Early NZ Eatwell - Ivy Thorn

Early New Zealand Eatwell - Ivy Thorn

When I was a child my mother told us stories of answered prayer that inspired my faith to believe in God in the years to come, to help us in our natural life as well as spiritual, to believe God has an interest in our affairs, and is always near at hand in times of need. On one occasion she told us about a time when they, as a family, lived in Nelson and had not a bite of food in their house. My grandfather used to make his living by bringing firewood from the Maitai Valley where they had property and selling it in Nelson. However, because of constant rains and floods, he could not get up the Maitai to get the wood as he had to cross flooded streams. All the money was gone and food too, so grandfather called the children and said, "Children as we have nothing for breakfast, let us kneel and ask our heavenly Father to send us something to eat". So they all knelt and prayed, and as they prayed a big butchers basket was pushed inside the door full of food (they did not see who had left it), but they rejoiced exceedingly at prayer so quickly answered and knelt to thank the Lord for his abundant answer.

Round about that same time my grandfather, who had been soundly converted in the Salvation Army from what he called a 'black sheep', was coming into Nelson with a load of wood for an old widow called Mrs Ewer who had ordered it. On passing Queens gardens a voice spoke to him and said, "Take that load of wood to Army Headquarters". He was obedient to the voice and as he drove past the house to tip his load he could hear sounds of great rejoicing. The wife was calling to her husband saying, "Father it's come, Father it's come". On enquiring what it was all about, they told grandad they had food to cook but no fire to cook it with and no money to buy any.In the early days of the Salvation Army in Nelson, those who went to preach the word of God went forth in faith and were not granted an allowance. On one occasion a dear man, his wife, and seven children went forth Sunday morning to preach without breakfast as they had nothing. During the service they noticed a stranger there, so after the meeting the father asked him if he had anywhere to go. He said, "Nowhere". "Well" said the preacher, "come home and eat with us". "I will gladly come", said the stranger. One of the smaller children went to his father and whispered "Father we have not had any breakfast yet, how do you expect us to give this man dinner?" His father said, "All will be well son, we have prayed and our Heavenly Father knows we need food". When they arrived home, he left his wife to set the table and talk to the visitor while he and the Lieutenant retired to the sitting room to pray. While they prayed a voice was heard cooing and when they went to see, they beheld a kindly neighbour over the fence with a lovely hot dinner all cooked and ready to eat for them. She said, "I knew you had gone to the meeting and thought you may not have had time to prepare much for yourselves, so I thought I'd cook it and have it all ready for you when you came home". On many occasions we have had proof of God. Since I heard those stories He has proved faithful to us.

My husband and I were married in 1922 and within eighteen months after that time, times grew very serious. Because of high land valuations farmers everywhere were going bankrupt and many returned soldiers from 1914-1918 War were in a very sorry plight. My father-in-law had paid £2000 to establish his sons on a farm. The returned soldier son (Bert) found the gruelling work too much for him so my husband stayed to work the place and improved it mightily. But slowly and surely we found ourselves losing ground and felt if we did not leave the place we too would go bankrupt. So we walked off with nothing but a wee daughter, Dawn, three fine work horses and our belongings, but no furniture.

We were knocked from pillar to post and things went from bad to worse until we had to sell our three horses and go to find work where ever we could. On one occasion we had just finished a seasons milking for a man who had 100 cows. It was a very hard job. Bad machinery and two boys to help, but it was work and a job and that was something. However as a bolt from the blue this man told us he had no need of us since the season was finished and he did not want to carry over a man till next season began again. Once more we were out of work and now had two children. It was a serious time as thousands were out of work in New Zealand and it was a time of slump. My husband had to set out again to get work. I said, "You go by train and I'll pray while you're away". He returned by night and said "Well I have a job all right but it's a miracle I have it. I picked up a paper", he said, "and a man on a station was advertising for a ploughman, a married man with no children". He swept aside the 'no children' bit and went to the interview with the man. When he made known his errand the man said, "See that pile of correspondence there, they are all applying for the job, 70 to 80 of them. Now what can you do?" "Sir", he said, "I've ploughed since my childhood days, but we have two small children". "Oh" he said, "that's a bit awkward. I want your wife to be able to come and help my wife as our home is large and she not well at all. But if you think she can manage that, I might just as well take you on as look through this pile of letters, so you have the job".

We had a very nice home of our own and lovely grounds with that job and all went well until we were expecting our third child (Allan). I managed to keep working and helping Mrs Cameron and got on very well indeed until about three months before Allan was born. Then we had to give up and let someone else come who could help. We moved into a poor old house that had been used as a trappers shed and after much scrubbing and scouring we made it habitable. Mr Cameron let us have it until we could get more work. In that old place we were all taken very ill with a severe gastric flu. So high were our temperatures, our beds were wet many times a day. We sent for a Doctor who had to come many miles into the country, but he could do little except charge us £2  10- a trip and he came twice. We were in a plight. No work, no prospects and all ill. After my husband got his sea legs and ceased from the vomiting he said he would bind up his stomach tight and set out to walk the miles to the village to try and find something. We had prayed much and laid the matter before the Lord. As he trudged along the road shaky from his illness, he saw a man at the gate of his farm. He stopped to chat and this man told him there was a nice house on a farm on the other side of the river and no-one in it. The man who owned it spent much to do up the house but conditions got the best of him and he had gone bankrupt and left it. This man also said, "Now if you went into Wanganui and saw the owner I believe you could rent the farm and house for very little and I'll let you have a cow to start with". My husband went on with the farm in his mind, but the main thing was work to get us food.

He came to Turakina Bridge and on the other side was a lone man working with pick and shovel hacking down a cliff face for forming a new road. He spoke to him and asked, "Do you think there is any chance of me getting a job here?" Ben O'Brien said, "Well there has been a bit of a dust up here and the men have walked off. The Boss is a hard man you know. He has gone into Wanganui to get more men. All the same you may get in all right". He explained the situation and told him about the baby soon to arrive, so decided to go into Wanganui to see the agent or owner of the farm and the boss of the job Ben was on. The result was he was given 120 acre farm and house at 30/- a week and a job at £1 3/- a day. The work was very hard indeed as they had to work nine hours a day, daylight time, but what wonderful news he came home with. He had almost forgotten his sickness. We rejoiced so much, he said well I've got a good job, a house and a farm for 30/- a week. We could not believe our good fortune. Praise God.

We moved in and someone persuaded us we should buy cows and use the farm, but we had no money. So my husband went to see the Cheese factory who gladly granted us enough money to buy cows and a horse and cart to bring the milk to the factory. We had to work very hard. In fact we had on average, six hours a night sleep. But we were able to help others. One man, Ben O'Brien, had only a tent to live in pitched in the river bed. He had two small daughters and another wee one arriving, so we offered them rooms in our home which was amply big enough for two families. We remained there for a year or two. Mrs O'Brien looked after my family while Allan was born and I looked after her family when their John was born.

A new bridge was to be built over Turakina river so my husband got work on that after the deviation work ceased. After a while the man who owned the farm decided to sell it so we had to be prepared to leave. It all worked out very nicely. By that time Bridge work was finished and they wanted to move on. It was not convenient to follow them to the next job, because there was no house, so we stepped into a man's shoes who had just left an orchard job after many years. It all seemed very wonderful to us as work was very hard to get and times were getting more serious. We had taken in and fed as many as 22 men a month during that time, out of work and wandering the roads.

One morning a few weeks after we left the farm a man whom we knew quite well, got off his milk cart and called me to come and see something. I went across the river on the farm we had left only a few weeks before and could see the house blazing fiercely. It was burnt to the ground and that could have easily happened to us, as on two occasions the rack of clothes above the kitchen stove, caught alight. That man lost everything and was about to be married.

Piggy's Story

Times had become hard. No cows to sell milk from, no pay coming in, and we had used up everything we could possibly cook in the house and out of it. Not another thing remained. All was empty. For two days we went hungry and with two children we could only offer them another drink. We thought something must be done so we sought the Lord and we both agreed my husband should set out for the village two miles away as something would turn up we felt sure. So he left right away. If he had not done so the Lord's plan for us would not have come to pass. When he got to the Bridge over Turakina Valley River he saw a man on a horse coming on the other end. He knew him very well, as he had a farm, and had to turn at the end of the Bridge to go to his home. As they met he said to my husband "Hullo Charlie, seeing you reminds me of something. Some months ago I brought a pig from you and I have never paid you for it. I have the money right here with me so must do so now". Just half a length of that Bridge and my husband would have missed him. Charl proceeded on his way to the village with a heart that rejoiced and although it was less than two pounds he borrowed a sugar bag and arrived home with groceries and all sorts of food for us to eat to tide us over a further period. We laughed and wept and rejoiced at the provision made.

