Communities remember

 As with the people of Tokorangi Marae in Fielding, communities all over New Zealand responded to the call to preserve their historical memories, especially by renovating and restoring buildings to their former glory.

Onga Onga – Hawkes Bay 

Onga Onga township, southern Hawkes Bay.

One example was Onga Onga, a small settlement northwest of Waipawa off State Highway 50.

The Onga Onga Historical Society was one of New Zealand’s smallest historical groups with a membership of only twenty people. Despite this, society members played a major role in ‘preserving the town’s past and setting the scene for the future.’

Members arranged the relocation of a number of historical buildings at the entrance of the town. A museum was also established in an historic building erected in 1874 as a public room and thereafter as a school room, office and bach. The building had been set aside in 1966 for a museum. Next door stood a mud lined chimney-type pioneer cottage with a restored gaol also nearby.

Heritage trails

Taumaranui, situated in the King Country.

Two Heritage Trails were also established in Taranaki prior to Christmas 1989. These were the first such projects to be completed in New Zealand, though many more would be established elsewhere throughout 1990.

Heritage Trails were sign-posted tourist routes which encouraged travellers to visit sites of local historical and cultural interest, sites which represented important markers of regional historical memory.

One of these earliest trails linked Stratford Township with the deep and isolated Taranaki interior around Taumaranui, tracing decades of difficult exploration and settlement after 1841.

A second trail was constructed southward around coastal Taranaki, providing opportunities for visitors to visit pa sites, battlesites, and to learn a little about Taranaki’s early agricultural development.

Mt Taranaki, as viewed from Eltham, central Taranaki.

Also that year, the Taranaki Mountain Club marked the centenary of the ascent of Mt Taranaki in 1840 by Naturalist Ernst Dieffenbach and Whaler James Heberley.

A special climb was organised and many members made the climb to the summit, though the route followed went up the easier north side, rather than the original and much steeper ascent up the Waiwakaiho River which the inexperienced Dieffenbach and Heberley had followed.

Heberley had arrived on the summit first, and had therefore wanted to change the name of Mount Egmont to Mount Victoria, after the recently installed British Queen. Dieffenbach however, who was the nominal leader of the expedition, declined the suggestion.