Haliburton, James Roy (Jim) & Beatrice Beverley (Bev) Interview

Today is 19th June 2018. I’m interviewing James Roy Haliburton, known as Jim, about his family in Hawke’s Bay and other areas. Jim, would you like to tell us something about your family?

My great-grandmother, if I get this right, was a girl when her family left England to come to New Zealand on their way to Dunedin. There was the father, one son and several daughters, and on the ship out the father and the son both died and it is thought that they were buried at sea in the Bay of Biscay. The ship called into Napier on its way to Dunedin and the captain said to the mother, “Do you know anyone in Dunedin?” And she answered that she did not; and he asked if she knew anyone in Napier. And she apparently knew the name of someone, so his suggestion was that the mother and the daughters hopped off in Napier and went into the barracks. The oldest girl, my great-grandmother, was around about sixteen at the time and she went out to Havelock North to housekeep for James Muir who was a blacksmith whose wife had died leaving two young children. As you can imagine, the next thing was six or seven more children, as the blacksmith had married my great-grandmother.

The blacksmith’s shop in Havelock – from pictures we had that my mother gave me – moved about three times over the time that the Muirs owned it, before the oldest son must’ve been killed in the First World War. And my great-grandmother picked up the family and went to Gisborne where the boy had bought a farm, to look after the farm. Not a good idea as it turned out. Four boys in that family; not one married, so the Muir family from that point of view, ceased to exist.

On the Andrews side, my grandfather was a young child when his parents came out to New Zealand, and he had older brothers as well; Edward who was a teacher – taught in Wanganui Collegiate and Napier Boys’ High etcetera; and another brother was Uncle Charlie, who has family living in North Auckland.

Following on from this, Roy Andrews, my grandfather, married Jenny Muir in St Columba‘s [Church] in Havelock North and he worked on Ngatapa Station in the early days, which is on the junction of Te Hoe and Hautapu River[s]. He also managed at times Tarawera Station, which is now the Maori Corporation farm on the north side of the Mohaka River on the Taupo Road. Coming down to Ngatapa he saw the river terraces that were part of Te Hoe, and thought it looked attractive; so in around about 1908 he and, I think McGlashan, both went then looking at it; and worked together for a bit, but Roy carried on. He initially took up a Crown lease of Te Hoe which was about ten thousand acres. He relinquished half the lease which became LRU – Last Round Up – which Murphys took over from Gisborne. In later stages the family have freeholded the four thousand eight hundred acres that is still Te Hoe.

Te Hoe is owned still by the Haliburton family?

Yes. Our son’s had to go into financing and all the other things; we couldn’t do it all for him, and he is still responsible for Te Hoe.

Initially Roy Andrews lived in a tent not far up from the Te Hoe River, until they pit-sawed timber to build a house; and the house, like a lot of those houses, was built literally one room by one room, as they could do.

Looking at the time when Roy Andrews was still moving round Ngatapa and probably only just starting at Te Hoe, he and Leo Lopdell, another well known Te Pohue family, grazed … the figure six thousand sticks in my mind, but I may be incorrect … wethers at Ngatapa for twelve months. They brought them in and out on the north side of the Mohaka, crossing at Waipunga and bringing them into Ngatapa. Looking at that country now, you’d be scratching to push a wild pig through it; but apparently they had a very good run and lost very few. It’s hard to imagine that that ever happened looking at the country now. They’d be wethers that they were grazing in those days, ‘cause the only thing those days was wool. There was no export meat trade.

When my grandfather first took sheep out to sale the nearest sale yards was [were] [at] Patoka, and before the swing bridge went up he would have to cross the sheep through the Te Hoe [River] at the junction and then through the Mohaka – which we have pictures of them doing. And then he had five days’ drive to Patoka; a lot of it would be through open country, but in those days, I think if you were a shepherd, you were a shepherd. [Chuckle]

That’s exactly right.

When they had the swing bridge … and my grandfather helped bring in materials in for the swing bridge; the cables for the swing bridge – he had to open the coil or split the coil without cutting the cables to get equal amounts on each side of the horse so as you could pack the cables in. And then they had builders – I think he pit sawed or split the decking; so the decking would’ve been made on the place, and then it was tunnelled into the rocks on either side of the narrow piece just below the Te Hoe junction, to anchor the cables. My mother said … they used to put the sheep across, but my mother said, as it’s known on other swing bridges, sometime[s] a sheep would lay down in the middle, not liking the swing, and you had to climb out over all the other sheep to get that one going again, which was very hard on the nerves.

The pack team also crossed the swing bridge; and there was a steep zigzag track on the Te Hoe side coming down to the swing bridge.  And they did lose the odd pack horse when one horse tried to pass another one. Ngatapa also used the swing bridge when it was there, so they would just come through the smaller Te Hoe [River] and then cross over the swing bridge. And Ngatapa and Te Hoe pack teams, when there was wool to be packed, would combine their horses and pack wool out and bring back six months’ stores – flour, sugar, rice – in sacks the size of grass seed or corn sacks, not in the kilo packs you get these days.

And another story on planting the Ngatapa end of it – Ngatapa was on little terraces just above the river, and they’d load the pack teams there. And often when you’re doing a major packing you’d have young horses in the team.  And the first probably half mile from the homestead was very slightly uphill and then there was a steep drop down across a creek and back up again before you got out to the boundary of Ngatapa. That drop into the first creek became the dumping hill, because that was the first time the cruppers on the pack saddles had pulled tight, and the result was young horses going to market and the load being picked up and reloaded. [Chuckle]

Now, thinking of the groceries and that packed in, still when I was a child we had the pataka, or store room on short legs, just outside our back door. They used to put strips of cow hide with the hair still on it, tacked round the legs of it, and then they soaked that in kerosene, and that stopped ants and other unwanteds crawling up into the stores.

Looking at taking sheep out to sale, compared to my grandfather. When I was a child I remember helping put sheep across in the flying fox, ‘cause the Ngatapa Lake in the 1938 flood took the swing bridge away. So from 1938 on we had a flying fox across the Mohaka, and I remember putting sheep across on the flying fox – ten to twelve lambs at a time, or about eight ewes at a time. Took us two days to …

With a rapa basket on it?

Yeah, a cage. We called it the cage, which was the flying fox – we called it a cage, and it would take us about two days putting the mobs across ready to go to sale. Then we had a holding paddock on the other side of the river which we still own; then it took us three days to go to the sale at Tutira; first day from the holding paddock up to Heays’ at Naumai at the top of the range; second day down to Opouahi, and the third day down to Tutira. We had to watch out for tutu poisoning, ‘cause it was all through tutu and scrub and fern country; and sheep, once they started to get a bit of poisoning, acted drugged and would walk over banks and disappear into the fern. We had to try and find them and pull them back onto the road again.

I still remember things as kids helping with these things, and I remember one day my father and I were doing the particulars of the year’s droving out; and the last day at Opouahi we ran on down with the vehicle to the shop and bought a new loaf of bread, and back up to where we were camped by the holding paddock … ‘cause in those days there was [were] holding paddocks along most roads. And we had our billy fire going in the drain beside the road where we were camped, and I still remember making the forked stick [of] manuka and toasting that fresh bread. And the smell of fresh toast[ed] bread was something I can still remember.

So Jim, apart from going to primary school and high school, you spent all your life at Te Hoe?

Yeah. During the war … my dad’s twin sister was married to a Bill Thompson who had a farm about halfway up the Papakiri Valley … small sheep farm. And the little school in the valley was scratching to stay afloat, so as a five year old I went down and stayed with my aunt for … I think I did three years there. And in those days there was at least four dairy farms and two sheep farms in that valley. Recently I did a drive up the valley, and when you look at it in today’s terms it’s hardly one farm in size, as things have changed. Those dairy farms would’ve had forty or fifty cows; the sheep farms would’ve had several hundred sheep, if that. And my last year at high school, like when I was just turned fifteen, another boy and I … my uncle picked us up from school, and we went out and shore one of his mobs for him; his sheep, over two days. I think I was doing about ten a run, which was about fifty a day. [Chuckles]

Now, you mentioned Bill Thompson … there was another Bill Thompson that lived just around the corner …

Yeah, on this side. No, Bill Thompson had sort of come out from England via Canada, I think. And he did die young; I think he could’ve been badly [???] in Canada, and had a collapsed lung or something, so his health wasn’t the best and they sold the farm. But there’re two children, Elizabeth and George, my two cousins, were both born there on the farm … that’s not that long later. By the time they were probably at high school my aunt had moved into town.

Norris … were the teachers at Tangoio in the Native School … the Maori School, and [?] I rarely met all my teachers. I had a bit of ill health while I was down there; I’m not sure whether it was anything to do with dairy farms washing into the creek or not where I swam, but I ended up for eight weeks in hospital in Napier with diphtheria, and being in isolation for eight weeks. I tried to get out of bed one day, because through the glass I could see other children playing; slid my feet over the edge until they got down from the said hospital beds which are very high; they touched the floor, and the floor was built on [a] forty-five degrees angle, and I only just got back into bed. And when I left hospital my uncle had to carry me to the car as a six- or seven-year-old.

Well that was lucky, because not many people recovered from diphtheria; they didn’t have the treatments those days.

My mother actually … at times [at the time] unknown to me … also ended up in hospital with it, but she must’ve gone in and gone out inside the time I was there. And she said she got it because she … I went out to the clothes line one day before I came down with it, and she handed me her handkerchief to blow my nose, [chuckle] and suspected she’d caught it that way.

Apart from your own siblings, it would’ve been quite a lonely life at Te Hoe? How far were your nearest neighbours away?

When I was about seven and starting my fourth year at school, my sister became a five year old, so we signed up at a correspondence school; so from that age through ‘til I was, I suppose coming to thirteen … yeah, must’ve been just about thirteen. Yeah, I would’ve just turned thirteen … we did correspondence. And then I went to Napier Boys’ High School as a full-time boarder, and my sister later went to Napier Girls’ High School as a full-time boarder. It’s funny – loneliness is not always lack of people. After I left school it must’ve been, but I’d’ve still been a reasonably young teenager, I was in Wellington one day walking along the street by myself; people everywhere, and I realised I could have been a spot on the pavement; no one saw me. I could be sitting home here at Te Hoe; not a house or a puff of smoke or anything within the horizon, and not be lonely. A lot of it is how one feels, and we’ve seen this more and more recent …

So when you went to Napier Boys’, it would’ve been quite a … not a shock, but a change of environment when you went to Napier Boys’?

