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Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 2, Issue 3, 1989



The following is a series of recollections of stories my father, Reginald Addison, told me, when I was a child, of his childhood on the farm. These have been partially confirmed recently, by his cousin Inez.

page 24

William and Eveline Addison were very quiet hardworking people, who were always helping others. When my father and his cousin, Inez, returned from college for the holiday periods, Billy would meet them at Collingwood with a horse and cart. They would cross the mudflats at Pakawau, when the tide was out, and then climb up the hill to the farm and down the track to the house. By this time it would be dark. There was always plenty of food, including homemade bread, eggs and bacon, fish, crayfish, shellfish and paua patties. My father told me many times of the pot of stew, on the coal range in the kitchen, which seemed to always be there for snacks. Turkeys, ducks and fowls ran wild, so it was fun to find their nests and eggs, although they had to be careful of the wild pigs. The fowls laid their eggs under the cliffs, above the house. There was a terrible time during the Murchison earthquake in 1929, because of large rocks coming off the cliffs above and coming close to the house.

My father had his own horse called Ginger and his own dog. The horse kicked him badly in the left shin, and only a fast trip to a doctor in Collingwood saved the leg. He spent a lot of his leisure time playing, exploring the caves and cliffs, swimming, fishing and riding the Nikau palm fronds down the grassy slopes. Later he got into radio building, shortwave etc and photography. At an early age he learned all the usual farming skills. The Te Hapu block was cleared by burning in 1936, because it was the hilliest and considered to be the least fertile. My father's photos testify to the extent of the bum off. I have many of his numerous photos taken around the farm about that time. Every six months or so, they would all make an expedition to Collingwood, across the mudflats by horse and cart. It would take all day each way, and they would stay overnight. The crossings could only be made at low tide. Penguins used to live under the house and proved to be a nuisance at times. My father loved the farm so much that he hated it when he had to go to boarding school in Christchurch. His primary education by correspondence with assistance from both his parents suited him well.

My recent visit to the farm, in January 1989, was very interesting and quite amazing, as it seemed to bring to life all the stories my father had told me of the farm.