History of Ararimu, South Auckland

The community of Ararimu in South Auckland was founded in 1867 by the first three settlers to buy land here – John Markham, John Dunn and Laughlin Keaney.

This site includes a history of the school, information on early settlers, extracts from the Whelan diaries and photos of Ararimu today and in the past.


The early days in Ararimu

About the diaries

Mick Whelan’s diary Wanganui 1893

The Shanaghan murder

Ararimu School- a history

Riding to school

Ararimu today- photos

Ararimu 150th anniversary history book

Haystack, Ararimu.

6 thoughts on “History of Ararimu, South Auckland

    1. Greetings. I awakened at 4 a.m. this morning and something told me I had to get out of bed and use the computer , to check if anything was available on Safari, about the Ararimu Centenary.. And there was ..

      I have an idea that Mr. Whalen was the second owner of the property that I owned on the corner of Dunn Rd, and Totara Rd. Totara Road had not long been opened to take one through to paparata,— Bombay—- top Pukekohe.

      From the original Map I received upon enquiry in 152, my property had been part of 228 acres , and owned by BOYD. THIS WAS SUBDIVIDED INTO 110 ACRES, WHICH WAS MY BLOCK FROM 1952 UNTIL 1982 , as best I remember ., at which time I flew to Australia , and changed my life style to have a Health Clinic. When the was finally sold to a New zealander , I travelled further to the USAS, where I now reside, back on a farm of similar size., milking cows again, and selling produce from the farm store , P. A. BOWEN FARMSTEAD.

      Of Note……..Each time when any of the adjacent farm were being sold ‘ Nobody ‘ knew about it , so I resolved that I would go to my neighbour and give him the first option, which I did and was so glad that Howard Sutton took up the chance to restore his 118 acres back to the original 228 acres.

      And to see the fabulous building site he has created for himself , a-top of the hill behind our original house .

      From as History point of view , here are some details .

      At the time of the 1951 waterfront strike in Wellington NZ, my father in law to be , was of a mind to assist Joyce and myself to obtain a farm, using his house as a collateral. During the school holidays of 51, we travelled from Wellington—– I was in the Police Force, in WGTN, and once Conditions were cleared that I could leave Wellington I met with my in laws to be in Ohope, and travelled to the Auckland region.

      We were shown around to view various farms for sale. Mr. and Mrs. Perrin, who had farmed for thirty years were about to retire to Rama Rama , and they accepted the offer to Buy.

      On the 31st of March, the day before my birthday, I trained from WGTN to Pukekohe, and then rode my bicycle from Puke to Ararimu over Bombay hill, so I was there for the take over on the First of April 1952.. IO lived with Mr. Len ands Alice Perrin , until at such time they could acquire a new home, near the Rama rama Store., following that I backed for several months until Joyce and I married , and lived in the cottage on the farm.

      This house was designed in England and had the kitchen on the
      Southern side , and had a well adjacent to the back door, and the wood heap for the stove was over under the macrocarpa tree, adjacent to the Bucket Toilet. The idea being every time one went to the toilet , one brought back to the house an armful of wood for the fire .

      It was not long before some renovations were made to the house and /wharfs of Pukekohe, installed a Septic tank in the ground —— albeit—– the opposite way round .—— in later years we found this out, when a child’s toy was resulting in a task blockage.

      My understand , our cottage was the fourth one built in Ararimu, with the one owned by Harold Nicolas being the first .

      Neighbors —— My next daor neighbour was Warren Sutton, an absolutely fine man, and we remained friends the whole time .of my residence in Ararimu.

      Here is as peculiar take on things ——- Mr.and Mrs. Burrage , who sold their place later to the BASI FAMILY FROM INDIA ( Mrs Jaginda Bassi , who is 87 yrs now lives in Bayswater Rd on North shore . ) Anyway, when Mr. Burrfage, was visiting Perrins, in hearing of my name MORELL blurted out —- was I related to the morels that were , once farming in PAPARATA .
      I remarked NO——– But when next visiting Gisborne where all my dad’s relatives lived , I learned from my Aunt Jane Robinson , how the Father , O. J. MORELL, Collected all the gratuities from his sons , who had been at the 14 / 18 war, and purchased as block of land near Auckland , and that the boys were never really farmers, as they were carpenters.
      The property, I founds out was very close to the extension off DUNN RD when it came out on to Paparata Rd, and it was the land that later belonged to Lynton Stuart’s Father , who owned the bombay store , before Fire demolished it .,

      The fact that I should come from Wellington and acquire a property so close where my Grandfather had once owned land was per prosperous. The Morell the finally stayed there in Paparata , had no children and married a widow.

