Constant passion for dog trialling
GONE are the days when a farmer pulled on his woolly hat and went to handmilk the cows.
Computers, consultants and contractors may be the buzzwords of the 90s, but 75-year-old Charlie Anderton, pictured, who’d been farming in Central Hawke’s Bay all his life, remembers a time, not so long ago, when these terms might have been part of a foreign language.
Now leading a quiet life at Mangatarata Station, Waipukurau, which he farms with his wife Isa and their daughter and son-in-law Judy and Donald Macdonald, Charlie was born at Kereru, where his father Arthur was logging.
“He would hitch his bullock team of eight to haul huge logs from the bush,” Mr Anderton remembers. “As a young man he helped clear and drain the Te Aute swamp at Otane, a scheme of Archdeacon Samuel Williams.”
Sometimes a bullock would become bogged and it would take three or four men to pull it out.
Mr Anderton was three when his family moved from Kereru to Otane, where his father was born. “Dad returned home in 1923 to farm 26 acres near Otane, handmilking a small herd of cows.”
His mother died soon after they went farming and so it fell to hsi [his] father to tell the bedtime stories. Anderton children remember being entertained with tales of his bullock-driving days.
Mr Anderton’s first job was farmhand for Roslyn Tod who grew ryegrass for seed, probably one of the ﬁrst to do so. Seed crops are still grown in the area today.
Harvesting was done by hand, huge gangs of men having been employed to do the job. “How the seed survived the way it was handled and stacked is a mystery,” Mr Anderton says.
Later the miller would arrive with his portable traction engine, thrashing mill and chaff cutter. “There was quite an art to tossing the grass into the mill. The seed was thrashed out and bagged.”
From Otane, Mr Anderton went shepherding, building up a team of dogs and working on various Hawke’s Bay properties until he was called up for the war.
He joined the 20th Army Regiment, going overseas from 1944 to 1946 and taking part in the final campaign in Italy which led to the German surrender in 1945.
On his return he and his wife settled at Otane, taking over the family herd and re-establishing a team of dogs.
Wanting to expand, they bought more land two miles from home, sold the dairy herd and went into sheep. In 1960, to get all their land within one boundary, they sold their Otane properties and moved to the other side of Waipukurau.
It was during the 20 years at Carlyon that Mr Anderton had some of his best trial dogs. Originally a hobby, trialling “somehow grabbed me and became a passion,” he says.
Years of competition with numerous dogs produced one New Zealand title and three North Island titles, plus seven national placings and 20 North Island placings.