Edmond (Tim) Timothy Standish Ormond & Rosemary (Rosie) Margaret Ormond Interview
Today is the 5th September, 2016. I’m interviewing Tim Ormond of Hastings, and Tim is going to tell us about the life and times of the Ormond family – Tim, would you like to give us some information please?
Well I think the earliest I can remember really was going up to Wallingford, which was the original family homestead. And we used to go up there every Christmas – all fifty-two cousins … first cousins. Dad had five brothers and six sisters, so it was quite a big gathering up there at Christmases. But I can remember as a very young boy going up there, and my grandmother was alive at the time but my grandfather had died the year before I was born.
And when we were smaller – when we were under secondary school age – we weren’t allowed to go into the dining room and eat with the adults, we had to stay down in the nursery end with Nan, and we used to all sleep in a sort of a dormitory area. And we weren’t allowed to play on the tennis courts until we were at secondary school, so we had to hit up against the wall of the house. And unfortunately the wall of the house was the old weatherboard one which wasn’t flat, and the ball would go anywhere, [chuckle] yeah, and of course we weren’t allowed to do that while grandmother was having a snooze, which she did every day.
We used to play cricket a lot with the old uncle … all the uncles and everybody used to get out and we had a great time really. Every morning we had to go and see Gran in her bedroom, when she was still in bed, and we had a special time, that one by one you’d go in and say “hello” to Gran. And we just generally had a great old time, and we did that pretty well every Christmas, went up there. And other times of the year we’d go up just for a few days or something, or we’d go to Porangahau Beach and stay out there and visit a bit.
Did they have a cricket wicket ..?
No they didn’t then, but they did later on. It was called Eparaima, and they had a club called Eparaima, which was on part of their farm down along the flats which was only three or four minutes from the homestead. But no, we had a great time – but we played cricket and they set up a big net and everything on the lawn ‘cause there were big grounds … good grounds round the homestead. And we’d go exploring in the trees, and have a look around, and generally have a lot of fun.
Happy memories when you sort of look back, because it was a different age and different time, wasn’t it?
Yeah, and also we were young, and you didn’t have any worries when you were nine, ten, eight, you know – you just don’t – just … life’s just a breeze and you just go with the flow sort of thing. So we did have a lot of fun.
And Mum and Dad started out farming out at Mount Cameron which was out Puketapu way. And I remember them saying that Dad had a big mortgage and it was the time of the Depression, and they had real trouble because they had the Depression and then they had the earthquake which absolutely wrecked the place. And prices for wool were nothing, and the price for meat was nothing, so in the end they had to sell up.
And they went to town and bought a house just by the hospital … just past the hospital going towards Fernhill – just past the hospital on the right, and it was about one and a half acres. And then, I remember in those early days we would do riding … riding horses. My two sisters were really keen on riding, and Jen was a [an] international show jumper. So Bill and I (my brother) – we would go riding … go to Pony Club, go to gymkhanas. And when I was – I don’t know, about seven or eight, I had a little Shetland pony called Lucky, and we’d go to a gymkhana, we’d put Lucky into the back of a car. We’d take the seat out of the old Chev and put the pony in the back of the car … [chuckle]
Oh, you’re joking!
… and go off to the gymkhana. But after a few years doing this and Bill and I used to go to the Pony Club or go for a ride and come back, get off our horses and go off and play cricket or rugby on the lawn, and the girls were left to you know, clean down the horses and everything. And after a few years they got sick of this and said “look we’re not going to do this any more. If you want to ride you’re going to have to do your own looking after them”. We said “oh, we don’t want to ride then”. So that was the finish of riding, and we were both mad on cricket and rugby and stuff.
Just coming back to the horses – we take it for granted that there’s always been horse floats, and talking to some of these people who lived up at Crownthorpe and Sherenden who used to compete at the Show, they used to ride their horses down, compete and then ride the horse back.
