Te Putere

Te Putere

Introduction and Acknowledgements

It is with pleasure the committee comprising M. Bennison, D. Caves, O. Costley, D. Everest, A. Gilbert, M. Horne, C. King, P. McCullum and J. B. Smyth has prepared this publication to commemorate the 50th Jubilee of the opening of the Putere School.

The publication also seeks to mark 100 years of European occupation of the district and so the “Story of the Stations” has been included.

We would like to acknowledge with gratitude the contributions from Mrs N. Bridgemen [Bridgeman], Mr Jack Burt, Mr T. P. Horne, Mrs N. Shapland, the late Mrs A. G. Nolan, Mr Jock Mackay, Mr J. B. Smyth, Messrs Colin, Tom and Graham Dever, Mr Bill Brock, Mr Cliff Costello (Commissioner of Crown Lands, Gisborne), Mr Russell Baty, Mr D. Mossman, Messrs Williams and Kettle Ltd., and especially , Mr Ivan Allan for his enthusiastic support, and finally to those many others whose generous co-operation has contributed in various ways to this publication.

Left to right – back row: Owen Costley, Areta Gilbert, Cliff King (chairman), Denys Caves.
Front row: Margery Horne, Doreen Everest, Mabel Bennison, Pam McCullum.
Absent: Jim (Sonny) Smyth.


Part 1



2 – OTOI





Part 2



Time has not permitted my research to be checked by documented evidence so the stories of the various stations should not be treated as a complete historical record, but merely as a chronological sequence of important events designed to make interesting reading.

Some aspects of the station histories will remain a matter of conjecture and argument, although where possible I have attempted to sort these out.

And finally, many omissions and errors will surely manifest themselves – for these please accept my respectful apologies.

– Clifford King

In the beginning the cover was mainly podocarp forest. The ash from the Taupo eruption was blown eastwards, and much of it settled throughout this area.

The ash killed most of the forest, especially where it lay in depth. On the steeper country, however, most of the ash was washed off leaving the original subsoil exposed. Second growth bush flourished on these steeper areas and gulleys.

The extensive Maori burns of the 18th and 19th centuries helped to keep the easier country free of bush, as for example the Maungaharuru bush which burnt for some six years before finally going out.

Late in the 1870’s saw the first European occupation of the district, it being from this era the history of the stations has been compiled. In these early stages native grasses predominated on the grazing runs, with some fern steadily spreading.

Farming techniques first interferred [interfered] with the environment with the burning of grass and fern. The burning was to stimulate regrowth –  this regrowth being considered very good hogget feed.

Over burning, and over grazing, without subdivision, caused the rapid spread of manuka and kanuka.

This type of farming by burning was carried out extensively in Hawke’s Bay, and in most instances resulted in scrub reversion on the lighter country.

This scrub was later cleared up fairly easily by discing, sowing and topdressing on the easier country. But the steeper hills of the back country, fed by a regular heavy rainfall, have taken almost 50 years of concerted effort and expense to clear of scrub.

This natural progression of the flora occured almost without exception throughout the Putere district.

Bear this in mind while reading the ensuing chapters of the fluctuating fortunes of the stations.




It is understood 17,068 acres called “Te Putere” Grazing Run was first taken up by a Mr H. McLean in 1875 or 1876. This run differed from most others in that it was not freehold but Ngati-Kahungunu Maori land leased for 41 years with no rights of renewal nor compensation for improvements.

Mr McLean was probably the first European to occupy the district permanently although surveyors had been through a year or two previously.

With the help of local Maoris he built a slab whare with a shingle roof in the “valley” somewhere above the top lake. He introduced Merino sheep, built a woolshed and yards, and so the first station of the district began.

There had been three main areas on the station of permanent Maori occupation, they probably being:

(a) – Pukakaramea – several whares on top of the bluffs included the Miro family. This was a popular place for the Titi fire pits used to trap the mutton birds on their migration from Hawke’s Bay to the Bay of Plenty.

(b) – Marae Totara – Puke Matai junction with the Waiau River. A large apple orchard is known to have flourished here early in the 1880’s. Probably a sign of earlier Maori occupation.

(c) – Putere – on the flats between Shapland’s new house and the present county roadman’s house. This probably was the earliest occupation and earthworks suggest that at one stage it may have been a major Pa.

As many of these resident Maoris were owners of the land, it is reasonable to expect Mr McLean employed them on the station. McLean sold to a Mr Lang who resided on the station for a time. It is understood Mr Lang later moved to Napier and employed a Mr McKay as manager for a time until March 24, 1884, when Murray Roberts and Co. Ltd. assumed supervision of the property and employed Murdoch Mackay as manager.

Stock on the place at 14 April, 1884 comprised 2,015 ewes mating with 45 Merino rams, 1,560 wethers, 898 hoggets and lambs, 65 cattle and 14 horses.

About this time a 5-roomed cottage and a woolshed was built on the shores of the big lake (Rotonui-a-ha) out of pit sawn timber. Some 16,000 shingles were split to roof both buildings.

The station complex, such as it was, was shifted to the big lake. (Beside the main inlet –  the site of the present orchard.)

Staff included Tom Webb (later to manage Waireka) and a Mr Dean plus local Maoris, Hamie, Paul, Petira and Arapata.

Samples from Mr Mackay’s diaries follow:-

April 22, 1884: Paul discharged. Hamie, Petira and Arapata digging potatoes. Webb and Charlie went to Mohaka with packhorse for grass seed. Mr Groome (supervisor) and self flagging line of fence for new woolshed paddock.

May 2: Hamie, Arapata and Petira sowing cowgrass in the swamps at the second lake and Putere. Webb and Charlie packing posts on the Waiau line of fence. Self ploughing all day.

May 22: Webb returned from Mohaka with flour, sugar and scythes. Long at the Matai bush making roads to get posts out. Self along the range out to the back of the run, killed 22 pigs, three fat ones to come home left in back whare.

June 3: Webb put in two strainers on Waiau fence line. Dean sledging strainers out of the bush. Self, morning took ewes out to the old run paddock, evening went to Mohaka for mail.

August 13: Wet morning. O’Kelly clearing up woolshed then cutting manuka on road to the second lake. Self hunting after my dog all day, found him on Pokaranui, had a half chain round his neck which had caught in the scrub. In the evening hauling firewood with bullock team.

September 23: Walter and Thompson packing morticed posts from the bush to the top of the range. Self helping Mr Styles (carpenter) to put frame of woolshed together, fencers helped to lift the frame. Let contract to Causie for widening the road in Waiau paddock – two foot wide at 2/6d per chain. Credit Long and Company 450 Tawa posts at 25/- per 100.

October 31: McIntosh at the bush making roads with bullocks, fetched home 1,500 shingles for the woolshed. W. O’Kelly, Snodgrass and self fixing yards at Putere. Engaged Snodgrass at 20/- per week, discharged him this evening.

November 20: Received from John Ross 1,000 Merino wethers, they came from Johnson’s, Motuotaraia. McIntosh fetched 40 posts from the bush. Spark’s widening road to bush. Engaged J. Mills for 25/- per week as packman. Stark, Balfour, Arapata and self earmarked the wethers and turned them into Waiau paddock.

December 10: Shearing. Ward doing sheepwork, Mills and Sparks pressing wool. Thompson at wooltable. McIntosh fetched one load of rails up from the bush. Wetine came back from Mohaka fetching 6cwt of wire. Cook discharged, McKenzie to cook. Arapata and Wi packed 20 pockets of wool to Mohaka.

December 26: Sparks finished weeding potatoes. Mills cooking, self and Ward went to Mohaka to see the races. Raining heavy during the day. Ward came back in the evening from Mohaka. Self returned next day.

Life was hard and demanding for these pioneers who worked incredibly long hours. However, their sacrifice and industry was to show some dividends in the form of stock increases and extra staff. The men all lived together in the cottage until Murdoch married in 1887 (aged 27 years) and brought his bride (Mary Tait) to Putere. (Probably the first European woman to live in the district.)

By 1890, when the other stations were just beginning, Putere was well established. A large set of yards was rebuilt in the valley, and a 3000 gallon dip was constructed to combat scab and sheep louse which had become quite a problem.

It seems apparent from the diaries that the pioneers had not learnt which were the best native timbers – utilising Tawa for posts, for example.

Mr Lang died and the property became an estate with Murray Roberts continuing as trustee and supervising. There were no staff changes.

The following are extracts from Murdoch Mackay’s monthly reports to Murray Roberts and Co. Ltd.:-


May 31, 1894: Put new bridge over creek in station paddock. The three string pieces are 25ft long and 3ft in diameter. Put 12ft wood decking on it. The timber had to be hauled over a mile. I estimate the cost at £6 but as the Maungataniwha people make use of it I shall see if the county council will pay half. I have the honour to be, gentlemen, your obedient servant, M. Mackay.

May 22: Mr C. Ramlose dr to Putere Estate for sheep worried:- 143 lambs at 7/-, 1 stud lamb at 20/-, 2 Lincoln ewes at 50/-. Total, £56, 1s, 0d.

August, 1894: Finished ploughing the six acre paddock, will sow five acres of oats and a half acre of potatoes later. The sheep are doing well so far. The country looks bare of grass, it will come on soon now. Some sheep running on the English grasses are scouring. I will erect a scrub yard and dag them where they are then put them on dryer country.

October 6: PS. . . . finished docking Romney ewes, they had 86 per cent and good lambs. The comeback ewes cut 76 per cent of lambs. Total number of ewes 3,258 with 2,602 lambs. My neighbours are a long way behind us here in percentage.

December: Finished shearing, 7,762 big sheep shorn. The wethers did not come in as well as I expected, the ewes came in very well and so did the hoggets, judging by my neighbours. There are 426 pockets containing 43,386lbs of wool. Weather permitting I will have these out to the end of the dray road by the 17th of next month:-

Sale sheep – 800 4-tooth wethers; 900 full-mouth ewes; 19 aged Romney rams; 20 aged half-breed rams. Total 1,739.

January, 1895: Gentlemen – Briars, have most of them grubbed out, one man for a week should finish them for the present. During the past 10 years I have been grubbing them out every year. If they had not been kept down the run would have been a forest of them by now. In my last report it escaped me to state that all the Merino wethers were footrotted through the woolshed and their feet are in good order now.

On the 9th of February, 1895, Murdoch Mackay together with his wife and sons (Alec and Jock) moved to manage Kiwi Station and he was followed as manager at Putere by his brother, J.R. (Jim) Mackay.

In 1900, Mr Robinson, an Englishman in search of attractive land, fell in love with the station and purchased it. He was able to freehold some 1,100 acres (now T. Skudder’s property), from the owners and so built a large 13-stand woolshed and large yards on this freehold title. A woolwash was built by the inlet to the lake, also a haybarn. A substantial 12-roomed homestead was built out of Matai dragged up from the “Matai Bush” by Hurae Puketapu, (Areta Gilbert’s grandfather).

This was a glorious site for a homestead over-looking Lake Rotonui-a-ha. An orchard, English cherries and gum trees completed the picture, altogether a magnificent setting.

Ben Glass (whose daughter married J.F. Smyth) was the manager. This man was to spend quite a considerable time at Putere, and later managed both Waireka and Waihi stations at different times.

In 1903, C.C.P. Brandon, then aged 55 years, purchased the station and moved into the homestead with his wife and 13-year-old daughter.

Kathy Brandon (now Mrs Nolan) was taught by a governess – probably the first attempt of European education in the district.

Staff included three shepherds, two packmen (Waaka Miro and Mr Karu), one cowboy. Access to the station was by way of a bridle track from Wahanui.

Mail delivery was collected from Wahanui once per week and the station housed the Post Office for Maungataniwha and Waireka, with a telephone to Mohaka.

Putere Station reached its high point about 1905, early in Mr Brandon’s occupancy. Carrying over 13,000 sheep it was adequately fenced and easily workable with a good set of back yards complete with the dip.

Buildings were kept in good repair and a staff of some eight permanent men were employed.

Mr Brandon introduced Aberdeen Angus cattle, and later a well known pony stud.

However, as time went on and expiry of the lease approached, less and less maintenance was carried out owing to the non-compensation clause in the lease. Fences, now neglected, began to fall down and stock once again had the run of the place with no real stock-proof paddocks.

Shearing musters commenced at Maungataniwha, the first day crossing the Puke Matai stream, the shepherds sleeping at the crossings. They collected their mobs at daybreak and continued the muster to the dip yards on the second night. On the final day they were mustered to the woolshed at the station.

Mr Brandon, however, prospered and in 1916 purchased Pihanui Station from Mr Symes.

When it became apparent the Putere lease would not be renewed Mr Brandon moved with his family to Pihanui and ran both stations from there for a time. However, Putere was finally let go.

The Crown purchased all but approximately 1,000 acres of Te Putere from the Maori owners in 1918. Mr J.R. Murphy purchased the grazing rights of the station until settlement occurred in January, 1920. Thirteen thousand, three hundred acres of Putere was surveyed into eight sections for soldier settlement, the balance, including the Brandon homestead and 700 acres, being retained by the Maori owners.

This fine old homestead, then about 20 years of age, burnt to the ground on Christmas Day, 1921. And so the final remnants of Te Putere as a Grazing Run came to an end 45 years after one man with a strong back and certain visions first took it up.

Eight sections were offered for ballot on January 19, 1920, and seven were taken up. The Whareraurakau block (now part of Otara) was not taken up.

9/827, 9828.


17,388 ACRES.

NOTICE is hereby given that the undermentioned lands are open for Sale or Lease to Discharged Soldiers under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act, 1915, and the regulations thereunder, and that applications will be received at the District Lands and Survey Office, NAPIER, up to 4 o’clock p.m. on

Monday, 19th January, 1920.

The lands may be purchased for cash or on deferred payments, or selected on lease tor sixty-six years, with right of renewal for further successive terms of sixty six years, and a right to acquire the freehold.

Applicants must appear personally before the Land Board for examination at the District Lands and Survey Office, Napier, on Monday, 26th January, 1920, at 9 o’clock a.m, but if any applicant so desires he may be examined by the Land Board of any other district.

The ballot will be held at the District Lands and Survey Office, Napier, at the conclusion of the examination of applicants.

Members of the Land Board will be in attendance at the Council Chambers, Wairoa, on Thursday, 22nd January, 1920, at 9.30 o’clock a.m., for the purpose of examining local applicants who may not find it convenient to appear at Napier. Applicants should state on the form whether they intend to be examined at Napier or Wairoa.

An application may include any number of sections shown on the sale plan, but no person will be allotted more than one section.

[Map of Putere]




[Settlement Plan]


Sgr. 108


Mangaone Stream
Waihi Stream
Kokako School Site
Mangamauku Stream
State Hydro Development

Scale: 40 chains to an inch.

Wairoa County. – Mangahopai and Wairau Survey Districts.
2  Second- and Third-class Land.

Section. Block. Area. Capital Value. Instalment on Deferred Payment (excluding Interest). Half-yearly Rent on Lease.
* Includes value of fencing on the section.

Mangahopai Stream
Maungataniwha Land Company Ltd
Pikoko Stream
Tukitukipapa Stream
Lorna V. Scott and H.M. Bayley
Te Ahiweka
To Wairoa About 24 miles
To Mohaka About 11 miles
Kokakowhiaia Stream
S.G.R NO. 38
H.T. Nichol. Lessee.

This settlement, like many others at the time, was not to prove successful. High prices for stock in 1920 was followed by a very sharp slump in 1921. All these men suffered badly with no income for two years. Unable to afford to build houses they were forced to continue living in tent camps.

Recovery was very slow, and because of the harsh residential clause in their leases they were prevented from getting much outside work.

All these pressures left many of the settlers only one alternative – to walk off and abandon the property. Four settlers did this, their land reverting to the Crown who wisely amalgamated titles and strengthened the remaining farms. The Crown also settled two new blocks.

Details of this settlement are:-

(a) – Section 1, block XII, 2039 acres: Tom Geange [Gange, Grange] was a bachelor from Pahiatua and son of a farmer when he drew his ballot at Putere. He built a one room slab whare with a dirt floor in which he lived for six years. He then built a 4-roomed cottage in the valley on the extra land added to his title by the Crown. Initially, he attempted some development by felling 110 acres of bush and re-erecting two miles of old fence. The property had good sheep which were shorn at Maungataniwha. In 1925 Gange [Geange, Grange] built his own 2-stand blade shearing shed in the valley. No permanent staff were employed on the place although Doug Moroney and others assisted with the mustering. Carrying 600 sheep the wool clip was six bales.

