Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Little road trip

While I was in Taranaki I took a short road trip to Wanganui, sorry Whanganui.  But I'm not going to get into that debate about which is the correct name for the town.  I had a stern talk with myself before I left, telling myself no stops, no photos, I could do that on the way home.  And I listened!  I do love taking photos but I proved to myself that I enjoy talking even more.  No, that's being a bit harsh on myself - talking to special friends takes higher priority. 

When I arrived at my destination I couldn't help but notice the fabulous distant view of the town as I hurried to the front door to see my good friend, Renee.  I'm not sure exactly what year it was but I remember Georgia was a baby, so it must have been 2004/5 when Renee came to board with me for a few months while she did holiday work for my son.  Those few months turned out to be a great time for me, I so enjoyed her company.  We talked and laughed for hours/days/weeks/months on end.

Since then she has graduated from university, met her prince, married, had a baby and is expecting another.  Previous plans for visits have fallen through for one reason or another but at long last I met the little chap.  Cutest little bloke you could ever hope to meet.


I had a lovely time catching up with Renee and playing with Campbell and didn't leave enough time for photo stops on the return trip.  In the morning the town had been sparkling in sunshine, now the sun was gone and did not make near as pretty a picture.  Next time.


It was a gloomy evening and I only stopped once, at Patea where these buildings beside the river had caught my eye.


It is difficult to think of Patea without recalling the outstanding Patea Maori Club and its chart topping single “Poi-E” which swept to popularity in the 1980s and is still arguably one of the country’s favourite contemporary Maori songs.

Patea has a population of around 1,000 but like a lot of small New Zealand rural towns had once known grander days.  In the 1920s Patea was the largest cheese exporting port in the world.  Imagine!  As well as cheese, wool, meat and flax were exported from the port, which closed in 1959.

I remember when the town came to national attention in 1982 when the town's main employer, the canning and freezing works, closed.  It had been there since the 1880s but strategic reforms, inefficiencies and nationwide over-processing resulted in its downfall. It employed over 800 workers, with associated commercial and support industries.  You can imagine what that did to the town.  Patea has survived, I don't know how.  These days dairying and sheep farming are the main rural activities.

25 comments:

  1. Hello Pauline,

    Gosh Campbell has the most blue eyes. Interesting to read how big cheese making and the other industries were so big. It is a shame how things work out for country towns.

    Happy days.
    Bev.

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  2. The old industrial buildings look interesting. It is sad when industries close. I look at the UK and see shopping centres where there was once factories and wonder where the money comes from that people spend in them.

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  3. Beautiful buildings, lovely countryside.

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  5. So the lesson learned is do the photos on the way. stop take photos while they're there! Okay, a good visit ranks high up on priorities. The town history and old buildings are very interesting.

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  6. It's sad to see the old towns fading away.

    That little guy by himself would be worth a visit!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The little boy is the cutest boy ever. I want to hug him and kiss his cheeks.

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