Karehana Reserve Water Supply

During recent earthworks for a new garage in Reserve Road, contractors working for Chris & Miriam Griggs dug out an old piece of machinery. Allan Dodson, Plimmerton historian has identified it as an old belt driven water pump.

In the 1920’s the Karehana Bay area was not connected to mains water and residents collected rain water for household use. When Cameron’s Guest House, now Moana Lodge, was built on the corner of Moana and Cluny Roads, it required a constant supply of water, especially during the summer months.

The concrete remains of a reservoir in Karehana Reserve are still visible


The Karehana Reserve water supply consisted of a number of elements. Water was diverted from the stream to a reservoir near the bottom of the Reserve and fed down to the recovered water pump near the corner of Reserve and Cluny Roads. From there it was pumped to a holding tank on the corner of Motuhara and Cluny Roads.

The tank, circled on this 1920’s postcard below, acted as a header tank for the guest house. Long term Karehana Bay resident, Reta Ewen, as a young woman in the 1930’s, remembers local men being able to collect water in kerosene cans from the tank during dry periods.

Belt driven water pump at Reserve Road


From the tank the water was piped down to a small number of taps along the road before reaching Cameron’s Guest House, its final destination. Here the water was used for flushing toilets and washing. Mains water was finally supplied to Plimmerton and Karehana Bay in the late 1950s.

Header tank at corner Motuhara & Cluny Roads c1926


Cameron Guest House operating as Karehana Boarding House in 1946


For more information about Cameron’s Guest House


Karehana Reservoir – 2017: Mary Beckett

Belt Driven Water Pump – 2018:  Allan Dodson

Header Tank Cnr Motuhara & Cluny Road – c1926: Alistair Robb postcard

Cameron’s Guest House  – 1946:  Allan Dodson collection