To the casual visitor today,the first clue to Puhoi's beginnings is evident in the wayside calvary shrine that stands on the hill overlooking the village. Beyond that is the classically colonial pub,hotel buildings and stables.
Despite having been discovered by city folk looking for alternatives over the last few years,Puhoi's origins still figure strongly in the community. These distinctive European characteristics were born as a result of an expansion of the area's slowly growing population from the mid eighties.
Captain Martin Krippner [Austrian Army] of Mantau Bohemia,had previously emigrated to New Zealand with his family plus the Pankratz,and Scheidler families with Elizabeth Turnwald and Johann Krippner in 1860,and in 1861 he took up the position of Postmaster in Orewa where he acquired land and lived for a time,Emily,[Longdill from England] his wife operated a small school in Symonds Street where she offered music,art and languages to daughters of more affluent citizens.An accomplished lady she later taught at Puhoi School.
Martin Krippner with his brother in law Pynson Wilmot Longdill were the instigators of the European emigration to Puhoi, New Zealand. An offer of 40 acre Land granted by the N.Z Government to young settlers willing to work the land enticed several groups over a few years, to accept the challenge offered to them. Sick of the fuedal miseries of the austro-Hungarian Empire and filled with tales of a golden land over seas, they set out on the long journey to New Zealand with faith, hope, music and little else. Unfortunately they were not told the land was mountainous and heavily forested.
But it was this remote land, over the years that those determined settlers carved out the picturesque leafy township that today stands on the banks of Puhoi River. It was via this sluggish, meandering stream that was once navigable by steam boats the settlers began their livelihood which included tragedies, heartbreaks and determination in this now popular niche not far from Auckland city only half an hour drive via the the motorway. on 29' June 1863 it was the same river paddled by the Maori who brought the first group and others later, of emigrants after three months at sea, to land on the dark muddy banks below the present centennial hall. Two nikau whares awaited them in the depth of a Puhoi winter. No electricity, hot soup or warming greeted them. Just the cold harsh reality of an anxiously awaited dream.
With such little access to the outside world, it was no wonder that Puhoi created own gathering place, with its first pub. An irishman, Andrew Meaney , took up a bush licence enabling himself to sell liquor, in c 1873-75 at his pub shanty and the 'baby saloon' was created. Lack of finance in the area prevented success and the business did not prosper to any degree.l. Another irishman by the name of Clark fared slightly better as times began to improve. noting his success prompted John Schollum Snr and Vincent Schischka to apply for licences as well.
Now Puhoi had three drinking establishments!! Clarkes baby saloon, Schollum's German Hotel and Schischka puhoi hotel store and boarding house established in 1876. Competition resulted in closeure of the baby saloon which was sold to John Schollum . Two drinking establishments now graced the small village. Some time later Vincent Schischka sub-let his liquor license to Vincent Plescher and later again it was christian schischka a younger brother who took over thee business.
The once called German Hotel owned by John Schollum was then the only hotel in Puhoi. It was renamed the Puhoi Hotel.