Ian Peter McKinnon & Helen McKinnon Interview

Today is the 6th July, 2017. I’m interviewing Ian and Helen McKinnon, formerly of Wairoa. Ian would you like to tell us something about the life and times of your family?

Well my family basically goes right back to the original John McKinnon. McKinnons were on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides in Scotland in the town of Stornoway. Stornoway was known as a sea-going training centre for navigators and Master’s tickets and that sort of thing. And John McKinnon was born in 1825. He attended the college up there of course. He went to sea, and came back and did further qualifications and eventually got his Master’s ticket. He was married in 1848 to a local girl, Catherine McIver. She lived from 1828 to 1902.

He left Lewis and did quite a bit of voyaging round. At one part of it he was in America on steamers on the Mississippi river. It was four years he was there I think. Then he came back and took to the sea again. On the way – one of his interesting bits – he was shipwrecked off the coast of Africa. I’m not sure which coast but there were fairly rough seas. The captain and his wife and several of the lifeboats upturned, and it ended up John McKinnon, the mate, another mate and another one – three of them – got ashore. The others were drowned. Natives picked them up and took them inland, so the story goes – took them inland, tied them up overnight. He claimed the other two were eaten. He managed to get away and he made his way laboriously out to the coast, and he was … I think it was around four months before he attracted the attention of a ship which picked him up and dropped him off in Aden.

He must have got back to Scotland. He worked for the East India Trading Company for a while in shipping, and then he got back to Scotland and he took a ship out to Australia. He left that ship there and came to New Zealand. He ended up on the East Coast of New Zealand in Wairoa of all places, and he left that ship and took another one. It was a locally owned ship, Hamlin Brothers I think was the name, and he took that for them to Napier.

Well he ended up in Napier. The port was only at the Iron Pot then, there was no sort of port as we know it these days. He ended up as the second man, but the first European pilot in the Napier port. What that means we don’t know, whether there was a [?] that used to take stuff in there just for his local knowledge. But he was the first official pilot on the Napier port, and he had that for two years and then he took up the ferry over the river at Clive, before there was a bridge there. I don’t know whether the ferry was under the auspices of the Napier Harbour or what the story … but that’s all we know. And he had that ferry for four years.

Two sons were born there – John, my grandfather, and one other boy. And from there he got his wife to come out from Scotland. She wasn’t going to come initially because she wasn’t going to live in a land of cannibals and so forth, but … various threats … and she came out.

That’s when he took up land at Aropaoanui. It was all bush, but before that he’d had experience in Wairoa on the flats with another man, milling matai timber there, and so he had a little bit of experience with pit sawing and so forth. So the pair of them worked for quite a while and cut timber on the Wairoa flats. They were actually what now probably are Powdrells Flats.

You mention Aropaoanui – is this just north of Waipatiki?

Mmm. Yep. It’s an anglicised spelling of Aropaoanui – which he called the place – it’s not called by the proper Maori spelling. It’s a-w-a [spells] – Awa – Awapawanui as it sounds to us.

They cut bush – I’m not sure of the dates on that, but quite early … in the 1800s. There was no access, there was only sea access. Then they did clear land and he had a lot of sheep … a lot of stock on the place, gradually stocked up. They used to take the wool out on drays as far as they could get out into the bay and then on to longboats and then on to the ships. So that was a pretty hard experience in there for quite a few years. The house that stands there now, the Awapawanui Homestead, is the second one. The first one burnt down in 1899, so that was rebuilt and that’s the one that’s still standing there now.

But eventually they expanded – he bought the Moeangiangi block which was towards Waikare. And his wife when she came out … she was a McIver … but she brought her brother with her, and he was … McIvers that are at Putorino in that area now, ’cause one of the Tait boys (her husband was drowned in the river crossing) and eventually McIver, Mrs McKinnon’s brother, married this lady, Tait.

The two girls I think were born before they left Scotland – there was Catherine in 1853, Maryanne 1854 and Angus 1859. Now John, my grandfather, who went to Wairoa … took up a section in Wairoa … he was born at Clive and Donald was born at Clive. So there were two boys born at Clive, and that’s when he took up the Aropaoanui land. That was Angus and John. Donald was the first child born at Aropaoanui, and then came Isabella and Ann and William, and that takes you up to 1869. The ninth one, the youngest one, was Norman, born in 1871.

