Hartree, Thomas Roland (Tom) Interview
Today is the 18th June 2018. I’m interviewing Tom Hartree, a retired farmer of Puketapu. Tom, would you like to tell us something about your family – where did they come from and so forth?
Right, Frank – I think we’d better start with my grandfather who came out to New Zealand from England in 1872. And he was educated in England and came out with some amount of money because he came out in his own cabin in a ship called the ‘Alexandrina’. He was twenty-one at the time and seemed to be pretty young to come out to New Zealand in his own cabin, with books and some money from England. We know little about him, but he went first to the goldfields in Thames, and then later on bought land in southern Hawke’s Bay with the money he’d brought out from England, and farmed successfully at Patangata. And somewhere along the line, with a landholding coming up above the Tutaekuri in northern Hawke’s Bay, he bought ten thousand acres in about 1903, and we’re not quite sure of the exact dates because of – later on – the Napier earthquake. But he settled at Ngaroto with his three sons and one daughter, and they later on went on to College, to what was Hereworth [Hurworth] in Wanganui … the sons did … and the daughter married Ted Dampney who was at Eland Station on the Napier-Taupo Road.
My father, who I’ll refer to from now on as Boss because even as a little boy he was called Boss – and he didn’t get that name for nothing I can assure you. [Chuckle] But he went to the First World War, and came back a very debilitated man with a bowel problem … an ulcerated bowel that had to be removed and was never fully repaired. And from then on he always had a hatred of what happened to him at Gallipoli. And when the Queen came to Napier in 1953 he walked out in front of the Parade on purpose, on his walking sticks, and stopped the whole Parade. The Police apprehended him and pulled him in, but because he was such a well-known character, the Police said to him at the time, “Boss, if you ever do that again we’ll lock you up and throw the key away.” But he got away with it, so that’s the sort of thing he did. And when we went to the theatres, in those days you used to stand up for ‘God Save The Queen’ – or King at the time – and he would never stand. He always sat and everyone else got up, so in his mind he came back a fairly wrecked man from the war. He spent time down at Hanmer recuperating and that hatred of the war never ever left him, for life.
But he and my mother had five children, one girl and four boys. And the girl unfortunately died at thirteen with a horse accident, and that was another thing that my father never forgave the world for doing to him. And it was never ever talked about very much. But having four sons, two of them were war age, and my brother Bill and Ron went away to the Second World War. And Boss stayed home and was in charge of the Home Guard at Puketapu.
So my brother Bill was thirteen years my senior, and when he eventually came back from the war in late 1945, this young man got off the train in the railway station still in his Army uniform and big brown sack on his back – well there were lots of them, a whole lot of these boys all dressed in uniform got off the train. And my mother and father and I were standing waiting for them and I didn’t know which guy was going to walk up to me and say he was my brother. It had been so long I didn’t know him, because … I suppose I was about six or seven … he went away to Smedley and then went on to Massey. And he was most probably the most intelligent one in the family and he did very well at university, and when he went into the Army to go to the Second World War, he was a commissioned officer. He didn’t drink or smoke, and saved all his money while overseas; wrote me wonderful letters; sent me various things from various places, like war money and bits and pieces of Nazi money, and things like that. He was a very interesting character.
So on [in] his letters he always said to his father, “I would love to go farming when I get back to Hawke’s Bay – is there any chance of us buying any land?” So I remember as a high school boy being with my father going to Puketitiri to a place called Dunmore, which was about two thousand six hundred acres. It was up for sale, and when we drove in the gate to go in there the frost on the road was heavy and we were lucky to get in in the car, it was so cold and terrible. But they purchased this block, and when my brother Bill and Ron both came home he and … actually three sons, my brother John went up with them too. So the three sons and my father went and lived up in this block of land that they’d bought, which was run down and covered in rabbits. And three of the paddocks behind the homestead they called Desert 1,2 and 3, because they were blowing pumice land – it was terrible stuff.
Well under great adversity they slowly broke this land in. And my brother Bill kept a very extensive diary, and in the first three years up there they killed a hundred thousand rabbits. And I remember as a high school boy cutting the heads and front feet off of thousands [of] strychnine-killed rabbits to be skinned, and the skins hung in the woolshed. And I remember one time, one full wool bale full of rabbit skins was sent to Christchurch, and they managed to get £250 for them. And they thought they were made ‘cause they were bloody near broke. ‘Cause Boss, my father, used to skite about going to Dalgety’s, and Sam Mannering, and Sam Mannering saying to him, “you know, Boss, you’re bloody near broke”. And they were bloody near broke. But the wool boom came in the 1950s, and the rabbits disappeared and from then on they prospered.