The property, comprising 2,500 acres was sold in 1943 to Charles Matches (Mohaka publican) for £700.

Pearce Robinson was the first manager, followed by Areta Gilbert, Max Aitken, Bill Brock and John Scott. Mr Matches, himself, moved up to the farm (Dunwanderin) in 1948, together with his wife and two sons, Charlie and David.

An unfortunate fire in 1948 destroyed Grange’s [Geange, Gange] old slab whare together with most of Charlie’s gear as he was camped in it at the time. A new shed was built out of a truck load of packing cases.

The family meanwhile lived in the cottage in “the valley”, this was shifted in 1949 to its present site to facilitate ”working” the property. Charlie married in 1963 and together with his bride, Mary, made their home in this cottage adding verandahs and an attractive garden.

Mr Matches died in 1967, David purchased additional land close to Raupunga and moved to live there in 1968.

Charlie and David farmed the property jointly, until Charlie moved away and sold to his brother in 1972.

Recent managers for David include Martin Kerley and the present manager Don Craig. Present stock include 4,800 sheep, 500 cattle on 1,800 acres of grass, the balance (700 acres) is unimproved.

(b) – Section 1, block XVI, 2,856 acres. W. Brown: Bill Brown was familiar with the district having worked on Willow Flat Station for a number of years prior to the war. He was married, and they lived in a small slab whare together with two children (Ken and George).

War savings enabled him to employ contractors to clear 300 acres of light bush (Cost 25/- per acre). Good grass and turnips were established and 1,100 sheep were bought in and shorn.

Bill Brown was known for his outstanding huntaways, he helped on Maungataniwha with mustering and docking. He later erected a slab wool- shed, but harsh living conditions finally took their toll and he lost interest.

Mr Brown decided to sell, and in 1928 W.L. Torbett purchased 3,200 acres for £500. He immediately got to work with improvements. Contractors felled two blocks of bush totalling 200 acres. A fencing programme was started and a 5-roomed cottage was built on the 12 acres in the valley. This was later shifted to its present site.

Mr Torbett acquired quality Romney’s which formed the foundation of what later became a very well known sheep stud. This flock still survives and 300 quality rams are sold annually – all cull stock still fetch a premium.

Torbett, himself, only lived at Putere until 1931 when he moved to Wairoa and became the first stock agent for de Pelichet and McLeod, resident in Wairoa. His astute judgement, and an outstanding ability with all types of stock, was to guide the property until his death in 1955.

A.F. Waterhouse became the first manager. Known affectionately as “Townie”, he was a very colourful character and features in many stories which must remain untold.

W.A. Sturmey followed as manager in 1940, he too, brought energy and expert management until 1948. Ken Box, Hazel Lane and Dan Bartlett each managed for a period until 1950 when Rod McCullum took over. At this stage there were 700 acres of grass, the balance – largely undeveloped.

Bill Torbett died in 1955 and the control of the property reverted to private trustees (Frank Mardon and Mrs A. Torbett).

In 1958, Rod and Pam McCullum, for children’s education, moved to manage other Torbett properties near Wairoa, Snow Galbraith, John Jacobs and Martin Kerley followed as managers of “Monarae”‘

Meanwhile, with death duties cleaned up, development began again, 1,800 acres were cleared and grassed mainly over the last 10 years. A new house was built and in 1972 Rod McCullum returned bringing once again his expert management and stockmanship. The property presently of 3,500 acres carries 4,600 sheep and 900 cattle.

The present staff are Rod, Pam and family (John, Dianne, Linda and David) Rex and Sandra Frew and David Gale.

(c) Section 2, block XVIII, 1,128 acres: Victor and Bert Ballard, brothers, and sons of farming people from Dannevirke, first took up this section.

Initially both single (although Bert later married), they lived together in a tent camp they built in the valley alongside the community dip.

Photo caption – W.L. TORBETT

Photo captions –







Little is recalled of the Ballard brothers, other than they bought in sheep which were shorn at Putere for a season. They experienced very hard times. Victor departed in 1922, Bert carrying on for another year, did some fencing but finally walked off the property at the end of 1923, broke, at the age of 32, the property reverting to the Crown.

(d) Section 3 block XVIII, 1,897 acres: Ernest Wheeler, a bachelor, was accompanied by his father (a retired Colonel of the Indian Army), also a brother, Hillary, when he took up his block. Another brother, Captain Wheeler, later joined them at Putere.

Together they built a 2-room corrugated iron whare with a lean-to attached. This was situated on the terrace opposite the present school. Little or no work was attempted as these men were apparently not suited to the pioneering situation they found themselves in. They did try for a period and a few sheep were run mainly for the wool.

However, by 1924, they had had enough and they walked off. The property reverting to the Crown.

J.F. Smyth obtained a month-to-month grazing lease of both these properties until the Crown re-shuffled titles and offered them once again for Returned Soldier settlement, but as one farm of 1,905 acres. The deposit required was £1,000 to be eligible for a [£]750 Government loan.

At the same time a school site of some five acres was set aside for the Education Department.

In May of 1926, T.P. Horne was successful in his application for this section. Married, with two young children (Judith and Pat), Mr Horne was not required to live on the farm as were the original settlers. This wise change in Government policy enabled him to obtain work about Wairoa and so finance his farming operations.

Extreme drought conditions of 1926 enabled him to stock the property cheaply (277 mixed age cattle cost 26/2d each) and so get away to a good trading start.

While living near Wairoa he dealt in stock, worked about the saleyards as a drover, and did woolclassing for Dalgety and Co. By 1928 he was in a position to build a house and move to “Roto-Ngaio”.

They lived in a tent camp for a time while Bill Brady completed building a 6-roomed house.

All dry stock were run for a number of years, lambs bought in, and sold in the wool as 2-tooths, cattle likewise were bought and sold.

Development took place in the form of ploughing and sowing turnips and grass. The bulk of the steeper country was carrying rough native grasses. Unlike many at that time, he avoided burning where possible, preferring to sow grass seed in amongst the fern while crushing with cattle.

The family flourished, and unto them a son was born, named Mason.

The slump of 1931 demanded total austerity, many varied ways of earning money to exist were tried (growing and selling vegetables, supplying meat, working for the Hydro Department to name a few).

“Townie” Waterhouse built a set of yards and many fences.

Bill Beecham, likewise a fencer, George Mayo, Charlie Brock and Frank Flavell all did some cultivation. Dillon brothers (Tom, John and Andy) worked cutting scrub in the relief gangs as did Pat Barrett (a Government scheme where the landowner supplied only food, accommodation and tools while the Government paid contract wages). (A good scheme which should be introduced today!).

A competent farmer, Mr Horne didn’t overstock and by 1935 1,200-1,500 sheep and 100 cattle were wintered annually. Slow but steady progress saw more grass as a result of discing by Angus Osler and Charlie Drager. A woolshed was built in 1935 and by 1939 a breeding flock of 1,200 Romney-Lincoln ewes was established.

In 1940 topdressing commenced – initially by hand, and what hard work too. Permanent labour was employed, Jim Dornan, Earnie Hague, Bill Waiariki, Barrie Clayton-Greene and Arthur McRae at different times.

Progress continued steadily accelerated by aerial topdressing in the late 40’s until 1952 when Percy and Ella move to Hexton.

Mason became the manager, the property at this stage carrying some 1,000 ewes and 300 cattle. One or two general staff were employed (including Jim Theobald and Tom Sinel. Pat Terry was a scrub cutter), until a married shepherd’s house was built in 1965.

Mason married in 1961 and commenced a family.

Breeding cows were introduced for the first time and stock numbers climbed to 2,000 ewes and 450 cattle. This progression of stock increases has continued until the present time when 5,000 sheep and 800 cattle are carried.

Married couples have included Neil and Norma Greeks, Alan and Glynnis King. Present staff include Kopu Tipoki, shepherd and Hilla King, fencer-general.

A substantial homestead was built by Tunny Davis in 1973, in a glorious setting, and presently houses Mr and Mrs Horne and family (Tracy, Angela and Guy).

The generous hospitality of this family is widely known and must be enjoyed to be appreciated.

Local functions, including many barbecues held on the property testify to the high regard which the Horne family enjoys in the district.

(e) Section 3, block XXIV, 2,212 acres: Mr Robertson, a bachelor from Wellington, had no previous farming experience when he drew his block. This inexperience, combined with a difficult farm, spelt disaster from the outset.

Initially he dismantled Waaka Miro’s whare from Pukakaramea and rebuilt it in the valley on S. Matheson’s block. These two bachelors shared the same camp and farmed as a partnership with their stock

Photo caption – T.P. HORNE

By 1923, however, sickened of back country existence, he walked off, the property reverting to the Crown which cut it up to amalgamate titles. Brown, Gange and Matheson all shared some, and five acres was retained for the county. Crown land along the bluffs was reserved, and the balance, 1,292 acres, re-offered.

John Burt, hither-to living at and farming Ferndale, was granted the section and in 1926 moved with his wife and family into the valley. He built a 4-roomed cottage on the farm and some fences below the bluffs.

Mr Burt, J.P., an engineer by trade, Paris educated, read widely and deeply. However, pioneering at this late stage in his life proved a task beyond his years.

None-the-less both he and Mrs Burt were respected and an asset to the community through their work for the school and the district. One instance, when both he and his son, Jack, approached Mr Gordon Coates (then Minister of Public Works), in Napier, re building a link road to Raupunga, the only advice received was to “get a shovel and start it yourselves”. (Have things changed so much today?)

On another occasion he wrote to the county council seeking permission to have polling booth facilities at Putere for the forthcoming county election. A terse reply received pointed out that as only he, himself, and one other had paid their rates only two were eligible to vote!

In 1940 he decided to retire and the property was sold to Mr Doug Surrey. Mr and Mrs Surrey made their home in the cottage together with five daughters and one son. He did general work in the district, became a part-time roadman and later rabbiter from 1943-1945.

A popular family, they all tackled men’s work. Alice, Joan and Doreen were all good horsewomen and became landgirls for a time. Doreen later took up shepherding and worked on Pihanui and Otoi.

Some development of the property was attempted as and when finance permitted.

Joan and Alice married, moving away, and Lester, the son, went to sea.

Mr and Mrs Surrey transferred to Reporoa with the Rabbit Board leaving Doreen the responsibility of the farm.

Doreen married Mike Everest in December, 1954, and they made their home on the property. Their family include Wayne, Barry, Denise, Stewart and Megan.

Mike became rabbiter in 1965 and has since been promoted to deputy-supervisor.

The property carries 500 sheep and 80 cattle on approximately 200 acres of grass, the balance being unimproved.

(f) Section 2, block XXIV, 1,078 acres: Alec Sutherland was a bachelor from the Wairarapa in his early thirties when he moved to Putere. He had some farming experience prior to the war, but not a lot.

He was joined by his brother Angus (wife, Rose, and daughter, Nan) who had previously been managing Wahanui for J.F. Smyth. Together they built a tent camp, bought some sheep, and started farming. A number of posts and battens were split at Maungataniwha and packed out.

None of these soldiers had much experience with pack horses – they all soon learnt what an art it is.

After two bad years Alec walked off in 1922, a sale of stock and chattels being held in the valley at the community yards.

The property lay idle for a few weeks before J.R. Murphy obtained a month-to-month grazing lease from the Crown.

Angus Sutherland moved his tent camp to join Stewart Matheson next door, and started with the East Coast Rabbit Board.

The Crown reshuffled the titles and the whole of this block was added to Matheson’s.

(g) Section 1, block XXIV, 1,283 acres: Stewart Matheson (Matt) was the son of a farmer from Bunnythorpe, but was a bridge building engineer prior to the war. He had little farming experience but unlike most of the other settlers he accepted the harsh living conditions and finally made a go of it – the only original to do so. He remained a bachelor all his life.

For the first few years Robertson shared his camp and they farmed as a partnership until Robertson departed in 1923. Matt was joined later in 1923 by Angus and Rose Sutherland.

An arrangement that Angus had some share in the stock and did part-time work on the property flourished for 27 years until his death in 1952.

Matheson made slow, steady progress. He ran sheep and cattle and used the community yards for his dipping and drafting. In 1924 he built a 3-stand woolshed, machine shearing replaced the blades in 1928.

He was fortunate to obtain the whole of Sutherland’s section, and some of Robertson’s, when the Crown reallocated the land in 1926.

The property almost doubled in size to 2,367 acres, and stock numbers slowly increased to 1,200 sheep. Not many cattle were carried. Many wild horses which originated from the Brandon ponies ran wild along the river country.

The three paddocks he took over in 1920 had been increased to eight by 1930. Isolated pieces of scrub were cleared and little by little progress was made.

Angus Sutherland meanwhile had left the Rabbit Board and became a full-time musterer-drover while guiding the stock work on the property.

Matt, himself, was never a good stockman, but wisely relied largely on the advice of Angus Sutherland and Tom Spiller (Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ agent).

“Bush sickness” first became identified in the district on “Glenlea” by a veterinarian trying to find out why hoggets would not thrive. This cobalt deficiency was only later corrected by drenching after considerable time and expense had been incurred by Matt.

Social life in the district centred around this welcome household, and once a week people

Photo caption – “MATT” MATHESON

congregated there awaiting the mail. There was always a cup of tea and hot scones for a visitor. The Dever boys later boarded with Mrs Sutherland for a time to enable them to attend school.

Nan, the daughter, rode to Pihanui once a week and brought the district mail to Putere on a pack horse. She was paid £7.10 per year for this service.

The dances, held every full moon, were a feature of the social life – Sam Brannigan played the piano; Mick Sharon the accordian, and Bill Beecham a wonder on the “Swanee whistle”.

One particular story concerned a young shepherd pining for a particular lady’s company, was forced to spend the whole of the dance evening exercising his horse which had developed an untimely case of the gripes.

By 1928 the property had vehicle access. Prior to this the horse was the sole means of transport.

The district stagnated through. the slump of the 1930’s. Wool prices dropped disastrously from 18 pence down to as low as 4 pence per pound. Cull stock was practically unsaleable and confidence dropped to an all-time low. Men were out of work and swaggers were everywhere. The property stood still.

Mr Matheson remained stable and dependable throughout, however, and his cautiousness in financial dealings, together with some outside work, enabled him to ride out the storm.

The introduction of the telephone in 1935 was about the only feature in these gloomy times.

It took many years to get over the slump and life remained unchanged for Matt and the Sutherland’s until a new house was built in 1949.

In 1950 Angus Sutherland developed an illness and later died. Rose had carried on for a time before she passed on, just prior to her husband.

An unfortunate car accident in 1958 forced Matt to shift to town where he later died.

Ross Shapland, Angus Sutherland’s grandson, managed Glenlea, followed by Rex Thompson for 3 years. Odd musterers had been employed including King Carroll, Bill Te Kahu and Nigel Stewart.

The property, auctioned in 1963, was purchased by the Shapland family. At that time only 700 acres of grass carried 1,800 sheep and 150 cattle in nine main paddocks.

Brian, a part owner, has developed the property very competently to the present stage where 3,600 sheep and 480 cattle are wintered on the 1,300 acres of grass.

Development has also included the erection of a new woolshed in 1967, and shearer’s quarters in 1968, and a new homestead in 1970. A considerable fencing programme (still in progress) has included the services of such popular men as Colin Whitehead and Paul Jacobs.

Married couples have been employed since 1970. They include Phil and Kay Koorey, Roy and Wendy Gear are the present married couple.

Brian and Pat Shapland, guided by Vern, have improved this property no end. The present tidiness of the station, homestead, buildings and yards, amply testify to the pride this family takes in their property.

(h) Block A118, 700 acres approximately: Originally this land was Tuhoi [Tuhoe] land and belonged to the Puketapu family. As is customary with Maori land, ownership of this has since fragmented many times. When the Crown purchased the Putere Station from the Maori owners in 1918 this parcel of land was excluded, and has remained Maori land to this day. The original Brandon homestead was sited on this title, and was being lived in when it burnt to the ground in 1921.

Living there also at this time was Mick Sharon, his wife and family. The Hurae family moved into the old stables and Mr Hurae continued working in the district as a bushman, casual worker and a very good shearer. These stables were also burnt down so a big whare was built in 1927 to house the family – part of this whare still stands today.

The Sharon family, meanwhile, lived in the 3-roomed whare below the site of the old homestead, for a time, and then the whare was shifted over to the sports ground at Roto Ngaio.

Mick Sharon worked initially for Chris Brandon, J.F. Smyth and J.B. Carmichael. He went to the First World War, returned and later became a packman, teamster and musterer for the whole district.

