Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
There were 96 Europeans in the Waikohu Road District in 1878. The number of Maoris then is not officially known. In 1906 the combined population was 1858. By 1926 the European population was: County, 2,604; Te Karaka T.D., 321; Maoris, 488 and 48 respectively; grand total, 3,461. In 1945 the figures were: Europeans—County, 1,912; Te Karaka T.D., 262; Maoris—County, 919; Te Karaka T.D., 109; grand total, 3,202, plus 3 per cent. to make up for residents absent on war activities.
Te Karaka township site was covered with scrub and surrounded by heavy bush in the early 1880's. Its first white resident was George Burgess, a “bullocky.” A shepherd named McKinnon then built an hotel, the Isle of Mull, in thick bush near the river. In 1883 Mr. Hutton erected a sawmill at the back of the site on which the school now stands. A saddler's shop and a store followed. The sawmill was taken over by W. King in 1884. His manager (Alfred H. Salmon) and his wife were the first European married residents. A school, with only five pupils, was opened by C. E. Bolton in 1886. William Hunter was the first mailman.