Marion Kiddle Interview

Today is the 15th of February 2018. I’m interviewing Marion Kiddle, her son, Ian, her daughters Leigh and Vivien. And Marion … tell us something about what it was like in the early days of your family, growing up as a girl in Lower Hutt?

[Chuckle] It’s a long time ago. [Chuckle] Well, what was it like? Well we went to school – what was the primary school? Eastern Hutt I think. It was a primary school, and it wasn’t – it was half a mile away I suppose.

Ian: Can I just … well, you were the third of the family, there was George and Hugh that preceded you … perhaps you could start there.

Marion: Yes, I had two brothers, George and Hugh, then there was me and a sister, Thora. And as I said, we went to Eastern Hutt Primary School. We ran to school.

Vivien: I can remember Mum saying that they ran along the corrugated iron fences … ran their hand along, or stick along and listened to the noise.

Leigh: Mum, could you say anything about Grandad’s work? Your father.

Marion: Oh, he was a palaeontologist, and he worked for the Geological Survey in Wellington. And he was very keen on science, and more or less he would insist that … he encouraged us to go in for a scientific career, so I did zoology and my two brothers also did zoology, which I quite enjoyed doing but I have got more interested in psychology as I’ve got older.

Just looking at your family history, you married your primary school boyfriend?

Well he was my brother’s best friend. [Chuckle]

Yes. And then you and Ken tried several business things, but the big adventure was when you decided you’d come to Hawke’s Bay and become orchardists.

Well Ken – he worked for commercial cleaners I think, at that time and John Stevenson was a friend of ours and …

Leigh: He came up to Hawke’s Bay, and bought an orchard.

Marion: Oh, yes, that’s right – he bought an orchard. He came up. He worked for commercial cleaners also as a secretary … well I suppose it was a secretary. But he decided he wanted to do something else so he came up to Hawke’s Bay and that’s what gave Ken the idea really. And so I went along with it. Where did we live first up here? Down the corner …

Ian: Waimarama Road. You bought a bungalow and twelve acres on Waimarama Road.

That’s the start of the …

Marion: The start of the orcharding. And we had a family of five children.

Leigh: Just to add in to the bit before they came up. We fast-tracked Mum … when she was at school she was very, very bright. She was actually dux at the High School twice, because she had to repeat a year ‘cause she was too young to go to university. And I have a copy of a letter that my grandfather received … Marion’s father. She was tested, and they said that she did this IQ test and basically what came back, that she was so bright they shouldn’t let her know, because … [chuckle] I think ‘cause she was a female. [Laughter]

Vivien: I didn’t know that either. [Laughter] Did you know that, Ian?

That’s really quite a story, isn’t it?

Leigh: Yes, so that’s another story in itself.

Marion: Well I remember the Headmaster at Hutt Valley High School where we went after primary school, and he said to me what was I going to do? I said “well, I was going to do zoology” because it must have been my last year at school. And he said … it’s stuck in my mind ever since …

Ian: You won’t get a man like that. [Laughter]

Marion: … that I’d get married and have children, so more or less what was the point of doing zoology? [Chuckle] That’s always stuck in my mind … a peculiar thing to say.

Yes, well then you came to Hawke’s Bay, and of course there were several critics because there was so many old orchardists around here. Was it the Clayton property you bought originally?

Ian: No, it was – I don’t remember of the name of the people who owned that one. It’s the one where Tuki vineyard is at present, and then several years later they bought Ray Gibson’s property on the other side of River Road.

Leigh: Mum and Dad did.

Ian: Yes. Do you remember the name Mum? Who owned the house up Waimarama Road before you, when you came up and bought it? It’s a bit far back for Mum.

Yes. And then you bought some more orchard?

Marion: Mm-hm.

Leigh: You went in partnership with … remember? Don McKenzie, yep.

Marion: Oh, Don McK… He worked for the DSIR.

Leigh: You worked with him too. Marion worked at the DSIR with Don as well.

