Take a walk (or a few walks) through the History of Tairua. See below for 20 amazing sites significant to our history. Download our Tairua History Trail Map here to print and take with you..


#1 Old Cinema Site

Sponsored by the Galloway Family

The "Plaza" was built here in the early 1960's. It could seat 250 people, showed movies every night in summer and operated here for over 20 years.


#2 Hornsea House

sponsored by the cory-wright family trust

This family home was built in 1908 by the Cory-Wright family and was called the Hornsea House in the 1960's when Doreen established a bed and breakfast. Only members of the Cory-Wright family have lived here.


#3 Cowshed Shop

Sponsored by Rosie Hayward, Josephine Feasey & Doreen Wernham

Harold Cory-Wright built his cowshed here in the mid 1930's but the family sold their dairy herd in 1955 and in 1967 it was converted into a unique crafts shop which was very popular for nearly 10 years.


#4 The Causeway

Sponsored in loving memory of Albert and Yolande Browne

The original causeway was built by Harold Cory-Wright in the 1950's to get material for building Hornsea and Manaia Roads. The present construction dates from 1966.


#5 Archaeological Site

Sponsored by the Oceana Club

This site has been excavated by archaeologists since 1958. In 1964 it revealed a small
Polynesian fish-lure dated to be one of the oldest artefacts ever found in New Zealand.


#6 Tairua’s Oldest Building

sponsored by Pacific Paradise Ltd

This building began life in 1868 as the Kauri Mill Store and soon after included a Post Office. Later it was converted into a shop by Charles Beach and became the camp store in 1948 before moving to this site.


#7 SS “Ngoiro”

sponsored by Pacific Paradise Ltd

The SS “Ngoiro” was built in 1913 to serve St Heliers Bay in Auckland. She was refitted as a
floating restaurant in 1984 and arrived in Tairua in March 1999.


#8 The Old Mill

sponsored by Pacific Paradise Ltd

A shell lime mill was brought here from Miranda by Harold Cory-Wright. Much later the abandoned mill was converted into a youth hostel before finally becoming a restaurant.


#9 Pepe Bridge

sponsored by Pam Langham

The bridge was first erected in 1911 by six men over six weeks. It was widened in 1926 and the
present reinforced concrete bridge was built in 1943.


#10 Tairua Community Hall

sponsored by Peter Carverhill and family

The hall was constructed in 1932 by local volunteers using mainly native timber collected from the beach. It started life essentially as an unlined shed.


#11 Kauri Slab Reclamation

sponsored by Lance Bedford

Waste (slabwood and sawdust) from the milling of giant kauri logs was used to reclaim an area for stacking and drying cut timber which covered over 3 hectares.


#12 Tairua’s Timber Mills site: 1877-1908

Tairua History Group (2012)

In 1864 Richard Seccombe built the first mill in Tairua just upstream from the present wharf.
A second and much larger mill was built nearby in 1878.


#13 Beach’s Camping Ground site

sponsored by the Baird family

The camp was opened in 1948 by Mary Beach and remained under her sole management until it was sold in 1975. Mary Beach had owned the land and store since 1923.


#14 Tairua Wharf

sponsored by Garry Maitland Lawson

Originally a mill wharf, it could berth vessels up to 50 tons. It has had many disasters over the
years and has been rebuilt several times.


#15 Dairy Company site

sponsored by Roger and Patricia Turner

In 1922 machinery from a closed-down factory in Northland was shipped to this site and the factory served the 25 suppliers in the district for 27 years.


#16 Cundy’s Corner site

sponsored by Isabel and the late Ian Mace and family

Cundy’s Cozy Camp started here in 1949 and was also the site of the town’s Post Office until
1959. Selling ice cream etc. the corner became the town’s focal point.


#17 SS Onslow Boiler

sponsored by the Brown family

This relic belonged to a wooden steam launch built in 1889 in Dunedin. She came to Tairua in
1903 to tow logs across the bar, was damaged by fire in 1907 and retired in 1911.


#18 Sir George Grey Hotel site: (1892-2004)

sponsored by Rosemary Langham

In 1892 when it was granted a license, the hotel was located ‘around the Pepe’ and had no road access. It was shifted here in 1936, destroyed by fire in 1941. A temporary bar “the tin shed” was used from 1942 to 1951.


#19 Old School House

sponsored by the Mason family

Originally owned by the Mill, the building had major renovations in 1883 then, in 1892, the
Education Board formalised a 44-year lease for the 0.4 hectare site.


#20 Tairua Historic Cemetery

sponsored by Graeme and Marguerite McDonald

People were buried here from the late 1860’s, but official records show that approximately 125 burials had taken place between 1876 and 1944.