I know, yeah – well Mum and Dad used to ride their horses in from Mount Cameron into Hastings in those days. And I know the stories of my great-great-grandfather driving a buggy to get from Wallingford to Napier which took two or three days I think. You know, it’s a bit like the old Taupo Road, isn’t it? It used to take us hours and hours to get there, and wind up hills and all the limestone when you had a lot of rain was all potted. And now it takes a couple of hours maximum. [Chuckle]
Yeah, so those early days … And then of course we all went off to boarding school. And Bill and I went … well Bill went two years before – he was two years older than me and he went to Hereworth two years before me – and then I joined him and had four years at Hereworth, which I really enjoyed actually, ‘cause of the sport mainly. And you got a good work ethic, but everything was structured really well. And you had sport every day or every second day you know, and you didn’t get any option, you went and did it.
Then I went to Christ’s College for five years, and once again sport was the main driver of enjoying that. I think of some poor boys there that would have hated Christ’s College, coming from Gisborne or Hastings because they weren’t good academically and they weren’t good at sport … didn’t really fit in. But I don’t really remember any bullying in those days. I remember my father talks about a lot of bad bullying …
You weren’t the bully were you?
No. [Laugh] No, but we did have caning. And when you got a prefect … which I was later on … the prefects, with the okay from the headmaster because you’d have to get his permission – the prefects could cane boys in those days. but it had to be pretty serious. You couldn’t just drag them in there and … but I don’t remember any bullying. And you had a thing … as a new boy you had to get up and sing a song, and that was about the worst you had to do really. Oh, we had to fag, that’s right – we had to fag, and clean the prefects’ shoes and do those sort of things, but there was no actual bullying as such, as I know it anyway, but I suppose that would be classed today as bullying.
Were there many other people from Hawke’s Bay?
Yeah, there were a few of us – probably about … I suppose about half a dozen of us from Gisborne. They’d meet here – we’d go down there by railcar. And they’d get to Hastings and then about three or four would get on from here, and then we’d go through to Masterton and another two or three would get on there, and then we’d get down to Wellington, get on the ferry – overnight ferry – from Wellington to Lyttelton. And then we’d get into Lyttelton seven o’clock in the morning, get the train into school. So it was quite an adventure, and we’d do that about six or seven times a year. It was quite an adventure. So school days I really did enjoy because of sport, but that’s the main reason. Being away from home is not great if you haven’t got something to look forward to all the time. So that was school I suppose.
Talking about sport, you were both very keen on cricket and …
When you came home you still …
Yeah – carried on there. Well, at Christ’s College I was in the First XV for two years and captain the second year, and then the cricket I was in for two years as well. And then when I came home I played cricket for Old Boys Hastings – Old Boys Hastings is now Cornwall. And I played rugby for Hastings High School Old Boys, and that’s actually when I got to know people because being away for so long at boarding school I didn’t know many around.
You would be pretty thrilled at the close result of Hastings High School …
Oh – 14-13 – that must have been gutting, yeah. [Speaking together]
Oh, that must have been heart-breaking for them. Obviously they’ve got a good coach and they’ve got some good players that are all playing as a team.
Yeah, and they’re not big apparently, so … they’re not big guys.
So at some stage then you must have thought about working, doing something?
Yeah, well Dad had bought this land in 1943, or it was during the war – just at the end of the war – which was probably a couple of ks [kilometres] out of Stortford Lodge. And Bill and I went on to that and we grew stuff for Wattie’s like peas, beans, tomatoes and maybe a bit of sweetcorn occasionally or something like that. In those days of course it was all hand harvested, and it was pretty hard work. We didn’t even have a forklift for the tomato boxes. We’d to get the women to pick the tomatoes into kerosene tins, tip them into big Wattie’s boxes which weighed about forty pounds, and then we’d have to come along, lift the box onto the truck, and then get on to the truck and lift it onto a pallet. That was the early days – later on we did have a forklift, but it was pretty hard going. And then our old truck was – oh, it was a very old Ford, that if you took the oil stick out it was white … half full of water [chuckle] but mixed with the oil. [Chuckle]
And in those days we even picked beans by hand, you know, and we’d pick the beans into kerosene tins once again, and I’m not sure whether we tipped them into bins then – I think we might have tipped them into bins and taken them to Wattie’s. [Speaking together]
Yes, you did tip them into bins.
