Life in Early Poverty Bay
Neighbors Few and Far Between
Neighbors Few and Far Between.
Joining in the conversation, Mrs. Hills mentioned that, at first, their nearest neighbour was Miss MacKenzie, who resided on Lavenham, three-cuarters of a mile away. Some months later a Mr Carron, a ship's carpenter, migrated from the North Auckland district, with his wife and eleven children and settled in the district. They reached the township per medium of a bullock waggon and husband and son quickly built a small wooden place 8ft. × 10ft. with a long sleeping place built of rushes In 1879 Mr Strong put up a store and Mr F. Bee built a house, as also did Mr Bilham and Mr Hatton. The nearest Maoris resided at Waitui. Mr Bilham's old house opposite the station was the oldest building left in the township. It was built by Mr. Pinwiddie.
Mr Hills went on to say the first church services at Patutahi were held on the site opposite that at present occupied by Mr. Monteith s store. Here Mrs Hills interposed to explain the trouble which the few residents then had to get a school. Mr Locke had advised them that it was necessary to secure twelve pupils. But that number could not be obtained and when Mr Locke was so informed his advice was that they should boroow enough to make up the shortage. As Mr Strong did not continue with the store, it was taken over by Mrs Bilham as a school. She had three children of her own of school age at the time. Later on the classes were transferred to a hall about 24 × 12ft. that was built on the fringe of the township. In that building all sorts of meetings and functions were held.