Oh, a very big thing. And in those days, parents – you were lucky if you saw them every couple of weeks, or might be even longer. I know for growing boys of that age we tend to feel we were starving, and a few other things … [chuckle] you want me to talk about?

That’s exactly what this chap said to me yesterday from Dartmoor. He said “I hated it”, he said, “the cold showers” …

Oh yes, yes.

and he said, “the lack of food.”

Yes, I got one good feed every month or so; the bowl that came onto the table was tripe and onions, and on a table of ten, approximately two would eat it, so I was one of the two. [Chuckles] Oh, well I was used to having it; we still find today how few people in today’s world eat small goods from when you knock a sheep down. Things have changed so much – they say that, you know, it’s expensive to live, but there’s a lot of things you can eat that aren’t expensive.

Oh, absolutely.

Just going back to my Haliburton side of the family, my grandfather, James Haliburton, including at times some of his brothers and uncles, came out to New Zealand, mainly into the … Matamau is it? Dannevirke sort of area. And I think my grandfather, on the boat coming out, worked as a carpenter a bit. And then he worked on one of the viaducts on the railway line.

But having come from shepherding in the border country of Scotland, he then went back to his trade as [in] stock work; he mustered cattle for Nelsons, the freezing works, out at the swamps which are now Marewa, a suburb of Napier, when it was all swamp. He later married Marion Sim. Marion’s father had the hotel at Mohaka and also owned a lot of land in that area, as in those days people seemed to either lease or own land in big areas, not always in the same place. If you read history, they sometimes leased or owned it somewhere else a year or two later. But they were in Mohaka at the time of the Mohaka massacre, when Te Kooti came down the river. And luckily a girl from Raupunga area ran ahead of the Hauhaus coming down the Mohaka, and warned my great-grandmother that they were coming and then took her and the children up one of the creeks into the bush to hide them. The girl would’ve liked to have killed the baby because of fear of it crying and getting them all killed.

Yes, you know, how many of us would ever have to face that sort of decision?

As the Hauhau came up past Raupunga and down the Mohaka just below Raupunga, on the other side of the river, eleven children were playing by the river where their parents had a farm. And they were tomahawked, starting from the littlest to the biggest as they ran for the house. Father was milking the cow and he and his cow were tomahawked, and the mother, I assume, the same fate. Cooper – I think that’s the name of the artist who did a lot of the old drawings and pictures of Mohaka – I understand he was also killed; I’m not positive of that fact.

The Mohaka pa … the main pa at Mohaka … held out, not because it was well defended because all the young Maori had gone to defend Wairoa, thinking that Te Kooti was coming towards Wairoa; so children and women were loading muskets and that while the old men fired them, and the big pa managed to hold out but the smaller pā in the area didn’t.

It’s amazing that we were never told about that history in Hawke’s Bay. We were told about things that happened in Rome; and yet it really was a major fight, or massacre.

James Haliburton and Marion had four children – Isobel the oldest, Tom the next one and John and Jean, twins, and the last ones. As it turned out John and Jean were two original pupils at the Waikare School, where they used to ride six miles from the farm at Glenfarg, down to the gorge. But they weren’t allowed to ride through the gorge so they left their ponies in a holding paddock there and walked through the gorge to the school.

Tom Haliburton carried on as an older one on the farm, and John also worked there with bush felling etcetera, etcetera. Jean also cooked for bush gangs occasionally, but then she did leave at a later stage and did nursing training in Wairau Hospital in Blenheim. She carried on with that, and John, as he had opportunities, shepherded on other properties [a]round. Towards the mid-thirties he was working at Te Hoe, helping, because Roy Andrews’ health was extremely bad. And at one point … we have photos of my father and several of the other men round the place carrying my grandfather out across the swing bridge to a truck in which he went to hospital. I hadn’t sort of realised, but looking at my grandparents’ grave, he was still alive in hospital when my uncle, Mum’s brother, went into the bedroom one morning and found that his mother was dead. So their father died quite shortly after in hospital, and so my mother and her brother had lost both their parents very close together. And I talked to a cousin … I knew the dates before, but I was talking to a cousin of Mum’s of recent years, and her comment with a bit of a smile was, “Of course the two of them had to get married then”; because my father couldn’t be working on the place with a single girl owning it. But in those days you didn’t do those sort of things …

No, that’s right.

… so John Haliburton married Mary Andrews and carried on running Te Hoe.

Now your father had another station?

Glenfarg was all one place, but at a later point he acquired – as a son I presume you could say – part of Glenfarg, which you know is another complete story away from this one. [Chuckle] And as a result, ‘bout a year later I turned up on the scene amid the fact that there was no roads; and as a result I arrived at Te Hoe on the horse, in a sling on my father’s arm. He put his arm in a sling so as to save his arm with my weight in it, and rode probably twelve or fifteen mile through bush at the back of the farm with Mum and two hacks and a packhorse.  As a kid I’ve ridden out through the same track, going to sports and things like that when we used to ride to local sports; anything up to probably over twenty miles away. Dad and his brother, as young guys, rode from Glenfarg which is on the east side of the main road, through Raupunga to Putere, competed at the Putere sports, rode back cross country to Willow Flat through the river, and stayed the night with the Rosses who lived at Willow Flat. I mean, that’s a heck of a ride!

Another guy, the day before the Wairoa Show, was in the Petane pub – or in other words, the Bay View pub – and this would be … I’m not sure of the exact date, but it would be in the days of the original service cars; the old soft tops and all that … the AARDs and that. In the pub he said, “I shall be crossing the Wairoa bridge when the sun comes up”, and he was on the way to the show there – Wairoa – with a gig.

You’d have to pack probably a bottle of cold tea?

Yeah, yeah.

Some meat …

That’s right, it’s that sort of life.

Dad and his brother were going back from droving stock to Stortford Lodge … well, Stortford Lodge or the [freezing] works … and they’d come down by gig, ‘cause they often used a gig as it was a slow way of just following the mob, and giving the dogs a ride going home. And they were heading back along the road this time at Sandy Creek, you know, and David Stewart – he was the father of the younger guy that I knew; I never knew the older one – came up from the creek with a pitchfork in one hand and a nice trout in the other, and said, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”. [Chuckle] And you know, it’s quite a different sort of picture.

Anyway, I don’t know whether we stop at that point; I mean I … as a mid to later teenager, I met up with Beverley at that point, coming down the family tree.

Well, let’s hear your side of the story, then we’ll get Bev to …

Well, [chuckle] I was probably what, seventeen or something?

Bev: Well the Pony Club … Pony club that started it. It was the Pony Club that started it, ‘cause your parents and my parents were founding members of the Kotemaori Pony Club.

Jim: Yeah, but also …

Bev: We all ended up riding at Pony Club.

Jim: Janet … Janet brought you home one weekend or something from school.

Bev: Yeah, but we were already at …

Jim: Oh, we were already going to Pony Club …

Bev: Pony Club was the early start, and then horse sport[s], things like that.

Jim: And a rather unusual background in some ways, because the Sims having been at Mohaka … am I overlapping your part in this?

Bev: No.

Jim: John Tait who was … there again it gets mixed up, because John Tait, as in the bachelor who owned Waitaha, and Jimmy Tait his brother, who owned Waikare … Jimmy’s grandson is Beverley’s brother-in-law, ‘cause Beverley’s sister’s married to …

Bev: Gordon Tait.

Jim: [Chuckle] And anyway, old John Tait, he’d had a bit of a mixed life. He did have a girlfriend, and … well, he thought he had a girlfriend … so he built a house and then proposed, and he got turned down.

Bev: Yeah – but hang on a minute; he also went overseas [speaking together] and he was in the war, and then he came home.

Jim: Well I think that’s when he … that’s … no, no. No, he didn’t go to the war; he went overseas; I think as a result he just packed up and hit the road.

Bev: ‘Cause he went as a stoker on a lot of the coal scullers.

Jim: Yeah. Did all that sort of s…

Bev: Round the world. And he came home to say that the land at the Mohaka is ‘some of the best land in the world’, were [was] his statement.

Jim: But he did also work in Argentina, South America and one or two places – you know, he did it and then came back to Waitaha. He went to Christmas lunch with McIvors at Mohaka, which were another old family at the Mohaka and during the Christmas dinner … forget her name, but Mrs McIvor …

Bev: Nanny McIvor …

Jim: … said, “Oh John, there’s a lot of nice girls around – can’t you find a nice girl?” He apparently got up from the table and went home. This was afterwards.

But to go back to the Sims – the war came along, and numbers of my father’s age group, you know, which is this level [chuckle] … of those Sims went overseas. One of them didn’t, Jack Sim … there were more there; and old John acted as their caretaker on the land. And the problem was, when they came back they were shell shocked; they were … things were all of a dither. So he still continued to run it when Beverley’s father bought it; so that’s the unusual thing about Beverley and I meeting up, was the fact that the [clock chiming] house that I used to go to to visit my girlfriend was the house, or area, that my great-grandparents had been in. You know, the same little house and land. I mean there’s a whole story in Mohaka because that was a whole town – it was on a staging coach. [Post] You know, all the things like the travelling circuses that went through; as my father said, the monkeys were just tied to the axles and they’d run under the wagons. And if they got tired they just jumped up on the axle, and then they jumped down again and ran again. You know, all these things, you know – horses and dogs were the whole world; there was no other part with [to] it.

So then we had two children of ours …

Their names?

Alistair Percival …

Bev: Alistair’s just turned fifty.

Jim: And Sandra, who’s …

Bev: Sandra Beverley, who’s forty-five.

Jim: Now just to give you a little side thing – at the same time I’ve written ‘bagpipes’, beside my grandfather.


My uncle played the same ones. My generation … I talked to Ross, my cousin, and he said he was going to learn the pipes, but his dad suggested he learn the violin. So my son at Rathkeale played the same bagpipes, and now my grandson at Lindisfarne, Sandra’s son, he’s in the pipe band at Lindisfarne.

Were you in the pipe band at Napier Boys’?

