Newspaper Article 1991 – Oldest surviving resident remembers

Oldest surviving resident remembers

One of the oldest surviving residents of the Karamu settlement on Farmlet Road, off St Georges Rd North, has vivid memories of life there in the 1920’s.

Now approaching her 90th birthday, Mrs May White considers herself fortunate that she is still in close contact with all nine of her children.

Mrs White remembers:
“It was during the depression. The Government divided the settlement up into 19 little farmlets. We were very lucky to get one of them.

I had five children when we moved there. I had four more after that.

The Government built houses for us. Ours had three bedrooms and then we added another one. Times were tough during the Depression so we had to work hard. The land made us a bit better off.

We milked three cows and grew potatoes but the ground was very sandy so they went all watery. We grew watermelons and rockmelons and raspberries. I made butter and sold it at Roaches’ for four pence per pound. Of course we had no ‘fridge in those days either. We had to keep it in the meatsafe.

My husband worked at Whakatu because we couldn’t make a living just out of the land. He would get up, milk the cows, go to work, come home and do the gardening and cropping.

I used to sew, knit and crochet all the children’s clothes and drapes and so on.

I was a school teacher at Pakowhai before I was married but in those days there was no question about carrying on working once you had your children. You stayed at home. That was the normal thing. It’s good nowadays that women can work and raise their children but we had little choice back then.

After the children were a bit older, I worked for Mr Rainey, a furrier, putting the lining in the fur coats and I did some teaching work, relieving.

The children used to bike to Parkvale School down a shingle road but when the fourth one started she had this little bike with little tiny wheels and she had to bike so hard that she was exhausted so they started walking over the paddocks to Maungateretere [Mangateretere] School. I never drove a car – always rode my bike. My legs are very painful these days. I don’t know why because I’ve always been so active. I bet nobody’s had more exercise than me!

We were lucky to have the land in that we had the basics that you need – milk, butter, cream and of course we grew our own veges but it was hard to sell our produce in those days.

Still, we got through!

The Village Press is keen to hear from others who remember the history of the Havelock North area. Contact Jo Wickliffe, Journalist, Phone 8775 276.

The Havelock North Village Press. Wednesday, 17 July, 1991 – 7

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Newspaper article

Date published

17 July 1991


The Havelock North Village Press


  • Mr Rainey
  • May White
  • Jo Wickliffe

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