So not satisfied with trying to break in the two thousand six hundred acres, Boss met a person called Doug Lane on the road who owned part of Waipuna Station. And Doug evidently said to Boss, “how would you like to own a lot of shit like that, Boss?” And Boss said, “well, I wouldn’t mind – how much do you want for it?” And Doug said “I want thirty shillings an acre.” So he bought another fourteen hundred acres right next to Manaroa, making about four thousand acres.
Well I’d left school by this time, at sixteen in 1950, and my mother and I lived on the seven hundred acres that Boss … leasehold land owned on the Dartmoor Road, and she and I virtually lived here while the three boys and my father worked at Puketitiri breaking in this land.
Right, just a bit about my life – I was telling Frank when he first arrived, I was most probably conceived in the house that we’re sitting in talking. And the most unusual factor in my life is that I’ve lived in this one particular house all my life. But going to school, there was a school right next door to where I live in this house and it closed in 1940 because of lack of pupils. It had got down to about six pupils so it had to close. So at the age of seven I was sent down to board with a Miss Fern in Puketapu to go to the Puketapu School. So I was at Puketapu for five years. I then went on to board with my aunt in Faraday Street to go to Intermediate, and then went on for three more years to board at the Napier Boys’ High School, and came home in 1950 at the age of sixteen, only ever wanting to work on the farm. So with my brothers and my father being at Puketitiri it left my mother and I here on the home farm of Te Motu at Dartmoor 1976.
So after you left high school you came straight home to work on the farm?
Yes. So as soon as I came home I started work at – I think it was either £5 or £10 a week, I can’t remember now exactly but I suppose in those days it was a reasonable amount of money. Holidays were an unknown thing, you were expected to work seven days a week, but we did have time off when things were slack. But everyone worked very, very hard.
My mother had pretty basic conditions in the house, and we were forever having water problems. That was one big thing, was trying to get water from a reservoir through a half inch pipe which I used to have to bleed every now and then. What else did we have? No electricity – we didn’t get electricity until 1949, so it had only just arrived when I left high school.
So Boss, my father … just to tell a little story when he was up at Puketitiri when the rabbits were at their worst … he used to have a trap line, and catch these rabbits and skin them out and dress them, and they used to go down in the Puketitiri service car to Napier. And he used to get a shilling each for them which he called his booze money. But the Rabbit Board coming in banned the sale of rabbit meat so that put an end to that one.
The 1950s was the time that most probably my family went from near bankruptcy to having a reasonable living because of the wool boom and the Korean War. Things changed dramatically with the price of wool going up, and in those years there, somewhere along the line the old homestead block of Te Motu was freeholded. And most of the surrounding farms – everyone did the same.
So what was Te Motu like when you started working here? Was it all clear, good pasture?
Yeah, it was cleared by that time.
But I think we ought to go back in a little bit of history to my grandfather because this is how it all started. When he bought Ard Lussa, at the time in possibly 1903, it was eight thousand acres, and he added another two thousand which was the Peka Peka block which belonged to the Rissington area, so he could get access on to the Rissington Road. So he had ten thousand freehold acres in 1903, but by 1913 the Government had decided some of these bigger blocks should be split up and they purchased what my grandfather called Ngaroto, the ten thousand acres; Waihau Station next door which was six – the Government purchased that sixteen thousand acre block of land for £4 an acre. So I don’t know whether my father had enough … how much debt he had, but how much money he got out of it, I’m not sure. So with my father and uncle going to the 1914-18 war, they left a father who owned ten thousand acres; by the time they came back from the war it had been sold to the Government. And my grandfather retained the homestead block of a thousand acres leasehold, with his son Henry next door with another thousand acres odd, and Boss’s block of seven hundred acres, and one other block which went to I think my grandfather’s brother. So they retained four thousand acres of leasehold land. Now all that land was freeholded again in the fifties, so it left my father here with seven hundred acres and his siblings and grandfather all next door to him.
But history is a funny thing. In 1970 my Uncle Jack, who inherited grandfather’s homestead block, had wanted to retire. He had two daughters, and he sold Ngaroto back to my brother John and I, and eventually my brother John, within six years of that sale, sold it to me.