No. My generation … this generation didn’t play. So my grandson’s playing his what? Great-grandfather’s? Great-great-grandfather’s …

Bev: Yeah, his great-great-grandfather’s pipes.

Yeah, that’s incredible!

Jim: … pipes.

Bev: They’re at Lindisfarne now.

Jim: You spoke about pigs messing up your camp, fishing up the river there. When my grandfather was still camped down by the Te Hoe when they were first starting to work on Te Hoe …

Bev: In the 1908s …

Jim: Yeah – well, just following on from there, Maungataniwha Station – and now I’m talking now about Maungataniwha Station at the end of the Putere Road, the old Maungataniwha Station – was clearing through the wether country which leads up to the high country close on the 39th Parallel, which is the highest point basically, between us and Maungataniwha. And as a result of the bush felling and that going on – Te Hoe Station was in a big bend in the river – and so pigs were moving away. And he got … was it something like eight hundred in three or four months or something? Well they were just coming through the bush. I think one actually [was] in his camp one night when he went home, and he’d find them … he’d come back from cutting scrub or something, and he’d find them digging amongst his dog kennels. And he’d just kill them with his slasher; you know they hadn’t seen human beings.

Another time – I think it might’ve been when McGlashan might’ve been camped in there with him – they had between them one sheath knife. [Chuckles] Anyway, he was mustering down by the Te Hoe, down just above the junction one day, and the dogs got onto a boar. So he couldn’t get hold of it, because they’d be sheep dogs, they wouldn’t be holding it; so he thought he’d be smart, so he tied the knife on a stick and went to stick it. And of course he stuck it, but it came off the stick and the pig disappeared … [chuckle]

With his knife …

So apparently he was not popular when he got back to camp. [Chuckle]

Another thing is – just giving a bit of an idea of living there as a child – it was all right for us kids because we were kids; but from my parents’ point of view, if they were going to go to town … we were living on a terrace about four hundred feet above the river, you know, it just went down like this. And the cable was about eight chain across … the flying fox … which is a fair height, and sixty feet above the river;  so that was a bit of the idea. And it had a car motor in a shed on the Te Hoe side, with one hub bolted to the floor and the other hub was … remember this cable driving? And then a snitch [?snatch?] block on the far side – anchors into totara blocks that had been tarred, you know to try and seal them as much as possible; and a big cable that the whole thing hung on. And this other one just hooked onto each end of the flying fox and pushed it backwards and forwards. So if we were heading to town, now and again we’d have someone working on the place and they could have slapped a horse into the wagon and take[n] us down the wago track to the river. But often there was no one there, so we walked to the river … we’d walk down … it was about half a mile. Yeah, half a mile at least probably, down to the river; and then dad would load us into the big flying fox and send us across. And then he had a little one on another cable with just a rope hung through it, and you just pulled yourself across. So he’d send us across; he’d pull himself across; and – I’m not sure exactly why, probably for the lack of flat ground – but the vehicle we had which was a … I’m pretty sure it was a little Buick car that’d had the back of it cut out to make a wee deck … he’d walk up probably another half a mile … no, about half a k [kilometre] … up the road to his little shed, bring it down, load us in, go up around to the outside of the holding paddock to where Smith Brothers had a box beside the road – sometimes they’d leave mail to be posted – something in there, so that’d be right – past there and up to the top of the range. The trip from there to there, from the river up, was about an hour, ‘cause I’ve known Dad digging the inside wheel [?] to stop us sliding off the road, so we could get along. And so then we’d get to the top of the range, and Mrs Heays in those days – and it was the same with any back country [?] – there was always the big black kettle sitting on the stove, and possibly a big black pot with soup in or something; so you’d have a cup of tea, and then pick up any mail they wanted and perhaps a list of a couple of things they wanted in town; and then down to Tutira; another hour from there down to there. And d’you know where the Tutira Hall is?


Well not quite in the same place; there’s a wee bridge, I think – is that right? But on the left side, on the north side of the river bridge, the hall’s there. There’s a house in the trees there. That was the Post Office, and McDonalds had that, and one McDonald became Mrs McIntosh … Peggy McIntosh … and another one became Mrs Hawkes; Hawkes built and ran the shop when it started. And we’d stop in there to pick up any mail, ‘cause that was our address there; and then two hours from there to Napier. So that’s close to five hours to Napier. So we’d do things in Napier, and of course Mum had a [an] aunt there; in later stages there was two aunts I think, of hers.

Bev: There was Aunty Lily and Aunty Kitty in my time.

Jim: Yeah, well – but Aunty Lily wasn’t there originally, I don’t think – she was still in Gisborne, I think. But then you didn’t shoot straight home again; [chuckle] you had to do everything you wanted; so what we normally did … oh, well I think I’m right in saying ‘normally’ … we stopped at the Arcadia Hotel which was on the corner opposite where the Police Station was up in [??]; but where the Police Station was was a Catholic primary school when we were there … when we were staying at the Arcadia on the corner.  And there was [were] times when there was a knock on the door in the morning and your cups of tea were brought in, and I still know the taste of wine biscuits, ‘cause we got the wine biscuits as kids, and the parents got the cup of tea. You had your meals in there, and then afterwards in the hallway between the dining room and the lounge … ‘cause the bedrooms were mostly upstairs, and then this was downstairs … there was a little coffee table with the little coffee mug … cups, things like this, so the people would come out of the dining room to get their coffee and go into the lounge. But then the lounge, I think, as you’ll realise from what you said earlier, that people smoked in those days, so you know what the lounge smoke was like. [Chuckle]

And then of course the whole thing was then in reverse going home … back out there. Couple of times, remembering as kids, ‘cause often it was in the dark when we got back going home; and Dad would pull himself away across, start up the engine; he would’ve had us in and away he’d go, and get out to the middle or so and the car conks out. And so you’re sittin’ there you know, just drifting, [chuckle] and in those days there was still a fair amount of duck on the river, you know – could hear them rustling in the reeds below; and this particular time, Dad pulls himself back, gets the battery out of the vehicle, pulls himself back across, has another go; he eventually gets it going. So next day he goes down and pulls things to bits, and there’s a moth had got through the petrol thing and was blocking [the] tank. But the last motor which was still there at the time was a mid-thirties four-cylinder Chev. [Chevrolet] There was a [an] Essex or something before that; these were the motors that they had driving …

Did you have power? Did you cook by open range?

Well, originally when my grandfather – I mean originally in the tents it was all open, but when my grandfather first built the house, the first – don’t know whether it was just the one room or the two rooms which was the centrepiece – had a big open fire and there was a camp oven on that when he first did it. And then they built two more rooms before we arrived, still in my grandfather’s time, or the latter stages of it, and that became a kitchen, so the original one with the open fire became a lounge and the new one became a kitchen, because it was lean-to shape. And it had a wood range and a water cylinder, and in the very later stages we may’ve had [a] kerosene fridge – I think we possibly did have a kerosene fridge. But the seasons have changed, because even in my memory it was, I think, easier to keep things back then temperature-wise, because the milk was sat in the back porch which was on the western side of the house, on a bench, and it kept;  I mean usually it was only a couple of days or so, but it still kept reasonably well sitting on there. We could get frozen cream on that milk in the porch, [chuckle] and in the pataka which was sort of … here to there across from the back door … eggs would break because the frost had popped them. And my mother said that the Kawekas [ranges] would get snow on and it would stay there; and in October the river would go up because the thaw had started. Now we’ve never seen that in my lifetime, I don’t think. We‘ve seen rogue heavy falls, you know;  the river, not that many years ago … ten to fifteen years ago, I suppose … rogue falls that put this much on Te Hoe. But normally Te Hoe over winter would get a skiff on the trig and a few other places, but the Kaweka[s] – normally the snow goes in less than a week, so it is changing, and it’s not all human invention. [Intervention]

Once upon a time April was the frosty month, May was mild, June was frosty, July was wet, August and September were wet, October started to get dry. But the pattern has changed; we used to get big thunderstorms in the summertime.

Bev: In October you’d have thunderstorms.

That’s right.

Jim: We were cutting scrub on Te Hoe one time – this is going back a few years, and without doubt – we were not that far from home; we were only … less than half an hour’s walk probably back to the house – every afternoon about two o’clock it would hose down. It was fine weather normally, but then these thunderstorms would sort of come over, and come two o’clock we were walking home wet.  You know, just the way it went.

So we must be just about at the point that Bev’s going to tell us where her folks came from, where she grew up and where she met you.

Bev: He was just a fellow in the district. [Chuckle]

Jim: Yeah, sure.

Bev: Actually known as Beatrice Beverley Wooding, and I’m known by Beverley because my mother was also Beatrice and you couldn’t possibly have two Beatrices in one house. Born in Blenheim; lived in Ward until I was ten and a half when my father and mother, my father in particular, decided that there was no more room on the family farm in [?Merzon?] in Ward, and he went looking for land; was thinking of going to Canterbury but the land in Hawke’s Bay was cheaper, and he had a brother who was the Constable at Mohaka in the late forties, early fifties. So in 1951 …

What was his name?

The brother was Reginald Wooding .. constable at Mohaka, and was aware of the land that Jim’s been talking about that belonged to the Tait family. We knew nothing about the Taits or the …

Jim: No, Sims. It belonged to … Tait chap was caretaking.

Bev: Well old John Tait was caretaking for it, yes … beg your pardon. Anyway, Uncle Reg, as I know him, said to Dad, “Well, if you came up and went out and saw old John”, as we knew him, [chuckle] “you might be able to talk him round to buying a piece of land.” So anyway, that’s what Dad did; came up, borrowed a Maori horse and rode away out to see John at Waitaha. He would have been most of the day away;  came back, and at that stage he’d bought [a] piece of land which we named Glen Marnoch, and it was not quite a thousand acres. Went back home, informed Mum and me, my mother being Beatrice Mary McGrath, she was … married a Wooding … that we were moving, and in May 1951 during the watersiders’ strike we moved from Ward to Mohaka, much to the detriment of our furniture.

Didn’t it travel well?

The strike actions in …

Oh, of course.

… Wellington port would delay the furniture; it was not handled with much care and all the furniture was smashed.

Did that come by road, or by boat?