      Above the cottage as I called the original House, was on the flat with as hill behind which had been planted with a long row of Macracarpas. This following point is of interest. Whilst my Father in Law, Albert Grimes and wife Daisy were visiting one time , a strong storm was in progress , and the Ayrshire Bull I had been given the lone of was standing under the tree closest to the house . We observed he had shifted his position and was then under the next tree up, when suddenly—- whiiiisssssh —- Down came the tree , and the tips of the branches just caught the spouting on the roof . My Mother in Law , went into a Panic——– we were ever so lucky— so Lucky, for had we been closer it would have been curtains for us in the kitchen.
      HOWEVER , THAT IS NOT THE END —– I again noted some time later the the Ayrshire Bull had again changed his position, and within a short time that tree also came down . remarkable . But that is life on the farm.

      Joyce and I had five children, four girls and a boy, and they walked to the Ararimu School, as they did go to Sunday school along at the Methodist hall ( Now removed ) on the four corner intersection.

      Here is as story…. As Glenda and Sonia were walking home one sunday a car pulled up alongside them and told the girls that he was going to their mother’s place , would they like a ride —- while they were considering the offer along came another car with a man and woman, and Glenda the elder one said —— ” Oh there is my Aunty Mary & Roger ,. we will go with them. ” The first car Sped away, never to be seen again. Later we learned about a stray car with nefarious intentions . My Girls were ever so lucky, Aunty Mary appeared at that moment .

      Interesting feature about the school in Ararimu, there were so many Childless couple farming in the area , that the local school was down to one room, with Ken Andrews as the Teacher . Later with the help of local labour a swimming pool was established ..

      As for the Hall. Many years before , i.e. before 1951` a meeting was held in the Methodist hall with a view to building a hall for the area . I understand the meeting went on and on , and a debate ranged on the width of the entrance door. A motion for an adjournment was passed with a view to meet again.—- It never did until years later when /federated Frmers took the initiative . The Distract can be grateful for the efforts the finally brought the building into fruition.

      One could go on and on about Ararimu. Many fond memories . As the County Councillor for Drury, in the ” Old Franklin county ” I observed many changes , and strange though it may seem, on the 100 acres I am now on is undulating and lots of trees, so I am re-living Ararimu, driving the tractors, Skid Loaders or wheel tractors , I am no longer milking cows as the system has changed so much. We have to be so particular about bugs in the milk —- it is not like the old days ., but I did build a brand new Cowshed and Cheese making Barn here .

      Fires ….. There was a period of disasters at one time —– FIRES—– Along Totara Road we saw three houses go up in flames. then aldridges , and a house on Uptons place , and I was very much aware , when we were rebuilding the chimney on the cottage the barge boards around the chimney were thoroughly charred , , due to the flames coming through the holes in the limestone mortar. The inside panels must have been alight on occasions, by the amount of charring .

      Before I take my fingers off the key board . We really did have some great time s in Ararimu, and I am so pleased to see Howard and Lindsay well and truly established as fine stalwarts of the area.

      May I wish theoccaasion goes well. fifty years ago I dressed up the old Bradford wagon I had in Black plastic , for the Centenary. THAT WAS A DAY AND AS HALF TOO.

      merry christmas.. Sally ( my wife, Sally, ) and I shall not be able to appear in person , but my sentiments are with you. There is my contribution folks——- Enjoy Life. Everyday is a New Day.

      I Am, Geoffrey C. MORELL

      15701 Dr. ?Bowen Rd.
      Village of Aquasco
      Maryland 20613 USA

      Ph. 202 237 8763, & 301 579 2404

      Please========== Send me a copy of what I have written as I could not print it out —— Please


    1. Hi Catherine, I have heard rumours of an old track which ran north of Pratts Road, so it is possible one went along Otto and Maddaford Road – although this is just pure speculation. This would have been in the 1860’s when soldiers needed access to Hunua. On the other hand, settlers went via the Ponga from Papakura according to accounts I’ve read. There were no roads suitable for wagons prior to the mid 1870’s in the Ararimu or Maketu/Ramarama area. Not sure about later on, but I haven’t heard of Ararimu being used as a thoroughfare. It could be that travellers coming from Waikato or Mangatawhiri way might have stopped here before the Great South Road was opened. Could you send me a photo of the house and any info you have and I will ask around. Regards, Toni 🙂 Send to Ararimu150@gmail.com


      1. Dear Toni, I, Geoffrey, have no known facts about Maddaford Rd. But the Following is asa experience I had on TOTORA Rd, , where in about 1980, a large Flash Vehicle was parked, Half way along my Boundary, and these well dressed Business men from Auckland were enjoying a ” CUPPA ” and Nibbles. In conversation, I was informed ” They ” were Sousing out a possible Route Between RUNCIMAN and MANGATAWHIRI . Indicating the
        Southern Motorway would take a line through STEVIES QUARRIE Through ARARIMU to connect with S. H. Way 2, . AND…… That the Highway Engineers from the WAIKATO, would decide their Route further South. Mentally I could visualize at the time such a Route being feasible. But it has not taken place, but the personal ,of the Group, had made a Special Drive into ARARIMU as ca fact finding manouva.