But later on of course the machine harvesters came in. Peas were always machine harvesting, [harvested] but they brought the harvester to the paddock and then it was fed to the harvester, as opposed to nowadays they go round and round and harvest it as they go. I think it was mostly tomatoes, peas, beans and probably a bit of maize at times.
How many acres was on that block?
Originally I think there was about eighty, but quite a bit of it was shingle and riverbed, and it wasn’t very fertile at all, so … it probably would have been good for grapes now.
Only trouble then too was, [noise on recording] when there was a big wind … westerly wind, your house would get full of dirt. But later on of course in 1974 Bill and I split up – I bought Bill out, and we sold some of the land to pay him out. And I carried on for a couple of years with tomatoes, and at that stage machine harvesting had come in for tomatoes. And then I started putting it into apples … putting the land into apples, and I did grow kiwifruit for a while, which wasn’t that successful at the time. It’s since turned out to be pretty good. So then I was into apples pretty well all the way from then.
At some stage you met your good lady?
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Would you like to come and tell us something about where you came from, Rosie, and where you met Tim?
Rosie: Well I’m a local girl, born and bred in Hastings. I had a very nice childhood. My parents came from Napier, on the hill in Napier. My mother was an only child, and Dad actually lived next door to her so she literally married the boy next door. And then he worked as a journalist for the Daily Telegraph in Napier and then he must have got a job at the Tribune so they moved over to Hastings and we lived in Nelson Street.
Tim: He worked his way up to be News Editor.
Rosie: He did.
What was his name?
Tim: Norman and Margaret.
So you grew up mainly in Napier – what age were you when you moved to Hastings?
Rosie: Oh, no no – I was born here. [Speaking together]
Tim: In Russell Street.
Rosie: Mum and Dad moved before Chris and I – my brother was born. And I’ve got an older sister.
Tim: She’s a twin, her brother.
Rosie: Got a twin brother. And we were born after the war whereas my sister, she’s six years older, because of the war. So Mum’s parents had a lot to do with helping – once we were born … the twins were born … she was sort of shunted off a little bit, because of Mum having to cope with twins, and Julie went back to my grandparents a lot to be looked after.
So then along came Tim, who split the partnership up … the twins up?
Oh we were never close.
Tim: I didn’t know Rosie all the time I was at Hereworth and Christ’s College so … eighteen and a half I’d never heard of her. So I didn’t know … as I said before, I didn’t know many people in Hastings anyway.
So where did you meet?
Rosie: Well we had a mutual friend, Mark Jones, and I came home one August school holidays from Training College, because I went up to Ardmore. And Mark said to Tim, “well I’ve got somebody that you could take to the Old Boys’ cabaret dance”. So I thought ‘oh …’ I had seen him, I knew who he was. And so we went to that and then we …
Tim: We hit it off.
Rosie: We hit it off. But then off you went on your OE. But I was bonded to teach, I couldn’t go anywhere, so I had to stay here and do that bonding. But then you came back after fourteen months.
Tim: Fifteen months, and you met other people while I was away. So I had to win her back, which took me a few months. Yeah, then we really got together, didn’t we? We got back in May I think … May of 1965.
Rosie: Got back in an Easter.
So then you got married?
Tim: Well, it took a little while – it was December that year we got engaged, so we had a …
Rosie: Nine-month engagement.
Tim: And then we got married in August 1966.
And then children came along, didn’t they?
Rosie: Yeah, we had two little girls close together, two years apart. And then we thought ‘ooh … don’t know about a third one’, and then we decided [chuckle] we’d try for one more time.
Tim: Rosie said to me, she said “oh, you’d like a son wouldn’t you?” So I think secretly she wanted to have a son. I said “oh – I’m quite happy with my girls, they’re lovely little girls – I’m quite happy”. “Oh, but you’d like a son wouldn’t you?” So …
Rosie: And we got one.
Tim: We were lucky because we really had no trouble having children …
Tim: … you know – sometimes it’s very hard.
