Mirth Ngapo
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Mirth Ngapo




Today, which I think 23rd July 2001, we’re collecting information which we’d like to leave as a record for our mokos and grand mokos yet to come who might want to investigate what life in Hauraki was in your time and probably in my time. By the goodness of a lot of people I’ve been privileged to talk to them about what it was like when they grew up. I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk here with you and listen to some of the wonderful stories




J: Can you tell me your full name and your date of birth and any stories that might be associated with firstly where you were born the people in your family.


My name is Ilton Mirth Ngapo.  Mirth is a made up name: the M is for Mary which is a family name; the I is for Ilton, my Auntys  name, the R is for Ruth and the T is for Thwaites my dads name and the H is for Holvelle which is my mothers maiden name so they comprise MIRTH. I was born on the 9th October 1923 and I’m now seventy seven years of age, I was born at Kennedy Bay in the homestead. I was delivered by my Uncle Reg Bell who was a dentist married to Sarah Bell.  All the births were home births. I am the 11th in a family of twelve. 





My dad owned a farm in Kennedy Bay.  We were all brought up on the farm and went to school in the Bay. My father believed in education and he said the European way of life so he although he and mum spoke English They didn’t teach us Maori.  We all started school when we were five years old we had to stay at home till we were five and um it was a it wasn’t a Maori school then it was a ah, it was run by the Education Department it’s only lately it has turned into a Maori school and I think it is a um kura kaupapa school now in Kennedy Bay um because at that time my sisters went to school in Coromandel I think it only went to about the um third forth form and it was called School of Mines and is now turned into a um a museum um so that when we went to school because we had a sister in that lived up in Otahuhu we went up and stayed with her and that was from my brother George, my brother Dick wouldn’t go to school he wanted to stay home on the farm and become a farmer and my sister Kathleen, myself and my brother Gordon we all went to the Otahu Technical High School it was then, it’s now changed to Otahu College. Dad was determined that we were going to have an education so he, umm before he died he had it in his will that we were to be educated, sent away to school to be educated I had four brothers and seven sisters of all the seven sisters there was seven they all nursed did their nurses training, my sister Doreen ahh became um a sister she was a sister at St Helens at one time and she and St Marys um nursing home in Otahu she was a sister and matron there so when I went to school my mother decided that I wasn’t going to be a nurse because I was too fainthearted anyway so ah she decided that I was to become um to do office work so I took a commercial course at Otahu College, we had a um a very happy family life at home we had dad had made us a tennis court and we used to play tennis and used to play football with the boys when the, especially at school because there weren’t enough boys to play so the girls had to play as well and then um but no, our time at Kennedy Bay was very happy.





J: What about coming home, how did you get across to, how’d you get from Auckland?


Oh during school holidays we always came, went back to Kennedy Bay and we’d go down in the bus to the Auckland wharf just in the, just where the ferry, by the ferry buildings there um and then we’d get on Wee Pat, um Mr Strongmans boat and we’d come down the Hauraki gulf and pull in at the Coromandel wharf, from there someone usually arrived on horseback and we used to um put our um suitcases, we had what they call a split sack you know and we’d have this big sack and it was split in the middle and sewed up both ends and then we’d put our suitcases inside the bags and put them on the back of the horses and ride home to Kennedy Bay, used to take about an hour and a half to two hours to get home, when they put the, during the war years when everyone was um actually it was during the depression they laid, they deviated the road and put in a new road, made it easier, easier access so that cars and trucks could come over to Kennedy Bay and then my brother had a, had the cream truck but before then the cart and horse used to come over from Coromandel and pick up the cream from all the farmers and take it back to the cream factory in Coromandel


Travelling to Coromandel


That was quite an onus task to get ah the cart and horse plus the cream over the hill      



That’s right um old in on part of going up the Tokatea um the grade was very steep and the horses take two steps forward and the, the driver would have stones in his hand so that if the cart went backwards he’d put a stone under the wheel so it wouldn’t slip and the horse would keep on going and he’d have these stones all ready to put behind the wheels, or a piece of timber so that the truck wouldn’t, the ah cart wouldn’t go backwards, yeah on the very steep grade so it was quite a um suppose it was quite a hard job for him but they used to come over sometimes at least three times a week and when he’d come over with the empty cream cans he’d bring the groceries you could ring up, everyone had a telephone, all on the party line and you’d ring up to the grocery shop in Coromandel and order groceries out or else the children, after school I remember quite often my sister Kathleen and I used to um get our horses and ride to Coromandel mum would order the groceries on the phone and we’d go over to Coromandel pick them up or if the horses had to be shod we’d take them to the blacksmith and they would shoe the horses and then we’d come back to Kennedy Bay often arriving home in the dark and ah mm.


Roles of the Children


Because there were twelve of you in the family and seven were girls eh? What were the different specific roles that you had to ah do, did you have chores that you did were their special chores because you were the favourite did you do anything?



Well um, I was lucky or I thought I was lucky and so was Kathleen or Kyla my sister, I called her Kyla because I couldn’t say her name properly so she, that’s how she got her name it was a nickname Kyla and um when we had to give, tell the teacher what recipes we cooked at home, Gordon, Kyla and I we couldn’t tell them anything because we didn’t cook and all they said well we were allowed to um, get off because we had older brothers and sisters to do the cooking for us and by then anyhow mum used to it, mum was a great cook so we didn’t have to do it probably spoilt but ah yeah.




Were there any other chores that you had to do associated with the farm?


 Well we had to get in wood, we had to make sure that we had um, um kindling wood for the fire to start the fire first thing in the morning and um we used to help when it was time to make butter, we made our own butter so we had to take turns at that we also at night had, we had our a special chore that we had, we had these um four gallon tins of kerosene and with a pump and we used to have to unscrew the tops of the where the wicks were and fill up the um the bit where the glass bowls were with um or the tin bowls with ah kerosene and then we used to um screw the tops back on again and then we had to clean the lamp glasses to make sure they were nice and clear and um get them all ready so that when it turned dark the lamps could be lit, um we had candles also as an emergency but mum and dad preferred the lamps because she they were safer, candles if they fell over you could set the house on fire so mostly we had a lamp in each room.




What did you do in terms of entertainment? How did you amuse yourselves?



Well we had to, we had a piano, we all learned to play the piano mostly by ear and um mind you I suppose we didn’t get so good but we were capable of, when we had dances um I could play waltzes, my brother George could play waltzes, my brother George had a saxophone, my brother Dick had a tenor banjo and um so everyone entertained and we played music and everyone so we could dance or sing, um guitars weren’t sort of the, the then really it was mostly ukuleles, tenor banjos and saxophones and pianos, um that was my entertainment and then of course their were all these ghost stories my grandfather he was a little, a little blue eyed Englishman and um he used to tell us all about the tohunga in those days and I don’t know whether he tried to frighten us or but he just said it was a fact of life in those days there were tohunga which were very powerful men he said most of them did good they were for the good but he said some of them were very powerful and then sometimes they’d  try and out power one another, and my mother and Uncle Jack was the two eldest of his family and he had a run in with one of them called Friday and Friday put a curse on the family, on his family said nothing would happen to Eva or Jack but anyone after that, he wouldn’t have any more children, I think, I think he I think, think they lost about four children after um,  mum was the eldest children then Uncle Jack and they lost about four children so apparently my grandfather chased him around the coast at Kaputauaki and got him up a pohutakawa tree with an axe and he was he said he definitely would do murder and he didn’t, he was so sort of mad after the fourth child had died he was sort of really upset and anyhow he made this tahonga take this curse off the family and from then on the rest of the children lived so you know we, we at first we didn’t think, we thought grandma, granddad was fooling but he said no it was a true story but he said he said he became great friends with this old tohunga called Friday in the end


Going to the movies


You mentioned that you used to go to Coromandel pictures Would you like to talk to us about that and some of the areas you were concerned about on the way home and that sort of thing and what were the pictures like?


