Hortop, Ian Charles Interview

This interview was held on 16th May 2017 in conjunction with Ian’s wife, Mary Hortop, and Rose Toms, two of the Anderson triplets.  Ian took a small part in the interview with his wife and sister-in-law, then continued a separate interview on his own as follows:

Ian: We got a team up and we decided we were going to play in the Webber Shield, and that’s a very big tournament. They had three greens … or three and a half greens really, there … and we were all Havelock North teams and of course I was playing back in me [my] old clubhouse. ‘Course the greens there were all grass greens and they were beautiful to play on.

And anyway, the first game we played, we lost that game and it was the only one we ever lost. It was a five-day event. We were playing twenty-five ends in each game, so you played two games … one game in the morning and one game in the afternoon. Then on the Wednesday you get selected in different divisions after that. And I said to the guys, you know, after we finished that, game, I said “what the heck are we doing winning – we’re in the top group!” You know? We’d only lost one game you see. I said “we haven’t got a show in heck to get every one of this …” ‘cause I think in the paper, I mean there was all these other … and they came from miles – Whakatane, and … you know. We actually played them and we beat them. So the Thursday we played another couple of games and won them again. Oh, all of a sudden you know, we were getting towards the top dog. And oh, what a wonderful, wonderful tournament that was for us. You know? None of us were really top-grade bowlers.

Who was in your team?

I was skipper. So you know, we were all you know, out enjoying ourselves. And then we played the last game against the Napier team, and about half way through we went and picked up five one end, and we knew that was the end because their three … he just kept going, and every time it was two bowls he’d go and have a blinkin’ drink of beer. I thought ‘what a stupid thing to do’.

Anyway, one of our teammates, Ray Cross – I asked him if he could go a certain way. and he said “no, no, no, no, I want to go that way”, and I said “no, no, no! Come this way, this way, this way”. Anyway, he drew the shot, so I told him afterwards, you know, “you see what happens when I tell you what to do”. Anyway it was $1,000 for that so we got $250 each.

So who else was in the team?

Oh, there was Colin Craig, and Neville Vetter. Neville Vetter was a three and Colin Craig – he was the lead. Oh, that was a wonderful time. So we got our name up on the board, so that’ll be there forever. ‘Cause I mean, Mary and I you know, we’d have pairs and stuff and we’d play together. We enjoyed it, you know, as a companionship and fellowship. Mary’s toured all round the place, I mean all round the North Island. She went into the Championships and New Zealand Trials and stuff like that so … you know. You should see her medals. Nothing to what I’ve got. [Chuckle] Yeah, but you know, its certainly a lot different you know … rarely played tennis, I tried a few times but I mean just having one blinkin’ eye’s not very … very good.

OK well I’m pleased that I remembered you talking about bowls – thank you for that, Ian.

So then you had a family – what age would the kids have been?

Oh, well John would’ve been twenty-one.

So he was already working for you as a joiner?

Yeah, he did his apprenticeship with us. And ‘course Roger – you know, at eighteen he went overseas, and he got caught up in the Moonies. And that all worked out quite well because in the end he came back – he probably brought himself back to New Zealand. Yeah, he worked for [?] & Williams for a while then, and then he met up with a cousin in … he went to Australia and met up on [with] a cousin, Mike, and they went right round Australia. And when they got to Perth they went flying – they were both mad keen on flying. And so after that he came back to Sydney and he got his helicopter licence then. He borrowed $10,000 off me because – it was pretty cheap in those days. I mean I don’t know what it’d cost today but it’d be very, very expensive. So he did a lot of helicopter flying over in Australia. And he’s come back here and he’s General Manager up at Auckland at the helicopter there, and he works four days on and four days off. And he’s got a family of two girls, and they’re both grown up – one’s twenty-two and the other twenty.

What are their names?

Oh, Zoe’s the oldest, she’s twenty-two, and she’s over in … well, they were both born in Australia, so she’s in University in Brisbane. And Emily is down at Otago University. They were both here for Mary’s eightieth birthday. She’ll be twenty on the 11th of July.

So … and then we had our daughter Susan. She went to Australia and she went over to Lamington [suburb of Kalgoorlie WA] and she met her husband there, Kevin Sinden, and they came back here and they got married here in Hastings, and they went back to Australia again. And then in 1991 they decided they wanted to come back to New Zealand, and so Sue actually came back here and she had a baby, and that was Katie – she was born in Hastings here.

