tribulations, challenges, successes and achievements of the Tauranga Western Bay and Districts. When the Bay of Plenty Times appeared first on September 4th. 1872 , it consisted of four pages, similar in size to today's tabloid publications, produced on a flatbed press. It was bi-weekly, Wednesday and Saturday and the cost was three pence. Masonic history is indebted to this Paper for the many articles written in those early days.


1998 - February
The Dining Lodge and Bi-monthly Meeting one year trial period was now in its fourth year and W Bro Pibworth, in his February Newsletter, called for a Lodge discussion on

Returning to a monthly Meeting.
Make Dining Evenings on even dated months and bring-a¬ plate on alternate months.
Form a Social Committee.
Appoint a Visiting Coordinator (this proving highly successful as it had when initiated in Mt Maunganui Lodge).
 June - Gloom and doom was however still active in some quarters within the Lodge concerning its future. The Minutes record sending a letter to the Te Papa and Gate Pa Lodges suggesting dialogue leading to combining or amalgamating under one banner. (eight years had elapsed since W Bro George McCrae first made this suggestion)

1998 - August
Both the Gate Pa Lodge No. 407 and Lodge Te Papa No. 316 were in agreement for a dialogue thus a meeting between representatives of all three Lodges eventuated on Thursday 17th Sept 1998.

1998 - October
As the installation month of October blossomed so did W Bro Pibworth in taking a second term as Master, and in consultation with V W Bro Ken Smith presented two motions for the Lodge to consider as follows:

That a Committee be appointed to investigate the appropriateness and relativity of Lodge format, and also the potential viability of the Lodge. In short, are we going to offer Te Papa an invitation to amalgamate?

The subtlety of this motion was in its actually being written to evince performance. If carried, and it was, it became a summons rather than an eternal threat of effect which to this point in time had failed in attainment despite numerous discussions.) It went on - "The Committee to consist of the Master, Secretary, Treasurer and two Members appointed by the Master, and to make a comprehensive report to a special Business Meeting of the Lodge no later than March 1999." (Here was the goal, plain and simple for the members to replace rhetoric with action and do it by the appointed date.)
A Committee be formed to examine the By-laws of the Lodge. The Committee shall be the Master, Secretary, Treasurer and one other Member appointed by the Master. It would be constructive if this member be available to liaise with the Grand Secretary on this project. The Committee to present the By-laws to the Lodge no later than June 1999."

The ball was now in Te Papa's playing field whilst Tauranga held their breath. And hold their breath they did for another two years as envoys from both sides considered all the perceived consequences and ramifications.


1999 - February
The Notice paper announced that the Business of the Evening would be twofold, viz. "to finalise the basis on which amalgamation between our Lodge and Lodge Te Papa No 316 will be carried out and secondly to vote on the proposed amalgamation."

The Master's mentions, (for which his reputation heralds brevity), in his accompanying Newsletter "of the September Amalgamation Meeting of the Tauranga and Te Papa Lodges (no Minutes reflect this Meeting) the amicable and equal input of the ensuing discussions." and went on to relate how "a committee of our Lodge was formed comprising the Master, Secretary, V W Bro Arthur Robinson, V W Bro Ken Smith and W Bro Jim Kirkland" The Master furthered added that "This Committee sees its task as taking careful consideration of the view of members and all facets of an amalgamation and if an amalgamation eventuates, their decision must reflect the good of the Craft and the interests of both Lodges and their members.

That unrecorded September Meeting though, is crucial to the historical import of the Lodge and one wonders why this prime link in the merger negotiating chain was left to the Master's casual notes. Fortunately, since it outlines the business at hand, we are able to realize the abrupt motion put forward at the February meeting by W Bro Tozer (Secretary) / W Bro James on behalf of the Lodge Board and presumably based on those September deliberations: "that the members of The Tauranga Lodge No 125 approve a merger of our Lodge with Lodge Te Papa No 316 subject to the members of Lodge Te Papa approving the merger." The motion was carried!

The motion may have been carried but the deed was far from done for in his Newsletter of April 1999, the Master opened with:- "l can only say that the Motion has been put forward for the Lodges (Tauranga and Te Papa) to join and Te Papa feels that it needs further discussion. Consequently, the Motion has been left on the table for the time being".

1999 - June
The Notice Paper stated that the results of the questionnaire enclosed with this Notice Paper would form the basis of a Notice of Motion to be presented at a subsequent Meeting. What was this questionnaire? Well, from the Master's jottings it seems that representatives from both Lodges had another meeting and decided to canvas every member to gauge their opinion on which path to take (if any) regarding the joining of the two Lodges.

1999 - July
The fifth Emergency Meeting during the last quarter century was called to allow V W Bro Ken Smith to submit the following Notice of Motion:- That The Tauranga Lodge No 125 negotiate a merger with Lodge Te Papa No 316 within the criteria set by part (b) of this motion.

That the terms of merger be defined and agreed to by voting, progressively if necessary, within the parameters of options one, two and three as set out in the questionnaire sent to all Members, a majority of two thirds of those present and voting being required to constitute a final decision.

That the amended By-laws of The Tauranga Lodge No 125 be presented to the Lodge and if accepted to be adopted as the Lodge By-laws.

The questionnaire surely must have placed a time-out Clause on these negotiations otherwise the ensuing and ongoing discussions would drag these negotiations into the next century. In principle, both Lodges thought they needed this merger but never achieved an accord.

Ultimately the Lodge resolved to be the master of its own destiny and a motion put to the Lodge to negotiate a merger with Lodge Te Papa was defeated and a new phase in its history got under way in an enthusiastic and extremely positive manner.

1999 - October
At the meeting in October W.Bro W Eltham was installed as Master of the lodge and at once made all present aware that the merger negotiations had gone on long enough.

As far as he was concerned The Tauranga Lodge would revitalize herself with true team intention and Lodge Te Papa could amalgamate now or withdraw.

There would, during the next tenure of The Tauranga Lodge Chair be no room for procrastinating negativity. Enthusiasm echoed from the assembly. They were equally glad to be rid of this farcical amalgamation hanging over them for the past nine years. They had become dependent upon the merger in the misguided belief that it would be the salvation for the Lodge rather than a raft of waterlogged driftwood to cling to.

VW Bro Ken Smith was in with a new paddle of support to lay a Notice of Motion that was so sweet and simple. It read “That the Tauranga Lodge No 125 negotiate a merger with Lodge Te Papa No 316”. The Motion was subsequently and unanimously defeated by a show of hands and Lodge Te Papa notified accordingly. The nine long years of fruitless merger negotiations were at last over and done with. The Lodge no longer had to endure gray clouds of frustration, stagnation and despondency.

The new Mission Statement of the Master – elect was:-
“To make The Tauranga Lodge the most successful Lodge in the Bay of Plenty”, and that, to the very best of the members ability, is just what they as a team set out to do.

At the meeting in November RW Bro.Phil Oliver was presented with a fifty year badge.

Lodge Te Puke No. 261

At the 75th. Anniversary Meeting of Lodge Te Puke No.261 held in April a comprehensive History of the lodge was presented. W. Bro. SteveTurnbull W. M. welcomed all those present and during that address he commented that through the 98/99 year, we have also celebrated the 50th. Anniversary of the reciprocal visits between Lodge Te Papa and Lodge Te Puke. To all those who have worked hard to make this anniversary a success I wish to extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks. In particular I wish to thank W Bro. Ivan Frost, who with his team of advisers have put this History together.


This was the year in which the Grand Lodge of New Zealand totally re-structured the Craft in New Zealand -going from fourteen Provincial Districts to some thirty plus "independent" though much smaller "local" clusters or Districts. This change though worthily motivated, was a move which had some unfortunately negative aspects in "dissecting" a geographically very large Province with very strong fraternal relationships between its Lodges - into segmented fragments. Our Mother Lodge, Waihi No 112, was sadly being split away to the new Hauraki District which had been formed from joining some of the Southern Lodges of the former South Auckland District with some of the Northern Lodges of the Waikato District. Although losing Waihi was a bitter pill for them and us at the time, Waihi Lodge had forever been one of our staunchest supporters in visiting and that loyalty was not to be discarded easily.