Ian: I remember Ron Clayton saying that they were sort of existing orchards, and Dad and Don were planting apple trees and they sort of were … “oh, you know – it’s a new thing”. [Chuckle] But you know, they weren’t convinced. But they proved them wrong, you know, Don’s single leader semi-intensive system worked really well and they were the first real plantation, or orchard of that style. And the Clayton’s eventually followed suit with their apples.

And it’s only just recently that Kim has sold out of orcharding, hasn’t he?

Ian: Well, he’s bought back in. He’s bought the Dorwards’ place. I mean it’s just a tiny plum block, and I lease it.

Leigh: When Mum and Dad moved here my understanding is they had great support from these neighbours that were already there, so the McLeods, the Dorwards, and the Websters, particularly. There were obviously orcharding people, but they were neighbours that were just so supportive and helpful. And the Boags as well …

Ian: Mick Boag. Mick Boag was a well-driller.

Leigh:  And Maxine is a current Councillor, and they helped Mum and Dad a lot as well.

As the family or the orchard grew, [the] vineyard came into existence then, didn’t it?

That was quite a lot later, because … well you were the first one to move back, eh?

Ian: Yes, I moved back and we moved into the house in River Road that was once upon a time Ray Gibson’s house, and it was basically used as a packing shed by Mum and Dad when … their twelve-acre block when they bought it, became twenty-four acres … and we moved back into that. And we had our daughter, and then we had another daughter. And I bought that twelve acre block, but in the meantime they’d sold the twelve acres across the road and bought this property here with Don. I came back, and then a few years later Ron Clayton’s property came up for sale and …

Vivien: The vineyard was between that, though.

Ian: Was it?

Vivien: Yeah … Ron Clayton’s was a lot later.

Ian: Sorry, you’re right, yeah. The next sort of land deal was when Vivien and Morton bought Sandy Lowe’s property adjoining Dad and Don’s property. But then some time later again, Ron Clayton sold up and Dad and I went into that. It was two different blocks – twelve and a fourteen acre, and I bought one and he bought the other, and that joined the whole … all the properties up.

As one unit?

Yes – Vivien and Morton’s property with Dad and Don’s. And then a little later Leigh came on the picture and bought one of those.

Leigh: It was actually at the same time. I was overseas and Dad rang me and said would I be interested in buying this property, because they were going to go in. None of the Clayton children were interested and so we said yes. So we had said we were going to buy it, and then when we came back we had to sort out because the pack house was on it, so … took a while.

It’s amazing a very intellectual family is so green-fingered. [Chuckles]

Vivien: I think if you live in the country – if you grow up in the country you want to live in the country.

Yes, you’re probably quite right, but it is interesting to see such a dramatic change from people who were …

Yes, I know. I remember Mum telling me her father who was the scientist – a very noted scientist actually … very interesting man … he was concerned about them moving away from a university town. Yeah. I was really surprised because he was also a very humble man, and very … you know, a very good man. And I thought that seemed a bit out of character to say that.

I always remember Ken saying he and his brothers used to go up to Whakapapa in the summertime when there was no snow, just bare rocks. I don’t know what ladies went too, or whether it was just the men – the brothers?

Ian: Well Bill, his brother, was you know, a big mover in the sort of ski club up there. And perhaps that’s why they were up there. What they did used to do was ride their bikes. Dad was friends with Hugh and George and his brothers – I’m not quite sure who was involved, but one time they got the train up to Auckland and rode their bikes back to Wellington, [chuckle] and another time I think they did it the other way round.

Some of the roads they would’ve come through the centre of the North Island would be roughies.

Yes, they were. And he said they tied bits of branches to their bikes to slow them down going down the hills. [Chuckle]

Ken always was a man who liked to be involved in trying to help things in the right directions politically. That was one of his fortés, and he must have been a very, very forceful and well-planned Chairman of the Apple & Pear Board, because he re-organised shipping, he got rid of millions of debt … all sorts of things. He was certainly recognised by the Queen and by the industry, but it doesn’t really tell us much about him as a person. I guess at the end it was very disappointing for Ken that the orderly marketing system we had was taken away by other powers.

Marion: It was other orchardists.