In 1932 Mick built a new 3-roomed cottage close to the lake. A four-bale cowshed was built and he commenced milking 50 cows. At this same time the Gilbert family was milking about 20 cows on the old homestead flats. The milk was taken to Raupunga every two days – about four cans in total. Milking continued right through until 1939 by which time the children of both families were growing up.

In 1938 the roof blew off Hurae’s whare and the family moved across to “Te Kohu”. At this stage Areta went to work at Waireka and Waihi scrub cutting, and later to Maungataniwha. Toby went to the Bay of Plenty, and Marion went to Tuai to look after her grandmother. The rest of the children, Jean, Henry, Dan, Dree, Nesbit and Nellie stayed at home and attended school.

A new house was built for the Sharon family in 1940, who by now were farming sheep and cattle. A woolshed was built in 1945.

Hurae reroofed and renovated his whare and the family moved back into it.

Claude Kaaho (a part-owner) came to live at Putere in 1939 together with his wife and family. They moved into the Te Kohu whare and later, during the war, built a 5-roomed house on the hill. He planted trees and continued farming while also shearing.

By 1950 Mick had retired and Mabel (the eldest daughter) married and together with her husband, Dick Bennison, ran the farm. They built another cowshed and began milking again, running up to 50 cows and 30-40 pigs.

The Gilbert boys, meanwhile, had grown up and gone to work (Henry at Torbett’s, Nesbit to Maungataniwha, Harry (Dan) and William (Dree) at Otoi.)

Claude Kaaho, himself a “gun” shearer had by this time become a well known shearing contractor including such sheds as Waihi, Tukemokihi, Wahanui, Waireka and Te Puna.

A new house was built for Gilbert and Kura Hurae by now respected senior citizens of the district.

Their family of boys managed, somehow, to combine an amazing capacity for work with a gifted musical talent and enviable sporting achievements. Each of these abilities is the subject for many, many stories.

Gilbert Hurae died at Putere in 1959, his wife, Kura, died in 1972 and is buried alongside him on the Rotonui-a-ha peninsula.

Only two of the sons, Nellie and Areta still live permanently in the district today.

Walker (Nellie) and Lila have five children (Adrian, Walker, Hine, Eddie and Jeanette). Walker is a foreman for a forestry gang.


Areta’s wife, Peggy, died in 1972 survived by her husband and seven children (Kare, Mihirangi, Rihia, Mihaere, Edward, Susan and Colin), and two from an earlier marriage. Areta is the present Putere roadman.

Mabel and Dick Bennison continued milking cows until 1964 when sheep and cattle once again were run. Mabel and Dick have four children (Richard, John, Henry and Anne).

Claude and Mahiti Kaaho meanwhile moved back to Wairoa and run the farm from there. They have three children (Sonny, Hazel and Hine).

(i) Block A128 – A12A, 1,138 acres: Originally the land was part of the Putere Station and as such Maori owned. Mr Robinson freeholded this piece in 1900 but it continued to be farmed in conjunction with Putere Station until 1920.

Mr Jim Muir was the first resident as rabbiter in 1924. He lived in a tent camp on a flat in the main gulley beyond the present woolshed and yards. The only other early residents were Mr and Mrs Stan Bayly and family who lived at the lake in Mr Brandon’s old whare in the early 1930’s. Norman Edgar and Jack Kennedy were also early residents.

Mrs Brandon became the owner when her husband purchased Putere Station in 1903. She retained the ownership when the Crown took over Putere Station.

J.R.Murphy leased it for a time and farmed it in conjunction with Pihanui. He dismantled the big woolshed and erected men’s quarters at Pihanui out of the materials.

The Brandon family farmed it as a run-off for a time before leasing it to Andy Dever about 1930. Mr Dever was at the time managing Waireka.

Christie Wells (manager, N.Z. Loan and Mercantile Co. Ltd., Wairoa) purchased the block, still largely unimproved, about 1937.

Mr Dever continued to graze it until he purchased it in 1944. Little was done by way of improvement and the land passed to Mrs Dever upon her husband’s death in 1952.

Tom Skudder purchased it in 1958.

At the time, Tom and sons (Tom, Bill, Gary and Eric) were very much involved logging out of Waireka. The courtesy of these boys driving on the Putere Road is remembered by all. Buildings, including a woolshed, cottage, and men’s-quarters were shifted and erected and Tom resided on the farm for a time.

General cartage and stock transport for Putere, Kotemaori and Raupunga replaced logging and included a twice-daily school bus service from Otoi to Putere School for 14 children. This service continued for two and a half years, and the district received a regular, reliable service with a smile. This business was later sold to Morrie Torr.

Little development has been attempted in recent years, contracting with bulldozers is the main interest.

Through their service to the district, Tom and his sons have earned the respect and affection of all.

Bill resides on the property together with his wife, Colleen, and daughter, Lynne.

Photo Caption –

IN 1909 . . .
Head Office: NAPIER.
BRANCHES: Gisborne, Wairoa, Port Ahuriri, Hastings, Waipawa, Dannevirke.
Pastoralists’ and Farmers’ Agents and General Merchants.
ADVANCES made on Stock, Ensuing Clips of Wool, &c., at Lowest Current Rates.
INSURANCE: Accident, Fire and Marine, effected at Lowest Current Rates.
Lawes’ and Japanese Superphosphates, Sison’s Superphosphates and Turnip Fertiliser, Nelson’s Blood and Bonedust Manures, Station Requisites, Gilruth’s Calf, Horse, Pig and Poultry Foods, Thornley’s Food for Cattle, Horses, &c.
Cooper’s Sheep Dipping Powder.
Agricultural Machinery.
Reid and Gray’s Ploughs, Harrows, Drills, Cultivators, &c. Deering Reapers and Binders, Mowers (one or two horse), Hay Rakes, Knife Grinders, &c. Planet Jr. Drills, Horse Hoes, &c. Bone Cutters and Crushers, and Clover Cutters for Poultry.
Marshall’s Portable and Traction Engines, and Threshing Combines.
Oats of all Descriptions. Wheat, Barley, Peas, Beans, Ryecorn. Clovers and Grass Seeds of Every Description. Ryegrass (Imported and Colonial), Cocksfoot, &c. Turnips, Rape, Kale, Mangolds, &c. Sutton’s and Yates’ Flower and Vegetable Seeds.
Tyser Line Limited Steamers. Federal Houlder Steamship Company Limited.
INSURANCES: Fire, Marine, and Accident.
Brooke’s Lemon Squash, Nelson’s Tinned Meats, Cowslip Calf Milk, Cooper’s Sheep Dip, Murton’s Sheep Dip, Santovin Herbal Tonic for Sheep, Wormo Specific Sheep Drench, Wormo. Equino Horse and Cattle Drench, Nelson’s Manures, Milburn Phosphates, Fison’s and Lawes’ Superphosphates or Guano, Holm’s Spreaders, Renboy Automatic Sheep Bale and Sack Brand and Fluid, Gilruth’s Stock and Poultry Food, Thorley’s Stock Food, Donald’s Improved Woolpresses and Wire Strainers, Alfa Laval Separators, &c., Cooper and Nephew Sheep Shearing Machinery.
Nelson’s Patent Steel Fencing, &c.
67 YEARS LATER . . .
Williams & Kettle Ltd


The history of the Otoi Station originates with the purchase, sometime in 1887, by N. Walker of 13,644 acres of what was called the Ruapapa Grazing Run. This land, added to his Tutaekuri Run and Ohinepaka Station, gave this prominent land owner title to virtually all the land from Cricklewood to Ohinepaka.

The back of this run, west of the Mangaone River, became known as Otoi. Like most of the back country prior to 1900 it was basically “clear” country of native grasses and fern with some Kanuka and second growth bush.

Farming was fairly extensive with sheep, and for the most part natural boundaries determined paddock sizes.

A homestead and woolshed were built on Ruapapa in the early 1890’s, and wool was transported by canoe down the Waiau River to Wairoa.

J. F. Smythe and a Mr Ratana drove the first sheep (800 wethers) into Otoi sometime prior to 1890, using a bridle track down through Pihanui. The same pair later introduced the first grass seed for Mr Walker, sowing a small area above the new bridge on Waione.

Sometime about 1909, T. F. Walker, a nephew of N. Walker, was given the use of Ruapapa. The only terms of the agreement was the requirement that the same stock numbers be carried on the property at the conclusion as at the outset.

T. F. Walker, an active and energetic man, set about improving the station. He replaced the old Ruapapa woolshed which had been destroyed by fire, and also built a second woolshed on the banks of the Mangaone, below the site of the present Arahi back yards.

A certain amount of fencing was commenced, and grass was sown following the all too frequent burns. The Wairoa County Council constructed a road connecting the Cricklewood Road with the river opposite the Ruapapa woolshed, wool being then carted out along this route. Most of these improvements were made on what is still known as Ruapapa, Otoi, as such, being neglected and reverting quickly to scrub following the fires.

In October of 1920 J. F. Smyth obtained a five year lease of Otoi from N. Walker, who was then aged 90 years, this lease containing a purchase clause.

Smyth, at that time farming Wahanui, used Otoi as a grazing run for 3000 dry sheep, and bullocks. Little was done by way of improvement in these early years until 1925 when he purchased Otoi’s 6600 acres for 36,000 pounds.

Ruapapa, meanwhile, reverted to private trustees, (Messrs McKay, Gibson and McCulloch), following upon the death of N. Walker in 1923. Messrs Norworthy and M. Bellerby preceded Charlie Morten who remained as manager from 1924-1943 for the trustees.

Freehold ownership in 1925 saw J. F. Smyth start farming Otoi in earnest. The first building, an earth floored whare was erected, and his sons, Jimmy, Bob, Euan, Frazer and Gordon all spent different periods living and working on the station throughout the ensuing years.

Much time was spent packing in materials for buildings, supplies and stores for scrubcutters and fencers – all down the Pihanui bridle track from Cricklewood Road.

A swing bridge crossing the Waiau (from bridge flat) was erected in 1922 to enable sheep to be walked to Wahanui for shearing. However, by 1927 a large six-stand woolshed was erected and the flock was shorn for the first time on the station.

The Hydro Electricity Department commenced work in the district connecting the Tuai power scheme with the National grid in 1925. They erected a swing footbridge over the Mangaone, formed a bullock track, connected a telephone line and erected the towers. Rex Hawthorne was the resident engineer in charge of the telephone line erection.

Ewes were introduced for the first time in 1928, and over 2000 lambs were docked.

The first homestead, a five-roomed cottage, was erected by Bob Smyth and still stands today together with the woolshed.

A cable was fixed across the Waiau River to enable wool bales to be transported across to the newly completed road. And so, for the first time in history, Otoi was standing tentatively on its own feet as a station.

Farming operations centred around grazing clearings in the scrub although some scrub cutting and fencing was being carried out. Bridge Flat was fenced in 1925 forming the first holding paddock.

Messrs Cowan, Wylie, and Tommy Dillon completed scrub contracts following a policy of clearing the best of the land first. Accordingly development tended to be scattered, rather than all centred close to the homestead. Turipa’s cleared an area up the Waireka boundary, while Messrs S. Brannigan and l. Morrow, along with W. Beale, worked fencing contracts.

As with Wahanui, top quality Romney sheep were run on the station, musterers employed to assist including Euan Cameron, Smithy Hamilton, Tiger Cameron, Hugh and Vic Drysdale. Bob Smyth married Evelyn Hares, and so the first woman moved to Otoi,

Photo caption – J.F. SYMTH

the couple living in the house with a whare being built for the other brothers.

The slump of the 30’s settled quickly on the newly developing station. Adversity had an increasing effect – no wages were paid, men lived off the land and were finally laid off. Stock numbers declined and a mood of depression settled.

By 1934 J.F. Smyth, unable to meet mortgage settlements, was forced to relinquish his dream, and 10 years of hard work and pioneering was lost to him and his sons. Otoi reverted to the estate of Neil Walker and the stock (5300 sheep) was sold to the estate. The private trustees administering the estate decided Otoi should once again become part of Ruapapa, and a chapter of Otoi history was closed.

Charlie Morten assumed the management of Otoi from Ruapapa, but restocking costs, together with an over-ambitious development programme and beneficiaries  annuities, forced the station account into debt. Little progress was made on Ruapapa in the intervening years and so both properties continued to deteriorate, mainly due to over frequent burning.

No full-time staff lived on Otoi although Jim Reid, Jim Moore and Les Bayless and Cyril Pullen, along with others, did spend periods living in the house.

Completion of the main Otoi swing bridge in 1940 gave Otoi and Waireka permanent all-weather vehicle access for the first time, ending years of indecision and inconvenience.

In 1943 the Guardian Trust replaced the private trustees and employed Jim Sinton as manager, resident at Ruapapa. Some discing commenced on Ruapapa but Otoi still remained neglected, except by the wild pigs which lived there in thousands. Diary entries confirm that over 1900 pigs were caught and killed on the station in 24 months (1946-47) by three station hands. Areta Gilbert was later employed to track down and kill several large boars which had been eating young lambs. He tallied 89 pigs in 22 hunting days.

In December of 1945, I. Allan transferred from Maungataniwha to become manager of Ruapapa and Otoi, resident at Otoi. Areta Gilbert, Sailor Joe, George Gray, Jim Reid and a tractor driver, Rennie Seater, were the permanent staff.

Take-over stock for both properties included 6000 sheep and 200 bullocks, there being no stock-proof paddocks as such. There were 10 docking yards spread over the 13,600 acres in different clearings.

The Guardian Trust re-financed the mortgage and concentrated profits on development rather than on the beneficiaries. Development and farming operations now centred on Otoi rather than Ruapapa, and the Ruapapa buildings were let go.

No further improvement was done on Ruapapa until it was sold to Buster Parry in 1952 – 6200 acres for 5000 pounds cash.

In 1946 Bridge Flat was disced by Bob Smyth; a 30 acre holding paddock was cleared by Claude Kahu [costing 70 pounds), and so Otoi once again had holding paddocks topdressed by hand, with Kara Aranui and Areta Gilbert sowing six tons on the holding paddocks.

The Hydro Electricity Department were then building a road right through the station to the Mangaone Stream. Men associated with this road and power line included Bob Pittar, truck contractor; Mate Smith, bulldozing contractor; Les Vincent, Peter Poyzer, Tom Dillon, Doug McKain, Les Grubner, Lou Edgecombe, engineer, and many others.

Clearing and re-grassing progressed out from the homestead along this road. As development was financed solely out of income, nothing really substantial was done in any one year. However, the station did prosper on a small scale.

The year 1948 saw the first aerial topdressing, Bill Cookson and Jerry Oman sowed an area recently cut by Truby Lambert and George Gray. The planes (Tiger Moths) flew off a 170 yard airstrip (in the tank paddock) recently constructed at a cost of 10 pounds.

Approximately 1200 ewes were run on Otoi, with mobs of wethers, moving backwards and forwards to Ruapapa. Pine trees, gums, marcrocarpas and lawsoniana hedges were planted about the homestead. By 1949 development had reached the top of the hill, the wool boom enabling an extensive fencing programme to be completed. Adequate finance enabled the improved grassed area (1000 acres) to be consolidated, and the ewe flock increased to 2000.

With Ruapapa now sold, stock numbers levelled off for a period. By this time, with good road access and transport, the station had become well known.

Staff included I. Allan, manager, T. Te Paa, Areta Gilbert and Sonny Kahu, shepherds, Norm Theobald and Gordon Moore, fencers, Ted Rua, tractor driver, they being mostly single men who worked hard with the same capacity to enjoy a party.

Photo captions –



Photo captions –










We remember
Happy relaxed far-off days!
When we all wore short pants or long skirts.
Times have changed but friendships still remain
What’s a hundred years among friends?
Congratulations Putere, on a century of progress.
We know its been a hard slog.
We’ve been there all the way with you.
Let’s go on now as friends together.
Hawke’s Bay Farmers’

Increasing topdressing and subdivision saw stock numbers slowly climb to 5000 sheep and 750 cattle. The Guardian Trust now anxious to wind up the estate, decided to sell and on April 16, 1956, the Lands and Survey Department became the owners of Otoi Station comprising 7574 acres for which a price of £40,250 was paid.

Government ownership heralded big changes to the district with the department’s later acquisition of Waireka, Waihi and Ruapapa Stations.

For the first time “real” capital was available, and development began in earnest. Ivan Allan continued as manager, moving into a new homestead.