The story goes that on one occasion our Waihi Brethren had driven to Tauranga to attend a meeting only to find on arrival that they were a week adrift. In the best of fellowship a repartee ensued and started by the Tauranga Master declaring that the Waihi Master went about with his posse looking for an open Lodge to plunder. Not to be outdone W Bro Derek Mills of Waihi dubbed us the Tauranga Indians. This carried on an exchange of a goodwill that had lasted for the previous ninety nine years.

2000 - April
A third major item on the Agenda of this evening's business was a Notice of Motion for the Lodge to revert to a monthly Meeting Tyling at 7.30 pm in line with most other Lodges. The twelve month trial period of the Bi-monthly meeting format, initiated in August 1990 was now in its ninth year whilst the same period of trial for the 'Dining Lodge' had lasted six years having been tabled in August 1994.

The motion was heartily carried by all assembled at the May Meeting. With this change came also the end of the term 'Periodical Meeting' for the By-laws, Notice papers and Minutes would henceforth record our meetings once again and justly so as 'Regular Meeting'.

The ominous fear in this was whether a programme of interest could be sustained for eleven consecutive monthly meetings? The Master assured the Members that it could for they now had a Candidate for Freemasonry. Not only was he to be the first Initiate since November 1998 but he was the son of one of the Lodge's most active past members, the late W Bro Brian Howells. W Bro Ray Elsom had engaged himself in conversation with his son Steven and asked him if he had considered following in father's footsteps in joining the Craft? Steven's reply, -Dad never spoke to me about Freemasonry but I would like to join".

Within the Lodge, the year 2000 also included in its successes an outstanding achievement in benevolence - when Mrs Mary Lewis inspired the Brethren to assist with a Charity Dinner to raise funds for the Waipuna Hospice. The Lodge hadn't practised high profile benevolence for many a day. Indeed, this was to be an enterprise and a half, and with the helping hand of two healthy donations from Members and a considerable input from the Grand Lodge Fund of Benevolence, the combined effort raised $4500, raised the Lodge profile, raised the Members spirits, and comradeship improved.

2000 - May
From the Master’s newsletter – “My thanks to the Procedures Committee (VW Bro Arthur Robinson & W Bro John Sykes) in giving their time to revise the Opening and Business sessions in an endeavour to cut out some of the outmoded red tape we have inherited. Well done Bros! At least my job is simpler.

If we are to be a leader in the district then traditional changes will need to change again as we breed new traditions to secure the future. The changes we now introduce will reflect a vision of a new corner stone of functional and sensible practice and with luck, future generations of our Lodge will be aware of the tradition we left them. i.e. “Change is Progress”

2000 - June
The June Meeting celebrated a long overdue 1st Degree Initiation for Candidate Stephen Howells. A guest ritualist was introduced to the proceedings in the person of W Bro Charles Pettit of Lodge Mt Maunganui whose invitation was in the spirit of Lodge unity. It was hoped that this gesture would promote further interest both to members and visitors alike. The members considered that further invitations should be extended to other Lodges and in fact, a new tradition was established.

2000 - July
By now, the Hairini Centre plans were formulating rapidly and the Lodge was privy to monthly reports from V W Bro Arthur Robinson as Chairman of the Property Management Board and Deputy Master of The Tauranga Lodge, Progress had been forthcoming until the time arrived when sufficient groundwork had been advanced which now required the Lodges to make a commitment for the Board to proceed with confidence. This was a step, which The Tauranga Lodge confirmed without hesitation although not all Lodges were quite as aligned to the fostering of plans over which they would be surrendering control to the Board.

2000 - September
The Lodge was to receive two new titles bestowed on its members under the new GL District Zonings. W Bro John Sykes was declared Divisional Membership Officer answering to the Divisional GM in Auckland and The Master, W Bro Bill Eltham became District Communications Officer, answerable to everybody else. Neither post came with any recognisable status emblem yet both were to be more exacting than was first considered.


2001 - February
Candidate Ray Crafts was to become the Twenty-first Century's first Entered Apprentice of the Bay of Plenty District 125 and he had a 'Ceremony Royal' for his Initiation. Under the joint sponsorship of The Tauranga and Mt Maunganui Lodges, each Lodge of the District surrendered and prepared their newest Masons to present the work to great acclaim. From the first organ chords created by V W Bro Wilson Dodds, to the wizardry of Lodge Ponsonby's renowned piper Jamie Gibb, the Candidate received a great Scottish welcome. As an extra surprise he was to discover that his natural brother, W Bro Brian Crafts, PM of Otaki Lodge No 72 had just rendered him his Obligation. There were a hundred Masons as witness and so sweet was the Ceremony to see the Craft in fine harmony.

2001 - April
To meet the demands of the Lodge programme, the next two waiting Candidates, George Francis and Paul Chapman, were ceremoniously Initiated together. Bro Berin Burnett was our guest ritualist making them an outstanding presentation of the Working Tools Charge.

At this meeting, the Lodge continued its policy once more of asking VW Bro Ken Smith PG Lec to present The Ceremony of the Empty Chair in memorial to those ANZACS who never returned from overseas conflicts to take their rightful place in the Lodge.

Bro Ray Crafts FC was taken to Lodge Whakatane for his ‘Passing Degree’ before the Dist GM and his entourage. Another great night of Ceremony and Harmony.

Our one hundred and seven visits to other Lodges during the preceding year returned superb numbers visiting us at each meeting. W Bro John Sykes, our SW and Divisional Membership Officer, made a computation from the attendance register that the average visiting figure for each meeting we held at 1st Avenue was 22 Masons.

It was in this month also that VW Bro Arthur Robinson P Asst Prov GM, an Initiate, Celebrity and Senior Elder of The Tauranga Lodge accepted nomination for the office of Master during the ensuing Centennial year 2001 / 2002.

As Master, Chairman of the Property Management Board and overseer of the new Masonic Centre he would be stretching himself beyond his comfort zone but the pressure of the members was too potent to evade for this high profile year in the Chair.

The Masonic year of 2001 / 2002 was to be a grand and historical great year for BOP Masonry.

2001 - May
At the morning business session of this Meeting the presentation to W Bro Bill Mountfort of his Roll of Honour Citation was finally able to be carried out. Now able to walk once more following his recent leg joint replacements, Bill was placed before V W Arthur Robinson for the honour of congratulating him and bestowing the coveted award to a most deserving recipient.

The Grand Master, M W Bro Ian Ross had been encouraging all Lodges to look into the social side of meetings more and this The Tauranga Lodge accepted with great comfort.

"Open the doors more!" he said. Well we did - and this Meeting saw the Ladies in the Lodge Room for a programme comprising
An introduction from the First Section of the First of the Old Lectures
An Address as to the character of the Lecture
The Catechism from the First Lecture
The First Tracing Board interposed with Catechism
An appraisal from the annex of the Book of Old Lectures
And finally, the ancient Entered Apprentice Song from the same source.

This Meeting was not only an outstanding success but was also the first Lodge Meeting in New Zealand to present the Tracing Board of the First Degree in this form and in open Lodge before two Entered Apprentices with ladies present. Our Entered Apprentices were impressed, the ladies were intrigued, a stray male visitor was in awe sufficiently to channel him into Candidacy, and although there are no secrets other than our stance on recognition, we still exhibited respect and regard to the sacred aspects of the Charge.

The dust had barely settled, when from the Board of General Purposes came notification to all Lodges in New Zealand to the effect that while it was perfectly in order to give Ladies and Non-Masons an overview of the Teachings of the Craft and its ceremonies "it definitely WAS NOT was not acceptable to deliver Masonic ritual verbatim in such circumstances!

The population of Tauranga as shown in the City records.
1901            945
1928            2625
1941-1945    3910
1949            5750
1952            7823
2001            90,906

THE YEAR 2001 - 2002 was to be a grand and historically significant year for Masonry in the Bay of Plenty.

2002 - August
V W Bro Arthur Robinson, as Chairman of the Property Management Board, announced during the Business Session that the First Avenue Lodge Rooms had finally succumbed to the highest bidder at auction. The jubilation of now being able to proceed with the new Centre with positive endeavour outweighed the melancholy of saying farewell to this highly prized and much loved abode. We all knew that modernisation was imminent but the pill of achievement still evinced a flavour of sweet sorrow.