        The following Snippets may be oif interest, Toni, Mr. and Mrs. BURRAGE, who owned the land opposite Stan And BARBARA DRAKE, Were English , VERY MUCH SO.
        Fine Elderly Couple, from the v1950’s , And Mrs. BURRAGE always ” Buttered ” and Jammed the Husband’s Slice of Bread.

        At that time in ARARIMU, there were so many CHILDLESS COUPLES , residing in the District.

        During my last Visit to ARARIMU, I spoke with Bernard SPENCER, and his Wife, who related how the ‘ SMART METER ‘ attached to his house exploded , and they b requested the Power Board attach a replacement on a Pole, up on the Road.
        This subject, of Smart Meters, and the demolition by FIRE of the old Shearing Shed,
        at the end of DUNN,s Rd..

        P.S. On our Farm, P. A. BOWEN FARMSTEAD, in MARYLAND in the USA
        we had a ” Run In ” with the Power Authority, as they sneaked in and replaced a Meter on one of our buildings ( Despite the fact, I Had Written earlier , showing opposition ) SO , NOW, We have Meters read every Month, AND Special Sign attached .

        Back to ARARIMU, and the School. This building was the regular gathering site was farewells, and dance functions before the Hall was built.

        One other thing, In the Horse and Buggy days, coming up the ARARIMU HILL, the clay in the sub-soil was
        of such a nature that b it had been kn own to create a vouch sum at a certain texture, and stuck off the shoes attached to the hoof of the Horse. Mr and Mrs Perrin , who owned my property, prior to myself, related this to me.

        One more thing, My original Cowshed , fully covered, weigh little bays where the cows stood for milking, and the cowhand had to squat down, to milk, or apply the vacuum cups to the teats. But the Floor w3as made from chipped rock boulders. which were either snapped on the property, or brought ing n from PAPARATA, where there was a Quarry for that purpose , but when mixed with Cement, or lime and cement, when poured on the ground, to create a hard surface, Stiff Yard Brooms were used to level the surface. So it Wass never smoothe, and the rock chip made the surface uneven. This can still be seen when viewing to original cowshed and yard., Now Owned by Howard Sutton.
        Worth Seeing actually, to view what is was like in those early days.
        Neither Howard nor myself demolished the site. a Photograph could be worthy of record, as I know of no other similar example.

        And by the way, copious amounts of water were never used to ” clean the place ”
        but, raster a shovel was used to pluck up the cow pasts, and lodge them over the rail
        of the yard.

        Over time the contents of the Yard droppings became quite a size , but very useful, FOR, what did one do when the ” OUTHOUSE RECEPTICLE ” became full, DIG A HOLE In THE COWYARD DUNG HEAP. It was EASY DIGGING., compared v to n the ground Clay, in the vicinity.
        Incidentally the Out house, was often called the DUNNIE, particularly in AUSTRALIA.

        There you are Toni, I am still farming, but for your interest, when erecting our brand new facilities, The Cheese Making Plant, the P.A. Bowen SHOP, TOILET, And Milking machinery, are all on the ONE LEVEL, THE ANIMALS, ( MILKING COWS ) and the Bull ( at breeding time ) WALK UP A SLOPE TO BE AT THE CORRECT HEIGHT.
        within the confines of the Herring Bone Style of Cowshed, With a Large Revolving BRISTLE BRUSH, ( when touched ) so that each animal can take turns on receiving as good BACK RUB. Bull is always first if it is that time of the year.

        When I think off the first milking I did in ARARIMU, in 1952, was compared with events of to day.
        Radio, High Pressure Hoses, Roll up Wall Curtains , and a trolley to roll the cans of milk through to be sucked into the Cheese Plant Vat. NO LONG MILK PIPE, where Bacteria gets in there joints , So , as I write this my Wife SALLY, is making RAW ” BLUE VEIN”
        CHEESE, and sold Legally in the farm shop m and other sites. During this LOCVK DOWN our sales have soared. not only the milk products, but also, chicken, Pig, and Turkey products. ETC ETC Straight off the Farm., AND for what it is worth , Our Renovated TOBACCO BARN, is used for events, using PORTA POTTIES, And CATERING ( To avoid Permits for drainage )

        See it all on the computer, or visit for a tour, for I have completed a traffical buggy route, without opening gates, around the perimeter of the P. A. BOWEN FARMSTEAD, 100 Acres., with a rear boundary of a small river, or creek. A Lot of surrounding land is regenerated EX- Tobacco Growing land, although undulating, and around 35 Miles from Washington DC National Airport.

        Finally…… What with The CLENDINNING TECHNIQUE on Natural, or INTUITIVE HEALING, and The WESTON A PRICE ,Nutrition FOUNDATION ( World Wide ) Sally is President, We set bit up 20 years ago. So wee enjoy being Busy. Even with ZOOM

        Ex ARARIMU, Resident , 30 years, with fond memories.

        I Am, Geoff rey C. MORELL

        15701 Dr. BOWEN Rd ( Early owner )
        Village of AQUASCO
        Maryland 20613

        Please send me a copy if you can of both items, so I can run them off for children. Thanks Toni,

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s