Rail. Rail to Picton, ferried across, railed from Wellington, eventually. It took a long time to catch up with us; to Raupunga, and from Raupunga Dad transported it. I’m not quite sure how, because he brought up much of his machinery with him – his Allis Chalmers tractor, the Allis Chalmers roll baler, a small one, all his drills, ploughs, harrows – all came up with him, ‘cause before he left the South Island Dad was the main small seed contractor between Seddon and Clarence River, and had all the harvesting machinery and did all that work through there. So when he left the South Island he sold his headers and the square baler and brought only the round baler with him. And all Dad’s ploughing machinery which … some of it was his father’s machinery; and I’m a great-granddaughter of Andrews of Andrews & Beaven.

That’s why you got Allis Chalmers, ‘cause they were the national agents …

Yes.  No, I’ve got photos around of the family; and my grandmother … that clock that’s just sitting there in the hallway was built by William Andrews for my grandmother when she was married, and it’s over a hundred years old. And there’s [there were] only seven of them ever made – he had them made for all his daughters when they were married in Christchurch, and so yes, that’s quite important.

And if you go to the museum in Blenheim, the … Brayshaw Park, you will see the Hutpa and the Blackstone. The Blackstone I think it is, was bought by my grandfather, Arthur Richard Wooding, in 1911, the year that my father was born.

What’s blackstone?

Jim: It’s a single cylinder …

Oh yes, of course.

Bev: And the Hutpa is one that rolls along, [chuckle] but the Blackstone’s really stationary.

That’s a big hunk of steel too, the Hutpa …

Yes. And also in that museum is the two mills that Dad used to work – one was a tin mill, as we knew it, and the other one was a wooden mill which he used to trek up and down between Seddon and Clarence, on the then shingle main roads, up and down, farming.

That would’ve been a Shuttleworth, probably?

Oh! How he managed …

But they had to. And the tin mill was a Sunshine Harvester, wasn’t it?

Yep. Well, Dad did all that, and in the wintertime he used to do a bit of wood cutting but he also … Ward in those days was the home of lucerne; that’s where lucerne started in New Zealand.

And it’s funny that the regeneration of the Marlborough hills is lucerne again – it took them a while.

And you know who’s doing that now? Doug Avery, and he’s my second cousin.

Oh, goodness me! [Chuckles] Tell me the people that you’re not related to!


It might be easier. [Laughter]

No, we came to the North Island in 1951 in May; this oldish house with a leaking roof, no floor in the bathroom; and when Dad had his first bath in the bath, which was a tin bath, there was no floor underneath it. And he called out to Mum and he said, “Come and have a look at this.” And here were a pair of cats looking up at him [chuckles] under the floor. The old range had burnt out the back, so one of the first things Dad had to do was pull out the old black range and put in a decent wood burning … I think a Champion range. No power – we didn’t get power until 1956.

Brace and bit and …


a hammer and a chisel.

Well, Dad repiled all that house, because all the back of it was on the ground. It had been used by a rabbiting family, and one of the sheds out the back was fair jumping with fleas. The farm was not fully fenced, so to start off with, because the price of sheep and wool was so high Dad could not afford them, so he took on wethers which he got from …

This was during the fifties?

The early fifties, 1952 to ‘54. He dealt with a Mr Fred Jewell from Wairoa, who was a stock agent, I suppose you’d call him in those days; and he leased Hereford cows, and that was the start of our farm. But because we didn’t have a complete boundary fence around it, when we did go out to an occasion in the district, it was not unusual for me to have to get out of the car and go over the bank into the long grass and catch a sheep, and put it in the boot to take home again, amongst many others; because to get the sheep there – we lived behind the swing bridge from the north side of the Mohaka River …

Is this the land that you still have?

Jim: No, no – this is at the coast …

Bev: This is at Glen Marnoch.

Oh, oh!

And in those years Dad brought the sheep in across the swing bridge, and as Jim says, wethers would run so far and then the sway of the bridge would frighten them so they’d all lie down, and I used to have to scramble over the top of them and get them going. The cattle were not so bad. And eventually Dad bought bulls and we went onto farming Herefords.

I started high school 1954 …

Was that Napier?

Napier Girls’ High School. And Jim’s sister started Napier Girls’ High School in 1955, and we did get to know each other simply because John and Mary Haliburton and Beatrice and Percy Wooding were original members of the Kotemaori Pony Club, and we were the original members. And from there I used to ride seventeen miles to Pony Club; Pony Club all day, and then ride home at night. So I got used to that. And then [of] course sports all through the school holidays, Pony Club Gymkhana at Easter time, and we all competed together. And [of] course this is where this fellow sort of showed up, amongst others.

And did he ride horses too?

Yes. We all rode horses.


Jim: There was about five sports meetings within reach between Tutira and Raupunga.

Bev: There was Tutira, Putorino, Kotemaori, two Mohaka sports – that’s five; then we went on to Awamate and into the Wairoa Show, so yes, we had a lot of horse activities, and if you wanted to go somewhere, well, you went and caught a horse. We were on horses every day. Dad bought horses and broke them in, and I was the first one to ride them.

You mentioned the Wairoa Show – we would leave Hastings, and the last call was always the Marumaru …

Marumaru pub; yes, that was a nice place.

Anyway, we were pretty tired and we went up the alley way to the Wairoa Showgrounds, and we all went to sleep. Next thing in the morning … woke up and here’s all these cars and people there. It was Show Day.


Oops! That is not actually very far away from that stock agent I talk about, Fred Jewell.

Well I left school in 1957. I was a debutante at the Napier High School Ball, 1958, and then we did all the balls. And to get from our house to where Dad kept the car on the other side of the river – in those days the only other option was a thirteen-mile trek round the back road, so we used to go from the house by tractor and trailer to the end of the swing bridge and walk across the swing bridge to the car … the little shed that Dad had built for the car. And during the days of the balls if it was wet I would get into my stiff petticoats and put a coat over the top, and carry my ball gown in a case across the bridge and then stand on a chaff stack and get dressed.

Kids today … one of them said to me, “How did you go to the school balls?” I said, “Well, we rode our bikes.” ‘Cause Mum and Dad didn’t take us to the balls – we found our own way. “But did you go in fancy ..?” “[Of] course we went in fancy dress.” “And what if it was raining?” “We’d put a coat over everything.” And sometimes you’d go and you were wet up to your knees, but you had to do these things to go.

No, I was very lucky; because we had to go so far, Mum and Dad always took me; I was always chaperoned … always chaperoned. And we did lots of balls; we had a lovely time then, I really look back on … thoroughly enjoyed that; and Marumaru, Wairoa – used to go to school dances in Wairoa. After every horse sports, all through Christmas-January period there was always a dance, and that’s where we all got to know one another. [Clock chimes]

Then my life took a turn; in 1961, a week after Dad turned fifty, he died.

That’s early.

Bowel cancer. And at that stage – because we came from the South Island.  I only had one sister, Alison Christine – she’s now Mrs Alison Tait – and no family;  they all lived down the South Island. So in September 1961, one of the wettest years on record, I went home to lamb seven hundred ewes and manage a hundred head of Hereford cows, plus attendant young stock; and went on like that for eighteen months ‘til Jim and I were married in February … 1st February 1963.

And your children?

We’ve got the two children. Unfortunately I lost one … I lost the first one. Then Alistair was born in 1968, and Sandra was – oh, hang on [chuckle] fifty years? 1968; and Sandra was born in 1972.

And your son is still on the farm?


Jim: He still owns the farm; as I said, I think I mentioned earlier, by arranging finance etcetera, because you know, farming doesn’t make a mint.  So we had to have a little bit to take with us and we put it into this block where we are now to a certain extent. And he is not actually living on the farm, he’s living in Havelock where his daughters are going to local secondary school at present. He has just recently, three years ago I think, bought Medallion Pet Food in Waipuk, [Waipukurau] and he’s spent up until now at least, modernising or bringing it up to a higher standard. And we asked him how he’s getting on, and he said, “We’re not broke yet.” [Quiet chuckle]

Is that the company that the Mouat family used to own? They had a big pet food operation.

Several have owned it through the years because …

Bev: It was something to do with W & K, [Williams & Kettle] I believe.

Jim: In the latter stages it was. Alastair and Nicki did an OE [overseas experience] in their early stages together, and when they came back Nicki, for a period, worked for W & K as an accountant in Medallion, because they were trying to make it sellable, so she was just there. W & K just came in [??] just a short term [??].  And the funny thing about that is now, because that was only what, seventeen or eighteen years ago or a bit more, people say, “Oh, here’s Nicki back.” [Chuckle] They remember her when she [??].

The other side … don’t know whether [?] but as Beverley said, Andrews & Beaven is her background. I’ve been talking about my grandfather, Roy Andrews.

Bev: We don’t know … if they are, it’s way back. And they all came from England. Andrews is … we come from Wiltshire, and my family actually lived right next door to Stonehenge and the big stones. They used to picnic round them, my cousins;  and so yes, that’s on my father’s side. My mother is Scotch [Scots]-Irish, coming from Keiss, right up in Freswick, [in the] north of Scotland, right up under John O’Groats; as well as from Ireland.  And they moved out, and actually both sides of my family come from Canterbury; my mother from Oxford and my father from Geraldine.


Well, we’ve got five. [Chuckle] Yes, we’re not doing badly. [Chuckle] But they couldn’t get them mixed up – one had to have girls and the other had to have boys.

What are their names?

Well, Alistair has got Caitlin, who is now eighteen and now living in Auckland in her first year at university; next one is Bridget, who is at Iona here in Havelock North and has one more year to go; and then there is Susannah, who’s at Havelock North High, and she’s fourteen. Those girls are all two years apart. And then our daughter has got William, who is in his third year at Lindisfarne – the one with the bagpipes; and then her youngest one, George, who is actually [in the] last year of primary school.

Jim: Like Intermediate.

Bev: Aaron, he’s also at Lindisfarne. He does have a learning difficulty so they have a special class there, and he’s thriving … loving it.

And do you have any interests off-farm?

My horses were my main interest; my locomotion and everything else, but we haven’t had horses now for quite a long time. I have always loved gardening from the time when I was a little girl; my grandmother used to … I used to stay with my grandmother in Christchurch quite a lot, and she taught me floral art; colour – she was a painter – and she had a great garden. My grandparents on the other side had big gardens, so I suppose it’s in the genes, and I’ve gone on to garden. My mother was a gardener, and I’m now Hawke’s Bay convenor of the New Zealand Iris Society.  Yeah. And lately we’ve got into U3A … University of the Third Age … and I love geology, studying rocks. In fact I’m guilty of walking round with my head looking down at the ground most of the time.

