Te Aroha Heritage Trail
The Te Aroha Library was opened in August 1936 by Mayor Robert Coulter. The building began life as a public building, housing the Te Aroha Borough Council. Although it has been altered internally over the years, its clean lines and rimu and brass fittings have a timeless quality. Housing the Te Aroha Library and local Council archives, the current occupants keep in use some of the original furnishings used by the Council of the time.
The Arts Centre is housed in what was once the Te Aroha Court House. Completed in 1883, it was in use even before the roof was built. A special sitting was arranged after a ‘fracas’ at the Palace Hotel!
The road and pedestrian bridge over the Waihou River on Kenrick Street is named after Robert Coulter, Mayor of Te Aroha for 20 years. Completed in 1928 it carries thousands of vehicles each day, the roadway being part of Highway 26 connecting the Waikato with the Coromandel. On October 31, 1992, over 600 people from Te Aroha and the surrounding district turned out to paint the bridge in heritage colours. Encouraged by the local promotional groups, Project Te Aroha, the event was crowned by the gift of old style lamps to complete the restoration programme, Power NZ donated the lamps as a tribute to the old Thames Valley Electric Power Board, which was centred in Te Aroha for many years.
The Railway Bridge was built in 1912, replacing a remarkable swing bridge structure. The concrete base of the old 1886 moving bridge can still be seen incorporated into the present bridge. The swing section was necessary to allow boats and barges to pass through.
The Returned Servicesmen’s Association memorial clubrooms were built in 1947 with a major expansion in 1992-93. The additions have been made in keeping with the original “California Spanish’ style.
Completed in 1955, the town’s most striking feature would inevitably be the tall chiming clock tower at the junction of Kenrick and Whitaker Streets. It is Te Aroha’s War Memorial Clock, dedicated to the memory of 200 of its sons from town and district, who fell in World Wars I and II. It also serves as a tribute to nearly 1000 others who served in the armed forces.
The old ANZ Bank Building in Whitaker Street, with its imposing façade and large steps, was built in 1922 and is now a café.
This Roman Catholic church was built in 1957 and reflects an Art Deco style. The new building replaced the 1906 church, which was moved to Waitoa.