Vivien: I can remember going to some of the meetings at that time and the conflict and the ill-feelings were quite high. [Chuckle] The two-tier levy was the thing that got them.

Yes, it was very divisive.

Ian: Yes. It’s quite ironic really, that the Apple & Pear Board you know, was bought by Turners & Growers in the end, and Turners & Growers was bought by Waibo or whatever they’re called.

Leigh: BayWa.

Ian: BayWa, yeah. They’re a German growers’ co-operative, and now the entity that was the Apple & Pear Board, owned wholly by New Zealand growers, is owned – I just read it the other day – sixty per cent I think by German company, twenty per cent by a Chinese company – no … well there’s only six per cent New Zealand ownership now, of it. And it’s kind of ironic that what was once owned by New Zealand growers is now owned by German growers, basically.

Leigh: Going back to you saying about Dad as the man at that time … because when he was Chairman of the Apple & Pear Board he was also Chair of the Joint Producer Boards. And he was very good at doing the shipping … the freight … and so the other Boards got him to do that as well.

And I remember he was away a lot. I was the youngest so I was at home alone with Mum, and so Dad was away a lot. But I do recall people involved either in those Boards that knew him, when they came and … they might come for dinner or something … and they used to come up to me and say – I remember one, Alan Scott for instance, and he said “oh, you should be very proud of your father. You don’t know what he does, but you should just be proud of him”. And then likewise with Rod Weir – he was Meat, I think – on the Meat … he also. So it was lovely that they took the time, that they obviously thought of him as a person and what he was doing for the industry, to speak to one of his children. And again, when I was living in London and I would go to London House, and the same – they would talk about my father and say what a lovely man he was, and also – when it came to talks, how good he was at it – like when they were in other languages how he would pretend he couldn’t understand them at all, but he actually knew some that was going on – that sort of thing. [Chuckle]

Just a practical person, and very humble man at that.

Vivien: And he was a family man. And it’s quite funny actually, because when I was young I decided I was never going to live on an orchard because you can’t go on holidays in the summer – I was never ever going to. And then I came back, and Ian came [chuckle] … yeah. But we – see, we used to go on winter holidays and we must have covered most of New Zealand going on winter holidays, and we’d be in the old Valiant – well, I remember, you probably don’t remember this, but …

Leigh: I remember the Valiant. [Chuckle]

Vivien: So in those days safety belts and all that were not … don’t think anyone wore them. But there must have been three, a person in the middle in the front – anyway often you’d be in the back seat, and there’d be someone lying [chuckle] over the top of you … over the top of us. And Mum and Dad used to sing …

Leigh: Rotate around.

Vivien: … especially Mum, used to sing. Yeah, we did rotate around, didn’t we?

Leigh: Rotate our seats.

Ian: We were a very democratic family, and we did a road trip of the South Island and every day we would move on a seat, so three or four of us across the back seat, and of course the window seats were the prime seats – one in the front in between Mum and Dad. And we’d … every day we’d move around. [Chuckle]

So later on we have the vineyard, Akarangi. What does that mean?

Vivien: Well one of the means of aka is vine, and Mum and Dad had called this place Huarangi, which was …

Ian: Fruit of the gods.

Vivien: Fruit of the gods, so one way of interpreting Akarangi is vines of the gods, yeah – or heavenly vines.

Yes. And so that was planted mainly on some of the river flats down here, but there’s no grapes that way is there?

Vivien: No, not now, although there were some, there were some. They were some down there.

There used to be. [Speaking together] And so what sort of grapes have you got there?

Vivien: Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc Malbec.

And you make your own wine?


Who’s the winemaker?

Well our oldest son, Ben, has made it the last few years.

So how many acres have you got in grapes?

Not that many. It’s very, very small. It’s probably only three hectares max … probably less than that.

And Ian, with the orchard you’ve got a mixture. You have plums, stone fruit and ..?