Actually at that time they bought the Kinloch store, so they had that for oh, a good ten years. And they ran it there very, very well ’cause they had diesel down at the marina, and they had diesel and petrol up at the shop, and they had takeaways and – oh, they worked very hard, those two. And then ‘bout four years later Monique was born. And she’s over in Melbourne now … just out of Melbourne. She’s working in a hospital and she’s doing very well too. She’s only just gone over there this year – she’s only twenty-one. So that’s Susan’s two girls. And then when they left the shop, Susan became an accountant – oh, she’s been studying quite a while for that. And Kevin was working round quite well. But on my eightieth birthday … oh, after my eightieth birthday I should say … on the 14th of December, Kevin died. Just suddenly – just laid down on the bed and had a little nap, and never woke up. That was kind of pretty devastating for Sue. But she’s still doing a bit of accounting – she’s given it up a bit, she’s more or less you know, just doing part time now.

Was Kevin Australian?

No, no, he was a New Zealander, No, no, he come from South Island.

And so you were busy working with the joinery factory – how long did you run it before you retired?

Well of course you know, we had that … what was it, ‘bout 1984 wasn’t it? When we had that world breakdown …

Crash – yes.

… crash. We didn’t do so well after that, so you know – I was getting to the age where I was thinking about retiring, and then John decided that you know, he’d like to do, you know, kitchens … in the kitchen part of it. And so really, it kind of suited me fine. But I mean the premises where we were were far too big for what he wanted. We went round the corner to an engineering shop, and then – the funny thing about it, the engineering outfit came into where we were, and they were making barbecues for The Warehouse. But I mean, he was making so many and then he found out that people were high-jacking things off him, you know, to make their own barbecues. Yeah, I think he was losing quite a bit of money out of that, so he kind of terminated that.

So then Charlie Bridgeman bought the business from us. So John’s still doing it and when he goes out, quite often now he … you know, not so much now but when he first started … he’d be talking to people and they used to know my father. Oh … and he couldn’t get over it. So he’s got a pretty good reputation – he makes the kitchens and he installs them, so if there’s any comebacks, I mean it’s all on him. If there’s any complaints, I mean he’s round there like a shot to fix it up.

And has he got a son who’s working with him also?

Well, Jayden went and did an apprenticeship with John and he worked for him for a number of years, and then he decided he wanted to leave the area, so he’s actually up at Hamilton. So he’s doing joinery up there now.

And David, the other son – he only had the two children – he’s actually working with John at present.

So that’s the fifth generation, isn’t it? In the Hortop family – that’s an amazing record.

Well of course, the thing is when I did my trade, everything was colour and wood, but now it’s all man-made products. I mean you know, when I first went into apprenticeship, I mean timber – we were doing State houses here you know, just after the war, and we were making hundreds and hundreds of sashes and doors and stuff like that. I mean … standing at the bench all day just joining up sashes. It’s amazing you know, the amount of timber we used to use in those days.

Did you enjoy the change to aluminium?

Oh, it was certainly different. When it first come out ‘course we never had the airdrills or anything like that, and we had to screw all this stuff together by hand. Oh … it was pretty hard on your hands, holding the screwdriver in the middle of your hand. But then when we got air – what a difference that used to make.

But no – it was really the competitive part. You know, I shouldn’t buy the glass cheaper like some people do – I mean it was amazing where they used to get it from. They used to bring special trucks from Palmerston down here – you know, they had special contracts. And of course when you buy the aluminium you had to pay it within a certain time. It’s not like when we used to have timber – I mean when we got that contract for Wattie’s – I mean sixty-three of a hundred and twenty-six pieces of timber fourteen feet long, and then over three hundred pieces five feet long … well I mean, it was a heck of a lot of timber. But as I said, we had so much there. I mean when I first started we used to bring … we used to use redwood – it wasn’t ‘til a little bit later on that redwood was hard to get, and we were using cedar. But I mean, redwood and cedar – you get these little splinters in your arms and stuff like that, and if you leave them there they festered – you had to watch that little lot.

Ted Treacher – he was a joiner, wasn’t he?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cabinetmaker.