Now at some stage old John McKinnon took up government leasehold properties in Wairoa, took two of them up, and one of the conditions of those properties, they could have been carrying a lease but they were able to be freeholded – whatever – but one of the conditions was that they had to be built on within twelve months.

Do you know which properties they were?

Yes, Waihua – Norman McKinnon took up the Waihua block which they called [?Staffold?]. Some of the old trees are still there, the old palm trees around the homestead. That was in Norman’s name – Norman was the youngest of the family. He married a Walker, that ties in with the background of my … and it was sort of in two blocks. And she was given the up-country block which was Kiakia as a wedding present and John took up Karamu which was on the main road five or six miles from Wairoa near what is now the Ohinepaka overhead railway bridge, on the main highway.

So were they originally part of the Waihua ..?

No. They were two separate blocks.

Waihua’s a district I guess.

Yeah, yeah. Glendinnings, they were there not long after probably.

And John’s part was Karamu, which was on the main road. The main block of land was separated by Ohinepaka which was Walkers’ – the hill country, the main block of land. Once again, John’s wife was given one of the leases just like the Waihua one, which was the hill country part of Karamu. Now Karamu was reasonably handy to Wairoa, and Ohinepaka … well that’s a separate story, that was Walker. That was old Neil Walker, went up from here and took that but that’s another session.

Now John’s wife – her father was a newspaper man, a printer, publisher – he produced the first Wairoa Free Press, the first newspaper in Wairoa. Now – branch around a little bit – Norman McKinnon, Waihua, married a Walker and that’s where there’s a tie up starts there with the McKinnons because my mother was a Walker.

What was their first names then?

She was Ellen Walker, and she was of the family of Peter Walker. The two Walkers went up to Wairoa – Neil Walker went up first – he never married. He took up Ohinepaka, and Peter Walker with his wife and family, he took up land at Turiroa, a small hundred-acre block at Turiroa, near where the Turiroa School is now. Powdrells area. There was a hundred acres there, and they built a home and set up a … what do you call it – a country … it was onto the river of course, and they used to sell supplies to the farmers and all that sort of thing, I presume wool packs and things. During the Hauhau troubles a friendly Maori woman came across the river, rowing, and her sister – she rowed them back over to Ruataniwha side because the Hauhau was about. She said “you can’t stay there tonight”, she said “it’s too dangerous to come over there”. That night the whole show was burnt down. The Hauhaus came and they were lucky they got out of it. And that’s when they moved into Wairoa, then.

When you talk about the Hauhaus, would that have been Te Kooti’s ..?

Yeah, Te Kooti.

There’s very little been said about the history of Wairoa, Te Kooti, the Mohaka massacre, and now you say about burning down of the Walker store. The Mohaka massacre was – sixty-seven people were killed.

The Waihua McKinnons formed a sort of a separate group out there, being tied with the Walkers. Ellen was Peter Walker’s daughter – those are the ones that got burnt out at Turiroa – and they moved into town from there. And … get’s complicated.

Helen: Stick with the McKinnon side of it.

Ian: Yeah, well Norman McKinnon’s … she died of childbirth … ’bout the third or fourth child I think it was … and he remarried a second time and there was a younger family, number two. There was a Norman McKinnon – you may know some of these – Norman McKinnon was Kiakia, Archie McKinnon, Wairoa, a Margaret McKinnon and there was a Philip McKinnon, commonly known as Bruce. Philip went down in the Mediterranean with the ‘Neptune’ in the Second World War, off Malta – the ‘Neptune’ ran into a mine field there and went down. Nine hundred crew – one got away.

Now the earlier ones, John McKinnon, Karamu – that’s my section … my father’s family. One of the sons, Ian McKinnon – he was working in Australia and he joined up over there in the Artillery, and he was killed at Gallipoli with the Australian forces. He was buried on the Mediterranean coast, so there’s two McKinnons in the Mediterranean.

1856 – first pilot in the Napier Port; first pilot 1858 – ferry over the river Clive.

My father used to talk about Waipureku all the time, because it wasn’t called Clive then.

Yeah, yeah. Because early on there were moves down there to take the port down there somewhere, wasn’t there?

That’s right, yes.

