spoke of her age. She arrived to live in Kuripapango around 1927, after the Snellings left, and her mother lived with her for many years. Her father died around 1930. 1
It is in some ways difficult to determine what kind of person Rose MacDonald was, because not only is existing information largely fragmentary, but different people gained different impressions of her, to the extent that reports of her character and actions are in some cases contradictory.
To simply list the known facts would be unproductive because no conclusion could then be drawn from them. As an example, some remember Rose as being very kind, warm-hearted, generous, popular in the area, and welcoming visitors with open arms. But others recall that she turned visitors away, and that she was little liked by her neighbours.
Which is correct? One could debate endlessly: but it would be impossible to select between the two since there are no alternative sources for corroborating evidence to support one view or the other.
The solution to this problem is to be found in the fact that Rose had been brought up in a family of entrepreneurs, who had run the hotel, the coaching business, the local store – and who owned shares in other businesses, such as the Napier Tobacco Company – in an area where the average inhabitant was a farmer struggling to make a living from poor quality land.
Rose’s parents, although not exceptionally wealthy, nonetheless had sufficient means to ensure that their daughter wanted for nothing. She would travel into Napier, for instance, to attend a private music tutor, or to go to parties. It seems that she did not like her music lessons, but the fact that she had them is nevertheless an indication of the relative comfort in which she was brought up.
In view of this upbringing it is clear that what was instilled in Rose from an early age was a sense of ‘social values’ and ‘social position’. Her actions at Kuripapango can be more easily interpreted, and the contradictions reconciled, in terms of this understanding,