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The Paeroa Brewery, which produced Paeroa Water, had success with its products Golden Ale and Oatmalt Stout in 1937. Photo: SUPPLIED

Escapades of a safe-blower

As part of a Valley Profile series, MEGHAN HAWKES searches through old newspapers to bring you the stories Thames Valley locals once read about themselves.


Safe blowers entered the Kerepēhi Economic Store under the cover of darkness and after using explosives on the safe, escaped with a large sum of money. When the owner, Mr Innes, arrived at the store he found an upheaval in his office, the safe badly damaged, five cheques, a cashbox and 30 pounds missing. The thieves had taken precautions to deaden the sound with two sacks of chaff that had been dragged from the storeroom and used as buffers.
After leaving by the front entrance they failed to close the door.
A man living in the vicinity, returning home late, saw a car parked near the shop, and, being curious, took its number. Eventually, a man already serving a prison sentence wrote to the police confessing the crime. He stated that he wanted to clear the matter up, and start his life again with a clean record. He had borrowed a car from a friend in Auckland and drove to Kerepēhi, arriving about midnight. After forcing a side window with an iron bar he entered the store, and blew the safe open with gelignite and a detonator. He took the cashbox and returned to Auckland, later throwing it off a ferry. He spent the money and burned the cheques.

The Paeroa Brewery, which produced Paeroa Water, now had success with its products Golden Ale and Oatmalt Stout.
The brewery building had been renovated and the most modern equipment installed. This included the very latest high speed labeling machine, bottle steriliser, and cooler and filtering plant.
The brewer in charge had lengthy New Zealand experience, and for many years brewed at Guinness’ famous stout brewery in Dublin, and at Burton-on-Trent, the district which produced the well known Bass English ale.
An earthworm menace was troubling farmers in the Turua, Netherton and Ngātea districts. Earthworms in pasture land were generally beneficial, but on the Hauraki Plains the worms were a threat owing to the sheer weight of their numbers.
Meanwhile, without warning, hundreds of tons of debris fell across the road in a landside at Puru Point, on the Thames coast, completely blocking the road. A heavy motor vehicle had just passed and had a narrow escape.
Many cars had to be driven on to the beach and round the point to reach the road beyond it.
A gang of council men were quickly on the scene, and in a few hours the road was open for one way traffic.