Now John McKinnon, my great grandfather at Awapawanui – he was a councillor on the first Wairoa County Council, because it came right down to the foot of the Tangoio hill, so he was on the first Wairoa County Council. I was on the last Wairoa County Council and the first Wairoa District Council. And that’s where Cliff now comes in with us too, ’cause Cliff was already tied up in that sort of thing.

While they were at Awapawanui and they were loading wool on to lighters on a decent sized ship, they came after John McKinnon to take that ship to England, because the skipper had died at sea. It had no skipper and they had no insurance, so they came after him. So he agreed subject to … they were to supply the homestead with groceries and all that sort of stuff; they were to clear so much land … and apparently when he came back he was very pleased with the result. He was away just over twelve months. So he took one more voyage.

Aropaoanui – is it a straight beach? Is it a cove? Or did they stand well out into the sea? Because the drays had to go out as far as the horses could stand in the water, and there had to be some sort of shelter for the boats.

Yeah. It’s not as tidy a beach area as Waipatiki is. Waipatiki is … well that’s why it’s what it is … it’s a popular tourist camp area now. Aropaoanui is more restricted I think. And I suppose it’s probably sheltered away from the other one too.

Well it’s quite exciting to think he left the land and got on board the boat and …

He was very pleased with the result when he came back apparently, anyway – but it’s a most unusual sort of a situation to – well, I suppose unusual for the shipping company too.

That’s the basics I would think, without going into a lot more detail.

Where was your father born?

He was John McKinnon that went to Wairoa … to Karamu … took up Karamu, you see. And Frank was the oldest. Ian was the next probably I think. There was a little bit of family feuding there, and it appears Frank was at the basis of it. He was the eldest one. I’ve got photographs of the whole family there.

My father – 1899 he was born and – Alan, his name was Alan. Ian was born earlier than that, and hence he went away, went overseas and joined with the Australian forces. Angus was the youngest.

Helen: Must have been three or four of them.

Four of them, yeah. Angus spent a lot of time farming in Blenheim in the South Island. And actually, when my father was married – my father married a Walker – and at the time he was away from home and he was working at Turamoe, part of the old Maraekakaho block originally. When they found he was getting married they said “well” … South Island people must have owned Turamoe then … they said “well, we’ve a property in the Sounds, from Picton – would you like to go down and manage that? Launch access only”. And that’s how come I was born in Blenheim.

So then he came back up to Karamu when I was about eighteen months old I think. But it was launch access from Picton only and I think the property was – over the hill from the property was the resort, Portage. And that was over the hill from that property. Then my father came back and he was managing Karamu for his father, and eventually he took up Crown lease land which bounded to the back of Karamu, but accessed from the Lake Road side over the hills. Took up two blocks which was Waiau Station eventually – took up two blocks of fifteen hundred acres each. They’re not in the family now, but they went right through bush – scrub and bush and so forth they were virtually across the river from this lot.

Were they on the Waiau river?

No we didn’t have river boundary but the Rangiahua Road ran …

Helen: Alongside the river.

Ian: … alongside the river more or less.

Because across from there of course was Putere?

No. Mohanga … Daveys – Tom Davey was across the river.

The Ardkeen settlement where Helen’s folk were, that’s right across the river virtually from Waiau. And the Rangiahua Pa, which was a fairly major Pa in the area at the time. We sort of grew up amongst them and with them and worked together and all that sort of thing.

So where did you go to primary school then Ian?

We were still living at Karamu when my father came back from the South Island. In those days you started school at six and I went to Turiroa School from Karamu. When my father came back from the South Island they built a small house. It’s still standing there – it’s a bit of a wreck now. It’s on the top side of the road up on the knob opposite the homestead virtually and … lived there. I rode my old white horse to Turiroa school.

Is the Turiroa school still standing?

Helen: Yes.

Ian: But it’s not functioning. It’s still there but it …

Helen: It’s not a school. Don’t know whether you’d have come across Dougal French at Havelock North at all?

Yes, I know Dougal very well.

Dougal’s not too good at the moment.

Isn’t he?

We’ve always had close friendships with them through the Lions Club. Dougal did teach at Turiroa. Well that was his first Wairoa teaching

Ian, if you could tell us now something about school days, and some of the teachers you had? You mention one of our local men who was one of the teachers at Wairoa, Dougal French.