But my main interest has always been the land. I grew up following my father round rabbiting when I was a wee kid. I’ve always lived on the land; when Dad died I carried on the farm in his absence; learned to shoot and kill, and look after ourselves, look after the animals, keep the season running. And in later years when the boom in merino wool occurred nearly thirty years ago, on Te Hoe Station are feral merinos, and I thought, ‘Well – I wonder what sort of wool they’ve got. ‘ So we got some of the wool off the wild sheep, had it tested and it turned out to be eighteen to twenty microns, which was really fine in those years. So I thought, ‘Well, we don’t know anything about their background; it’s no use keeping the rams.”  And they were all turned into dog meat, but the ewes we kept. And we went to the South Island and bought rams from Forest Range, which was the only stud at that time … well, he wasn’t actually called a stud … who could give me the history of the breeding of his rams, because I didn’t know what the ewes were – none of us did. So we’ve been buying rams from Forest Range all these years. We have bred back from the wild sheep to – we now have a flock of sixteen microns under, here on [speaking together] this very property.

Those restless sheep out there are not merinos, are they?

Jim: Yeah, they are; I’ve just been watching them skylarking.

They’ve been restless for half an hour.

They’re just playing … they’re just playing.

Bev: Those are the rams. Three rams plus a couple of wethers, I think.  So my love is wool, beautiful animals, the soil. The soil is the basis from which we all come.

Thank you for that. Now we’ll get on to Lord Fauntleroy …

Jim: What was Doug’s mother’s first name?

Bev: Joyce.

Jim: Just a little side issue:  my Aunty Jean, who was Dad’s twin sister, I said later went nursing; trained in the Wairau Hospital.

Bev: Which is Blenheim.

Jim: She trained with Joy Andrews …

Bev: Joyce Andrews.

Jim: Joyce …

Bev: Who was Doug Avery’s mother.

Jim: She’s deceased just recently, but talking to her just before – still remembered my aunt from training at Wairau.

That’s incredible, isn’t it?

There was such a lot. I mean another thing is, have you ever sort of seen that done with dead merinos[?]? Using a kerosene wick around the top of a parallel …

To make it into a jar?

Yeah. And using that, I’ve seen it as a …

Insulator …

Telephone insulator.

I’ve seen them take the top off; we used to use methylated spirits.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. No, I’ve actually worked on our old single line before we got the other …

Now, did you have a telephone when you got power?

The telephone must’ve been in there for quite a while, even in my grandfather’s time. And I’ll just do a slight deviation – Te Hoe’s been a bit unusual in the fact that we’ve had three main accesses. When my grandfather went in there first the access was from the Taupo Road, and they travelled down the Waitara Valley, which at those stages … I’m not sure just when, but at one point there was a wagon road or something, just down the first flats that you go down from the Taupo Road. And there was a shed there which was a goods shed for things. And then of course, Te Pōhue, which is just over the hill, was the starting point, and of course in those days the Kings and the Lopdells and the … you know, various other names that lived in that area; Ngatapa had been going before Te Hoe, so as I say, that’s partly how my grandfather found Te Hoe, by looking across the river and seeing the terraces. And it was also interesting, the fact that my mother at some point as a young girl must’ve been living on the Tataraakina block, when her father must’ve been managing it.  But at that stage the homestead was … the road goes away up across the river to the top of the hill and the sort of top there, where I think there used to be one of McVicars’ breakdown trucks tucked in the corner there? Tucked around the corner from that must’ve been where the homestead was, somewhere …

Is that right?

… because my mother said something about … you could see down to the river crossing and the Taupo Road if someone was coming and needed your help or something.

Was that the Waipunga?

No, no, no, the Mohaka. As you climbed up from the Mohaka and just turned down …

I was just thinking of Tataraakina.

Yeah – back down this way.

And another interesting point, because he had managed it, he was asked to come out one year to help muster it, because they must’ve had all new shepherds or all new someone; so from Te Hoe he went out with one heading dog. And he said at the end of the muster his dog was the only sound one still; because see, what they used to do in those days, and Te Hoe was the same – about every seven years or so it would have reverted, so they’d throw the match in again and burn it. The problem was that each burn, fertility went down. So he went out this time to help muster it, but you see, guys were so used to just using their dogs, you know; when he would probably think, ‘Now if I walk down this route they’d move away, and then I’d only have to nip them off the [?]’. And so he was saving the dog at every chance just for the necessary bits; whereas theirs’ would run, and the fern, the burnt fern was cutting their feet …


So that was that one;  but that was the pack track which came in. Then during the 1930s, in the slump, they were digging the road from Tutira, and so it came in by the shop and up through Opouahi and over past Naumai, the Heays’ block, and then on down. And at that point … I think it would be at that point … there was Ngatapa, Waitere and Te Hoe, and a third one was old Maungataniwha Station.  And disregarding Waitere, those three – old Maungataniwha, Ngatapa and Te Hoe – I think all had … I think one [had] Hereford, one [had] Angus and one [had] shorthorn, I think. So in the middle here, in the bush, tended to be …

Fruit salad breeds?

Yeah, liter[ally]. [Chuckle] Because I even remember wild cattle when I was a kid coming out of the bush. I remember one time we were out the back of the farm and … or up in the Te Hoe part, which is looking that way towards the gorge up the river; and it was in that country, that back country there.  We were going up there and there was some wild cattle in the paddock, you know. And it was after the war you see … well, not that much after, I mean I was a kid during the war. But these cattle were down below us, and so as Dad said, the ammo [ammunition] during the war was just shocking, you know, it was bloody terrible. And he dropped a bull, and then must’ve gone down to have a go at the cow further down and Mum yelled out to him; [chuckle] the bull had got up and was coming [chuckle]

Coming down after him … [chuckles]

So … and I’ve shot wild cattle across the river on the Waitere side.  Not that many … oh, yeah, a number of years ago. But in those early stages, Waitere – I think it’d be the first people there was Otto Gillean – you know, the family of Gilleans is the same family I think as down here, coastal Central Hawke’s Bay here? There are Gilleans down there.

I remember just … oh, before things got so modernised there … there were some big pine trees down on that bottom terrace, you know, where their houses originally were, where you go up to that new bridge; and then under these big pine trees there was this little cottage, you know, not unlike those sort of cottages. That’s the one on Te Hoe, and that’s all split, it’s not milled; but the one in under the pine trees was all green with lichen; but it’d been off the Gilleans’ one. And I know at least one point there’s a picture … there’s photos galore … of a tent camp on our side of the range just at the base of the range before you get to Waitere’s grass country;  there’s a tent camp, [phone rings] and that was you know, a Works camp when they were putting the line in.

I had an interesting experience; well, first of all Mum’s Uncle Charlie’s descendants in North Auckland contacted my son, who passed it on to me, and we went and caught up with them. And in their info [information] she worked out about Charlie; he had a car accident visiting a family member in Napier, and had suffered from a bad back. So that was all right. Amongst all Mum’s photos – when the road was brand new, and of course much of the Waitere, it’s pumice country; it’s not hard rock like up on the range – here’s this picture of this old car, oh … just to the road from here … down the bank.  It had rolled down;  and Mum, I think, leading a horse back up from it. She must’ve ridden back up to get stuff out of it or something. And I’ve come to the conclusion that that was the picture of [?] visiting his brother, but Te Hoe’s miles from the … [Chuckle] But you know, it was thought of as Napier, but it’s away the other side of the Maungaharuru Range. [Chuckle] But I might be right, he could’ve been going in, you know, to Te Hoe and been in that roll.

Did you do much logging out of Te Hoe?

No. No, we built three houses after getting the timber milled. And just a year or two ago, which is the … oh, you’ll notice matai floor out there which we veneered on top of chipboard that’s under there; Lin Wilson, who was the chopper pilot just over here, did a bit of run … well, we got to know Lin a bit in deer recovery and all the rest of it, you know, it was a bit of a hard lifestyle. But he got a bit of a permit to get salvage timber, so he took the dead matais and rimus out and he probably milled them. And we’ve done a few things with them, I’ve still got some timber stacked out there.

And – interesting, the things that happen – in those days you had to auger your holes, you know, to blast rocks. And Dad was saying at one time, and I’m not sure, maybe on the coach road beside them, not on the one near, but a guy had a sack of black powder, you know. And he’s oiled it and rammed it and fused it, and of course wax matches, you know, and phhht! And he tossed the matches away and …

Into the bag …

[Chuckle] It blew him over the bank. It wouldn’t be a bad explosion but it’d be a big woomph! [Chuckles] Blew him over the bank.

Just recently … well, when I say, a lot more recently … just, you know, ‘bout twenty years ago I suppose, well inside our marriage … Bill Robinson, a Maori bloke from Mohaka, but he lived in the Putorino area most of his life, did a lot of scrub cutting for us, and various things, worked for us and that; but he was splitting black birch up in the back of Maungataniwha, and he was using a gun. I must’ve gone off to do something else, but Brad, which [who] was a Singaporean guy, a student – like, he was helping. And Bill was running out of fuse so he was cutting them shorter and shorter, and Brad – he was getting worried; he said, “I’m off behind a tree.” And he said Bill would light the fuse and he’d turn round and be walking behind, and it would go boom! So he’d just turn around and walk back. [Chuckle] It was so interesting.

After using that road, then about 1950 they were logging down to our boundary behind us, and it’s so different to the logging now. The bulldozers then, you know, DT20s and D7s and all that – they’d push a road down, and they’d put a big [?] log up, and they’d put a row of logs all over there; and then you’d just clear all this and start stacking logs and the trucks would come in here, and they’d just push them out, bulldoze them on. And there was basically no directing; they’d expect the trucks to be going down there once they’d got the skids ready. And at that point we got – it was actually Graham Blair; his background was lower Hawke’s Bay, I think – he was driving bulldozers in there, and I think he had his own bulldozer … TD16 or something … 15 … and we got to the boundary and just pushed a track right on through for us. We’ve changed it since when Carter Holt’s went in and put in a new route out on the ridge, so it doesn’t actually go through our heavy native now. But the other one went right through our native. And when we started first going out – but by that stage Dad had a ’42 Chev which he’d bought in ’45, brand new … pick-up or ute, whatever you like to call those ones. And we had to go out riding the centre on the right side; there was a centre in the inside, because the truck diffs [differentials] were drooping out the middle. You know, at times they’d wonder how we got in and out even, you know, but we got up to all sorts of tricks of getting unstuck and different other things.

