Heaps, Maureen Margaret Lesley Interview

Good afternoon. Today is Wednesday 9th March 2022. I am Lyn Sturm, and I’ve been given the privilege of interviewing Maureen Heaps from Te Awanga. I hand over to you now Maureen.

Yes – my name is Maureen Margaret Lesley Heaps, and I was born at the Hastings Hospital on September 3rd 1932, [microphone interference] daughter of Jessie [née Mitchell] and Mick Burdon of Te Awanga, second in the family of seven children and the eldest daughter.

My maternal grandparents were from a large well-established Auckland family, and came down to take up a position as gardener with accommodation at J D Ormond’s Karamu Estate in Oak Avenue. My mother was the eldest of the ten Mitchell children born there – eight of them were born there, the remaining two in Hastings proper. We remained a close united family, though most of those uncles and aunts are living around the Hastings area; or they were – many are deceased now.

My maternal [paternal] grandparents, Tom and Julia Burdon, emigrated to New Zealand from Kent in England in 1897. In my time they lived near the Showgrounds in Karamu Road. Tom Burdon was a painter/paperhanger, and spent as much time as possible at Te Awanga, fishing in his spare time. He became a big part of my father’s life and it helped to provide for family.

My parents were both non-smokers and non-drinkers; it was Depression times and times were hard. When they got married … well, Dad already lived at Te Awanga, and Mum came; they owned the motor camp alongside the river and the beach. Mum sold eggs to help finance things seeing money was so scarce. We had a wonderful childhood; parents were good providers and we never went hungry.

My mother, before she was married, was a shorthand/typist. She was a [an] accomplished pianist, and she did all her examinations and tutoring through the nuns in Hastings; and I think she learnt shorthand from the nuns and typing from the Technical College in Napier. She didn’t marry until she was twenty-seven years old, and she’d had several good jobs before that.

My father was born in 1894, and he was in the First World War with the Medical Corps … he was a stretcher bearer with that group. He was badly wounded; was severely shell shocked; [modern: post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD] and he was mustard gassed in the hip. He went to live with his relations in the south of England for his recouping [recuperation], and apparently it was quite a long time.

But anyway, when he came back he worked on the lighters around the coast for a couple of years, [phone interruption] and bought the Te Awanga Motor Camp in 1919. There were often campers and people coming to picnic in that area for quite a long time, but Dad’s main interest was fishing. He loved fishing. He built his own boats; he started his own boat when he was only twelve years old. We were just so lucky to live where we did; we always, as children, had boats to row. We had a wonderful childhood, very little money, but a wonderful childhood. We lived alongside a river and we lived alongside the sea.

[Break; recommences mid-sentence]

… Haumoana School when five years old, and I will always remember my first unhappy day; I knew no one and I cried all day. We hadn’t kindergartens in those days; there were no kindergartens, and I hadn’t had any experience at all at being with a group of other children outside of my family. But I surely do remember that day; had to walk home alone on unsealed roads for three and a half miles. I was very, very lonely I remember, and when I was part-way home … getting near Elephant Hill … two of the older boys came along on their bikes and one of them, Billy Stark who lived at Clifton, gave me a ride on the bar of his bike to the end of the road … end of Kuku Street. And was I pleased! We later had permission to walk through the paddocks and reduce the distance by three quarters of a mile, so it was two and a half miles through the paddocks.

There’s a lot to tell about Haumona School and all the things that we … you know, what went on at Haumoana School. It was a very good school, and … I could get very involved with all the things that we did at Haumoana School. It was wartime; we picked violets, because we had very big, good flowerbeds, and a huge vegetable garden that had tons of rhubarb growing in it. And the senior boys had to mow the lawns on Friday afternoons – while the girls did knitting and handcraft things, the boys did gardening. And the lawn clippings then were put round the rhubarb, and there was [were] rows and rows of rhubarb in the vegetable garden; and I presume that that also would’ve gone towards patriotic funds, which is what we were trying to raise for the soldiers. There were big beds of violets, and we were allowed to pick the violets – the privileged ones, weren’t we? [Chuckle] And they were sold then, to begin with, at threepence [3d] a bunch in Napier on the street. It was the senior girls that were allowed to do that of course. There’s just so much to tell about school; I guess that we would need perhaps another whole chapter on that alone.

We were fortunate that we had swimming lessons while we were at school. No school baths, but we were taken down to the river and learnt to swim in the Tukituki River by the Black Bridge. We played basketball, which is now netball, and we had inter-school matches against Clive and Mangateretere which we always enjoyed. We went to them and then they would come over to us, and that was a very enjoyable time too.

I left Haumoana School in 1945 and it was just at the end of the war, and so it was just a very good time. I started at Hastings High School in 1946; it was a co-ed [coeducational] school … well, the boys were on one side and the girls were on the other, but there was only the one Hastings High School. I was in the Third Form and I took Latin and French; but I had a hard job adjusting to a big class from different schools when I’d only been in a class of six at Haumoana. Suddenly I was in a class of twenty-eight other girls that I didn’t know, and so I found it quite hard going. Towards the end of that year I developed mumps, [chuckle] and I was off school for quite some time and seemed to’ve just lost the track a bit on my Latin and French; and so the following year in 1947 I took a general class. And I really enjoyed that, and I got first in geography and first in art.

We had the debating event that went on in high schools between different classes, and the class decided that I was the [chuckle] most suitable one for their class debater. And I was sort of so nervous about it; but I was saved because I had [a] bad eyesight problem, and mother had us under a specialist in Palmerston North, and it so happened her appointment was at the right time when the debate was on, [chuckle] so I was saved from that. [Chuckle]

Towards the end of the year in 1947, of course we had the big polio epidemic and so school finished early. I don’t know if it was actually in December, or it might’ve finished at the end of November, or similar time. And so when school resumed again in 1948 – I’d only just started, a fortnight back at school – I had the opportunity of getting a job. And so I ditched school and went to work, because I felt guilty that Mum was having a struggle providing. Dad was a war vet [veteran] on a war vet’s pension, and so I felt that it was my duty.

[Break – resumes mid-sentence]

I think fifteen shillings and sixpence [15/6d] a week, and that was the bus fare from Te Awanga to Hastings. We had to use the bus, we didn’t have cars; so for the first so many months that was just all swallowed up. I got a rise to seventeen and sixpence, [17/6d] and by that I was able to put a small amount towards getting some clothes for myself, and I was able to buy the bread. There was a little dairy near the bus stop and I bought home bread most nights; and it was only perhaps a sixpenny [6d] loaf or something, but it just helped at home.