He wasn’t my teacher, but what he might have taught me probably wasn’t a hell of a lot of good anyway but … [chuckle] But we were good friends and still are.

My family were four boys. We all ended up farming. My father set up a … one of the early ones in the Wairoa County probably … a farming company. Eventually the farming company did quite well with the base property, Waiau – that was eventually split in half. My second brother Brian and myself took over part of that and the company had bought two other properties which covered the family then. We were all shareholders, and we were warned that we weren’t on high wages but the benefits would come later. We weren’t getting big wages compared to some others – he realised that there’d be a bit of comparison going on probably.

But we bought a property at Awamati. That was changed for one that belonged to Ray Paku.

That’s the back road? Awamati?

Yeah. And the second farm was one owned by Bill Carson, and it’s one of those Ardkeen blocks at the top of the hill. So eventually there were four sons in the company, and the company was still in existence and owned four properties. My father was living in town at that time so eventually when the company was wound up it was within the family, and we had our own four properties.

My brother Brian who’s still in Wairoa – all the four brothers are still alive.

All in their eighties?

No, John the youngest one, he was … like happened in those days, he was a bit of an afterthought … he was born in about 1940. My brother Brian and I – the original Waiau was split in half and we had fifteen hundred acres each there, but it was pretty up and down country. And right across the valley from us of course was Ardkeen block and Davey’s Mohanga. So that all worked out all right.

We had two boys, Craig and Stewart. Craig carried on farming for a while and took over the … but it didn’t end up his cup of tea too much. He bought a smaller place nearer town and eventually ended up working with Williams & Kettle. And when he came down here – he sold that up and came down here – and he’s been with Farmlands ever since.

Well now you’ve jumped a little bit. We’ve got your Feilding High School to go yet. You haven’t told us anything about your time there.

Well I started at Feilding in 1942. I had three years – it was a three year course with Agricultural Certificate at the end of it. But there were a hundred and forty-odd boarders in two houses in Feilding, and you know, it was a very good school. Up with everything … would be gangs that worked on weekends, that was amongst the boarders. They even killed their own mutton. There was a killing duty – there were two … fifth former and a third former I think it was. They also cut up the mutton in the big chiller for the boarding establishment. It wasn’t very good sometimes, they used cleavers [chuckle] and there was quite a bit of shrapnel in amongst the stew sometimes. ‘Course everything was … butter was rationed in those days, and everything like that. And Feilding Ag in those days – old L J Wilde was the headmaster. It started in 1921 … 22, and a lot of the stuff was built by the boys under supervision but I think it’s a bit different now. Some of the classrooms were taken up by military when I was there. Anyone playing cricket – they wanted a game or something – belted a ball through the classroom window from the playing field.

You mentioned these rosters on the weekends where you actually were introduced to cutting gorse, which must have been a thrill because you didn’t have gorse in Wairoa did you?

No – there was a patch of gorse right out the back of Waiau – how it got there I don’t know, but for years we sprayed that. A couple of us would be sent out there with a knapsack sprayer, Atlas [?], that sort of thing. But eventually we got out there with machinery and eliminated it, but that gorse was terrible stuff round Feilding.

There was dairy duty – there were cows, twenty-odd cows I think, to be milked. There was a fourth former and a third former I think, on milking duty. There were a couple on pig duty, which meant they had to get up in good time and deal with whatever had to be done before school started, or afterwards. And there was killing duty. There was a fifth former and a third former on that, as well as cutting the meat up. But that’s long gone now, the regulations would have overrun all that. Those were the main regular duties I think, and of course on Saturdays the gangs were allocated where they were going to dairy. Everyone had a bike, so if you went up to Manawanui there might be forty … fifty bikes on the road.

So when you left school then, you got your Certificate to say you had attended an Agricultural College …

Big deal.

you came back to Wairoa, and did you go back home to work?

Back on the home property, yes.

And did you stay there?

Yeah – no we worked – oh, apart from a spell … I went over to England under my own steam 1950 or thereabouts, and worked in England – got a job in a petrol station in Oxford. And I actually … I cycled the whole of the British Isles when I finished working, yeah – in a rally. And I did eight thousand-odd miles. It was the Festival of Britain time too of course, over there, and there were lots of Australians and Kiwis – they were everywhere … youth hostels … all over the place – Ireland, Scotland. And then when I returned home across Australia we were married in 1953, was it?