Pariroa – now  called ”Waione” – was given the Lands and Survey standard treatment – disced out of standing scrub, fenced, sown and topdressed with half a ton to the acre in the first 12 months.

The Gilbert brothers (Areta, Toby and Nellie), Len Culshaw and sons, all completed big scrub contracts, with Barney Walker doing most of the discing. New shepherd’s houses were built together with miles of new fences and tracks. The pigs and deer were quickly pushed further back by burning fires and machines clearing the ground.

Ivan Allan’s retirement came in 1961. From a station of virtually all scrub and fern he had guided it through 15 important years, leaving 4,300 acres of grass with 2,700 yet to be developed.

John Lomas took over as manager and with development in full swing he greatly increased stock numbers. Staff included Bill Te Kahu, Ted Rua, Tap Te Paa, Areta Gilbert. John Lomas, a capable man, later drew a ballot farm and was succeeded by Jack Johnson in March of 1964 who had as his staff Roy Calder and Kiri Edwards, shepherds, Terry Brunton, general hand, Paddy Guinane, scrubcutter, and Bill Skudder, bulldozing contractor.

Under Jack Johnson’s stewardship, and judicious grazing, Puremu and the “rough”paddocks were cleared and sown, development entered its final phase.

In April of 1967, in line with Government policy, that of civilian settlement, two farms were balloted. O.H. Costley (Waione) and I.C. Brickell (Kakenui) being the successful applicants.

These blocks demanded a deposit of $10-11,000 with a stock ingoing of 1,700 sheep and 160 cattle. These modern day “pioneers” experienced trying times for a period. (Children were educated by correspondence. They were required to erect their own telephone communication, and general access inhibited by several road gates to name but a few of the inconveniences Owen and Daphne, Ian and Caroline and their families experienced.) The farms were more or less fully developed with five main paddocks and improvements up to a good standard.

This settlement has since proved to be one of the modern day success stories for the Lands and Survey Department.

Commencement of settlement introduced a new chapter of progress for the district. In 1969 two more farms were settled, R.C.B. King (Waikohe) and P. Bedingfield (Tawhiti). At the same time the Department of Agriculture took the Arahi farm as a demonstration unit, presently managed by Ray Kelly.

The performance of all these farms has certainly vindicated Lands and Survey settlement policy. Unlike the original Putere settlers, fate has smiled upon them. All have since increased the numbers, the quality and the performance of the Romney sheep and Angus cattle they were settled with, and most are now cross-breeding. Jack Johnson continued the development, discing and consolidating the balance of Otoi to the point where four more farms, including Arahi, are to be settled in early 1976. This will wind up the Otoi station.

The Lands and Survey Department has effected massive changes in the 20 years of their tenure, and this stands as a testimony not only for their methods, but more importantly, for the men who worked there.


The history of Maungataniwha Station had its beginning in the late 1880’s when Henry Stokes Tiffen took up 36,140 acres from the Crown. Tiffen, a prominent Hawke’s Bay land-owner, purchased the station “off the map”, giving it to his two nephews, Fred and Bert White, who were brothers, without ever seeing the land himself.

Unlike the other stations, Maungataniwha comprised mainly bush and therefore was the hardest to develop.

The White brothers employed contractors, J. F. Smythe and Poyzer, who with large gangs of men, cleared two blocks each of two square miles, 2600 acres, and it was from this clearing Maungataniwha Station began.

All bush felling was generally done in the winter to ensure a good burn in the following summer. Picture these men living in tent camps in the wet bush and working in mud, snow and rain. Such indescribable conditions would quickly sort out the genuine pioneers. The White brothers met, and conquered, all the challenges that nature could contrive.

They first built a slab whare followed later by a pit sawn six-roomed house, woolshed and cookhouse, all being completed before 1890. Later they planted a big orchard part of which still survives today.

The woolshed is the only surviving building of this era, a six-stand shed with the loft providing sleeping quarters for the shearers. All the stores for the men were packed direct from the wharf at Turiroa, and the meat purchased from the Putere Station initially until a flock was started.

The property was to change hands in 1900 with its sale to Mr H.T.F. Carlyon, a wealthy Cornishman. Mr Carlyon first lived in White’s cottage, later building a substantial house of 1800 square feet on the site of the present men’s quarters. Included in this house was hot and cold running water, a septic tank, plunge bath, all being fully drained throughout.

He also erected a telephone line from the station to the Wairoa town boundary, 35 miles – quite a mammoth undertaking even by today’s standards. This line was later joined by others, becoming a party line.

Mr Carlyon generally improved the station buildings. He also grew five acres of oats which were cut and chaffed for the horses as was a paddock of lucerne.

There are no records of stock figures, although it is known Carlyon introduced Shorthorn cattle, which later became wild. He also built a big stockyard and erected a number of fences. Keogh Douglas, packman, packed in a small piano slung between two horses.

In 1906 the station was sold to the Maunga Taniwha Land Co. which consisted of Andrew McFarlane, Henry Cornelius, Ted Sullivan, Dr. Dawson, Sam Girwood and Charlie Avery, the company being based in Pahiatua.

Jack Fouhy was installed as manager, and obviously contented he stayed until 1918.

Employing a fairly big staff of nine or ten, the station progressed slowly. Mr Manahi, a permanent fencer, erected several miles of fencing in conjunction with some bush felling. Contractors, Blake Bros., Beckett Bros., Fred White and others felled 1300 acres beyond the back whare in the winter of 1913. This being very strong bush country it proved to be the only substantial area to resist reversion through the ensuing years.

With the company investing regular amounts of capital, the development was able to progress steadily. A log fence of 120 chain was constructed to contain the cattle and prevent them getting into the bush.

Jack Young, with others, cleared and felled the remaining scrub and bush to connect the two main grass areas thereby giving a total of some 5000 acres of sown grass carrying 6500 sheep (producing 520 pockets of wool), 100 breeding cows, and 100 other cattle by 1918.

In these early days access to the station was by a count pack track from the Pihanui boundary. In 1913 a six foot tract was cut from what is now Matches to the station. This was enlarged in 1932 to form the present road.

On Jack Fouhy’s retirement in 1918, Pat Ryan became manager.

Just before Christmas, 1919, 36,140 acres were sold for 85,000 pounds to Major James Armstrong, of Mangatera, Dannevirke. While the purchase price seems very high, it should be remembered that these were boom times, two-year heifers fetching eleven pounds each, and the station itself well run and in good heart. It was considered a good sale.

Pat Ryan was replaced as manager by Bill Jones, a married man with no family. Mrs Jones cooked for over six men including Ivan Allan, packman and Harold Ayres. A married couple was also employed, but none stayed for any duration on account of the isolation.

While the men were at the Wairoa races in 1920 White’s cottage burnt down, losses including a full year’s stores, 22 pack saddles, seven riding saddles, plus all the personal belongings. The men moved in with Mr and Mrs Jones in the Carlyon homestead, while Major Armstrong arranged for a new manager’s house to be built on the same site as White’s cottage.

Sam Brannigan cleared 170 acres of bush in the winter of 1920, and a further 430 acres (Bailey’s and Grenway’s paddocks) was cleared and grassed concurrently.

Fencing continued with Ivan Allan averaging nine shillings per chain, for five miles.

In 1924 – 25, 600 acres were cleared up through the gorge by Jack Cornelius, later to become a Putere roadman. This strong, easy country, the site of earlier Maori fires, reverted to scrub within 15 years.

In 1924 Hawke’s Bay had a very serious drought, it being during this drought a big log fire of some 1300 acres started on what was called the “wether run”. This fire, fanned by westerly gales, must have been a spectacular sight at night as it burnt for several months, dying away and flaring up, according to the weather.

Photo captions –









The log fence was destroyed and most of the grass killed necessitating resowing, so a 65 acre paddock was shut-up for cocksfoot seed which was cut, thrashed and sown by hand by station hands in the following autumn.

Catastrophe struck in July of 1926 with the Carlyon homestead fire, a very fine building and all its contents being lost, including the men’s swags, again. Somewhat of a coincidence, Ivan Allan was at the Wellington races on this occasion – he made twelve pounds but it wouldn’t have bought him a new swag.

A tent camp was built to house the men for the six months until the men’s whare was completed, a building which still stands today.

Packing in these times involved one man feeding and keeping in work up to 40 horses. Whether transporting pockets of wool (two to a horse) to Pihanui, stores from town or posts out of the bush, these horses were remarkable and a good packhorse was irreplaceable.

The horses were shod on the back feet only in summer, winter work was avoided where possible because the tracks became impassable and the horses required too much hard feed. The horses were caught at 4.30 am. and saddled before breakfast.

The loads which had been strapped and laid out the day before, were loaded and the journey began about 8.30 am. In single file for four and a half ours the journey to Pihanui was seldom trouble free as loads slipped and moved. Young horses often played up and extra surcingles were required – a horse so behaving soon knocked up and was left behind, load and all. Back loading was not attempted the same day and if a back load was ready the men slept in the pack shed and returned the following day.

The years 1926-28 saw the peak of the station’s history. Staff included head shepherd, Sonny Nicholson; shepherd, Jack Broad; Ivan Allan, packman, Tom Randall and others. Nine thousand adult sheep were shorn producing 650 pockets of wool, all packed by horse to the pack shed in the valley.

Three thousand wethers sold at this time averaged 62-lbs at 6d. per lb. to bring 31/-, not bad after a five day drive.

Station life was leisurely for the most part. The men had good horses and an exceptional pack team of about 40 in total.

The “community” dog team of wire-haired Irish terrier type was replaced by each man with his own dogs. Pig hunting was considered good sport although not quite up to the 1920’s when Sam Wai Wai, on his own, bailed and caught 120 pigs in a Sunday afternoon.

About this time the first deer appeared – a mob of 12 crossed the river from Waireka creating great clamour for a rifle as the deer sauntered off. Deer later became so numerous as to be a nuisance, and this all within a period of 10 years. Later deer were so plentiful they could be shot from the homestead verandah in the early morning.

Fishing, likewise, was a recreation and although fish were never plentiful they were generally in good condition.

The year 1927 saw Major Armstrong, his wife, Irene, and family – John 20, Diana, 17 and just left school, Richard, 14 at Christ’s College, and Judith, 7, move from Dannevirke into the new house on the station.

The arrival of this widely respected family added a new dimension to the station, and the district as a whole.

However, by 1930, declining fortunes and circumstances saw stock numbers slipping and slowly but remorselessly reversion took control of an ever increasing area. The permanent staff was reduced to three, and only minimum maintenance was carried out.

The slump of the 1930’s accelerated this decline although some scrub was cut by relief gangs. The road was completed and the first vehicle (the Major’s Dodge) heralded a new chapter of communication. The 1938 flood, however, effectively closed the road for six months, isolating most of the district.

A tar-sealed tennis court was put down by the men and used freely for a time, although later it became neglected.

Staff changes saw Nicholson and Broad depart, and Alan Hedley and Doug Moroney appear. Ivan Allan continued.

The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 left only two permanent staff. Later Areta Gilbert was employed as a shepherd to replace Messrs Hedley and Moroney.

With stock numbers held at 5000 sheep the wool production had dropped to 100 large bales.

1941 Army registration and volunteering left Major Armstrong and Areta Gilbert as permanent staff. Later that year the Major died aged 63 years.

The Guardian Trust was appointed trustees for the estate and with Dick (the only living son) in camp they assumed complete control. Ivan Allan returned as manager and the whole place was mustered. Eight hundred cattle were sold in the Wairoa saleyards leaving 200 cows and heifers as capital stock for the property, together with 5000 sheep (2100 breeding ewes}.

Photo captions –




During this time the Guardian Trust sold some 29,000 acres to W. Angus. All of this area comprised virgin bush with access from the Willow Flat. The cutting rights of this bush were later sold to Robt. Holt & Sons Ltd., it still being extensively milled today.

The war years saw little change until 1946 when Dick Armstrong returned to assume control. Ivan Allan departed, completing 28 years of almost continuous residence on the station – the longest association of any with Maungataniwha.

Dick, and his wife, Dorothy, moved into the homestead and assumed full control with assistance from Bill Brock and Bill Te Kahu.

A Caterpillar crawler was purchased and some discing carried out.

Ron Bell, Norm Sutton and Stan Bayly all helped with the work at different times. Farming operations increasingly centred on the country beyond the back whare as scrub reversion had completely taken control of the homestead paddocks. A road was constructed to the back whare.

In 1947 Dick and Dorothy Armstrong moved to a Hastings property to enable the children attend school. Bill Brock became manager, and staff included, at different times, King Carroll, Bill Te Kahu, Claude Davis, Trevor Brosnahan, Dick Bennison, Nigel Stewart, Ken Pippos.

The station stagnated through the 1950’s with little being completed by way of improvement. The scrub reversion meanwhile was unrelenting.

The Romney sheep were changed to Perendales and the lambing percentage increased, with the annual wool average being 130 bales. One hundred and fifty to one hundred and eighty tons of fertilizer was flown direct from Napier and Dick Armstrong flew a private plane to the station at times to supervise busy periods.

In 1969 the property was divided and sold in two parts so ending a 50-year association the Armstrong family had with Maungataniwha. A. Angus purchased 3000 acres of the back country, and G. Kelt & Co. Ltd., 4000 acres of the homestead country. Most of the stock of 8000 sheep and 250 head of cattle were sold to Angus, while Bob Relph, the new manager for Kelt & Co. Ltd., commenced with only 300-400 sheep.

An ambitious discing and development programme was commenced by Kelt and with adequate capital available the grassed area has been increased to 1800 acres presently carrying 3700 sheep and 280 head of cattle.

The property is at present under the capable management of John Bulled, assisted by John Laking.

In almost 100 years the small clearing in the bush progressed to become a large, prosperous, well run station employing many men.

Hard times and adversity were to follow and the place, choked with scrub, before finally being divided up and sold. It is tremendously satisfying today to see the remanents [remnants] of a once great station on the road to recovery – but  this time utilising all man’s innovations and machinery – a  far cry from a small remote tent camp in the bush.

Photo captions –




SATURDAY, January 16,1937

President:  MR H.A. MOSSMAN


1. District Horse Jump
First prize £3, second £1, third 10s. Entrance 3s 6d.

2. Flag Race (Maiden Horse)
First prize £1 10s, second 15s, third 5s. Entrance 3s.

3. Best Station Hack For Horse Most Suitable for Station Work
First prize £1 10s, second 15s, third 5s. Entrance 3s.

4. Maiden Horse Jump (Open)
First prize £3, second £1, third 5s. Entrance 4s 6d.

5. Bending Event (Maiden Horse)
First prize £1 10s, second 15s, third 5s. Entrance 3s.

6. Open Leap
First prize £4, second £2, third 10s. Entrance 7s 6d.

7. Potato Race
First prize £1 10s, second 15s, third 5s. Entrance 3s.

8. 100 Yards Flat Handicap
First Trophy, second Trophy. Entrance 2s 6d.

9. Turning Race (Open)
First prize £1 10s, second 15s, third 5s. Entrance 3s.

10. Open Jump (Hunters)
First prize £4, second £2, third £1. Entrance 7s 6d.

11. Whip and Bottle
Sweepstake. Entrance 3s.

12. Tug-o’-War
First prize £1 4s, second 12s. Entrance 1s. Team of six.

13. Tilting-the-Ring
Sweepstake. Entrance 3s.

14. “Tryers” Horse Jump
Sweepstake.  For horses which have not won a jumping event in sports or show since 1st August, 1934.

Side Events   Children’s and Ladies’ Races   Childrens’ Riding
Chain Stepping and Nail Driving

The Club reserves the right to alter this Programme in any way thought necessary by the Committee or substitute for prize money trophies that may be donated.

PROTESTS. – All Protests must be lodged with the Secretary 15 minutes after close of event.  Fee 10s 6d. returnable if protest is upheld.

Second and third prize money will not be paid unless there are seven or more entries.

Six entries or no event.

Dever Cup, donated by Mr A. Dever, for competitor scoring most points at the meeting. District Event not to count. To be held by the winner for 12 months only. Miniature to be presented.


Hot Water Provided   DANCE IN EVENING   Admission – Double 3s, Single 2s.
Admission to Grounds – Non-Members 2s.
This Club in Conforming to the Rules and Regulations set down by the Sports Association.

L.W. BURT, Hon. Secretary



Sometime in 1881 M. R. Miller took up 6000 acres of freehold, together with some 8000 acres of Education Department lease and called the new station Waireka (sweet water). A registered land agent, and well known speculator throughout Hawke’s Bay, Mr Miller did not live on the property but employed Mr Anderson as manager, and Ben Glass as shepherd.