From a … probably an early teenager … I was only on the end of a cross-cut saw, my father on the other end; and you soon learned that you definitely don’t drag the saw, you definitely keep it straight and do what you’re told.

Bev: Seek and ye shall find … [shows photo]

Oh yes – ‘tis just like a Piper, ‘cept it’s got a big deep body at the back, hasn’t it?

Yes, very deep body.

Jim: So we felled totara for posts, we felled rimu and stuff for battens, we’d scarf a tree with the cross-cut … axe or cross-cut … and fell it with a cross-cut. Prior to me being on the end of [the] saw, and years ahead of that, we had a guy, George [?], who from what we could understand had had a fairly checkered earlier life; he’d been a wagoner until one of the big slumps, and then capitalist farmers decided that the wagoner didn’t need paying.  And someone else said that he’d lost his family in a fire. But he would live by himself a lot of the time in a camp in the area where he was splitting posts for battens. And I remember going with Dad taking groceries out to where his camp was; you know, the usual tent camp with open fire and camp ovens. And we still have on the back of the farm – the ones that I know are mostly near the Te Hoe river – large totara stumps that are as level as any table top, which he felled by himself – often using a crowbar stuck in the ground with a strip of rubber to help return the saw. And yet the stump … and if you know much about cross-cutting, it’s very easy to get a curve in your cut. His stumps were probably just as good as any table top. He split many thousands of posts in country that became grassland, and another small patch of totara nearer the downstream Mohaka where they were floated out, and actually sold in one case to Landcorp, or Lands & Survey in those days.

When Dad and I were cross-cutting with say, a rimu log being cut for battens, we’d do something like three feet in about twenty minutes as we cut the log up. You become quite fit too, and if the saw’s cutting well it’s just zip zip, zip zip; you can still talk, you can hear yourself talk. And you know, you could hear other stuff going on – if you were up in the heavy bush doing it, you could hear the stag roar or something, while you were still sawing away.

Once chainsaws came in that all changed. We’ve done totaras for posts that four of us could stand across the stump side by side. We dropped a big totara up in the bush one day that was so straight we decided to put a cable round it and run the cable down through the bush onto the road, and bring the tree down nearer the road in log form, with a tractor working on the road. So we put everything together, put pressure on it, the log started to move; it slid through the cable and went down another twenty or thirty metres or more, and [the] corner of it hit a tree. There was a crack formed in the log that went for two post lengths – that’s how straight the grain was after being hit on … this is parallel, so it didn’t ruin it. And when we were splitting it, it reached down to about the size of two posts. You could give it one hit in the centre and it became the two posts – that’s how straight the grain was.

We got to know different totara; well, I’ve seen so much of the different totara, the browner one and the good totara. The duller, browner or brown totara, still splits and does all the other things, and looks as if it’s a post the same, but you’ll find in ten or so years at ground level it would’ve rotted off like blocks of chocolate, right through. The good totara, when you were splitting it, it would look like corned beef, and it was reddish in colour and it almost had a shine in the grain. And when it rotted … I’ve looked at fences way, way over fifty years old; oh, no – one particular fence was put in before I was born, so that’s over fifty years. [Chuckle] The outside, you can rub it below ground level and it comes away a bit like wheat straw – it’s sort of a roughness that you can rub away, but the heart … it may only be an inch or two left but it is still absolutely sound, and there’s no thinning at ground level; if it thins, it thins deeper, slowly thins all the way.

Some of the totaras on the downstream side of the farm, the big old ones in that particular bush, still had the scar marks where the Maoris had taken bark for thatching, so there’d been strips taken off the sides of them, and they would’ve been long gone. On the farm itself, up towards the back looking down towards the Te Hoe [River] opposite Te Kooti’s Lookout which … Te Kooti’s Lookout is a very modern name;  that pa is a lot older than Te Kooti ever was. But on our side which was called Maori Rock, when my grandfather went there prior to the major earthquake, there was the mark of two huts on top of it … sort of dug out marks … and in one of them there was a birch tree growing that probably had a trunk at least a foot in diameter.  So that sort of points back to the fact that it was a long time previously that it’d been there. Unfortunately when the earthquake came it made an area where pigs could get on to it, and I suppose pigs were more coming into it then, which’d be in the days when my grandfather was being pestered by them coming from Maungataniwha. And they munched it all up and dug it all up; it became so different.

And Te Kooti’s Lookout itself – I went up two or three times over the years, a few years ago now, and from the top of it you can actually see the sea in a couple of places, through the lower parts in the ranges. There were still palisade poles up there, but I’m not sure there’s any there now. Pre-1931 earthquake there was also a spring of water up there on top, which is hard to credit, because it is an isolated knob.  The pa part is an isolated knob, cliffed all the way round, and it was an ideal fort; if anyone was camped – like, this was pre-European – if they were camped or living even on the low ground and got surprised … attacked … and went up onto it, there was only one spur that they could climb up which could be defended basically by one person on the other side.

And you know, Te Kooti was a very modern soldier. My grandfather, Mum’s father, actually saw him walking along the *Spit, as it was called … that was pre-earthquake, wasn’t it? The Spit – on his way for his pardon. So he’s, you know, well and truly into European times.

Yes. Well my father saw him walk up the Karamu Stream through the village. [Havelock North] But as you say, he’s [he was] a modern Maori.

Mmm. Well there’s a book by the whaling guys, just there in the mouth of the Marlborough Sounds, and they talk about the history before they were there and that. And you know, you literally could take a slave with you, and if you did become hungry …

You could eat ‘em …

Yeah. Also, I think it’s been very unfortunate – I mean we’ve grown up with a Maori family across the river from us. A Maori girl from there helped looked after me and my sister, helped my mother, you know, helped my mother look after us. One instance – I don’t actually remember it myself perhaps as well as I should – but this happens. My sister would be just a little baby and I’d be coming three. I disappeared one day, and of course, isolated place, no one anywhere, and the men were all away down at the river doing something at the flying fox or something. And so Mum said to Charlotte, the girl from across the river, “Go and look for Jim, and if you catch him you know what to do.” And so Charlotte grabs a horse and takes off, and she finds me down by the river at the flying fox. And of course the men were … so happened, round the other side of the river. And here’s this little three-year-old walking up and down the river bank, or up and down the terrace above the river, waving his pants in the air trying to attract the attention of the men across the river. And I suspect that guy wishes he wasn’t waving his pants [chuckles] when his father caught him! [Chuckles] This seems to be a common thing going on, because I know my father for instance – this would be probably while they were still school kids, he and his twin sister at Glenfarg, at the Haliburton home – he disappeared. And mother and that couldn’t sort of work it out, and I don’t know whether father turned up before; and then Jean, the twin sister, said, “Oh, John said he was going to Glenbrook to get some apples.” So Glenbrook meant six miles down to the gorge, through the gorge, you know, down the Waikare Road to get to Glenbrook. So father gets on the horse and father takes off; and father would’ve been in a fair mood by now. [Chuckle] I don’t know how old he was, six or seven or something, but he was getting … oh no, hang on – no, he’d be between eight and twelve, because he started school at eight and finished at twelve. And father found him down at the river before Glenbrook, working out how to get across the flooded river. And he ran home in front of the horse. [Chuckles]

Then recently, when Beverley and I were in the South Island … we were away anyway, and Sandra, our daughter from Gisborne, had gone in to just look after things. And William was two I think, and William disappeared. And they had a little skippity dog, little black one, and he’d gone too; the two of them had disappeared. And so she jumped on the bike and she tore around the flat – no nothing; and then she got over by the road going to the river, and there underneath the gate was a ping pong ball, and she knew he’d been playing with a ping pong ball. So she grabs the radio which we had a Forestry channel on, and called up Forestry and said that you know, the kid was lost. So Peanut, the head of the Forestry … of Joe [?] gangs and that, of the roading side … you know, just winds up the whole … and grabs the Forestry and they come down. And of all the ones to find William was the young guy Parkes, who Sandra’d gone to school with.  And he was stuck in a blackberry [chuckles] down by the river … well, ‘bout three quarters of the way down. But you know, in back country these are quite scary … I mean when Alistair, like, was little, you know, I think he wound up with a riding whip one day from not telling his mum, you know, that he was down by the creek or somewhere. [Chuckle]

So when did you physically retire totally from Te Hoe?

Don’t know whether to say all this or not. [Chuckles] Farming families are not the best at sorting out the future, because farming has changed so much over the years, that probably younger farmers, when they start they see this is going to be …  It’s always, ‘are they are going to be able to make a living on this size?’  So now, because we’ve got this size this’ll make two farms, or this’ll make three farms;  and this has been proved wrong time and time again. After the Second World War they had Rehab [rehabilitation properties for returning soldiers] and eight hundred to a thousand ewes and forty-odd cows were a comfortable sort of sheep and beef farm, six hundred-odd acres or so. Now you’ll probably found now that there’s a lot of amalgamation, and the same area probably has about a third of the people. And then going through the farming downturns since, it’s got even tighter probably, in the fact that where a farmer used to have at least a shepherd and a something else, he’s now doing it all himself, or trying to, with the odd contractor. My view of it a little bit is that at one time a lot of people milked one or two cows and made a wee bit off the cream and all the rest of it, as they gradually cut their way into a farm. They got on their feet, and then wool probably was worth quite a bit; and then they realised it was a lot easier to be … you know, with the labour cost-wise … to run sheep and cattle. And I make the impression a bit that, you know, farmers then got the shepherds or the truck to take the sheep to the sale and they turned up to the sale in their sports coats and talked, and then they went to the club and then they went home. I sort of arrived along at the sale with the stock on my truck, in jeans, and then went home to work; didn’t bother waiting to see them sold, which is sort of a part of the way things have travelled. As a result, my father went into Te Hoe and as I say, married my mother because her parents had both just died. I mean I’m not saying that they weren’t attracted to each other, but in those days partners didn’t exist, it was husband and wife; end of story. And he didn’t get to the war, but like … Beverley’s father didn’t because he was a contractor in the South Island, and every time he enlisted the Board that they had to go before pulled him out, because they were necessary to be kept going; and Beverley’s father was a contractor in the South Island so he had to stay there.  My father was doing a lot of shearing around the range down towards Tutira and in the valley where we were on the Mohaka, so every time he went to try to enlist and get away he got turned down, so he ended up in the Home Guard in [?grillers?] everywhere from Waikaremoana to Dannevirke. And just as a small issue of that – when he used to take off he’d ride away from Te Hoe, which always meant crossing through the Mohaka, often in flood; Mum would go to the top of the riverbank and look down in the dark, ‘cause it’d be early in the morning, and he would cup a wax match in his hand just when he got to the other bank, to let her know that he’d got through the river.  And coming over the range at night – she’d be expecting him back, you know, at some point – she’d often put the kerosene lamp in the kitchen window thinking he’d perhaps see it, you know, from the top of the range as he rode back over the range. And you know there’s all these things – they might’ve been not at the war, but they all had their pressures in what they did and … they learned to cut railway irons, they learned to sabotage ridges, they learned every track through the Ureweras to …  If ever we got attacked they were going to be the sore on the toe of any person trying to invade.

