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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 Farming.

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,...

Lou Butler’s Boxthorn Battle

by Virginia Winder on 14 December 2009

When inventor Lou Butler had an idea, he used to sketch it with chalk on the concrete floor of his Inglewood workshop. And when he was thinking, the Swiss-born farmer would sit in the sepia gloom of his enormous engineering shed and smoke cigar after cigar. Then he would swallow the butts, the same way he would shrug off doubts. His sons, Owen (77) and Lou junior (69), say their late father...

Johnny Callender and the Mountain Goat

by Virginia Winder on 14 December 2009

"For Sale – mountain goat, two years old, fitted with lights and tow bar, $200." The advertisement in a Taranaki newspaper had some readers up in arms.  "In this enlightened age, it made me sick to read this advertisement. Does the RSPCA know about this?" wrote one animal lover. But she'd got the wrong end of the stick.   It was 1963 and New Plymouth man Johnny Callender had invented the first...

Like a Scene from the Wild, Wild West - William Hulke and the Puketapu Feud

by Rhonda Bartle on 11 December 2009

Prior to the Land Wars of 1860, William Hulke became a player in the drama of the times.   In 1854, he was newly married, farming at Bell Block and living in a cottage called Hawetaone, next to the Devon Line.   He had formed an easy alliance with Rawiri Waiaua, chief of the Hua division of the Puketapu hapu, whom he considered a great friend.   The Puketapu hapu had just sold a block of...

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...

Life on a back-blocks farm – Roland Kennedy

by Sorrel Hoskin on 10 December 2009

Roland Kennedy learnt how to harrow with the help of a goat.  The young boy used to hook the white nanny up to a small set of harrows his father had made and cut farrows up the hillside next to the house on his parent's Tāhora farm. "I was mimicking my Dad I suppose," recalls the 83-year-old. "It was a good learning opportunity. 'Nanny' was just the right size. I would follow along behind my...

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...

Ross Dunlop and the Revolutionary Farmer of Tokaora

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

Standing on the rise of Ross Dunlop's farm, it's hard to imagine what it might have looked like in a previous owner's day.  The land undulates in gentle contours from the main road north of Hawera down towards Ohawe Beach and today, in May, it's bright green and lush with fresh growth. Perhaps it doesn't look too much different from when the first Pakeha came, Dunlop says.  The first owners...

Born at Oanui – Con Kuriger

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

Con Kuriger was born in 1922, in an old Oaonui farmhouse with no power, no running water and no bathroom. The toilet stood 30 quick strides from the kitchen door and was dug into a hedge.     The washhouse was a large copper parked beneath a tree, next to a pile of wood needed to heat the water. There the nappies from all eight Kuriger children were boiled to magic whiteness, before being...

A man with gumption – Arthur Fantham

by Sorrel Hoskin on 07 December 2009

An Italian marble statue stands looking out over the gardens of Hawera's King Edward Park. The greying statue - of a rotund gentleman with a beard - is leaning forward slightly. Rumour has it that the statue of Arthur Albert Fantham is trying to hear all the town gossip.   Described as an energetic and enthusiastic stalwart of Hawera - Arthur A Fantham was also a man who liked to be in on...

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