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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 war.

Before Sir Maui

by Virginia Winder on 16 December 2009

Sleek as a seal, Kahe Te Rau-o-te-Rangi slips into the sea at the northern end of Kapiti Island and stretches out for the mainland. On her back is a tiny raft, where baby Makere lies warm and dry, rocked to sleep by the rhythm of her mother's muscled arms. As Kahe powers for shore, her mind is focused – she must get there to save the Te Rauparaha-led Ngati Toa people on Kapiti. They are soon...

Lorna Spreads Her Wings

by Virginia Winder on 14 December 2009

World War II code-breaker Lorna Gayton has a confession. "I felt guilty for a long time because I found myself saying 'I enjoyed my war'." Even though she is no warmonger and does not condone fighting (‘we are all pacifists at heart’), being in the Women Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) gave her experiences she could only have dreamed of. "It was a marvellous opportunity," says the 81-year-old....

Tui Leads Way in RSA

by Virginia Winder on 14 December 2009

A Tui called Iris Latham has led the fight for women's rights in the New Zealand Returned Services Association (RSA). Not that Iris would describe herself as a feminist - just an ex-servicewoman with jobs to do. This straight-shooting leader, now in her 90s, has held top positions in the RSA; written The WAAC Story, about the New Zealand Women's Army Auxiliary Corps; challenged RSA...

Leonora Flight Kelly – Nurse on Horseback

by Pat Radford on 11 December 2009

Until the late 1900s women were generally expected to marry. If they didn't, they were labelled a spinster, a word that is often used to describe a rather sad, lonely woman left unfulfilled by life. Leonora Kelly is described in the cemetery records as spinster, but she chose to become a nurse rather than to marry, and the tale of her Taranaki nursing career demonstrates that her life was...

W.G Malone – Tough Man with a Soft Heart

by Virginia Winder on 09 December 2009

Just hours before the Kiwi assault on Chunuk Bair, one of Taranaki's toughest men wrote about love. Sitting in the heat and squalor of battle-blasted Gallipoli, World War I soldier Lieutenant Colonel William George Malone penned the last letter to his wife, Ida. These are the words the leader of the Wellington Regiment wrote on 5 August 1915:   ‘My Sweetheart: In less than...

Account of von Tempsky’s death by Takiora

by Rhonda Bartle on 09 December 2009

Lucy Takiora Lord worked for von Tempsky as a guide and interpreter.  This is her account of his death from Puke Ariki archives. Ref: 2002-530   'They took the pa from the left. Von Tempsky and the others killed two chiefs and stepped over them and went straight into the pa and drove the Maoris out, set fire to the pa and looted everything and got a pet kaka.  They burnt the Wharekuri, still...

To Die at Passchendaele

by Rhonda Bartle on 09 December 2009

I died in Hell, (they called it Passchendaele): my wound was slight, and I was hobbling back; and then a shell burst slick upon the duckboards; so I fell into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.  Siegfried Sassoon   War is hell, but nothing could prepare the soldiers of WWI for the horrors of Passchendaele. Every nation involved suffered.   The British Allied forces alone lost 300,000 men,...

Pukerangiora – where ghosts walk

by Rhonda Bartle on 09 December 2009

Ghosts walk at Pukerangiora.  They whisper as you move your feet.  Brush your elbow as you bend through the trees.  Watch you step close to the cliff-face to watch the Waitara River wind far below you…   To get to Pukerangiora, take the Waitara Road that follows the right bank of the Waitara River, heading east from the coast.  Soon you'll find the remains of Te Arei Pa.   Te Arei means 'the...

Coming Home

by Rhonda Bartle on 07 December 2009

The Royal Mail Steamer Andes was built for luxury cruising, destined to one day carry Argentine beef barons, Bolivian tin magnates, Brazilian coffee kings and all their beautiful wives. Instead, the trip in October 1945 brought weary New Zealand servicemen home from WWII.   With her decks open to the North Atlantic sun and air, and her panelled apartments and rich fittings stripped and bare, she...

Lucy of Lucy’s Gully

by Rhonda Bartle on 03 December 2009

Among the towering redwoods rise clumps of native trees. They seem to have scant regard for the work done by Sir Victor Davies in the 1920s when he cleared the land and planted 150 back-breaking hectares of exotics.  It seems more a tribute to Lucy Stevens, who grew up in Lucy's Gully, that the bush is trying so hard to return to the way it used to be.   A Local Personality Lucy's connection...

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