Death of Well Known Rangiwahia Pioneer Woman
MRS. K. McKENZIE
The death of Mrs Katherine McKenzie recently, severed yet another link with the pioneer days in the Rangiwahia district. Mrs. McKenzie was born at Prorangahau [Porangahau] nearly 93 years ago, when fording the river and travelling on horseback were commonplaces of the time. Educated at a private boarding school in Napier before the days of free state schooling, her very fine soprano voice was trained by Madam Beggs, and in her life in Rangiwahia she gave much pleasure with her singing. Even when well over 80 she sang at afternoon parties.
The second daughter and fifth child of Mr. and Mrs. C. G. Crosse, she was one of a family of nine children, all of whom predeceased her. Her mother lived in retirement at Palmerston North and lived to the great age of 101.
Married at Matamau, Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie carried on a butchering business for a time at Otane and then decided to take up farming. With their family of four children they made the arduous journey through the Manawatu Gorge by coach and then by horseback to their hill country section, living for a time in a slab whare where her son Frank was born, the first child born in the district.
Taking her full share in pioneering with her husband, Mrs. McKenzie helped in church work, the country children’s education and the social part of country life. Many dances were held in the spacious woolshed, bachelors’ balls and other gay occasions, the highlight of these being Mr. And Mrs. McKenzie’s silver wedding ball, when Mrs. McKenzie wore her wedding dress and dancing continued till 4.30 am.
An excellent horsewoman, she rode side saddle to community occasions in the early day to keep in touch with district affairs. The McKenzie home was always a centre of hospitality and Mrs. McKenzie was a member of women’s organisations and a worker in the Anglican Church Guild, also giving valued and appreciated help to the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches.
Left to mourn their loss are four sons and one daughter, Bert (Paraparaumu), Alex (Otorohanga), Frank (Auckland), Charlie and Dora (Mangarimu), and also five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Mr. McKenzie predeceased her many years ago, two sons, Kenneth and George, gave their lives in World War I and her eldest daughter Alice died in January last.
The funeral took place at Rangiwahia, the services in St. Barnabas Anglican Church and at the graveside being conducted by the Rev. Allison. Mrs. Guthrie was organist. Pall bearers were Messrs Bert, Alex, Frank and Charlie McKenzie (sons), Ian McKenzie (grandson) and J. Reisma [Reisima], and at the cemetery, Messrs A. Carr, Claude Smith, A. J. Martin, J. Oakden, R. Deroles and K. Guthrie, friends and neighbours. The wealth of floral tributes showed the respect and esteem in which Mrs. McKenzie was held.