Helen: Mmm.

Okay well at this point then …

Ian: That’s just me.

Yes – how did you meet? Where did you meet?

Helen: Well, we went to primary school together. [Chuckle] That’s a start.

Ian: You didn’t have much to do with the girls then though.

Absolutely, no.

Helen: No, that’s right. But prior to that – well, we lived either side of the river, we were neighbours across the river and that’s where we would have met.

So going back to the start, where did your people come from?

Well my great-grandfather came from England.

Whereabouts?

Ian: You’re talking Goldstone.

Helen: Oh, well that is my family though.

Ian: Yeah, but you need to identify.

Helen: Yes. Well yes, he was an Englishman, he was an army man. He came from … what area?

Ian: Well, he was born near Cambridge.

Helen: Near Cambridge, and he married an Irish lady, but he spent a lot of time in the army. He was in India. He was at the Crimean war and all that sort of thing. But when he came out to New Zealand – when they came out to New Zealand – he eventually went to Frasertown where he was in the Constabulary there. And those men that were there, they were given a little piece of land … their acre of land there. And it’s quite interesting, because up in the Wairoa cemetery there’s my great grandparents, then my grandparents, and my parents – three generations there, yes.

And they had three sons – there was William, James and Charles, and at some stage those men all had properties around Frasertown area. My grandfather also, who was William Goldstone. And he married a lady from Wellington called Helen de Castro. I think her father was a clergyman. Anyway, they settled in Frasertown at Pakowhai, and some of that original house is still there at Pakowhai. But they also had another property at Riverslea which was up the Lake Road, you turned off at what we called Mitchell’s Turnoff, and they owned a property there called Riverslea. Well during the depression they lost that because I think there was a bit of ill feeling between the family. Some money had been borrowed and it needed to be paid back, and so that property disappeared but they still had Pakowhai.

So William and Helen – they had four children, my mother Louisa, Raymond, James and William. William was killed at the First World War. He was at Gallipoli. Raymond set up his own business – he was in transport, R C Goldstone Transport, round Wairoa and his trucks took a lot of stuff up to the lake when the power houses were being built up there. And James – he farmed out at Nuhaka. And my mother, Louisa, she had gone to school at … came down to school at Iona – used to come down on the ‘Tangiora’. She used to [throat clearing] up the Wairoa River – that’s how she came to school.

Anyway, my father, he was a Gisborne man, returned soldier, and he must have met Mum of course ’cause she was living at Pakowhai and he drew a piece of land at Ardkeen you see. And that’s how they met and were married and lived at Ardkeen where six of us were born.

So Ardkeen had a school those days?

Ardkeen had a school. The six of us went to school at Ardkeen.

Ian: It was called Korokoro.

Helen: Yeah, it was called Korokoro back in those days, but the six of us went to school there, four boys and two girls. One went to Wellington College. All the rest of us went to Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools. So that’s where we all went to school. And then I was at school for what – three years? And then I’ve done various things. I had gone nursing …

Where did you nurse?

In Gisborne. A lot of Wairoa girls went … a lot of them went to Gisborne in those days so that was time spent up there. Then we were married, to Ian Peter McKinnon, and we had two boys. We lived at Rangiahua – oh, well we started off at Awamati actually, and then shifted to Rangiahua, and that’s where the two boys were born. And we were twenty years at Rangiahua.

Did you play any sports or did you belong to any organisations?

No. I belonged to the Wairoa Town and Country Garden Club, and the Wairoa Rose Society and the Wairoa Horticultural Society. I liked all those things … on the committee of them all. Then I worked quite a few years for a florist, and after the florist changed hands I went and worked for a nursery man. So it was always to do with flowers and gardening, it seemed.

So when the two boys were growing up, they went to ..?

Well they started their primary school at Rangiahua, at the little school there. Back in those days they called it a native school. The school teacher – the only white children there at that time were our two boys and the school master’s children. And then that school closed down, so they went to Frasertown School, then from Frasertown they went to Feilding Agricultural High School.

So they finished high school – did they come home to work?

Well Craig came home on the farm off and on, yes. And Stewart, he worked for …

Ian: He had his machine room …

Helen: Yeah, he was with Kiwi Transport.