2002 - September
This was to be our last Meeting at First Avenue.. W Bro Jim Kirkland, renowned for his diligence in the Office of Almoner of the Lodge was the focus of the evening. A man who will serve the Lodge in any way at the drop of a hat - but his Almoner's duty is always uppermost in his thoughts. He had suffered severe personal illness in latter months and carried the burden of two of his adult children through major surgery but still went about his Almoner's business to his great credit. On this historic night and on behalf of his Mother Lodge, Arthur Robinson presented him with a much coveted Almoner's Jewel.

It was on this evening too that we were to say goodbye to our First Avenue Lodge venue. Together with our ladies at the September Meeting over a social evening of good cheer, humour and harmony, the outgoing Master W Bro. Bill Eltham led a programme designed at softening the blow of never meeting there again. We parted in Peace, Love, and Happy even if Melancholy Harmony.

Ladies, Distinguished Brethren and Visitors,
It would not be fitting for us to leave this dear old chamber for the last time without some sort of recodnition to her years of service. 1902---2000

To the men who belonged to it and never returned from the wars
To the Daughter lodges which were petitioned here.
To the hundreds who have been made Freemasons under her roof.
To the building add-ons and renovations she has endured.
To her promise on her day of Consecration to stand by us as we have stood by her.
To the numerous ceremonies of Initiation, Passing’s, Raisings and Installations.
To the many Orders who have sought refuge within her portals.
To the rituals and charges that have echoed off her walls.
To the music and odes she has struggled with.
To the memory of heralding trombones and trumpets preceding Grand Masters.
To the swell of pipes that have heightened our proceedings.
To long and wearisome lectures and to brief though entertaining talks.
To the many enterprising programmes of visionary members presented here during her Masonic life.
To the jewels and badges, certificates and honours in redemption of meritious service.
To reams of correspondence dispensed from the secretary's desk.
To the many collections taken in the name of benevolence.
To the secret ballots administered as a foundation to our democratic society.
To matters multifarious and too numerous to mention.

To all these things, let us salute this Lodge and these rooms from this dossier of reflection.

As this was the last meeting for W Bro. Eltham as Master, the following toast was proposed by the Master elect.

It is my pleasure to propose a toast to our Master on this the last evening before vacating the Chair of King Solomon. Firstly, thank you Bill for the time and effort to be Master. It was obvious from the start that you were going to enjoy what you were going to do and to be a good leader. You came to our Lodge when it needed a leader to help this old lodge into it’s one hundredth year and push it excitingly towards the next century. You have a positive opinion of yourself, confidence in your ability to succeed and have been able to educate, sponsor and council especially the new members.

With this attitude you have achieved many things, you have increases the vitality and enthusiasm of the members, successfully organised a Charity dinner involving many members of lodges and friends. Brought together the Lodges in the new BoP District for the Unity meeting and arranged debates in a light hearted manner.
You have also on behalf of Bill Ross District G M organised the District Lodges dinner and entertainment, and have visited and represented this lodge extensively and regularly. Lodges in this district are in no doubt as to who is the Master of The Tauranga lodge and where it stands in the order of things.

In proposing this toast, I wish you, on behalf of the members of the lodge, every success in your future endeavours and look forward to your assistance during the Centennial year. To the Master Bill Eltham.

It is also my pleasure to propose this toast to Trigia Eltham. When Bill took on the Master-ship of the lodge it was obvious that Tricia was prepared to support and encourage him with his responsibilities. She has always been there when there was something to be done and accompanied Bill when he made a visit to every member of the lodge. It is only fitting Tricia that you should also share in the pleasure and success that you both have achieved. The members of the lodge thank you most sincerely for all you have done for and on behalf of the lodge. To Tricia Eltham.

2001 - October
By duly signed Dispensation, the Lodge assembled in the old Power Board Building's top floor at 69 Spring St., Tauranga for its 1136th Regular meeting. We were so lucky that the Property Management Board had found this venue for it offered almost all of that which we required in the way of convenience. Although the air conditioning was not of the best - in fact there was none!

The Lodge Tyled at 10.00am on Thursday October 18th in readiness for the evening's Installation Ceremony when R W Bro Bill Ross, District Grand Master, Installed V W Bro Arthur Robinson into the Master's Chair.

November - At this Meeting W Bro Geoff Watts was to be presented with the meritorious Roll of Honour in due recognition of his untiring services to the Lodge.

The ritual work still had to be attended to in readiness for King Solomon's new representative at this the 100th Installation of The Tauranga Lodge No 125. Our cramped, if unusual, make-shift Masonic setting lacking the decorum of First Avenue had a Pavement comprised of squares and triangles cut from Real Estate 'For Sale' signs stuck to the black painted reverse of a games night 'Crown and Anchor' board.

2002 - February
The year opened with the Lodge still confined to the temporary Spring Street venue due to inclement weather delaying occupancy of the new, but as yet to be named, Masonic Centre. At the touch and go point, when the new building wasn't quite ready, and the Spring Street lease had expired, Robbie arranged a corner of the new refectory for The Tauranga Lodge to hold its February Regular Meeting. The alternative might have been the dusty auction rooms housing all four Lodges', Orders' and Chapters' equipment where we had been obliged to continue rehearsing during the delay. The builders, in a last minute swish with the polishing rag instead made it possible for that Meeting to assemble in the new Masonic Centre.


By W. Bro. Berin Burnett P.G.Std.B

This Historical document is an overview of the events and personalities that were drawn together to complete the Masonic Centre, through the eyes and mind of Berin Burnett.

As a tribute to this Brother I cannot do better than publish this document and quote from my chairman’s report to the AGM of the Bay of Plenty Masonic Charitable Trust of last November 2004.

“It is the unanimous decision of the trust members that they acknowledge the most important part that Berrin Burnett has played in the investigation, presentation, and construction of this splendid Masonic centre. This is not the place to set out the detail of his involvement, but there must be a record of the debt that the freemasons of the district owe to him. With most ventures of human endeavour, both large and small, there is usually one person who has the foresight, the ability, the Mana and the strength of purpose to bring together all the personnel and assets, and encourage them to work towards it’s fulfilment. Such a person is Berin Burnett and no one can deny the determination and personality of this Brother, who has brought this project to fruition. It was therefore determined that the area adjacent to the Centre be called BURNETT COURT and a suitable notice be erected to that purpose.”
W A E Robinson PGW Chairman

At a Trust Board meeting on 29'". October 2004 it was unanimously agreed that there should be a record of how the Masonic Centre in Tauranga came into being. It came down to who should do this job. All zoomed in on Berin Burnett. Further discussion round the board table showed that all had stories to tell. ' Do you remember this ? Do you remember'?' The Chairman had difficulty in maintaining control of the meeting. There was such enthusiasm: giving Berin the confidence that he could draw on their contribution to fill the gaps in his memory.

Berin, driving home from the meeting at Hairini, endeavoured to plan the format coming to the conclusion that it would be a boring read if he attempted to get all of the events into a chronological order. Chapters were the answer and in this way he could deal with important events and milestones, as well as obtain a contribution from the memory bank of the Board members and other key people involved. The Chapters will be placed in an order that will attempt to give the reader the events
as they happened.

Another major thing necessary in the format was to avoid the use of Rank, Mr. Mrs. and family names. First names will be used. The reader can refer to the abbreviations following this forward. Some are not Freemasons but are men and women who have made a considerable contribution in many different ways to our Centre. You will get to know them as the author has. (and here is an understatement) as being wonderful people to be associated with. We call them ‘THE TEAM".

It is also important to briefly dwell upon what was taking place prior to Peter's letter to the Lodges Orders and Chapters in 2000 particularly in regard to the TMPMB and the status of the two properties in First Avenue Tauranga and in Lodge Avenue Mt. Maunganui.

The TMPMB had been looking throughout Tauranga for a number of years to find a site or property that would meet their future needs as their building was in poor repair. There was consideration given to developing the First Ave. site. Without dwelling on why there was not a change in meeting place, suffice it to say that there was still some Brethren who would like to see a change and were actively working to this end. On the other side of the water the lodge Ave property was shabby and unsuitable for modern Freemasonry. The Brethren meeting there talked informally about options open to them but did nothing about it. It was not unexpected that when the subject of relocating was really considered, progressive Brethren were prepared to listen to sensible proposals. The story starts to unfold when two important things happened:-

There was awareness that all Freemasons in the district, (Tauranga and Mount Maunganui) should consider meeting under the one roof. (Chapter 1-  Peter's letter to LOC'S)
 That Grand Lodge of New Zealand was encouraging Masonic Property owners throughout New Zealand to upgrade their image for various reasons and that funds were available on mortgage if projects were viable. (Renewal Programme)

      The author and other contributors hope you will enjoy this story.