But you know, it was a proper craft, wasn’t it? No fillers used in those days. [Chuckle]

No – just like us, you know. We’d get all this nice heart rimu and then take it out to the job, and they’d bloomin’ paint it! Oh – it’d make your heart cry.

But we used to make a lot of mantelpieces – these fancy ones – ‘course lots of times they used to paint them all. Oh! And then the grain, and … you know, we’d have [??] and heart rimu and that – painting it, oohh … make you cry.

Well someone told me once that Davies, Phillips & Chapman – they used to be very good on fireplaces and mantelpieces, and they said they almost saw the joiner cry when he came in and he saw this beautiful mantelpiece and fire surround all painted white. [Chuckle]

Yeah. We did a lot of work for Eric Phillips. He was a master at drawing … superb stuff we used to do. When I finished my time when I was twenty-one … because after I served my time – that was in June – and December 28th I decided I’d … well, I decided before that, but … I decided I wanted to go to England, you see.

Before that I’d already … I had a job in Canada, in Vancouver, for Morrison Motormowers … were over there, and I had board and everything. The only thing I couldn’t get was the $50 … even went to old Isaiah Jones – he was MP at the time, and he couldn’t even get me it. So I’d already … well, I’d already put a deposit on it, so me being a Scrooge, I decided to go to England, you see.

So on 28th December I flew from Wellington to Rose Bay. [New South Wales] and Now in those days I went by flying boat and it cost me £32. Seven hours flying time it was … seven hours! Then I jumped on a boat in Sydney, and went from there to Melbourne, to Adelaide, to Perth, to Colombo, to … go through the Suez Canal to Naples, Marseilles, Gibraltar, then London. Landed there and it was blimmin’ icicles on the fountains. Oh, God, it was cold! Oohh.

And then did you go on to Canada?

Yeah, well actually New Zealand House were very good there, ‘cause when I first arrived there I went into New Zealand House and I got my accommodation through them. And then I was in New Zealand House a bit later on, about May or June, and I met three New Zealanders, and they wanted to go to the Continent and they wanted a fourth person. And they had a 1937 Vauxhall and I decided oh, I might as well go with them.

So they already had a map from AA, they had [the] route all set out to go through ten countries in Europe, and had all the highlights where to go and what to see. So I went over there for … ten weeks we were there, so more or less a week in each country. And then when I came back – oh, we went … Graham and I … we got a motorbike and we went round Ireland for a week.

And then I came back and I … oh, I wonder what … I emigrate to Canada? So I thought ‘oh, well, I’ll have a go’. And they said I could go, but I was only allowed to stay in America for four days. Well that suited me fine, so I went across on the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ – I was right down the bottom of course. [Chuckle]

So I went over there, and I stayed in Canada for two years. And we did … one summer we did twenty-nine houses – we did all the kitchens, we made them up on the job, and we hung all the doors and the architraves and skirtings and everything – a German chap and I. So we worked six or seven days a week.

And then I went and bought a 1957 Chev just out of Toronto, and we had to get it back to New Zealand. So they boxed it up and sent it to New York, and from New York it went to Wellington. See someone had already been to Canada, they’d come in with money, and they’d been through Canada and they thought they could buy a car, you see, but you can’t do that. You had to be there two years, and then you could buy a car and bring it back home, you know, as long as you do that. So I went and bought this car – it was only a four door, but it was pillarless, so there wasn‘t too many of them round at that time. It cost me $2,800 altogether – $600 from New York to London by boat, it was. Anyway, that came back, and what I did – ‘cause I was in Toronto at the time, and I caught the train from Toronto to Vancouver. So that was quite an experience across there. Oh, it was wonderful … wonderful trip. And then I came home in ‘57 and I met Mary in that October and it was all history after that.

Ian, which primary school did you go to?

Oh yeah. Well talking about primary schools … ‘cause Dad being born in 1898, Mahora School started in 1903 so he was a first day pupil. Anyway, Mr de Lisle he lived on the corner of Duke Street and Tomoana Road – he gave Dad a Mahora School strap from Mr Chapman … W A Chapman … and we had that. I gave it back to them on their hundredth anniversary in 2003, so I presented it back to the school again. So I went to Mahora School.

