Landmark of tragedy to go

The remaining Icepak coolstore, the only survivor of the devastating 2008 fire, is being prepared for removal.

This week, contractors were on the Devine Rd site washing down the coolstore, which in recent months has been covered in graffiti, before an expected shift to Waharoa.

The coolstore has not been in use since June 2010 after a deal struck between Icepak and the Waikato District Council allowed it to continue to operate for a period following the fatal fire in return for Icepak relinquishing claims to commercial use of the site.

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Manor’s time runs out

Work to dismantle Tamahere’s historic Mellow Manor will start today after efforts to relocate the building failed.

NZ Transport Agency had been in urgent discussions with a couple who proposed moving the manor to another site 800m away.

The manor property, at the intersection of Pickering Rd and State Highway 1, was purchased by the agency in April as one of 92 full and partial properties required to build the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway.

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Manor’s last chance to move

Tamahere’s historic Mellow Manor may have secured an eleventh-hour reprieve with a couple expressing an interest in buying and relocating the building.

The NZ Transport Agency sought urgent talks with prospective buyers after earlier discussions to save the manor fell over.

The manor property, at the intersection of Pickering Rd and State Highway 1, was purchased by the agency in April as one of 92 full and partial properties required to build the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway.

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Settlement addresses injustice

Celebration was the order of the day when Ngati Haua and Crown representatives signed a deed of settlement over historic grievances today at the Te Iti o Haua Marae, Tauwhare.

Attended by King Tuheitia and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, the day was recorded in print and on film by the AlJazeera television network, which provided an interesting international perspective of the event and New Zealand’s treaty settlement process.

Many Ngati Haua, King Tuheitia and Minister Finlayson, who is also Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, also visited the Waitakaruru Sculpture Park for the re-dedication of ‘Absolute Divide’, an artwork which portrays the original boundary line, drawn in 1864 following the land wars, that separated the Waikato and Matamata/Piako districts.

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Historic day for Ngati Haua

Ngati Haua will sign a deed of settlement with the Crown at the Te Iti o Haua Marae, Tauwhare, on Friday, May 24, which will acknowledge the Crown’s breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi dating back to 1863.

To be attended by King Tuheitia and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, the ceremony will start at 7am with the raising of the king’s flag.

Tamahere’s earliest person of note is Wiremu Tamihana, a chief of Ngati Haua, known as the Maori Kingmaker and revered as a peacemaker.

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Glad tidings on mystery couple

Mystery couple Arthur and Glad whose 1920 wedding photo, apparently taken at Tamahere, puzzled a British woman when she found it in her family’s papers in London has been solved.

“The couple are Christopher Arthur Teague and Gladys Teague (nee Crahart) on their wedding day on 26 October, 1920, in Palmerston North,” emailed their daughter-in-law, June Teague, this week.

“They arrived from Cornwall, England and after their marriage they farmed on Woodcock’s Road, Tamahere,” June wrote, finally establishing there was a Tamahere connection, and solving the months old mystery.

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Five years on from Icepak fire

Five years ago the Icepak coolstores at Tamahere exploded, killing a fireman, injuring seven others and scarring a community. Philippa Stevenson, a Tamahere resident and journalist, reflects on the tragedy and asks whether it could happen again.

Tamahere Model Country School’s annual Pumpkin Night, held a week ago, was a delight.

As one Pumpkin Night follows another it feels like nothing changes.

But some things certainly need to change. Because Pumpkin Night five years ago ended before it began with a black mushroom cloud blasting and boiled into the sky, taking a life and changing the course of many others forever.

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Corporate manslaughter calls grow

Growing calls for a corporate manslaughter charge in the wake of the CTV building collapse in Christchurch and the Pike River mine disaster coincide with the fifth anniversary of the fatal Tamahere fire – where a plea was also made for stiffer law.

This week, Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said he may pursue a law change allowing corporate manslaughter charges in cases like the CTV building collapse in the second earthquake in February 2011, in which 115 people died.

The move was welcomed by Labour’s Justice spokesperson Andrew Little, who has a member’s Bill in Parliament’s ballot that creates a crime of corporate manslaughter.

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Fonterra fire case settled

Dairy giant Fonterra has settled a claim against companies in the Icepak coolstore group for the loss of $25 million of cheese in the 2008 Tamahere fire that claimed the life of a firefighter.

The case was settled last October in a confidential out-of-court settlement.

In January 2011, Fonterra was given permission to sue the owners of the Tamahere coolstore, Icepak Group Ltd.

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Roller back on the road

A substantial piece of Tamahere history has been brought to light in a South Island workshop.

In 1923, the Tamahere Roads Board became the proud owners of an Aveling-Porter steam roller and scarifier, shipped from England and transported by rail to the Hamilton railway station.

The new machine, (the roller rolls, the scarifier breaks up the surface of a road) was demonstrated to the proud members of the roads board in front of the Lye family farm in Newstead, and was soon hard at work on Tauwhare Rd.

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