Home' Rangitikei Mail : December 15th 2011 Contents 10 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011
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10 am Colyton
323 4026 or 323 7050
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Minister: Rev Rilma Sands
06 323 8654
Come and celebrate
Food, fun, carols & games
Sunday 18th December
10:30 to 10:30am
St. John Ambulance building
Bowen Street, Feilding
(St Pauls - PCANZ)
Graeme Turnbull Ph (06) 323 4366
Cnr Church & Grey Sts
Phone (06) 327 8562• Fax (06) 327 5280
which took six
By BOBBIE NICHOLLS
Four hundred closely typed pages are the
result of six years of painstaking research
by Rongotea historian Vera Hunt.
Mrs Hunt does not use a computer, She prefers
to write in longhand, passing the pages on to a
friend for typing into a computer.
Campbelltown Rongotea, the history of Rongotea
from 1881 to 2010 has been a continuing project
since Rongotea School celebrated its 125th jubilee
in 2006. During the planning of the celebrations,
the committee suggested updating the history of
the township and Mrs Hunt offered her services.
I prefer to work alone, rather than on a com-
mittee, so I talked to a lot of people, and
researched the school roles and the files of
churches, organisations, sports groups and old
Much of the family histories relied on oral his-
tory from old identities who were very co-
operative, and some of whom have since died.
Then I wrote it up, usually at night when the
house was quiet,'' she said.
There were nearly 100 pioneer families who
had children at the school.
I traced all the property owners of land in the
area. People have been very generous allowing me
to use their photos.''
Campbelltown was named for Robert Campbell
who, with John Douglas, bought Oroua Downs
estate. Douglas Square was named for his partner.
When it was discovered there was another
Campbelltown in the South Island, the name
Rongotea (meaning good news) was suggested by
the Rev Thomas Hammond.
At one time, it was nicknamed the holy city'
because it had seven churches and alcohol was not
sold there until the tavern opened in the 1970s,''
Mrs Hunt said.
This is not the first history she has researched.
She started with a family reunion of the Ham-
monds of Waitohi in 1987. Using old photos and
family history she compiled the booklet on the
history of her grandmother's family. With lots
more information available, she expanded it in
1998, and produced a colourful glossy 323-page
book which sold 700 copies and is now in its second
There are 20 children of the first and second
Hammond generations in Rongotea to cover, and
now there is another generation showing interest,
so I have had it reprinted.''
Mrs Hunt was asked by Sir Thomas Duncan,
whose mother was a Hammond, to research the
history of the old Duncan polio hospitals at
Whanganui and Silverstream. When she com-
pleted her work, it was decided to expand the book
to include the Duncan family history on Otiwhiti
station near Hunterville and the families who
worked the land with them.
Otiwhiti, launched last month, is proving very
popular, while, at the same time Mrs Hunt has
published her history of Rongotea.
Campbelltown Rongotea can be seen at Poppies
book shop but is only for sale through the author.
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