On another occasion we were right down to it again and this time had very little left to eat. Beyond us toward Lands end lived three families of Maoris. No road went beyond their farms. One afternoon when I was wondering how to provide food for my family, I looked up and saw one of these Maoris walking through the paddock by our back gate. He saw me outside and asked me if I would like some fish. I said "Thank you very much". He shouted, go inside and bring me a big dish. He had been fishing and caught plenty. He piled my dish up so high I had to remonstrate with him. But inside was chuckling with delight at how we had several meals ahead provided for us. It was an unusual thing for Paul to come through our place as he was always so shy, but a few drinks of beer had made him bolder and we were fed. Once more we were low in money and food as happened many times before and after and we did not always seek the Lord in prayer about it either. Rather we would know he knew we did not have much left and wait expectantly. This time one of the Maori men, Joe Tiki, saw my husband afar off so shouted to him. They had killed a cattle beast and hung it in a tree and just to come along and help himself to it. He did and that made many good meals.


This happened at another place we lived (Dovedale). My husband was walking along with a very dilapidated pair of heavy work boots on and he looked down at his feet and said, "Dear Lord, it looks as if I need another pair of boots, these are pretty awful". Next day as the service car went speeding by the driver saw Charl in the field and pulled up and shouted to him. "I had a new pair of working boots on board for you yesterday, but I carried them over so will bring them back for you tomorrow morning". When Charl went to meet the service car next morning, he said to the driver, how do you come to have a pair of boots for me. "Oh" he said, "your brother (who lived in the next valley about 12 miles away) bought himself a new pair and they would not fit him properly, so he brought them over to me to leave with you. They may fit you". And of course they fitted perfectly and the old boots fell to bits the next day.

Cows Healed of Disease in Collingwood

We milked on shares about sixty cows at this time and before the cows 'came in' a terrible disease swept through the cow herds of the district. It caused an abortion that meant the cows could not be milked for factory, and there were few cows to rear or sell. It was a very serious thing. Our immediate neighbour lost 22 cows from his herd. In fact all the farmers were having serious losses. It meant severe loss to us should our herd be culled as we only worked on one third share. When our Pastor from Nelson visited us about this time, they did so about every five weeks or so, my husband asked him to come down and pray over our stock. Brother Eric went to the farm, stood on a hillock and lifting up his arms prayed to God to preserve our herd from this evil thing. We had one cow stricken, but after that no more caught the germ. We had calves to rear for selling. Our next door neighbour Mr Ralph Riley said, "Now look here Charlie, we believe you know a thing or two". "Oh we do", said my husband. Mr Riley continued, "Why should my cows have gone down and yours not, and we have only a wire fence between us and the cows have a nodding acquaintance over top of that". Also on the other side of us there was only a wire fence and both farmers lost heavily. Later on several farmers came to buy heifers from us to milk to build up the herds again.

Saved by God Changing the Wind in Collingwood

The weather continued to be very dry, week after week until our big cement tank holding over 1000 gallons went dry. We could not use our range because it may damage the hot water system. So we decided it would be best for us all to pack up our bedding and such as we may need for a few weeks or until the rain came and go to the river. So we packed up the old car and took three tents and away we went. We chose a beautiful spot on the other part of the farm near the river in a piece of native bush several chain wide that stretched over the whole length of the field. We were soon very much at home under lovely Nikau and wonderful trees full of Tui's, birds, and pigeons. Our family of nine all told, loved it down there. The two who went to work would return at evening and then Dad, big daughters, and two big sons would dive and swim in the river. We had a big flat piece of iron rigged up to light a fire under and put our pots and pans on for cooking. Our table and chairs were under the leafy trees for a dining room.

Then it all happened so suddenly. A neighbour walked to see us that day and had dinner with us. About that time we heard a roaring and crackling sound and stood rooted to the spot. Fire! Surely not. Across the river immediately on the other side were high hills covered with this beautiful bush. We ran to the waters edge and saw the bush on fire. By now a howling gale was blowing. Oh what a sight met our gaze. Fire was racing from tree to tree and sweeping through that forest. We stood and watched big pieces of blazing bark being borne by the gale to our side of the river. Soon our piece would be on fire.

My husband prayed and I prayed, "Lord change the wind. Cause a gale to right about face and blow the other way. It's all that can stop that fire". Our daughter Dawn, working at a farmer's home a few miles away also looked and saw the fire. She prayed, "Lord change the wind". I said to the lady visitor, Mrs Exton, "doesn't that crackling sound very close to us here". She said, "yes it does, very close". We did not know what to do but we knew we could not stay there the night with that fire raging above us on the other side.

All at once my husband said, "Why, the wind's changed round. It's blowing just as big a gale right about face, and is blowing the flames back over burnt ground". Mrs Exton exclaimed with amazement but we all three saw God perform this miracle. If that had not happened all our tents and belongings would have been burnt. As we discovered on investigation a piece of blazing bark had set fire to the very piece we had camped in and burnt quite a large patch not far from our camp. So in a few minutes it would have swept through and destroyed all our goods and tents. We could not see because of the smoke, what was happening. Our boys working at a distance, one on our own farm, and one on the neighbours, could see our own piece of bush was on fire so one jumped on a horse and raced to tell us. By that time the gale was blowing the other way, so it not only saved us, but the forest reserve so greatly admired by everyone.

A Ten Shilling Note

Ten shillings doesn't sound much but when you have nothing whatever, it is a great deal. We were at that stage and the butcher would be calling next morning. We had told him to stop at our gate in faith because we knew we had nothing, but expected the Lord would undertake and send us a little to go on with. Our road gate was quite a distance from the house, but we could see him from the plateau we lived on. So he always asked should he stop and wait or not. He called two or three times a week in that part of the country. We had a lumber room in which suitcases and all and sundry was stacked away. I felt constrained to go and tidy up that room. When I got there I found a box of letters written by me, our family, and others to our son Brad, who was at college about 100 miles away. He used to bring this stack of letters home whenever he came on holidays. I did not like to see my old letters about so thought I'd have a burn up. I carried a box full to the wash house and stuffed them under the copper, but one dropped off on the kitchen floor before I went out. As I came in I picked it up and said to myself, "I wonder what I wrote about in that letter. I'll read this one anyhow and see". I pulled out the letter and peeped inside the envelope and there to my astonishment was a 10 shilling note. I had popped it in the envelope two years before for Brad and he had never found it. The Lord had to cause that one to fall off the pile because he did not want it to be burnt.

A Bonnet and Coat (Collingwood)

Our daughter Dawn was working in Nelson for a few months so while she was there I wrote and asked her if she could send me a piece of material of a brown colour so as I might match our Chesterfield suite and mend it. When it arrived it was a yard and a bit of material so I thought as our three year old daughter badly needed a coat and bonnet, I would make one from this and use the remainder of the scraps to mend the Chesterfield.

The coat fitted well and looked nice but that poke bonnet. When I tried it on it just looked awful.  Whatever was I to do. She could not wear it like that. I was standing alone in the kitchen just gazing at it and wondering what to do and I said in a loud voice, "Oh Jesus, what am I to do. Hilary badly needs a hat and I have no more material and cannot get any". A voice said, "Gather it". I whirled round and felt astonished at the advice. I said, "Gather it? Gather it? Why, it does not say a word about gathering it in the pattern". All at once I knew that voice was right. I said, "Thank you Jesus, you are a better dressmaker than I am". I straight away unpicked the straight band and gathered it in the back as suggested. The effect was magical and now it suited her perfectly, throwing the front up off the face, instead of out over her eyes. This particular story is precious to me as a voice from heaven directed operations.

Fruit and more Fruit

When we first went to live at Collingwood we were disappointed to find there was not a single fruit tree on the whole farm. Coming from Nelson we missed the fruit dreadfully. We found to buy it from the shops there was beyond us, it was so dear. So after a good many weeks like this I said to my husband, "You are going hay making at one of the neighbours today, couldn't you ask them if they have any apples under their trees they do not want". We had just finished prayers in the morning when I said that. He said, "No I won't ask any of the neighbours but we'll ask the Lord about it". So we got down again and explained the matter to the Lord.

We had not finished praying when the telephone rang. I went out to answer it and a motherly voice on the other end said, "I don't know you folk up there, but I'm wondering if you have any fruit. Send one of your children down and they can pick up plenty of apples under the trees and pears too". I went to go in rejoicing to tell the others, but the telephone rang again, a long distance call. On the other end was Brad who was now boarding out with friends but attending College in Nelson. He said, "Mum if you go down to the gate, you should find a bucket of raspberries, I've sent them over by service car for you". Well what a treasure that was.

Another friend ten miles away telephones me soon after saying if you could send Rod up you could have cases and cases of plums. We are looking after a neighbours farm while they are away and they have a hedge row of plums. We got many cases that way. A very kind friend who had an orchard over Nelson way felt led to send us a case of beautiful apples and one of pears. He had no idea we had no fruit. The fruit rolled in. Cases of peaches and apricots sent by friends came within the weeks that followed. It was war time and very little sugar could be got, but I filled every bottle we possessed with fruit and jam and the plums that were over I pulped. We had an abundance of fruit because our dear Father had answered so abundantly.

A One Pound Note

This happened at Mapua when our family was smaller and we had four. It too happened at the time of the slump and there was no work. My husband went out and chopped up burnt gorse into lengths and filled sacks and sold them for 2/- sack. One day a man rode by on a horse and seeing him stopped, handed him an envelope and rode on. He did not know the old man and does not know who he was to this day. On opening it he found an old £1 note. It was wonderful to us and we praised God for it. We had learned about tithing about this time then the devil caused me to have a great old fight about giving the Lord 2/- from that £1. I gave it but it seemed pretty awful since the £1 came from the Lord in the first place.