Ian: He was always breaking something and pushing things to the limit.

Kiwi – that was at Turiroa was it?

No, that was Frasertown. So Stewart was with Kiwi Transport for a little while, but then he went off to Australia when he was about eighteen, and that’s where he’s been the last thirty-something years.

So where does he live in Australia then?

Well he started off – he lived in Brisbane. He wanted to go up and work with the mines so he moved up to a place called Moranbah. He was married before he left New Zealand. They had one little boy …

Ian: They married sisters.

Helen: … and then the three other children were born in Australia. He’s still in Queensland, he has his own business, trucking.

Ian: He’s into moving big machinery.

Helen: And Craig, he farmed, and after he left Waiau he bought Hill 60 just out of Wairoa. And then he worked with Farmlands and Williams & Kettle, and he’s still with Farmlands in Hastings.

Ian: He’s on the road, he’s not in …

Women’s Division?

Helen: No, I never belonged to Women’s Division.

Just green fingers?

Mmm. Yes.

Now we will swing back to you Ian and you can tell us about your adventures during the period of being married to Helen, and the boys growing up, and what you were doing in your farming, your other interests, whether you followed rugby. We know you were involved with the County Council and later the District Council, so tell us about those things.

Helen: Dog trialling and rifle shooting.

I had interest in dog trialling earlier in the piece, before I went to England actually. And Young Farmers’ Club and later on at Ardkeen we developed a miniature rifle club. There were three clubs in the Wairoa area. The Wairoa one shot down … the old wharf buildings in Wairoa, and there was one at Marumaru which shot at the hall at Marumaru, and the Ardkeen one which shot at the Ardkeen Hall. So we had three clubs in the area. We used to go visiting sometimes. We actually went to shoot at Maraekakaho once in the old woolshed. But I had considerable success with the miniature rifle club … never had a go at defence rifle club. We used the big stuff for pig hunting … pig hunting for sport. But the miniature rifle club – well I ended up I was one of probably two of us vying for the … amongst the three clubs, two of us vying for top aggregate for … top shot for Wairoa.

Young Farmers’ Club on the way of course and all those sort of things, and then I suppose it melded down to married life. And the properties we were still fencing up into smaller paddocks, so there was always some development of some sort going on.

Helen: You had twenty years in Lions Club.

Ian: Yes. I was President of the Wairoa Lions Club – what, 78 – 79? And Chairman up the other end and deputy District Governor for the top end – that’s from Wairoa up to Ruatoria. But we used to meet down here a lot with the Hawke’s Bay clubs, get into a bit of bother occasionally with them. [Chuckle] After that – you know, the job goes on, you develop, and then you start to ease off. In 1980 we bought a section in Frasertown and built … Craig up on the farm, so we built a place. The carpet went down, and we white washed the windows and we took ourselves to England and British Isles and had a good look around for about three months, then came back and started developing Frasertown. Eventually, as these things happen, Craig sort of … they decided it wasn’t for them, the farming, so they went to a smaller place – newer – near the racecourse in Wairoa and so it that’s how it goes from there.

During this period you were doing some civic duties too as a councillor.

Yes, well – 85 – 86 or something like that, but we did strike Bola and amalgamation with the Borough … all those things. After all that I decided I‘d about had enough and decided to give it away.

Was your farm affected? Did you still own your farm during the Bola storm?

I’m not sure whether we were still involved up there or not. That was 83 – probably still involved to some extent up there. But I got involved with quite a bit of stuff in Frasertown – we had a Domain Committee in Frasertown. I was chairman of that being the Councillor for the area, and we sort of got everything going – the hall all tidied up and fencing round the place, ’cause the Domain was what – thirty-odd acres I think.

Helen: Fire service.

Ian: And then prior to [?] we set up a Frasertown Fire Party ’cause we had a few minutes lead on Wairoa. But just a country fire party. and we had our own unit and all that sort of thing. But that got to the stage too where it was getting age-related.

Yes, you need the get-up-and-go to get up and go, don’t you?

Well it started becoming a requirement … well, I suppose let’s face it, they can’t have a fire party made up of geriatrics. [Chuckle] You know, you think you’re … and it bore fruit for a while, but when the Marumaru Tavern burnt down – you‘ve got to get a portable pump down to the river, way down the … Not so bad getting down, but getting back out again, and that shows it’s limitations.