Well just before I went to school actually … Dad had a Morris 8 car and we were going down to Takapau. My grandmother lived in Takapau, and we were going along the road there and I was sitting in the back and I was eating an apple, and … this was the 5th of July 1936 … and instead of opening the blimmin’ window I opened the door, so I went crashing out. And I landed … I must have landed on the grass ’cause in those days that road was all shingle. Anyway, they picked me up and took me back to Waipukurau, but they wouldn’t do anything there in Waipuk ‘cause – seeing it was a Sunday – they brought me back to Hastings. And Dr Romane Wright – he used to live in Cornwall Road, on the other side of the park … Cornwall Park. And my lip there had fifty stitches in it – that’s why I grow a mo’ [moustache] because its a bit … bit rough there. And I had a little skull cap for a little while.

Well the Morris 8 … were they the car doors that opened out?

Yeah, opened the other way, yeah. Yeah, Dad used to like the Morris 8s – he had two or three of them. He used to buy then off Poss Upton – he used to live right next to Webb’s Nursery in Nelson Street.

Well of course, Mahora School – I mean we were only a couple of blocks really away from where we used to live. And Mr Rainbow – he used to live on the other corner of Duke Street and Tomoana Road. He was the Mayor of Hastings at one time. So we had a bit of snobbery [chuckle] up round there.

‘Cause we were only three doors from the park. There was Mr McKenzie – he was the Superintendent of Parks then, and then there was Mrs Jackson, and then there was us. The Park was a wonderful, wonderful playground for me. I mean in those days, they had a house there for monkeys, and they had kangaroos and wallabies and you know, all sorts of birds, and peacocks, and ducks, pheasants and … oh, it was marvellous for us.

And then I went – well actually I was out 1945, and then I went to Hastings Boys’ High. And I was there couple of years and then we had the polio epidemic, and that was 1947. Actually I was over at Bay View at the time, so I stayed on there and in March … I mean it still wasn’t, you know … school wasn’t back, so I … seeing I was going to be you know, just about leaving school anyway, so I decided I wasn’t going to go back any more. So I started my apprenticeship that year, 1947.

Did you play any sports at all Ian?

Well that’s a bit difficult sort of thing for me, because when I was born my right eye never formed properly. So you know, today – I mean I can hardly see out of it really, and so for really all my life it hasn’t been much good to me.

It didn’t stop you being a master joiner though did it?

No, no. I mean, if I played cricket or anything like that, I lose the sight of the ball for a split second I’d miss it. Or tennis, or badminton, or … but where I found I could play … outdoor bowls, ‘cause that was a hands on sort of thing. I think I was quite good at that anyway.

So … we keep saying that the village is getting too big – it’s still a village, isn’t it?

Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah, well it’s like in the newspaper on Saturday night you see, they showed the Village and the old butcher’s shop there.

Some of the things he said were wrong though, but I suppose you can forgive people when they make mistakes in history.

Yeah. Ian Marcham – yeah, he lived out at Whakatu.

And did you have any crop you used to grow – asparagus or anything like that?

No, we had …

What do you do with it?

Oh, we had quite a few sheep there.


Yeah, lucerne we were growing there, yeah, but unfortunately the blimmin’ dogs next door … I lost about twelve lambs, and that really put a dampener on things to [for] me. But we had a horse and we had a few pigs, and …

You had MacDonald’s farm?

[Chuckle] Yeah

So you came to Havelock?

Yeah – oh, actually – yeah, well I should really go back a bit there. In probably 1958, Dad bought four acres up Lane Road, just round the corner. Laurie Marsh used to live right on the corner, and then we were the next section. So he had four acres there, and John Scott actually designed his house. You’d never believe it if you looked at it, because what he did – he built the bedroom block but he built it up and he had the carport underneath sort of thing. And then he built the dining room and lounge and kitchen at the other end. And then he left this bit in the middle – he didn’t know how to do it – so when he had it all down and he could see what’s happening – he put all that, and that was where he had the staircasing going up to the place, and laundry and all that. ‘Course you know, we did all the joinery and actually Mary used to come and help me, and we used to work after five o’clock putting joinery in and working on the house. Dad moved in there on the 8th of February 1958. Unfortunately, his sister died that day.

