Historic Bond store bids farewell to Sun Media

Tauranga City Libraries information access specialist archivist Michelle Bradbury, The Weekend Sun editor Merle Cave and TCC heritage specialist Harley Couper. Photo: John Borren.

Tauranga City Library is the new custodian of the Sun Media archives, which have previously been carefully stored in cupboards at the top of the stairs at 1 The Strand.

Tauranga City Library is the new custodian of the Sun Media archives, which have previously been carefully stored in cupboards at the top of the stairs at 1 The Strand.

The historic Bond Store at 1 The Strand, a cherished heritage building in Tauranga, is marking the end of an era as Sun Media, the long-standing tenant and publisher of The Weekend Sun newspaper, relocated to a new office on Cameron Rd this month after more than a decade of occupancy.

The move signals a significant transition for both Sun Media and the storied building, which is an integral part of Tauranga’s landscape.

Sun Media has been a fixture at the Bond Store, where it has produced The Weekend Sun, New Farm Dairies, Coast & Country News, magazines Waterline and MySpace and the online news website SunLive.

Don’t worry The Sun’s publications are still being locally made and published – just now they are part of NZME at 405 Cameron Rd.

But with the newspaper’s departure from The Strand, the newspaper archives – an invaluable record of local history – have been handed over to Tauranga City Library.

“Every issue since the beginning is recorded on CD as PDF files as they went to print,” says Sun Media’s design studio manager and graphic designer Kym Johnson.

“There are also archives for Waterline magazine and Coast & Country News dating back as far as time remembers.”

Seven members of Tauranga City Library’s heritage and research team came for a tour before the last newspaper from the historic building went to print earlier this month, and to arrange for collection of the files.

Listed as a Category 1 historic place on April 4, 2008, the building is located at the north end of The Strand, Tauranga on the corner of The Strand and Monmouth St.

The building’s beginnings 

Constructed in the late 19th Century, Tauranga Bond Store originally served as a storage and Customs facility during Tauranga’s bustling maritime trade era.

The oldest remaining commercial building in Tauranga, it was built for James Alexander Mann in 1883 as a warehouse and bond store for storing imported goods.

It was situated on the waterfront approximately 300m and 500m from the two wharves which were the main entry point for goods in Tauranga until the railway and better roads were constructed.

Over the years the building has seen various uses, reflecting the city’s evolving needs and growth. Its architecture, characterised by distinctive sash windows and robust brickwork, is a testament to the craftsmanship of its time.

Guinness Bros building on The Strand, Tauranga, north end, c. 1920. Image Credit: Tauranga City Libraries Photo 99-1157.

Mann sold the business in 1908, and the property three years later, to Guinness Bros, a local firm of general merchants which used it for storage and administration of its business, which included wholesale wines and spirits.

As importers, producers and stockists of agricultural equipment, Guinness Bros played an essential role in the development of the Bay of Plenty’s agricultural industry.

Guinness Bros added a small shop on the Bond Store’s southern side and a workshop and bulk store at the rear. The shop was later greatly enlarged and rebuilt from more substantial materials.

In 1986 Hughes & Cossar, also wine and spirits dealers, took over the property; subsequently it was leased and occupied by Saunderson Packaging, and from 1987-1997 by Tulloch Photography.

Recently Bob Tulloch has returned, this time as a step-in photographer for The Weekend Sun.

In late-1997 the building’s ground floor was refurbished as a restaurant and bar. The retail shop was demolished and replaced with a conservatory-style annex on the southern side.

At some time, the upper floor was leased as office space and in the late-1990s was used by Creative Tauranga.

Sun Media Ltd has occupied it since the late Brian Rogers and his wife Claire purchased it in 2008. In recent years Brian and Claire undertook extensive restorations to preserve the building’s historical integrity.

Claire Rogers outside No 1 The Strand. Photo: John Borren.

The sash windows have been carefully restored, maintaining their original design while improving functionality. The exterior has been repainted in a historically appropriate colour palette, revitalising the building’s appearance and highlighting its architectural details.

These efforts ensure the Bond Store remains a vibrant part of Tauranga’s heritage.

“Our family and staff took a lot of pride in restoring the building because we think it’s important,” says Claire.

Claire and Brian, who passed away in September 2022, also had large history boards made to provide information about the building’s early years through to the present.

With The Sun publications team now fully relocated to the NZME building at 405 Cameron Rd, it’s time to reflect on the deep connection between the publisher and the Bond Store.

Relocation of the archives to the city library will see its research and heritage team oversee their preservation and accessibility, ensuring future generations can explore Tauranga’s past.

A cherished landmark

This transition marks not just the end of an era, but also a renewal of commitment to preserving the historical essence of 1 The Strand. The building will continue to stand as a symbol of Tauranga’s rich heritage, ready to welcome new occupants and create new stories.

Claire’s ongoing dedication to maintaining the building’s heritage underscores the importance of such structures in the collective memory and identity of the Tauranga community. The Bond Store at 1 The Strand remains a cherished landmark, a bridge between Tauranga’s storied past and its vibrant future.

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