Christmas Presents (Mapua)

While living at this same place our living conditions were much the same as previous story. Christmas time arrived. It was exceedingly hot and oppressive and Bryan was born in February. So at times I became almost overpowered with heat. Christmas eve had arrived and there was nothing in sight for our four children. What were we to do? Pray of course. Our Father knows the need. The children were so excited and wanted to know if they could hang up their stockings. We said, "yes you can". Our neighbours asked my husband if he would care for a ride down the hill to the tiny settlement. It had about one store as far as I can remember, and was a mile or two from where we lived. He accepted as he thought something might happen.


When he got there he met another man he knew and this man said, "I saw a packing box addressed to you. Did you get it?" "Where is it?" said my husband. They went together and there, sure enough, was a box as big as a kerosene box addressed to us. He promptly offered to run it up the hill for us in his tiny car. It was about 11 pm when Charl carried this in and called to me to get up quickly and come and see. We opened it together and there we saw all sorts of toys, books, beads, animals, and treasures that would delight the heart of any children. We began filling stockings with great delight and down at the bottom was a beautifully iced Christmas cake for us as well. There was no name to say where it all came from, but Jesus knows and will reward them in Eternity.

Warts (Collingwood)

Hilary had a huge wart on the top knuckle of her hand when she was about four years old and was always knocking it off, or the top of it rather. It was a perpetual worry to her as this occurred repeatedly for months. One day she came in with it bleeding and I said, "Oh that nasty wart, what a trial it is to you. You come here and I'll ask Jesus to take it right away." Just as I covered it with my hand and was about to pray, she looked up into my face and said to me, "Why you have one on your face too mummy. Pray for that one too." I said, "Oh no I won't worry about mine, it does not worry me. That would only be pride if I wanted to get rid of that." In a day or two I said, "Come here and let me see your wart." It was completely gone and she looked at my face and said, "Why yours has gone too."

Scout Knife (Collingwood)

Our two boys were delighted to be scouts, so Dad brought Allan a knife and sheath to strap around his waist. He went forth very proud of it and when he got to the neighbours he saw some passionfruit high up in a tree. He knew I liked passionfruit so told the other two boys to stand down the bottom while he got some for mum. The two other boys stood almost shoulder to shoulder under the tree gazing up. At this point the sheath knife slipped from the sheath and fell down from a good height point downwards and went right between the boys shoulders and stuck in the ground. We felt thankful to God for preserving our children when they were out of our sight.

A Message From Heaven About Allan

Allan wanted to be a sailor and go to sea. He aimed at keeping himself spry with that purpose in mind. He became careless about spiritual things and did not want to partake of bread and wine with us. We always had breaking of bread on Sunday morning in our breakfast room. Brother Frank heard of Allan's slipping and sent a message to ask him if he would care to come to the Hutt to live. After consideration he said he would go. After he left I got a witness he had consented to go because it was so nice and close to Wellington and the ships going places and would be easier for him to get aboard from there. So we used to continually and earnestly lay this matter before the Lord at morning and evening prayers.

One evening soon after he left, about Easter time, Brad was home for a few days from College and we were praying definitely for Allan asking the Lord to frustrate any funny idea he may get and capture him for Jesus, before he could get away. At once his father began speaking in tongues, and I knew it was a message, but who could interpret it. None of us had interpreted messages from the Lord. We waited for quite a while. At last I began to pray and Brad burst forth with a message. He said he was unable to retain it. It was wise and greatly comforted our souls. "You shall have the desire of your hearts, the battle is not yours but mine." Other things were spoken, such as, "I have heard your cry and seen your tears." But apart from that little I cannot remember more. It was enough to let us know God was not going to leave the matter but had it well in hand.

Brad has never prophesied since, but we were grateful to the dear Lord for telling us what we most desired to hear about Allan. He shortly after this received his baptism in the spirit at Lower Hutt and did not try to get away on the boats after this.

Plumbing At Palmerston North

After we had been in our house a year or so a very bad leak developed over the scullery door that during heavy rain or hail there would be such a flooding inside the hall that it became a problem. If I happened to be away when a downpour occurred, I knew what to expect when I got home. A number of folk had been on our roof to try and find the trouble but none succeeded. This trouble continued for a year. On one occasion Rod got on top of the roof and I got inside to hit the right spot for him to detect it's whereabouts, but next shower showed no improvement, but the same wet mess inside.

One day I stood surveying the mess and cried, "Oh please Jesus, send us a plumber who can find this leak." It was very difficult at that time to get one at all. I went across the road almost immediately after that to the Butchers and while standing waiting my turn heard them discussing having got a plumber to discover a leak in their meat refrigerator. When I was able I said, "Do you think that plumber would come to our place? We have a distressing leak that no one can discover." "Well" said the butcher, "he is a returned soldier who has a job but after work does odd jobs to improve his condition. When I go past tonight, I'll call in and ask him and see what he says."

At six that evening the plumber stood at our door. I said if you are the plumber thank you for coming. First of all he had to go off down the street to get a ladder long enough to reach the roof. It was a very large house and quite an acreage of roof. He was not up on the roof long before he came down again carrying a tennis ball (the cause of all the trouble). He said had he not come when he did he would never have discovered the cause of the trouble either, but there had been a heavy shower of rain and when he went to look found a pool of water lying on a portion of flat roof. He said now here is the trouble but why? And on investigating a foot length of down pipe, by prodding down it felt the ball. I looked in my purse hoping and praying the cost would not be more than I had there. I asked him and he said "Oh dear I'm not taking any money for finding a ball. I do like to work for my money."

We were very grateful to this stranger and as we had a cow used to take him cream at times. I firmly believe if I had not given a desperate cry, I would not have arrived at the butchers in time to hear about the plumber and if the plumber had not arrived when he did the water would have all seeped away inside our house and he would not have even thought about the short piece of down pipe being the cause. As no water could run away into the gutter it billowed over the top and was thrust underneath and into the house. How grateful I was. We had no more trouble from that time on. Bryan remembers losing a tennis ball on the roof a year or more before. We praised God for the swift answer to prayer. It was not an answer to a long prayer on my knees, but a desperate cry as I stood looking at buckets of water to be mopped up.


At Collingwood Allan went hay making with the farmers neighbours and must have lifted something far too heavy for him. His father has told me since it was a heavy milk vat. He must have strained his stomach. He was in great agony and rolled over and over on the bed. He was grey in colour and quite distressed, so Dad and I went in to pray for him as we always did when anyone needed help. We prayed and nothing happened, so we turned to walk out again not knowing what to do. Dad said we are not half sincere enough, we must go back and really mean business this time. So we went back and both laid hands  on Allan and cried to the Lord to complete this work of healing and the pain ceased right away and he slept till morning. He got up the next morning without any sign of pain or trouble.

While we were in Collingwood, June, only a small girl, awoke one night crying. I went into her room and found her in a raging fever. So I asked her father to pray for her. He laid hands on her and we both prayed and I saw, in a vision, an angelic being standing at the foot of her bed. The Angel began to move up the side of the bed and I wondered how He could lay hands on June as well as her father. However he reached right over top of dads hands and June was healed. She lay down in bed and slept till morning and got up as bright as could be. I told Dad I saw an Angel and he said, "No wonder, I definitely felt a power there."

In Collingwood again when Hilary was about two and a half or three years old, Dawn was mixing a cake on the bench under the window. The window was a fairly big one paned affair. I should say about four foot long as far as I can remember. Hilary eager to see what all the mixing was about, climbed up onto the bench and leaned with her back to the window pane. All at once we heard a report of snapping glass and saw a figure disappearing through the window. We called on the Lord and ran and saw the second half of the pane come out and fall on top of her also. The height of the window from the ground must have been five foot. Dawn got there very white looking and picked up a very frightened girl, crying lustily and covered in blood. We did not know what we were going to find when we washed it off, but there was only one small puncture in her forehead where a piece of sharp glass had cut her. We were very thankful, our Jesus had undertaken again. We have heard of several children falling through windows and they had been so badly cut about they had to have many stitches inserted.

My Home Life

My home life was very happy or rather I could say our home life as my four brothers and one baby sister all felt the same. We enjoyed our life together on the farm and enjoyed each others company. No better company did we desire than each others, riding or driving round the countryside or climbing hills. Tramping through bush, fishing and swimming. I can only look back with great pleasure at my childhood days, at the same time we worked very hard. I enjoyed work, it was not a dread or horror. My mother being a cripple with arthritis, was unable to do much so it fell to me to take charge. So at 13 years old I had to leave school and keep house. My half-sisters had all left home and married by that time and mother steadily got worse. There was nine or ten in the household to feed and care for and boys did not make their own beds in those days. So I used to get my mother comfortably settled out in the sun with her knitting and set to work to scour and clean and cook. No modern conveniences except cold running water in an eleven roomed house, besides the bathroom, wash house, and dairy.