Tom Webb later took over as manager late in the 1890’s. A small cottage and a manuka pole woolshed were built, the property being stocked with Merino sheep.

Much of the Hawke’s Bay land was first taken up by speculators who built houses, stocked the land, starting the stations off before quickly selling at some profit.

So it was with Waireka, Mr Tom Carswell purchased Waireka and went to live on the station. A man of some energy and vision, he set about the task of building the station up.

Stock numbers were increased to 16,000 sheep, and the first cattle introduced to the station. Additional land, 3000 acres up the Waiau, together with 2000 acres north of Mangaone were purchased bringing the total area to 19,000 acres. A wool-wash was built on the Otoi boundary, and some fencing erected. A substantial 12-stand woolshed was built later in 1907, and the original cottage which was burnt down was replaced by a comfortable 10-roomed homestead.

Ben Glass managed the station until 1908, early shepherds including Bert Pritchard, Tom Spiller and Mick Sharon. Jim Maloney was packman.

At this period in the early 1900’s the station was at its peak as a well known grazing run. Even so life on the station itself was pretty bleak. The men worked seven days a week, from daylight to dark – even a roaring westerly gale would be no excuse for a pack-horse not to work, let alone the men. Living conditions likewise were very spartan with little contact with other men as the staff were only permitted one trip to town per year.

Mr William Tombleson, from Gisborne, purchased the station in 1910 and farmed it for a short period before he died. Gordon Johnstone managed the estate until it was sold in 1912 to Mr J.B. Carmichael.

Mr Carmichael was a well respected farmer, and a gentleman, the property continuing to thrive under his ownership. However, with the outbreak of war came staff shortages and labour became increasingly difficult to hold. Much of the back country started to

deteriorate with large areas becoming neglected as stock numbers declined. One shepherd, Jack McDonald, was later to become manager of the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Co-operative Association Ltd. in Wairoa.

In 1916 James Simon Jessep purchased Waireka from Carmichael. This increased Jessep’s holdings to over 30,000 acres as he was farming the adjacent Waihi Station.

Mick Sharon, formerly shepherd, became manager before leaving for active service. He in turn was followed by Archie Gray, with Leslie Dalgleish as shepherd. Mrs Gray and the governess were the only European women in the district at this time. How lonely life must have seemed to them.

Development on the station remained at a standstill until 1919 when George Reynolds, from Gisborne, purchased Waireka. Jack O’Grady became manager, shepherds including Arthur Pittar, with Bill Torbett as cowboy.

Bush felling began in 1922 with 600 acres being cleared at the back, north of the Mangaone. Sonny White, Frank Nixon, Hawkins, and Dixie Cooper cut a further 400 acres the following year.

This period of the “golden twenties” saw a lot of progress on the station. A back slab whare was built in 1921 by the Wells brothers who were fencing. The middle whare was built by Norman Smith. Both these whares enabled staff to camp on the job in relative “comfort.”

Access to the station was by way of the Pihanui bridle track until 1922 when a dray road connected Otoi with Putere, the Waiau River still formed a formidable barrier. Wool was packed out in pockets until 1921 when a big wool press was installed and three years’ wool clips, over 800 bales, were stored in the big woolshed awaiting completion of the new road and an improvement in prices. A cage was strung across the Waiau in 1922 by Jack O’Grady, this being used to transport wool and passengers across the river.

A. T. Dever (Andy) assumed managership in 1923. A single man, aged 25, he was noted or his interest in dog trials and horses, and was a keen participant In the Putere Horse Sports. He married Catherine (“Ciss”) Crarer in 1925, and began their family at Waireka.

Mrs Dever was a remarkable woman with a certain charm, cooking at times for up to 10 men with five young children of her own she earned the love, respect and admiration of all. Was there ever a woman who worked so hard, and much of the success of the station should be attributed to the welding-force of Mrs Dever.

A large staff included Mr and Mrs Couglan, Tom Ryan, Jim Sweeney, Taff Paterson, all of whom lived in the homestead together with the Dever family. Later staff included Henry, Gordon and Roy Goodley, the Roderick brothers, Jack Hill, Stan Mercer, Ray Ireland and Bill Beecham. George Lewis cut scrub and Dougal Gray (one armed) cut 1100 acres unassisted. Vid White and Vern Shapland outlasted most other staff – the boss being considered rather difficult to please.

The slum of the thirties saw the increasing neglect of the back country and declining stock numbers. Relief gangs did cut some scrub in the handier paddocks.

Deer and pigs became an ever-increasing problem as the scrub and fern spread. By 1944 the pig problem was so serious that out of 150 ewes in the Bald Hill paddock only one lamb was docked. In the winter of 1938 the Government culler, George Bolton shot 800 deer with 1000 rounds – plentiful indeed!

Approximately 80-100 bullocks were sold annually together with 1000 wethers.

In 1939 Mrs Dever moved to Wairoa to enable her family, Alan, Tom, Colin, Graham and Janet, to complete their education.

Various station cooks came and went (a book could be written about these men alone), although the staff was at a minimum.

Mick Sharon, Dave Hamilton, Gilbert Hurae, Doug Moroney, Harry and Jim Lancaster, Harry Moore and Dick Lissette all assisted for short periods throughout the war years, as did Paul and Frank Lambert. Frank’s celebrated dog named “Tan” was the envy of the other shepherds.

The station stagnated and the district, generally, emptied of people. This occured in most country areas as the men went to war. However, by 1946 men returned with confidence and development began

Photo captions –



once again. Angus Osler and Ken Scheele completed discing contracts.

Shearing remained a busy time with up to eight shearers riding from Tuai and Waikaremoana. Shearing in earlier years is best recalled by the arrival of some 50 Maoris, all ages, shapes and sizes, complete with about 30 hacks and pack horses, half as many children and about the same number of dogs (without chains). Each man was paid individually and not for a number of years did a “contract” system begin. Sam Wai Wai was a well known gang boss in earlier days.

A shearer’s quarters was rebuilt after the war.

The Dever boys all worked on the station at different times as shepherds, and for varying periods. In 1949, Mr Reynolds, as a mark of respect to the Dever family, sold the station under very liberal terms. The purchaser was a partnership comprising Andy Dever and his four sons as equal partners. The property carried 5650 sheep (4000 ewes) and 900 cattle, all grazed in the eight main blocks plus Hawkin’s paddock for the hoggets and dry cattle.

The wool price boom of 1950-51 launched the partnership to a great start. A TD6 bulldozer was purchased and discing commenced (40-80 acres per year). While some scrub was cut the main emphasis was on topdressing and fencing. Dixie Cooper split 5000 posts in 1949. A logging road was constructed right through the property to enable Williams and Petterson to take advantage of the bush cutting rights they had earlier purchased from George Reynolds. Taffy Davis, E. J. Rattray, Harry Adsett and the Brown brothers all worked on this road.

Mr Andy Dever joined his wife in Wairoa in 1950 leaving his four sons to run the station with Alan in charge.

Andy died prematurely in 1952, survived by his wife and four sons and a daughter.

At this stage none of the Dever boys had married so both Waireka Station and Otoi Station consisted mainly of single men. These men, together with such imports as Mason Horne, Tunny Davis, Townie Waterhouse, Norm Theobald and Alan Begg managed somehow to while away those leisure hours with both educational and cultural pursuits! Courting proceeded apace and despite all predictions the four Dever brothers had married within a few years.

Three new houses were built and the old homestead became the men’s quarters. Both stock numbers and production were increasing and by 1955, 1260 cattle and 9600 sheep were carried. The wool clip comprised 66,400-lbs in total, an improvement of 6000-lbs on the previous year. The average wool weight for a big sheep was 8.3-lb and 2.8-lb for lambs. Jim Reid continued as general hand until his death in 1958 ended a long association with the Putere district.

The station progressed steadily, a sheep bridge being put over the Mangaone with various paddocks being tracked. Hawkins, Tawa Flat and Ngaputahi were all ring fenced and topdressed out of logging royalties.

General maintenance continued with some development as and when finance permitted. Cliff paddock was disced by Dick Walker in 1960.

Logging of the Ngaputahi bush yielded an average of three trucks and two trailers of native logs (mainly rimu and matai) every day, six days of the week. Tom Skudder and sons, Tom, Bill, Gary and Eric spent almost eight years on this work. A tragic plane crash occurred in the logging area, the remains not being discovered for two years. The old homestead, by now men’s quarters, burnt down in 1961, all records of the station being destroyed.

In 1964 the brothers decided to sell, and on March 2 the Lands and Survey Department purchased 10,976 freehold acres and 7854 acres of leasehold for 133,000 pounds. Stock comprising 9000 sheep and 1700 cattle were sold at valuation.

This sale concluded a 41 year association the Dever family had with Waireka. Williams and Kettle Ltd., Wairoa, also had a long association with the property, and negotiated the sale.

The Lands and Survey Department was unfortunately forced to change the name of the station to Mangaone to avoid confusion with another property they farm having the same name. Paddy Rutherford was appointed supervisor, a position he still holds today.

Mr D.C. Hamilton first managed for the department – his staff included Vic Bielski, head shepherd, Tommy Langford, musterer, Doug Hazlett, fencer.

Large scale development first began with 900 acres (part of Lewis and Whenaunui blocks) being crushed out of scrub, disced and sown. Murray Grant was the contractor with the price being 8 pounds per acre which compares with $26 per acre today for crushing only. Bill Skudder was also contract bulldozing.

Tommy Langford became manager in 1965. A competent stockman and very good company, Tommy was a popular identity in the district. Staff included Vic Bielski, head shepherd, Ron Westcott, Robert Bryson and Areta Gilbert who were engaged as musterers.

The big airstrip was built and a large super bin followed in 1968 constructed by Gordon Baird.

Jim Crane managed for a short period in 1966 before Russell Baty was appointed the managership. Having gained some experience at Tutira and elsewhere, Russell, his wife, Dolores, and family of eight comprising five boys and three girls, soon made a big impact on the property and district as a whole. Walker Gilbert as cowboy-rouseabout, was joined by Bruce and Chris Baty as shepherds with Coin Young as head shepherd.

Photo caption – GRAHAM, COLIN, TOM and ALAN DEVER

Photo captions –








Development exploded – within month’s of Russell’s arrival 17 fencers were on the station and completed 27 miles in one year. The balance of the Lewis block, 1200 acres, was crushed, cultivated and sown by Miller and Pine. A scrub gang cut 350 acres in the Kaitawa and scrub paddocks at a cost of 10 pounds per acre. Stockyards were built by Doug Hazlett.

At this stage significant stock increases began with the transfer of 1600 wethers and 500 bullocks from other Lands and Survey Department stations. Of the 4600 acres total in grass, 2000 acres were new country requiring heavy grazing with dry stock to control reversion. Paddocks were subdivided down to 250 acres average and large mobs of wethers and bullocks did their work.

The experience and capital of the department soon paid dividends in the form of improved pastures. New grass sown with 4 cwt. of superphosphate received another 4 cwt. per acre in the spring, and a further 2 cwt. the following autumn, all sown with DDT prills. By 1969 stock numbers had dramatically climbed to 10,100 ewes, 8500 wethers, 4100 hoggets, 800 cows, 1000 bullocks, 220 heifers and 260 yearlings, many transferred from other stations or bought in.

G. Pine crushed and cultivated 500 acres, and fencing was continued with Charlie Te Aho as contractor. Lower Waiau (300 acres) was crushed and sown by Bill Skudder while Roly Keetly completed a cutting contract. Lofty Eliot, Jim Theobald and Philip Nicklin fenced. Permanent staff included Merv Pritchard, Tony Barber, Bruce and Chris Baty.  Ron Borrie. The manager, meanwhile was largely occupied servicing the various contractors, up to nine at one time living in tents, huts, and camps scattered around the station.

In 1971 a large road was opened up eight miles through the property, almost to the middle whare. This has since been double fenced greatly improving the workability of things.

The last three years on the station have mainly been ones of consolidation. All the buildings have been renovated and painted, and improvements generally maintained to a very high standard.

Presently the station comprising 19,400 acres carries 23,500 sheep and 3300 cattle on 7000 acres of grass maintained by 600 tons of manure. Permanent staff include Bruce Baty, head shepherd, John Poki and Robin Goldsmith, shepherds, Colin Harpur, fencer and Paddy Guinane, “land clearing officer”.

A dog trial club commenced in 1972 and the inaugural run by the judge (Bill Percy) was certainly memorable for all who saw it.

Russell and Dolores are a wonderful asset to the district, serving on most of the various committees. They are respected by all. Their family, likewise, is something of an institution with three of their sons having worked as shepherds on the station.

The district looks to the future of (Mangaone) with a good deal of confidence, the ultimate settlement scheme of approximately 20 farms may take some years to materialise but in the meantime the station and staff are progressing steadily.

Photo caption – STOCKYARDS AT MIDDLE WHARE, 1920


In the early days, 1913 onwards, Bill Pilson was stationed at Pihanui and was responsible for the top of the Cricklewood Road together with the Maungataniwha, Waireka and Woodlands pack tracks. Tom Fox was the first resident Putere roadman camped below the school in early 1922. in 1924 a four acre reserve and roadman’s cottage was built in the valley. Prior to this, in 1916, the formed roads stopped at the Pihanui gate. This was extended to Woodland’s turn-off and Skudder’s cattle stop in 1917.

The slump of 1921 saw big road gangs of up to 60 men under Stan Walker, as engineer, continue the road past the present school, almost to Lake Rotongaio. “Rangiora Bill” completed the last few chain to the Dip and Yards by himself the following year.

Maungataniwha shifted their pack shed from Pihanui to this point in 1925. The Wairoa County Council meanwhile constructed a dray road from Lake Rotonui-a-ha down to the Waiau to provide access to Otoi and Waireka.

Sam Brannigan, Dick Daniels and Bill Sutherland all followed as resident roadmen.

From 1926 until 1928 the Putere Road was extended up the valley by horse and scoop to Gange’s gate. Jack Jones became permanent roadman, followed by Jim Dornon in 1933.

The slump of 1931-32 saw big road gangs again, this time under the very competent engineer, Hec Mayhead.

On the completion of the Maungataniwha Road, Hec Mayhead and part of the gang moved to Waireka and built 2 miles connecting Waireka with the Waiau River. Jack Kennedy (resident at Putere Lake) was responsible for maintenance of the new road from Putere to Waireka.

The road was pushed a further nine miles into Maungataniwha. No machinery was used, and like earlier gangs these men relied entirely on the pick and shovel.

Jack Jones, jnr., lived out beyond Torbett’s gate and was responsible for the Torbett-Maungataniwha Road, while Jim Dornan continued in the valley.

“Townie” Waterhouse followed Jack Jones in 1939, remaining for many years until 1957 when the second roadman’s job was discontinued.

Jack Hawkins followed Jim Dornan in 1940, he being succeeded by Jack Cornelius in 1943.

The Otoi bridge was opened in 1940, so completing an important link to Waireka and Otoi. Mike Everest became a part-time roadman in 1956, following Jack Cornelius as permanent roadman in 1960. He was armed with the first tractor with a front end loader in 1962.

About this time, September 12, 1962, power was put into the district. From February through to April all the locals working in gangs cleared the line, dragged and erected the poles, and ran the wires the five miles from the Mohaka River to Putere. Then assisted by two Wairoa Electric Power Board gangs reticulated the power to Torbett’s and Matches’ and over to Waireka, a total of some 20 miles, to provide power for 23 houses, 10 woolsheds and nine outbuildings.

The Hydro Electricity Department had roaded from Otoi Station to the ram paddock in 1946 to service their new tower line. Most of this road became a country road, being called Ruapapa Road. Further roading of Otoi was done in 1968, linking Ruapapa Road with Waireka Road to service more settlement. Later, in 1971, eight miles were done on Mangaone.

Photo caption – Areta Gilbert, a popular identity, became roadman in 1965, still holding the position today servicing some 35 miles.



Sometime about 1890, a certain Harry Hutchinson obtained signatures of the Maori landowners to a lease for some 4,500 acres which he called “Kaimanuka”. He sold these signatures for £300 each to Henry Albert Mossman, and so the property changed hands and was renamed Woodlands. H.A. Mossman was a man of considerable property and assets, and so never lived at Woodlands but engaged his brother, William, to act as overseer.

At this time the “Ferndale” block (two separate titles), totalling 1,300 acres, was included in the station.

A homestead was built in 1907, and prior to this the men probably lived in a tent or camp or perhaps “cherry whare” – a slab whare with a shingle roof situated in the “Waitori” block, and still in use today at odd times.

