Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Ohariu Valley Oral History : Rosina & Max Fuhrer

Recorded Wednesday 22nd July Grenada Village - Rosina and Max Fuhrer. Interviewer, Ann Reweti.

Recordings

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Part 1 Summary (28'14")

Time marker: Summary:
0'00" Max Fuhrer arrives in New Zealand in 1949, having secured a job with Dalefield Dairy Company in the Wairarapa. He stays for two seasons.
01'02" Max leaves New Zealand; a cheese-maker by trade, he works for some time in America, visits Switzerland and meets Rosina, but eventually returns to Dalefield Dairy Company in 1955. Studies for a dairy diploma with Massey.
02'12" Rosina Fuhrer discusses the requirement for a married couple coming to NZ to prove guaranteed accommodation on arrival.
03'35" Max and Rosina travelled to NZ by sea on the Rangitikei. On Max's first visit, aged 21, he travelled on an Italian immigrant ship.
04'57" Discussion returns to Max and Rosina's voyage to NZ, first class, on board the Rangitikei and the moment of their arrival, May 19th 1955.
07'00" After some time in Carterton the Fuhrers move to Eltham in Taranaki and Max works as the first assistant at a cheese factory - the first in the county to make continental cheeses.
08'47" In 1957 a downturn stimulates experimentation with new cheeses and new markets among major dairy companies. Danish cheese-maker Rory Stevenson works with Max at Eltham.
11'46" Max leaves the Eltham factory. The factory progresses without him and still makes cheese today.
13'41" The Fuhrers move to Wellington. Max becomes the assistant production manager at Tip Top (now the General Foods Corporation), working there from 1959-1963.
15'35" For four and a half years Max runs a milk van in Johnsonville before buying an Ohariu Valley poultry farm.
17'00" Max sees an advertisement for a franchise in a building venture. He buys into the company and begins building fences in areas like Churton Park.
19'10" Rosina and Max become involved in the Swiss Club in Brooklyn. When the Brooklyn Community Hall undergoes renovation the Swiss Club gradually begins to use some of the unused poultry sheds on the Fuhrer's Ohariu Valley farm. By 1975 the Swiss Club agrees to renovate one of the sheds and it becomes their permanent meeting room.
22'00" The Wellington branch of the Swiss Club held (and continues to hold) meetings and competitive events with the Taranaki and other branches. The Fuhrers discuss Swiss Club branches from around the country.
25'00" Discussion of Swiss government's tri-monthly magazine for expatriates, the Swiss population in New Zealand, and Swiss citizenship.
26'26" Max and Rosina discuss their sense of what they call home - in terms of both New Zealand and Switzerland.

Part 2 Summary (26'07")

Time marker: Summary:
00'00" Rosina begins with her recollections of life in the Ohariu Valley, where the Fuhrers raise five children and live for twenty eight years. Rosina joins the Ladies' Guild.
02'32" With the Ladies' Guild Rosina fundraises for the Valley church and participates in various other social and community activities.
07'00" The Valley school provides an important social hub for the community - staging end of term plays and Christmas celebrations. The Fuhrer's children attend and the school grows gradually, but eventually closes.
09'36" Rosina mentions some of the disadvantages for children schooled in the Valley. The Fuhrer children attend Onslow College for their High School. The Fuhrer children and the impact of their schooling are discussed.
12'25" Max and Rosina's son, also name Max, started the Karori Library café. He is a trained baker, and owns the 'Swiss influenced' Aro Bake on Aro Street.
16'18" In the years living in Ohariu Valley Max sr. was often busy working around Wellington.
17'16" The government sponsored transport for the children to travel to Onslow to attend school. Living away from the city had its advantages and disadvantages.
19'17" During the school holidays the children often stayed in a hut on a farm in the neighbouring valley and played in nearby creeks and ponds.
22'03" Rosina mentions her method for barbequing the eels her son would catch.
24'03" When the children were older they gained some independence by buying their own cars - they could travel in and out of the valley. One of their sons did an apprenticeship as a butcher but now owns a citrus and stone-fruit orchard in the Hawke's Bay.
25'00" The Fuhrer's discuss a former neighbour who also moved to Hawke's Bay to run an apple orchard.

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