Wednesday, March 30, 2011

South Island farming folk

I turned up at a cross-roads yesterday in North Canterbury to photograph what was left of a small settlement where my grandmother was born. I'd always wanted to see it although I knew there was nothing much there. The only building was an engineering workshop. While I was taking the photos, the proprietor came over to ask why and I told him my little story. Oh, he says, my wife knows all the history around here, I'll get her.

The wife listened and told me I needed to speak with Mrs B and phoned her then got in our car and all drove up to Mrs B farm. Mrs B said we needed to see the local museum (I didn't know they had one), and phoned Bill. Bill opened the museum for us and told us we should see Mrs S and phoned her for us. So off we went to Mrs S. Mrs S gave us coffee and cake, the school roles and lots of interesting talk. She said we should see Mr C who lived over the road from the grange where my grandmother was born. My husband, bemused by all this drove me to meet Mr C.

Mr C hopped in the car and directed us to big paddock which we drove through to some trees in the distance. Here was the house he said, I remember it clearly, a four bedroom house with a sod cottage beside it, it was pulled down finally in 1951. It was on a block a mile square leased off the church he thought. My father told me about your gguncle, he was a bit of a weasel around home etc! But you should really back track to see Mr and Mrs H. So leaving him there, we did back track about 20km's and the H's who of course had been phoned by now, were expecting us. Here we had more coffee and cake in the big farmhouse and out came the photos.

What a wonderful, welcoming and interesting venture into the heartland of Canterbury.


  1. That's a great story Lynn one of my ancestors Willian Isaac Haberfield was based at Moeraki he arrived there in the 1830's. My former husband's family all come from Mataura and Gore in Southland. Really enjoyed this post.

  2. How truly delightful!

    This sort of thing is what makes tracing our trees a heap of fun!

    All the best

  3. What a wonderful story,and wonderful people!