Ian: Yeah, basically the significant crops are plums and apples. At one stage returns were terrible for apples, and I could see these organic growers getting big money, and so … Dad didn’t particularly like the idea, but we went organic. And it also suited … we were still running a pack house at that time and everyone was moving to big pack houses, and being organic you could still pack, and it suited a small operation much better. So we did that. Unfortunately the global financial crisis came along in the year we would have had really good returns, and organic returns plummeted. And then the following years weren’t that great, because the longer you’re in organics the more pest and disease problems arise. And then we had a shocking summer where it rained every week, and it was you know – absolutely hopeless. And so we decided the following year we couldn’t stand another summer like that – we converted all this … about two thirds of the apples back to conventional. And the plums and apples up there which were mixed in with the plums really, stayed organic, and that’s the way we’ve run it. But we don’t pack for export any more, just the local market and the conventional stuff all goes to Mr Apple. And its been … returns for conventional and organic have done really well since that, and so it’s been good.

So you were down here when ‘Westwind’ was burnt?

Vivien: Mum, do you remember when Sandy Lowe’s boat burned? It was in the shed here.

Marion: Oh yes. No, I don’t remember that.

Vivien: Oh it did, and he rebuilt it.

Leigh: A second one.

Vivien: And he sailed away in the second one. Yeah, it was a kauri boat apparently.

Ian, for many years this land from Undercliff through to the Black Bridge was never looked on as very good land but they found that it was particularly good for orchard. Some of the best fruit in Hawke’s Bay came off this strip inside the edge of the Tuki Tuki, right through.

Ian: Yes … don’t think it’s as fertile as sort of Twyford and that part, but it does produce nice fruit. And I think because it’s a wee bit harder … like the Fuji variety came out and Dad and Don planted that, and we used to get really good colour compared to the stuff grown in Hastings, and it was because the ground just suited it. And the same thing applied with grapes I think.

Well it must have been wonderful to have a partner like Dr Don … you know, one of the forerunners of orcharding, especially of modern orcharding.

Yes, I think he was a really big help. You know, like Dad basically managed the orchard, Don didn’t really … but his ideas were used in the planting and the choice of varieties and all that sort of thing.

Leigh: Pruning and …

Ian: Yes.

Vivien: And they had tried a few … not exactly experimental … like Scarlet Pimpernel apples, and early McIntosh.

Ian: Yeah, there was hundreds of varieties … Lobo … varieties you’d never heard of.

Leigh: And didn’t they do something … didn’t they track birds and tape record their calls – distress calls? Something like that.

Vivien: Well the idea was you play them, and it would … because they attacked those early apples.

Ian: Yeah, they did … the Scarlet Pimpernel.

They’re talking now – 1080 poisoning is bringing so many birds back in the forest they’re worrying that they may come down into the lowlands …


… and start eating the fruit.

Leigh: Wow.

Ian: Well we see the odd pigeon and tui … see tuis and pigeons and bellbirds regularly at our place … not in huge numbers, but pukekos we see in huge numbers.

We took their wetlands away from them didn’t we?

So all the family’s here except your Nelson brother. And what does he do in Nelson?

Marion: Well, he’s a doctor, but he’s really more interested in … he bought a property that he’s been developing, and he’s go more interested in that than being a doctor. [Chuckle]

Leigh: He’s actually retired recently.

So you’ve got Ian, Vivien …

Marion: Vivien’s the eldest.

Jackie, Leigh …

Vivien: And Edwin.

Marion: Vivien, Edwin, Ian, Jackie and Leigh.

Vivien: Edwin became the Medical Officer of Health for Nelson – whatever that Health Board is called.

Leigh: Nelson-Marlborough.

Vivien: And he’s only just retired really.

Ian: Yes – he’s been slowly reducing his hours for the last couple of years.

Vivien: And he’s got this, as Mum said, this block with cattle and stuff like that on it.

Ian: Lots of trees, a bit like Eastwoodhill on a small scale, you know. He plants all sorts of trees.

How long since you’ve been to Eastwoodhills?

Quite a while.

Leigh: Why? Has it changed?

It’s grown.

‘Cause we … that was something we used to do.

Ian: That would be the last time I went, whenever that was.