And just to recant – we’re getting a little bit out of kilter here. When my father had finished breaking in the land at Puketitiri, he came back to Te Motu. And my mother had inherited a house in town, so they decided they wanted to go and live in town. And in 1955, the minute I turned twenty-one, he said to me, “I’m sick of farming – you can run the bloody place. I’m going to go and live in town.” So he formed a company – this was nothing to do with me – of $10,000 [£10,000] and … no, sorry – a $20,000 [£20,000] debt. So he passed on nine thousand eight hundred of the shares to me plus the £20,000 debt, and went and lived in town.
And so from there – that was ‘55 – in 1960 I married my wife, Dora, in Gisborne and we moved on to the farm together and lived in the old four roomed house. In 1965 we built an extensive home using the old cottage in the middle of it as an interior, with two big rooms with an eight-foot stud … sorry, a ten-foot stud … whereas the rest of the house only had an eight-foot stud. And then in 1970 we bought Ngaroto next door, so we put seven hundred and eleven hundred acres back together again.
So there’s been a lot of shuffling of the cards?
There was a lot of shuffling of the cards – there certainly was.
And then later on, in 1991, my brother John died without issue – he never married – and he left his fourteen-hundred-acre farm that he’d inherited from Puketitiri to my brother Ron and I. And my brother Ron and I knew that we couldn’t farm together, and I said “what say we cut the thing in half?” So it was surveyed in half and we still retain the seven hundred and thirty-four acres I think was our half. Ron sold his, so that went into a dairy farm. So then we had three farms – we had Te Motu, Ngaroto and John’s block of seven hundred acres. In my wildest dreams I would’ve never, ever thought this would possibly ever, ever happen.
And as time went by, just across the road … all flat land … fifty acres came up for sale and my children bought that in their name and we added that on to our existing land. And just recently my son, Gregory, bought a lifestyle block that had a common boundary with Te Motu, so that added another seventy-five acres, so somehow along the line we ended up with quite a lot of landholding.
One interesting thing going backwards again – when they broke in the land at Puketitiri I think my father, and my three brothers in particular – I was fairly young at the time – thought they’d destroyed enough second growth bush and so on, and they thought they should do something about it. And we purchased five hundred acres of what was the Bradley block, an old education reserve down the Little Bush Road at Puketitiri, and set it aside as a perpetual bush block, to be kept in perpetuity. And to purchase it we had to put in £250 each and at the time I was what … I would think eighteen or nineteen … I’d managed to save £250, so my life savings went into buying this patch of bush. And we still own it to this day and my son Gregory – I have given it to him and he’s given it to his children’s Trust. So it’s in pristine condition, and mostly second growth rimu and matai, beech and kahikitea, and it has a QEII covenant on it so it will be there forever.
Little Bush Road – just where at Puketitiri is that? Is that the road the Whittles were ..?
Yes – where Robbie Whittle lived. And he actually called his farm Little Bush. Actually our bush bounds Robbie Whittle’s Little Bush Farm.
Right, okay. And are there any rivers?
Yes, the Mangatutu Stream runs through it.
Yes, the rivers are the pathways of the forest, and if you know where the rivers are, you know where you are.
That’s amazing to think that these blocks of land all ended up with the youngest member of the family.
I know – it’s beyond belief, isn’t it?
You’re almost like the gatekeeper aren’t you?
Yes – yeah. But … never thought it would ever happen. I never thought I’d be rich, I suppose … that’s a horrible word. I don’t really think of myself as rich because it’s all now in my son’s family Trust … the land, but I still live here in the old homestead and have a very comfortable life. But to try and just put a handle on it, if I just give you an exact figure because I’ve waffled on so much. Most of its here – to just give you a full idea of what I think’s relevant – what we farm and what we’ve set aside and things like that, if that’s okay.
So as to what my son and I now farm in our accumulated dealings with farms and things, our land area is just in excess of a thousand hectares. Grazable area is about seven hundred hectares; forestry, a hundred and fifty hectares; QEII covenants set aside forever, never to be farmed, two hundred hectares; lakes and dams thirty-six hectares, and waste – very little, four hectares. And to go back in acres which I’m more comfortable with, when we purchased Ngaroto we had a long river boundary with the Tutaekuri, and we completely fenced it out. And that was a sixty-six acre fence out along the river, and we did that way back in 1970 before those sort of things became fashionable.
And during Dora’s and my farming lifetime here, we won the North Island Farm Forester of the year; the Hawke’s Bay Farm Forester of the year; an Australian award for our conservation work which came through DOC; and lately my son won a Ballance Farmer award. So those sort of things – we’ve always been interested in conservation and tree planting.