My first job … did I say it was at Richardson’s Pharmacy? As a general dogsbody I suppose. [Chuckle] And that job lasted me for a year or more, and from there I went to work in the office part of the steam laundry; I worked in Hastings and when they moved I went and worked in Napier for a while. And to work in Napier I had to bike to Clive, and then catch the bus to Napier and walk from the [Marine] Parade down to where Countdown now is; that was my regular route and return route.

I might’ve been there about a year or so, and then I went to work at Wilson’s Nurseries in Hastings. My family interest on my mother’s side was always with flowers, and because my grandfather was a gardener with his first job, and my grandmother, May, had a great interest in flowers and floral work as well – in fact she was a florist in her own right – the gardens were always beautiful. They moved from Karamu to Southland Road in Hastings, and had a huge garden there. … we had to catch the bus.

Catching the bus to Hastings to work was always a bit of a mission. We caught the bus at ten past seven [7.10] … I think it was 7.10. By the time it got to Hastings it was about ten to eight [7.50], and so … yeah, mostly it was all right. I did a commercial florists’ course at Massey College in 1952, and when I came back from that I went to work for Mrs Hicks, who before they had the florist’s shop in town, lived in Gascoigne Street where they had two big gardens that they could work from for their necessary flowers. That meant that when I caught the bus into town it got in about seven minutes to eight [7.53], and I was supposed to be at work in Gascoigne Street at eight o’clock; [8.00 am] and so I used to run. In the winter time, and there were some very heavy frosts that particular winter, I remember I used to run all the way and get there, and I was all nice and warm. And Mrs Hicks’d come out and say, “Oh, you’re so warm and I’m so cold.” You know? But anyway, they then moved to the shop [a] couple of years or so later, and we worked from there. But the actual day that they moved to the shop … the evening, ‘cause they were getting it prepared and we went down that evening to look at it … was the actual day that Ian and I became engaged, and so I sort of always remember that.

Because we owned [the motor camp, it was] a really wonderful time and area to play. There were seven of us, and in the wintertime there was no one in the camp and we had the whole area to explore, or play, or chop out thistles, or work for Dad trimming trees … all sorts of things. And we never, ever in our life [lives] were bored. Dad, because he loved fishing, often did a lot of fishing … hauling … off the beach, where he’d go out with his boat and set the net; and there’d be people at either end as the net went round in a half-circle and came back. So there were two – one held the ropes at the end as they rowed out, and then when they came back in another lot were on the other side holding that rope. And then there were two lots of them pulling; pulling, pulling, to pull the net in. And it was really very interesting, and people enjoyed watching it. Certainly kept us occupied.

Lots of skill would’ve been required …

Yes, yes.

What sort of fish was he catching?

They caught all sorts of fish, all sorts of fish … moki and snapper and trevally. Fish were plentiful then though, by comparison; I think a lot of it’s been fished out. Used to catch gurnard, there was some gurnard. It was quite interesting actually, to see just what kinds of fish did come in. But a lot of seaweed came in too, in those nets. Because it was sort of on the reef, or the edge of the reef, it meant that after the fish had been taken out of the nets, the nets had to be spread out and dried; or first of all they ran the wet net through and took the seaweed out while it was still wet, and then just lay the nets out to dry. And then there was always helping to put the net back, folded together neatly; other times when Dad would hang the net up on the whare wall.

In our area where we lived, there was the section next door where Dad kept his workshop, which was called The Cave, and the whare where he kept the nets. He kept the dry nets in the whare, and the crayfish pots – all those things. But to dry the wet nets out he hung them up on the side of the whare facing the north to get them dried out properly.

We really enjoyed the beach, because as kids we went beachcombing quite a lot … surprising what you found on the beach. We used to look for agar seaweed; there was a demand for agar seaweed, and after storms it would wash up on the beach. So we collected that, and for a time there washed the salt out of it in fresh water. And then it was set out to dry on racks, and then packed and taken in to Napier to be sold. But like fishing and everything else, so much of that has diminished now.

I played netball in my later teens for Haumoana, and we had to bike from Te Awanga on a Wednesday night to get there. We had no lights for our bikes except a hand held torch, or on moonlight [moonlit] nights it was fine, we had no problem; but there were no other cars on the road so we never had a problem in that way. I did quite well at basketball; but we played third grade for Haumoana in the Hastings competitions, and then I was fortunate enough to get in to the third grade rep [representative] team, and one year we played at Whanganui for the reps, which was quite an experience.

What position did you play?

I was a defence. I stopped them from getting the goals, and they didn’t like me. [Chuckles] We played for about … probably it would’ve been six competing teams in the Hastings competitions at that time; and I was just thinking who they all were. One was the Nurses; High School Old Girls; Convent Old Girls; Convent High School; JLP – Junior Labour Party; and the Lodge, and us.

Lodge – was that Manchester Unity?

Yes, yeah. So – very competitive; actually we did win one year.

What we had to do when Dad was out fishing – or some of the family’d be going fishing with him – but we always had to help with lighting a fire for a beacon at night, because he came in just on dark. And so we lit a fire on the beach to guide their way in. And then when they actually got near shore we’d go down there with the skids to help pull them up over the beach. And Dad had a winch up on top of the beach, and we children who were there would go round and round, and round and round, winding the cable to drag the boat up that was on the skids. And the ones that were down near the boat would then keep taking the skids from the back and putting them in the front accordingly as the boat moved up the beach. And of course once it got to the top, then it would go quite easily down the other side into the river. And so that was part of our childhood, doing that.

At the home section we had a little orchard, and there were two apricots and two plum trees; grapes – a big grape vine that went part way round the house – a pear, a lemon and an apple – a Gravenstein apple which was very early ‘cause it was in a sheltered place. The pear tree in the backyard was a Louis Bon Jersey, and it was a very interesting thing; the pear tree had a ploughshare hanging from the tree and [at] mealtimes there was a great big bolt that we used and banged the ploughshare, and everybody around knew that it was meal time. So if the family or kids were on the beach, or half way to Clifton or wherever … round the village … they could tell that it was meal time – Hurry up, come home. Yes. And it worked; it worked very, very well.

We were encouraged as children to have our own little garden patch. Mum of course, being a very keen gardener and flower lady, gave all the ones that were interested … just marked out an area, and we had that for our own garden. Two of us were very competitive about what we grew; some of the others really weren’t very interested, but it was great experience.

