Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 29, October 1985
FLOWERS AND PLANTS OF THE KARANGAHAKE MINERS
By ELAINE STAPLES
They're only names, really they are, but what power they have. The power to recall good times - or bad -, the freedoms of childhood - a wedding, a funeral, the protection and warmth of family, family homes and other enchanted places.
Among the names are briar roses, honeysuckle, daffodils, jonquils, arum and belladonna lilies, magnolias and many others that fill our memory albums.
What is the power these flower names hold? What is it each has in common, yet is sufficiently different to stir such profound responses in so many people? The power is perfume. See the name, be surprized by a scent somewhere, some day, see a photograph of the plant and be overwhelmed with floods of reminiscences. Perfume, the power which twists or tickles the nose, brings romance to the most homely bloom, comely heart and mind.
The Karangahake miners left other plants too which remind us of their homesteads, long since gone. Mint and lemon balm. Forgotten grape vines twist over old fences and up into the knarled branches of pear trees. A bougainvillea covered with showy purple flower bracts holds up an old cowshed. Laurel and bay trees reach big heights while rhododendron, camellia and oleander flower in bright profusion each year. Even a large pohutakawa puts on a brilliant display most Christmases. Agapanthus, aquilegia, foxglove and snowdrops dot the mountainside and one does not move far without encountering hopeless tangles of elaeagnus.
For those who live in, or visit Karangahake, there are areas with an unmistakable "old world" charm, a living reminder to those who have gone before us. Reminders which allow us the excuse for personal reminiscences - A living heritage.