[Quiet chuckle] But as a result he got very … possessive’s not the right word, but he’d always been in control and worked pretty hard, or very hard. And [a] lot of us know the same thing, ‘cause I grew up in that stage of slashers and cutting scrub. First week you’re bleeding between all your fingers; then when you first go into a big scrub, driving ‘til your hands come right, you get blood coming through your fingers. And we used to use raw kidney fat … mutton kidney fat was one of the good things for using on your hands. It was then on your hands.

So in later stages my father did not want to give up his position, so we sort of carried on, unfortunately well into our age group of probably our fifties or so. And unfortunately, I think, for him and my mother, he became I would suggest, scared of losing control. You know, he’d had it for about thirty-odd years, and it’s probably a fairly hard thing to give up. He subdivided about a third off the farm to retire onto, and they did buy a place in Taradale … a flat in Taradale … but he was still up there in his ute doing this and that. And there was the odd row unfortunately, that didn’t help matters, ‘cause one day he was going to do some work on the sawbench; and everything was working, it was drizzling, and he was by himself and I’d just put the sawbench away.  And [it] didn’t make a pleasant listening to; could’ve been a very bad accident. And we … because by that stage we were in control of part of ours … we could’ve been responsible; it was on our property.

That’s right.

So then out of the blue, throughout the family and that, that piece got sold out of the family, which has put my son in a rather bad position because the other portion is only just … in that vicinity, of distance and all the rest of it … viable; and I think most of the family would hope that in time that bit can be bought back, which would then make Te Hoe back on a reasonably sound running basis again. People don’t seem to realise that although farms might just have green hills, not [no] two hills are the same when you’re actually farming them; there’s a massive difference, and this particular subdivision on Te Hoe has got two climatic conditions which does sound strange; and have [has] two soil conditions. The small bit that’s been cut off is adjacent to the Te Hoe, where it’s a lot of clay. It came out of heavy bush and there’s a lot of clay; it’s reasonably wet and it gets more rain because of its position. The bit that’s still in the main part has more pumice on it, and does tend, particularly in more recent years, [to] get quite a bit less rain. Together they match up because one helps the other.

So Beverley and I carried on; we did have labour for a while at some stages, and we built a house for a shepherd. He is now, or has been for years now, one of the big managers in the Taupo blocks; but he did very well, he started from being our local school teacher before he worked for us, and now he’s well up in the farming world.

But farming started to go down the gurgler very badly in the eighties, and I was a bit lucky because you tend to become friends with your guys working with you. But he came to me one day and gave me a note saying he was looking at applying for a job as a manager down Central Hawke’s Bay. And I was getting to the stage where I wasn’t going to be able to pay him much longer anyway, so that worked out quite nicely. It was when there was fairly big unemployment – ‘bout fifteen went for the job and he got it; but I think he came from being a school teacher, and he probably turned up very neat and tidy in a sports coat, and answered the questions and he just progressed on from there.

So Beverley and I, as I say, we carried on, and we meat hunted, and we live deer captured; there was a lot of live deer capturing with Lin; we were able to buy the plane. When we moved down here which was probably … we bought the first paddock probably thirty years ago at least, or more; put a shed on it, and after Alistair had finished at Rathkeale we had a caravan down there then for the sports weekends. We put the caravan in our shed there. So we often slept in the caravan if we were down, before loading the truck before going home. We carried on like that for a while.

We’ve trimmed the water running through these flats – we were getting a problem with the neighbouring block; watercress filling the drain and [???] so we bought this section in [on] the corner of Crystall and Middle Road … part of that section … which gave us the drain so we could clean it. And sort of made a joking comment to our son who was down from working in Auckland for an industrial information place: “Son, well in a few years’ time it’d be all right if they sold the rest of the block, wouldn’t it?” And he rang us within a week and … because we were hoping it would be four or five years so that we could build up some more money. “If you want that other block you’d better do something about it because”, he said, “that guy’s just been transferred to Wellington.” He knew, because the business that the guy managed which was just a bakery in Napier, was a client of his business in Auckland. So anyway, he came round here to this house which I’d built, and came up and I was perfectly happy with him. But they said, “Do you mind if the wife and family live here permanently so they can finish the year?” This was about October. “Finish the year in the school and then move at the start of the new school [year].” And we said, “No, it doesn’t matter to us two hoots.” That was all right;  we came down one night in the truck [?] down the track a week or two and we’d stop in the caravan. So we brought a paper that night and we were looking at the paper, and it said, ‘Now, wouldn’t this look good from your house?’ And there’s a photo of our wool shed, and a land agent and everything. We thought, ‘But that’s what we’ve just been looking at!” So next morning we buzz around here and they said, “Oh … agent said that your bank had turned you down”. I said, “What bank?” And he named the bank, and I said, “Well, I’ve never dealt with them.” But … pub talk or something … they said, “Ah … someone living there – they must be selling. Mmmmm.” [Chuckle] But it made it a bit more awkward because the price went up and you know, it got a bit messy; but anyway, we ended up with it. We thought we paid too much but as every year goes on it doesn’t seem so bad. But we didn’t use the house permanently then; it was here, and it wasn’t fully finished; we had to do finishing and that. The shed was here but not the covered yards on the other side. And we continued to just come and go – we used it like a camp, you know – we’d sleep here sometimes.

Who owned it before you?

Biggs, who was the manager of the Hawke’s Bay Bakery in Napier … Onekawa.  [Chuckle] We heard afterwards it was too isolated for the lady of the house. [Laughter]

Too isolated!

[Chuckle] It’s the funniest thing on paper! [Chuckle]  So we’ve actually been here permanently probably seven or eight years or so. You know, we’ve pulled out properly, and like, we’ve got no connection with the farm, and Alistair’s … you know, he’s worked out other ways of you know, getting people his fee. You know, it’s ‘cause he’s pretty friendly with Simon Hall who is a businessman in Auckland – don’t know whether you’ve heard the name – but he owns Prime Milling, which going up the Taupo Road, you can go in. Well he owns that, and he owns the Waiau block behind us, and he owns all the cut-over that was in native behind us. And he’s trying to get it back into native, but radiata is a pest, you know, there’s spraying …

Once it’s been cut over it grows everywhere.

Yeah, yeah.

They talk about contorta [Pinus Contorta] being a pest …

Oh, well don’t worry – I’ve heard of people in positions with councils and that, who’ve said, “Because of my position I can’t say it”, but who’ve said, “Radiata will make contorta look tame in the future.”

Was John Stovell’s block anywhere near you?

On the way in, ‘bout halfway in. No, we got to know them very well, because unfortunately they got caught by a bad fire which cost them money with the Forestry. It’s been unfortunate in lots of ways that, you know, their marriage broke up and a few other things. Actually Alistair … when Sandra was born, Jean had just finished the last of her ones going away to boarding school. I think it was about the point – she said to Beverley, “You can’t look after him and teach him, and look after the little baby; send him down to me on Monday morning and he can go home Friday night.” So he spent his junior primary school at Willow Flat, and with varying ways we probably took him right down sometimes; other times he’d come up on the bus and I’d meet him. And sometimes using the farm bike I’d take him to meet the bus; but that was even … ‘bout nine ks [kilometres] just to get to where that came to.  And it’s probably more of a stress on Beverley than on me. A lot of these things are bigger stresses on wives than husbands, because husbands can get out on the farm, and get out somewhere and do something, you know, whereas the wife has to look after the children.

But for a period there in the earlier stages we did quite a bit of meat hunting, when they were meat hunting before they were doing live capture. And when we packed up at the house and everything, and left, there was cartons and cartons and cartons of stuff, and drawers and stuff, and [it] all ended up down here, and it’s still not finished, it’s still here in cartons to be unpacked after that length of time. And we unearthed all these chiller dockets from meat hunting, and I don’t know how many we didn’t have, but we’ve got something over four hundred deer that I’ve carted out.

And have you been back since you left?

Oh yeah, we’ve been back, but Beverley finds it’s hard, you know, in the fact that other people are living in the house and that. And she had – as she said before how she loved the garden and she built a garden – she found it very hard. We only once ever had a dinner party, I think. When Sandra finished at Willow Flat we threw a party, which was quite a party up to a point; a fairly open invitation to all the mill, and local road, and anyone who had been at school, and even out as far as Kotemaori and various other bits round. And prior to … sometime a month or so ahead of this … I’d shot a couple of big half-bred tame pigs on the back of the farm, you know … someone had let a cross-bred pig go somewhere, and these were sort of …


No, they weren’t – they were good meaty pigs and they were big lumps of boar; I’m not too sure what the weight was. So one went through the chiller I think, but I found a freezer to put one in. And at that particular point that year we had a French guy working for us on a Federated Farmers exchange-type student thing; and we had I think – yeah, Brad Bridges and Inger, his now wife – she was blonde and Dutch, and he was big and dark and Singaporean … ‘bout a quarter American.  What was his name? English boy who was doing a gap year at Rathkeale, and was with us just before Christmas, working with a guy on the farm to make a bit of money before he went travelling. So we had quite a variation of people sort of on the place that year, so I said to the French guy, I said, “Oh, Robert, I saw the pictures of you doing a rotisserie pig when they celebrated you heading overseas.” Only about this big.


