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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 9, May 1968

By PENELOPE MAY ELVIDGE

Nearly 60 years ago, my mother, Ada May Harris, drew No. 1 Section at Pipiroa in the first Ballot for land on the Hauraki Plains. The timber for our house was pulled up the drains from the Pipiroa Wharf. We had the first Post Office in the passage [hallway - E] of the house and the first School was held in the sitting room, my father who was a School teacher for 42 years, being the first Teacher on the Plains. After a short tine the Education Board put up a one-room School in one of our paddocks. Later on a half time School was started at Ngatea and my father, the Late William Harris, taught half time between Pipiroa and Ngatea, riding up that long straight between Pipiroa and Ngatea on a big horse, the mud being up to the girth at times.

The first wedding on the Plains was a double wedding held in our Sitting Room and the first Doctor came from Thames by launch to confine our mother [term meaning to be in confined to "childbed" for purposes of birthing – ie doctor in role of midwife]. He was met at the Pipiroa wharf by my eldest brother in a heavy dray drawn by an old grey mare just as the Minister had been for the wedding. Years later a sister and I had a double wedding in Thames and the Minister related how he had once gone by launch to perform the first wedding at Pipiroa and was met at the wharf by an old grey horse and a dray. Our mother often Confined the women on our road and would come back and say Mrs. so-and-so has another daughter or son, as the case night be.

Later on our farm was sold at Pipiroa, and we bought one again at Horahia Road just out of Ngatea. When war was declared, and our brothers were off to war and a sister left also, I ran that farm for 4 years. Our adventures during that time would take too long to relate, but one year we had the wettest season on record, and often got bogged taking the cream to the gate in a sledge. In spite of the hardships we young people had lots of happy times such as rowing boats up the big drains that were on the Pipiroa Road.