So when we wanted to get married, we had a section. We could have had one over Mahora way, or Dad said he’d give me part of the section where he was. So that’s what we did. I built a house there and we lived there for seven years, and then we decided we’d had enough there, so we went and bought a section up Tauroa Road. The road kind of went down in a bit of a dip, and we actually bought a section on the left-hand side, and it was £1200 … yeah, must have been pounds in those days. ‘67 it was – it was the time of the change over. Anyway, then they went and blinkin’ built the road up – I mean to say, we had a big dip down to get our section. So anyway, I asked them if they had a section on the other side, and they had one there, so we built one on the other side of the road. So we built that £32,000 and sold it for £90 [thousand], and we lived there for … what, ‘67’ til about ‘89, so twelve years.

And then we went out to Rosser Road for about four years, and then we came back into Hastings … Scannell Street. We had an old house there and we built one in front – two storeyed house – Bert Lincoln designed it for me. And then we pulled the old house down and built one on the back. And that was our dream home actually. I mean we put every … beautiful heart rimu into it, Mary and I made all the doors out of … type of mahogany it was. We used to go down on Saturdays and Sundays and you know, do it all – nail all the [?]. And all the hinges were all brass, and we even made the staircase, and I called it a floating staircase – it wasn’t attached to the wall – and we had a little pool underneath it that had fish in it. And you know, we put the best … high … I reckon we put the best of everything in that house, and we were going to stay there forever.

Anyway, we didn’t do that. Something came along and we decided we’d move again. So we went from there and we went to Simla Avenue, and we had a [an] old house there. I don’t think we really thought that we’d build on that, but we did, anyway. Target Homes actually helped me out there, and we built three houses there and that was okay. And then we went and rented for a little while, and then we built. We got the house off David Mackersey in Busby Place, and we got that fairly cheap for the [?] like that.

Yes, it was a steep section.

And it was five storeys, and Target Homes built that again for us. ‘Cause I made a deal with them that I lined all the downstairs stuff and did all the joinery and did all this … it kind of helped it quite a bit. But I mean I only had to put all the fences right round the place, which I did, and so – it was quite a job.

So we got a bit sick of that because Mary didn’t like driving out of the garage, because when you drive out you had to go up steep … back up onto the road. Anyway, we were going for a walk one day, and we saw these houses that Design Builders had [in] St Hill’s Rise, so we bought a section there. I did all the timber joinery, John did all the kitchen joinery, and then – oh, what I’d done – I’d gone down and bought five packets of macrocarpa, and I picked all the best for timber joinery, and I got all the architraves, skirtings … everything, and all the tongue and groove. And I run [ran] all that, ’cause I was determined I was going to have a house all timber joinery, which I did. But we had nine doors in the house … outside doors … plus the garage door, and it was … oh, that place at Busby Place … that got second in the House of the Year, and so did the one in St Hill’s Rise. So we didn’t do too badly.

Then we were … we’d had a look here at Mary Doyle, and then we got a letter one day to say that you know, this place here where we are, was available … it was coming available if we wanted to buy it. So this is … must have been about December 30th, or just before holidays anyway. And we tore round here and asked John to come and have a look, and we all thought ‘oh, this is …’ It wasn’t … it’s not the flashest place, but we love the view, and the openness, and you know, we were stand-alone here. Oohh … so we just love it here. And the other thing is it’s a one stop shop. You won’t have to move again.

I was just conscious sitting here … there’s birds sitting on the fence, I look down and there’s birds walking round the grass … the place is just … it’s a million-dollar view, isn’t it?

Oh, yeah, yeah. We get tuis into that little pond there at certain times of the year. We’ve got a kowhai tree just over here. And right across there, Hortop & Son … we’ll put a seat there. All our family have donated into that. And then we’ll put a kowhai tree on both sides … you know, attract the tuis. Talking about today … this morning they were over there and they were planting a whole heap of trees over there, ‘cause Arbor Day’s coming up.

Well, you know, I don’t think there’s a great deal more – I think you’ve just about told me most of it, haven’t you? So thank you, Ian, and thank you for the contribution you and your family have made to our Hastings and Havelock communities, and also looking after one of the triplets for all these years as well. So thank you very much, that’s wonderful.

Oh, it was a pleasure.

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Interviewer:  Frank Cooper

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