He ran across to have a go with that big one. “What the hell are you ..?” He said, “I’ll have a go; I’ll have a go.” So that was fair enough – I intended to have everything ready weeks before, but as usual in the morning of it I’m still welding in the workshop and a few other things. And we dug a pit over by the wool shed and we had a good big kanuka fire going in it, and I had standards at each end with hooks all the way up, and a pipe and slung spikes, and … [of] course this thing was from me to you long. It wasn’t little. [Chuckle]

And I think we got it going about eight o’clock, and it was just hand turning – just a big crank. [Chuckles] And the scrub gang was still working there at the time, you know, were still in the shearer’s quarters, and now and again Bill or one of them would come over and we sort of shared all day. But we found out that the fire was no good, and we dug another pit; so we kept the big fire going and we shovelled coal into this one, you know, kept doing that all day and it was going fine. And then about ten o’clock or so I made another one and dug another pit, and I put a two-tooth wether going about ten o’clock, you know, with that over there.

And one or two funny incidents – we had a big cauldron on the stove over at the house, and we were using those dried peas that you can get in packets, and they’d been poured into the cauldron. And Dad’s older brother and his wife and that turned up, and they’d just walked into the kitchen and [chuckles] they were coming over the top like a waterfall down the stove and across the floor. [Chuckle] You know, this sort of thing can be quite … Oh, that’s right, it started when I first said to Robert, “What oil do you want?” And he said, “Get me a flagon of red wine and two flagons of oil.” [You] know, cooking oil. So he just got a bucket and poured the whole lot in, got a four-inch paintbrush and painted the whole pig, inside and out. And then he got garlic and using a sharp knife went over the skin and poked them under the skin, all over, and away we went. And towards you know, night … see we did it nearly twelve hours you know, towards the evening in the summertime. It was getting a bit awkward ‘cause it was softening and we’d go “Ooh!” And we were hoping it wouldn’t fall off. [Chuckle] But anyway, we’d had a timber mill, a portable, a year or two ahead; and at the bottom of a portable you get a big bit of a half plank thing at the bottom, which could be half the width of this table, curved on one side and nice and flat on the other side. So using some posts and that we set two of these up so the sheep and the pig … could just lift it onto it and just be carved whole. And we had all the following stuff, and you know, people turned up from everywhere. Beverley said that Jonathan Parkes, one of the truck drivers – she saw him at one part of the evening with a big lump of crackle, [chuckle] munching on it, thinking, ‘I’ve never tasted anything as good as this before.’ He was really enjoying it.

Actually, you can have a lot of fun …

And the other one … we went through all the first part and then Robert said he’d make crepes. So we got a hotplate going and a pan and he had mixed a big lot of batter; and the English boy – I still can’t think of his name – we found out later he was the grandson of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but also that his grandparents or someone had been caterers. So as Robert was making crepes … the other guy, using the two spoons like you use them back to back to serve, was going round giving people [chuckle] professional [?]. So it’s one of those things that you know, you do remember.

I can understand how you felt. So now you are enjoying semi-retirement, ‘cause I can still see quite a lot of work around the place.

Yeah, and there’s still a list to do. The only thing is that a little block like this doing stock work as we know, does not make money. And someone here, a carpenter or someone, said one day, “You must make a lot off this”, and we said, “If it pays the rates and a bit of the insurance, that’s probably about it.” But now probably looking at a bit of cropping and that, and cutting back on the animals a bit, just to change the workload. And I’m a member of Woodturners; I’ve got a workshop with lathes and woodwork gear, and I’ve got access to timber; playing with things like vintage machinery. Beverley’s very keen on machinery because of her background.

You haven’t been tempted into buying a big Case tractor or anything?

No. We did have a big eighty horsepower Case sitting in the shed, but not a new one. It wasn’t the sort of thing that if something happened to me Beverley would feel good using, so we’ve got a new Coyote which she’s perfectly happy driving. And we do the odd thing perhaps that Health & Safety mightn’t like. She drives it and sends me up and down on the pallet pruning trees, but I trust her, and [chuckle] she knows what she’s about.

Okay. I think we’ve probably pretty well covered the field, haven’t we?

Well, there’s Ngatapa Lakes, and there’s … there’s always things, but I mean we’ve virtually done it quite …

Mmm. Well, the Ngatapa Lakes – how long were they there?

Seven years. They filled with the earthquake; the photos that you see on the table are the house through the weeks. There was [were] two buildings that were down on the terraces by the Hautapu, ‘cause the lake was at our back boundary in the Te Hoe, halfway through the Te Hoe gorge. When it gets to the top of that gorge it branches, and the Te Hoe itself goes directly into another steep gorge before coming out into the Te Hoe Basin where they logged native. And it’s now in radiata, but I think costing them money. And the Hautapu turns back towards the Kaingaroa [Forest] and from up the Hautapu towards Taupo – by the time you get into its upper reaches you’re basically into the swampy sort of country in the start of the Kaingaroa, from where you have, you know, everything heading towards the Bay of Plenty, etcetera.

So the homestead and shed were down on the terraces by the Hautapu, and as the lake started to fill they were able to dismantle one of the buildings and float portions across and sledge them up onto the higher terraces where the [?] is now. And [the] second one, they weren’t going to have time to do it, so they went underneath the building and cut all the rails on the piles and any water pipes or anything else that joined the building, and let the building come up. And then they put fencing rails, the old bundled ones that you just keep winding, and they took it across onto the shore on the other side, back this way onto this side, and then they were able to dismantle it and sledge it up and rebuild it.

It took six weeks to fill before it went over. When it first happened they tried to get the Ministry of Works, or whatever it was called then, to come in and dynamite it from a safety point of view, but they said it would never shift … bit like what they’re getting in Marlborough now. And fishing started to come good in it, you know, it probably would’ve been quite a reasonable asset in their [?] [speaking together] …

Oh, yes.

… as with any other lake. I mean, you might realise Ruataniwha’s probably on the agenda, not off it; [chuckles] as are a few other things.

But the ‘38 flood came along, and luckily it didn’t just go BOOM! It sort of went boom; ‘bout three bits going down. And down at the foot of the Te Kooti Lookout, or the [?]’s farm – I think it would be Sonny Apiata, who is still … I’ll show you the picture. This is Mo, who is their son. [He] was the only one there at the time; woke up, a cat was on his bed, so he banged it off and it fell into the water. So he got out, and it was just water, so I think … might’ve been he lost a dog; drowned, I think, but the others were swimming so he let them go. And where the two rivers join there’s a bit of a high knob; there was like, terrace [?] back here. Some of the horses were up there, so he got a horse on the mainland and swam it out through the water to chase these horses back onto the mainland, and as he was swimming the horse out, their little woolshed which was sitting up here, up the river a bit, came floating around and went into the poplar trees up this way, which is where the Mohaka was coming down. And so they had all that rig down there to build it up there. So that was at night; it must have been during the day afterwards, like when some more was dropping, it came over the swing bridge; and apparently the timber work was being broken off and every now and again a cable would fly up because it had come free, you know, out of the water.

And you see, there was that flood; it carried on down, and the only ones that remained was [were] the swing bridge at Willow Flat and the Mohaka Viaduct, because the road bridge went, which is just below the viaduct, and the one that Beverley talks about down to [the] coast – half of that went. And that’s where she said they had this walking swing bridge from the end of the [???] still there or across.

I know when I saw the damage that [Cyclone] Bola made, I couldn’t believe how much soil had slipped into the valley. Just pumice I guess.

Yeah, well I mean, our daughter’s up to her eyeballs at present, ‘cause she’s chairman of the Federated Farmers in Gisborne. And Tolaga Bay was a mess, and you know, she’s getting up here; and the other thing – she’s coming down tonight because she’s in the campaign for wool with Wren, and – you know, she and the lady from Waipuk [Waipukurau] and that – and Wren, and you know, he’s their sort of figure point, you know, and it’s just really knocked her. She rang the other morning … the morning of the accident … and she was really cut up about it. ‘Cause she said, you know, “We had so much starting to move, and now he’s just gone.”  You know. And she was the one that ran that – you may not have heard about it – but 2012 she ran the wool levy thing in New Zealand to try and get wool paying a levy. And even the exporters were in favour of it, you know – research, bit of levies for research on wool; and she lost in a New Zealand-wide vote by fifty-two to forty-eight. And she’d been as far as the South Island, sometimes for four farmers to turn up, you know. She’d absolutely thrashed herself; ‘cause she did a Nuffield Scholarship on wool offshore, looking at what happens offshore, and she said, you know, ‘Our marketing and that is way behind”, you know. So you know, that’s partly why she’s on her way down tonight; she said they’re flying in from offshore and everywhere, for tomorrow. Because he’s been over there, he’s been working with these people. I mean I don’t think we’ll get Prince Charles, ‘cause he’s the patron but … [chuckle] be something for Hawke’s Bay if he walked in. [Chuckle]

Okay, well I think that’s probably …

Well you’ve probably got a fair bit. I should do more, and I should bring out more photos and you said to me you probably will do a photo later on.


I mean those are only a few I threw out.

You haven’t named or dated them yet, have you?

The odd ones have got names on, but some of them … see our problem is, and in Beverley’s case too … she’s got all her father’s photos and her grandfather’s photos, and they never wrote on the back of them. [Chuckle]

And they’re no good unless they’re written on.   Well thank you, Jim – that is going to be special for the people of Hawke’s Bay; Te Hoe, not many people know anything about it, so thank you very much for your family’s input into it and for telling us about it.

Well a cousin of mine in ’57, walked down the old pack track – this was before they put the Waitara Road in properly – and that was quite interesting because it was easy enough to find the pack track, it was [??] with trucks like this. And you know the pack track was still a way [well] worn dirt trail. [Chuckle] But out there, perhaps not quite as far as your car and the same on this side, were two fences still … two totara fences. This is in the early part of the track nearer the Waitara, you know, and all the top of the posts beautifully etched through and that. The trees’ve grown this big in the meantime. [Chuckle] Tourism actually kills what tourists come to see.

* The Spit – Western spit, Napier, present day suburb of Westshore

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Interviewer:  Frank Cooper


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