Robbie     Tga. 125 R         W Bro Arthur Robinson PG W.
                                        Chairman of theTauranga Masonic
                                        Property Management Board and The
                                        Bay of Plenty Masonic Charitable
                                        Trust Board. Trustee.

Don         Tga. 125             W Bro. Don James RH Deputy
                                         Chairman of both Boards. On Building
                                         Committee and 1/C of Security, Building
                                         compliance and Audio systems.
Jim         Tga. 125               W Bro. Jim Kirkland
John       Tga. 125               W Bro John Sykes PGS On Building
                                         committee, 1/C specialising in storage
                                         facilities, Lodge room design and
                                         layout, Audio Installation

Allan Lloyd     Te Papa 316     VWBro. PGDC Secretary Treasurer of both
                                          Boards. 1/C of all financial matters.
Ross             Te Papa 316     WBro. Ross Rex Assistant to Secretary/
                                          Tres. 1/C of Commercial properties/
Graham G.    Te Papa 316      WBro. Graham Green. Specialising in
                                           Catering and allied building services.
Graham K.     Te Papa 316      WBro. Graham Kennedy PGS 1/C of
                                           mechanical equipment and catering.
Bruce E          Te Papa 316     WBro. Bruce Ecclesfield PGSwB
                                           Bruce resigned from the Property
                                           Management Board during the Project.

Graham B.     Mt. Maunganuigui. 376     WBro. Graham Burgess
Berin             Mt. Maunganuigui 376      WBro. Berin Burnett PGStd.B On
                                                          building committee, Project
                                                          Management/coordinator, construction
                                                          supervisor, Trustee. Wife Mary.
Bob                Mt Maunganuigui 376     WBro Bob Stewart Catering and allied
                                                         building services, Trustee.

Bruce               Gt.. Pa 407                   WBro. Bruce Zumbach. Trustee 1/C of
                                                          building and all property maintenance.
                                                          On building committee. Construction
Les                  Gt. Pa 407                    VW Bro. Les Borrell PGLec. I/C of bookings both Masonic and. Public for the
                                                          Lodge Facility Building.
Mike                 Gt. Pa 407                    V Wor. Bro. Mike Cooke Dis. GM.
                                                          Maintenance of grounds. Landscape design
Ivan                 Gt. Pa 407                   W. Bro. Ivan Palmer PG. Ty. Special events
Ian M                Gt. Pa 407                  W. Bro. Ian Morrison GDC Maintenance of 
                                                         grounds and event’s organiser Wife Claire
Peter                 Gt. Pa 407                  RW Bro. Peter Wyatt PGW Original steering 
                                                         committee  member
Bill                    Kawerau 422              RW Bro. Bill Ross P Prov and Dist. GM
                                                         Honorary Trustee Wife Moira
Ian R                                                  MW Bro. Ian Ross PGM . Wife Colleen
Tony                                                   Bro. Tony Skegg Real Estate Agent and
                                                          property adviser. Involved in sales of
                                                          both properties and the purchase of land
                                                          at Hairini
Grant and Judy                                    Mr and Mrs Castles owner of the motel next to the Centre end owners of the
                                                         450sqm of land on which the Centre is built.   
Charles                                               Mr Charles Schubert Real Estate Agent
                                                         for Eves Realty later to become Bayleys
                                                         Real Estate
Ross                                                   Ross Bryant of Ross Bryant Design
                                                          Network Mount Maunganui
Simon                                                 Simon Harris. Proprietor of Property
                                                          Solutions Ltd. Specialising in valuations
                                                          and Business planning
Ted           The Gate Pa Lodge             W. Bro. Ted Martin Tiling contractors
Bill Mc.N    The Gate Pa Lodge             W. Bro. Bill McNutt Gifted
                                                         the Lodge Pavement to the Centre
L O C's                                                Lodge Orders and Chapters (10)
                                                          Those contributing to the operating
                                                          expenses of the Lodge facility

T M P M B The Tauranga Masonic Property Management Board

For the management of the First Ave property consisting of 3 representatives from each of the Lodges, Tauranga, Te Papa and GatePa and later to include 3 representatives of Lodge Mount Maunganui. As this Board was already in existence and now represented freemasons in the district and had enough finance to begin, it was logical that it should be the vehicle to manage the establishment of the new Hairiness Centre.

Chapter 1
What started it all and the formation of an informal Steering Committee. The sending out of a letter by Peter to all the LOC's in the Tauranga, Te Puke, Katikati Mt Maunganui districts received little response with the exception of two Lodges, Gate Pa and Mt Maunganui. Gate Pa instructed Paul and Mt Maunganui instructed Berin to look into the merits of Peter's proposal and a meeting was set up at Paul's office in Greerton. Peter, Paul and Berin were the only ones present.

We were all of like mind and there was obvious enthusiasm of a concept for all LOC's to meet under the one roof: As discussion flowed. Peter expressed the concern that to get a project like this underway required people with special skills and he did not have these skills. He still feels this to this day, but is reminded that his support in other ways, such as keeping Brethren positive and objective, would be, and has been invaluable.

Paul felt the same, but had a further concern about limitations on his time as he had a business to run, but would assist where possible.

Bierin, on the other hand had most of the skills, due to previous work experience in design, preparation of concept plans, construction, project management and business planning.. It was quickly determined that it would be necessary to form an Informal Steering Committee and put together a Concept plan that could be read by all interested Brethren with the hope that it would achieve several things.

 It had to be sufficiently controversial that it would generate discussion amongst conservative and negative Brethren.
 That progressive positive Brethren, would see past some of the preliminary thinking and say ' we should look further into this', being sufficiently motivated to.
 form a Formal Steering Committee.

It must be recorded that when the first Proposal - Preliminary Concept Plan was sent out to the LOC's, the TMPMB reacted by sending a letter to Peter reminding him of the work that had, and was still being done, on the subject. It also said that the informal steering committee had no official standing and that if any proposal involving the First Ave property was to be considered they would expect to be involved. (Author's comments— this was not unreasonable.)

Refer to Appendix 3

This is an opportune time to record that the biggest frustration that the TMPMB had was that Grand Lodge had a limitation of $100,000 loan funding, and if the equity in lst Avenue was added then this would not give sufficient equity in any development of 1 st. Ave or purchase of any other property. 20d mortgage funding would be required.

Berin knew that the complex, if ever built, would be entirely different from what was contained in this document, although it had to address some very basic requirements and be reasonably accurate economically It really was a document to generate interest and discussion. Important issues were:

 Location of the Centre. It could not be located in the centre of Tauranga as Mt.Maunganui would feel marginalised and feel they were losing their identity. And visa-versa with the Tauranga Brethren if located at Mt Maunganui.
How would it be financed? Knowing the policy of GI, the $100,000 limit had to rise to up to $ 600/800,000 so work had to be done here with GL and when and if a proposal was submitted to them it had to make total sense and be economically viable. Bill._ as District GM was keeping GL Wellington informed
Rents to be payable by the Masonic users had to be realistic and acceptable. Rents had not kept pace with inflation over the years so the reaction by Brethren would be negative, to say the least, as their dues would have to rise. What a challenge.
The Centre must have a commercial entity to it. where the income from the tenancies would more than cover the interest and capital repayments, with a surplus to assist in the cost of running the Lodge Facility building.
The two property owners had to be involved with the sale of their properties and the equity combined. The concept was that the Freemasons of the area would own the new complex under a Charitable Trust giving also a sense of ownership to all in the Bay of plenty District, (later to become District 12)

It must also be appreciated that this Informal Steering Committee did not have any funding to prepare plans, elevations or perspective drawings.  Everything that was done was pretty basic and on the cheap. Ross helped Berin without charge by giving up to date costs on land building and fees. His services were invaluable. (Ross's dad was a Freemason and it is hoped that one day Ross will join the Craft)

While the preliminary Proposal was being talked about at meetings, in Refectory and in the back of cars. Berin and Mary for several months were out driving looking for land, calling in on owners and researching ownership through the District Council. They knew what was required and in what area. The compass point was placed on the roundabout at SH 29 and Hairini St with circles drawn on a scale map. Berin then drove from given populated areas and noted the times and the distances. Land was considered at Pycs Pa. Oropi, Chapel St., Tauranga Airport, Maungatapu, Welcome Bay, to name a few. The object of this was to have the ammunition against negative Brethren and of course to establish the fairest and best place for a Centre.C

Chapter 2
Land Acquisition

As land could not be found and The TMPMB was still active in trying to satisfy its needs by only considering a Tauranga based complex. Mt Maunganui was becoming a little frustrated. Berin changed the direction by looking for land near the airport, found it. costed up a go it alone complex which would meet the needs of the Mt Maunganui Brethren. This was a compromise and not the best solution for the district.

