The past rolled back in Kaitaia on Friday
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