Diamond Jubilee of the Ohinemuri County 1885 - 1945
Maramarua Hunt Club Comes to Paeroa
A WEEK OF SPORT
Hosts and Their Hospitality
It all began at an annual general meeting of the Maramarua Hunt in March, 1934, which was attended by several members from Paeroa, notably Messrs. R. A. Wiggins, E. P. Fathers and V. Young.
These three-men gave to the Hunt an extraordinarily generous invitation to transport them bodily — master, members, horses, huntsmen and hounds — to Paeroa for a week, and all this completely free of any expense whatsoever.
Hunting country would be sparred, hounds would be housed and fed at the racecourse, horses also, and members ditto at the four hotels in the town. The programme was to include three hunts, a gymkhana, numerous parties, and a ball to finish off with.
The idea was to raise enthusiasm for the sport of hunting in Paeroa. Needless to say, the offer was enthusiastically received and joyfully accepted.
In June of that year, the Hunt moved to Paeroa in pouring rain, which failed to dampen its spirits. Members, horses and hounds invaded the town to the wonderment of the residents, who had never seen anything of the kind before.
The Hunt was officially welcomed by the Mayor of Paeroa on the Monday, and on the following day over fifty followers lined up in front of the Commercial Hotel, to be photographed before parading up and down the main street — horses, hounds, red coats and all.
This was the commencement of a week of unprecedented sport and amusement for all concerned. We hunted at Tirohia, at Hikutaia and Maratoto; we ate huge morning and afternoon teas, most generously provided at the various hotels and at the homes of the residents in outlying districts. No rationing in those days, and no limit to the generosity of the providers — and did we do ourselves justice after days of keen sport in bitter weather? I can tell you of the parties and dances we attended, of the picturesque and perfectly run Hunt Ball at the end of the week, of a most successful gymkhana held on the Saturday, but can I convey to you the wonderful spirit of enthusiastic enjoyment and goodwill which prevailed during that first Hunt week at Paeroa? Can I show you a picture of the unstinted hospitality and kindness we received, of the trouble taken by each and everyone to look after us, of the wonderful sport we enjoyed racing hounds, galloping horses and red coats against a wintry background, huge fires and warm rooms and a drink at your elbow after the day's sport, dancing and a spice of excitement for the evening? Such things abide in pleasant memory long after they are past; although there have been other Hunt weeks in Paeroa since that first one, none were ever quite the same. There is a glamour about first experiences that can never be repeated, and this was no exception.
In telling the tale of the glories of your town, please remember June, 1934, with its crowning week, when you opened wide your door of hospitality and enjoyment, when you and your visitors tasted new pleasures and formed new friendships, when nothing occurred to mar the joys of a perfect week, when, in fact, the Maramarua Hunt came to Paeroa.