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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 Hawera.

Stan Lay Flies Higher

by Virginia Winder on 17 December 2009

With arms like an albatross, Olympian Stan Lay was born to fling a javelin. "He was short with this terrific arm span that made him a natural for throwing," says son Peter Lay, a retired doctor. The average span of a man's outstretched arms is equal to his height. But Stan was no ordinary man. He was 1.75-metres tall (5 feet 9), while his arms, from finger tip to finger tip, measured...

The Battens – a great-niece remembers

by Rhonda Bartle on 10 December 2009

May Jenkins, nee Mulcock, is Hamilton Batten's great niece. Her grandmother was his eldest sister, May.    “I'm named after two grannies,” May says proudly.  “My mother's mother and my father's mother, May Anna.”   Though she now lives in Te Puke, May Jenkins was born in Rata Street, Hawera, in a house that still stands, and grew up in Kaponga.    Christmas was always spent at the Batten...

Meuls Takes It To The Top

by Rhonda Bartle on 09 December 2009

Andrew Meuli sits in the fire station, a man of good looks, cheer and charm. The epitome of a 'good keen bloke' - amiable, fit and capable - he's back home at Okaiawa after a couple of years away. Okaiawa is a tiny rural town whose recorded population was 618 at the last census. It lies deep in the Taranaki heartland, under the eaves of the mountain and about 10kms from Hawera.   Meuli (or...

All Wood and No Water – the Great Fire of Hāwera

by Rhonda Bartle on 09 December 2009

In the early 1880s, everything in every town was made of wood. Houses were made of wood; all except the chimneys.   Fences were made of wood and water tanks were made of wood: even street curbing was built from timber.   And at the same time, fire was used for lighting, heating and cooking. In every room, in every building, stood candles, lamps or both. Carriages in the street used wax and...

Power to the People – the Hawera Hydro Scheme

by Rhonda Bartle on 07 December 2009

It was the ever-increasing demand for lighting in the district and the use of milking machines and separators in cowsheds that saw many small power plants built in Taranaki.   Seven of the first 14 public power suppliers in New Zealand were in Taranaki. Most were hydro-electric schemes, built on rivers fed by the mountain, Taranaki.   Though a number of local dairy factories made their own...

Like the Waters of the Earth

by Rhonda Bartle on 07 December 2009

Imagine a time, long ago, when an electricity supply to your house or farm was not the norm. When electricity had to be advertised in order to entice more households to hook up to it.   Imagine picking up a South Taranaki Power Board booklet in 1939 for advice on how to get the power on and then what appliances you should buy in order to use it.   Those days might seem long gone. But in the...

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...