I can remember at four or five years old living at the first house my father built. He came into Stanley Brook from Dovedale (where his father lived and his family) in February 1869. The house was a gabled two storied place and I well remember what the inside and outside looked like. There was a quaint sitting room with all sorts of pretty things we would call antiques nowadays, a big dining room, bedrooms upstairs and down, a narrow stairway with a landing on top, and one bedroom window looked out onto a profusion of banksia roses. The rose had climbed right up to the top windows and all over the chimney and the scent was beautiful. I will always love those little cosy bunches of cream banksia roses so seldom seen today. The bedroom on the other side of the landing with its white counterpane. White hand knitted lace curtains and white valances around the beds, crocheted lace table cloths and wash stand covers I loved. We could reach out of the window and pick bunches of grapes. They just lay in plenteous supply along the top of the wooden tiled veranda that almost reached to the window ledge. The house had wooden tiled roof also. The gardens were very pretty as my half-sisters were keen gardeners. So we had quaint short box hedges each side of the garden path and each side of that to the gate was a profusion of flowers.

The walls were very thick and made of mud so we would just white wash it to clean it up for Christmas. The time came for us to have a new home so a few chain on a rise up the paddock the new house was built. I well remember moving in. All carrying pots and pans etc. Someone moved the piano in to what looked to us a very large rather bare room and we celebrated by my half-sister kneeling down and playing not 'Home sweet home' but 'Ruby Gallop'. We lived about five years in this large home and during a very dry hot summer, when we had no water much to spare, it was burnt down. It was a great blow as almost everything was lost except the piano. I remember I was all packed up ready to leave on a holiday to the Salvation Army headquarters in Motueka so I had more clothes than others. My packed suitcase was thrown out on the lawn. We trotted in night-clothes to a neighbour across the river and incidentally it was my mothers brother who lived there at that time. We were supplied with an empty house by some kind neighbours and moved in, kind people coming with tables, chairs, beds and most things we needed. Within a year a new house was built, an exact replica of the burnt down one, except my father built two concrete reservoirs, one for rainwater from the roofs and the other built just within a bush reserve fed by a spring for bathing and washing.

My last remaining half-sister Mabel married after we moved into the new house. She was the first person to be married in the new Church at Stanley Brook so was presented with a beautiful family Bible. She lost all her Glory Box and presents of beautiful Tea Sets, also her engagement ring and a heart shaped watch on a long silver chain, a present from her future husband. I never heard one word of complaint about any of this nor one word from my father. He was a man who never whined nor whinged. He expected us all to take everything as it came and no grizzling nor complaining. He was a disciplinarian and expected obedience and usually got it 'or else', but was very fond of children. Everyone's baby would come to him. He was very generous and kind and gave away to all and sundry but to those in poorer circumstances he helped a great deal. When he died so suddenly at 65 we were astonished at the number of people who came from near and far and who said to us how kind my father had been to them, how they had been helped by his kind words or help. We had never even met many. He was superintendent of our Sunday school and I played the organ in my primary school days and onward to my teens, even when Mr Will and John Jordan took over from my father.

When Dad died we were very forlorn and forsaken but continued to keep house and farm together and in 1922 I married Charles on 4 October and turned 25 on the next day. You may say why on earth weren't you married on your Birthday. Well there were about 100 guests invited and many relatives and friends had to come from Nelson. The train only ran twice or thrice a week to Tapawera and on the 5th there was no train. We had to go three miles to collect guests. I did most of the cooking myself and was not feeling too fit as I had an appendicitis operation a few weeks previously.

Because of my mother's Salvation Army background (evangelist) we heard a good bit of what was then Christianity in the right sense. I do not remember a time when I did not desire to serve the Lord, and as years went by I greatly desired to be a missionary. My great pal Auntie Ness wanted to be one too. We did not talk of boy friends and marrying but of being missionaries. We attended every missionary meeting for miles, rode our horses by night if needs be, but get there we must, we did not worry about what denomination it was. We went to hear about it.

I remember we were always taught to give. We had one money box on mantelpiece for Salvation Army and one for St Barnardos home. I remember at one time I wanted a new frock. We used to get catalogues in the country from Wynnes, England. Where on one page was a beautifully embroidered frock, just my size and was just about to get the postal money to send away for it, when some missionary appeal come round. I had no money but my dress money, so I put that in. I remember it was one of the biggest sacrifices I ever made. I never got the frock at all ever.

I was a Methodist so most probably had I been able to go as a missionary it would have been a Methodist missionary. The opportunity never presented itself and seeing my mother steadily grow worse, she thought I was doing a missionary job at home. I have never been cured of missionary fervour, I read books and magazines still. That is, all I can get hold of.

I was never satisfied with my Christian experience, I thought there should be something much deeper when I heard about the wonderful experience of my grandfather and what a happy Christian he was and read his beautiful letters to my mother. I knew I did not have that. From 14 years old I wanted to be baptised in water but until I was over 34 no opportunity ever came my way and then a Church of Christ evangelist came to our door one day in Mapua to tell us about some meetings they were having. We began to talk about the scriptures and about Baptism and he said he would baptise me in water any time I liked to name the day. So I named it quickly but I inquired would I have to join the Church because of that. He said, "Oh no, certainly not." So I was at last baptised in the tidal flats of Mapua. Auntie Gert and Dad were baptised also. I do not know why they were baptised but it was for me a great day and an answer to prayer. It was a cold bleak day I remember. I used to talk to the Plunket Nurse in Mapua about being baptised in water. She was also a Methodist Christian. She could not understand why I wanted to be baptised at all. She had never given it a thought.

What we have experienced during our 46 years of marriage would fill a book and I think my husband has written a good deal of that down from a man's point of view. So I really don't feel like going over those days. They were wonderful in a sense and we were young enough to be able to throw off trials and troubles and start again. It is only a repetition of the lives of numerous others who lived through two world wars, two slumps and a terrible time, as the 'Black Plague' swept through New Zealand after World War I. My father died 9 August 1919 at 65, after many seizures, about nine or ten all told. He died in his own bed. It must have been heart turns. I stood by him till the last. We were unable to get a Doctor as he was 25 miles away and away on his rounds when we rang. It rather shattered my nerves for the time being. It was just before the Armistice was signed.

Some little things come to my mind just now. It happened before my father died. He had been called away to Blenheim as my eldest half-brother had been hunting in the bush near his farm at Rai Falls, and crossing a shale face it started to slid. Away went Bert, but the gun was loaded and it went off, the bullet going through his arm at the elbow. The doctor got in touch with my father as he wanted to amputate the arm. Dad went down and fought to save the arm, which he did. The arm was just slightly bent but has been in good use until this day, as Bert is over 85 now.

While Dad was away on this trip an old man my father had granted a home to for years went mental. He was an old Salvation Army man who had been reformed and converted from drink in his younger days, but had no-one to care for him as he got older, so Dad brought him to our home. Because he was failing mentally he started out one day to visit the farmers of the valley one by one. At one farm house one man gave him some home made wine to drink and that finished the poor old chap off. He arrived home really 'gone'. We struggled with him by day and night. He wanted to set fire to the house and pull my mother out of her bed. She was so crippled up it quite frightened her. Someone of the Valley had to take him away on the next day as we were only in our teens and not able to manage him.

On the next day Stan saddled up old Tommy the horse and went off round the sheep. It was a frosty morning. The children were at school and whoever was at home then (maybe Ern or Walt) must have been working at a distance from home. I went to dress mum but could hear in the distance someone calling. I went to listen and there it was again a call of distress coming from someone. I took off across country jumping fences as I went and found Stan lying out of sight and nearly out of sound with a broken leg. Tommy was standing by him quietly. He had slipped on the frosty slope and fAllan on Stan's leg, breaking it. He was a tall boy of 17 and somehow or other I had to get him home. We tried to get him across the horses back but it did not work so I set Tommy going home and leaning over got Stan on his one good leg and across my back. I went as far as I could and got him to stand on his good leg while I had a rest. This went on across paddocks and down the road and finally we reached home, but I remember how my back hurt for days. We put him to bed and all that night I had to turn his leg every 15 minutes. He could not bear the pain. We drove him next day to the train eight miles away where a sling was slung in the ceiling of the guards van to carry him to the Doctor in Nelson.

How very different our lives were in those days. It seems morality has taken a landslide during those 50 years. No one seemed discontented and we had a happy knack of entertaining ourselves and each other. Stan was very clever at entertaining and he made life-like animals that were the correct size. How we used to look forward to our evenings. Ern was the funny one and had us in perpetual fits of laughter. My father loved music and singing and he used to say no matter what you do always end up with a good old sing. We all loved singing.

We loved our pretty little Valley and the people who lived there. There must have been over 100 at that time but we seemed like one big family, everyone helping each other on farms and houses, lending machinery, horses and men, whatever was needed. It came as a great shock to us when some of the young men married and new blood came into the place. They did not see why they should help each other. There was no profit in it anyhow and the worst of all there was whispering and catty talk going the rounds. We heard things that hurt and cut us to the heart. It was just foreign to the lovely kind spirit and hospitable atmosphere we had been brought up in. It took a long time for us to realise there were people in this world who did not want to love and help us, and who had a jealous spirit and delighted to do us harm with catty talk, and it really was a blow.