After the pickers had been in, or windfall apples [were] on the ground, we would go in two or three of his friends’ orchards and pick up off the ground. And that would be traded for fish, which worked out very well. So that we had a really good supply of apples Dad made a pit to keep the apples in for the winter, and the way he did it was just very interesting. Probably English people might’ve done it previously, I don’t know; but he dug a big square, shallow pit. When I say shallow, it’d be, you know, maybe eighteen inches deep. And he lined that with straw and then placed apples in it in as much [of a] single line as he could, and then put another layer of straw over the top. And I don’t know, possibly could’ve put a second layer on of apples, or put more apples on the bottom and covered it with straw. And I think they even put the turfs back on. But those apples just kept right through the winter and into months when normally you wouldn’t even have them, and they really helped us feed the family.

Can you remember what apples they were?

Don’t ask me, they were a variety of apples because we went to several orchards after different pickers had been in, so probably some of them were Granny Smiths. I think some of them were Sturmers; we had a Sturmer tree at home in one place, [at] one stage. But it was just a very good way of preserving them. In our family we didn’t have a fridge for many, many years; lived beside the river and the trees went right down into the water, and we’d have a safe hanging right near the water, hanging in the trees, and it worked very well. The other thing was, because we were a big family, I guess that there wasn’t a lot of food left over to have to store. I remember that we did store the butter down there.

That was another interesting thing – one of the village ladies owned a cow, and in season she made butter and sold it to the locals. And that was one of the things that we always enjoyed getting was the homemade butter; it was always so much nicer. We used to have to go round and get it, sometimes watching her skim it off the top of the big milk pan.

You didn’t have a house cow yourselves?

No, we didn’t have a house cow; we had a motor camp. We had cats and we had a dog, [chuckle] but we didn’t have a cow. [Chuckle] No place for a cow. Yeah – might’ve been a fair cow to have a cow. [Chuckle] Yes.

The milk supply in the village when I was very young was by a man who had cows, Mr [?Bigh?], on the corner of Kuku Street and Clifton Road. And we used to have to go to the bale to get our milk, and if we were running late it was taken up to the house and so we went to the house to get it. Then we had milk delivery during the war years from Reg Martin-Smith, who was from up the Tukituki [Valley] and he took on a milk delivery; I think first with the horse and cart, and then he had the grey truck with red painted wheels, or red spokes on his wheels; I always remember that. [Chuckles] He had it for quite a number of years delivering milk to the gate.

Was that in bottles?

No. I was just thinking about that, and I was just trying to think if it was bottles at that stage. I think it was dished out, I think.

You’d have a tin billy?

I’m just … it would’ve only been very early on if it wasn’t bottled. But then it became bottled milk, and Alan McLaren who lived up the Tukituki [Valley] took on that job, and he was our milkman for many years. [?] Price … oh, Christian name’s gone … took it on from him. And then because demand fell off and people were buying it from the dairies, it was better for it to discontinue which wasn’t very good for us of course, living a distance away from the milk supply. But anyway …

For your school lunches ..?

[Chuckle] Oh dear … school lunches. Mum had to do the best she could for our school lunches, and often it wasn’t anything very exciting. Bread and peanut butter; bread and marmite; bread and jam. [Chuckle] Sometimes if you were lucky you might get bread and banana. We didn’t like tomato sandwiches ‘cause they were always soggy.

How often did you get fresh bread?

Oh, that’s what … going to tell you about the bread. The baker came three times a week from Clive; originally it started from McCarthy’s Store at Haumoana, that was when I was very young. And then it went to Wetherhead’s at Clive, and then later Girvans took that on. But he used to come with a big basket into the house and deliver the loaves of bread that Mum needed. So we were always sort of keen to see the baker come, ‘cause [of] the nice fresh bread. Yeah. When we were at the camp the baker used to come and stop at the road gate, and everybody would be waiting there to get their bread. And some of the children would be sent up to get the loaf of bread for their mother who was at the camp; and so often the middle of the loaf was picked out before the bread [chuckles] finally got back to their tent. [Chuckles] But yeah … I think from what I understand, that happened quite often. Yes.

Can you remember how many people you could fit into your camp?

The camp started off … oh, goodness, I could go on and on about that. It started off sort of as a casual camping sort of place; pretty casual. In fact Ian’s mother and Dad’s sister, Jo, used to camp there before they were married, but it was sort of a casual thing. Mostly people came and did picnicking, and then it gradually grew for the camping side of it, and so it’s hard to say how many campers there would’ve been – maybe half a dozen or a dozen starting off and then it just went on and on, and it continued.

Ian and I eventually bought the camp – now that’s another story, too. Dad died in 1968, and by that stage Burdon’s Motorcamp Te Awanga Limited had formed a company. He died in September, and so with all the camp bookings that there were – and by that time there probably would’ve been thirty or more campers that would’ve been pre-booked – so that year Keith Addis who camped there, and myself and Mum managed the camp on our own for that season. Was quite a business to manage a camp, ‘cause they have a lot of things that need to be done when campers are in there.

The following year … trying to think what happened the following year; we either did it again or it was suggested that Ian and I take on the management and manage beholden to Burdon’s Motorcamp Te Awanga Limited, who you paid the rent or whatever it was to. So we took it on for two or three years, and in that time we had to do a lot of improvements because the camp had sort of gone back quite a lot because of Dad’s health, and Mum and Dad were both getting older. So there was a lot of work to be done and Ian and I sort of started off with that. I think when we did our first season, or two seasons, there was about forty-eight campsites, and by the time we had finished there was over sixty. But that was in the time after renting or leasing the camp. We then bought it in 1972 … might’ve been sooner than that, ‘71, ‘72 … and went to live out at the camp house; meantime, a house had been built for Mum on the section next door.

Ian and I put in a lot more powered sites; in fact it turned out that there were then more powered sites than there were tent sites. We also built a new toilet block over the far side, improved the roadway and kept the grass mowed as much as we possibly could all through the season. We also sealed the roads and put other sealing down, trimmed trees, and just a lot more general improvements; and when we had the camp it was running very successfully and we were fully booked usually, for the first two or three weeks. And we did lots and lots of things to keep the kids amused, and that’s another story on its own.

We had four children, and we were just so, so busy all the time. That was in 1972 that we moved out there; Kim was six months old, so we must’ve actually bought the camp sooner than that. We’d done a lot of other work as well, but we had also done some big improvement works to the house because we needed it with four children at that stage; one a six-month old. But everything seemed to work well but we were just so busy all the time.