Leigh: ‘Cause Mum and Dad’s birthdays were … Dad late April, Mum early May … and we used to go away for a family weekend somewhere, every year?

Vivien: Yes.

Leigh: And Eastwoodhill was one we’d stay in the house, and we went to that bushy park?

Ian: Yes.

Leigh: One in Central Hawke’s Bay – different places. Oh, and Ruapehu, remember that?

Ian and Vivien: Yeah.

Leigh: Taupo …

Vivien: The Château …

Ian: That’s right, we went to the Château and Edmund Hillary was at dinner there, when we went down to dinner. [Speaking together]

Yes. Well Eastwoodhills – I couldn’t believe how big the trees are, and how steep the hills have got. [Chuckles]

Now what about the things you’ve forgotten to tell me?

Vivien: Well I did note a couple of things. Mum used to take lots and lots of photos, action slides, [noise on recorder] and so I’ve scanned them, of all sorts of things. And her father … Grandad … John Marwick, used to take photos and develop them. Did you used to develop your own photos too?

Marion: No.

Vivien: It was just Grandad. So he took heaps of photos as well and yeah, so we’ve got photos of just about everything.

It’s better if you have the original photos.

I do have a box of the photos – the thing is there’s a lot of slides that I’ve scanned, as well.

We do slides, we do films, we do glass plates.

Ian: I’d just like to add, Mum was really … I mean Dad was very successful in his chosen field – well not really in his chosen field, but as an Apple & Pear Board and fruit grower industry leader, but Mum really sort of backstopped that, you know, she looked after us when Dad was travelling. And she travelled with him sometimes, and launched a few ships as it happens. And she was a stay at home Mum, except for when she went teaching at Iona, teaching maths. And also she worked with Don at the DSIR transcribing stuff because she was a good typist. And she backed up Dad with her typing as well, there was no computers in those days. But when computers did come, Mum was one of the first ones to pick them up. And she was a gun at Excel, you know. I remember her trying to … she’d developed a spreadsheet for doing the wages on the orchard, and she’d try to explain to me how to use it and you know, she had macros and things. I couldn’t – I could never get the hang of it.

Vivien: She actually wrote some of her own programs.

Ian: Yeah, that’s right, yeah, and she really was clever at computers.

Vivien: She was very, very good at maths, and I mean when I was at school I had a really useless maths teacher and most people didn’t do well at maths, but I did [chuckle] because Mum taught me at home.

Ian: That probably applied to me too. I got a very good mark in UE.

So what school did you guys go to?

Vivien: Karamu.

Ian: Yes, Karamu. I think Leigh may have gone to Havelock, but …

Vivien: Did she?

Ian: No, maybe not.

Marion: I think she went to Karamu.

Ian: She was a teacher at Karamu.

Vivien: Well before the time of Havelock.

But she would have gone to Havelock Primary?

No. Oh yes – I did, but I was the only one. I went for about two terms and then Te Mata. [Speaking together] I was a foundation at Te Mata. And that is so different now [chuckle] to how it was then.

Ian: Yes, there used to be orchards all around that … you know, around the paddock, now there’s houses.

Vivien: And vehicles. [Chuckle]

Ian: We used to go to – every year there would be a school … class trip down to Russell Robertson’s pack house, you know, and we’d look at their fruit being packed and walk down there and walk back again.

And now its all houses.

Vivien: Are you interested, because I’ve got something on John Marwick’s life? It’s on the internet but I printed it. We had a huge Marwick family reunion Christmas before last.

Yes, I was going to ask you that, but we need to go back to trap some of the high parts of the family … that intellect on Marion’s side … her father or grandfather.

And her mother – they both actually were teachers at one point. Didn’t Grandad train as a teacher too?

Ian: I don’t know.

Vivien: Did your Dad – did he train as a teacher?

Marion: No.

Vivien: He didn’t, ever – just Granny.

Marion: I don’t think so.

Vivien: There were … like Grandad’s sister, Thora, was a real eccentric … well, eccentric – we say that these days … She lived most of her life in London and she translated this stuff from Icelandic to English.

Ian: She could speak seven languages.

Both: Yep.

