George Vesey Stewart from County Tyrone, Ireland, brought settlers from Great Britain on the Lady Jocelyn which was the first overseas ship to sail directly into Tauranga Harbour and arrived on 2 January 1881. Included were those from Ire-land: Moses Spence, William McGhee, Joseph Blythe and Henry McDowell. Three other ships the May Queen, Northumberland, and Oxford, later brought further Vesey Stewart settlers.
Alice Gilmore from Clydesburn County Down, Ireland and Bridget Burke, Kilkenny, Ireland, sailed to New Zealand in Ship Bebbington and came to Tauranga in 1876. Later Bridget married Charles Ryan and Alice married James Fenton in 1878. In 1879 Sara Crawford, Sarah Bird and Bridget Ryan, all from Ireland sailed with their families by boat from Tauranga to Maketu and up the Kaituna to Canaan Landing, then by Maori canoe up the Waiari Stream to site of the present bridge. They were the first European women to set foot on Te Puke soil. The men, William Bird, Sam Crawford, Charles Ryan and James Fenton had traveled to Te Puke by swimming their horses across Tauranga harbour at Hiarini and then riding over the Papamoa Hills.
Caleb Lally and Richard Williams from Ireland also settled at the bottom of No 2 Road which is now Boucher Avenue. These people, along with others, received their Certificate of Title to their land in 1880.
James Fenton from Randalstown, County Antrim, Ireland, lived in Tauranga and had a coach and carrying business. In 1876 brought the first land surveyor, Mr Baber, to Te Puke by blazing a trail over the Papamoa Hills because the swamplands towards the coast were impassable. The Fenton family later moved to Te Puke.
Other Irish settlers came to Te Puke and they with other pioneers, contributed greatly to the development of the town and farmland.
Designed and created by: Chris Heenan
Contributed by: Alice Gemming