All the original fences were of split totara and matai posts, with rimu or matai battens. A slab woolshed was built and was in use until 1956.

To quote H.A. Mossman, “it would take a book, and a very big one, to give an idea of the trouble we had to break in the place to carry a very few sheep. Some of the contractors said they hardly ever saw their whares because they left so early and came back so late. Access was so poor, that I made a one-way track from the house to the top road (Putere Road) at my own expense, other than a matter of £150 the government granted us.”

“Carter’s Clearing” (in the Maori bush) dates back to the early 1900’s when a mob of cattle being driven overland crossed the Mohaka River and escaped over-night. Mr Carter, anxious to recover the cattle, cleared a small area of bush hoping the cattle would return to the clearing the following year.

Needless to say the cattle made their own arrangements and so eventually contributed to the growing mob of wild cattle. Working at Woodlands formed an integral part of the education of the Mossman boys, including Pyncent, Bert, Dilworth, Charlie, Tom and Alex.

In 1927, Mr Pyncent Mossman (a nephew of H.A.) farmed the station for a short period before it once again reverted to H.A. Mossman. In the early 1920’s Mr Mossman sub-leased the “Ferndale” portion of the station to Mr Bob Vallance. A slab whare was built and he attempted to farm this area before finally relinquishing it.

Mr Mossman then sub-leased the same area to Mr John Burt who likewise worked hard and struggled on for some two and a half years before moving over to take up Robertson’s property from the Crown.

Mr Harvey Hairs with his wife and two daughters (Carol and Evelyn) lived at Ferndale for a period.

Two families (Orbells and Richards) lived in the cherry whare during the late twenties (the men were doing scrub cutting and fencing), their children attending the Putere School along with the Atkinsons’. Mr Atkinson managed Woodlands for a period.

H.A. still kept an active interest in the property and the district, being president of the Putere Sports Club for a number of years. His nephew, Charlie Mossman, managed the property for him, and in his own words, “my greatest help was Charlie. He was a fair worker and I gave him a great deal of money to spend. This he spent wonderfully well in every respect.”

Charlie built a strong bridge over the creek (Tukipapa) which is still there doing great duty.

The earthquake in 1931 caused some 90 odd acres to subside into the Mohaka River, burying some 20 cattle and 70 sheep. In addition it caused considerable damage to the cottage at Ferndale.

In 1938 Woodlands passed to a farming partnership comprised of Tom and Alexander Mossman (H.A. Mossman’s sons). Mr Tom Mossman lived on the property and employed Charlie Denton as manager. No large scale development was attempted although much time and capital was expended rebuilding fences.

As the Putere School was closed through lack of numbers, children on the property were educated by correspondence in a two room schoolhouse which is still in use today – but  as a hayshed.

A cottage was built in the late 1930’s and Tom Mossman married in 1942. The homestead, meanwhile, was well maintained and an orchard was planted together with a number of poplars and pines all about the station.

Mr Tom Mossman was noted for his interest in the shows, and together with his well known horse, “Gayboy”, collected many prizes.

Mr Mossman moved to Hastings for a period and Charlie Denton returned as manager. Tom, himself, later returned again to Woodlands before moving to Wairoa, leaving Bill Willis as manager. Tom died in 1956, and so a partnership of his Estate, together with his brother, Alex, continued to farm the property. Alex supervising, and later Mr Le Quesne. About this time the Ferndale leases expired and were relinquished, and so the station became 3,300 acres which it remains today. Ferndale, itself, has remained unoccupied in recent years until the present moment when the New Zealand Forest Service is planting it in pine trees.

Morrie Logan became the manager of Woodlands and was faced with the problem of ageing improvements in poor repair. A new woolshed was built and much of the fencing renovated by Bill Willis until he moved to another Mossman property at Hangaroa. Morrie Logan drew a ballot farm at Kotemaori and was followed by a succession of managers including Richard Rolls, Ron Ireland, Bill Annan, Barney Scott, John Deans, Don Smith and Michael Archer.

Neville Rofe (whose uncle was cook on the station some 35 years previously) managed for a period and was followed by the present manager, Gavin Radford, together with his wife, Rhonda.

Staff include married shepherd, “Cookie” Green and fencer general Chris Podjursky. A new 1,700 sq. ft. homestead was built for the manager in 1974 to replace the old homestead burnt down in 1966. The cottage was extensively renovated at the same time.

In 1972 the partnership was dissolved and David Mossman (son of Tom) purchased the property and so became the third generation Mossman to own the station.

The station has seen considerable change in the past three years with large scale top-dressing and fencing programmes. Stock numbers have rapidly increased to the present capacity of 3,500 sheep and 700 cattle.

Woodlands is attacking with vigour the concept of farm forestry having planted some 400 acres in pinus radiata in the past two years with further acreage to follow.

It is pleasing to see the pride the Mossman family take in the property, especially so that after three generations the station is making spectacular progress once again.




It is a pleasure for me to accept the invitation of your Committee to write a short foreword for your Jubilee Magazine, and I trust that the magazine will serve as a valuable and interesting record to commemorate the school’s fifty years of service to Education.

In congratulating the school on this memorable occasion, I would like to express the Board’s appreciation of the valuable contributions made by pupils, teachers and parents, not only to the growth of the school but also to the influence and standing it now enjoys in the community.

To the Jubilee Committee responsible for the celebration I extend congratulations and trust that their efforts will be a means of stimulating pride and continued interest in the school. I sincerely hope that all taking part in the celebrations will find the reunion with past and present pupils a happy and stimulating experience.

On behalf of my Board, I wish the school, its pupils, staff and supporters very best wishes for a successful reunion.

Hawke’s Bay Education Board.

Chapter 1

By Clifford King

On the 22nd June, 1924, Mrs Burt, accompanied by her daughter, Nellie, travelled by service car to Raupunga and then by horse to Putere to join her husband, John, and son, Jack, who had leased Ferndale from H.A. Mossman. Being educated people, they were disappointed at there being no school in the district.

An approach was made to W.C. Dunn, secretary, Hawke’s Bay Education Board, with a view to commencing a school at Putere. After some deliberation (but no inspection) the board gave Mr Burt the authority to commence a school on a trial basis only.

Wheeler’s whare (then vacant) was selected as a schoolhouse, and his 20-year-old daughter, Nellie, was appointed teacher at a salary of [£]1 per month.

Nellie had had previous teaching experience at Hastings West and so relished the thought of being able to work in the district. Mr Burt, meanwhile, collected the first stationery and the board supplied some essential requisites – 1 box white chalk, 1 box coloured chalk, 2 dusters, 1 blackboard and an easel (desks were not supplied until later on).

An {And] so, on May 4, 1925, school first opened with the following enrolments: Lindsay Burt, Maybel and Edward Sharon, Toby and Areta Gilbert, Myra, Dora and Jimmy Muir, and Stewart Matheson.

In the teacher’s own words, “There was no road in the early days so the Gilberts’ and the Sharons’ walked to school by way of the ”wool-wash” track. Three Muir children rode one horse, some days when there was a lot of snow or bad storm, it was quite ridiculous to venture out. I felt like an intrepid explorer catching my horse, riding for a couple of miles through high scrub, many times in terrible weather. However, I did enjoy it as the children were so co-operative and eager to learn. They were good children, really, and had confidence from the beginning due, mainly, I think, to the close association I had with their parents. Mrs Gilbert and Mrs Sharon were especially nice when we met them.”

Because it was cold in winter Miss Burt made the children hot cocoa at lunchtime.

“It was not comfortable in Wheeler’s whare with pumice dust blowing in, this together with an increasing school roll made for rather cramped, crowded and uncomfortable conditions.”

The Education Board did provide a kerosene heater following an early inspection, but at first rejected the idea of a new building, ’the district being considered too remote’. However, after repeated representations from Mr Burt (the parent commissioner responsible for the school), approval for a site and building was received on June 22, 1926. The first building, 16ft 6ins by 11ft, was weatherboard with an iron roof and an open fire.

The new site was cleared and the Kanuka chopped and burnt. Bert Habgood carted the timber and materials for the new building in a wagon drawn by an eight horse team via the Cricklewood Road. The new building was erected, also a flag-pole put up.

“I was required to raise the flag once per week, and the children salute the flag and sing the National Anthem. I recall even Anzac Day, there being no school I was nevertheless encouraged to ride down to the school, raise the flag, then later in the day return to lower it. Locals noted that this patriotic duty was performed. Early life was rigid and unemotional with one desire but to survive. There was little time for frivolous thought or recreation.”

The erection of the new building held special significance for the district – not only was the school in more comfortable quarters, but church was held every fifth Sunday (conducted by Mr Ernest Way from Putorino), and several dances.

A tennis court, erected by Hec Mayhead and his road gang was very popular. The district experienced its first sophisticated recreation.

Administration of the school was the responsibility of two commissioners, Mr Burt and Mr Matheson. A shed for the saddles was put up as the bulk of the children, and the teacher, still rode to school.

A typical day followed the Education Board syllabus: 9am. arrival, speech training, “how now brown cow”, etc., followed by English, writing. Singing was very popular accompanied by a wind-up gramaphone [gramophone] and nursery rhyme records sent up by Arnold Perry (2ZP Wairoa Radio).

The teacher, meanwhile, had salary increases including £40 per annum remote allowance.

The arrival of the first truck – Bert Habgood’s solid tyred Thornycroft, caused school to stop as the children gazed in wonder.

The school was inspected from time to time by the Education Board, but most of the inspectors, however, were too preoccupied with worries of the return trip to show much interest in the proceedings. However, their presence did provide some change to the routine. The standard of education must have been fairly satisfactory as two children who left school early, just in time to sit examinations in Hastings, came second and third respectively in their class.

The school roll increased and the building was enlarged by 90 square feet to 16ft 6ins by 16ft 6ins.

“The earthquake, February 3, 1931, occurred first during play-time at 10.40 am. The ground began to shake, quickly followed by a loud banging along the bluffs. I gathered all the children on the firm ground beside the flagpole and we watched as the brick chimney fell down. The horses, frightened, galloped up to us. Mr Horne soon appeared and ordered the school closed, soon followed by my mother carrying parcels of bandages. However, miraculously, no one was hurt.”

Access to the school, meanwhile, was by pumice path from the road. The grounds consisted mainly of high fern 15 feet from the building. The school enclosure, about a quarter acre, was clumpy cut grass while the balance ((five and a half acres) formed the horse paddock. Pine tree plants donated by H. A. Mossman, were planted by the children in 1936. Firewood for the open fire was mainly collected by the children although Toby Gilbert was later paid to do this chore.

The families gradually grew up the – Gilbert’s, Sharon’s, Kaaho’s, Horne’s, Dever’s, Hare’s, Brown’s, Atkinson’s, Bayly’s – all  received their tuition from Miss Burt as did many others (see the roll page).

“By 1936 I decided I had had enough pioneering and moved to take up a teaching position at Taradale, accepting £250 per annum, this being £90 less than my grade 1 position at Putere.

“Teaching, I considered, was the only worthwhile job for me, and I loved it. I noticed during later teaching appointments the children seldom seemed as happy and adventuresome as those few at Putere.”

The departure of Miss Burt concludes the first chapter of our school’s history.

Chapter 2

By Owen Costley

This is the decade in the school’s history following after the departure of Miss Burt until the temporary closure of the school in 1947.

During the period of the closure all written records were misplaced completely and past teachers, for varied reasons, have been difficult to contact, so that this record becomes the “Gospel according to the Pupils of the Day”.

This was an era dominated by the war years and the way of life and activities were typical of so many patriotic New Zealanders. Shepherds were in general difficult to obtain, and with man-power regulations the population of the district was at a minimum.

The story of the Putere School unfolded under the guidance of a number of teachers, male and female, young and old, the first of which was Mr G.E. Tracey (1937-39). At this time he was married but had no family. He constructed his own house, at his own expense, out of Public Works huts.

Mr Tracey was the proud owner of the latest model (1936) V8 Ford car, and also one of the few radios in the district which proved popular for important evening broadcasts, but was used regularly for the daily afternoon broadcasts to schools.

The school roll was approximately 15 pupils from the Dever, Dunlop, Gilbert, Horne, Morten and Sharon families. The majority rode to school daily with up to a dozen horses circling the rather large horse paddock. It became a team effort to catch and despatch these horses each afternoon

Very few had saddles, and this mode of transport while somewhat uncomfortable in cold and wet weather, no doubt had its compensations in providing the necessities for many pranks and a means of competition, both organised and disorganised.

The Devers from Waireka and the Dunlops from Pihanui, rode from Matheson’s where they stayed Monday to Friday. Mr Tracey was an enthusiastic gardener and is remembered as maintaining very neat surroundings, but with considerable assistance from the pupils. He is survived by his wife, now living in Kati-Kati, and two daughters, Colleen and Rene. There was no school committee, as such, in this era, the liaison with the Education Board being a commissioner. From 1936 to 1939 Mr Burt was the commissioner and also caretaker of the school buildings and grounds.

Mr Matheson became commissioner during 1939 and continued to 1945. However, an increasing amount of the caretaker’s duties were taken over by the pupils.

Most of the teachers were keen gardeners and the immediate surrounds of the school were immaculately kept, but the fern flourished further out, nourished by the contents of “shallow graves”, dug by reluctant lads in which many a ”Chinaman” was buried.

A relieving teacher followed Mr Tracey in 1939. Doug Bott was a single man and his stay was quite brief. The teacher in balance 1939-40, was John Egan, an accomplished footballer having played full-back for Southland. Mr Egan is remembered also for his singing ability, but was not able to impart much rugby knowledge to a mixed tribe of 17 boys and girls.

Families represented at the school were Gilbert, Hawkin, Horne, Shapland, Sharon and later the Surreys. John Egan left at the end of 1940 for the Army at Fort Dorset and is now headmaster at a prominent Southland school in Gore.

Marie Robins (now Mrs Rieper) became the teacher in 1941 and hailed from Hawke’s Bay. While the previous teachers stayed with the Horne’s, Miss Robins boarded at Surrey’s. The roll was now approximately 20 pupils.

Boy versus girl football was the main out-of-school activity, with a weekly swim in the lake. Marbles were played with macrocarpa cones and juggling was popular with “bean bags”. Miss Robins returned to Napier.

Early 1942 saw the arrival of A.E. Kinsella, an Army engineer invalided home from the war. He stayed for approximately six months and boarded at the Horne’s. It is recalled that Mr Kinsella was appointed to Putere School but opted for war service in preference, and it was not until returning home he took up the appointment there was no escaping. Arthur Kinsella later became Postmaster-General then Minister of Education, and returned to Putere on two occasions to open new classrooms. He is now teaching in Auckland.

Mid-1942 saw the arrival of Kitty Strothers, then Margaret McGregor, both first year p.a. teachers who boarded at Horne’s. School life was fairly routine except that during the period of these two young ladies the level of discipline was determined more by the pupils than the teacher.

1943 to 1945 the teacher was Ray Hill from Napier, and he stayed at Horne’s at the outset. The roll was approximately 21, at this time representing the Gilberts, Hawkins, Horne, Kahu, Sharon and Surrey families. The

roll “crashed” when the six Hawkins children left but they were replaced by two Cornelius children.

Mr Cornelius was the new roadman, and before long Ray Hill moved to stay with this family. Fewer horses were now coming to school but the horse paddock was just as large. Levels of discipline were again in the hands of the teacher and was administered from those very hands.

All pupils respected Mr Hill, and again the lawns and gardens were well groomed by a team of pupils with a firm overseer. Roses, polys and primroses were a well remembered feature but still with a backdrop of sturdy fern.

Pat Horne, who was home at this stage, taught sewing once a fortnight, and the boys tended the grounds. Ray Hill departed and 1945 saw a new commissioner in Mr D.B. Surrey, and a new teacher. Mr Surrey continued as commissioner until the school closed.

Shirley Norton was a city girl from Auckland in her p.a. year. She boarded at Horne’s in 1946 and is remembered as a keen P.T. advocate so the playgrounds rang daily with the flip-flop of arms and legs from 14 or 15 pupils, and particularly those of the teacher.