Vivien: And she booked a seat with Pan Am to fly to the moon – this is years and years ago. But no one had been to the moon, but you know … future. She anticipated [chuckle] that – never got to go. Yes, she did, I remember that.

You know a few things – Ken was a very good hockey player.

Vivien: Yeah.

Marion: Yes, he was.

Vivien: So was Mum. And Mum was also a champion swimmer.

See that’s something we didn’t hear about … for the province?

At school.

Ian: I’ve got a bit of a funny story – my daughter, Rebecca, works at the University of Wellington … Victoria … and she’s in the Geography department. It’s a sort of – quite a soft science – it’s part of the same department that the Geology department and the Earth Sciences are in. And at some point her boss or someone further up in that side of things, discovered that she was John Marwick’s granddaughter … is it?

Vivien: Great-granddaughter.

Ian: Great-granddaughter. And he couldn’t believe it, you know, ‘cause she was you know – they were hard scientists. And [chuckle] anyway, she went up in his estimation after he discovered … ‘cause John Marwick had quite a reputation there ‘cause he authored a book classifying New Zealand fossils. I think he co-authored it, you know and yeah, they all seemed to know his name.

Vivien: Well Mum’s side of the family we know much more about than Dad’s. We really only … Dad’s mother was part French, and she died when Dad was ten. Yeah. But we don’t really know hardly anything. I think there’s a lot of – it’s like the school curriculum – there’s a lot of extra stuff. You know, there’s TV to watch, the Olympics to watch and this and that, and all sorts of stuff.

And so how many grandchildren have you?

Marion: I think it’s eighteen.

Vivien: Nineteen, I think.

Because what I need is one of you to write a list of their names and when they’re born.

Vivien: I’ll take responsibility for that. I’ve got all their birth dates, but not the year – I’ll have to email everyone again.

So there must be some great-grandchildren too?

Marion: I think there’s a great-great … isn’t Toby a great-great?

Vivien: No.

Marion: He’s not?

Ian: No.  Claire’s your grandchild.

Vivien: Yeah, Claire’s your grandchild, and Toby’s your great-grandchild. They’re nearly all from Edwin’s side, the great-grandchildren. Three of his kids have kids. Only one, that’s my grandson, the only one I have, is my …

What’s his name?

Vivien: Toby.

Marion: There’s a reason for that – his father was Czech.

Vivien: Yeah, his father was Czech. That’s not really a reason for his name.

Marion: But he’s a delightful …

Ian: I thought that you chose that because it was a name in both English and …

Vivien: Oh yes, that you could say. Yes, because some Czech words are … yeah. But some letters are pronounced differently – you’re right.

Ian: But another … just looking at that, I see John Beaumont’s photo there. Mum and Dad had a long history with Cliff Babbington and John Beaumont and … who was the other guy in your ..?

Marion: Sorensen?

Ian: Sorensen – Brian Sorensen – they had a betting syndicate together, and that provide hours of fun for them. You know, every weekend they’d fax each other … they’d take turns at picking and you know, they’d fax each other their picks.

Vivien: And some of the faxes were actually … well Mum and Jean Beaumont particularly, wrote poems, limericks. [Chuckle]

‘Cause Jean used to work at the port, didn’t she?

Ian: Yeah.

Vivien: Oh, I bumped into her in Havelock and she asked after you.

At John’s funeral they played the first five minutes of his interview … what it was like growing up in Havelock. It was amazing.

I was there … we must have heard that.

Okay. One other thing … Ken used to ride to the butcher to get a side of mutton … 

Ian: Oh, yes.

 … for his father. And you know his father must have been a very capable man to have brought those boys up for a while on his own? 

Yes, yeah. Then he married Ginge … Jean.

Marion: But he lived in India, didn’t he, for a while?

Vivien: Pop-pop? Did he?

Marion: Didn’t he?

Vivien: Oh, probably – I don’t know.

Ian: He was … his occupation was installing those …

Vivien: Cash and carry.

Ian: You know, Bon Marche used to have those compressed air … yeah.

And one or two other things … his allegiance to Tui Brewery.