Well it was um the pictures in those days were like the um they were big um grander days of Hollywood when it was the um and you saw beautiful girls dressed in crinolines dancing and it was really like a um a show and sometimes I don’t think they’d last very long but we’d pay our money you know and we’d all ride over and all go to the pictures and have about thru-pence to spend and because money went a long way in those days and you could get an ice cream I think for a penny and biscuits for penny and lollies and then of course when you’d go home it’d start get dark so of course great entertainment in the olden days were all the children telling ghost stories and of course they’d tell us, on the way home they’d all be, at one corner? there was this big stark tree it was just big branches and one of my cousins said that someone had been hung from that tree so of course we wouldn’t go around the long way around the bend we’d there was a short cut through the tea-tree and it was sort of very dark but we’d rather go through that dark short cut than go around and pass this big tree in case we sort of saw his ghost their hanging you know but um there were a lot of stories like that on the way from Coromandel to Kennedy Bay mm so um you know and then they’d say oh this is, you’d go over  a stream and they’d say this is the stream where a coffin came floating down the river with a dead man in it and we’d think and you could almost imagine you know as you’d go across this stream you’d be frightened you’d bang into the coffin you know it was but that’s yeah it was part and parcel of the I suppose the stories in those days


The Depression


In terms of the collection of food, well tell me about ah, ah how your, your dad used to order food and how one of your classmates talked about the depression?


Oh, yes when I went to Otahu College I was really, one of my friends started to ask me um how did we get on in the depression, I didn’t even know what a depression was, so I said to her well what do you mean a, the depression and um she said “oh when you have no food” and I said “oh I’ve never been without food” and she said well, I said “why what did you do?” And she said well she used to go the shop and buy tuppence worth of tea and tuppence worth of sugar because it was all loose tea then no tea bags and um sugar and things like that and I said oh no we didn’t ah I said no we didn’t buy our food like that or even tuppence worth of sugar no I said my father ordered ah food from a firm in Auckland and he used to go out on a we had a this dingy and he used to go out to the scow, the scow used to come down to Kennedy Bay and have all the groceries aboard he’d go out and collect our groceries and we used to get like seventy pound bags of sugar a hundred pound bags of flour forty pound um cases of tea um of rice, forty pounds of rice in boxes, forty pounds with a, like prunes in boxes and things like that so you know I said well I don’t know how we paid for it all I know is that that’s we had the food there and we never went without and then on the farm we had our own cows, sheep, pigs um we always had the big garden we had one field entirely of corn another field with potatoes, kumaras and we children were encouraged to make our own little gardens we had own little gardens rows of peas and beans and things like that so we had plenty of food we also had like um fowls, ducks and always looking for we did have a fowl run but now and again the ducks oh the ducks we’d always be looking for ducks nests and sometimes the fowls would get out and they’d have their own nests and we’d be hunting for eggs all the time but no we had plenty of food, we made our own butter, mum had a big churn, these big paddles wooden paddles and you’d turn the handle and you’d make butter and we had our own milk and cream um fruit we had a big orchard so every year, mum had hundreds and hundreds of bottles of fruit and jam we so um so food was not even a problem and I couldn’t understand how people were hungry would go hungry but I think that’s the beauty of being brought up on a farm in those days you know they always had plenty to eat, it was quite funny we’d take sandwiches to school with butter and meat or jam or something and we’d exchange it for um fried bread, maori bread and all those delicacies which mum made now and again but not as much as the other kids so we used to always exchange our lunches, our sandwiches for those nice things.


School Lessons


Is there anything you remember about school, did you work with slate?


ahh, Yes we had, we had slates with boards and we also had, later on we had um sort of um we did have exercise books but they were all um at the school they were all free then you know the education system I thought in those days was very good because you learnt reading, writing and like arithmetic you learnt basic things um we were lucky we had a we were right next to the ahh a tidal river so during the summer especially we had swimming, we had swimming lessons, learn to swim um we, we were the lucky kids in Kennedy Bay because we were we didn’t live the, we always wanted to ride our horses to school but we weren’t allowed we lived to close by the education department um rules so our dad bought a couple of bikes and George would double me to school and my ah brother Dick would double Kyla and um we used to sometimes we used to swap with our cousins from Tutua, the Bells and they used to ride the horses over we used to swap we’d ride the horses and they’d ride the bikes but um because we had a we only had a I think an acre paddock and so the horses were only there were only enough people who lived out of the area to ride the horses because the horses had to be contained during school.


Going to School


What were some of the interesting things that you can remember about being at school, or going to school?


Well we were lucky I suppose we always had, we always had shoes on our feet, or those short you know little gumboots, things like that and little suitcases to take our lunch in because I remember once we, we were coking home from school I put my I took my gumboots off and I put my ahh my little suitcase down when I hopped off the main road there was like a causeway and um to make myself black mud gumboots and we used to get all the kids from up and down the road would walk in the black mud and you’d get gumboots half right up to your knees just about and we used to think they were lovely mum used to make us scrub our feet when we got home and I remember once I took off my gumboots and put my suitcase down and when I came to get it in the meantime the tide had come in and my suitcase and gumboots had floated away somewhere I don’t know but I didn’t get a hiding but I got a growling when I got home and um mum said I’d have to wait now until a boat came down from Auckland or else someone would have to go to Coromandel to replace my gumboots and little suitcase for my lunch and so from then on until the little suitcase came back I had to take my lunch in a paper bag which wasn’t, wasn’t very nice as far as I was concerned because that meant I had no suitcase and all the kids would look at me much to say oh she hasn’t even got anything to bring her lunch in so


Being Well-off


You were considered to be quite well off though, your family were considered to be by other people


Yeah well yes, well I suppose so because we had um we had plenty of clothes, we had one good lot of clothes, our best clothes which we kept for church, if we went to church on a Sunday or mum used to take these Sunday schools and we’d have to get all dressed up and um go to church in our new clothes but no we, we never went without shoes because we used to on the way to school if we walked, before we got our bikes and we’d walk we had um there would be ice in the water you know and we’d jump in the ice all the way down to school but um no we, I suppose we were luckier than most children mm yeah mind you dad was one of the it was the bush boss for Oddlands who I met later on because I worked for the Taupo Totara Timber Company when I worked in Auckland and Mr Oddland came in one time and when I was introduced to him he said “ oh my bush foreman name was, was named Thwaites must have been your grandfather” and I said no that was, John Thwaites and I said no that was my dad, and he says oh he’d be too old wouldn’t he? I says oh my dad was twenty five years older than my mother and he looked at me and he just laughed he said oh dirty old man.  But it was quite nice to meet Mr Oddman after all those years mm so


