Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Ohariu Valley Oral History : Gillian Prattley

Gill Pratley talking about her father Seton Nossiter and her life in the valley

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Part 1 Summary

Time marker: Summary:
00'00" Introductions and how the Nossiter family came to live in Ohariu Valley c.1916. Describes Seton's childhood and schooling. After completing school he becomes a contract ploughman and meets his future wife who he marries in 1938.
05'15" Seton purchases the family farm from his father and it is gradually further developed. Children are born and begin to help out as soon as they are old enough. Milk is collected from the farm and is distributed to Johnsonville via a private contractor. Raw milk is banned by authorities who insist on pasteurisation. A description of dairy farming and farmers in the valley
09'20" Description of Mr and Mrs Shaw. Dairy farmers and motor mechanic. Moving cattle on roads often caused problems. Lower-lying farm land in the valley was difficult to farm because of drainage problems.
16'00" Farm blocks are amalgamated then subdivided again as life-style blocks begin to become popular. Seton Nossiter expands his land holdings in the valley. Maori artifacts were once uncovered when ploughing. Descrption of a "sacred" tree. A decription by Gill as to how her mother was "in tune" with nature.
22'45" Detailed description of hay making in the valley. Social life for teenagers including barn-dances. Barn-dances eventually ended due to people from outside the valley causing problems. Adults tried to keep children isolated from outsiders during the polio epidemic.

Part 2 Summary

Time marker: Summary:
00'00" Not many valley locals went to the Second World War but there was an active "home-guard". Amusing anecdotes from Seton Nossiter on Home Guard training and operations and some of the other local characters involved.
06'50" Seton Nossiter had a reputation of being able to deal with difficult horses. Gradually horses gave way to tractors and motorbikes. The Nossiter family invests in an "Oliver" tractor and an automated pick-up press for hay making.
08'00" Memories of attending Ohariu Valley School and community library services. Taxis were provided by the Education Department to children attending secondary schools outside the valley.

Part 3 Summary

Time marker: Summary:
00'00" Further memories of schooling in the valley and beyond. Fund raising took place to help raise funds for school improvements. Seton Nossiter joins Reginald Best to help plant trees around Onslow College. Seton enjoyed rugby throughout his life, first as a player then as an administrator.
04'30" Seton never appeared to be terribly interested in becoming involved in Central Government politics. Ohariu Valley was largely supportive of the National Party but Seton insisted that his children made up their own minds regarding their political allegiances.
07'15" A table tennis club is established in the local community hall. Travelling salesmen were a common sight in the valley. A housekeeper was employed to make the running of the house easier.
11'18" A discussion of Rifle Range Road and how the road got its name. Seton Nossiter has a close shave on one occasion during the war when they came under fire from ricocheting bullets from a nearby training range. His involvement with local government meant the rest of the family met many interesting people. Amusing recollections of driving foreign diplomats around on the farm tractor. Land was taken under the Public Works Act for the building of the Mt Kaukau television transmitter.

Heritage Links (Local History)