At this point the TMPMB was working on plans to develop lr Avenue. Berin was not privy to all that was going on here.

Bill was asked to attend a meeting at the refectory of Lodge Avenue one Saturday morning. Moira, Bill. Bob and Berin. were present. Bill was taken to look at land near the airport.. His banging the table in a controlled way included the words. "THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER. WE HAVE TO ALL MEET UNDER THE ONE ROOF" Berin..."but Bill I just can't find the right land"' LOOK BERIN GO OUT AGAIN AND FIND IT!!!!

Sunday morning arrived with Berin pretty brassed of: Lets go and have one more go he said to Mary. In all of the driving, we had not gone in to talk with the proprietors of the motel to see if they know of anything in the area. This now introduces Grant and Judy. We called and introduced ourselves and asked the question about land in the area. Grants reply was 'come with me' we walked through a gap in an old fence and there was about 5000sq meters of land, 'would this do you?' says Grant. He outlined that it is for sale and that he had just finished discussions with an oil company, who wanted to buy it but could not obtain planning consent, because they needed access off SI 129, which Transit would not give them.

The normal questions were asked. Zoning - what was the asking price – who owned and built the Medical Centre and was this on a separate title - did he have a plan of the property from which Berin could do some homework - did he want the shed on the property - access - noise levels from highway??'? Berin had a gut feeling that this was the property for us. He could visualise the commercial property adjacent to the Medical Centre and a Lodge facility Building with the Lodge room facing east sitting on the site. Remember everyone, that the compass point was placed not 100 meters from where we were standing. He left Grant with the understanding that this was a serious enquiry, and if he approved, to expect a number of our Brethren to be walking over the property in the near future. Appreciate at this point, we were not in the position to enter into a sale and purchase agreement. There was so much work to do. Grant was looking at the feasibility of developing this land as residential , but Berin felt that this was not the right type of development for this site, even if it was zoned Residential A. He suspected that Grant and Judy felt this as well and would prefer to sell it. Back home again to phone Bill. You can imagine his delight and surprise. 'TOLD YOU SO" he said with a laugh. "WHAT DO WE DO NOW?" A good question!!!

Berin contacted Robbie who arranged for a number of Board members to visit the site and the word spread. There was positive feedback, which meant we had to get our 'skates on'. These were the urgent things that had to be attended to at this time:

 Berin to do a comprehensive scheme plan and cost analysis based on acquiring the land for $100-00 per sq meter.
Arrange with GL, some bridging finance to purchase the land.
Title search and LIM report.
Shoot levels and look into technical matters such as drainage.
Seek Bill's assistance to call a meeting in Tauranga

This meeting clarified the position of whether the two property owners should proceed or not. The answer was YES and this was a real milestone. This cleared the way for a Formal Steering Committee to be formed, which came under the direction of the TMPMB and Berin assured Robbie of his total support. Berin now had some funds to prepare plans and a more comprehensive proposal for GL to consider. We could now negotiate with Grant and Judy and with the assistance of Tony a Sale and Purchase Agreement was signed with 2 main conditions.

 That the purchase was subject to GL providing the funding for the
 That a resource consent could be obtained.

(There were other conditions but these were the critical ones.)

There was a lot that went on over this period that frustrated the vendors, Grant and Judy, mainly in relation to negotiations with the local Iwi and Tauranga District Council in respect of securing a Resource Consent For months we could not make the contract unconditional. Grant and Judy were not pleased and extended the agreement many times. Their patience must be admired.

Chapter 3
Grand Lodge Involvement

The Author is being very careful here to get his facts right and not to offend anyone but his interpretation of events in relation to the Steering Committee's dealings with Grand Lodge has to be recorded. From the outset the author acknowledges that for GL to handle a project of this size and complexity would be, and was, a steep learning curve for all concerned. GL administration, from the Grand Secretary to the Board of General Purposes, at this time did not have the capacity to handle the barrage of correspondence, increased by the fact that they would not answer critical correspondence promptly.

The Gr Sec. required the approvals of the B of GP and the Board was meeting every 2 months. Due to the tensions that had developed the B of GP instructed Frank to go to Tauranga and sort the matter out. Refer to Appendix 7. There was a file prepared covering all of the correspondence with GL, as evidence for a meeting in Wellington, should the Steering Committee need to sort problems out down there. This file is not included in the attached appendixes but a summary of this was prepared by Robbie and is included. This was a very costly and frustrating time. There were 2 main contentious points.

As approved by Frank the cash flow in the business plan and the requirement for GL to provide $800,000 over a 25 year term was mandatory for the Centre to be viable.GL knew this but continued to press for $700,000 over 15 years.
Another point was that GL insisted that the 2 Lodge properties be sold PRIOR to their approval of any loan funding.

How could the Trustees approve the sale of their properties without confirmation from GL that they would lend $800,000 over a 25 year term.? A CATCH 22 IF WE EVER SAW ONE. What was even more frustrating was the fact the GL would not put their offer in writing and unbelievable as it may sound the two properties were placed on the market and sold without confirmation from GL that they would provide the funds and the terms of the mortgage. The Charitable Trust Board's legal advisers pointed out the risk and said that if you want to proceed you will have to rely on their goodwill and loose verbal arrangements. GL would never have placed the trustees of those properties in this position. It was most un-business like.

Enter the Grand Master Ian R.
Bill R and Moira host a luncheon at their home in Whakatane every year for the Masters and their Partners from District 12. Ian R. and Colleen were returning from a visit to Gisborne and arrived for lunch. Sitting around the table chatting the subject of the Tauranga Project took centre stage. Particularly the shortfall of $200,000. Ian R. asked Berin to comment on the financial position of the 5 Craft Lodges in Tauranga. Berin reply was that he did not know the specific details but thought they all had modest savings. His next question was directed to Graham K. How much has Te Papa got invested?

Graham answered this honestly by saying that they were the beneficiary under a will and had invested around $155,000. Ian R. then asked Berin if he knew about this. Berin’s reply was that he knew that Te Papa had been left some funds but had no idea how much. Ian R. then said. “How do you f.xpect me to go toGL. and negotiat for an extra $200,000 when you have half of it up here? authors note - a good point! You convince Te Papa to supply $100,000 and I will support you and do my best to secure the other $100,000 from GL.”

Berin contacted Robbie and there was an arrangement for Robbie to be at the site at 500pm that day to meet the GM and Berin.

Both Robbie and Berin were a little annoyed when Ian R. implied that we knew of the Te Papa $155,000 and we were not being entirely honest in our dealings with himself and GL. This was not the case of course and when our GM left, Robbie and Berin debated the events and looked at it from Ian R's point of view. They agreed with his philosophy about Te Papa's funds being "Masonic money" and that a part of this should be contributed but not with his implication that we were being un Masonic. This matter was resolved later when Ian R realised the full position.

Robbie and Berin conveyed to Ian R. the frustrations caused by delays and non-confirmation from the GL end and asked him to address this issue. We assume he did just that, as matters improved from then on.

Te Papa later gifted $100,000 to the Charitable Trust Board as a contribution toward the building of the Centre. In recognition of this wonderful gift and its original source the Library was named The Frank Mayhill Room.

First Ave property was being marketed by Charles of Eves Realty . The decision was to auction the property. This property sold for $400,000 The funds from this sale went to repay the bridging loan from GLL to purchase the Land.

The additional $100,000 became available from GL and the terms of the loan were altered to satisfy a monthly affordable repayment plan of $3891-00 . This news was conveyed to the Mt Lodge and their Trustees now approved of the sale of their property. A sale committee of 4 was set up; Ian Hastie, Tony Skegg, John Sykes and Berin Burnett. The property later sold for $300,000 to Bill and Marion Young. After settlement and with the loan on mortgage funds from GL, we were now in a position financially to commence with working plans and call for pricing.