The older ones were dying off and some going places to retire. It was a Protestant valley, only one Roman Catholic family living there and the Valley was very pretty in those days. High hawthorn hedges beside the highway that used to remind English folk of the lanes in England when they flowered. Bush reserves beautifully green under feet and clean. I was the eldest of six children and four boys came next with a baby girl to end up with. Although I had no girls to play with I was never lonely there. There was so much to do and during hours of recreation I loved to roam over hill and dale all alone. I loved the hill tops and gathering arm fulls of ferns and greenery from the bush and when I could I would throw myself down on beds of  moss and read. I loved reading and read the whole of our school library and many of the adult library books also. My friend Rose was equally fond of reading. She lived about six miles away and we did not see very much of each other. Her father was a scholar and a son of Captain Forsyth who retired from Military service in India, settling in Stanley Brook. He taught school some of the time. Rose's father also used to preach in the Church of Christ's wee church and when it closed its doors years later, always had the sacraments in his own home every Sunday morning and preached to his own family. I was allowed to partake also if I stayed at the house.

My father was a friend of old Captain Forsyth and was at his death bed when he passed away. The coming into the Valley of these civil servants from India was a wonderful asset to our Valley. They were cultured people and clever. Several families arrived together related or friends. Also they helped the other Valley farmers get on their feet with their money and employment and used their talents for the betterment of the whole place. We had the best library in the whole district, also a lovely choir and what Cantatas and floral plays we all took part in for Dr Barnardos Homes. All got up and made by the Barker girls who trained us younger ones (Mr Barker was a civil engineer from India). One would have thought it far too big an undertaking for so small a Valley to put on a beautiful floral Cantata called the 'Queen of the Flowers'. It took hours to perform and was all flowers and singing. I well remember I had to lead the Queen (Rose) to her throne to be crowned. I was a 'Heatherbell' and how proud I was to be allowed to do so. All the flowers were made from coloured paper by the Barker girls and all the long white butter muslin frocks made by them ten yards round the bottom and there must have been 30 odd people in it. So beautiful was it we were asked by other centres to take it to them. We did go to Dovedale and Tapawera twice but no further. It just shows their ingenuity and to keep an interest in our valley among the young. All the Valley parents were Christians belonging to various denominations, Church of Christ, Methodist, Church of England and Brethren, but all came to worship together in one church built for all by all (I am not including the Catholic family). We would go off in droves for picnic, harness up the horses and several four wheelers and off we would go. A young army of youthful creatures, we usually chose a beautiful spot by river and bush for our picnics and that was for 'Boxing Day'. We sang all the way there and all the way home, our coach would hold twelve or more and we loved nothing better than to be off on one of our picnics. Usually parents did not come with us on that day. We were trusted to behave well and we did, but had lots of fun.

I always remember as a child seeing my father and half sisters kneeling at prayer at bed time and again before they left their rooms for the day. My father had some sort of an experience with the Lord. I cannot find out from anyone about it, but have heard something about a beautiful text across his vision or written across the sky. I did hear what the text was but cannot remember now. In his orthodox way he did his best to serve the Lord. If being generous hearted it helped him he was certainly that. Our large house was nearly always full of more unfortunate people or many visitors from Nelson. Christmas time was a very special time for us not because of any elaborate gifts we were able to give each other (although we would contrive to give something special to our mother being a cripple). But out of town came our cousins and stormed the place for the holidays. I was house-keeper and talk about large meals every day for such a crowd. One Christmas we had 20 staying. How they enjoyed themselves on our farm. College boys would bring their friends and College girls would bring their friends and later on their girl friends as well. So we got to know many young people. We all enjoyed ourselves. My father built a big house for that express purpose. He said we must be hospitable and especially take the folk from the city. Farm produce we had in plenty. No old tramp or sundowner ever went past our place if our father saw him. He was brought in for a feed and a bed and in time everyone Dad knew just turned in automatically. We were taught never to despise or make fun of anyone no matter how humble they looked. The drovers of sheep looked forward to getting to our place as sure enough out would come some draughts of tea for their dry dusty throats. My mother used to tell us not in any way to make fun or mock others who had stutters or peg-legs (as one old drover had) as we may be much worse ourselves one day and some of the stories she told us put the fear of God in us.

A Sheep Story In Collingwood

Not long after we went to Collingwood we decided it would be more profitable and economical to have a few sheep and kill our own mutton. A neighbouring farmer Mr Eli Taylor had about a hundred or so sheep. He asked my husband to help him shear. Dad very much out of practice consented and it took three or four days in between milking times. After the shearing was over he approached Mr Taylor about buying a few to kill, so he spared up one dozen of what he thought store sheep. When Dad went to kill a sheep he found it to be in lamb. He asked Mr Taylor if these were the sheep he meant to sell. "Oh yes", he said, "I had no idea those sheep were in lamb." Dad had put them in a nice paddock with plenty of good feed to fatten them up. He did not kill any more and they all had lambs. Several had twins. Later on when ready, we killed the lambs and then the sheep and they lasted us over a long period. When Dad went to pay the old man, he would have none of it and said, "didn't you come and shear my sheep, that's just the payment". We were able to shear the sheep. It was almost impossible to get wool over there as it was wartime. We brought a spinning wheel and washed and spun our own wool, making useful garments. Dad spun the wool and tried out the spinning on peggy squares knitted by the children and sewn together made a blanket. We still have it 20 years after. The Lord had supplied many needs through those eleven sheep even more abundantly than we could ask or think.

Another time we got another dozen sheep from Eli as he and his wife wanted to get away on a holiday and he asked Dad to watch over his farm and stock. All he had to do was ride around on a horse and see to anything that needed attention and the dozen sheep was payment for that task. Dad undertook these duties as a kindness from one farmer to another and expected no payment. However our kind friend would not have it any other way. The sheep's wool made useful garments. Bryan knitted a pullover for himself. It had a collar and zip up the front and he got first prize and special prize at a school show in Stoke, Nelson. It was a natural colour (grey). The left over wool I dyed and made rugs for the floor and Dawn knitted pullovers for the girls with dyed wool.

I like to pray about everything, all problems, difficulties, and shopping. I can Praise the Lord making my money go round in sparse times and its quite exciting to wait and see how the matter will fall and how our dear Lord will help us surmount difficulties we cannot see a way through.

Cleaning Marking Ink From Suit

While we were living in Petone Charl brought a double breasted grey flannel suit. He worked in an office of 'Ministry of Works', Seaview, Gracefield, Lower Hutt. He had to be well and properly clad. One day he came home quite distressed as he had accidentally spilled some marking ink down the leg of his trousers, a big blob. Unless it could be removed the suit was ruined. So next day I started out to call on the Dry Cleaners of Petone to have it removed. "No" they all said, "we cannot get that out, anyhow marking ink is meant to stay put, isn't it?" I turned to the Chemists but they had nothing to offer me either so I returned home with the poor ruined suit frustrated. I sat down and looked at it and said in a desperate voice, "Oh Lord, what can I do". Immediately something seemed to say "Use methylated spirits." I thought this unusual and said "But won't that rot the material and put a hole in it." "Wash it after with soapy water and rinse it in clear water", the instructions came. So in trepidation I found the meths and started in. Oh my, how that big blob of ink faded away in no time and I washed as instructed and rinsed, and the trousers were right back to normal again. How delighted I felt and thanked and praised the Lord. I felt I could have gone right back to Dry Cleaners and Chemists and told them a secret from Heaven, but I did not.


Dawn was born at Wareore, a Private Home in Nelson, while we were living at Belgrove. Brad was born in our own hired house in Paraparaumu. Allan was born at a Private Nursing Home in Marton when we lived at Turakina. Rod was born at St Helen's Maternity Hospital in Wanganui, while we were at Turakina. Bryan was born at Nelson Public Hospital while in Mapua. Lindsay,  Hilary, and June were born at Nelson Public Hospital when we lived in Dovedale.





Photo of whole family to appear about here






Dawn, Charl, Rod, Brad, Bryan, Allan, June, and Ivy

I have had quick answers to prayer when the case was desperate like these trousers, Hilary's hat, and the leak we had put up with for 12 months in the roof. At least I did, as I had to mop up so much water from time to time, I cried out in desperation and the answer came with the plumber so quickly.

After we left the farm at Turakina we went to work in an orchard, as the man we rented it from decided to get married (and I have already explained the house was destroyed by fire and he had to put his wedding day off until he could build another house). While at St Helen's Maternity Home in Wanganui (an offshoot of Plunket Training school for Maternity Nurses) having Rod, how delighted we were to find an old friend of our Belgrove days training there and how delighted she was to spend her off hours talking and she said, to hear Charlie laugh just dispelled her home sickness. The job in the orchard was very good but the man who owned it was a fiery tempered, unpredictable man. In spite of that we enjoyed our term there. I supplied morning tea for four and sometimes five men and the Boss's wife supplied afternoon tea.

