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Cambridge Town

Learn about the history of town and its districts, schools and roads over the years.

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Roads – E, F, G

Personally Researched and written by Eris Parker 1989


This district was named after ‘Fen Court’, the name Every Maclean gave to his estate. These 7,047 acres were subdivided in 1900.

Wilfred Harbutt was born in Auckland, came to Cambridge in 1894 and worked for Richard Reynolds. He returned from Te Puke in 1907 after helping to form the Bay of Plenty Co-op Dairy Co and settled at Fencourt buying a 263 acre property. They named it ‘Rosebank’. Wilfred married Catherine Sturges and they had four children – two sons Selwyn and Gane carried on with farming.
Wilfred was chairman of the Road Board in 1920 and sat on the first Power Board. He was chairman of the Goodwood School and a member of the Rifle Club and Drainage Board.

He was a director of the Cambridge Dairy Co 1919-1951 and its chairman from 1934-1951. His integrity and understanding brought the company through the very trying time of World War Two.
I wonder if people realize the history that is lost when authorities change the names of roads?


In 1877 the Armed Constabulary made camp at Fergussons Gully while putting the road through from Cambridge to Taupo – as it was so remote the men called it ‘Mesopotamia’.

The estate was owned at that time by Sir James Fergusson – Governor General of New Zealand 1873-1874. (He was killed in the Jamaican earthquake of 1905). His cousin, Robert Henry D Fergusson was part owner of the estate from 1874-1887 at which time Sir James returned to England. In 1964 the then Governor General Sir Bernard Fergusson, returned to the site of the old ‘Gorton’ homestead and planted a Kauri tree.


This road runs through the late Arthur Finlay’s farm from Oreipunga Road to the old Horahora Power Station site on the Waikato River. c1950 a new road was formed to service the church camps of Epworth and Finlay Park and before it was sealed it was ‘a road to be reckoned with’.

Arthur and his wife Dawn with two children, Heather and Weston farmed at Horahora until the early 1980’s when they moved into Cambridge.


Named because of the kauri flume (an artificial channel for conveying water) about three quarters of a mile long and raised several feet above ground. This was used to carry water away from the Te Miro hills and assist the drainage of this area of swampland.

When the Fencourt Estate was subdivided in 1900 Flume Road was a mile and a half of unformed winding track servicing only Wynn Brown’s and Robert Feisst’s properties. This was a no exit road, which needed fascines (ti tree sticks tied in bundles and lain in the tracks) before a foundation for a road could be made. In 1912 Flume Road continued from Feisst’s bridge to the Confiscation Line and was later regarded by the Te Miroites as The Valley Road or Te Miro Road.


FORREST ROAD (formerly No 2 CROSSROAD off Hamilton Road)

Named after the early pioneer family of James and Sarah Forrest, one of the soldier settlers of the area taking up land in 1864. James and Sarah nee Perkins were married in Dunedin and raised two sons and eight daughters.

James was a Justice of the Peace, served on numerous committees and was very vocal regarding farming activities at the Farmers Club around 1895. They called their property ‘Surrey Park’ and lived almost entirely on their own products.


Until 1911 this road was little more than a track leading down into the valley and was used only as a short cut for families at Taotaoroa. It then came under the Cambridge Road Board.

As recorded in the book, ‘Plough of the Pakeha’ by Eric Beer and Alwyn Gascoigne, Every Maclean would do his weekly rounds and – ‘After crossing over a low ridge of the Maungakawa range, which the men had nick named ‘French Pass’, they called at the out stations of Whitehall and Kensington .’

From the diary of Runa Hulse at the time her family arrived at Whitehall -1901- we can get an idea of its condition:- ‘We rented a house on Thornton Road for a few months while Mr Christie built the house on the farm. A Mr Nicoll took the timber and bricks out via Karapiro with his waggon and four horses. There was no French Pass Road only a track but there was a bridge over the stream in the big gully. Mr Nicoll tried driving home that way with the empty waggon once, but once was enough.

‘Going up the cutting on the Cambridge side of the bridge in the French Pass gully my horse got bogged. I stepped off and Mr Christie got hold of the horse’s tail and pulled it round so that it was facing down hill and it was soon on its feet.

‘There were 3,000 acres in the farm, roughly two miles long and four wide. Father put gates across the French Pass Road at the Cambridge end and the Whitehall end of the farm but a few years after the road was formed there were complaints from the neighbours about having to open these gates when going to town and Father had to remove them and get more fencing done.’


Arthur Goodwin was born in Kent where he was a Red Cross worker during World War One. In 1920 he and his wife Rosa Louise and two sons, John and Bert came to New Zealand and farmed at Pukerimu amongst the ti tree on their property called ‘Twynham’. Arthur was chairman of the Dairy Suppliers committee, chairman of the Kaipaki Church Board and Trustee and President of the cricket club. They retired to Auckland but Goodwin descendants are still in the district.


William Thorne Buckland established the Gorton Estate at Karapiro by putting his son Alfred and a manager Tamaki George Walker on the property. Formerly the road was the driveway to the Gorton Homestead which was built about 1873. The Gorton Estate was later owned by R H D Fergusson, and managed by Nicholas Hunt, Simpson and Samuel Seddon. In 1904 8,000 acres were bought by a syndicate and cut up.

Under the Taotaoroa Road Board in 1883 Gorton Road was improved by the contractors J & A Forrest, ‘hitherto the road was a mere track and unsafe at night.’


Alan Stuart Grey (13/62 Auckland Mounted Rifles) his wife Norah nee Shannon and their daughter Kathleen were original Te Miro World War One soldier settlers of the district who drew their farm (section 20) from the ballot of 1918. Mrs Grey died after being thrown from her horse in 1945 and the property, called ‘Bushmere’ was sold to J W Smith in 1953. Mr Stuart died in 1956 and they are both buried at Hautapu Cemetery.


This road led to Gricedale Creamery, the local factory, which was built on land donated by Messrs Grice. (Later known as Roto-o-Rangi factory). This road was formed by the local farmers.

Richard and James Grice of Cumberland, were owners with Richard Reynolds of the Roto-o-Rangi Estate, and they spent a considerable amount of money on improvements and draining the property.


Harry George and Cecelia Win Griggs arrived in Kairangi with their family in 1933 as part of the Bryant Land Settlement Scheme. Lois Griggs was the first girl born in the new district and Mrs Win Griggs was president of the local Country Women’s Institute for 8 years from 1940. In 1959 son Lance bought the property from his father, and in 1999 Lance sold the property to his son, George.

While all due care has been taken to verify information contained on this site, the Cambridge Museum accepts no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misrepresentation.

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