And so during this time of marriage, you were an active golfer?
Rosie: Yes – very keen on my golf – yeah, I still am.
No back problems?
Tim: You’ve been playing, what – fifty years, you’ve been playing golf – I’ve been playing sixty years.
That’s starting to age you.
[Laugh] Yeah, it is a bit.
Any other highlights you can think of?
Rosie: Oh, I went back to teaching. I retrained – when Mark was six I decided I wanted to go back and be …
Tim: You didn’t work until the children had all gone to school, which was good.
Rosie: Mmm. So I had to retrain really, to get back into the teaching world. So I had to do a Massey paper – it was called ‘The Reading Process’, and then I did that and I was one of the first reading recovery teachers trained here. So I did that for about ten years and then I got a job at Boys’ High teaching English as a second language.
Tim: Which you had to go and train for again.
And so once you left Wellwood Road ..?
Tim: We actually started off in Heathcote Road. Heathcote Road’s the one that comes off Maraekakaho Road, and you go down Wellwood Road. But originally when Bill and I were together, we bought Heathcote Road which was old Dick Forester’s old house, and twenty acres of asparagus. And Rosie and I lived there for quite a few years – six years? Seven … eight years.
Rosie: Eight years.
Tim: And then we moved across the road into Wellwood Road where Bill was living at the time, and then we built a new house there and pulled the old one … we had to pull the old one down of course.
Was that a Peter Holland or ..?
No, no – we just had a draughtsman …
Rosie: We had Mike Gore. We lived there for forty years.
And so then … you’ve moved to the banks of the mighty Karamu. [Chuckle] It’s a glorious site.
Tim: We love it.
On the right is the river, on the left I’m sitting watching Te Mata Peak and it’s so quiet and restful. So with that I’ll leave you, and Tim will carry on with the rest of the story.
Thank you, Rosie.
Tim: Yeah – when we left Wellwood Road … of course we loved the rural aspect of it all, but we were – well Rosie especially wasn’t feeling as safe there as she should as we got older. And we thought ‘well, we need to downsize now’, and we were getting sick of cleaning up leaves and gardens and all that, ‘cause we had a big area. And so we felt ‘well, we’ll go to Havelock and have a look’. And we looked at lots of houses didn’t we?
Tim: And we didn’t like looking into people’s back fences and things. And we found this new subdivision, and thought ‘oh – we’ll build a new house’. I always wanted to have a new … ‘cause this would be the …
Rosie: You didn’t want any maintenance, did you?
Tim: I didn’t want any maintenance at my age, and this was the third house we’d built because we did build a house in Taupo in about 1994 – it was, because of the hail storm … wrecked that a bit. So this was the third house we built, and we loved the outlook which was looking out into lots of trees and orchard and stuff.
You only see a bit of one house, and that’s it.
Yeah – yeah, it’s not too bad. No, we love it. We love it here … we’ve been here two and a half years now.
And so you still play golf?
Still play golf – we both still play golf. And bowls, I play bowls, and Rosie – she’s even more busy than I am – she does art. She’s a very keen artist, and as you can see round the house … all the art’s hers. And she plays golf Tuesdays and Thursdays, Art Monday, Mahjong Wednesday, so she doesn’t have much time left. And I play golf – well, in the winter I was playing golf Tuesday, bowls Wednesday, golf Thursday and bowls Friday. Rosie does book club too.
Rosie: She’s busy isn’t she?
Tim: But it’s good to have things to do, you know, we enjoy it. Ad we haven’t got so much garden now so we can keep that under control without too much work.
It’s lovely. Well just coming back to the family – your two little girls and your son – are they married?
Do you have grandchildren?
Yes, some of them do. Our eldest daughter Nicola … Nicky … she started off in journalism, did Journalism School.
Rosie: Like her grandfather.