When you were living at Frasertown did you know Flora Jones?

Helen: Oh, yes. Flora’s still with us.

Ian: Well she was nearer Wairoa than Frasertown.

Helen: Frasertown Road.

She’s in a Home now I think.

Helen: Mmm – she’s down in Brittany House.

Ian: She’s over a hundred.

Yes she is, she’s 101 now.

Knew Norm well, too – her husband – I don’t know whether you ever knew Norm.

He was a bulldozer man wasn’t he?

Well way back from Waiau, a lot of it was covered in bush and there was a lot of kanuka out the back, and Charlie Drager – the trucking outfit there, and firewood sales – he was dragging kanuka down through Phillipson’s property out from the back of Waiau – our property – and Norman Jones worked for Charlie Drager and he put in the roads for the bulldozer and all that sort of thing, and sorted the kanuka wood to cart out, and all that sort of thing, yeah.

So then once you had sold the farm – once Craig lost interest in it ..?

Well they’d virtually taken it over.

At that stage you were well and truly settled in Frasertown and developing your garden?

Helen: Because wed been there in Frasertown for twenty-one years.

Ian: Before we came down here.

So then you came here. Do you do anything besides collect family history and that sort of thing? Do you play any sports?

Helen: Bowls.

Ian: I was in bowls for a while, but I found my back was playing up and afternoon bowls was like a hard days work by the time I got home, so I had to give that away. I enjoyed … I was playing in Wairoa too, before I came down here, at the Wairoa Bowling Club Time goes by you know. Well it was 02 when we came down here. We decided we would move down to Hastings. We lived at Taradale a lot – it took us a long time to sell – it took us a couple of years to sell.

Helen: It was too big a garden up there. The garden was too big for most people at Frasertown.

Ian: Yeah, well they were acre sections, you see – most of Frasertown now is acre sections. But actually these people didn’t know it was on the market, and they were locals – well, like – Wairoa. So we came down here, but we were looking at Taradale quite a bit, but half Wairoas in Taradale. Oh, there’s a hell of a lot of Wairoa people in Taradale. They have a bit of a get-together and they all … like two hundred and fifty – three hundred turn up. So we decided we‘d come to Hastings, and we came down here in January 02 and we bought privately in Frimley. Then this new subdivision came up and these places were built, and we got involved – we had nothing to do with that venture, but we got involved here, and we moved in here June 04 … been here ever since.

And grandchildren?

Helen: Yes – well Craig’s children are Kate, Blair and Andrew. And Stewarts got four children and his children are Jesse, as in a boy, Rebecca, Kane and Abby, but those last three, they’ve been born in Australia. ‘Course those children have married, three of them, so we’ve got a lot of great grandchildren too. Well Jesse and Alicia, they’ve got two little girls called Ava and Thea. Rebeccas got a little boy called Blake. Kane has got two, he’s got a boy called Link and a girl called Ngaio, and Abby – she’s unmarried and shes back in England doing something. I think she’s in London.

And then Kate – Craig’s children – Kate, she lives in Palmerston North and they’ve got a girl called Zoe. Blair has worked over in Perth for about five or six years now, and Andrew … the beginning of this year he went to Australia, and he’s working round Brisbane doing whatever.

Oh, so they’re spread out.

Yes, they’re all over the show.

I think we’ve got a pretty good picture – how many of your brothers and sisters are still with you, Helen?

Brother Robert died a few years ago. He lived in Whanganui. He was the oldest. Stewart and Donald and Ross – they all live here in Hastings and my sister Anne, shes in Auckland.

All right, well look, I think thats given us a nice picture of – nothing else you can think of?  

Ian: There’s only the Goldstone side of the family, but …

Helen: Oh, that goes on and on. 

But you’ve got a lot of that on paper haven’t you? 

Oh, yes.

I’ll just finish this and say thank you very much, Helen and Ian, for this interview.  

Further information at:

http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc06Cycl-t1-body1-d2-d25-d7.html

http://www.gregorie.org/gregories/history/aropaoanui.htm

Original digital file

McKinnonIP1834_Final_Dec17.ogg

Additional information

Interviewer:  Frank Cooper

Accession number

1834/43691

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