Family Home


Tell me about the house you lived in. That, what you remember about the house that you lived in as a little girl


Well the house is still standing today and it’s in quite good condition because it was um made of Kauri and some of the boards are still …

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as good today, I think the windows have been replaced because mainly um because the pulleys it was the old fashioned pulleys and um, they sort of um rusted, rusted and yeah, but other than that I think new windows have been put in um actually my nephew stays there now its really lovely down there he’s, when his mother came back from England she was the our eldest sister, she went home to live and she did it all up and put new back you know a back part she put on but the four front rooms are solid kauri and they’re still standing today, nothing wrong with them and so we you know we had a we probably had a good life



You talked about ahh having a small, it was expanded on and how you had a small kitchen to start with


Yeah it, the, the one of the two back rooms was kitchen but it was only small it had a, had an open fire then dad put a stove in it and ah it was alright when there was just like when all the all my brothers and sisters went away to Auckland to nurse in nursing homes or nurse in hospitals and my, my eldest brother went away to work and when they came home at Christmas of course they’d bring girlfriends and boyfriends back so my father decided to build a big kitchen at the back and um that was um oh that was like a little hall and for the two years we had a dirt floor and a big chimney at the end where we had seats at the side so when the fire you’d put a just about a, could put a whole log on it, it was built up to the side with concrete and it had two railway sleepers that used to hold copper kettles, boilers and um it was sort of um a big pole along above the open fire and um you’d always see a piece of bacon smoking underneath the fire and um we used to well my grandfather used to come over to stay with us we’d sit around the fire, bring a stool up and sit around the fire, he’d tell us all these ghost stories and things like that or, or what he used to do when he um when he um before he came out from England and then while he used to move around the Coromandel county and how he met our grandmother




Can you tell me about that


 Yes it was quite, actually it was quite funny, we thought it was quite romantic but um apparently quite a few of the people come out from England and most of them, because there were no Europeans in that area at the time, there were quite a few like the Maori girls and it paid the European boys to marry the Maori girls because a lot of them owned land and um they said it was quite funny my, they apparently, they were all looking these boys over and my grandmother said to her father, I’d like, I’d like that man with the red beard, he seems, he looks nice and that was my grandfather and um apparently um a deal was done or whatever and he married my grandmother um that was, she was Mere Te Aorere and um they had quite a few children and my mother was the eldest of that family




How many were in that family


 umm, I um well, there was mother which, her name’s Eva, Jack, Sarah, Dick, Sonny Holvelle, Sonny George, Emma, Ilton, Myra, did I say Sarah? Yeah I said Sarah, there were about nine and then there were the ones that she lost in between Jack and Sarah mmm so it was quite a big family, my Uncle Sonny Holvelle was a dentist and he was also a curator of the Christchurch museum I think mm


Attitudes towards Maori


Did ah, you mentioned that your dad was not into things Maori because he didn’t think that that would help you


 No my father was very, my dad never went to school but he could um, he was quite clever he could write and he had a lovely flowing hand like a copyright hand he also I think I’ve got some of his writing in my room um he also could um work out timber in the bush, he could look at a stand of timber and tell almost to the to the fifty feet how much super there’d be there or how much lineal feet would be in standard timber, um he worked for Odlands in Newmarket mm, I’ve actually had the privilege later of meeting Mr Odlands who remembered my dad, yeah.




Did he, as children did you read, was their much reading material in your house


 Yes, every, every Christmas, every birthday we would get a book, always a book and um because my dad said it was a European world um he would not, he didn’t teach us Maori but he and mum could speak fluently but they would never, they would only, when they spoke Maori in the house it was only scandal that he didn’t want us to understand and hear about the, you know little children have big ears and we’d listen for a name and then we’d think ooh what’s that about that person? But other than that no we didn’t understand a word he said.



Did, did they read to you, did they teach you to read or how did you learn how to read apart from going to school, or was it at school?


 Well, at school, at school and our older brothers and sister would come home and we could almost read and we knew all the alphabet and numbers before we went to school it was just ah, it was just that dad, my father was very um education orientated and as I said when he, before he died he left his will that mum could manage, mum had the had the um could manage the farm but we had to be sent away to school and that’s what she did she sent the younger ones, once dad died my brother George and Kathleen and Gordon and I we all went to school, Gordon became a school teacher later


Living in Auckland


Going to, ah going to Auckland must have been a huge change for you


aah Yes, yes I suppose it was but I was lucky because at that time my eldest brother Bob he used to board with my sister and he worked at the freezing works and so I mean we didn’t, never wanted for anything when my sister said I needed new clothes or things like that he’d buy us clothes so we, we always had and of course and then um mum had shares in the farm as trading company because that’s what you did in those days you had shares in this and shares in that and um so of course we got the if we wanted anything mum would just write a note and we’d take it to the farmers and we’d get what ever we wanted but the farm, money from the farm like the we all we sent the cream to the dairy company and of course then we got quite a good price for, for um the butter fat.


Household Chores


What were the chores that you actually had to do? Did you have to do chores?


um Yes only as I said before only um doing the um filling the lamps and things and get the kindling wood and stuff like that um ah mind you we had to help, when we got older we had to help mum wash, wash clothes and because there was only the old scrubbing board then there was no washing machine so we, we used to go down to the creek and sometimes mum would ah oh my eldest brother made a sort of copper, we used to boil up the copper down by the creek with plenty of I mean there was wood all around us there was plenty of fire wood and um anything that needed to be boiled we’d boil it in the copper and we had um galvanised bath tubs and um and we’d use those and help mum do the washing hang it up on the line mm we had those old mother pots iron you know? So you’d have to make sure the iron because you’d put them, put it on the embers because the irons would get black wasn’t so bad once we had a stove we’d put it on the stove and it wasn’t, it you had to clean the top of the stove but if you put it in the embers of course you’d get it out and you’d have to clean it first before you ironed anything or have, put a handkerchief or something over whatever you wanted to iron flat so that it wouldn’t, you wouldn’t put dirt.




Who looked after the horses?



