Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 27, September 1983

In October 1982, 41 members of the Historical Society travelled by bus to Puhoi via Silverdale where they visited the Pioneer Village and buildings including the old Methodist Chapel built in 1859. They saw the district schoolhouse containing the archives of the Wainui Historical Society and many other interesting attractions on the site. Members were addressed in the old Methodist Chapel where two members of the Wainui Society told them of the area and district's early history. Some spent time in the delightful herb garden at the Manse and viewed the interior with its furnished Victorian bedroom and various pieces of bric-a-brac.

At Puhoi, in the Church of Peter and Paul, Miss Judith Williams delivered a dramatic and graphic account of the early settlement of the area by her Bohemian and Czechoslovakian ancestors, who, by hard conscientious work transformed the landscape into the lovely rural setting it has become today. The population, once totalling 400 has declined now to approximately 150, families having moved to various other areas during the years.

Miss Williams related the struggles encountered by her people in those early times when food was short and they had to seek what they could from berries, fern roots and the nikau palm. The bush became thus the means of their livelihood. Very slowly land was cleared, the greatest economy had to be practised and in time the little settlement grew.

A strong religious faith held them together so that they were encouraged to survive. A highlight for Mr. J. Russek, one of the Paeroa members, was sharing his early experiences in the Puhoi settlement with Miss Williams and later visiting the local cemetery where he was able to identify graves of his forebears also that of a soldier, a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo.

Following a "Devonshire" tea in a delightful country home, members travelled on to Waiwera for a short break then on back to Paeroa after a most enjoyable and interesting day.