I loved the sign on this window and pondered if it may have been a Kiwi solution to worrisome children or in-laws.........perhaps not.
Early Maori spoke of Tirau as a wonderful place to catch the Kereu or native pigeons.
The birds used the many Cabbage trees in the area as overnight resting places and large parties of Maori came and gathered them at night.
Unfortunately many Cabbage trees have since disappeared but they remain a symbol of the town.
The area must have very popular in the pre European times as many of the local hills have been extensively terraced.
From the late 1860's blocks of land were purchased and gradually developed for cattle grazing.
In 1881 the township was auctioned in 97 half acre allotments. The sections ranged in price from £6.12 to £99 in the township and from £6 to £10 for the suburban and rural sections.
The original plans show Tirau was intended to be in the style of an English Town with a Cathedral.
A second sale was held on March 27th 1912 when the Bank of New Zealand offered a further subdivision of sections to the north of Station Road.
On Oct 1st 1881 the Post & Telegraph Office was opened, officially known as Okoroire. In 1890 the name was changed to Oxford ( after Oxford, the English town ) however due to confusion with an Oxford in Canterbury the name was changed to Oxford North and then in 1895 it took the name of a prominent hill in the area, Tirau (the place of many Cabbage trees).
Any Australasians will know what was happening to rural communities in the 1980's. They were disappearing faster than chocolate at a kid's birthday party.
Tirau was no exception. The B.N.Z. Bank branch had closed down, as had the local butcher, baker, chemist and Rose Bros General Store which had been a Tirau landmark.
Following local government reorganisation Matamata County ceased to exist, with Tirau becoming part of the South Waikato District Council based in Tokoroa.
An armed hold up in 1988 was followed by the closure in 1989 of the Tirau Post Office and this left Tirau with many empty shops and closed buildings. Enter the saviour.
Entrepreneur Henry Clothier had a vision for Tirau, realising that many people passed through the town each day due to its situation on State Highway One and proximity to many popular tourist destinations.
In 1989 he purchased the empty Rose Bros building and turned it into a large successful antique shop visited by many.
Mr Clothier later transformed the old council building into a Conference & Event Centre & during the past decade he has been a leading force in attracting many other businesses to Tirau.
As a result of his vision Tirau is now home to a range of antique & craft shops, a "big sheep" wool gallery, a "big dog" information centre, a wide range of eating places & a medieval castle housing a doll & toy museum.
It has been a remarkable transformation for the small rural town, which has now evolved from being a place which traffic passed through, to a vibrant and popular destination in its own right.
Tirau is a small attractive township in a rural setting, with the Kaimai ranges as a backdrop.
It's population of approx 800 people belies the amount of people you'll see on the streets most days.
It is situated within the South Waikato District, as are the towns of Putaruru and Tokoroa; while other towns in close proximity are Matamata and Cambridge.
Less than an hour's drive from Tirau are the cities of Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, and the popular beach resort of Mt Maunganui. As you can gather, many people are in close proximity but it's the fact that the main road goes straight through that means, in real terms, it always had an edge on other communities as far as people going past.
All that was needed was something to stop them. Things like the Teddy Bear Maker (pic 2) are always going to draw mums and their children for instance and even the local garage (pic 3) gets in the act. I liked that one.
Poppy's, with those three delightful flowers atop the roof (obviously they don't get strong winds around here) is where we ate.
It's quite a popular place and, inside there is a grand chandelier (pic 2) that originated from the local theatre.
They bake their own cakes etc. so, if you get in early, it could be fresh out of the oven.
Here and there in Tirau there were some gardens with fine blooms when we were there in early spring, I thought I might share a couple of shots with you.