Oh we all, we all took it in turns we had horses, oh we had paddocks horses and if we wanted to go, like if mum felt like pipis we’d hop on the horse with a spritz sack and race off down to the beach and give the horses, someone would stand up on the um stand up on the um like on the dunes, sand dunes and mind the horses there and someone would have to go down and pick the pipis up and then come back with heaps of pipis


Food Gatherings


Was there a special place that you went to did you go to the same place? At the moment supermarket its at the same place. In the old days when you went to get pipis did you go to any particular place, did the old people send you to one place or what?


um Well I all depended what, what you wanted um in one part, one part of the beach like in the center part you had, you had your um you know by you had um trees that you’d watch you had marks so you’d go straight our from a tree and then you’d mark it off with something the other end of the beach, either end so you’d, you’d sort of get right on that spot, there you would get cockles the bigger cockles and then if you wanted the flat pipis you’d go further along the beach or closer to my uncles place where there was a tidal river going up past his property and just there, there were the flat pipis so

 That’s right, yeah that’s right, yes and they were the long flat ones but the cockles were further up the beach the main beach um also in the winter then I don’t know, I don’t know whether I haven’t heard of anyone getting them now but in my day um they’re probably all fished out now but in my day in the winter you’d go along the beach and frost fish would, would um come up chasing the frost and they’d land on the beach and, and sort of get stuck so you’d walk along the beach and pick up these big long fish, long, long fish, like an eel but flat, all flat they were called frost fish and but they were beautiful to eat and that happened in the winter


Mussel Grounds


Where’d you get your mussels from?



um Well, there, we did have some help there’s a, a series of rocks called the umbrellas they look like umbrellas and around from there you would get mussels but they weren’t very big so my sister Kyla and I used to ride over to Coromandel and then go down to Kaupatauki to my sister and her husband  Mt Maunganui ? and we would go down to Paparaha, take us down to Paparaha and we’d fill up sacks with a couple of horses and, and, and um get mussels from there but on our way back there were two or three old places, old um Mac Kirikis dad I think old Mac quarry he had a little old hut we used to call in and drop mussels off with him, you did that in the olden days if you got food and you met, and there were, you knew there were old people on the way you’d drop them so we’d drop some off to old McQuarry we’d drop some off to um oh what was his name? Um I’ve forgotten the names now and also too coming along to Aunty Myra and Uncle um um …Aunty Myra, Aunty Mate’s sister they used to live up in the hill and we used to quite often drop and um, um Prop, Prop Williams, we used to drop them off mussels too and um then we’d come home and, and we’d sometimes, we’d shell some and sometimes we’d leave them in the shell and then take them back to Kennedy Bay


Crayfish & Paua


: Did you get crayfish and paua?


ahh Yes in Kennedy Bay we did um pauas just around by the umbrellas there were quite a, if we wanted any and or we else we used to go over to Titiawa that was over to my Auntys I had two Auntys living in Titiawa Mrs Bellens Pickering or, Mrs, she was Mrs Bright first and then she divorced um my uncle and she married Ho Pickering?




Where there tasks that the men did as opposed to the girls I mean what about um, um gardening? Did you put gardens down?


Oh we put big gardens down and we had oh we had a um we had corn and um we used to, oh um corn were for the chooks and we used to eat them, just the ordinary corn it wasn’t like the corn you have now the sweet corn but it was just, when it was fresh it was just as nice um and we also had gardens with kumaras, potatos and ? yes we had all our own vegetables and we had um the children we each had a garden each planted peas and beans dad used to get us packets of seeds and we used to have our own little gardens beetroot and stuff like that and um we um so and we had fruit aah we had apricots, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines we even had prunes dad had, cherry trees, guava trees we had a huge big orchard and then dad had his special orchards of um golden queen peaches and nectarines all along um the river because he said that was the best place because every year  the when there was a flood the silt came up and deposited the silt on the, under the trees mm.


Diary Produce


Did you produce food for yourselves or for market?:


um Well we milked the cows and separated the cream and um so the cream went to the factory in Coromandel we made our, because dad had pigs he sent some of the pork away to be made into ham he also we also made our own bacon you could eat off the floor of our dairy dad had a scrubber, we had these big scrubbers and scrubbing brushes and once a week you had to get down on your knees and scrub the whole thing out and, and, and get buckets of water and slosh it down and then dad laid the bacon down on the floor on clean bags which we had to scrub and um he threw salt peter onto the bacon actually I saw a, a um programme on T.V the other day of someone making their own bacon now and they were doing it exactly the way my father did it, it was quite a, quite an interesting programme and um yeah so it was quite good we used to sneak, when the peaches were ripe, we had those king stone peaches and you know you broke them in half and there was a little hole where the pip was and we used to ah get a cup and put it under the separator grab some cream and fill up those little holes, ooh yummy peaches and cream fresh, of course never let dad see us do that he was very strict.



You were telling me about one of your brothers and how you were picking plums


Oh right, oh yes, we every year around Christmas time we had our plums would get ripe we had little Christmas plums we also had the big Sastermin plums big tree of Satsermin plums and my brother this year this tree was beautiful, was lovely red it was a red, a red plum tree and a yellow tree both very sweet and it was the red plum tree Dick wanted plums from the top of the tree which wasn’t very it was quite slender branches and you couldn’t climb up and we had no ladder at them time so he decided he’d get the axe and chop down the branch and he’d have the plums he went to chop the tree down and the axe slipped and  cut off his little toe so at that time of course we had fowl and ducks running around and the duck came and saw something instead of I think he, I think he thought it was a plum and he grabbed up my brothers toe and my sister Kyla and I chased him because we wanted to get the toe back of the duck so my mother could sew it back on Dick, dicks um toe again we yeah we weren’t worried about how wrapping up the toe or anything and anyhow Dick well he, he all he kept saying was don’t eat all those plums as he ran up for mum to um wrap up his toe, but you know it’s just things kids get up to um my brother, we used to have lots of fun, my brother we used to make houses you know there was plenty of Teatree and Nikau you could plait it you know make a roof like the natives did in, on those islands and then you’d ah we had axes and spades and things down in the bush we’d have all these um make huts, I mean we were making the real thing not just with blankets and boxes like the kids do now we and plenty of sticks and, and there was so much tea tree around to make a hut and my brother used to my brother was a real hot shot with a sling gun, slingshot or a bow and arrow we’d make our own bows and arrows, he could shoot anything and he’d, we’d decide we’d have a hangi at different times and he’d, he’d prepare everything and then he’d go out and shoot we had a lot of a ??? little fantails?, sparrows, anything, the things we ate when we were children and um he’d get all these things and we’d have to pluck, Kyla and I would have to pluck them and wash them and, and, take the tummies out and then he’d go, someone would have to run home and get  potatoes and we’d get watercress from the creek or puha and put it all into this hangi and we’d have a great old feed it’s a wonder we weren’t poisoned but however but they were the best meals and um but that’s what we used to do for fun, as I said dad had made us a tennis court for when the older girls and boys come from Auckland and we used to put up the net and play tennis, yes we also had, also had plenty of board games mum, um my brothers and sisters always used to bring us down you know snakes and ladders and draughts we’d learn how to play um card games like five hundred and Eucha and things like that, crib my father was a great cribbage man and he said it was good for you because it learnt, taught you how to count so we’d sit up some quite often an play um cribbage with dad, yeah picnics and we were lucky because we had um was Kennedy Bay? was a great fundraising place you know? Um most of the farmers, well most of them had money so you know so we’d have really nice prizes we’d have tennis rackets and dolls and all sorts of things you know for prizes for the kids at school, books those boys own, girls own, great big thick books and we had necklaces and bangles and things you know so really um school picnics were really something to look forward to um they’d have running races and different things yeah um we also had dances at the local hall everybody learned how to dance when I remember when I was um I was about seven or eight dad would let us go to the dances with mum as long as it was mum that took us and we got up and danced because all the other children, school children were there and you’d have to dance with two girls would get up and two boys would come and get you and you’d think, you’d say why don’t you go and get somebody else and um no then Uncle Joe Ngapo, he’d play his old accordion and he’d say come on you girls, dance with the boys and you’d have to dance with a boy but nearly every child in Kennedy Bay could dance it was a great um outing for everybody


Families in Kennedy Bay


Have you any idea how many more people live in Kennedy Bay? How many families were there maybe and how many children


Oh there were a lot of, there were a lot of all the families were big families like the Harrison she had how many? Mrs Harrison, she had, she was one of, she came later on Hales were there first, Hales had about twelve, um Uncle, some, some of them were older than us and they’d gone away to work but then and Ngapo they had nineteen in their family, we had or, mum had twelve um oh, my cousins didn’t have very big families I think my Aunty had three or four, that lived um Aunty, Aunty um Aunty Sarah had about three but most of the families and they were all big families so we’d have we’d be about thirty six forty going to school


Providing for hui


You were telling me about working together.