And then two years later Andrea came on the scene. Andrea was born on the 13th December, just right in front of our season [when] the camp became so busy at Christmas, and here I was with a new baby. Anyway – we didn’t plan that very well, did we?

No. [Chuckle]

But our children, our six, they had a wonderful life too down there, the same as myself and my siblings had had.

[Break; starts again mid-reply to a question] … in October 1953, and we were married in February 1955. so yes; and in that time we had an enjoyable time. Ian had a little overland truck … light one … and he used to get around in that everywhere. He’d previously worked at Pernel Orchards for a number of years, but when we were married he was working for a terrazzo firm in Hastings, in Warren Street.

We were married at St Andrew’s Church on 12th February ‘55, as I said, and I got dressed at my grandmother’s place. She did floral work as I’ve already said, and this particular day she double booked. I did my own wedding flowers, and they were done at her house; but she’d double booked, and there was another wedding lot of flowers that was bouquets and all the things that go with it, buttonholes, etcetera, etcetera … shoulder sprays.

Anyway, so we got that out of the way, and Nana went down to get my wedding cake set up at the reception which was at [the] Pasadena in Heretaunga Street. And while she was away the men came to collect the other lot of wedding flowers, and they asked, please could she make an extra shoulder spray, they were one short. At the time my aunt, who’s only four years older than myself, was there sort of looking to my needs, ‘cause I was getting myself ready. Well, I was in the bath and she couldn’t make it, and there was no one else there to make a shoulder spray; so she brought all the gear, draped a towel around my shoulders, and I stood in the bath and made an extra shoulder spray for the man that was waiting at the door. [Chuckles] And I’ll never ever forget that.

[Laughter] That’s fantastic! [Chuckle]

Yes. But the man at the door, or the people in that wedding didn’t know [chuckles] how that shoulder spray had got made. [Chuckles]

That’s amazing …

We had a lot of funny things happen in our lives; yeah. When we were first married we went to live in Churchill Street while we built a … bought a section on the corner of Churchill Street and Park Road, and we had the builders already employed and they had started building the house. And we were hopeful of course, that it would be ready by the time we got back from our honeymoon. It wasn’t. They had their normal summer holidays over January and the house wasn’t finished, so when we did get back we spent three weeks living with Ian’s parents in Windsor Avenue, and three weeks with my grandmother in Southland Road; and then after six weeks we could move into our own house.

Our honeymoon was very interesting. Ian’s overland truck was only a two wheel drive, and I would say top speed would be thirty miles an hour; we mostly averaged about twenty-five. We went … first night Te Pohue; the second night was Golden Springs, which was nice; the third night was the Mamaku [Ranges] and we got eaten alive with great big mosquitoes that night. And then we went on to Auckland, and stayed in Auckland with Mum’s cousin; we actually slept in the back of the truck which had a canopy on it and I worked out very well. And then when we came back, we came back right down round to the Waitomo Caves and back via New Plymouth, and all the way back round through the Manawatu Gorge, and home. And the only trouble he had with the truck was a broken Bendix spring at Waipawa when we were just about home.

When we stayed at Waitomo, we had neither of us ever been to Waitomo or to the caves, and we did have the pleasure of going to look at the caves which was lovely. The camp, which we were told … there was just an open paddock really. Obviously it was used for camping in the season, but it was just an open paddock. So we put up our awning at the back of the truck; Mum’s cousin had given us a nice little cold roast for us to have on our further journey, and so to use the deck to sleep in we had to put everything out into the awning, which we duly did. In the morning the lovely roast had gone. The cows were down the back of the paddock, and the dogs had come in and cleaned the … taken our lovely roast. [Chuckles] Ooh, such is life. [Chuckle] Yes. But anyway, so that was our story.

We graduated from that to a 1928 Plymouth, and that’s the car that we used when I was having my children, the younger ones. And it was only a two seater, so to get the bassinet into the back of the car you had to fold the seat forward. And the bassinet then was a cane bassinet, so it was no sort of small thing like the folding ones; and it [you] had to put that on the back seat. Yeah – anyway, we got there. After the Plymouth we bought a 1947 Hillman, and that served us very well for quite a while.

[Break; other vehicles discussed; resumes]

What sort of vehicle was it?

It was a ‘52 Commer van. It was previously used by Whatshisname Smith, who was a contractor; lived in Norton Road … oh, trying to think what his Christian name was. But anyway, that was a blue one; we had that for many years, and when we went to the camp that’s the one that we started with, and my own boys learnt to drive round the camp in that Commer van. It got a few dings, I can tell you. [Chuckle]

From that we went to a Vauxhall Velox car. We had that for a while and then because of demand for gear that we needed for the camp and having to buy all sorts of things and cart gear around, we bought a … Holden Kingswood? Holden something … anyway it was a Holden stationwagon; think it was a Holden Kingswood. And we used that for a long, long time, which was very good.

Then from there we went to a Toyota Corona, and then just gradually improved as we went along. And several cars later we’ve now got a Nissan March which suits me very well, and we bought that before Ian died, so that was good.

How old were you when you got your licence?

Oh, that’s another story. [Chuckle] I used to ride my bike everywhere, and when David was young – David is the eldest – we lived in Churchill Street / Park Road, and my grandmother lived in Southland Road near the racecourse where the Scott Centre now is. And I used to bike with David on the back of the bike on one of those wicker bike seats that the kids had, and that was quite a long way over there. So eventually when David was about two and a half, I went to get my driver[‘s] licence and that was good; worked out quite well.

Did you go to a driving instructor?

I had a driving instructor; Mrs Burgess was the driving instructor at that time. So that worked out very well. So my first car then that I was driving, was the ‘28 Plymouth which was quite a big car, and I suppose you’d call it a bit cumbersome in today’s book.

And was it a gear change on the steering ..?

Oh, it wasn’t automatic – no, [of] course it was a gear change. Huh!

On the steering wheel?

No, not on the steering wheel – it had a gear stick, a gear lever. [Chuckle] You had to change gears; gear lever, no such thing as an automatic. Think the automatic didn’t come until our car before this one, I think. Ian always preferred a gear stick change.

A manual?

Yeah.

So we used to make sand posies and miniature gardens and all these things and enter them in the Horticultural Society in Hastings; take them in with us on the bus, which wasn’t easy. And Mum used to enter too, in the cut flower things. They gave the kids prize money; we didn’t have to pay entry fee but they gave us prize money, and I saved my prize money up and I managed then to buy my first wristlet watch immediately after the war. And I finished paying it off, I think – because in those days you left the thing there, they held it until you’d paid for it. Today it’s [a] different story; they take it and then pay it off, don’t they?

