1912: Paengaroa at that time consisted of stables and a blacksmith's shop, two boarding houses (Robeke's which stood where the present petrol station is and Walters which stood behind the present general store) a fish shop, a general store, a butchers shop, a country hall (known as 'Billy Gilmore's Hall') and a school of one room on the present school site.
Farming in those days was tough. Cows had to be milked by hand and the milk taken to a creamery situated on Old Coach Road - the resulting skim milk brought home and fed to the calves and pigs. All the farm work had to be done by hand and horse, scrub cut and burnt, the land ploughed by a single furrow plough, crops sown and picked by hand. Hay was made and turned to dry by hand, then carted to the stack on a big sheet or cart.
For relaxation there were always house parties where several families would gather and sing songs around the piano. There was one in nearly every house and, if not, one would be brought by horse and cart from the neighbours. The older folks played cards and the young played tennis on a bit of grass paddock with a strip of wire netting for a net.
Source: Excerpts from the Paengaroa School 75th Jubilee Booklet - Article by C Mundt
The city of plains........... that it never was
Judging by it's location, Paengaroa might be expected to be a bigger, bustling town. That's what our ancestors expected it to become. But things didn't turn out quite like that and most of the residents wouldn't have it any other way.
V Sherriff reports (Bay of Plenty Times - 16 December, 1995)
Paengaroa never did develop into the city of the plains it was touted as at the beginning of this century - but there is time yet, according to a new breed of retailers in the area.
In 1911 it must have seemed obvious that the staging post for the Tauranga to Rotorua coaches would always be a busy crossroad. Not only that but the Whakatane road also passed through the district which had just been given permission for a railway.
From the air Paengaroa looks important and, if it was on a treasure map where "X" marks the spot, prospectors would be sure to turn up gold.
First settled 100 years ago, the Paengaroa District now sports a fine shopping area that could almost be referred to as Te Puke's Parnell.
The present shopping area is minus the Paengaroa Tavern, recently bought by Comvita, which has expanded onto the site.
With a population of about 500, Paengaroa's passing traffic and surrounding district provide most of the customers for the many businesses supplying the local market.
The biggest Paengaroa success story, Comvita, which is a cottage industry that has grown into a thriving local and export business, is still based in the area. Established 28 years ago, the company concentrates on bee, honey and health products - employing 60 people from all over the western Bay Of Plenty. The business has expanded into the former Tavern where more manufacturing is be done and a centre has been build including a large retail store. Visitors can come and observe the processes that have proved so successful for the company.