Where did you meet Dora?
Okay. My father had one of the first hip replacements in New Zealand, and he went up to Gisborne to a Dr Parke to have this operation when he was about sixty-seven or sixty-eight. And he had a near-death experience … his stomach stopped working after they’d done the operation and it wouldn’t start up again, and they thought he was doing to die. But knowing Boss, he was pretty tough and resilient. He was violently ill and threw all the gear out … what he had on him and so on, and survived the thing.
But while he was up there we used to go and visit this man in hospital, and Dora was working in the hospital that Boss was in. And Boss said to her one day, “would you like to come in and meet my sons?” And she said, “not really, no, I don’t want to.” And she told me later that she thought he was such a … oh, how can we put it? A brash sort of a man …
[Chuckle] His sons may’ve been like it too.
… might’ve been like it too. So no way did she want [to] meet them. But he got on very well with her, and Dora got on very well with my mother being up there. And my mother was a wonderful person and she had been a nurse, and this is how she met my father, in the hospital when he came back from the First World War. So Dora and my mother being very friendly, she slowly managed to get on with Boss. And she came down to train at the Hastings Memorial Hospital and she used to come out with my parents occasionally, and this is how I first met Dora. But we were only friends, and she and three nurses went overseas and worked for two or three years in England and South Africa, and had holidays in Europe and did all the things they should have done.
And just by chance we met again when she came back, and got engaged and got married in 1960 in Gisborne. And there was one unusual thing about us both – we were exactly the same age, born on the same night but we were one day apart in birthdays, mine was the 31st October and hers was the 1st November 1934. So we were exactly the same age, and born on the night of the witches and the warlocks, and we always referred to ourselves as being you know … a bit naughty and witch-like. [Chuckle]
But we had two children. We were married in 1960 as I said, and we said we were going to be three years without children, but Dora was pregnant within three months. And Vicki-Jane was born, and then within three months she was pregnant again with Gregory in 1963, and we thought that was enough so Thomas went to the vet and that fixed that one. [Chuckle]
And Dora was only a little girl of five feet, and she had terrible troubles with pregnancies, absolutely disgusting. So that was the end of that one, so we had one boy and one girl. And my daughter is now married in Auckland and they have two children, and I’ve just inherited my first great-grandchild.
What are their names?
James and Samantha. And the granddaughter now lives back in Puketapu. She fell in love with one of the local boys in the district, and they’ve just now come back together and live close to me which is rather nice.
But my son married and lives at Ngaroto, right next door to me, and runs the thousand-odd hectares very efficiently with only one other guy, Donald Hunter. The Hunters come from Porangahau and have been a farming family down there for many years. But Gregory and Donald run a very efficient unit and they told me the other day … it’s only a skite one, but they got $195 for lambs, and that was just unheard of, I’ve never heard of that. But farming has a lot of hurdles in front of it and I wish him all the best and I’m sure he’ll get there, there’s no doubts about that – he’s done very well.
Now Dora was very involved with the Cancer Society and I think you both presented the property for a daffodil showing in the springtime?
Yes, Frank – Dora was on the original Hospice Committee in Hastings and worked tirelessly for it. And she was a very good nurse – she knew how to handle people, and there was lots about Dora who knew how to love with people, and also laugh. She and I always used to talk about the two ‘Ls’ in life, love and laughter. And over the years she created the Puketapu garden drive ‘cause she was a very keen gardener, and had a house paddock full of daffodils and a very nice garden, and she also knew neighbours who had nice gardens. And they used to open it in September every year for the Hospice Garden Day, and over the years I believe she raised somewhere between $80 and $90,000 for Hospice – plus with other members of the district, it wasn’t Dora alone, it was a combined effort. And we met lots of lovely people with doing this and it was a pleasure to put it on and be part of the community.
We always used to hear of this mythical family in Puketitiri that worked in bare feet. And there was nothing mythical about it, it was a fact – and you must have had very tough feet.
I don’t know – no brains. [Chuckle] I remember one night at Puketitiri – my brother and I used to go out night shooting to kill rabbits in a Morris Oxford car, and we used to fill the boot up with these rabbits we’d shot and bring them home, sometimes skin them but mainly feed them to the dogs, and do things like that. One day when we opened the boot up the next morning there was one live rabbit still alive in the boot. [Chuckle] But it was sold cold one night at Manaroa when we were out shooting, and as the story goes – especially my brother John never wore any shoes – so he poured some petrol on the ground and set fire to it, and [chuckle] was standing, you know, every now and then amongst the flames, just to warm his cold feet up.