George Lowe, from Hastings, was also in charge in 1945. An accident early in life left him with a slightly crippled arm but this in no way detracted from this dynamic personality, a man with a keen sense of humour who was the backbone of many activities within the school and within the district. He climbed every hill in the area, and from every angle, and on many occasions jogged in from the railcar at Raupunga to his board at Horne’s, arriving in a cool and calm condition as if he had walked from the woolshed. He is remembered as a comedian and a keen hunter who spent his holidays as a guide at Mt Cook and of course later played no small part in the conquest of Everest and at the Antarctic with John Hunt and Sir Edmund Hillary. George Lowe, O.B.E., married Sir John Hunt’s daughter and now resides in England, following a period in Chile – all  a far cry from the teaching of 10 children at the Putere School.

Heather Falconer, now Mrs Ashdown, taught in the 1947 year and came from Gisborne to teach 1 Brock, 1 Cornelius, 4 Gilberts, 1 Jenkins, 1 Kahu and 2 Surreys – 10 in all.

Mr Ashdown was a carrier at Raupunga, so there was an ulterior motive for making the journey on horseback to Raupunga to “take in a movie”. The teacher boarded with the Surrey family and apparently always could muster plenty of company for the trip to see a picture.

The 1937-47 period is remembered for the patriotic sports held in 1941, 42 and 43, featuring horse events, running, tug-o-war, etc., and drawing competitors from Raupunga, Pihanui and Willow Flat, besides the locals. Proceeds were for the Patriotic Fund and Hughie Thurborn (roadman and ’smithy’) must be remembered as the call steward riding with a loud hailer on “Sue Gum”.

In the summer of 1943-44, under Arthur Kinsella’s guidance, one acre of Horne’s land was cultivated by the pupils to grow vegetables for the Army, along with mutterings of “dig for victory”. A great and varied crop of vegetables resulted, but alas, the Army could not handle them so local residents and the Wairoa Hospital became the beneficiaries. A great scheme, but only tried once!

There was a general shortage of labour – Judith Horne, a ’natural’ mechanic was man-powered to the Ford factory in Wellington) and farm work took preference over school work. Docking, shearing, hunting and other essential operations were sufficient excuse for a day or two off school.

The flood of 1938 caused serious blockages on the road and gave relief from school work for 8-10 days. The road was closed for six months, and of course was cleared by hand.

1938 also brought a substantial snowfall with a foot of snow at the school, and the country white to Raupunga. The lake above the school was frozen over. Wet weather, in itself, was not an excuse to stay home from school as one ex-pupil recounts. He frequently rode to school, got soaking wet, the teacher dried him and his clothes out, and sent him home when he promptly got wet through again. Open fires were a feature of the winter school day with cocoa made on the fire. The Education Board “apples in schools” scheme extended to Putere, but never the milk scheme. Inspectors came twice a year and the District Nurse, annually – things haven’t changed in this respect. The fire extinguisher stuck on the wall – nobody knew how, or if, it worked, and earthquake drill consisted of clearing the room with a wild stampede for the door – the smallest had the least chance.

The roll dropped to seven, and the school was closed at the end of 1947, completing an era in the school’s story. After this the majority of children left the district for schooling elsewhere.

Chapter 3

By Mabel Bennison

In 1959 l wrote to the Education Department and asked if we could retain the school as we had been told it was to be sold. A letter was returned, and we were asked to go to those people who were permanent residents and see how many children of school age would be available to start the school in 1961.

All signed the list and we found we had enough to start in 1960.

Mr P.L. Page (then general manager of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board) and Mr S.C. Priest (then assistant manager and today general manager of the board) advised us to clear all books and rubbish out and have them burnt; the old desks scrubbed, also classroom and out-buildings. This was all duly done, trees were cut and bulldozed away, and Mr Adsett came and put new windows in to let more light in and also painted the school, inside and out.

Our children started school in March, 1960, their first teaching [teacher] being John Tuahine.

The first committee members were Dick Bennison, chairman, Colin Dever, secretary, Charlie Matches, Mason Horne and Areta Gilbert.

Dick Bennison collected up all correspondence, school paper, crayons, etc., to equip the school which had no power for three years and no telephone.

Every permanent family in the district was canvassed for £1 per family, but even single shepherds gave donations (in all £24) to purchase equipment for the school to start off.

Shortly after the school opened, the Education Board forwarded a grant to get the school operating. The first committee’s tasks were to remove trees to let light into the school, and a lot of free labour and machine work was completed by interested parties such as burying large pine trees, filling gullies, etc. The next project was the purchase of a 16mm projector which was costing £300. The board allocated £100, the rest being raise locally by stock drives. The purchase led to film evenings weekly, but that died when T.V. came in.

The next major project was the laying of the tennis court which followed the erection of the first new classroom. Chemical toilets were a problem for all concerned, but flush toilets were put in with the new room.

Chapter 4    RECENT EVENTS

March 1: School reopens.
March 10: School banking started.

May 21: Putere district reticulated, power switched on at School.

May 27: New school opened by Mr A.E. Kinsella, Postmaster-General and later Minister of Education, an ex-teacher of the school.

April 18: Schoolhouse completed. Built by Mr Taylor.

December 18: Mail service commenced three times a week. Mr Tom Skudder contractor.

February 2: Education Department bus delivered for school run.
February 22: Ian McRae visited school and discussed All Black tours and assessed school pine Plantations. First school newsletter sent out.
March 13: First pet show judged by Mr Thompson. A vast variety of pets including wild pigs, deer, etc.
May 7: Automatic telephones installed. Tolls to Raupunga ceased, party lines continued.
July 23: Social studies visit to Wairoa. Free flight for all children by Cookson Airspread Ltd.

February 2: Teachers aide begins duties. First aide Mrs Tricia Caves, full-time duties five hours daily.
March 19: First flower show. Judges old pupils, P. Witters and J. Teijen
August 25: School tour to Christchurch by 19 pupils. Also stayed Wellington sightseeing there.
September 29: New school bus on fire. Smothered by driver and helpers.
December 11: School photographs taken.

February 2: Second teacher appointed, Miss Roslyn Helms. Only classroom shared by both teachers and classes while another room was under construction.
April 14: Rennovation [Renovation] of old classroom. Inner walls removed and fireplace dismantled.
April 21: School painted and old school rennovations [renovations] completed.
May 8: School trip to Napier, Rothmans, aquarium, woolstore, Marineland.
May 25: New school opened by Mr A.E. Kinsella, Minister of Education. Occupied by standard 2 form – 2 class group.
July 23: Schoolhouse frontage improved. Tree stumps, logs removed, bank battened and refenced.
September 24: School bus garage demolished in gale force winds. Considerable property damage in local area. A frightening experience which continued on September 25.
September 30: School phone repaired on this day after being out of order for a week following storm.

February 2: School bach erected and renovated during vacation. Occupied by Miss Ryan at rental of $4.95 a fortnight.
May 4: School closed. Road completely blocked below school with trees and slips. Tremendous rain, lake flooding road and no power.
June 18: School trip to Wairoa including court sitting.
October 16, 17, 18: School trip around Lake Waikaremoana with Morrie Logan, D. Caves and J. Waswo.
November 18: School trip of four days to Taupo, Tongariro, Rotorua, Kinleith and Waikaremoana.

July 15: Camp Williams trip. Large group parents accompanied group. Seashore and landforms study, visited East Coast lighthouse.

Photo caption – OPENING OF NEW SCHOOL ROOM, 1963

Chapter 5

By Denys Caves (present principal)

On moving to Putere in December, 1967, we found a modern home set in relatively undeveloped grounds, and not visible from the road because of an overgrown area of logs and stumps, etc.

The school facilities were limited and grounds work only partly developed, with many stumps being still around the grassed area, and fencing improvements needed. The old school was a storeroom bare of equipment; likewise the pre-fab room with little equipment to cater adequately for the growing infant take.

Because of the continuing development programme of the Lands and Survey Department, the school roll has increased from 14 at the end of 1967 to a present 36, the roll has been as high as 44.

Roll growth was stable for several years – approximately 35-38 – and with roll growth facilities rapidly improved. With the introduction of the Education Department bus service the school developed further – more families entered the district with schoolage children and growth continued to prosper.

The pupils benefitted in other ways, especially with manual training at the Raupunga District High School. The bus route passed through nine gates. Later, when ballot blocks were settled the bus route was extended through Mangaone with a further four gates.

Some interesting highlights of early bus routes brings to mind the chasing of wild pigs, watching building and installation of power to new ballot farms; a helicopter landed on the tennis court for pupils’ perusal, and mushrooming on the route was always competitive. The present bus run covers a daily mileage of 44 miles taking approximately one and a quarter hours per run.

I recall the new bus catching fire and burning out the motor shortly after Areta Gilbert and myself endeavoured to start it up.

Over the latter eight years tremendous steps have been taken by all committees – school equipment has been added to continually; sports and outdoor apparatus built up and many extra aids purchased, baths built and grounds developed to their present stage.

The contributing area has swung from 1967 when the majority of pupils came from the valley, to the present time when two-thirds of all pupils come from Otoi-Pihanui area.

During 1969 the roll doubled in twelve months creating a need for a second teacher – Mrs Tricia Caves relieved in this position until 1970 when a new classroom was completed. Later a need arose for single teacher accommodation so the teacher’s bach was moved to its present site beside the schoolhouse. The original school building was resited behind new buildings and renovated to serve as an all-purpose room. Staffing was further assisted by the appointment of teacher aids.

Sports trips have become a regular part of school life – Tutira athletics, Kotemaori and Putorino winter sports, Raupunga district activity day. All have been so successful due to parent support and interest which has inspired pupils to higher achievements.

Other events have become interest points in the school year such as pet shows and round the lake race.

I have had the pleasure of being associated with the education of 84 pupils entering the school since 1968.

Chapter 6

By Tom Dever, 1933

During the years 1933 to 1938, when my father was managing “Waireka”, my three brothers and I rode to the Putere School on horseback. At that stage there was no bridge across the Waiau River at Otoi, and we used to board during the week with Mr and Mrs Sutherland on Mr Matheson’s property in the valley at Putere.

This was necessary as we weren’t allowed to ride across the river unless an adult was with us in case someone’s horse fell or stumbled on some of the big boulders at the river crossing. Although the river was fairly low in the summer, it could rise very quickly with a westerly wind or rain up country.

If the river was too high to cross when we came back on Friday night we had to chase our horses over the river and use the cage to cross. The cage was anchored to the big white pine tree on the Otoi side of the river.

One interesting point was that no matter how thirsty the horses were coming home, they would very rarely drink out of the river, but would wait till they came to a little creek that came down from Waireka [sweet water).

The ponies we rode mostly were “Wooses”, “Cuddle”, “Tussock” and “Peanut”. They were all good free moving and reliable hacks, and would normally walk or amble at quite a brisk pace. We were forbidden to gallop on the way to and from school, but if someone said “go”, the ponies would take off like racehorses and it frequently took about two miles to get them under control again.

Our teacher, Miss Burt, used to ride with us from the valley. Her hack was a mare called “Spindles”. A wonderful mare who later left some very good foals.

On occasions we had some heavy falls of snow, but to the best of my knowledge we never missed a day’s schooling because of the weather. Riding through the snow wasn’t much fun as every few hundred yards we had to get off and clean the snow out from the horses hooves, as it would build up and they would fall.

There were so few cars on the road at that time that we knew who had been up or down the road that day by looking at the tyre marks as the local cars were about the only ones that used the road at all.

Riding to school had its dangers too. On one occasion we couldn’t get home on the Friday night so stayed at Putere until the Saturday morning. On the way down to the school the horses somehow broke into a gallop and by the time we got to the track going into the school grounds, my elder brother, Alan, on Tussock, had about 50 yards lead on us, and although he wanted to go on past the school back to Waireka, his pony thought it was just another school day and shot up the track to the gate sending Alan down the road for about a chain on his face. However, no serious damage was done to horse or rider.

One of our biggest problems was catching our horses after school. If they got up the hill behind the tennis court they would hide in the fern, which was eight or ten feet high. The only way we could catch them was with the help of the Gilbert brothers. We would sneak through under the fern and try to head them off as they made for the top corner of the paddock.

I hope this has given you some idea of the trials and tribulations of riding to school on horseback in the “good old days”, and as you sit in your cosy school bus, on a wet, cold day, try to imagine four wet, cold lads riding quietly down to school.

by Kitty Baty

Riding to school had great appeal to us when we first came to Putere in 1966. We rose early to catch the horses, and after breakfast set off at a steady pace for school, about an hour’s ride.

Once we had ridden over the same track several times it became monotonous, so we were always looking for new short cuts – often ending in disaster. Once we had great intentions of making a cutting shorter, but came to a dead-end, there was no room to turn the horses so we had to back them up the hill taking three times as long.

Fruit season was a great time for us and the horses. The apples and peaches always filled our pockets. Several times these had to be dropped on the roadside as an unexpected traveller came by.

One regular passer was the roadman on his tractor, the horses were never too co-operative in passing this yellow monster, often requiring extra coaching followed by a stern hand.

The roading metal trucks caused more disruption in our daily routine as they rumbled along the metal road.

Wet mornings were never warmly received, it seeming to need an extra yell from Mum, no one being willing to venture outside. We dressed in leggings and oilskins to keep out the rain, and left earlier, only to arrive late at school. The most welcome news to come to us was the arrival of the school bus, and I am sure the horses gave a sigh of relief.

Five of us, brothers and sisters, rode daily, the two youngest often causing frustrations by dawdling. Peter was form 1, myself standard 3, Betty Jean standard 1, Robin primer 2, with Ruth a new entrant a year later. Seldom did we have to double up, but often they needed a hurry-up. We also had many annoying moments catching our mounts after school. Horse allowance was paid by the Education Department, being [£1] a year, but our family never received any assistance because horse allowance was being discontinued.

by L. Costley

Every morning we have to wake up at about half-past-seven to dress and wash and eat our breakfast.

Sometimes we sleep in, and my parents have to wake us up. We got out to the car at a quarter-past-eight to get to the bus stop two miles away.

On the way to the bus stop we sometimes see Dad chasing the house cow down the paddock on the motor-bike, and we may see Mr Kelly chasing mobs of sheep.

We arrive at the four mailboxes belonging to Mr King, Mr Kelly, Mr Bedingfield and us.

We wait there for the bus, sometimes it beats us and sometimes we beat it.

Mum waits with us because if the bus breaks down it is a bit far for us to walk home.

After we get on there are only two more families to pick up. We arrive at school with 24 children on the bus.

On the road we sometimes meet an Otoi or Mangaone shepherd chasing a flock of sheep or a herd of cattle. We also see sheep trucks, or stock agents in their cars. Sometimes we see graders or bulldozers.

In the bus we laugh and talk about things that happen at home. Sometimes we go down to Horne’s for petrol.

by P. Bedingfield

Unfortunately records for the period from 1925 to 1947 have been lost. There was a school committee in the early period, but in the latter years the school was run by local commissioners.

Among those who served on early school committees were Mick Sharon, Gilbert Hurae, S.F. Matheson, Harvey Hairs, Angus Sutherland, J.R. Burt and Jim Muir.

Those who served as commissioners included S.F. Matheson, D.B. Surrey and J.R. Burt.

The first school committee elected when the school reopened in 1960 was: R. Bennison, chairman, C. Dever, secretary, A. Gilbert, M. Horne and M. Everest.

It is interesting and pleasing to note that M. Horne and A. Gilbert are still committee members, having served for 15 consecutive years.

At the next election, held in 1961, C. Matches replaced M. Everest. There was no change in personnel at the 1963 election.

It was in May, 1963, that the new school building (the present infants room) was opened. The committee was very active at this time with working bees to clear pine trees and level grounds, among other efforts. At times three or more local bulldozers were working at the school, and one of N. Tong’s large bulldozers was employed on some of the heavy earth works.

In February, 1964, C. Dever left the district and M. Everest rejoined the committee. At this stage M. Horne became chairman, and R. Dennison, secretary.

At the 1965 election the following were elected: M. Horne, chairman, E.L. O’Sullivan, secretary, M. Everest, A. Gilbert and T. Langford. It was during this time that the tennis court was put in, and once again local people worked hard at the school.

In 1966 Messrs O’Sullivan and Langford left the district, being replaced on the committee by B. Shapland and R. Baty. M. Everest became secretary. Mr B. Kent was employed to bulldoze trees and clear and level an area.

The school house was built during this period.

In 1967 the following committee was elected: M. Horne, chairman, B. Shapland, secretary, A. Gilbert, R. Baty and O. Costley. This committee successfully negotiated a departmental school bus service.

In 1969, Mrs Baty was elected as the first woman on the Putere School Committee. M. Horne was chairman, and R. Baty, A. Gilbert and O. Costley were other members. Mrs T. Caves acted as secretary to this committee.