Christmas at Stanley Brook

While we lived there we had a letter from Mum. Do come home for Christmas, I may not live much longer and three of our boys she had never seen. So after much pondering we decided we must make it back home by Christmas. It was a very grave decision to have to make as we had a good job and house and unemployment was everywhere. We packed everything we owned in crates and made arrangements to have them left in a shed, which was an old Maori meeting house really. That is the last we ever saw of them. Unfortunately I had brought new curtains for all the rooms and they were really beautiful. I have never seen the like since. I don't know why. And I had also bought new bed eiderdowns for each room. All our wedding presents, my glory box, the baby furniture (and ours) and pictures and treasures, antiques and everything I valued was stolen. All our winter clothes also as we only packed summer clothes for four children and ourselves. Rod was two years old then. Well I suppose it was no worse than those who have to flee from a burning house and escape with their lives.

We set out for Stanley Brook a few weeks before Christmas and was met in Picton by Ern or Stan. We went to Rai Valley and stayed with Eva and Stan till we could all make our way home for Christmas. Charl took a job at a sawmill for time being. The morning after we arrived, I was standing on Eva's veranda and watching the men leave for work. Bert my eldest half brother drove a small engine and had a long rake of trucks, pushing them in front of him to take the men to the bush to work. He had not seen me since he 'Gave me away' at my wedding as my Papa had died years before. So he was craning his neck sideways to wave to me and did not know one truck had jumped the line, causing the whole line of trucks to become derailed and men were spilling everywhere. He was most astonished on turning his head forward to see what had happened. I was not waving as I could see it all happening and knew he did not know. Anyhow he said it was all my fault. But they soon had trucks and men back on and proceeded on their way.

The day before Christmas two packed car loads of us set out for Stanley Brook and home. We got to Nelson and Ern found he had to purchase a part for his car. It was by this time Christmas Eve and we proceeded on our way until we were heading into the hill about 20 miles from Nelson. The other car had gone ahead but we found every time Ern slowed down to cross on one of those many narrow bridges, his lights would go out altogether and we were left in darkness and at times we were travelling along in blackberries and rubbish that most certainly was not the road. We decided we could go no further like that as we had two lengthy hills to go over, Dovedale and Stanley Brook and it would be too dangerous. So we somehow managed to turn round and idle our way back to Wakefield. There was a Hotel there and it was just a miracle they found beds for us all being Christmas Eve.

In the meantime the first car had got home and they waited anxiously for us to turn up. By then it was nearly midnight. They all decided something had happened so they had better set out to look for us. One of the boys in the first car and Walt took his car and went over the first long hill and, whatever could have caused it we don't know but, his car went over the side of the hill. Although the two of them got out all right they couldn't get the car up so had to tramp home maybe five or six miles. They got home just before we did. So while Christmas dinner was cooking the boys all went in Ern's car to get the other one up the bank. We could not ring because country Post Offices in those days used to lock up around 9pm and we had no exchange then.

We stayed with Mum and Gert at the old home. Merle and Walt had married and were living there but we could not stay too long so we went to Neudorf to pick hops for some money. From there to Mapua was not a long journey and some of the farmers used to go down to load apples on boats and said, "What about you Charlie". So we rented a seaside cottage and, oh my, I have never tried to sleep on such hard beds and acres of bare boards to scrub. However we were really thankful and moved into four other cottages before we left there. Charl had to do relief work on roads and we got a few days work a week as every other day we must stand down. I don't think it would be more than 27/- a week and we paid rent out of that. Yet we never owed a debt and every baby born in Nelson Hospital was nine pound on leaving.

Brad started school in Neudorf and Dawn and Allan continued on in Mapua. Charl was not content to sit and do nothing so tried several things to better our condition. At one time some kind man gave him some land on a hillside to grow strawberries. Well he tilled it and planted the whole hillside. When the strawberries came into being we were delighted. We bought punnets and crates and picked our first shipment to Wellington at 1/6 a punnet. That was the last time we rejoiced as the burning sun scorched up the strawberries and there was a drought. We never sent another picking to Wellington but had all the punnets and crates to pay for all the same, and they stayed with us for years reminding us of a dismal failure.

Next thing Charl and some man brought potatoes and planted them, but on digging them they were little bigger than marbles so we sold none but had to pay for the seed. The next bright idea he had was to grow beans for Kirkpatricks. So they supplied seed to begin with and the whole field looked fine, until we got a very heavy freak frost and in one night the whole field was black, so we got nothing, but had to pay for the seed. Then the Government offered a few acres to anyone unemployed to grow tobacco if any farmer was willing to supply a little land to the less fortunate ones. We moved into a little cottage in 1932 and spent six or more years there in Dovedale. Lindsay, June, and Hilary were all born there and I never liked the place at all and certainly not growing tobacco. We had a kiln for drying. It was very hard work and a big flood came. Worst one they told us in the Valley for 40 years. It swept all the trees away and also the land and we had nothing to grow anything on but stones like a river bed. So we went bankrupt. But that is where I met Brother Frank and everything else may have been miserable and disastrous but meeting this man of God has had beneficial results right up to this day.

Walt smoked, Ern smoked, so did Stan and Charl, and these boys and their wives all came to know Brother Frank and he was able to pray for them all.

Whooping Cough

On one occasion in Dovedale six of our family went down with a bad dose of measles so we thought it would be profitable to take them away for a change, being convalescent. I was expecting June and Charl was very busy drying tobacco in the kiln. So we took a whare in Wakefield and left him home. One day our boys were out in the paddocks playing in the sun and a boy of about eight years attached himself to them and I noticed he had a very bad cough. He had been home from school with whooping cough and I suppose you can guess what happened. All our six got whooping cough on top of a bad dose of measles. They were so thin they looked like Belson Camp inmates. It was a terrible time.

We rang the public hospital to see if I could go in and when they heard we had whooping cough they did not want to take me. Finally they said they would but put me in isolation. So I was taken up to the third storey and left there until a nurse came running up the stairs and through my room and caught sight of me out of the corner of her eye. She fairly gasped and said how long have you been here and have you had anything to eat? I said no I'm starving and she said oh you poor thing. June was born 9 February and when it was time to go home (usually they kept us two weeks in those days), Doctor said, "You can't go home you know. If this baby gets that bad whooping cough it will kill her". So we had to hire a house at Tahuna Beach and a lady to look after them all. Charl, this man of all works, set to work washing everything, blankets, curtains, and scrubbing, scouring and sealed up the whole house to fumigate it. When that was ready I was allowed home.

I was away for weeks really and what a terrible time Charl had, six basins, paper lined on a chair beside each bed and when one woke up and coughed they all awoke and were sick. Night after night this went on and they would eat a little and bring it all up again. I really don't like to think of the day and night job we had and when Charl was left alone it's a wonder he did not break down under the strain and having to attend to the kiln all night and day as well. June and Hilary did get whooping cough later when they were school girls but it was quite a mild dose and the Doctor said, "No matter they are inoculated just the same".

Our First Radio

One day an agent from Keith Walkers Nelson called at our house and wanted to install an Ultimate Radio, a wet battery type as we had no electricity in those days. Well we assured him we were pretty poor and we seldom had money of any sort, but he insisted on putting it in just for a few days and would be back to collect it again (cunning man). He came after some weeks but still would not take it away. By this time we were enjoying it very much. It was a novelty as just an odd farmer had one, and what's more no one wanted one in those days.

The music was lovely, especially what they called 'dinner music'. Charl used to take ours out to the grading shed and the workers would enjoy music while they worked. One girl persuaded her father to get one for them and altogether because of folk hearing ours that agent sold six or seven Ultimate Radios to our friends, relatives, and neighbours. It was fairly big, but a lovely tone. But it took us a long while to pay ours off.

Aunt Daisy (Mrs Basham) used to have a session some part of the day, mostly cooking and one day she said, "None of you mothers should ever empty your tea pot when you have finished with it, just stand it on the mantelpiece as the tannin is very valuable for burns". One day the children all got up and were dressing before the open fire on a winters morning when Lindsay, standing with his back to the fire, caught light. I was outside and heard frightened children screaming and ran in to see Lindsay blazing up the back. Dawn and I beat out the flames with our hands as we could not find a space on the floor to roll him. There were too many chairs and a table.

Then I remembered Aunt Daisy's advice. I got someone to ring the Doctor in Wakefield over 15 miles away as Lindsay's back was burnt. I stood him in a basin and bathed his back with cold tea to cool it down (that wasn't difficult as it was winter) and went on bathing it until Lindsay stopped screaming. When the Doctor walked in I was still bathing him. He threw up his hands in amazement and said, "what ever have you done". I said, "Bathed his whole back in cold tea". He said, "You are the most sensible mother I've come across yet. I have worried all the way over the hill wondering how I was going to get the oil off, as most mothers put carron oil on and they should not. The last little girl I attended died because of that. I cannot do any more than what you have done. You have put a brown skin on the burn now and he will go right ahead", which he did. Charl was away from home in Napier on some tobacco business and Lindsay was well on the way to recovery by the time he returned.

The Plunket Nurse told me, when she came through Dovedale, about the cold water cure for burns. So if any of our family got scalds or burns I popped them in a sink of cold water or packed the burn with cold towels, with the cold water rung out, until all the inflammation was drawn out. It also stopped all the shock. Brother Mac told us one day he had just read about treating burns and scalds with cold water or cold packs. I told him I used that over 40 years ago and he had never heard of it and was very surprised.


