There is no doubt that compiling a 448-page history of Dairy Flat, which took author Lynnette Third the best part of eight years, was hard work – but she says it was also a joy and a privilege.
As well as fossicking through records at various libraries, including the Alexander Turnbull, and seeking out previous research, such as a booklet written by Cath Fotheringhame for the centenary of Dairy Flat School, Lynnette also interviewed around 20 “old identities” from the area. Some of those people have since died – their words were recorded and are now stored in public libraries.
“Everybody was lovely – I had a lot of morning and afternoon teas put on for me,” Lynnette says. “
People didn’t think they had a story, but of course once we got chatting, they did. It was a privilege to be welcomed into their homes.”
The book is richly illustrated with historic photographs and Lynnette says sourcing and obtaining permission for the images was also very time consuming.
She particularly enjoys the social aspect of history and says including those details makes the book more interesting, especially for younger readers.
“The younger generation can see that outside toilets were the go in the 1950s, what medicine was, and wasn’t, available, and other details of how people lived in the past.”
Lynnette has lived in nearby Waitoki for around 20 years and says she found out a lot that she didn’t already know – including that there was a pub in Dairy Flat in the 19th Century, and a cemetery, which is now farmland.
Tales of gum diggers, loggers and early settler farmers feature, as well as possible origins of the name ‘Dairy Flat’.
Lynnette says the recent industrial and residential zoning of Dairy Flat will bring enormous change, and makes it timely to take a look back.
“From the 1860s until now, the area has gone from native bush and scrub to being zoned industrial,” she says. “It’s not very long in the scheme of things.”
The book will be launched this week. It was funded and published by the Dairy Flat Community Trust and is available to purchase from the Trust, email email@example.com or phone Barbara Stubbs, 09 420 4094.
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Hibiscus Matters has one copy of Hard Graft, The Story of the Dairy Flat Community, to give away.
To be in to win, ‘like’ Hibiscus Matters on Facebook and message us your name and contact details, (mentioning Hard Graft giveaway), OR write your name, address and daytime phone number on the back of an envelope and post to Hard Graft, Hibiscus Matters, 21 Florence Ave, Orewa 0931.
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