Maungaturoto will be celebrating 150 Years in 2013

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Opening of the North Kaipara Butter Factory Whakapirau 1904

Opening Day in 1904

At last we have found the report of the opening of the Whakapirau Butter Factory, which still stands down at Whakapirau Beach. It's seen many uses over the decades. Whilst it had a short life as a butter factory its sound construction has helped it survive its now 100 plus years. Next year in 2012 on September 27 the building will turn 110 years old. A milestone in New Zealand Co-operative Dairying history. The history of the Maungaturoto Co-operative Dairy Company 1902-1952 noted that they did not have the name of the North Kaipara Co-operative Dairy Company's first manager. Now we have that name. A Mr Drake was the first manager of the Dairy Company at Whakapirau. The article below names the builders and architects of this important building, as well as the suppliers of the machinery that made the factory run.

The North Kaipara Co-Operative Dairy Company at Whakapirau

Opening of a New Butter Factory, Whakapirau.

Tuesday, the 27th September, was a red letter day in the history of North Kaipara.

The occasion being the opening of the now butter factory belonging to the North Kaipara Co-operative Dairy Co.

The shareholders with their wives and families turned out in full force, notwithstanding the inclement state of the weather. The proceedings commenced with a sumptious lunch to which full justice was done, after which Mr McMurdo, chairman of Directors, addressed the assemblage and traced the history of the company.

In an able speech he urged upon all the necessity of pulling together and also of bringing in large quantities of good cream so as to make the factory a success.

He was followed by Mr Cullen chairman of the Maungaturoto Co., who urged upon the shareholders the necessity of all.pulling together and carrying on the business as a, true co-operative company. The Chairman then called upon Mr Bishop, representative of Messrs J. B. MacEwan and Co., the contractors for supplying and fitting up the machinery. Mr Bishop prefaced his remarks with some comments on the steam service on the Kaipara which he condemned in no unmeasured terms. This was not to be wondered at as he, in connection with several others, had to spend the previous night on the deck of the s.s, Gosford on account of the inadequate accommodation to be found on that vessel.

Referring, to the butter factory, he congratulated the district on the decided advance it was making. He instanced the prosperity that had followed the establishment of butter factories in other parts of New Zealand and said no doubt it would have the same effect at Kaipara.

He pointed out the difference in the fleeting prosperity caused by timber and gum as against the permanent prosperity that would follow the establishment of permanent industries such as butter factories. He said the gum and timber were nearly done, and asked what was the district the better for it. He said when a farmer had to go off his farm to earn money it was so much time wasted us he had nothing to show for his labour, whereas by starting a butter factory they enabled the farmer to live and work at home thereby improving his holding and adding to the permanent prosperity and value of the district.

He then gave some comparisons between the so called poor North and the rest of New Zealand. He stated that whereas the total area of the Northern peninsula was only one twenty-fifth of the whole of Now Zealand it contained one twelveth of the total cattle in the colony and therefore could not be such a poor place after all. Mr Rathbone, one of the Directors, followed and paid a high tribute to the builders, Messrs Weber and Sons, and to the contractors for supplying the machinery, Messrs J. B. MacEwan and Co.

He said they had one of the most up-to-date factories in New Zealand and it reflected great credit upon the latter firm who had shown their knowledge of what was wanted by fitting up the plant in such excellent style. Mr Campbell, manager of the Maungaturoto factory, and Mr Jackman also spoke, and urged upon all the necessity of making the undertaking a success. Mr Angel said the success of the company was assured because the promoters were all of good old British bulling breed who did not know the meaning of the word defeat (loud cheers). Everything now being ready Mrs McMurdo declared the factory open, amidst cheers.

Mr Drake, the manager, then put the machinery in motion, and after explaining the process of receiving, cooling and ripening the cream, ran the cream from the vat to the churn, stating the butter would be churned in half an hour, and as a proof that he knew what he was talking about the butter was churned in the time stated. The butter was then placed on the worker and the process was watched by an interested crowd of fanners and their wives and daughters, who compared the method of working it by machinery with the hard labour system they had been used to. Needless to say, the comparison was not in favour of the latter. The factory is built on the beach alongside the wharf and was specially designed by Mr Percival of Inglewood and reflects great credit upon him and the contractors Messrs Weber and Sons of Pahi.

The machinery which was supplied and fitted up by the well known firm of Messrs J. B. MacEwan and Co, consists of a 21 H.P. Campbell oil engine, a two ton Humble and Sons refrigerator, cream vat, churn, butter worker and the hundred and one items that go to make an up-to-date butter factory. The fitting up, which has been planned to minimise the work at the factory as much as possible reflects great credit upon the engineer and especially upon Mr R.?. D. Robertson drew out the plans.

- Rodney and Otamatea Times 8 October 1904

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