The past rolled back in Kaitaia on Fri­day

The Northland Age - - Local News -

The days of white set­tle­ment in the Kaitaia dis­trict were brought back on Fri­day af­ter­noon in a pa­rade that paid trib­ute to the pi­o­neers be­fore hun­dreds of school chil­dren and adults.

Where did the pa­rade come from? Prob­a­bly there is no­body that can com­pletely an­swer that ques­tion – it just grew.

Marie Stan­ton be­gan it all by ask­ing fel­low com­mit­tee mem­bers, “Do we want a bul­lock team for Mu­seum Fes­ti­val Week?” She ap­proached Percy Rogers, of Stoney Creek Block, and Percy en­thu­si­as­ti­cally agreed to bring his team of three-year-olds for the oc­ca­sion. Tom Han­cox and Percy then set about to largely re­build a bul­lock wagon, and Archie Cook, of Wai­mate North, kindly loaned the sec­ond wagon.

Bruce Crow­ley, of Okai­hau, made the beau­ti­fully re­stored horse wagon avail­able, and Bob Subritzky added his sulky. The Kaitaia Trans­port Co. pro­vided a con­sid­er­able amount of cartage for the oc­ca­sion.

Alex Tracey led the pro­ces­sion on horse­back and Wel­come Har­ri­son added the cow­boy touch. Ken Lewis and his wife han­dled the or­ga­ni­za­tion of the live­stock and their equip­ment, and Mrs. Lewis ar­ranged to bor­row the splen­did cos­tumes from fam­i­lies in Okai­hau. Joan Olsen skill­fully pro­duced fur­ther cos­tumes for the oc­ca­sion.

Gor­don and Win­ston Matthews made their vin­tage cars avail­able for the oc­ca­sion, en­abling some of the county’s se­nior cit­i­zens to take part in the pa­rade in com­fort. They in­cluded two for­mer May­ors, David Archibald Snr. and Jim Taaffe, along with Ron Matthews and Percy Wa­gener.

The ladies rid­ing side sad­dle were Mrs. Madge Thomp­son and Betty An­der­sen, rep­re­sent­ing be­tween them the fam­i­lies of William Gilbert Puckey, the Rev. Joseph Matthews, and Matthew Steed.

Alice Evans rep­re­sented the Thomas fam­ily of Ka­iaka, and Ruve Wa­gener rep­re­sented the Wa­gen­ers of Houhora. The descen­dants of William Gilbert Puckey were also rep­re­sented by Amy and Rhonda Archibald, Dorothy Miller and Mary Pitch­ford. The lat­ter two also stood for the Crene Fam­ily and the descen­dants of John Subritzky. Chris Dunn re­called the pioneer teacher Robert Dunn, who mar­ried Mary (So­phie) Matthews, daugh­ter of the Rev. Joseph Matthews, and founded Pama­puria School.

Le­ora and Jimmy Matthews, great-great-great-grand­chil­dren of the Rev. Joseph Matthews, pa­raded with their mother to rep­re­sent the pioneer mis­sion­ary from both sides of their fam­ily. The Whites of Vic­to­ria Val­ley were re­called by So­nia White, while Susie Matthews rep­re­sented the Yates of Te Paki.

The Reid and Berghan fam­i­lies were rep­re­sented by Pat­sie Thorn­ton, while Mrs. Cave pa­raded for the Matthews fam­ily and the descen­dants of Louis Subritzky. Iris Brent, dressed in a wed­ding frock orig­i­nally worn by the late Mrs. Sid Puckey 66 years ago, re­called the Puckey fam­ily.

Ellen Bea­z­ley, wear­ing a gen­uine flap­per frock of silk crepe that dated to the 1920s and was orig­i­nally worn in the Waikato, rep­re­sented the An­drews. The fam­ily of Jack Hut­ley, of Wai­hopo, was re­called by Char­lie Hut­ley. His fel­low gumdig­ger, Si­mon Ur­lich, re­called the fam­ily of Si­mon Matthews Ur­lich, who set­tled in this dis­trict in 1897. Neil Matthews, laden with a tim­ber jack, re­called both the Matthews and the Puck­eys.

Bobby Subritzky, driv­ing his sulky, harks back to the three Subritzky brothers, John, An­ton and Louis, who set­tled in the Far North in the nine­teenth cen­tury.

The fa­mil­iar fig­ure of Ken Lewis on horse­back re­called the Lewis fam­ily, who set­tled in the dis­trict in 1915, while Percy Rogers, the man who set the pa­rade up by of­fer­ing his bul­lock team for the oc­ca­sion, de­scends from the fam­ily of Ge­orge and Jane Thomp­son, the first Eu­ro­pean set­tlers in Pe­ria. Jane Thomp­son served as a mid­wife in the O¯ ruru dis­trict in the 1880s.

The Kaitaia Tim­ber Co. added ap­pro­pri­ately to the spec­ta­cle by in­clud­ing a kauri log in the pa­rade, thereby rep­re­sent­ing the hun­dreds of men who lived by the axe and saw when tim­ber was a prin­ci­pal ex­port from the dis­trict.

The main cos­tume group in­cluded Den­nis Maria and Phil Quil­ter, dressed in all the glory of for­mal morn­ing clothes and grey top­pers – no doubt re­call­ing vice-re­gal visits of the past – while at the end of the pro­ces­sion came a glow­ing splash of colour from eight mem­bers of the Yu­gol­slav Kolo team in na­tional cos­tumes.

— Novem­ber 12, 1968

Gumdig­gers

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