Tim: Yeah, followed her grandfather, and first worked in Levin as a journalist and then … She didn’t like it, because she didn’t like having to go to car crashes and having to grill the parents about it and that sort of thing. So she decided to go into PR, which was a no-no for journalists – they didn’t like you going into … But she decided she would, and she had a very good job in Wellington – ended up working for AMP. But it was pretty high-powered, from seven in the morning ‘til seven at night. So then at age thirty, she decided to become a wine maker. She went to Lincoln and did …
Rosie: Post-graduate …
Tim: Post-graduate at Lincoln, and then went over to America and Australia to do vintages and things, and then became a wine maker for Charles Melton in the Barossa Valley. Yeah. But now she’s left there, and she now works for the South Australian Government. She’s the Chief Viticultural Officer for the Barossa Valley, looking after seven hundred growers, so she’s got a very good …
Have you been to Barossa?
Rosie: Mmm, lots of times.
Tim: Yeah, it’s sort of back in time a bit, isn’t it – you know, it’s not … they haven’t made it all modern.
Some of the age of the place – we don’t have that age here …
Rosie: The history – no.
Tim: She’s married with two little girls aged ten and eight.
Rosie: And she’s married an Australian.
Tim: Yes – we have … bit of arguments about the rugby – I usually win them. [Chuckle]
Rosie: No, it’s … we don’t talk about it now.
Tim: No. [Laughter] No, no, no – no, I think he goes out of the room. [Chuckle]
And then there was Anna, two years later. She got a degree and she was going to go teaching, but she decided she didn’t like that. So she got a job in the TV world.
Tim: Yeah, that’s right. And she started off …
Rosie: At Avalon …
Tim: … doing the … at the races on a Saturday she’d put in where the horses were coming, you know.
Rosie: And then she decided to apply for a job with the Natural History unit in Dunedin, and she won that job and became a Production Manager, and she did really well with that.
Tim: Yeah – she went over to England and worked for them for two years with the BBC in their Bristol …
Tim: In Bristol, then came back, went to Dunedin, didn’t she?
Rosie: Yes, because she didn’t know anybody here. She was a little bit unsettled when she came back from that trip – she didn’t have a partner, her relationship I think had broken down …
Tim: I think that broke down when she got back.
Rosie: So he came back a little bit unsure of herself, so she decided to go back to Dunedin. And she just went back to her old job, and had lots of friends down there and ended up meeting a Dunedin guy.
Tim: But in saying that, then same thing – at age thirty she decided she’d had enough of the Natural History unit and decided to retrain as a nurse.
Rosie: Both of them, yes.
Tim: And then she worked in the Emergency Department. She got her Masters in nursing … studied, at thirty-five or so, studied for her Masters – or it might have even been a bit later. And now she’s lecturing at the Polytech Nursing …
But you know, to have the ability and the discipline to actually go out and redo something – it’s not easy.
Rosie: They’re pretty motivated.
Tim: Yeah, they are, and they’ve just been overseas for seven months. She’s got two children, Hugh at twelve and Billy at nine, and they’ve just spent seven months overseas together. They’d saved all the money through working hard.
Mark – he went to Canterbury University and studied commerce there, and then he decided to do his OE and went over to England for two years – worked for the BBC over there … IT …
Rosie: Doing IT work – accounting.
Tim: Then he came back and decided he didn’t want to come back, so he applied for … Ireland at that time, you could have a one-year work visa in Ireland … so he took that up, and fifteen years later he was still there. [Chuckle] So about – what, eighteen months ago he came back home aged forty-two, and he’s brought a lovely Irish girl with him and they’ve just got engaged so that’s … she’s lovely.
Rosie: And he’s still working for Dublin City University.
Tim: He still works for his University which he’s been at for about twelve years.
Rosie: Still got the same job.
Tim: He works from home remotely. Different world now.
Rosie: I don’t know how long that will last for.
Tim: Well at the moment it has lasted eighteen months, hasn’t it? But you know – who knows? So that’s our family.
Okay – is there anything else that may have been a highlight? You’ve been a member of Rotary for a long period.
From memory I was a member of Rotary for about 30 years.
Rosie: That was great, I loved Rotary.
Tim: Yeah, we enjoyed Rotary.