You know so, everybody knew everybody else you know it was good too same sort of thing happened when we had a tangi in the district um my dad always gave the meat he always killed a beast a pig and then the Ngapos they we the they were the, they had big gardens they had big garden of kumaras corn and potatos and they always supplied, always gave the vegetables um the others would bring would go and get the kaimoana and so someone would go out and in a boat and catch fish another would go out somewhere and get mussels ??fennel? and so our tangis were always we had plenty to eat at our tangis and it was all given by the, people gave what they could give




Did um if there was a tangi was it held a bit like tangis today or was it different?


um They lasted longer because we had a lot of people, we had a lot of, in Kennedy Bay we had a lot of Ngati Porou people and they had to let them, ring them up at the East coast and they had to come up by bus as far as Thames I think, Thames or Coromandel and then they had to come over some of them would have to, it wasn’t so bad when the road was decent other than that every one had to go into Coromandel and take horses and they’d ride over but no we’d they’d go to the pa where the Ngapos were you could hear them you could hear them coming way up the road you know you could hear the waiatas and it was a real, it was real awesome sight in the olden days it was um they didn’t sort of hold them selves in check you know you could they, they, you’d hear them coming the people coming and they’d come and it wouldn’t just be one or two they’d be just about a whole tribe of them they’d just all arrive and then the tangi would last about a week


Did your dad take part in those things?


 um No, mum, mum would go down and we’d go down dad would kill his beast take his beast down, pay his respects and then he’d go home to work the farm, keep milking the cows ?


Was there a marae there?


 Well the, there was, the Ngapos had a big like a hall where people used to, used to sleep and then it was fine it’d be like they did here in Paeroa they’d just lay their tablecloths down you know and then just all sit down on the grass and eat


Did they put the deceased in their house or in a lean to beside it or what?


 No they usually, sometimes they’d put up a tent, put up a tent or sometimes if it was, if the person was very, they’d put them in the church, we had a church


And they stayed there for the eight days, five or six days?


Oh there were two or three houses down at the pa and all the Ngapos they had a big lounge room and they went their dead always laid in the lounge our dad laid, our dad laid at home, we kept him at home we had a big lounge and a front room and then a big bedroom he stayed in the bedroom people came in and then everyone went out to the back to the kitchen



Ngati Porou I Harataunga


What is your understanding of the history of Ngati Prou in, the settlement of Ngati Porou in Kennedy Bay?


Apparently, well apparently this is where I wish I’d listened to my Uncle Dick because he had the, he had it down to a fine, he had it down pat and he used to come up to the historical society and tell them about Kennedy Bay but apparently um Ngati Porou used to come up the coast and Kennedy Bay was a stop over and they used to and they used to um stop there and then go on up to Auckland to sell all their goods apparently one time they stopped over and the um the northern people came down um Ngati? the Ngapuhi came down and attacked the Kennedy Bay people and because the um the Ngati Porou were strategists they told them how to fight and to dig in and stop the people from coming and they stopped the Ngapuhi and apparently um they were able to ward them off and kill them off so the people up, must have been Tama-te-ra people so they said, seen they helped them save their people that were living at Kennedy Bay and the surrounding districts, the Coromandel, they gave them, they stood at the top of ah Tokatea and said as far as the eye could see this way and that way they would grant them land and that’s really how I believe a lot of the people came to have the land at Kennedy Bay


Did you hear those stories as a child?


As a child yes because we, we asked dad how did he happen to um how did we happen to have the land we were on, he said well when he was in um, um Colville he ah, got a land grant and I think, I think he because my father was married



Nga Matua Hone Tuwaiti


Tell me about your dad, what was his name?


My dads name was John Thwaites, or he was known by, I have seen him, his name written in the Maori land courts as John Tuwaiti, Hone Tuwaiti. My dad as far as I know had three wives, one was from the East coast and I have a half sister from that union and then he come over to Paeroa and I have two other half sisters and a half brother in Paeora and then there was twelve of us. We always, my sister used to always to tease mum and ask where she got married and she would never say, but when she died we found there had been a wedding certificate, at home so that set my sisters mind at rest I suppose you could say but no we where a happy family and we knew we had half brothers and sisters he had always told us and I never once when Rata our nephew came down and we thought he was neat and then when he came back we heard he had married a widow with a lot of children and we thought oh how gross but we came to meet her later and he’d married Irelene, Irelene Tuwaiti and got to know her sons like Tai and the ones that are close to us, our blood relations are Mae, Mae Mclean, Hati, yeah. Some of them didn’t even know they were related, but we knew because our father had told us. Dad used to play the accordion, he had a lovely voice and quite often in the evening after he’d finished work we’d all sit outside and he’d sing, or we’d sing our school songs to the accordion and dad would sing to us, I’ve lovely memories of my father, he was very, very he was straight, I mean children you know, where seen and not heard at the table, you didn’t talk you didn’t sing, you just, you were there to eat your food and when you wanted to leave you had to ask to be excused from the table, I mean, our father was very strict, like good manners, and good behaviour and if we, like when we, I remember one night we were entertaining a new school teacher because most times we had a school teacher lady she always stayed at our place and we had a special room for her and they had evenings, musical evenings at home with supper afterwards and I remember one night Kyla and I had laughed because my cousins sang and they sang they were flat and we were sent to bed, no supper which we didn’t think was very good but that was how we used to entertain people, get to know one another, country people are very, are very good like that when anyone dies or whenever anyone has any sadness or there’s an accident its surprising the way country people will bake a cake or scones and send it to the people that’s in trouble, um, you become very close in country places.



And your mother


Yes mum was very good, mum was a good cook, my mother could make a meal out of nothing in a hurry, umm, as I said she always had loads of preserved fruit, all sorts of things, pickled eggs and things I mean you know we had these big stone, earthern jars and she used to get this special stuff that you put in the jar if you got a lot of, had a lot of eggs you’d put them down and they’d stay fresh for, you sort of preserve the eggs so that when you did, a month or so later you’d open them up and break them and you’d go to bake with them and there was nothing wrong with them you sort of don’t do that now because you’ve got your fridge, fresh eggs easily. But we, you preserved everything um made pickles jams things like that. But the way they did them in the olden days they seemed to last for ages, you know they didn’t go bad or anything so we’d have food that kept well all the time.



