Puhoi marks 160th year

Residents of Puhoi, particularly those with a tie to Bohemian ancestors, will celebrate the settlement’s 160-year anniversary from June 29 to July 2.

The celebrations will include a Feastday Mass at St Peter and Paul’s Church at 11am on Thursday, June 29, followed by an anniversary lunch at the Puhoi Hall at midday.

There will be a dance in the Puhoi Hall on Saturday night, with music by Shane, and the Shazam Band.

The programme will conclude with Sunday Mass and the laying of the thanksgiving wreath on July 2, starting at 11am.

Puhoi was founded by Captain Martin Krippner, from Staab in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic.

He encouraged fellow Bohemians to join him and, in 1863, 51 adults and 31 children sailed to New Zealand. These hardy pioneering families cleared the forest and probed the swamps for kauri gum, which was a precious commodity in those days.

Many descendants of these families still live in Puhoi or the surrounding area.

The Puhoi Museum has kept full records of the pioneers’ genealogy and achievements.