I was talking to you earlier about this, and it’s about an old gentleman. He went to the First World War and to Gallipoli the same time as your father, Boss Hartree, went. And as I said earlier, Tom, he was a dab hand at playing the violin or the piano. He used to play dances. But anyway, he used to say he was going up to Puketitiri to stay with Boss Hartree and the boys. And it’s strange … after all these years I meet one of the sons, Tom Hartree, who actually knew him as well.
Yes, he certainly left a mark on us. Boss used to go to the Cossie [Cosmopolitan] Club in Napier and he collected people like this. There was another gentleman, Sid Moody, that he used to bring up to dig his garden occasionally, for him. ‘Cause old Sid was virtually what I would call an alcoholic, but at times when he was sober enough, he’d work away. But the First World War had wrecked him, and I don’t blame him for his drinking and so on. He was a machine gunner and he most probably had a terrible job during the war. But Fred was another one of these itinerants that used to come up, and Boss’d meet him in the Cossie Club I think mainly, and he was brought home and he was given some paint and a paintbrush and away he’d go and do a bit of painting. Being an itinerant he’d disappear, and then come back again.
And he used to sit down at this old piano we had and play Remembrance … Remembrance and the Black Hawk Waltz. And then he’d get into some of the old dance tunes, and then he’d get the violin out. Sometimes he’d just turn up with it and then we wouldn’t see it for two or three years.
He never let you into his personal life very much.
No, not at all, no.
So most of your farming here has been fat lambs, stores, cattle?
Yeah – never stores, always fattening. We always seem to manage to fatten our lambs. A fairly closed unit, the only stock we ever buy in are bulls and rams. We’re quite self-contained … breed our own ewes and our own breeding cow replacements.
You’re in the rainfall area here, aren’t you? So you don’t really get droughts as such?
No, that is not true. We get terrible droughts here … we’re only at hundred and fifty feet here at Te Motu, and droughts can be very extreme. Just recently with Hawke’s Bay Council approval we built two irrigation dams that hold back floodwater, and my son irrigates the flats opposite the house with lucerne. But at Puketitiri the land we inherited from my brother John is at two thousand feet, and it’s in a totally different rainfall. Our average rainfall here is still about thirty-eight inches, but some years we may only get twenty-one inches of rain so it oscillates backwards and forwards. This one’s been a very wet year but the old saying in Hawke’s Bay was the rainfall in Napier was thirty-four inches, Puketitiri was sixty-five, and as the crow flies the rainfall goes up an inch per mile. So our land at Puketitiri has a rainfall of over fifty inches, where here at Te Motu it’s about thirty-eight.
And did you play any sports on your way through life? Dog trialling, any of those? You obviously had a keen interest in the conservation … the reserve that you created?
Yes, and still have. No, as I said to you earlier on, when I came home from school to work there was no such thing as holidays, you just worked and you got time off when you could. So I never played any contact sports like rugby or anything like that – we never did that sort of thing, never had time to. Saturdays didn’t exist for one thing, it was just work, work, work.
But the only thing I really publicly did, I joined the Farm Forestry Association. We hosted the New Zealand Farm Forestry annual get-together here in Hawke’s Bay. Richmond’s at the time put on a luncheon here in Hawke’s Bay, and we had over four hundred people arrive in buses and things … showed them round. So I was … Dora and I – shouldn’t say just I … this farm would never have existed, I must put this in, if it hadn’t been for the input of my wife. It was a duo. It succeeded only because of her input. I would have never done it on my own. So the only thing we did, we were very interested in planting trees. I don’t know whether Frank can see before he leaves, but all the trees that you can see round the house here which is an extensive planting – that’s all we ever did. Instead of playing golf we planted trees, or Dora planted daffodils, and gardening and things like that. All our energy was put back into where we lived. And I’ve always said there’s only been two loves in my life, was Dora and the land that we farm.
My children are in the fifties, exactly the same as yours.
You could be sitting anywhere because you’ve got that lovely flat, and that just drops down to the river beyond the …
You’re dead right.
‘Bout two hundred feet I would think at least.
Any trout in it?
Yeah, beautiful trout. It’s still very healthy, the river. And the flats that you’re looking out on have got about a metre of what they call Crownthorpe loam on top of about eighty foot of shingle, and it’s beautiful for drainage, even where the house is – it’s sitting on shingle here, and it’s a warm house, it never gets damp because of the shingle underlay.
So are you totally retired?
