HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools. –Ambroise Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary

In this issue

  • Feedback on Hari Jackson’s talk in October
  • The upcoming October session – Bruce Taylor on The Impact of Railways on Kapiti on Tuesday 17 November
  • The last session for 2020
  • Our early history

Thanks to our October speaker: Hari Jackson

This was a fascinating session. Hari has lived all his life on the Kapiti Coast, apart from a short time with his family running businesses in Levin. Amongst many things he covered his Maori heritage and the many ways in which the district has changed over 80 years. Many of the whanau were present and Hari introduced them all.  He looked at a range of issues related to schooling, work in carpentry and joinery, transport, rugby, jogging, services and recent growth. It was a wet, windy night and over 50 braved the conditions to hear Hari. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the session. 

The November Speaker – Bruce Taylor

Bruce sums up what he will cover. The talk will be on the topic of the history of the railway from Wellington to the Manawatu from the 1870s to the present, with particular reference to the social and economic impact of the line on the Kapiti District. It will be illustrated principally by photographs selected from the NZRLS photographic collection.

A photo possibly taken in the Forest Lakes area north of Otaki.

The line was originally constructed and operated by a private company, the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, and then taken over by the NZ Government Railways in December 1908 to form part of the newly completed North Island Main Trunk Line. Over the following years the physical appearance, the operation and the services on the Wellington to Manawatu line changed significantly. Yet it remains a vital section of the main trunk and the southern suburban part (the “Kapiti Line”) forms part of the very busy Wellington Metro Network.

Bruce will make detailed references in his talk to the Tawa Flat Deviation; the histories of Paekakariki and Otaki Stations; and the building and operation of the “difficult section”: the Paekakariki – Pukerua Bay Bank. 

  • Tuesday 17 November at 7.30pm
  • Kapiti Uniting Church, 10 Weka Road, Raumati Beach.
  • Gold coin koha. Thanks. 
  • A light supper will be served following the talk.

Our last session: 15 December

David Hadfield will talk on aspects of his family’s history on the Kapiti Coast – following on from his last year’s talk on his great-great grandfather Octavius, this talk will focus on his great-grandfather Henry Hadfield and his grandfather Gordon Hadfield.  The talk will feature photos from the past and extracts from a tape recorded by Gordon in 1970 where he goes right back to the early days of the Lindale farm, talks about the ups and downs of farming on Lindale – including how he started up a butchery during the depression which enabled him to hold on the farm when many others had to walk off their farms. 

Suggestions for topics and speakers are always very welcome. Next year we will definitely have sessions on Gallipoli and Parihaka.

Our early history

In the October newsletter we raised issues related to the hiding of our pre-Polynesian history. Ian Wishart is his book The Great Divide addresses this topic amongst other issues related to our history and race relations. 

A couple of months ago, one of our members attended a talk by Martin Doutre on the subject of our early history and suggested that the KHS might like to have him as a speaker in 2021. Two other members would be prepared to put him up if he comes here. 

If you feel that this would be worthwhile, let us know. Six members have so far indicated interest.

Best wishes

Roger Childs and John Robinson