Monday, 22 October 2007

Oct 21, 2007: Wairarapa explorations

Spent the day exploring the Wairarapa, primarily to see where Andrew William Alexander RICHARDSON had lived, trying to figure out why a blacksmith's lad from Owaka down South had ended up in the backblocks of the Wairarapa.
Visited the 4 places associated with him and his, Rua Roa, Akitio, Weber and Wimbledon.
These days, Rua Roa crossroads has a building proudly marked as the "Tamaki Co-Op Dairy Co. Ltd RuaRoa Branch", now a contractors headquarters; a community hall, re-opened in 1995; and a school established in 1908.
Akitio (pronounced by the locals A kee tee o) is right out at the coast. From Dannevirke it's a tarsealed road but the route we took was via the Waihi Falls which was windy and unsealed, but good. The settlement was a bit of a surprise to me. Obviously once prosperous despite it's isolation. Coastal shipping would have kept it supplied and the farm output delivered. Three very large homesteads still grace the town. All that remained of what was apparently a very shortlived sawmilling venture is a concrete block on the section next door to the one person I spoke to in town, she just happened to have written a book on the area (and could tell me a bit about Andrew's wife's family's likely descendants who still live in Wimbledon). When I voiced my puzzlement as to how come my South Island relative had ended up here, she said that a lot of people came north to work on the Herbertville rabbit proof fence.
Wimbledon, where Andrew had worked as a blacksmith for his wife's father (E MORGANS), boasted little more than a Tavern, unless we missed it.
Weber (pronounced Weeber) was the most substantial of the 4, but that's not saying much. Largish hotel and school, a church ...

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