The Ngati Werewere people of the Ngati Haua Iwi were resident in Piako when the first trader, John Johnson, came to the district in 1852. Contractors such as Harp and settlers such as Turnbull, Walker, Murray, Horrell and McDonald followed in the 1870s. Thomas Morrin purchased the Kuranui No 1 Block in 1873/4 and founded the Lockerbie Estate.
He built the blacksmith’s shop, manager’s house and a bulk store and donated land for a school. Two years before the railway arrived in October1884, Morrin laid out a town that was to become Morrinsville. The arrival of the railway line saw the first population boost for the town.
The 1885-1895 depression saw Morrin and his partner, John Studholme, lose their land. It passed into the control of the Bank of New Zealand’s Asset Realisation Board. The Board farmed the Lockerbie estate and in the 1900s began subdividing it into single-family farms which were mainly used as dairy farms. This began an expansion of housing and buildings in the district, including churches, a courthouse, a police station, the Phoenix Hall, a town water supply and the Lodge building. In the 1920’s two dairy factories, Morrinsville Dairy Company and New Zealand Dairy Company, were built to service the
growing dairy industry.
The town’s growth slowed during another depression and the Second World War.
After the war many of the original buildings needed expanding or replacement. The expansion continued in the 1950’s and 60’s with State Houses and the growth of service industries such as the Kiwi Fertilizer Works. Since then there has been a steady growth of new housing, businesses and community facilities in the town.
Researched and Written by Mike Gribble.
17 January 2010