The anticipated total cost of the project was $1,550,000

The two properties did not realise the money we thought they would and when you combine this with the problem experienced with the foundations of the Commercial building eating up a $20,000 contingency figure in one go, there was a need to raise approximately $75,000 from the Brethren in the District. A brochure was printed and circulated and the sum of $35,000 was raised thus stopping us from 100% completing the project.

Ross was commissioned to do the plans and specifications and to finalise Resource Consent matters. He was also asked to pursue the merits of direct negotiations with a competent builder in lieu of calling tenders. This will be the subject of another chapter.


The building committee consisted of Berin, John, Don, Bruce. This committee gave Ross his instructions. The committee met as required and reported to the Trust Board. Berin chaired this committee and by in large it ran without dissention. As is the case with all enthusiastic people creating something special each wanted to stamp their mark. This brief story involves Bruce Z. who is a retired builder and meticulous in costing up jobs and in fact building them. He was not one to impose his views on others. Nothing would get past him and in many cases he did not get his way until one day when the Lodge Room decor was being determined he insisted that it had to have a light blue ceiling and east wall of dark blue. We the building committee and later the full Board bowed to his wishes. He had had a win. We all joke about it ever since. We all watch that he does not get too pushy.

He is bound to have some words to say in this chapter.

Chapter 4
Design and Technical Matters

This chapter relates only to design (to satisfy the needs of the Charitable Trust Board and ultimately the Brethren) and technical matters that would be of interest to the reader as construction proceeded. There is no attempt to put them in order of events as Berin and Ross had addressed most of the basic design over previous months, prior to Ross being commissioned to do the job.

Appendix 8 contains Resource Consent Applications and A4 preliminary Plans so the reader can appreciate the layout of the buildings and how they are placed on the site. They are not copies of the final or working plans.


The land was an irregular shape. The SE boundary was adjacent to the medical centre and it was sensible to build the Commercial Centre adjacent to this building following the dog leg of the land. The site was subject to a high noise level from SH29 and required the development of an earth burn along the front boundary.

A cut into the land approximately 1600mm high at its highest point was required to set the Lodge Facility Building lower to comply with the resource consent and to make the walk up from the car park less arduous. The land originally was a dairy farm.

When the machine was put in to prepare the foundations for the Commercial Building a soft spot was located. To rectify, this cost $20,000 as this soft earth had to be removed and new material compacted in its place. It was suspected that this soft spot was a place in the 1940's used by contractors to quarry metal and it was later filled with soft black soil.


A 2 storey building was considered but we found that the return on a single storey would be higher and it would be an easier building to tenant. The correct size to suit our investment and the land available was 400 sq meters (later turned out to be 401 m sq.). This was divided into 5 tenancies ranging in size from 27 to 112 sq. meters.

To give the building some presence on the land we designed it with a bulky roof with gables to break the line of the roof and suitable for sign writing. Three year leases were offered with 2 year rent reviews. The commencing rents were based on $125-00 to $130-00 per sq. meter per annum PLUS outgoings, (rates, insurances etc.)


This word is used because initially it was a shed. It was decided by the Board that we should apply for consent to convert this to a fully compliant office type complex which would bring in $9500-00 per annum in rent. To convert it cost approximately $12,000. This would be a sound investment. This in the future could be used as a caretaker’s cottage.


This was a real problem for this site. As there was no storm-water drainage system installed off the site. There was a pipe crossing SH29 which belonged to Transit NZ. They were not using this pipe and requested from them a right of use. The answer was no and they even denied that the pipe existed.

Soak holes seemed the only option. - Too much water off buildings and site precluded this so another solution had to be found.

It was finally resolved by obtaining permission to thrust a 300mm diameter Pipe across and under SH29 to meet an outlet that directed the water into a gully behind the burial ground. There were some contractual matters that necessitated withholding an amount of money from the builder to rectify the misplacement of the pipe by one of their contractors. This money was held in Solicitors Trust Account and was later settled to finalise the contract.


There was a lot of discussion about this with Ross. Our main concern was that youth in the area would use the front steps and the surface to skate board, thus creating a security and environment problem. This was resolved by taking the cheaper stone protrudent bitumen instead of asphalt. Matting at entries was required to avoid the problem of tar covered stones being carried into carpeted areas. A total of 60...parks were marked out allocating 3 to each of tenancies 1 to 4 and #6 and 2 to tenancy 5 the balance for Masonic use.


This was left to the expertise of Mike, Ian M. Clair M with help from Don and Graham Cr.een Up to the time of writing they have been very generous with their time in maintaining the lawns and gardens. A Barbeque area at the rear has proved to be a fun place to have outdoor functions with paving and grassed areas.


Sitting down to design this and where to locate it did not prove difficult and Ross identified with the Masonic use. This building falls into the category of a "place of assembly" for which there are specified design requirements, (numbers of toilets, fire protection, etc.) We determined that it should be single storey and built as per the Commercial building with a high pitched roof and spans of 10 meters.

It had not only to meet the needs of the Freemasons but the general public as well who could hire this grossly underutilised building. The income derived from hiring out the spaces would assist to meet the overall operating expenses and provide an excess of income over expenditure, (which were the objectives of the Trust to distribute funds for charitable purposes)

The Lodge Room had to face east and the building had to have features to cater for:
120 people - Plenty of storage for LOC”s and furniture
Modem workable kitchen - One colour clean modem decor
Audio and hearing loop system Air Conditioned spaces separately controlled.
Lodge Room for seated 120 Sound proofed Lodge Room. No windows.
Veils set into cupboards - No permanently fixed wires for veils.
Wall / spot lighting all controlled in the Lodge Rm. with a separate consul near DC
Organ loft /location in SW comer as requested by Masonic organists. Function
room for 120 able to be converted into 2 separate rooms. Separate Buffet room able to be used as a rehearsal room. An imposing entry, Library, Meeting Room with 2 offices.

Although it may appear negative, consideration was given to the long term future of Freemasonry in this building. If numbers dropped to such a level where the Rehearsal/ Buffet room or the Library Offices were not needed these could be let out separately without affecting the modest Masonic activities. The building would be ideal for a larger office complex. It would not be costly to convert from its present use.


This was a big item of cost being $48,000. We selected Independent Refrigeration Ltd of Whakatane to supply and install the equipment.. It had to be done in two stages, firstly the Lodge Room and associated pipe work and drain lines for the other spaces. The Lodge room equipment had to be very quiet when running and be reverse cycle to heat and cool.

The second stage was completed in Feb 2004 when wall split system equipment was fitted by the same contractor at a cost of $28,000. All spaces are controlled from a panel in the foyer and remote controllers are taken into the area and used as required.


Every LOC has a large locker adjacent to the kitchen and a small locker in the Candidates room. Added to this for their larger gear they have spaces allocated in the store room behind the wall at the rear of the Senior Wardens chair. Above this space is a mezzanine floor for further storage and the air condition evaporator/fan unit. A large store was located to the side of the function rooms to cater for outdoor and indoor furniture.

Chapter 5

Selecting a Builder and Important Contractual Matters

With the exception of Berin and Ross, none of the Board members or members of the Building Committee had had experience of a project of this size being carried out in any other way other than by preparing plans and specifications and calling tenders. They found it difficult to get their heads around a concept where plans and specifications could be prepared in conjunction with a "first preference" builder and a price negotiated with this builder. Ross had such a builder who had proven over the years to perform in every respect namely McMillan and Lockwood BOP Ltd. under the management of Mr. Kurt Plank. Let me make it quite clear that Ross did not thrust this concept on us but certainly gave us all the information required for us to evaluate the concept and make up our minds.

What we had to consider was on the one hand, a slightly looser contract document; a reduction in the cost of preparation and distribution of tender documents and supervisory fees. Combine this with a clearer understanding between the end user client and the builder there should be less problems with all parties achieving their objectives, particularly economically. This had been both Ross's and Berin's experience in their past. On the other hand there would be greater cost for those items mentioned above and we would be probably dealing with a builder who would be hardnosed and greedy and who will try to charge for every variation. This would probably destroy the whole spirit of the project.