That’s right. Layby, wasn’t it?

Yes, that’s right. We didn’t have much furniture when we were first married. Should I tell you about that?

Yes, if you want to.

Ian, when we were first married we really didn’t have much furniture. We bought a kitset table and we covered that with red leatherette and we bought two stools, just ordinary stools with a round top, and we covered and padded two of those with the red. Mum and Dad … my mother and father … gave us three good kitchen chairs; they couldn’t afford four, they gave us three, and that worked out very well anyway. They were chairs that were shaped, like a U-shape; they were marvellous chairs because you couldn’t rock them; you couldn’t swing them back on two legs like Mum had had to put up with all her life with us doing it to her. And in fact those chairs are still in use ‘cause Stuart’s got them down at Norsewood. So that was [the] set up for our kitchen.

Our bedroom – Ian already had a manrobe which he’d had for two or three years, because he had his own little hut out the back of their section where [the] parents lived. So we had the manrobe, and then we had a bed given to us by his neighbour who, because of circumstances, had to give it up. So that was our bed. And Nana covered a kerosene case box … covered it very nicely for me; padded the top and wallpapered it inside, and covered it with cloth on the outside and that was our bedroom seat. And also, she did that with one of the old chairs and padded the seat of that. So that was our bedroom furniture.

Our lounge – we didn’t really have anything to begin with. We had a piano stool that Grandma Lucy Heaps, Ian’s grandmother, had given us when we got engaged. She did tapestry, and she did a tapestry top and had the stool made and the padded top with the tapestry put on it, and that was our first bit of lounge furniture. We had a firescreen given to us for a wedding present. So one of the first things we did was pay off an armchair, at … I think it was Hutchinsons that were in Karamu Road, just behind McDermott’s leather shop. Anyway, so we paid that off, and at least we had a chair and a stool, and later we got a bed settee. So the time went on.

Ian’s mother and father gave us our first fridge when I think Rodney was a baby, because we really needed to keep the milk cool, they said. So other than that, our first house, we had a safe that was vented to the south side of the house, and so things kept reasonably cool in that.

The butcher from Clive, Finlays … Jimmy Finlay … called twice a week with the butcher’s van. It was lead-lined, and the meat was kept very well. He tooted his horn in the village as he went down different streets and we could hear him coming a street or so away, so by the time he got to us we’d be waiting at the gate with your plate and your money; and that worked out very well. He had a long stick pole with a rag on the end of it, and he was always swishing that into the back of the van when he opened the door, to make sure no flies were in there. But the whole service worked very well; and that worked for the campers too in the earlier days, because they would also wait at the gate with their plates, and if they were lucky get meat; but I would say that a lot of the campers in their time would’ve enjoyed quite a bit of fish and seafood-type things. Yeah.

The mail … Te Awanga mail came each day, and came out from Hastings. Mr McCosh used to do it in the early days, and if you were able to you could get a ride out from town with him, which I did once or twice because I’d be staying with my grandmother in Hastings and need to get back to Te Awanga; so I’d come out with the mailman, and it worked out quite well. But of course it went on to other mailmen after him; but he did it for a very long time, and that was RD2, which encompassed quite a big area.

As I say, there was strictly no camping allowed in [the] 1947-’48 polio epidemic; and campers that had already booked, four or five of them actually went and camped in the vacant section next door to our house, because that wasn’t a camping ground so they could still do it, and they were beside the river. [Chuckle] But it meant that we were not allowed to go through the camp even. And we wanted to get to the beach and others wanted to get to the beach, so we used to go down, along the road and along the old bank; there was an old bank that was right round the outside of the picnic area and it took you down to the beach, and that was the only way that we would get there. Some of the village people did that too.

How contagious was polio?

I don’t know; we didn’t get, we dodged it. But it was very bad, it affected the lungs very badly. A man from up the Tukituki [River] had it very bad, and he was in an iron lung for many, many years. Yes. And I think, you know, he didn’t live to a great age. When I say a great age, I don’t know when he died, but he died well before his time. But you know, people got paralysis with it. It wasn’t polio, sorry – I’m sorry. it was the infantile paralysis, wasn’t it?

Oh, of course – that’s what Jeremy Dwyer had.

Oh, wait a minute, wait a minute – isn’t it the same thing?

I think that is the same.

Same thing. Well Jeremy Dwyer had it; one of my high school friends had it, and she had just a totally withered leg. Yeah. It was polio, because the kids all had their polio vaccinations … yeah, it was polio, but they called it infantile paralysis in those days, yeah.

And you said that you and your brother had to …

Yeah, so we were supposed to do our school lessons in the cookhouse where it was away from the rest of the family, but it wasn’t really very successful somehow. You know, we didn’t have the communication that you’ve got today; there was [were] no iPads and no iPhones or any of those things. It was for another six weeks or something, so many weeks after school went back and we managed to a certain extent but not the way that we would like to have.

My eldest brother, Kelvin, was an electrician; this is just going through the things my siblings did. Jack did all kinds of things and he landed up working for the Conservation – Hawke’s Bay – what do they call it?

DOC?

Yeah – Department of [Conservation] – yeah, that’s right. He worked for them doing riverbank inspections and things like that; rubbish dumping and all that, and tracing people that did it. Yeah, but he landed up working for them. Neil was a mechanic; he did his mechanical trade, and Peter was a builder. So they all had their trades.

My sister Lynette worked [in] an accountant’s office; and Helen, youngest sister, was a nurse, so they all did well.

Our own children have done very well for themselves too; David is a builder, Rod was a fitter/welder, and Stuart was an electrician, and they all did their apprenticeships and served their time. Rosemary worked in the bank, Kim was a rep [representative] and an area manager for two firms, and Andrea, the youngest, was a nurse. So they all did very well too, in their particular lines of work. But Ian was a driver; he loved driving tractors. [Of] course Rod’s inherited that too.

I didn’t even mention about when we had the camp, how busy we were because of the Cape [Kidnappers] trips. We were so busy at the camp, and all the people were coming in too for the Cape trips which in those days took off from the Te Awanga camp. We also took bookings on their behalf, and so it was just busy, busy, busy, all the time. My brother, Neil, kept that going, and then our second son, Rodney, drove for Neil. Then Neil sold it to Rod; so for a while Neil was driving for Rodney. Rodney gave that up a few years ago now, because his work at the Hastings City Council being a councillor demanded quite a lot of his time, and he couldn’t seem to keep going with them both. So he on-sold that and now Colin Lindsay owns it, and occasionally Rodney drives for him. That’s only a titbit, isn’t it?

