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Puhoi celebrates 150 years feature - June 19


  • | Mahurangimatters 19 June 201328

    Ian Bateman

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    The Puhoi Team

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    Puhoi celebrates 150 yearsFEATURE

    Celebrations marking Puhois 150th year of European settlement will wind up at the end of this month with anniversary luncheons and dinners, church services, book displays, book launches and a pioneering-themed farmers market.The village has been celebrating the arrival of Bohemian settlers on June 29, 1863, in myriad ways since the start of the year. The programme has included the annual Puhoi Woodchopping event, a river landing re-enactment and official wharf opening.One of the organising committee members, Bernadette Straka, says many of the remaining events, planned for June 28 to 30, are already sold out.Weve got descendents coming from all over NZ, as well as Canada, England and Australia, she says. Among the more notable guests will be historian Dame Claudia Orange, who is herself a Bohemian descendent.Bernadette says as well as the official anniversary events, a number of families, including the Schollum and Straka families, have held reunions this year.A joint commemorative tree planting will be incorporated into Landcares community riverbank planting on June 23. Meet at the Puhoi Domain at 10am.

    They came from the heart of Europe to the land of the Southern Cross. Mrs K Mooney, Puhoi centennial booklet 1963

    Pioneers of Puhoi village remembered

    For 85 years, Fred Rauner has never missed the annual June celebration which marks the arrival of Bohemian settlers in Puhoi.This month wont be any different, but he regrets that there are fewer familiar faces with each passing year.So many of my old friends and family wont be there, he says. There was a time when everyone in Puhoi had Bohemian ancestry and we all knew one another, but those days have gone.Fred grew up on a nearly 1000-acre farm at Tahekeroa, by the northern railway line, where he was part of a large extended family. His father was one of 16 children and many of his fondest memories are of the times he spent working like a man with his uncles.Uncle John had a team of 16 to 18 bullocks, each with their own name and personality, and when I was 19, I helped him pull out the kahikatea that was used to build the Kaipara Flats saleyard. He paid me with a plug of Havelock Dark tobacco Id taken up pipe smoking when I was about 17 or 18.When I started school, I couldnt speak English. Like many other Puhoi families, only Bohemian was spoken at home. It was also a very Catholic community. I was the youngest of six children and every night wed line up around the table to say the Rosary.Fred says Puhoi was a great place to grow up and there were plenty of characters around. Alf Rauner, Jimmy Tidford the bootmaker, Martin Rauner the blacksmith, Peter Wenzlick and Joey Paul to name just a few.Joey was a great horseman when he got drunk hed show people how quiet his horses were by crawling through their legs.Music has been part of Freds life for as long as he can remember, learning to

    Fred Rauner has been making

    music all his life. He is pictured

    with an Austrian accordion, purchased

    20 years ago.

    Bohemian celebrations changing face

    play by ear by watching his father on the push button accordion. He also plays the violin and Scottish bagpipes. His great grandfather, Joseph Paul, is credited with bringing the first dudelsack (German bagpipe) to Puhoi in 1863. The family was well represented in the popular The Hohner Boys band, which played at dances between Kaitaia and Gisborne in the 1950s. After selling the Tahekeroa property, Fred and his wife Glenis, and their four children, moved to Orewa where he

    To hear Fred play, see a video with this story at www.localmatters.co.nz

    worked for Rodney District Councils parks and reserves for 21 years. Of his five siblings, only he and his sister Olive, who will be 92 in August, survive.There will be a special luncheon at the Puhoi Town Hall, honouring seniors of the district and Puhoi musicians, on June 28.

    Coverage of the weekend events will be

    published online at www.localmatters.co.nz

  • Mahurangimatters 19 June 2013 | 29

    Puhoi celebrates 150 years

    One of NZs smallest libraries is putting on a big show to celebrate Puhois 150th year of settlement.The independent Puhoi Town Library has compiled a display entitled Journey Through 150 Years of Books.President Ruth Cunliffe, who has been running the library for the past seven years, says items have been selected based on the book 1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die. We start in the 1860s and feature the best of the decade as well as Puhoi history and information on NZ and world events, she says.People may be surprised at how many old publications they recognise, such as Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), Alices Adventure in Wonderland (1865) and War & Peace (1869). The most recent items include the childrens books written by Puhoi Library volunteer Lynette Anderson.The library is on the banks of the Puhoi River and has around 4000 items available for loan. It relies solely on donated books and volunteer support, and membership is restricted to residents in the immediate

    area. Books that arent added to the collection are sold to help pay the power bill.The library building started as the office for the Puhoi Roads Board and was converted to a library in 1923 when the board shifted to Orewa. Mr A Schollum was the first librarian and the early collection included 300 volumes donated by Reverend D V Silk.The great Puhoi flood of 1924 all but washed the building away and only 50 volumes of Rev Silks collection survived. The contents of the safe, which had acted as a community safety deposit box, were also destroyed, wiping out many of the historical records of the village.Over the next 50 years, the building was used sporadically as a post centre, craft centre and even a morgue. It reopened as a library in 1976. In 1992, the US movie Tommyknockers was filmed in Puhoi with the library starring as the Christian Science Reading Room.The library collection was damaged again in the 2001 flood but today it is well stocked and well-supported.The special 150th book display is on show until June 30.

    Library volunteers, from left, Mary Shackleton, Sandra Beagley and Annie Glancey.

    Pages of history on show

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    Beer to goVisitors to Puhoi over the 150th anniversary weekend will be able to take home a special souvenir in the form of some locally brewed beer. Puhoi Hotel has released a limited edition of a special Bohemian Pilsner Beer, in 330ml brown bottles. It is brewed and bottled for Waiwera Organic Winery by Deep Creek Brewery using hops from New Zealand and the Czech Republic.

  • | Mahurangimatters 19 June 201330

    275 Ahuroa RoadPuhoi 09 422 0670Mon-Fri 10am-4pmSat-Sun 9am-5pm

    Puhoi ValleyCafe & Cheese Store

    A destination for cheese lovers on

    picturesque grounds, the Cafe & Cheese Store serves cellar

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    6 Gold Medals in the 2013 Nationals.Fully licensed Cafe

    & a playground for the kids.

    The Puhoi Fire Brigade would like To congraTulaTe Puhoi

    on iTs 150Th celeBraTion. As a volunteer brigade we appreciate the

    support from our local community and look forward to the construction of our new Fire Station as a new community asset.

    s e r V i n g o u r c o m m u n i T y

    Graham Rauner Owner/Operator

    09 425 9639 / 021 525 073




    Tree felling & Pruning Chipping & Mulching Hedge Trims Driveway Clearing

    A small piece of Bohemian history will return to Puhoi to mark the 150th year of settlement this month.The Puhoi Historical Society has been given the former state school bell, which has been in the care of Warkworth resident Ina Shaw for nearly 80 years. The school was built in 1884 and the cast bell hung in the entrance porch, she says. Some said it was a ships bell.The state school closed when the convent school opened in 1923.The building was sold to Inas father, Jack Walden, and shifted to Matakana where Mr Walden used the kauri

    timber to build his house, at the back of the Matakana garage, in the mid-1930s. Ina took the bell with her when she married and moved to Matamata, returning to Warkworth in 1980. The bell has since hung at the entrance of her B&B in View Road.The 150th seemed like an appropriate time to return it to its original home.It will be set up temporarily at the landing stone, beside the Puhoi Town Hall, on June 30, where it will be rung for the first time by Puhoi identity Kelvin Schedewy.The museum is yet to decide where the bell will be permanently housed.

    The Puhoi School bell