Having fully evaluated both systems and because we had two competent building supervisors in our own ranks, the Board accepted the recommendation of the Building Committee and followed the path of a "direct negotiated deal". We also had the benefit of being able to supply provisional sum items at rates lower than what the builder could supply us. For example, floor coverings air conditioning, kitchen benching, demountable cupboards, audio systems, ceramic tiling and landscaping.

Board members were concerned that under a negotiated deal the preferred builder would load the contract price so it was necessary to offer the plans and specification to two other interested parties. This was done and it was interesting that the prices we received were within 1 % of the preferred builder price. The contract was let to McMillan & Lockwood . An album of photos has been produced showing the bare site right through to the completed buildings.

M & L called for site meetings every week at a regular meeting time. These were attended by Berin and Bruce.  Action notes were made and variations approved. These two were kept on the ball by M & I, staff the Site Forman Peter Abbiss and Site Supervisor Elton Verran. It is interesting to note that at the end of the contract when all variations had to be costed as extras or reductions and paid for, there was no dispute; testament to the fact that this whole job was done professionally and in a truly Masonic manner.

The project went very well over the construction period. Rain affected the earth works progress and combined with the soil spot under the commercial building this extended the planned completion date by 2 weeks.

The traditional "shout" by the owner when the roofs were completed took place in tenancy 4. Wheelbarrows full of beer in ice; with a barbeque was all good fun.  The social organisers on the Board, Bob, Graham G., Ian M., and other did a fabulous job.

Quite a story revolves around the pavement in the Lodge Room and the paving of the entry foyer and front steps. Ted is a tiling contractor and he was commissioned to do the pavement in the Lodge Room by Bill McNutt, who gifted the pavement as a dedication to his father who loved to do the charges relevant to the pavement. A lot of love and energy.

A lot of love and energy went into all this work, not only in the design but the gold work on the tiles and the laying of them under very difficult circumstances. It was right at the end of the job with electricians and other trades working above him. Well done Ted and to you Bill, thanks from the Masonic fraternity.

John played a major part in communicating with GL to secure their approval of the design and the blue and Red tiles. These were different from the traditional black. In fact G L did not reply to our request so it was decided to proceed with our own design.

The tiling of the foyer and front steps was also a difficult job for Ted as everyone had to get through the front entry to finish their work. How he didn't end up in the Coronary Care unit was a miracle.

It is with pride that Berin can tell you that comments were passed by M &L, management that they have never had better payers on a building contract.  The builder would get their progress claims out on time, Berin, Ross, and Bruce Z. would go through the claims, approve them and forward these to Allan. The Board, meeting every week, approved the claims and on the morning of the due date Allan would be at the reception desk of the builder with cheque in hand. Further testament of the cooperation achieved when two parties want the job to run smoothly with pleasure to all.

Berin was contacted by a party in Hamilton, months after the contract was completed, the person wanted to know if we would recommend M & L under a negotiated deal type of contract and the answer was a resounding YES !!!

Chapter 6

A Place to Meet - Transition
All those involved in the planning and building of the Centre knew that there would be some costly problems to solve in respect of providing a place to hold Masonic ceremonies should both First Ave and Lodge Ave properties sell prior to the completion of the New Centre. This was not fully appreciated by GL, who insisted on the sale of the properties before they would finance the project.  There was no provision for funds in the budget to cover these costs.

Over the months of Aug. Sept, of 2001 we had to provide vacant possession for both properties and the builders would have a completion date for the new Centre near the end of February 02.  Four months of temporary space to handle Masonic needs, storage of furniture and a space to refurbish what was to be retained and a place to dispose of the surplus was needed.

All Board members were commissioned to keep their minds focused on finding space (or spaces) on a short term basis. Signs were in the windows of 29 Spring St. Tauranga (what was known as "the old Power Board Building".) The building was partly tenanted and it was not difficult to get access to the top floor. This proved to be more than adequate for ceremonial and refectory purposes and the space had been vacant for a couple of years. Potential for a deal.

Graham B. happened to know the owner in Wellington and with his assistance, a deal was entered into for the four month period. The big problem was that the lift went to the floor below and everything had to be carried from a small lift up one story; heart attack country for elderly Brethren and transport drivers alike.

What was needed was another space at "mates" rates as a main store. Enter Graham K who knew who had a store building in central Greerton.  PERFECT. This had been empty for some time and the owner was still making up his mind what he was going to do with the property. “You can have it at no charge as long as you will vacate it if I need it and you clean it up after you have finished" The Masonic Community will always be grateful to for this generous offer. There was some donation given to the owner's favourite charity.

Another acknowledgement must be given to Billy and Marion Young of Mt. Maunganui, who purchased the Lodge Ave property. They made the space available, after settlement, to store the Mt Maunganui Lodge chattels for a period until they could he shifted in part to the 29 Spring St site and some to Greerton.

"There were several working bees with trailers, vans, car boots, combined with Total Transport Furniture removers. Pedestals, chairs, crockery, friges, urns, organ, in short, everything needed for all of the Lodges, Orders and Chapters was shifted to Spring St. Years of old records and out of date furniture and chattels was shifted to Greerton.. This certainly highlighted that we are a lot of boarders and hate throwing anything away. The winds of change were blowing.

2002 - January
29 Spring St. was vacated at the end of Jan 02 with another big shift from there to Greerton.(more potential heart attacks) At this point everything was at Greerton and remember those winds of change? We had to sort out what was to be retained for the new Centre, what was to be refurbished, what offered for sale, what to be dumped or offered at a Garage Sale. All LOC's were requested to sort their stuff out knowing there was no surplus storage in the new Centre.

Bruce Z with wife Betty went down to visit Masonic friends at Wanganui and while there another brother was visiting on the same day. He was a member of Lodge Vanuatu. Their Lodge had sadly been burnt down and they were looking for Masonic furniture. Bruce got on the job and with the approval of the Board a container load of Masonic furniture found its way to Vanuatu as a gift. Well done Bruce!!!

Masterton Lodge heard that we had two columns ex Lodge Ave. surplus to our requirements. Photos were sent and for a small donation to the project they acquired these columns.

This Greerton store proved invaluable. We could spread everything out and refurbish as required and place in one corner all that had to go to the Centre.  A garage sale for the remainder emptied out all but 5% of it. Brethren were very generous by adding what they could to boost the fund raising. We vacated Greerton taking furniture to the Centre before the builder had finished allowing The Tauranga Lodge 125 to hold the first meeting in February 2002. Bruce Z fitted the tracing boards. John S. fitted the veils, Wilson D and Les B installed the organ May Dodds dug deep to find a "remnant” and made a curtain to cover the back panel of the organ perfectly matching the gold of the pedestals. Thank you May. It was an emotional moment for Brethren when they sat down and looked around their Lodge room after first furniture was installed. Looking back on it all, what would we have done without the Greerton store?  What would we have done and what would it have cost without the fit brethren carrying and storing furniture? And there were no heart attacks.

There had to be a happy ending to this story. All the hard work, all the loving care and attention to detail, all the fraternal co-operation and goodwill was celebrated on Saturday March 9th. 2009 when the Grand Master Ian Ross, Grand Lodge officers, freemasons and friends assembled to lay the Foundation Stone. Later in the day the Lodge rooms were traditionally consecrated with the usual Masonic Ceremony. This is not really the end of the story but really the beginning of a new age for Freemasonry in the district.

The Bay of Plenty Masonic Centre is consecrated
(This meeting was deemed to be an Emergency Meeting of the Lodge) March - The Lodge wanted to cancel the scheduled Regular Meeting to be held on 21st March after having such an important and historical gathering for the Consecration of the new Centre. Unfortunately this was not to be, as the necessary Dispensation was not to be forthcoming.

However despite the Lodge carrying the strain of an incomplete and untested facility to arrange a state visit for the Grand Master's attendance, reluctantly accepted and half-heartedly summoned Regular Meeting on 21st March, put on a great show for Harvey Cox's Initiation.

2002 - April
The Ceremony of the Empty Chair' was again presented by V W Bro Ken Smith who had updated it to produce a most moving Ceremony. It was performed in the presence of the District Grand Master, R W Bro Bill Ross and his wife Moira, Members and their Ladies and visitors. The new Centre added magnificently to the solemnity of the occasion.

2002 - May
This ninety-plus year old, Harry Graham, received his Seventy Year Service Badge in his Mother Lodge in which he had seventy years of continuous service.

