Tuesday 28th May 2024


In last month’s column I covered my early years living in Tuakau and I’ve had a great email response as well as several telephone calls.

One man even stopped me in the supermarket for a chat. He told me he always reads my column and thoroughly enjoys it but it wasn’t until last month that he realised why he had always felt he knew me but didn’t know from where.

After reading my story he realised he remembered me from our Tuakau Primary School years! Then another caller rang to say he had sat next to me in primary school – I almost felt we could have had a school reunion!

The outcome is, I’m still feeling pleased by so much good feedback and I’ve also taken time to look back on my connections to Waiuku, the town Rural Living looks at this month.

During the 1940’s, my two sisters were born at the Franklin Memorial Hospital in Waiuku’s Kitchener Street. Apparently it opened in 1923 as a general hospital but then went on to become a maternity unit although these days I understand it is an older adult care facility.

Franklin Memorial Hospital, Waiuku 1923

While Waiuku was some distance away, Tuakau had no hospital and, in fact, it didn’t even have a doctor in those days. My mother always spoke very affectionately of the hospital and proudly told everyone that Marion and Eileen were born there. It’s marvellous that the building is still on site and operating as a care facility.

My next close association with Waiuku came many years later when fellow Community Newspaper colleagues from the King Country approached Reay and I with the idea of publishing a Waiuku newspaper as the town had been without one for several years.

One of the district’s early newspapers was The Advocate, first published in 1914 before becoming Waiuku News the following year. It carried on until 1964 after which other titles came and went.

It was 1996 when we set up an offce in the town and started the Waiuku and Districts Post.

After a time we sold our interest in the paper and while it has had a few owners since then it continues to publish as The Post. Now an award-wining community newspaper, The Post has expanded its circulation, set up a second office in Pukekohe and continues to be
pro-active on the local news front.

And with that it’s time for my dose of flu medicine and to take it easy – Go the All Blacks!

Brian Neben publishes Rural Living and is also an avid lifestyle farmer

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