Toko­roa flood­ing un­cov­ers keep­sake

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

Amid the chaos of ma­jor flood­ing an un­ex­pected find has the team at Toko­roa’s Cre­ative Arts hold­ing out for a happy ending.

A large por­tion of do­nated ma­te­ri­als at the com­mu­nity art hub, where peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties make and sell arts and crafts, had to be binned af­ter a ‘‘wa­ter­fall’’ of water came through the roof dur­ing a re­cent heavy down­pour.

With dri­ers on full blast to save the car­pet and shelv­ing, team mem­bers re­luc­tantly be­gan to throw ev­ery­thing else away.

It was then that sup­port worker Jean Teao stum­bled upon a 1943 hand­writ­ten and il­lus­trated story.

The story,tour­ing The North Is­land, was writ­ten by a Hast­ings Stan­dard Three school­girl He­len M Hor­top and had been tucked away in a pile of old mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers.

He­len tells the story of how she toured the North Is­land on a camp­ing trip with her par­ents, sis­ter Mary and brother Ian in a Mor­ris 12.

The fam­ily vis­ited Norse­wood be­low the Ruahine Range where they ‘‘cooked tea on a Coleman cooker’’, went eel fish­ing, vis­ited Feather­ston’s Pi­geon Bush, Welling­ton Zoo, the Kapiti Coast, Wan­ganui, Te Kuiti and Auckland, be­fore re­turn­ing home via Tau­ranga and Gis­borne.

Teao she she couldn’t be­lieve it when the story fell out.

‘‘We were just sort­ing through all the stuff that was on the shelf when it came out. I thought it looked im­por­tant and it’s beau­ti­fully hand­writ­ten,’’ she said.

Team leader Rachael Camp­bell said it is likely a keep­sake that some­one for­got about when the mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers were do­nated.

‘‘This is an in­ter­est­ing place be­cause some­times peo­ple bring things in that they don’t re­alise,’’ she said.

‘‘Over the years we have had lit­tle finds and we have al­ways man­aged to get them re­con­nected with peo­ple but this is a name I do not recog­nise.’’

Camp­bell said she’d like to see the story re­turned to He­len or her fam­ily but as yet she’s had no luck track­ing them down.

‘‘It is a re­ally cool story that I’m sure her grand­chil­dren would love but no one around here seems to know who she is,’’ she said.

She said if the story could be re­united at least some­thing good would have come from the flood.


Cre­ative Arts Toko­roa sup­port worker Jean Teao holds a 1940’s hand­writ­ten story found af­ter a re­cent flood.

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