I grew up in the township of Ohingaiti and recall the elderly residents who were the link to that mysterious past we all heard about in conversations or at school. I was fortunately able, at a later time, to meet or write to many others. In particular I met 93 year old Mana Ross in 1961 who had worked in the district and was present in November 1893 when five members of the Quillinan families died in the Makohine land slip. Mana’s vivid memory of the tragic event fired a life time passion in me to record that not-so-distant past.
This web site project is not aiming to produce a ‘time line’ history, but rather it will look at ‘threads’ of information which can lead off in many directions. These leads may hit the proverbial ‘brick wall’ or provide clues to look elsewhere.
These are History’s Little Mysteries.
The strengths of the project are likely to be driven by my interests and fortuitous discoveries, while the weaknesses will be self evident and there for others to take up, rectify or progress further.
All topics will provide chances to tap into families and individuals and to extend genealogical information. This will be an interactive process and a ‘blog’ facility will allow others to participate in extending the total knowledge base with letters, photographs, enquiries and comments. The project material will in turn provide the historical setting for family stories and highlight life in a pioneering or pre settlement situation.
Some topics will provide ‘snapshot’ views with detail, background information and hopefully some historical insights.
The body of work to date has been an original research project with data from many unique sources. Letters, interviews and photographs provide this aspect. Published material from books, newspapers, magazines, and archived Parliamentary records of many types, and Government Department and Local Council papers, reports, maps and plans make up the rest.
Early newspaper files are a rich source of material when other sources no longer exist. Joseph Ivess published the Paraekaretu Express in Hunterville twice weekly in 1893. Now archived in the National Library, this file is a goldmine of Ohingaiti material.
I trust that you find as much pleasure in discovering the fascinating past of this little town as I have had in piecing it all together. It is a work in progress.