Kumara Pit


The greatest thing that    always used to amuse me was we had, we had big um gardens of kumaras, now my father outside the garden was sort of the old lawn, he used to make like a kumara pit and it always amused me because the kumaras kept beautifully he’d um, he’d dig the grass off the earth, sort of around, around, circle like that, then he’d put straw down and then he would pack the kumaras in, sort of came up like a cone an around the bottom of the kumaras he’d cut off turfs of grass and make like an igloo and he’d pack all around the kumaras like that and up at the top he’d dig a, he’d cover it with earth and in the top he’d dig, you know how you have these bulrushes? He’d dig a piece of the bulrush out like that and like the earth part would be, would be all surrounded and then he’d turn it over and he’d put it on top with the bulrushes coming round, over the side like a, like a hut and cover the earth squares that he had around and when the rain, and then he’d dig, he’d dig a, if it was on the slant, he’d dig sort of a moat around it, not a very deep one, around the kumara and then he’d have run offs so that the water would run away, so when it rained the water would come down on the sort of on the earth at the top, run down the sides of the um of the rushes and then just get into this little drain and sort of run away so then what you’d do is you’d pull out one of the little squares and put your hand in and get the kumaras out and that always amused me because they’d come out beautiful and dry and none would, mind you he’d sort of pick the kumaras over so that none were cut or scratched so all the good kumaras went inside and they’d last us all. The potatoes he’d put in boxes with straw but that’s how he kept our kumaras and I always thought gosh what an ingenious idea and I used to think that s clever because you know they were nothing but dry and kept well, yeah.


Pae-o-Hauraki Marae


What is the story about the Marae?


Oh well, Pae o Hauraki I have a photo of my grandmother and great-grandmother and they were standing outside Pai 0 Hauraki, marae when it was down at Waiara it’s a ??? my mother and well all the, lot of people from Paeroa used to be down there then, like the um Peeti and all those people, they all lived down Colville there and then they all sort of came up this way and because they moved back to Paeroa where there was more, I think it was because of the work, worked in the gardens and things, well the built the um the um marae back up here over the other side of the river and then when they started to make them stop that they brought it back over this side of the river I think its been moved about four times.



How did they get it from Colville down here?


 They brought it on a like on a barge and I remember my mother saying that when she, when she was a little girl, must have been when they moved the, I think when they moved marae, she was lucky, she um got in the um, she was given a ride, because she was running along the beach, she was given a ride I think in the, with King Koroki, he picked her up and took her in his canoe, and she was, she was quite excited because she rode in a canoe, cos little girls never rode in those canoes with men, but however because he picked her up and put her in it she rode part of the way along. She always used to tell us about that. And she was very proud to come on the way back this way but then when once the marae moved then she married dad and she went to live in Kennedy Bay, they bought a farm in Kennedy Bay.


So the house moved before your mother and father married?


aah, Yes, must of, yes when she was a little girl she said.


Hauraki Ngati Porou?


And ah, some apparently some people have questioned your Haurakitanga, saying that you’re from Ngati Porou


Oh well, all my, I’ve got lots of step brothers, because my dad was married three times I have a half sister Ngati Porou, um I had two, oh I had a half sister, I had two half sisters here in Paeroa and a half brother so we knew about, we used to knew about those, so I had a lot of um people here, I’ve got a, my whakapapa, its around somewhere, ah its brought us back to um, back here to Tama-te-ra, um Ngati Hako, through the different , ah different, different Chiefs.     



So you’re part Hako, part Tama-te-ra, part Ngati Porou,


 Part Ngati Porou, part Ngapuhi, from dads side and ah the Apirnikau, actually um, Apirinikau he was um, he or his father was the um navigator for the Tainui canoe,


Marae Continued


and how many times has the wharenui, it was over the other side of the river eh? And then they moved it across from where it currently sits



That’s right, I, I think it was, I think it was um it was in Waiara, but before then it was in another part of Colville, which was called Cabbage Bay then and then they moved it to Waiara and then from Waiara, I think they moved it up here to the other side and then this side. I think It could be in, in Tai, in Tai Turoa book, I think he’s got um something about that. Um yeah.


Auckland, Whanau & School


Now tell me about you, um, at the age of twelve you went to Auckland?



Yes I went up to Auckland, my sister lived in Otahu, so the closest, because there was no ah high school in Coromandel then the school of mines did have um a school ah classes after the standard six, after you got proficiency in standard six, my elder sisters went to the school of mines in Coromandel, which is now a museum, ah but when my brother George and then my sister Kyla and I and Gordon, um there was no high school in Coromandel so we were allowed to, I think we got a boarding allowance to go further a field, as long as we had um somewhere to stay so my sister was in Otahu so we went to the Otahu, it was the Otahu technical high school then, its now been changed to the Otahu college, and we went there for, went there for um, went there for four or five years, we all went, um my brother George went until he was in form six, then he went home to um, dad bought him a truck and he had a cream run so he, that was his business then, he did the cream run and all the groceries and the people went to Coromandel he took them, ah my brother Dick who was between George and Kyla, he only wanted to stay on the farm, he never wanted to leave home and because it was sort of sad in a way because he never, when he did go he went overseas with the Maori Battalion and he was killed in ? he died of wounds, he was waiting to come home on the ship they were all on the, on the wharf and I think um, I think the Germans came over and, and machine gunned them and then he was one of the ones that was killed, while he was waiting to come home on the ship. Um yeah, and, then I went to, I went to school and I took a commercial course and um so then once I left school, mind you I didn’t want to leave, I think the best time of your life is at school, but because, because now you become a junior secretary, intermediate and senior, so by the time I left school instead of being a junior I was an intermediate and yet you should, I should have had experience as a junior but I went straight, I worked for an Indent agent, Lewis and Wills in, in um, Auckland, Southern Cross building in Auckland up by the, up by the High Court and ah, I was there for, I think a year and, and there was only I was in the office and Mr Ratley was my boss, and um, he was indebt agent, which got goods from overseas and he sort of, we sold them, yeah um, and ah, he had to, he was called up in the army so he, so he had to close down so from there I went and I became um, a secretary at the Taupo Totara Timber Company in Newmarket and I was there for seven years until I got married and then I left.


Hoa Tane, Husband


And how did you meet your Tane?



Oh well, he was in Ngapo, his family lived in Coromandel, he was schooled in Coromandel but he used to come back all the time when there were anything doing at the pa where the Ngapos lived all the houses were there and the hall and the church were there, he used to come down from time to time, well I knew him when he was a cheeky little rat, and ah, yeah, it was quite funny we always used to argue and I used to, and I used to tell him he was conceited and I used to say to him gosh I pity the man, the girl that you marry and it was quite funny later years he said to me what’s that about you saying that you pity the girl that I’d marry, but it was years later.



Can you remember ahh, um, when you decided you’d marry?


ah Yes, he went over to Japan on the, in the forces that were, that were um, what were they called? Um


J force?