Later on we were bankrupted and the Government was waiting to sell us up. That meant we must move. We could not grow any more tobacco or anything else as all the land was gone, washed away with only boulders left. The Government wanted to sell our kiln, grading sheds, and house. We had been given an old Model T Ford by this time so Charl and I set to work and scoured the countryside for work and a house but could find none. We travelled many miles but could not find one house to live in. Charl was out on the road working and the foreman was very unkind to him because we used to go down to Nelson once a week to this Church Assembly and sometimes Brother Eric and Sister came up to our place. He hated us and always had the worst tools and jobs allotted to Charl. How very miserable Charl was until he found one Christian man on the job. They became good friends and remained so for years.

While on this relief work a lady came running into our place one day with an advertisement in the Evening Mail for a share milker in Collingwood. I tried to contact Charl. He was many miles away but I knew the house he would be nearest to so got the kind soul to get him to contact me on phone. Well in less than no time, to make a long story short, we had a job and a house and we were away in the matter of days. We packed up the old Ford. Hilary was four months old and Brad was at college in Nelson. We got a lorry to deliver the remainder of our goods later on to us in Collingwood. I'll never forget the day we left Dovedale. I never liked the place or conditions and my soul was delighted to be leaving. The dog sat on the running board and we were all jammed inside the poor old Model T. No matter we were leaving behind us the people who had made our lives a misery.

When we got to Takaka Hill the poor car couldn't take it. So it boiled and every few miles up that mountain we found a stream and filled up our puffin billy once more. A man who Charl knew came along and offered to take aboard some of the load he found trudging up the hill on foot. We did not mind we were so happy to be leaving we sang choruses. Nothing could daunt our spirits even if old Lizzie was having a hard time, but would she ever make it. She did and we got to our destination during late afternoon.

How we loved the house. Fairly new, one room not even finished. A pretty place in a pretty countryside. I never tired of the lovely view down over the sea toward Farewell Spit.

We were there about five years and the owners who had gone to Blenheim were wanting to return to their farm. Besides that our boys were becoming grown up and there was no work and no opportunity for them over there and no spiritual help either. Although someone from the Nelson Assembly used to come over to us (100 miles) about once a month and sometimes stayed all night. Brother Frank himself came several times and all the dear Pastors at one time or another. Brother Walter came often and so did Brother Eric and Sister. Brother Quinney, Brother Mills, and Brother Tregaskis all came. We had many visitors, as all our family (Walt, Ern, Stan, and Gert) were all in the meetings then, so we were seldom without someone.

We enjoyed our five years there but time had come to leave so we packed our lorry load of goods and sallied forth again. By this time we had given Mervyn and Gert our Lizzie as they lived at Tadmor far from Brother Walter. They had a big family and had great difficulty in getting so far to the meetings. We thought we had done them all a kindness but on looking back now I feel we did them a great unkindness. They have all gone from us and even Mervyn died an alcoholic outside our Church Fellowship. If those five boys could have stayed with us they would not all be the drinkers they are now, and a nuisance to those nearest them. The car seemed to inspire a car spirit in poor Mervyn and he became so proud. Oh if we could only mind the will of the Lord and not act so hastily and do as we think right. It is not the first time we, or I, have advised and acted inadvertently. It takes so long to undo mistakes if we ever do, to rectify things.

To Nelson

When we and our goods arrived in Nelson, I went to Hope to stay awhile with Ern and Rhoda until Charl found work and accommodation. He found work at Neale and Haddows carrying coal to folk and stayed at Brother Watkin's home in Washington Valley. At last we went to live in a caravan at Tahuna Park. Strangely enough I quite enjoyed it as a life, it was very different to what I had been used to. Rod, Allan, and Bryan went to Stanley Brook to Walt's and our old home. Dawn was working away up Tadmor I think, sometimes picking raspberries and sometimes helping Auntie Gert. We eventually got permission to take the rented caravan to Stoke as Mr Neale asked Charl to go up to the farm to work. We had to wait for a house as the folk could not leave the house until theirs was built. Well we never went into that house. When Mr Neale's executors to his fathers estate found we belonged to these awful BI's[2] they had no pleasure in us at all. They were very unkind.

Well with the job ended and nowhere to go Dawn arrived down from Tadmor with her raspberry picking money and said, "I'll mind the children". That was Bryan (going to College), Lindsay, June, and Hilary. Rod was working on an orchard at Stoke. Allan must have gone over to the Hutt at Brother Frank's invitation. She said, "you two go now for your honeymoon with this money, you haven't had one yet". Dawn was 21 at the time.

I'll never forget standing on the Nelson wharf as the boat moved out and our family standing there waving us off from the eldest to the youngest. That journey altered all our circumstances from then on. We stayed at Lower Hutt and then did a hop to Palmerston North and eventually on to Auckland where Brother and Sister Eric were. Brother and Sister Allan Fawcet were at Palmerston North then and we have always had a love for them as they helped us to come into this life and explained many things to us. They lived in a Valley near Belgrove on a farm and used to come that 100 miles to Collingwood to stay with us. We would talk to the early hours of the morning, so much so when they returned home Brother was so tired and sleepy he went to sleep at the wheel a few miles from their home and they tipped into a deep ditch. I cannot remember how they fared but we had many laughs about it since.

Northward Bound

Well we had no home and no work. We felt we would like to go up to Palmerston North and help with the Maori work there, so we went back to Nelson packed up, sold what we could and set off for Palmerston North. Brother Frank came and helped us with a few hundred pounds to buy a house and property. We were able to repay him as quickly as we could.

The house was quite large and the property about three quarters of an acre. I loved that old house. It had five bedrooms, a very large dining room, and a large passage almost the length of the house. One could have driven a small car up it. The Stanley Brook property had been sold so we all got our share of about £500 each, so I used to visit the auction markets every week until all the house was fully furnished. I remember Sister Eric saying to someone she would sooner come to our house than any new and modern house. I suppose the furniture matched the old house.

We had every sort of fruit and vegetables and also an abundance of strawberries, black currants, rasp-berries, red currants, and plenty of cream, milk, and butter as we hired a paddock from the Catholic Priest at 2/6 a week and milked two cows.

Our flower gardens were a picture as Charl was the gardener at Awapuni old peoples home and we had access to lots of beautiful left-over plants. Dawn also worked at Awapuni and on Sunday, she and Vida used to go back and visit the old folk. Vida was at that time nursing in a private Maternity Home in Palmerston.

We stayed for years there and eventually Brother and Sister Allan were sent to another place. We had Brother and Sister Oldham and Brother Roy and Mavis. We took clement for some months as Sister Mavis was very nerved racked at that time. Then Brother and Sister McChestney came but the Maori Brothers and Sisters began to drop away one by one until you would scarcely believe it. There was scarcely one left. We used to have a lovely assembly of 'baptised in the spirit' Maoris, some rescued from being drunkards and smokers and every evil thing. What the Lord did for those dear Maoris was miraculous. But none survived, not one. Some learned to read, and read their Bibles for hours and hours a day. The Catholics came and took over the fields we hired to build on, so we had to sell our cows and slowly but surely we watched them building. First a school and then a church and indeed all the paddocks had buildings on. There were school children and nuns everywhere, just over the garden fence.



















Dawn, Bryan, Rod, Brad, Allan, Lindsay

Hilary, Ivy, Charl, June

The family was at Lower Hutt. Allan was there, the Lord had captured him, and Rod also. I have forgotten when Brad arrived. Dawn had gone to Gisborne to help Brother and Sister Walter and Brother and Sister Vercoe up there. So we found the Catholic Priest and asked him if they would like to buy the house and property back again (as it had previously belonged to a Catholic Lawyer). He gave consent to do so. He was pretty good and kind to us really and I remember at one time Brother Frank came up and we were talking and telling him how very kind this old Father McMannon was to us. He said, "Well you may meet the old man in Heaven yet". He was about 80 odd then. He gave us bags of new potatoes (sugar bags) because we kept an eye on his horses and taught the foal to feed which the boys loved doing. He said he knew the house well and knew how we had improved and kept it so nice. We had moved a wall inside and made a lovely big kitchen, put new piles under, painted and papered it, and put an entirely new toilet system inside. After we left to go to Lower Hutt he had it as a training school for Priests.

Lower Hutt

Laurie said Brother Ian and Sister Grace were moving out into the ministry so we could buy their house up Normandale and he had made an arrangement for the loan of mortgage money for us. So we moved down and became installed in their house. But we had to take five Maoris with us, Sister Rogan and her three girls, and Granny Tongariri, her mother. They had nowhere to go so there was nothing left to do. Brother Bythell was at Palmerston North then and asked us to take them in until they got a loan to build a house from Maori Affairs. Well they never ever got it. I had thirteen to cook for in that house. All the boys were home except Brad and he may have been still in Nelson working in Government Loans Department. Dawn left for India while we were there.