Yes, it’s only a short piece of your life, but [it] sounds like you’ve had a good life?

I’ve had a very good life. I belong to Institute; [Women’s Institute] I belong to St Francis Parish; whatever I’ve done I’ve got involved with … Haumoana Institute I was … oh, I don’t know, I was secretary, I was treasurer, I was president; and the church one I was chairperson, or president of the ladies’ club for a while, and I think I was secretary at one stage. And the Meeanee one – well yeah, I got involved with that in different ways too.

It sounds like you can’t help yourself, you end up …

Oh! [Chuckle]

… running it. [Chuckle]

I’m still involved with Meeanee, but because I’m not very good with the driving I’m having a bit of trouble; yeah. Not with the driving, with my legs. Anyway … so, here we are.

I think you’ve covered most everything now.

I haven’t though, you know, but they’re all little bits in between.

Exactly. So you’ve done very well today.

I might’ve messed it up a bit. I never sort of talked about going up the river, and blackberrying, and all that sort of thing. Boats at our disposal, you know – it was great.

We’ll call it today. Thank you very much for allowing me to interview you.

Oh, thank you.

 

[Interview continues …]

 

Today is Friday 1st of April 2022. I’ve been given the privilege of continuing my interview with Maureen. She will tell us how it was to live in and run a motor camp at Te Awanga.

Good afternoon. My paternal grandparents, Tom (TL) and Julia Burdon, arrived from England to New Zealand in 1897 with their five children, Ronald, Maud, Mary, Mick and Joe. They lived in Hastings but spent most time staying or camping at the land area where the Te Awanga motor camp now is. Known then as ‘The Willows’, it was also a popular picnicking spot being alongside the Maraetotara Stream and the beach. Tom and sons, Roland and Mick, regularly fished the sea area between Te Awanga and Cape Kidnappers.

Mick purchased the land which went up for sale in 1919. A protective bank was built around the land to protect it from flooding. Gradually over the years, [the] numbers of picnickers and campers increased; it was all tents of varying shapes and sizes in those days – ridge pole, bell tent, smaller ones – all kinds. Toilet facilities were built to accommodate.

There was only tank or brackish well water available until the camp was connected to the main Te Awanga supply from the artesian bore at Beach Road/Shrimpton Road at Haumoana. I haven’t the date for that, but I would think it would’ve been in about the fifties or the sixties. Most of the campers were regulars from Hastings and Napier and would bring their own drinking water.

Families would stay for a whole Christmas school holidays with the menfolk going back and forth to work daily, so [they] could replenish their water as required.

Picnickers interspersed with camp sites where space was available, until the area bordering Wellwood Terrace was cleared and developed. This part then became the main picnic area and was a good place for Sunday family outings, with green grass, shady trees in the summertime heat, and near the river and the beach. Entry fee was one shilling [1/-] per car, increased over time. Dad (Mick) would be on the gate if not away fishing, when this would be the family’s job which none of us really enjoyed doing; but of course it was our livelihood. Hot water at sixpence [6d] a teapot was available at the house backyard.

My father, Percy Michael Burdon, married Jessie Mitchell, our mother, in 1929 at St Andrew’s Church, Hastings. Jessie was a shorthand typist and a very competent secretary, doing all the camp bookwork plus bookings and door enquiries, as well as raising our family of seven children spanning twelve years in age. Most of our childhood life revolved around the camp and father’s fishing activities. We made many camping friends and were expected to help when needed, both summer and winter. We were well rewarded, with boats to row; the river; hills to roam; the beach to enjoy; fishing, hauling; all those things.

In previous years there was an area of river lagoon between the camp and the beach which changed at times with big floods. It’s now just a very small channel. Access to the beach was then only by rowing boat. With help, Mick built a single plank footbridge with a wooden handrail to span the water, and that was [for] several years depending where the river or floods had been during the winter. Enough space had to be made for boats and canoes to pass underneath so it was built much higher in one particular section. A strong rope was attached to the planks for the whole length, thus saving it from being washed out to sea in a flood. It could then be reconstructed again for the year following. Some camp ladies one night – New Year’s Eve – found it quite a challenge walking back across that plank after they’d been celebrating at a fire on the beach. Yes.

In [the] 1940s we had rowing boats available to hire on the river, mostly built by Mick, but this discontinued after a number of years; irresponsible patrons failed to return on time. Others took the boats out into the sea or lost oars or left them on the other side of the river. Camp work had become much busier and we could not give the time to chasing after the boats. Hiring was trialled again years later but proved too much running around for little return for success.

Four or five pet sheep helped to keep the grass shorter during the winter months. Shortly before Christmas a whole mob of sheep were brought down from [?Shaws?] to shorten and tidy up the grass and the whole camp area before the main camping season began. The pet sheep were previously then actually led to Charlton Road for the duration of the camping. With Willow as a drawcard, it was quite amusing to watch.

Our mother, Jessie, had six geese which also grazed the area outside of the camp season. The very last remaining of that gaggle was Horace, the gander. He was a very good guard of his territory, and we were all very wary of him.

[Break in recording; continues mid-sentence]

… and the baker three times a week, and each drove into the camp. The butcher parked outside the gate twice weekly; a greengrocer called from time to time. These services were appreciated and well patronised. As the years went by, increased patronage and more caravans required more power points and demand for added facilities.

The company, Burdon’s Motorcamp Te Awanga Limited, was registered with each family member being a shareholder. Continuing demand meant much greater power voltage was needed, [and] a new lock up powerhouse was built. Further power points to sites were added; also, there were three cabins to supply. At that stage then, there were forty-eight power sites plus non-powered tent sites which eventuated.

Our camp was a strictly run as a family camp, intended for family groups or adult couples only. Teenagers were not permitted during the holiday time unless circumstances and/or characters were specially approved of. One exception in the late forties, early fifties, were two young fellows from Napier, Johnny and Bill. They had no transport of their own, and camped in a small tent sited between two regular camping families for several years. [They] were great company, becoming very much part of the camp community and activities; and very popular, taking part in the re-enactment of the landing of Captain Cook, which was a big thing we had then.

