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Know your town 

September 12, 2020 September 2020 No Comments


Let us face the end of the year with reflections on the past: 

     It’s 180 years ago that the first settlers arrived in Wellington and began to explore the Wairarapa Valley. There they found that there were long standing Māori settlements and gardens along the Ruamahanga river .

It will be 150 years since the first sections of Daniel Baird’s plan for Waihinga went on sale. The start of Martinborough.

For my reflection I plan to sit and look over the  Soldier’s Memorial Park in Martin Square and think what the past means for me: 

’The Four Winds”. From the East the Māori came from Hikawera and Hautotara. From the West Waihinga and Kaupekahinga. From the North Huangarua and Moiki. From the south  came the settlers onto the Wharekaka  Plain.

I like to think that each of these families’ spirits meet in the centre of the Soldiers’ Memorial Park.  I dream and look at their achievements.  To the Māori there were big changes in the way they saw and did things; houses, dress, animals and food on the preceding years; potatoes, Maize, wheat, vegetables and pigs. There were over 100 acres under cultivation, 

The settlers came for a new life, some to get away from the Lord of the Manor, but they left behind man things. There were no P&K, Big Macs or Warehouse on the Petone foreshore. They were told of the lowland forest of the Wairarapa valley and Wharekaka area and went forth to try their luck. The first settlers were very well received by the Māori with local chiefs offering men to help build roads and dwellings.

With their way of life of living in groups and sharing the Māori communities produced far more than they needed and exchanged with the settlers. My old aunts told me that their families would not have been able to stay if it had not been for the help of the Māori folk.

In my reflecting on the last 150 – 180  years I would like to stand with my Māori friends and look to the East. A new morning, the sun rising, a new day to feel the sun on my face. To hear the young Mokopuna at play and know that there is a new generation prepared to take on the cloak of the responsibility of running ‘the District’.

I say to our young “ Be proud of the area no matter the name it is called”. WE know in our heart ‘ the ‘true names,’ so be as one. My old Martinborough school motto;  ‘Facta non Verba’  – it is deeds not words that matter.

With aroha and understanding we will:

Let the old carvers teach the young.

Tell stories of old: Let the young

tell the togetherness of the New Beginning.

                                                                                     Mate Higginson  

The suggestion of having a reflections seat situated beside the museum is being investigated – Mate  

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