Patumahoe History – starting a conversation…

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Kay Carter rang me just after the successful 150th Patumahoe School Reunion, with the news that my preordered copy of the Patumahoe history book (published to coincide with the reunion) was available.

During the same conversation, she mentioned an article in the Franklin County News (Oct 26 2016, Page 3) and an online article “Has the Time Come?” written by Gary Wilson (a journalist, local historian, and author of Patu – a book on Patumahoe Rugby) that referred to that original Māori hapu that lived, farmed and exported from this area.

As I had seen neither, I reassured her that from what I knew of the project the heritage group had worked to collate all they could with care, and that any projects relating to history are perhaps best viewed as a beginning for conversation rather than a definitive work.

Some background…

Part of the initial grant received by Patumahoe Village Inc, was used to help create a history display for the first Open Day in May 2012. I was present for the inception of the idea for the history archive, and spent a very minimal amount of time setting up the Google email for Kay, and the Google group so members could communicate with each other easily. I attended the first few meetings, and offered assistance where I would be of any use, but it was apparent that there were enough passionate and much more knowledgeable members of the community that had everything in hand.

Superfluous would be the best word to describe me at that point.

I was aware, though, that contact with local iwi was to be sought, and I provided the heritage group with the contact details that Patumahoe Village Inc and Whakaupoko Landcare used when keeping Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāti Te Ata informed, and I know they were used as a starting point. I was pleased to hear that at one stage a professional writer was engaged, who created a framework that included the significance of local Māori ownership as part of the history.

Patumahoe Village Inc also offered the heritage group the use of this website to make material available to the wider community, but this option was not taken due to concerns over the release of sensitive or copyrighted material. But Patumahoe Village Inc was still able to help promote and publicise the group when asked. They also were instrumental in acquiring the Looking After Locals grant, which gave financial assistance to the group to help with publication costs when the Looking After Locals project was finalised.  I understand that now the book has been published an archive is available via the Patumahoe History & Memories Facebook page.

In my conversation with Kay that day I expressed my opinion that any historical collation could only work with the archival material available, and that because of that restriction, you could only truthfully say that despite all effort any conclusion would give a truncated view, and often would be from limited perspectives.

Adding to this, is the oral history that is often not recorded, particularly for Māori in those times, and the fact that the local hapu that occupied this land were dispersed around the country when they lost it, and their stories are hard – if not impossible – to collect.

However, this lack of material could be acknowledged and noticeably regretted in order to give significance to that loss. (I think this is true, regardless of location and group and intent, but that is a topic for another post no doubt.)

So without any preconceived intent – but taking advantage of the dialogue with Kay that day – this post is primarily to start a conversation which begins with a question, (particularly for those not intimately involved with Patumahoe history):

Did you know that the residential village of Patumahoe rests entirely within the “Native Reserve” allocated at one time to local Māori?

And the slideshow above – with it’s amateur graphics by yours truly – which allows a transition that the printed page cannot, shows you how.

I live within that boundary… do you?

Paula Crosswell

Comments are encouraged and welcome.

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