As stated in an earlier post, the chaotic and disastrous events that have occurred and continue from the 7.8 quake just after midnight a week ago, I am intricately and emotionally connected albeit from a safe distance.
Born in Kaikoura Hospital when a Home guard unit was training to repel a Japanese invasion of the isolated community, landgirls were moving out onto farms to replace men who had gone to war and Herr Schiklegrubers doomed sixth army was being destroyed by General Winter at Stalingrad.
Linton Downs Stream, The Humbug, Crib Creek, The Charwell along with the Greenburn were constant threats to travel to Kaikoura from my Dads home.
To the South it was the Conway, Mason, Wandlle and Lottery with the Mason that formed a part of what is now the Mighty SH 70 as a constant threat from a fresh that could occur with quite minor rain events. Father would remove the fan belt from the V8 utility and pack chapman sacks or a horse cover across the radiator and just plough through. How many Helf n Safety rules were broken.
We then moved down to The Gates where father managed a property for Comander Perry Deardon who had gone to war until that farm was sold to Ikey Satterthwaite, our original property was also sold to Bill Cain and we moved to Craigowen in the upper Wandle under Mt. Terako.
In 1945 my Dad who was medically unfit for service from an inguinal hernia and varacous veins with eczema from the poor vascular health, purchased Barcaldine from the estate of Percy Morse, a WW 1 gas victim.
Growing up, Waiau was my main town with Joe Cannons dairy/tobacconist, Robsons Garage, Rogers Store, Nth Canterbury Supply Store, Bill hogs pub, Chappie Powis and Ray Stoves transport companies, three churches, one primary school and a railhead across the river reached by a magnificent big timber bridge made from a meccano like hardwood construction.
A railway Service that was extended from Culverden under a Waiau Railway League chaired by my late grandad Ken Pettigrew.
Many were the visits back to those haunts on " the inland road" sometimes on the daily freight and passenger service mail car run in later years by Thorntons from KK.
Every farm on that road was a personal acquaintance along with the people who endured so much grief from floods, snow storms, gales and isolation. Roading a very primitive link with unbridged streams and the high snow prone "whales back" with The Conway only being bridged some five years before I was born, my mums brother uncle Stan being first non construction person to cross on his motorbike.
Now I grew up exposed to the legends that surrounded the Creed and Derrett families based in stables in Waiau who ran competing coach services first from the Culverden railhead then Waiau after its extension to the River across from the the village to Kaikoura. A journey that was not all beer and skittles with the crossing of The Conway, a steep descent down a ravine like gully with the passengers required to disembark and walk. I well remember that rutted steep track still clearly evidenced for years later, now healed or at least hidden by pine trees and broom.