Vivien: I buy Tui because of that. Everyone gets annoyed with me. [Chuckle]

Most of us don’t drink it.

No. [Laughter] I get told off for buying it, but we do. [Laughter]

And in 1951 Marion and Ken built their own house.


Marion: We didn’t.

Vivien: 1951 – that’s the year I was born.

Ian: In Christchurch.

Vivien: Oh, in Christchurch, yeah of course. Mum and Dad built three houses.

Marion: Three?

Vivien: Well, the bach, and this, and that one.

Ian: Yeah, but … well when you say built – there was the bach and the one in Christchurch they actually were hands-on.

Vivien: Well, yes.

Ian: This one was a contractor.

Vivien: Yep, yeah, you’re right.

One thing I remember … it was to do with Don, because when they first bought here it was all farmland and they grew everlasting flowers. It was Don’s idea. And I remember that house up on the corner, but I remember it being filled with these flowers, there were all these old bedspreads. Also pumpkins – I remember chucking them [chuckle] – it was a chain line of people chucking pumpkins. And it was filled with flowers which was quite amazing. I don’t think they did very well financially with that though.

Ian: No they didn’t.

Vivien: Actually the other thing was chucking … d’you remember how they used to load the old trucks with the stone fruit – the wooden boxes? It was chucking them in – remember that?

Ian: Yeah, yeah. The shed up there had a raised floor so that the truck would pull up alongside and you would load them out of the cool store and have a sort of chain throwing them to each other, and the last guy stacking them on the truck.

Of course most of the orchards were centred closer to Hastings. Claytons was one of the few orchards that was out here originally, and Alf’s.

Yeah, and Ray Gibson, that’s the place that we moved up to. He had our dairy cow – a dairy shed and a couple of dairy cows. One of them was called Bridget, I remember that. [Chuckle]

Vivien: He had that dog called Storm that everyone was scared of.

It’s a lovely little road, isn’t it?

Ian: Yes.

River Road, and Undercliff.

Vivien: The other thing I’ve just noted, all of us worked on the orchard obviously.

Yes well it’s been a family enterprise and it’s still a family enterprise, isn’t it?

Ian: Yes.

Vivien: Mum used to – oh, just something else about Mum I’ve just thought of – she obviously used to work on the orchard heaps, and I can remember Dad saying … she took up golf when she was older, and Dad saying he was glad that she … ’cause she worked so hard all her life, she was glad she could do that. She was very, very good at golf and she actually got a hole in one when she was eighty. It was in the newspaper. [Chuckle]

Marion: It was my second hole in one.

Vivien: It was your second hole in one, yeah.

Was this at Bridge Pa?

Marion: No, it was at Flaxmere.

Now one thing I didn’t ask you, you must be ninety-something?


Ian: She’ll be ninety-five in May – not far away now.

Marion: I had an Aunt who lived until she was a hundred and six. So there’s some good genes. I gave up driving because I was … I felt I’d hate to kill somebody. [Chuckle]

Ian: What I remember was when we were kids, Don wasn’t married at that stage and so he actually spoilt us in lieu of spoiling his own family and we used to get really nice Christmas presents from him. We even got a Scalextric race car set, you know … electric thing.

Vivien: What I remember is when – he lived in a flat in Havelock North and he was one of the first people to get television, and we used to go there once a week to watch Dr Who. [Chuckles] Black and white TV. You don’t remember that?

Ian: No.

Marion: I don’t remember that.

Vivien: Ed would probably remember.

Ian: I remember going to the Boags to watch the Monkees, that was because someone had a music lesson. Can’t remember who. They had TV and we watched the Monkees.

Vivien: Another thing Dad enjoyed was classical music – like there’s quite a selection of records here. I could never understand it … [chuckle] why anyone would want to listen to sopranos. I’ve come to appreciate them more over the years.

Okay, well on that I will say thank you Kiddle family, for bringing me up to speed on the history, so thank you.

Ian: Well, thank you very much … very nice to have someone take an interest.

Original digital file


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Interviewer:  Frank Cooper

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