Learning & Research - Akoranga me Rangahau
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Taranaki Stories

These stories capture the very essence of Taranaki – the people and the landscape.
They record the achievements of those who live here, the struggles of the first settlers, the determination to overcome challenges, those who have made their mark on not only their own, but also future generations.
But the stories are not just about hardship – they are also inspiring, thrilling, mystifying, enlightening and entertaining.


Taranaki Stories

Showing stories tagged as Farm.

A Cairn That Tells a Tragic Tale – the sad story of William Marshall

by Rhonda Bartle on 14 December 2009

There's a cairn down at Ngamotu Beach that tells a tragic tale.  It marks the final resting place of settler William Marshall, who arrived on the William Bryan in March 1841 and was dead by October.  Though few facts survive about him, some of his story can be told from what has been left behind.    Emigration Fever They called it emigration fever and William Marshall came down with it.  At 37,...

Mills and Milkers – William Hulke Walks the First Jersey Cow to Taranaki

by Rhonda Bartle on 11 December 2009

Bell Block farmer William Hulke walked the first jersey cow to Taranaki after purchasing her as a two-year-old heifer in Marton in 1876.   She had been owned by Edith Halcombe, artist, nurse and community leader and a farmer in her own right.   Bred in New Zealand from Lucy, one of the first imports from Jersey Island, and Marquis, a top Channel Island Jersey sire, Jenny - one small...

A Girl Called Pearl : Early Farming Days on East Road, Stratford

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

Pearl Wildermoth's strong, wise spirit shines through her elderly eyes and the thought of revisiting her own history makes her smile. Memories of her early life on a farm carved out of the Taranaki bush near Stratford are sharp and clear.   Pearl describes her mother as 'pretty churchy' but someone who loved pearls. She always wanted a little girl called Pearl. "And there was this plainest...

At My Father’s Knee

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

Owen Henry, who shares at least part of his name with another famous author, O. Henry, was fortunate. Growing up during a time of no television, no radio and no money, meant many nights were spent at his father's knee being read to from a collection of loved and timeless books, many of which had travelled to New Zealand on board a ship from Scotland in the luggage of his settler forebears.   "My...

Made in Switzerland – For Kaponga

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

People often underestimate the value of small, locally produced books written by those who lived in times long ago. But genealogists and those of us who work at libraries and research centres quickly come to understand their worth.   It's often through memories and even light hearted anecdotes that history truly comes alive. History is all about people, and the experiences they have lived...

They breed them tough in South Taranaki – Louise Willis

by Sorrel Hoskin on 10 December 2009

Louise Willis grew up in tough times. The following story is written from an oral history interview with her granddaughter Grace Thrush in 1980 and with the help of a book written by great-niece Valerie Brewster Willis.   Fire! Louise Willis's first memories were of her family's Kapuni house burning down. It was 1890 and Louise's mother had just finished bathing the three-year-old and her baby...

A Whole Lot of Bull – Jim Thwaites and the Bull of the Century

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

No one expects to see George Bush's signature hanging on a wall at Oeo, South Taranaki, but if you visit Jim Thwaites' home, you will find the American President's endorsement displayed next to one from the Queen.   Both are commendations for Jim's magnificent jersey breeding success. One framed certificate marks the OBE (Order of the British Empire) awarded in 1991, while the other names him...

A Rehab farm at Mokoia

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

The 1940s were shaped by World War II, with more than 194,000 men enlisting in the armed forces, though New Zealand's population at the time was just 1,500,000.   By the time the war ended, 11,500 New Zealand men had been killed. Often those who survived were physically or psychologically scarred. Coming home and finding work meant their lives could start again.   Part of the Government's plan...