Early days on the farm at Waitomo

The farm was located several miles beyond the caves toward the west coast of the central north island of New Zealand. It was a rambling neglected old place in a valley surrounded by hills, and had a river dividing us from our neighbours on one side and a track /cum road / on the other. The house was built on a hill about a mile or more from the shed by the road that marked the beginning of the property. It was a long trek down one hill across the flat where the cow sheds were and up another hill to the house.

The river that ran through the valley had a right angle bend in it where we learned to swim. The far side had a shallow sloping bank where it was safe for the non swimmers to play, while the older children dived and swam in the deeper part. They would piggyback us across and leave us to splash around on our own until it was time to go home.

One day when we were swimming, there was a beautiful rainbow trout basking in the shallow water not far from where we played. So Vincent dived in a little below it, crept up and put his two hands under it and flipped it up on to the bank. He was very proud of his catch.

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