J force, he was in the J force team and he went to Japan and um we decided that we could marry when he come back, so he was over there for about nearly two years so in the mean time I was still working at the Taupo Totara Timber Company and then when he came back yes we got married in Auckland.


Auckland, the Bay & Paeroa


Why did you choose Auckland instead of the Bay


umm, Well, it was funny you should say that, I worked until I got married and then Norm and I were only, we’d only been married a week and my mother got sick, she was on the farm, she was still, she was seventy odd, she was still milking cows, by then she had, they had machines, didn’t hand milk and um Norm and I got back to Coromandel and we were just wondering what we were going to do, what he was going to do or was I going back to work again or, and ah mum rang up and asked if we could go back to the farm and help her on the farm so we talked it over and then decided yes we’d go back and help mum so we stayed there for about eighteen months I think or maybe two years on the farm and then um we came up um, two years, yeah, and then I was expecting my first daughter Andrea and I came up to Paeroa because the, oh my sister said there was a wonderful nursing home here in Paeroa so um and because it was such a long way to go to Coromandel I decided I’d have Andrea here and um so Norm and I came up and while he was here, while we were on holiday the cows were out while he was on holiday um he got a job at Harvey Evans so we decided to um, by then mum was better but and my um, um, nephews were big enough then and they helped mum on the farm because mum had two nephews with her, two grandchildren, her grandchildren, two boys Ricky and Wayne so they milked the cows then and we came up to Auckland, oh to Paeroa and as I said we came for a holiday and we haven’t, we’re still here, mm.



And after Andrea came..?


Norman and ah I had ten children who were all alive and um I’ve go five here in New Zealand and five in Australia so I spend my half my time in Australia and half here, so mm


: Sounds fantastic,


When I, when, ah, when Robert he’s the baby when he was five years old it was nearly time for Andrea to turn twenty one so I’d said to um my sister Kyla, she was working at the accordion factory and she said you want to earn some money she said I can get you a job easy, George Dawes people are coming and going all the time they want you know steady workers, so I went over and interviewed by George Doors and I got a job there I think I was only there for four months, a couple of months I really was enjoying it too and um I got a ring from Mr Malcolm at the Council Office, he was the deputy ahh, accounts clerk and he asked me if I’d like to work at the Council so I, he made an appointment for ah interview, I went down and yeah I was lucky I got the job so I started working here.


So how old were you when you came to Paeroa?


I was only I was about twenty five, twenty six when I came to Paeroa


That would have been nineteen …?


 About nineteen forty nine? no before then before then umm no I’d be about, I was twenty four, twenty five when I came to Paeroa


Pae o Hauraki Marae Continued


So that would have been nineteen thirty something?   


No nineteen forty, about nineteen forty about nineteen forty eight I think I came to Paeroa and it was quite funny I went up, they were having a meeting at the Marae, so I said to Kyla I’m I’ll go up and have a jack and see what’s, how they work, how they do things here cos I’d never, all my like I’d never, except for down home in Kennedy Bay I’d never had anything to do with, really with Maori people, you know, in Auckland, all my friends were Europeans and so I went up the meeting house and they made me secretary of the ?? I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be doing, couldn’t understand a word of Maori, still can’t understand a word of Maori, and um, I’ve been, I’m the executive, I’ve got nothing, of the Marae Committee all the trustees, ever since so I’ve been all that time, that’s when we had nothing up at the Marae, there was hardly anything in there we used to have to, quite often I used to put up my own money to hire dishes from either um a place in um, in Te Aroha or Brokenshire ? in Thames, Doreen, Royal and I, every time someone, there was a tangi they’d ring us up and I’d say to Doreen “is it your pay this week?” She’d say “why?” I’d say “oh got to go get some crockery” she’d say “no”, I’d say “oh well it’s mine” so and that’s how we, that’s why we were determined to make sure that we had good, it was mainly for the old people cos they couldn’t afford, couldn’t afford to hire crockery and that so, and that’s why the Marae is in the condition it is today and really people do not know or appreciate when they go into a marae now and everything is there for them, you know, there’s crockery there, mattresses, comfortable mattresses, pillows, sheets, you know and there’s toilets, and nice showers and things like that people don’t appreciate what the old people had to put up with, and it was all the Marae Committee which was Peter Williams, Ned Williams, myself and Doreen and Royal that really brought that Marae to the standard.



You mean Pito, Pito Williams


Young Peter?

 Oh no, his father, his dad, young Peter is nothing like his father. Yeah, old Peter, he was  ..


Changes seen, Hauraki Incidents


What of the changes, are there any incidences that you can recall that happened on the marae that you might regard as being interesting?


 We had, we had, actually since I’ve been involved with Pai o Hauraki we’ve had lots of interesting things, we’ve, had we had the re-enactment of the um, of the um what was his name? Um


 um, ooh …


 Grey and oh what was it, chap from Mackaytown, that the um, that did a a lot of Maoris out of their land,

: mm, Yeah, um

We had a the re-enactment of um


Yes, yes called after Mackay town, yeah we had that and um, that was really great we had um we had some, we had some really great things like we had um um Doug Paraku who was the, who did the were, things like that, I mean there’s a lot of great people in those days, Uncle ??? um you know, there was so many people there, Johnny Clark, all those really old ah, identities of Paeroa, really great, Barney Raukapa those people, um Robert Williams, you know, Herbert, Herbert Williams, old Ngaro Peeke, lot of old people, um Mandy Kuhana and Aunty Marqueenie and Fred and Mary Mc Caskill, you know there’s so many old people that done a lot for Paeroa and there’s sort of lots that’s gone on thats, yeah, um and of course quite funny, we I remember one time we had the marae and we um Uncle Matty was there and we got ?? really ?? having the Maori bowls here and what happened the day before they, they happened Uncle Matty passed away and we had, we had to um get um Paeroa boys and transfer all our people and they were all arriving at the marae and I had to transfer them over to sleeping in ?? and the pa was very good, they, they cos we didn’t have as good facilities here as we did at the pa and we, we had cooking there, we had cooked our puddings there and they had hangis up there and we were transferring food here and there but no it worked out very well, I mean I was just ashamed that, there was just, used to shame cos uncle Matty was an old bowler, loved his bowles and it was a shame he wasn’t there to greet all these bowling people, you know just, bad luck that he passed away at that time.




Did you notice any changes …


Well I noticed from the time I, I came here the, the, I find now when I first came to Paeroa because I didn’t have much to do with Maoris then, um when I first came to Paeroa um I noticed they stood on the, on the other side, on the opposite side, they also, their callings were brief and concise you know just really, almost anybody could learn how to call because the calls were simple to a point that now ah with everyone learning um the reo I find that when they call now its really sort of you know, it’s compli, well not exactly complicated but I suppose what they’re trying to when they find out who is coming and then they sort of welcome these people personally you know.  And it sort of um, well suppose it makes it more complicated but it, everything was simple in the olden days, um when we had um Europeans at the Marae and you have to tell them what to do, I always tell them that everything that Maoris do are logical, doesn’t matter what they do it’s logical, you think about it, they weren’t complicated people at all, they had everything worked out in their own minds and it’s what you did, you know, logical and I said so if you think that you shouldn’t do this you shouldn’t do that if you know that’s the logic of it you do it because that will be right its not complicated at all you get to the a door of a house now, you take off your shoes unless they say “come in come in don’t take of your shoes” and, and I said and I said you shake hands with everyone, greet everyone like you do in a house, I said you when they ask you to sit down you sit down I said you speak, you sort of, you don’t, I said you speak when they, when you’re sort of spoken to and things like that, I said its just a lot of it is just plain common sense, good manners and logical.