Well one day the Loans for Mortgage man arrived and after giving us the once over, at least the house I should say, he decided there and then he was not going to give us a loan on that house as it needed a new roof. Well we did not have several hundred pounds for a new roof, so there was nothing for it but to quit and everyone set out to work to find another house for us. Allan came across this Doctor's house in Petone. There were scarcely any houses to let in those days and seldom any for sale so it was a case of take what you could get and be thankful. When I was taken through the house my heart was in my boots. I thought it was a terrible house, down at heel, unkempt, and uninteresting. But what were we to do. We were being turned out of Normandale and to make the final blow Laurie Bowker asked us for thirteen weeks rent for staying there, a pretty good sum to pay. If we could have raised the mortgage money on that property we would have been in a pretty good situation as I think five sections were sold and Margaret Wilson and Sister Gabrilson live on one. But it was not to be (not for us anyhow). Some Dutch couple bought it instead.

When Charl arrived at Sydney Street after work to look at the house Allan had found for us he was even more horrified and said, "What on earth are you people doing here in this show". I suppose he could see the vast amount of work ahead to make it liveable. And then of course we had the fact in view. Walt and his family must come over to Lower Hutt, simply must for their souls well being and we must share our house with them. It was one of the worst mistakes we ever made and we simply had to suffer for years because of that very unwise decision. They were so hard to live with. Oh dear I dare not go back over it all. Velma and Heather left the Church and of course we lived in the side of the house without any conveniences at all, no stove, no water, no bath. Doreen lent us her little plug-in stove but the water tap was in the garden and we heated all washing up water in a pot and used to wash up on a table in the hall. This went on for weeks and weeks. It seemed months to me. We had to ask for a bath as they had all the facilities on their side and I lived with wood shavings around my ankles for a long, long time before I got a kitchen and a bathroom. I'll always remember the day I turned on the tap over the sink and we had a gas stove. I could have wept but I was too delighted to do that.

Slowly but surely the alterations kept on and the boys worked so hard, but we spent thousands of pounds one way and another. We were fortunate really to have Bryan a carpenter, Allan a joiner, and Rod not a bad carpenter also. I cannot write here our chief sorrows and setbacks because if someone, the cause of it all, were to read it they would scarce believe what a terrible thing they had done and nearly wrecked us, so I must leave that bit out and forgive and forget.

Otahuhu Boys Home

Charl and I were asked to go up to Otahuhu Boys Home, really at Sister Grace's request I believe. She wanted Charl for a father to the boys but had to have me go along as I was his wife, but she never loved me very much. We were there for about five years and it really was a very hard job for one person. Only me as housekeeper and cook and quite a number of boys coming and going, but I did enjoy those years all the same. I sometimes felt I would die in the night hours, it was so strenuous and no one knows how hard it was but me.

In the meantime Laurie Bowker had moved Walt and Merle up to a church house at Belmont they had built. Dawn and all the Kerr family went into our house in Petone, and Bryan and Yvonne moved into Walt's side. Then there started years more of altering which really went on till shortly before we left to sell out after being there twenty years. Amen and Amen and Praise our God and Father always.


While Charl worked on bridge building at Turakina, one of the workers had a radio. So few had one in those days. One day Charl came home from Wanganui and he had bought one, a 'Crossley' for £10. It was only the length of this page (9 ins) and not as wide. We could get some Australian stations but not Dunedin or Christchurch as they were too weak. We would get Auckland somewhat feebly but 2YA was our mainstay. Transmissions started at 3 pm and went until 10 pm every day. Charl put up a temporary aerial and it dropped onto the roof so we thought our entertainment was out as he had gone to work and Gert and I were home (Gert was staying with us just then). Anyhow, as I was ironing I said, "Lets give it a go". I turned the radio on and oh my, the volumes of music that came forth, and when Charl returned he heard it, so the fAllan aerial did not hinder our music.

When Kingsford Smith and his mate (was it Ulm) crossed the Tasman by plane we followed his progress on the Radio[3]. It was most exciting when they actually got here, but they had a terrible crossing beset by thunder storms. But they made it whereas Moncrieff and Hood, who had previously tried, did not make it and were lost forever. Seeing we got such a good reception from Australia, we were able to hear the take off from there.

We used to have lots of listeners even the Presbyterian Minister (we used to go to his church). He was a fine, over six foot, Scotsman and we liked him and his family very much. The Turakina Maori Girls College was near his church and used to make up the choir and what a lovely choir it was. However, while we were there the College moved into new premises at Marton as the old College was somewhat dilapidated. We missed the choir singing very much.

The Ratana Church

Also I must tell you about 'Ratana' the Maori Prophet. When we first met him and his family we were on that farm milking the hundred cows and had to leave when the season finished as he, the man Mr Forsyth who owned that lovely farm, was a Scotsman and an alcoholic and very mean, so was not minded to pay anyone any longer than he could help when the milking season ended. The prophet Ratana was minded to restore a dilapidated church at Nukumaru where we lived. It belonged to the Maoris and was on Maori land. When the time arrived for its opening they had a great celebration and a very big hangi. Five hundred Maoris were there. So being very curious we went up and got a great welcome. They showed us how everything was cooked and the big ovens full of baking bread. They could seat about 250 at a time in the Marquee. Then had to have more sittings later. They invited us to eat and had Ratana Orchestra playing all through the meal. They also had other bands. We were invited inside the church. It was very like an Anglican service. I remember how terribly hot it was so the nurses had to be there at the ready in case anyone fainted. The nurses wore white uniforms that were made very attractive by rainbow colours on their caps, I don't remember where else.

We were introduced to Ratana, his wife and family. Sons and daughters mostly in their teens and a very sensible attractive family they were and fine looking. He looked so sincere and solemn about all he did. While they were having these celebrations a small child (Maori) at the service was kicked by a horse and killed so the service was prolonged and we witnessed Maori mourning we had never witnessed before. Sometimes crying, sometimes laughing when off mourning duty. My sympathies changed from feelings of sorrow for the parents to astonishment at how quickly they could change and I felt I saw much insincerity. That was in the days of Ratana's anointing and he was a real man of God.

Charl and I went to Ratana Village on top of a huge plateau and saw in the immense temple the hundreds of crutches, glasses, wheelchairs, walking sticks and anything that helped the sick along, as they came out cured after Ratana had prayed for their healing. Seeing was believing as the walls were lined with aids of one sort or another the folk left behind. He did a wonderful thing for this Maori people while he still remained "A man of God's anointing'. As far as the eye could see were hundreds of stacks of oats and wheat, you could see tractors working and the whole place was prosperous. Vegetables and potatoes, maize enough to spare for the whole small township and much to sell. Some years later when we got the farm at Turakina we witnessed what pride can do to a 'Man of God'. It was just a revelation. He had let pride get in and was ruined. Not only was he ruined but it reflected on all his followers at Ratana and even the place itself. Everything had crashed.

The first we knew all was not well was when some of his priests came into our house and talked. They had to pass our place to get to a small community of Maoris, at a dead end place of a few dozen inhabitants, they wanted to visit. These priests said we cannot stay with this man any longer, we know God's word enough to know Ratana has no right to interfere with the prayer books putting his own name in with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost such as 'Ratana and his Holy Angels'. Oh no we can't stand for that. We are leaving his church altogether. And then we saw a great crash as God did not entrust his great gift of healing to a man who would take credit for himself. Slowly but surely the whole place seemed to collapse. He would go through the village of Ratana and rifle the tills. They just stood aside and let him take all. Was he not the prophet? At last there were so many unpaid bills the trader people did not want to go up there any longer. Our Turakina baker said to us, "I just stand out in my van and anyone with money can have a loaf of bread, but not unless. There is so little money about I'm afraid I'll just go bankrupt". The butcher said the same.

One day I went into the butchers at Turakina and said, "Whatever is the car doing on the side of the road in the grass? It was there when I got up this morning". "Oh", he said, "It's Ratana. He is drunk as a lord and his henchmen dare not move till he comes out of his drunken stupor to tell them where to go and what to do next. They have been there nearly all night now". Another time we heard a most unearthly din going on down the road from our place. We went to look and see what the shocking noise was, but could not see anything. Next day we asked the manager of the Casin Factory what happened down there. He said, "Oh dear that was that old fool Ratana. He backed his car in to get some petrol from the bowser and his bumper caught under the fence. He was too stupid to know about it so went off with a long line of my fencing on his bumper". I passed through there years later but that fence was never put back.

The last time I saw Ratana Village it looked positively 'down at heel'. Unpainted looking houses and no shops left of any consequence, except a dairy. The huge temple looked neglected and in great need of paint and a spruce-up. The vast plains were filled with weeds and nothing much growing at all. What a terrible comedown and what a contrast to the first and last of Ratana. He of course died, I don't exactly know when, but he most certainly was not an old man. I do not know whether he died a drunkard, or whether he repented?



[1] The title was suggested to Ivy by Mrs Nicholls of Thames, and means 'a gathering of thoughts'.

[2] British Israel. British Israelites believe that the British Isles were settled by a lost tribe of Israel by a land migration to Spain and then on to Ireland, Britain, Wales, and Scotland. Jacob's pillar, on which the English throne is based, is believed to be the stone which Jacob laid his head on before receiving a vision (Genesis 28: 10-20).

[3] Kingsford Smith (an Australian) is widely held to be the first person to fly the Tasman, in 1928. Two New Zealanders, Captain George Hood and Lieutenant John Moncrieff, attempted the crossing some six months earlier on 10 January 1928 and people are still looking for the wreckage in the Marlborough Sounds to prove the success of their crossing.