No. I have a modern tractor that’s got a radio and air conditioning in it, and I go out with a little truck. And we’ve got quite a lot of internal roads that are all metalled especially for farm forestry, and I do road maintenance and stuff with my tractor, and cut up firewood, and do things and try and be helpful round the place.
But I have a wonderful family who look after me very, very well – I can’t complain. And I’ve had a wonderful life. I can’t complain about anything. I’ve had a wonderful marriage … I think I can say that, I think we did have forty-five years of a wonderful marriage. And two wonderful children … can’t fault them … and four wonderful grandchildren.
Now is there anything else you’ve forgotten to tell me about?
Is there anything else I’ve forgotten to tell you about … funnies or things? No, I just … what have I forgotten?
Oh yes, we had kiwis here – that was another thing. You know you talk about people playing sports and things like that – Dora and I never had time to play sports, we were always busy. She had two children … Hillsbrook Home was in vogue in those days and with Rodney Gallen being interested in it, he got Dora to take a boy from the Children’s Home for holidays. And he was Peter Richardson, and we called him our holiday boy. Well he grew up with my son Greg, and they still have contact with each other. And Peter did very well, he went on to go into the Air Force, thanks to a lot of help from Rodney too. And he has done well in life, so that was great.
And then another boy came along who was from South Africa. His mother had parted from her husband, and he came and lived with us here in Te Motu. So Dora sort of fostered him. So that was lovely, so we had those two holiday sons sort of thing, that grew up with our two children.
And then we had the kiwis. Now the kiwis in Napier used to be in the Botanical Gardens, and their home wasn’t the best of things. And a guy called Ken Francis looked after them and he’d actually hatched one chick from an egg in the Gardens, but it wasn’t very successful. So when they had to find a new home for them, several people including myself got together and we got access to these kiwis and built pens here on Te Motu, and brought them to live up here at Te Motu. And while they were here we hatched one set of twins and one single. And it’s never sort of been recorded, but we were really the first people that had reared kiwis in captivity. And it’s never been accepted because we weren’t professional about it, and it’s always been written down. But I’ve got a letter here from Rainbow Springs, who came and interviewed us and said “thank you very much for giving us information about the kiwis, and what you fed them and how you looked after them.” Yeah. So eventually it became quite a chore – we had to feed them every night and look after them, so eventually they went back to Napier. But they were here on Te Motu I think for about five years. So that was another thing that took up a lot of our time. There’s the one from Rainbow Springs cause that’s quite interesting, I thought that was the letter no. It’s somewhere there. But that was nice, because they’re most probably the main thing in the North Island now for breeding kiwis. But yes, you know …
See, you don’t hear of these things.
No. And another thing too, my brother Bill was a very keen moa bone hunter, and he was recognised by Richard Holdaway who’s written books on the ancient moa in New Zealand. And when I was about sixteen or seventeen, Bill and I went to the Wairarapa, digging in a cave looking for moa bones, and we came across a moa nest. And a big piece of limestone had fallen down off the roof and entombed these eggs inside a little cavity, but over millennia I suppose, the eggs collapsed but they were still in big enough pieces to realise what they were.
Is that the egg there?
Yep, that’s it.
Good Lord – it’s huge!
I put that one together. Now that’s something that should be done and I must go back to the museum … I gave it to the Napier Museum. But the egg that Bill put together is a better one than mine and it’s in the National Museum in Wellington. The two eggs should really go back together because they came out of the same nest. But it’s just something I haven’t got round …
Once this goes onto the website it’s recorded this as part of your history forever. This way, everyone in the world if they are interested …
Good. I’m thrilled about that because those two eggs should really … you know, that was most probably the only time ever, two eggs were found in one nest. So you know, they knew they laid multiple eggs.
Yeah, it just goes on and on, Frank, I know, but … [shows photos] That’s my father and brother Bill, that was Bill. He and I probably most had more in common than the two middle brothers. And that was Boss. We were nominated actually for the Bush … the five hundred acres … we were nominated for the Loder Cup for conservation. But that one was a pretty good one, and that you can look up on the internet and find, and that was printed all over New Zealand – it went to the Auckland Herald or whatever it was, the Dominion, the Christchurch Star. Fairly controversial, and I did it on purpose, because my father was a pretty tough old bugger and I really never ever knew him as a man, so I got a little bit even there because he threatened to sell me up a couple of times. And I vowed and declared if I had ever had a son I would never do the same to him as what he did to me.
These are treasures.
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Interviewer: Frank Cooper