Te Kuiti times….

After meeting me in Auckland, Mary saw me safely back to Te Kuiti where Mum had a shop. Here she did dressmaking, and she also had the agency for the sale of Singer sewing machines.

It seems that after I had gone to England, Mum decided to try and get Dad off the farm. To do this she took Peter, who was aged eight, and moved to Taumaranui and set up shop there. She went back to the farm at weekends to cook and clean etc.

When she knew I was coming home, she moved the shop back to Te Kuiti, as it was nearer to the farm. Now at weekends, she would take Peter and go back to the farm on Friday night returning on Sunday. I was left to fend for myself for the most part, and was allowed to go to a friends place for a short while in the afternoons, but was not to stay long.

Eventually Dad moved from the old farm at Waitomo to a smaller farm about a mile from town, and we used to walk out to get fresh milk. We lived on at the shop, and after about a year Dad finally gave up on farming and came back to live with us at the shop. He got a job with the town council, and Peter and I went to the local Catholic school.

One Saturday afternoon when I was wandering round looking for someone to play with, I saw a group of boys throwing stones at something. I went to look and was horrified to see it was a box of a 100 live detonators. The kids had tipped them out and thrown water on them, then stood back and took turns at throwing stones to see if they could set them off. I was scared stiff myself, as I knew what detonators were used for, but hoped they were safe enough on their own. I told the kids off and scared them enough to chase them off, then very gingerly gathered the detonators back into their box and took them home. I asked Mum what to do with them, and she made Dad take them and me up to the police station to explain where they had come from. The police also wanted to know how I knew what they were. I had to make an official statement so a policeman could write it down, then I had to read it and sign it.

I was scared I was going to be locked up and was glad to get out of there. I know the police made a few enquiries about them, but they did not concern me any more.

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