Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Ohariu Valley Oral History : Anne Harris

Recorded: Friday 12th October 2012 at the residence of Anne Harris, Ohariu Valley

Interviewer: Rebecca Chilton

These files are in MP3 format. If you don't have software that will play MP3 files (e.g. Windows Media Player, iTunes), here are some suggestions: iTunes.

Part 1

Time marker: Summary:
00'42" Anne has been living in Ohariu Valley for about fifty years. From the age of 10, she lived in Khandallah. She met her husband through bible club and Scouts. Having decided it was too expensive to live in Johnsonville or Khandallah they decided to find some land in Ohariu Valley.
01'31" Anne and her husband interviewed some of the locals. One day she remembers vividly - interviewing Mrs Greer, a well-established identity of the Valley who lived by the crossroads. The Harris' were served home baked bread, which was cut in an unusual manner - held up by Mrs Greer against her chest and sliced towards her!
02'27" Mrs Greer told the couple about a piece of land. Upon talking to the person who owned it, they were told that they could a portion of it. Upon negotiation, Anne and her husband paid 600 pounds for half an acre of land. However the section was bare, and was covered with gorse but it was cleared and they built their own house
05'00" Remembers issues regarding speed limits in the valley how little traffic there used to be and recalls the day they moved into their new house. Anne notes the closeness of the community and how welcomed they felt despite not being farmers. The local Ladies Guild helped hold the community together
10'30" The advantages of living in a rural community so close to the city. Recalls the high level of social activity that used to go on with organised dinners and functions regularly held. Describes how much of the activity was based around the school and what a loss its closure was to the community
14'50" Children had a high degree of independence and freedom growing up in the valley but were largely immune from peer pressure. Shared-telephone lines and the unsealed roads could be frustrating to live with. Pet-days at the school were always amusing. Anyone who comes into the valley are welcome to join in any event. There are now about 100 homes in the valley and they all keep in touch using email which is much easier than earlier days.
20'45" Rural people are very resourceful and helpful to others in the event of emergencies or power cuts.

Part 2

Time marker: Summary:
0'00" Describes milk collection, drinking unpasteurised milk and the need to use fluoride tablets. Contaminated tank water could be a health hazard and tanks were difficult to drain. Children today have much less freedom.
03'10" Talks about some of the characters in the valley such as Mr James who maintained the local roads and some of the high-jinx and practical jokes that used to go on.
07'50" Sadly many people have moved away from the valley; especially when land values began to increase so people began to “sell up" and farms were subdivided into life-style blocks. The community come together to keep the historic church and local hall main maintained. The local wind-farm divided the community but this issue has now passed.
11'25" Ohariu Valley gave Anne Harris a fantastic life style that she wouldn't have been able to afford in an urban community, especially as a solo mother. Johnsonville is close and provides most of the amenities one requires.
14'00" The centenary of the hall was a big event. The location of Anne's section at the cross-roads was originally going to be a small township called Wilsonville which never eventuated. Recalls how Councillor Helene Ritchie lives across the road for a number of years.

Part 3

Time marker: Summary:
00'00 Remembers community dinners and practical jokes being played on new arrivals. Rats used to be a problem but less so today. Anne intends never to move away and hopes to live her remaining years out in the valley. Though she grew up in Palmerston North, she regards the valley as her home.
04'28" recalls working at the Country Club in the 1970s to earn extra money. Starts as a waitress but then went on to work in almost every position. Recalls the infamous police raid on the club after was suspected of selling liquor without a license. Anne's children also worked there and did many jobs to earn pocket money
07'20" Director's dinners at the club were always amusing as were the dances which were held for members. It was sad when the club was forced into closure; a victim of being "ahead of its time". Being able to sample expensive liqueurs was a perk of the job when working as a barmaid.
10'20" Recalls opening her own hair salon in Khandallah as well as a florist's kiosk in Willis Street. Anne's daughter Viv owned a horse which was stabled at the local riding academy but which demolished the rose garden when it was first purchased. Recalls the sadness of when the horse had to be euthanized due to its age and the remarkable that occurred at the time. Anne didn't feel particularly close to the riding academy, not having much in common with many of the people who attended.
16'05" Anne's son wasn't very interested in horses and preferred tinkering with mechanical and electrical systems. Children would be left alone at a much earlier age than they are today. Anne's son attended university and moved into the I.T industry.
18'00" Great having grandchildren all living close and describes how she feels she has brought up three families. Notes how much history can be found in the early cemeteries and the story of the ships bells which can be found there. Describes the origins of her family and how they came to New Zealand in the 19th Century.

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