Concerns for the People


Are there any, if you have a concern for Maori people in the year 2001 what might your concern be?


I think, I think a lot of people, um especially people who radical, radical ideas I think a lot of them sort of get on the band wagon and they make more trouble, you know you hear a lot of people say well, “oh the Maoris, the Maoris do this or the Maoris don’t want you to do this, or don’t want you to do that” they don’t really know, they’re speaking, I feel they’re speaking on behalf of themselves, a lot of people, a lot of Maori people can’t be bothered with, with um, you know with, they want, they want their life to flow um ok be proud and Maoris but you know um I don’t want someone to say that I would do this and I would do that, how do they know what I‘m thinking? And I feel that a lot a lot of these now, of these people who get up and speak about what Maoris want and what they don’t want really they’re speaking on behalf of themselves I mean if I ever say anything, if I ever get up and say anything I say “ this is what I think” and that’s what they should do, its what you think yourself, a lot of people don’t agree with what you say so I mean so why include everybody? I mean there really are a lot of good Maoris and a lot of good people in New Zealand and um, really the way I myself think that a lot of um, Maoris are making us almost um racist because we are New Zealanders all of us at the end of the day we’re New Zealanders, Maori and English, Maori and European, everyone’s a New Zealander, that’s the way you have to think, be proud you’re a Maori, but you’re a New Zealander.


Strengths of Maori


What do you think um are some of the strengths that Maori have that they can build on



 Most, if, if you’ve listened to your old people and they’ve instilled in you um right and wrong I think you can’t go wrong you know um I, I think you know in lots of ways I often think that my father was quite strict with us, um, he was tolerant but he was quite strict, you know you can never go wrong um mm


Maori District Council and Trust Board


You’ve been ahh here for, in Paeroa for a long time and you’ve seen lots of things happen umm and I want you to think back to the Hauraki Maori district Council and the Hauraki Maori Trust Board um if you take the Council first, do you think that it has played a role in the development of our people



 Oh yes, yeah I believe that, umm people I remember one time where I was secretary for a while but you can’t have a Maori secretary that can write can understand English ok and can write it all down but you need the reo and um its just a shame that I haven’t, my son speaks it, um Norman, Norman has learnt how to speak the reo and I have grandchildren that are speaking it, but um it is a shame I often think you know often think that I wish mum had a, had a taught us, she said you know when, she was she died when she was ninety three and then when just after she was ninety she came to live with me she said it was a shame that she didn’t teach us, but she said it was your fathers wish, and I said that I’d said mum I’ve been to huis where, especially people from the East Coast I said they speak beautiful reo, top English, I said, and yet, yet they can speak, I said and I said they don’t look like Maoris I said and they can speak Maori you know fluently and she said yes she said, she said um that when she was, because she could speak and understand Maori she said that um it took her a long time, the kids used to laugh at her when she first went to school and she said she never wanted people to laugh at her children so she thought no I’m not going to teach Maori so she never, but she said she was sorry later on, you know, you know when maori when the reo started coming into its own she said she was really sorry she never taught us, but she said it was your fathers wish and that was it, mind you in the olden days the women took notice of what their husband said ?      



What do you think the contribution that the District Council and Trust Board have done for Hauraki?


Well to begin with I always believed in the Maori, um Maori Council because it was the one thing we had directly to the government was our, it was our and, well so the Hauraki Maori Trust, I’ve got great, a lot of faith in the Hauraki Maori Trust Board I think it’s, I think it’s a lot of people, a lot of people say it’s a waste of money a waste of time but I don’t’ think so I think it I think it’s brought people together and we’ve got a lot of things for Maoridom out of, out of the um Maori Council and the Trust Board, umm we’ve learnt a lot and um I think when young Josie was head of the Trust Board, she did a lot of good with, you could , you know for a young girl she, she made a great impact in the fisheries I mean she understands a lot of things and when she explains things its so clear and even you yourself when you’ve explained things about the um the um Maori Council you always made yourself clear and um I think I think you have all have contributed a lot to the um, to the organisations, John Mac? Eddie, you all have in your own way and um and really the Maori people in this area should be quite proud of what has been achieved through the council and the Trust board but that’s the trouble with us, some of us are inclined to um bring in personalities and its the personalities that spoil it umm, you should, make sure everyone should look at everything clinically and if whether you like a person or not if they’re doing good let them because I think its silly to, to say oh I don’t like that person he’s not doing any good I mean that’s, to me that’s, that’s sad because um people that are, any person that’s involved in public work and are doing things for other people they do the best they can and people have to appreciate that and understand that um its you can’t it’s like the um the great um writer said you can please people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and that’s true it’s just um nature it’s just what people are made of and some people don’t like people just for the stupidest things you know but they don’t realise that there’s good in everybody you know if you’re trying to do something for someone else, I think more power to you.


Future Vision for Hauraki


What do you think might be the direction for Hauraki? Oh yeah lets start at a more local level, what do you think might be the direction of the Marae at Tama-te-ra?



Well, should the, should the fisheries ever come to light with money and things there’s so much good they can do for people here umm, they’re making a start now with all our um you know with all our um, with the children the tamariki, and um we’re getting a better health service um you see not long ago we had dentist, dentistry but it’s got to be, it’s got to be put out wider you know, so everybody, I know it’s hard to let everybody know um but um but when anything is, anything that’s worthwhile should be um people should be made aware of it but no I think I think they’re doing a very good job umm mm.



What would be your wish for Hauraki?


Well it’d be, it’d be nice if everyone could unite and stop arguing and picking on things I mean a lot of a lot of people need to see sort of a wider picture they don’t they sort of nitpick and they’re worried about little things, whereas really in a way if you sort of look at the whole scene or the wider picture it’s a different it’s a different sort of ball game altogether um you need to pull together you know and another thing too is you shouldn’t, people shouldn’t try and see what they can get out of things you know now in well if, you know I’m afraid sometimes they’re losing Maori at the Maori aroha I know you can’t live, everyone says you can’t live without money um but there’s money and money you know some people will try and do good for everybody but others ah they wont do anything unless they’re paid for it and that’s the sad part because as I said they’re losing that Maori aroha




Is there anything else you’d like to say? About anything?



um, There’s a wealth of knowledge out there you know I often think now um there’s a lot of things because people in the olden days didn’t, didn’t speak out you see my father never spoke about like his mother or his father or you know and a lot of people when they have something like information a lot of people will not give it out and I think, um you need to even if you just tell your family about different things because I think it should you know a lot of, there is a lot of information as you say that should be retained and the only way that you can retain it is to pass it on and um yeah record it for prosperity I suppose mm