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.

2 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


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