Rosie: Met lots of lovely people and made lots of friends.
Tim: There was only … one little problem was that Rotary was on a golf day … [Chuckle] And for years I …
… for years I played golf, and golf didn’t finish ‘til about quarter past five or so, and then I had to rush home, have a shower and everything and go out to Rotary. And you know, it was all such a rush – I did it for years and years and years and at the end the age probably caught up with me and I decided that I wasn’t really doing my bit in Rotary, you know – I was treating it more as a gentlemen’s club, which was probably not a good scheme for Rotary really.
Are you still an active member of any of the cricket clubs?
No, only an honorary member. Every year we have lunch for the cricket club and we all meet together and have a look at the game, but yeah … I haven’t seen any rugby my local rugby team have played lately.
Okay well we’ve probably pretty well covered most things …
Oh, I know what we did do too. In 1993 we decided to build a house in Taupo to have a holiday home, because Mum had left us a bit of money and Rosie’s mother had left her a bit of money, so we decided to build this house in Taupo. In 1994 we started … we bought a section … and on the 4 March 1994 we had the horrific hail storm which wiped us out completely. So we hung on to it for six years, didn’t we? And then in the end it was a luxury we couldn’t afford so we sold it.
Rosie: Did you tell them about your health problems?
Tim: I don’t think my health problems are important are they?
Rosie: Well that was a major thing really when you had your by-pass.
Tim: Oh, yeah I suppose, yeah – I had a by-pass when I was aged fifty-three.
Rosie: You were under a huge amount of stress, because you were trying to sell real estate and run a big orchard, and we had quite a lot of debt. And so we decided to sell land to get ourselves out of debt – which we did – which was hard. We had to sell the Taupo house, and you had to go out looking for a job.
Tim: Yeah – that was … because that was aged fifty-three, and then we hung on for about another three years I suppose. And then I decided that … well, I needed to get a job, so at my age … age fifty-seven … getting a new job’s not exactly the easiest thing in the world. And I didn’t have any qualifications really. And I applied for jobs out of the paper, and of course they all came back saying “you’re too old, or you’ve got” … you know? So I thought ‘well, there’s only one way, and that’s to go and ask for a job.’ So I knew Lou Crasborne a bit ‘cause I’d met him in the real estate days, so I went and asked them for a job. And luckily I was at the right place at the right time and they did need somebody, and it was a full time job – it wasn’t just in the packhouse, it was looking after all the packaging, and that ended up a full time job – or it was a full time job right from the start, so I was pretty lucky there really, to get a job at that age.
Rosie: It was a bit stressful though, ‘cause I thought you were doing too much ‘cause you know, it was quite a stressful job, wasn’t it? Because you had to organise all …
Tim: In the season it was quite stressful.
Rosie: In the season it was huge.
Tim: And of course I’d had a by-pass, so Rosie thought … ‘can’t have me under any stress, can we?’ So I probably didn’t tell Rosie half of what I was … I’d wake up at three o’clock in the morning – because at that stage they were packing all day and all night – and I’d wake up at three o’clock in the morning and think ‘Oh God, I hope they’ve got enough packaging ‘til I get there in the morning’, you know, and you’re thinking ‘did I order this … did I order that?’ So then – I stayed there for nine years. And then we retired, and I still work in the apple season for about five months.
Rosie: Quality control.
Tim: Well, yeah – John Bostock’s girl who looks after all the marketing of the fruit, rang me and asked me if I’d help out and I said “yeah, I would, except for … Tuesdays and Thursdays are golf days, so I couldn’t do that.” She agreed with that … they agreed with that, so that was fine. So I’d go into the packhouses and just check that all the packaging was right, and that the quality was right, and everything was right. And so I’ve still been doing that, to a lesser degree – I started off doing about twenty hours a week and now I’m only doing about ten. It’s good, and you get back to see all the people at the packhouse that you … when you worked there. They all greet you like a long-lost friend, and yeah – it’s quite fun.
Okay. Well thank you Rosie and Tim, for that story about your family.
Original digital file
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Interviewer: Frank Cooper