The Gees – my maternal grandmother was the youngest of the large Scarborough Auckland family. Almost every Christmas over a period of thirty years, Jessie’s cousin, Mabel Gee, husband Alec, and adult son Ivan, arrived from Auckland and made camp at 48 Kuku Street for about eight weeks. They were a real character family. This section was Mick’s all-purpose backyard for his workshop, boats, fishing gear, net drying, wood cutting, all those sort of things, and the pigeons. We had a pigeon loft. A new little house for Jessie was built in 1972, [and] the Gees continued to come for two or three more years after Jessie had the house built. Mick took pigeons on his fishing trips to send messages home, and that’s the reason they had the pigeon loft. Sometimes the Gee family came to the Hastings Blossom Festival also. Ivan took many photos and slides of these, which included brothers Neil and Jack’s humorous entries.

Mabel liked to be part of every activity or action – swimming, entertainment, collecting mussels; loved being among the children, and even going to the rubbish dump with Mick. She could suddenly say the most outraging [outrageous] things and do the totally unexpected. She loved collecting mussels, and my father, Mick, dubbed her ‘the white Māori’, and that’s what he always referred to her as.

Alec, the husband, was a registered plumber and became the housekeeper; and he and Mick spent time together. They both liked reading, working together, and enjoying a good joke; and he helped Mick with various jobs around the camp.

Ivan, Mabel’s only child, was her pride and joy. He, over the years, was involved with many camp and Burdon family ventures; he was a regular Cape tractor driver for Neil, and lots of the photos of those earlier years include Ivan driving. He put on fireworks displays for the campers; he showed film evenings, which the [in] later years we had on the front of the ladies’ toilet wall, which people used to laugh about; but it was just a good plain, blank, white or light coloured wall. He also helped out at the shop. Being very outsize[d] he floated when swimming in the sea. Yes. There were many stories we could tell about the Gees.

Beach buggies and eventually more suitable Minneapolis low line tractors departed from our camp transporting passengers to view the gannets at Cape Kidnappers. The trips were started by my brothers, Jack and Neil Burdon.

Neil and his wife, Elizabeth, owned and operated the business until 1991. Having been a driver for Neil from age fifteen, Rod Heaps then bought this, still departing from the camp until 1993 when departure and base moved to Charlton Road. Watching the loaded transport tractors and trailers going over the beach top and through the river mouth, was entertainment daily, particularly when the shingle was soft and they could get stuck in the mouth and have to be towed out.

In the early hours of the morning in May 1960, a tsunami from Chile went through the camp. It was small in height, but extremely powerful. The only campers at the time were a Māori family tenting on a seafront site.

[Break; recommences mid-sentence]

… everything getting thrown about, tangled up and soaked. The wave washed up to the front of the camp house, with fish and debris left the length of a Wellwood Terrace neighbour’s lawn. In the camp an established macrocarpa tree and other small trees, and the large cabin, were skewed sideways. So that was our tidal wave experience. I wasn’t there, I was living in Hastings; but yes, it was quite a sight. There is a photo of that.

Floods – the quiet little Maraetotara Stream beside the camping ground appears to be a nice calm piece of water but can be a raging torrent during floods. Te Awanga village was badly flooded late February 1938, when our mother, Jessie, was about to deliver her fifth baby. She was floated by canoe all the way from the camp house at 52 Kuku Street via Wellwood Terrace to the corner of Leyland and Clifton Roads. The water was swiftly rising through Miss Rees’s garage, and she only just managed to get her car out in time for Mum’s transport to hospital.

Another flood – in January 1953, with torrential rain the area was again flooded including the motor camp. Some of the campers packed up their wet gear and when possible went home. The old wooden Black Bridge over the Tukituki River was snaking with the ferocity of the water, and so was closed until considered safe. Other campers chose to stay at the camp and dry out their lot. A new Black Bridge was built, and opened in … think it was October 1956.

Another flood – in the early hours of June 1974 in darkness, Te Awanga experienced a once in a hundred years flood from the [Maraetotara] Stream. It came through the cutting where [the] Cape road goes at Clifton, and created five river mouth outlets from Clifton to Cape View. Flood water streamed down Kuku Street and into the camp. Our son, Rodney, of fourteen years, and his mate slept that night in the little cabin by the camp gate and near the house. He’d thrown his clothes onto his surfboard, putting it under the bed before retiring. With an urgent rousing warning from sleep, he jumped straight out of bed and into the cold water. Everything around him on the floor was awash, except his clothes on the floating surfboard. [Chuckle] Yeah. Being winter, there were no campers. Te Awanga was without power for days while poles and lines were restored. That was a really big event; yeah.

The river in high flood needed direct access to the sea; through controversy, this didn’t happen. Many times the beach gradually built up and a new cut-through had to be made, but sometimes it was too late. The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, being long aware of the Te Awanga flood problem, then in 1990-something I think, had a new higher, more solid bank built to protect the affected properties, with local ratepayers contributing to the cost.

1947-1948 – with the polio outbreak, schools were closed before the end of the term in 1947, my fourth form year at Hastings High School. Camping grounds were closed; no camping allowed. A few of our pre-booked regular campers set up independently in the section at number 46 Kuku Street, alongside the river. The Heaps family, Ian’s family, camped in a front paddock next to Clearview [Estate], with walking access to the beach front – for us also – along the old bank on the far western side of our camp opposite Pipi Street, thus avoiding the camp altogether. Schools did not reopen until six weeks into the new 1948 term. Older brother, Kelvin, and myself did our school work in the all-quiet camp kitchen, but not very successfully. [You] can imagine … yeah.

Mick Burdon died on September 1st 1968. Jessie, Keith Addis, a trustee and camper, plus myself and husband Ian, managed the camp for the upcoming pre-booked holiday season 1968-’69.

Ian’s parents, Frank and Myrtle Heaps with their family, had camped for many years. When Ian and myself married we made a new site, and camped with our own children, so we were very familiar with what was required to manage the camp; the work involved; and knew most of the regular campers. It was then decided that Ian and myself lease the business from the company for the ‘69/’70 season, and possibly beyond. Jessie was at the house, so was available for enquiries, etcetera.

The camp needed much upgrading. We lived in Hastings with our four children. This meant many trips to work on the facilities; all weekends, and some evenings after Ian finished work during the week. We’d leave home Friday evening, stay in the little cabin by the gate, and work till dark. David, our eldest, at age twelve, mowed, and mowed, and mowed. We were determined to keep the grass done, by mowing if we possibly could. On Sunday night we packed the children back into the Commer van and returned in dark to town. Some of the children were already asleep and had to be carried inside. It was a hectic life.

