DISTRICT PROFILE - TARANAKI DISTRICT
The provincial boundaries of Taranaki begin on the southern outskirts of Mokau in the north, to Opunake in the west, east to Whangamomona and to south of the Waitotara township. With the iconic Mt Egmont / Taranaki, being a standalone feature of the landscape, able to be viewed from as far away as Wanganui and Awakino and with the coastal borders of the South Taranaki Bight and the North Taranaki Bight. The province is rich in White Gold and Black Gold, ( being milk and oil ) and the dairy industry of New Zealand having it's very early first beginnings in Eltham by Mr Chew Chong who began making cheese. Oil, was first discovered at Ngmoutu right on the water edge, prior to the Second World War. There is still a Nodding Neddy pumping away today that was the fore runner to todays successful oil or gas wells spread over the province and offshore, along the length of the Taranaki Coastal Strip.
Taranaki is well known throughout the world as a major supplier to the iconic Dairy Giant, Fonterra, one of the worlds large dairy industries that has a huge factory processing milk into various dairy products so sought after in the world markets, sited at Whareroa south of Hawera. This was originally built for the Kiwi Dairy Company, to become known as the largest in the southern hemisphere but has now become superseded in the South Island with the construction of massive manufacturing plants in Canterbury.
There are New Zealand Constitution Lodges in the towns of Patea, Manaia, Opunake, Inglewood and New Plymouth. The numbers of Lodges have decreased these past few years with the amalgamation of Lodge Hawera and Lodge Ramanui becoming, Lodge South Taranaki, which lasted only three to four years and returned their Charter. Followed by St John’s Lodge No 95 in the Eltham township closing down and most of their membership resigning the craft, with Lodge Te Henui in New Plymouth soon following suit. Small numbers of members kept their membership by joining with local Lodges domiciled close by or in the next township, along with a number resigning their membership overall.
Lodges in the District:
Patea Kilwinning No 18: is now the oldest NZ Constitution Lodge having been dedicated prior to the Constitution being formed in 1890 and for this Lodge to still be operational is almost miraculous since the township lost most of the industry back in the 1980s and the town was depopulated.
Lodge Manaia No 286: Meeting in the small township of Manaia being the home of Taranaki's Bread Manufacturing Plant of Yarrows Ltd. This Lodge has become home to a number of Hawera and Ramanui Lodge members which has kept it functioning.
Ikaroa Lodge No115: This lodge is now finding it difficult to remain open as membership has slipped away but once, was very strong and has the distinction of a P. GM. M W Bro Dan Holmes as a member.
Lodge Whangamomona No 234: Originally formed in the now defunct township of Whangamomona in the most eastern part of the district and when the rail system altered, the lodge moved towards Stratford and met in the Toko Village until 2005 when it took over the old Moa Lodge rooms in Inglewood and most Moa members joined there. This Lodge has been one of the strongest in the District and by far the most supportive of the District Grand Lodge. With the closure of Te Henui Lodge the membership joined Whangamomona.
Taranaki Daylight Lodge No 445 : This lodge caters for the elderly Masonic Membership along with their ladies and widows who no longer wish to travel around the district at night time, meet during the mornings and have finger lunch and then disperse home. It is able to move around the District's Lodge rooms holding meetings with a Peripatetic Charter.
Lodge United Taranaki No 456: This lodge has been one of the largest memberships of the District and meets in New Plymouth, being made up from several Lodges now defunct. It has taken ownership of the Te Henui Lodges building on Darnell Street, Fitzroy.
Avant Garde Lodge No 503: The youngest of the District's Lodges, having been formed in 2003 and has a Peripatetic Charter also, with dining after meetings. This lodge is beginning to grow and develop using inventive business ideals in it's management and running of it's regular meetings. It has it's own web site and attracts brethren from around the world with queries and requests to visit and or join.
Research Lodge of the Taranaki Province No 323: This lodge is struggling and requires good leadership and management to ensure its survival into the future.