The second new room was opened in 1970, the original school building being shifted to its present site as a staff room and general purpose room.

At the 1971 election, O. Costley and Mrs D. Baty were replaced by Mrs P. Shapland and P. Bedingfield, office bearers remaining the same.

The decision to build school baths was made, and fund-raising commenced. A generous donation from Mr and Mrs J. B. Smyth allowed a piano to be purchased for the school.

Personnel remained the same at the 1973 election at which Mrs Caves retired as secretary, these duties being taken over by Mrs Shapland. Mr Horne relinquished the position as chairman after a nine year period of service, this position being filled by P. Bedingfield.

The construction of the school baths was undoubtedly the most important project at this time, and arrangements for the 50th Jubilee concluded successfully.

By George Lowe

It is many years now since I recounted the stories of the few months I spent at Putere, and I will try to confine myself to a couple of memories.

Following my probationary period at Hastings West, I received a letter from the Education Board directing me to Putere on a temporary posting as no teacher had applied for the job. I didn’t know where Putere was, and soon found it was inland from Raupunga and I knew I went there on the railcar and was the only person to get off at the station.

I finally found a taxi driver who took me the 16 miles and I tried to find a place to stay. I went to Mr Horne’s house – at first they were cool and cautious – and said the teacher had stayed once before, but they didn’t know anyone was coming and they had no room available. I did get in and stayed there with the Hornes’ –  there was nowhere else to go, and I had a memorable time with them.

An incident happened when I had been at the school only a few weeks. A Maori family went to town for the day and left the three children to go to school. I knew they were meant to be at school, and I left the other children working, going off to their house to see what had happened to them. As I got near the house I heard a saxaphone [saxophone] playing and I knocked on the door. There was a silence and no one came. I opened the door and found them all hiding in the kitchen, annoyed that I had come to look for them. I told them to come back with me to school and without a word they set off.

Harry, the eldest, cunningly took a short cut which went steeply up a hill through the manuka scrub, and he set a terrifically fast pace. He was expecting me to get puffed and then he would make a break for it. I broke off a manuka stick and stripped it, and as l was then very fit, I worked out that if the three of them ran for it, I would chase Harry, the eldest, and leave Maude and Nelly till last.

I didn’t need to follow this strategy as we all arrived at school sweating and puffing with me at the rear with my stick switching and flicking. They never played truant again.

l was, I remember, called Hurihuri Waiwai – which  was their version of long-legs. The teacher before me, a girl, who stayed briefly was called hairy legs – in Maori. I went back to Putere again after some years and found the school closed and the Horne family using the school to store bales of hay.

Some of the nicest days were the long summer days when the Country Library Service books were delivered in two big boxes on the service lorry which brought delivery to the farms on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I enjoyed opening the boxes and pouring over the books. My favourites were the travel books – canoeing down the rivers in Canada and Alaska – going  to faraway places – that’s  what I wanted to do. I never dreamt in my wildest dreams that I would go, as the stories l was reading



1925-1936: Miss N. Burt
1937-1939: Mr Tracey.
1939- Mr Bott
1940: Mr Egan and Miss Robins
1941: Mr Kinsella and Miss McGregor
1942. Miss Strothers
1943-1944: Mr Hill.
1944-1945: Mr Hill and Miss Norton
1946: Mr Lowe.
1947: Miss Falconer.

Commissioners during this period were:
1937-1939: Mr Burt.
1940-1944: Mr Mathieson.
1945-1947: Mr Surrey.
1960: John Tuahine.
1960-1962: Marshall Savidge
1963: Mrs S. Lomas (reliever for 2 months).
1963-1965: Garry Rangiihu.
1966-1967: Denis Mallon. Reliever for 6 weeks: Kath Adsett.
1968-1975: Denys Caves.

1970: Roslyn Helms.
1971: Cushla Ryan.
1972-1973: Tricia Caves.
1974: Susan Whitehead (term 1).
1975: Clive Caine.

Teacher Aides. Tricia Caves, Anne Bennison, Pat Shapland, Mihirangi Gilbert.
Relievers: Betty Jean and Kitty Baty.

SCHOOL ROLL, 1925-1975

Burt, Lindsay
Muir, Dora
Muir, Myra
Muir, James
Matheson, Stewart
Sharon, Mabel
Sharon, Edward
Gilbert, Areta
Gilbert, Topi
Richards, Gilbert
Richards, Amy
Richards, Alma
Toko, Hine.

Sharon, Rose
Atkinson, Isabel
Burgess, Rosina

Gilbert, Marian
Muir, Dora
Muir, Myra
Muir, James
Atkinson, Isabel

English, Ethel
English, Herbert McGregor
Brown, Kenneth
Hares, Coral
Bayly, Kathleen
Bayly, Stanley
Bayly, Meveret
Bayly, Morna
Sharon, Rose
Brown, George
Sharon, Ena
Bayly, Margaret

Horne, Judith

Bayly, Margaret
Gilbert, Jean
Isaac, James
Sutherland, Gordon

Kaho, Millie
Riddiford, Revenia
Matamua, Teddy

Horne, Patricia
Kaho, Millie
Dever, Alan
Matamua, Teddy

Jones, Archibald
Jones, Williams
Hair, Barbara
Gilbert, Henry

Gilbert, Nesbit

Gilbert, Henry
Svensen, Shirley
Mackenzie, Faye

Short, Ursula
Horne, Mason
Turipa, Kuia
Turipa, Naomi
Dever, Alan
Dever, Thomas
Moses, Girlie
Kahu, Queenie
Moses, Teddy
Stovell, John
Dunlop, Colin
Clark, Herbert

Chase, Henry
Chase, Miriama
Chase, Moana
Sharon, Katherine
Gilbert, William
Dever, Graham

Dever, Colin
Winitana, Kingi
Turipa, David
Turipa, Whitu

Morten, June
Morten, Colin
Morten, Peter
Morten, Patrick
Gilbert, Harry
Kaho, Hazel
Kaho, Sonny

Hawkins, Alec
Hawkins, Jane
Hawkins, George
Hawkins, Yvonne
Hawkins, Betty

Shapland, Brian
Shapland, Ross
Kaho, Hine
Bayliss, Rosemary
Surrey, Alice
Surrey, Doreen
Surrey, Joan
Surrey, Lester

Price, Peter
Hawkins, Archie
Gilbert, Walker
Turipa, David
Turipa, Seven

Surrey Ethel
Shapland, Brian
McDonald, Kenneth
1943 Cont’d:
Shapland, Ross
Aspden, Bruce

Kaaho, Hine
Hawkins, Bobina
Kaharoa, John
Brock, Henry
Brock, Eirlys

Jenkins, Fredrick
Jones, Robert
Turipa, Mona
Gilbert, Maude

Scott, Catherine
Matamua, Helen
School closed 1948-1959

Bennison, Richard
Bennison, John
Bennison, Harold
Lambert, Samuel
Moses, Edward
Kaaho, Richard
Kaaho, Colin
Kaaho, Raymond
Rua, John
Rua, Joan Marie
Bennison, Ann
Dever, Karen
Boyd, Tony
Gilbert, Kare
Allan, Irene
Allan, Osborne
Allan, Josephine

1969 [1961]:
Everest, Wayne
Gilbert, Toby
Lambert, Henry
Lambert, Lance
Boyle, Kevin
Boyle, Peter

Dever, Karen
Dever, Michelle
Gilbert, Mihirangi
Stevens, Linda
Waikato, Ruth
Rua, John
Rua, Joan
Lambert, William
TeKaha, Paul
TeKaha, Heni
Lomas, Grant
Gilbert, Hine
Kinita, Bernadette

Terry, Frene
Terry, Shamus
Gilbert, Rihia
1963 Cont’d:
Dever, Robyn
Puhia, Wiremu
Everest, Barry
Rangihu, Sonia

Gilbert, Ron
Hamilton, Julie
Hamilton, Marion
Hamilton, Robert
Hamilton, Helen
Brunton, Garry
Brunton, Christine
Brunton, Gail
O’Sullivan, Georgina
O’Sullivan, Terence
O’Sullivan, Erena
Everest, Denise
TeKahu, Heni
Lambert, William

O’Connor, Ross
O’Connor, Brenda
O’Connor, Michael
Rangiihu, Mavis
Kaaho, Raymond
Haumate, Mary
Haumate, Peter

Shapland, Garry
Gilbert, Susan
Baty, Robin
Baty, Betty Jean
Baty, Kitty
Baty, Peter
Gilbert, Adrianne

Burroughs, Rosalie
Jenkins, lan
Baty, Ruth

Costley, Diane
Costley, Jennifer
Costley, Walker
Crown, Donna
Puhia, Wiremu
Puhia, Teresa
Lambert, William
Puhia, Christopher
Gilbert, Colin
Ngirengere [Ngerengere], Watene

Horne, Tracy
Everest, Stuart
Bedingfield, Donna
Thomas, Jacqueline
Costley, Lynne
Crown, Lydia
Taukamo, Jaqueline
Skudder, Hayley
Mouatt, Mania
Mouatt, Blaze
Mouatt, Dana

1969 Cont’d:
Mouatt, Gina
Mouatt, Neil
Mouatt, Glen

Horne, Angela
Ngerengere, Walter
Tekahu, Heni
Olsen, Isaac
Olsen, Hannah
Gilbert, Eddy

Caves, Tania
Hervert, Georgina
Jacobs, Carol
Poki, Mereana
Poki, John
Skudder, Leeanne
Martin, Bruce
Brickell, Catherine

Kerly, Thomas
McCallum, David
Warren, Sheryll
Bull, Warwick
Poki, Mathew
Archer, Timothy
McGregor, Angela
McGregor, Jodie
Bedingfield, Kevin

Caves, Angela
Brickell, Diana
Barnett, Teatuatapanui
Ngerengere, Polly
Martin, Mervyn
Ngaira, Teresa
Rofe, Yvonne
Rofe, Erika
Jacobs, Craig
King, Sarah
Karauria, Vera
Karauria, Anzac

Horne, Guy
Costley, Elizabeth
Kapene, Stephanie
Kapene, Delia
Kelly, Raewyn
Kelly, Brian
Brickell, Fiona
Parsons, Deirdre

Caine, Carmen
Caine, Warren
Gear, Michelle
Puhia, Tauiora
Heka, Amy
Cooper, Shelley
Bull, Bronwen
Costley, Phillip
Everest, Megan
King, Cameron


The sky, on Saturday morning, May 10, was heavily overcast – some of the mountain tops were shrouded in the low, rapidly lowering cloud. Such was the weather greeting for the “day of days” – the  celebration of 100 years of  settlement of the district and 50 years of schooling.

Were the people daunted? Never! And to ensure visitors for the occasion would have a modicum of shelter from the elements the jubilee committee members commandeered a massive tarpaulin which was stretched from the roof of the school to a facing embankment, providing a considerable “dry space” in addition to that provided by the classrooms.

The classrooms, yes, storerooms of memories. The writer, free of any nostalgia, was able to stand back and read the expressions. That look of surprise as an old-time school friend was recognised – “gracious you’re so and so, aren’t you, I wouldn’t have recognise you if you hadn’t spoken”, followed by two people becoming deeply immersed in days long since gone by.

In truth, whether it was rain or ’shine, the jubilee was going to be a success. “It’s” people, so early in the piece were making it so, people being what jubilees are all about.

The fine attendance of 120 were proving, as such occasions have done so many times before, that “blood, even school blood, is thicker than water”.

A short session of speech-giving prior to the taking of class photographs was chaired by Mr M.A. Horne, while school committee chairman, Mr Peter Bedingfield extended an official welcome to past and present pupils and other invited guests, stating it gave all particular pleasure to have present Mrs Bridgeman, better known to many as Miss Nellie Burt, first teacher at the school.

The Rev. Murray Hall said it gave him a thrill to be present for the jubilee celebrations, stating he saw a school as being the centre of a community, particularly in a rural area. A school such as Putere provided total education.

Mr Hall expressed appreciation to the school committee for making available school buildings for the holding of church services.

To show that this was no new thing in the Putere district he referred to a photograph in his possession taken in the 1930’s which showed a group posed outside the then Putere School building.

“I don’t know who the minister was then, but he must have had something more than me as I notice 10 men in that photograph. I have never had 10 men in my congregation in the last six years,” Mr Hall said to responsive laughter from his listeners.

Mr Hall said that people today should feel grateful as they looked back on the past 50 years.

“You should be grateful for the education provided for children of this district. The foundation has been well laid and will continue to provide total education in the future,” Mr Hall said.

“I bring you greetings from my chairman and members of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board,” said Mr D.I. Walker, Ward Member on the board.

Mr Walker said he noted that not only was the occasion marking the celebration of 50 years of education in Putere, it was also observing the centennial of the settlement of the district.

“It is most significant in New Zealand that a school and a community are very close together with this being particularly so in a rural area,” Mr Walker said.

He said there was a tremendous involvement at community level at country schools, and that over the next three years there could be attempts by some to create change.

“You must resist any attempts to to break this link between community and school,” Mr Walker said.

During the 50 years of the Putere School history there had been many changes in the district and school, this latter being part of the changing scene in education.

“Looking ahead there are even greater changes, increasing development of the district would lead to an increasing roll and this was quite exciting.

“I hope you have a joyous day and evening, and I have much pleasure in declaring these celebrations open,” Mr Walker said.

Following the taking of class and other relevant photographs a lunch was served by members of the Putere W.D.F.F., with those present being invited to visit former homes and friends, all being assured of a warm welcome.

The celebrations were continued in the evening with a dinner and ball function at Tatau Tatau, the attendance of 170 enjoying typical Putere hospitality.



Left to right: Areta Gilbert, Mason Horne, Daphne Costley, Peter Bedingfield (chairman), Jan King (secretary).


Left to right – back row: Russell Baty, Peter Bedingfield, Mike Everest, Colin Dever.
Middle row: Areta Giblert [Gilbert], Owen Costley, Brian Shapland, Mason Horne.
Front row: Jan King, Daphne Costley, Pat Shapland, Tricia Caves
Also attended but not pictured: Dolores Baty.


Left to right – back row: Lindsay Burt, Bill Jones, Nesbit Gilbert, Areta Gilbert, Alan Dever.
Front row: Judith Tietjen (nee Horne), Mabel Bennison (nee Sharon), school teacher Nell Bridgeman (nee Burt), Marion Lyttle (nee Gilbert), Patricia Withers (nee Horne), Coral Johnson [nee Hares).


Left to right – back row: Harry Gilbert, Ken McDonald, John Stovell, Walker Gilbert, Mason Horne.
Middle row: Graeme Dever, Archie Hawkins, Colin Dever, Brian Shapland, Tom Dever.
Front row: Betty Wolfe (nee Hawkins), Joan Thomson (nee Surrey), school teacher Marie Rieper (nee Robins), Ethel Gibbs (nee Surrey), Doreen Everest (nee Surrey), Alice Storey (nee Surrey).


Left to right – back row: Richard Bennison, Denise Everest, Ann Davis (nee Bennison), Betty-Jean Baty, Kitty Turner (nee Baty), Tricia Caves (teacher’s aide), Sue Gilbert, Ruth Baty, Mihi Gilbert, Barry Everest, Gary Shapland, Jackie Thomas.
Middle row: Lynne-Marie Costley, Dianne Costley, Donna Bedingfield, Adrianne Gilbert.
Front row: Michelle Dever, Robin Dever, Denys Caves ‘(school teacher), Jennifer Costley, Jillian Costley, Tracy Horne.


Left to right – back row: Raewyn Kelly, Angela Horne, Tania Caves, Walker Gilbert, Stuart Everest, Denys Caves (teacher), Bruce Martin, Guy Horne, Eddie Gilbert.
Middle row: Elizabeth Costley, Sarah King, Kevin Bedingfield, Warwick Bull, Yvonne Bull, Catherine Brickell, Shelly Cooper, Fiona Brickell, Cameron King, Michelle Gear.
Front row: Megan Everest, Diana Brickell, Dale Caves, Angela Caves, Bronwyn Bull, Merryn Martin.
Absent: Present second teacher Clive Caine.


From the left: Areta Gilbert, Mason Horne, Mrs Pat Shapland, Peter Bedingfield, Russell Baty.


Pictured are members of the W.D.F.F. who undertook the catering for the jubilee celebrations.
Back row – from the left: Mesdames Pat Shapland, Margery Horne, Sandra Frew, Pam McCullum, Jan King, Maude Johnson, Jan Craig.
Front: Mabel Bennison, Daphne Costley, Dolores Baty, Freda Kelly.

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