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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Gas Board Formed.

The Petone and Lower Hutt Gas Lighting Board came into being on 1st November, 1922. Prior to that date, each borough controlled its own gas supply, although the manufacture of the gas was in the hands of the Petone Borough who supplied the Lower Hutt Borough at an agreed price per 1,000 cubic feet.
For some time before the Board's inception, there had been a general feeling that the arrangement between the boroughs as to gas, neither lent itself to the most effective and economical supply, nor the inauguration of a policy calculated satisfactorily to meet the needs of a district wherein rapid expansion could be anticipated.
On 17th January, 1922, a conference of the two councils was held, and a joint committee was set up to go thoroughly into the whole question, and, as a result, the Board was instituted as from 1st November, 1922, composed of the following members: W. G. Lodder. Esq., 7th member and Chairman. Board members: Messrs. J. W. McEwan, A. J. Hobbs, W. J. Meldrum, W. T. Strand, C. P. Brockelbank, and W. Hay.
Six board members were to be elected at each Municipal election, three from each borough, whilst the seventh member was to be elected by the elected Board, the seven members then electing their chairman.
It is interesting to note that Mr. W. G. Lodder, Chief Engineer of the Gear Meat Company, who had been invited to sit on the committee investigating the proposals regarding the board's inauguration, and had been elected its chairman, was the first elected seventh member. He was also elected chairman, and retained this position until the municipal election of 1938. The board owes much to Mr. Lodder's technical ability, energy, and availability at all times during his sixteen years' of office.
The first Gas Manager was Mr. H. Appleyard, whilst Mr. Sturman, Town Clerk, Petone, undertook the secretarial work.
In 1932, the Board set up entirely separate offices and office staff, and Mr. O. Silbery, who had been with the Board for many years, was appointed Secretary-Treasurer.

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