After lots of clearing, finally a new house was built for Jessie at number 50 Kuku Street on [in] Mick’s backyard, and we bought the house. After some renovation our Heaps family moved into the camp house at number 52 Kuku Street. A surprise fifth child, Kim, was six months old then. Grass mowing was continuous. Gang mowers behind the Model T we found eventually were the best; we were very lucky to get those and it covered a big area. Model T was Ian’s workhorse.

Being right on the job, and enthusiastic, the business thrived. The camp kitchen had to be lined and painted; a diesel tank sited to supply hot water [to] both the kitchen and the laundry beside it; improvements to toilets and showers; the camp shop needed improvement and painting, then when this was open [it] became the hub of the camp business. We also took bookings there for the gannet trips to Cape Kidnappers tractors, and the shop was re-stocked and demand increased. Ian’s full time job in Hastings went on a few more years until the business could financially support us. We became fully booked for powered sites for five weeks, and dates were dovetailed.

A new toilet and shower block was built on the western side of the camp in the late 1970s. Cleaning and checking all facilities several times a day was so necessary and was all part of our job; a loudspeaker system installed previously was quite a help.

Ian’s Model T workhorse and trailer served to remove all the camp rubbish daily, often with Clarrie, one of our well known campers, sitting beside him and helping. Rodney, our second son, built a [an] all-purpose larger metal tipping trailer designed especially for the job, and it was much better.

Two of the roadways were altered and main thoroughfare roads were sealed. No permanent camping in the winter months allowed time for trimming trees, maintenance and further improvements to be carried out. Just two days before Christmas, on December 23rd 1974, I came home with baby number six, Andrea, our youngest. Our older children were very interested and helpful, as were some of the regular campers. Unfortunately, after some health issues two years in a row prior, I developed very active rheumatoid arthritis in 1979.

We purchased this section, 20 Cedar Road, in 1980 when all around us here was just bare land. David, now a builder, built this house for us and he and Leonie swapped with us, them taking over the camp in 1983. They continued with the business until 1990 when it was sold to Toby and Peggy Sullivan, thus going out of the Burdon family after seventy years’ ownership.

In our time we had very few problems with young yahoos off the street being smart. Camp gates were closed every night at ten-thirty; [10.30pm] campers late home knew that they could still get in. One night about 1.00 am, a car with several young fellows in it sped noisily down to the shut gate. Finding it was shut they backed up to the road revving madly, and turning, planted boot; straight down over the side, and became bellied on quite a big log. Ha, ha, ha! [Chuckle] After much pushing and shoving and carrying on, eventually they became mobile again. Ian and I just watched from behind the gate, smiling.

One busy day another time with a full camp, young ones in a car failed to stop at the gate as everybody was expected to do, intent on a fast yahoo around the camp circuit. We shut the gate, with campers lined up by it blocking their expected fast exit. After a good telling off, the gate was re-opened. Job done.

Because there were many children in the camp and a number of working people generally, all was quiet when Ian and myself did the late rounds. A group one evening had a log fire on the beach to the west of the camp. After eleven pm [11.00pm] the westerly wind was blowing sparks towards our western campers. With a bucket of water each, Ian and I walked along the beach and dowsed the fire. Great was our surprise when a couple of adults who had been lying on the beach behind the fire, suddenly appeared; and they were most annoyed.

There was often activities of interest for both adults and children to enjoy and I’ve listed these: we had organised bonfires on the beach, but only when the wind direction was okay; Mick, my father, being a great fisherman, did hauling of the nets onto the beach, and shared the fish with helpers when [there was] a good catch – and that was entertainment in itself; we had sand castle competitions; we had dances on the green, and fancy dress parades; mock courts were one of the things that were such fun, with ridiculous charges and stupid fines. [The] launching of Mick’s new boat, the eighteen foot launch, which had taken considerable time for him to build in the big cabin, was also a big thing of interest. The re-enactment of [the] landing of Captain Cook, complete with the sailors and sails was another one that the campers and everybody else enjoyed. It was Mick’s idea and he got involved, and [it] was real fun to watch. We had film evenings as I’ve mentioned, [in the] early days, by Mr Burns who was the Brethren man from Hastings and they were enjoyed too. We had treasure hunts; we had hāngīs which were supervised, and cooked on the grounds as well; concerts, with children displaying their varied talents … and [it’s] amazing the talents that children have that you don’t know about until they display them; children’s sports days.

One of the other things we had – we had two goats that we had acquired, and the nanny landed up having kids much to our surprise. So they were born in the spring, and not very old; one of the competitions we had for the children was to name the goats. Oh, it was not just for the children, anybody that wanted to [could] do it. And the winner’s names which we adopted, were Buffy and Bunty. Bunty and Buffy – that sounds right; yeah.

We had Mick’s Camp Oven Cookup at the end of the holidays for the children, involving them to help prepare potatoes etcetera; gather wood and all the things, and the kids just loved it. And Dad served them all these things out after they were cooked, and they saw them being cooked which was just quite a nice thing. Mick at times gave willing children a small coin for helping, and they in turn often went and spent it at the camp shop. He called it Mick’s Money-Go-Round. [Chuckles]

Scavenger hunts is one of the things we had, and this included some questions involving things around the village. A ‘Miss Burdon’s Motorcamp Princess’ fundraiser one year for children’s sports days was very popular and well supported. There were six princesses. A children’s Campathon was also one thing we had one year; it involved a swim, a boat race and a run. Some of the campers owned small boats so they were able to do this. Barbecue night was another one that we had, with a men’s scone making competition. And that was really funny at times, and we just really enjoyed doing that one. One year we had good prizes for the most white butterflies collected and it took the kids quite a long time … occupied quite a bit of their day, I’d say.

Alive or dead?

Dead – I taught them how to pull the head off. The kids did a great job, which kept them well occupied as I’ve said, and had the village free of the pests for two or three years. [Chuckle]

A small good quality fishing rod was gifted as a prize for an event for the camp, which we appreciated. We had to think of something really challenging for such a good prize; finding a four leaf clover would be difficult and take a long time, we thought. Never ever underestimate children – found in less than half an hour, outside 42 Kuku Street next to our house section. Quite amazing.

And at this stage, that’s just about my lot. Thank you.

I would like to thank you; I really appreciate you letting us into your world and sharing it with us and with the people in the future. I wish you all the very very best, Maureen.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

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  • Maureen Margaret Lesley Heaps
  • Michael (Mick) Burdon
  • Ian Heaps

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