2002 - July
The Master initiated Ngaronga Te Oti Ormsby into The Tauranga Lodge with 25 of it’s Brethren present and 20 visitors in attendance.

It is most unfortunate that at the Standing committee of the lodge early in August, W. Bro. Bill Eltham IPM handed in his regalia and commented forcibly that he did not want to continue in any further activities of the lodge. This was a result of an acrimonious disagreement with another brother and despite the efforts of the master V. Wor. Bro. Arthur Robinson to mediate, the matter was not resolved.

Centennial Jewel
The Jewel illustrated here has been designed By Bro. Ray Crafts. It is a Gold plated jewel and banner beneath a dark ribbon. It depicts the pavement between two pillars which in turn support the Square and Compasses. Below the ancient scrolling, the words

August 17th The Tauranga Lodge No. 125 celebrated it's one hundredth birthday. The Lodge was opened in the afternoon and after receiving eleven Masters and other visitors, the Ass. G D C W. Bro. Russell Jeffrey announced, and then escorted Rt.W. Bro. Bill Ross Dist. G M to the east to be welcomed by the Master of the Lodge V.W. Bro. Arthur Robinson.

The District Grand master then received and welcomed the grand Master M W Bro. Ian Ross, other District Grand Masters, representatives from other constitutions and grand Lodge Officers.
The programme for the afternoon included readings of excerpts from the Lodge History by brethren from three of the daughter lodges. V W Bro. Les Borrell P G Lec., from The Gate Pa Lodge No. 407, W Bro. Graeme Kennedy from Lodge Te Papa No. 316 and W Bro. Win Wahren, Master of Lodge Mount Maunganui No.376.

The early history of The Tauranga Lodge No. 125 up to the seventy fifth anniversary had been compiled by Brethren mentioned in the Introduction to this publication. This together with that of the last twenty five years have been ably researched and consolidated by Bro. Bob Fereday SW and W. Bro. Bill Eltham IPM of the lodge.

Brethren of the lodge were then presented with Centennial Jewels by the Grand Master. V W Bro. Robinson then presented a Centenary Jewel to the Grand Master and also to our Mother Lodge, Waihi No. 112, represented By the Master W Bro. Joe Price .

At this time the Masters of the visiting Lodges were introduced to the Grand Master, who after greeting them, also made a point of greeting Br. Cox F C and Bro. Ormsby E A and presenting each of them with a Masonic lapel badge.

The Lodge then received a presentation from W Bro. Tom Carden of Lodge Ohinemuri, of his grandfather's Past Masters Jewel, namely W Bro. T H Hall who had been master of The Tauranga Lodge during the year 1913-1914.

During the afternoon after refreshments had been served, the ladies had been entertained in the refectory and after the lodge was closed, the ladies and brethren attended the Centennial dinner at the Erinlea Lounge, Fahy's Motor Inn. Grace was at 6.30pm followed by an enjoyable meal and pleasant company.

After the Loyal Toast, the Toast to the Grand Master was proposed by Rt. W Bro. Bill Ross to which the grand Master replied. The Toast to The Tauranga Lodge was proposed in a very able manner by Rt. W Bro. Peter Wyatt PGW Abridged

“In thinking about proposing a toast to The Tauranga Lodge I started thinking, what's it all about. What's all the fuss? Why are we here? Why have we spent a Saturday afternoon sitting in a lodge room listening to a history of the lodge instead of being out in the garden or watching sport? Why do our wives put up with us dressing up in funny clothes and rushing off to meetings?

When we think about the history of a lodge we need to match it up with the way society was at the time and the manner and the conditions under which people lived at that time. For instance the very first record of masonic activity in this town happened in 1876 when a meeting was held in the Masonic Hotel to find if there was any interest in forming a lodge. In a very short time Lodge Tauranga No. 462 was formed under the Irish Constitution. When the Charter arrived it was signed by 31 brethren Of the early members 17 were members of the Irish Constitution and were either part of or had been part of the Irish settlement formed by Bro. George Vesey Stewart in Katikati.

Can you imagine what it was like getting from Katikati to Tauranga to attend a lodge meeting? The didn't have nice warm cars travelling along sealed roads. The Wairoa had been bridged in 1872 but many of the streems probably weren't bridged at all. I'll let you into a masonic secret which no other organisation has. The answer is Freemasonry is a human ralations exercise. It is an oasis in the strife of this troubled world, an oasis of peace and harmony. It is the coming together of like-minded men. Men with no axe to grind, who are not trying to sell anything to anybody. Men who are not interested in one anothers' denomination or politics. Men who meet on the level and part on the square regardless of their social status. As the old lecture says, “Brother to a prince or to a pauper, if found worthy”

The Tauranga Lodge No. 125 NZC has been carrying on this tradition for a hundred years. Not only that, its members hace given themselves unstintingly in helping to form the daughter lodges. The members have not only given their time and shared their knowledge and experience but also have given their property and gave equal shares to both Lodge Te Papa and the Gate Pa lodge.

We congratulate them and the lodge most sincerely on reaching one hundred years and hope it carries on well into the future. and replied to by.
V W Bro. Arthur Robinson W M. Abridged

To celebrate a hundredth lodge birthday is a remarkable achievement when you consider the many hundreds of men who have been members during that time and the many different aspirations that they must have had.  A look at those who were members and or past masters show a large diversity of skills and education. They cover the professions, the trades, the merchants and labourers Mayors, councillors and politicians. All had the opportunity and became freemasons.

We are indebted to all these brethren who made the history, the scribes who wrote it and the historians who researched and recorded it, Keith Gifford in the forties, Bill Marchbank in the seventies and latterly Bob Fereday and Bill Eltham. By this time we realise that today, by being here and celebrating this Centenary, we are taking part in and making more history of the lodge.

As our historian has said, the minutes over the years are sketchy and do not give much indication as to what the town was like at the time of writing. As an example, the town had been sleepy hollow for years but from now on, with the construction of the export wharves, the Borough began to expand.

For those who have been here for say thirty or forty years it must be hard to visualise the small town that has grown into this city. If only we could say that freemasonry had expanded in the same ratio as the population growth. Thank you Peter for the toast.

One unexpected incident was recorded. After replying to the Toast to the Grand Master, MW Bro. Ian Ross referred to the service given to the craft by V W Bro. Arthur Robinson Past Ass. Prov. G M, in his work for the lodge, to district lodges through his chairmanship of the First Avenue Property Management Board and of the Bay of Plenty Masonic Charitable Trust since its inception. Ian Ross said that the real privilege of a Grand Master was that of conferring a particular honour on a deserving brother and then proceeded to invest R W Bro. Robinson with the Honoris causa rank of Past Grand Warden.

The formal part of the evening concluded with a presentation by Mrs. Joy Robinson on behalf of The Tauranga Lodge, to Grand Master Ian Ross and wife Colleen, of a set of crystal wine glasses to mark their visit on the occasion of the Centenary.

But this is not the end -
The more intent the study, the more the studier wants to discover, and from those discoveries must be determined what to set down and what to pass over. If the intended work is to have merit, it must be readable. It is the hope of this writer that it will be found to be so. It is also hoped that a perusal of this work will evoke some happy memories and perhaps facilitate some of us to make that daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.
W. Bro. W. F. Eltham IPM


The Extinct Lodges of New Zealand Lodge R.W. Bro. Colonel G. Barclay P.D.G.M. P.G. Sec.
Tauranga 1882-1982 The Centennial of Gazetting Tauranga as a Borough A. C. Bellamy
History of Tauranga County by Evelyn Stokes
Bay of Plenty Times Ltd
New Zealand Craftsman
Redwood Village notes
Tauranga City Libraries Detail of Photo 04-245

Histories of:
1877 Lodge Tauranga No. 462 I.C.
History of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand 1890-1960
1898 Summary of the History of Lodge Waihi No. 112
1902 The Tauranga Lodge No. 125
1907 Lodge Rotorua No. 153
1921 Tauranga Kilwinning Royal Arch Chapter No.515 S.C. History
1923 Lodge Te Puke No. 261 History
1928 Lodge Katikati No. 295 History
1945 Lodge Te Papa No. 316 History
1953 Lodge Mount Maunganui No. 376 History
1958 The Gate Pa Lodge No. 407 History
1961 Mt. Maunganui RAC No. 103 NZC
1982 Meridian Lodge No. 449

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