Tuakau – Franklin or not?

Tuakau PO and musuemWhen I was a wee sprocket, my family and I moved to the Franklin district – Tuakau to be exact, for my dad’s work.
Tuakau was a “borough” with it’s own Borough Council, within the Franklin District. It became a Borough in 1955 until 1989, when the whole Franklin region became part of the (then) new District Council and Franklin stretched as far south as, at least, Pokeno. So you see, we still consider what is now known as the Northern Waikato, to be part of Franklin, the way it has been for so many years.THE_BRIDGEWhen I moved to the area, Tuakau was quite a thriving country town (from what I can recall).
There was a (what seemed to me in my childhood) large store – Wallace Supplies, I think it was called – that had everything; from a hairdresser to the local mercantile for farming goods and feed; umbrellas, you name it, they stocked it! It was on the site of the current hotel carpark – the hotel has been completely overhauled tremendously by it’s current owners, and does great meals. The hotel was originally established in 1882 and had 21 rooms. William James Priest was the proprietor at that time.
There were also a number of local dairies – one up beside the Town hall and a couple further down the street and I’m sure they were called “milk bars”. The one closest to the railway end of town, had booths where you could sit and have your milkshake (although we weren’t allowed to go into that one – but grandad used to buy us icecreams from that one when he came to visit and pick us up from school!)
The Dairy factory was still in operation and was one of the earliest “creameries” established – erected in 1888, but now long since closed in it’s original form.
We had a taxi stand. The “pictures” (cinema) were shown in the town hall – I can remember going to see the movies “Papillon” and “Love Story” !!
The Heartland TVsome years ago, replayed a programme that was filmed in Tuakau. It showed the “bikies” parked outside one of the milk bars and some of the locals working at the chook farm up Browns Road……I wouldn’t mind getting a copy of that one, even though it was filmed before I can remember, to watch again!
and the train stopped in Tuakau!!!- well for a while anyway, until “progress” put a stop to that. The station was originally opened in 1875 and had, at that time a “ladies waiting room” as well as a Postal and Telegraph office and a ticket office. I can still remember the uproar when the station was to be demolished! Also, the bus service was slightly more regular than it is now, but like all progress, Tuakau soon started to go backward, and many of the shops and businesses closed.
The Tuakau Museum was once the Post office (opened in 1912 until 1983), in my young days, where you took your savings book and money to have the teller hand write your deposit and new balance.
Now though, Tuakau is once again beginning to grow with lifestyle blocks, cheaper(or should that read more affordable) housing, new businesses and on the river (beside where the original township was planned to be, way back when) is the Discovery Rivercruises Houseboat.
Ian and Judy have a great houseboat that they have put such a lot of time, effort and money into, that takes discerning clientele on a river cruise. Ian has discovered such a lot of the history of the river and enjoys telling it to whoever he can.
It is a great way to spend a weekend while taking time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The houseboat has luxurious bedrooms with their own ensuites, a spa pool and more! and from the Alexandra Redoubt, above the river, you can get a great view, much as the British soldiers did in the early days of the Land Wars.
Many of the old family names are still around the area, the original settlers such as the Madills, Lapwoods, Bookers
Tuakau has also produced a number of people who have become famous around the world in varying industries(I’ll go into that in another blog, so keep an eye out!)
If anyone has any other memories of Tuakau, in the Franklin region!! let me know 🙂


3 thoughts on “Tuakau – Franklin or not?

  1. Margaret Lawson

    Believe it or not it was a great place to go up ……we had fun and lots of adventures…eeling swimming down the river before a pool was built…….pictures on Saturday afternoons …..but the biggest thing of all we knew everyone and people said hello as you walked past them


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