Est. 1882. Historic Category Place 2. This lovely old home is a private residence. You are welcome to admire from the street - but not entre. Thank you. Built on the site of an ancient Māori Pā, John Cuthbert Adams crafted his home in the North American Carpenter Gothic style. A feature is the steep gable with bargeboards edged in a gingerbread trim. As his family grew to 11 children, John made several additions. The house was sold in 1973, ending 91 years of occupation by one family.
Map No. 69.
Cnr Fifth Ave & Devonport Rd,
On 2 September 1874 John Cuthbert Adams, his wife Laura and their 16-month-old daughter Edith arrived in New Zealand on board the ‘City of Auckland’ after a very rough passage of 107 days. Chartered by Shaw, Savill and Co. the voyage endured gales and a hurricane during which waves smashed the sheep-pens and the vessel shipped large quantities of water.
Sadly, just two months after their arrival, Laura died during childbirth on 14 November and her newly born son Ernest along with her. Both were buried in Symonds Street Cemetery. At this stage Edith has yet to be traced. John arrived in Tauranga on board the ‘Rowena’ on 16 September 1876. He worked as a builder on schools, post offices, churches, bridges, residences, and business premises.
On 4 July 1882 John and Ngāti Maniapoto wahine Helen Hereni Edwards were married in Holy Trinity Church by Rev. Charles Jordan. They purchased an empty section on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Devonport Road that had once been the site of a Māori Pā and had kūmara gardens nearby. The land looks out over the inner harbour to Matapihi and Maungatapu. John set about building a new home in the North American Carpenter Gothic style which takes inspiration from features usually carved in stone on classic Gothic buildings. Built of rough-sawn kauri weatherboards, the Devonport Road frontage has a two-story section with a steep gable featuring bargeboards edged with an attractive gingerbread trim and topped at the pinnacle by a turned finial. The one-story verandah to the side has decorative fretwork and both a front door and French doors lead inside. The Fifth Avenue frontage is two-story with five multi-paned dormer windows being smaller versions of the front gable with gingerbread trimmed bargeboards and decorative finials. Inside, a ballroom features a parquet floor interwoven with native timbers kauri, matai, rewarewa, rimu, tawa and totara. Above is a high tongue-and-groove kauri ceiling.
John and Helen called their home Taiparoro (stormy sea), which may hark back to John’s rough sea voyage to New Zealand in 1874. The couple would have 11 children, the last born in 1903. As the family grew so did the house as John made additions to accommodate them.
ADAMS COTTAGE - Adams Ave, Mt Maunganui: John also built the family a holiday bach at Mount Maunganui in 1906, one of the first houses built there and today known as Adams Cottage and listed by Heritage New Zealand | Pouhere Taonga as a Category 2 Historic Place. The bach is also in the Carpenter Gothic style and features gable ends with a finial, fretwork in the front verandah and decorative shutters beside the sash windows on either side of the front door.
During his time in Tauranga, John was heavily involved in the local community. He served on the Tauranga School Committee, as auditor of the Borough Council and a property valuer. In 1907 he was elected to the Borough Council, becoming Mayor in 1917 during the difficult World War I years. He served on the Harbour Board, as a Justice of the Peace and as a Cemetery Trustee helping to restore and preserve Tauranga Mission Cemetery | Ōtamataha Pā (No. 17 on the map). He was also a member of the Polynesian Society and a recognised authority on Māori history and whakapapa. Helen had died at Taiparoro on 11 November 1915 and John died there on 23 July 1932. Daughter Bertha had been born at Taiparoro in June 1884 and lived her whole life in the house. She didn’t marry and died at Taiparoro in November 1972. The following year the house was sold, ending 91 years of ownership and occupation by one family. In 1988 Taiparoro was listed by Heritage New Zealand " Pouhere Taonga as a Category 2 Historic Place. This is now a private house, but has been included iwith permission from the current owners due to its importance to the story of Tauranga and to the iconic cottage still in use in Adams Ave, Mt Maunganui. Please respect the privacy of the current owners and admire the building from the street.
See images and read more here:
Tiaparoro by Tauranga Historical Society