TRIBUTE TO EARLY PIONEERS
THE TWELVE APOSTLES
“In this country we shall never look upon their like again,” said Mr G. Ebbett, when paying tribute to the early pioneer settlers at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Heretaunga Dairy Company in Hastings on Saturday.
“I remember Mr J.N. Williams and Mr William Nelson relating their experiences on their arrival on horseback at Pakipaki,” continued Mr Ebbett. “The country was in swamp and raupo, being as uninviting as it was possible to be. Those two, however, knew that if the area could be drained that the land underneath was good. It was not long before Mr Thomas Tanner, an English chemist, and some others with them became interested.
“Although there was never more than nine of them they became known as the Twelve Apostles. The whole area was purchased and taken up between them. One of them who got about 1500 acres at Raupare could not find a dry place on which to build a house, which gives some idea of the conditions which the pioneers had to put up with. Raupare has long been one of the best dairying and bullock-fattening areas to be found anywhere.
“In those days there were no amenities of any kind. Roads were only tracks, and transport was of a crude nature. There was no entertainment of any kind. The pioneers worked day after day and month after month, with no relaxation of any kind. In the course of years with work – which was hard work – they made the land practically equal to what we see it to-day. They made the pathway which enabled the establishment of the dairying industry in the district.
“Those early pioneers did so much for the prosperity of the district” said Mr Ebbett. “Their hard toil did something more. It helped them to make character, which goes to make real men and make nations. Then there were the women-folk. Those living to-day have not the remotest idea of the difficulties those stout-hearted women had to contend with, but they met them with the same resolution and courage as shown by their men-folk. We shall never look upon their like again,” he added.
Mr Ebbett concluded by quoting the following from “The Pioneers”:
I shall not forget. I hold a trust.
They are a part of my existence. When
Adown the shining iron track
You sweep, and fields of corn flash back,
And herds of lowing steers move by,
I turn to other days, to men
Who made a pathway with the dust.