Topic: People - Overview
This section concentrates on the human connection, including some of their stories, particularly with regards to the three farming families with whom I have a working relationship. They are the Gibbs, the MacKenzies and the O’Sullivans. By way of a small ‘thank you’ for the access that they grant me across their farms, I photographed all three farming families once every five years. This also tied in on a human scale with what I am doing. Just as the coastline changes, so too do families, thus showing that the same holds true for everything.
With regards to the family images of the Gibbs, the MacKenzies and the O’Sullivans, though the PHO numbers will be given, the photos will not be available for public viewing. They may be made available for bona fide research projects, along with more relevant details. Permission for these would have to be obtained from Puke Ariki and the families concerned.
The only exception to no public viewing is a photo of the late Carol MacKenzie taken on 16.1.2011. During the last few months of Carol’s life, I recorded our personal journey together. This was as much for me as it was for her and her family. I subsequently gave a copy of this to Kathy and Stephen MacKenzie to keep. I asked them if it would be alright if Carol’s final journey and the photo of her that I called ‘Shine’ could be shared with others. Though obviously upset at Carol’s passing, they graciously gave their consent. Death, like birth, is a constant of life. A life well lived is something to celebrate, even though it is opposed by grief of a beautiful life lost.
Bare historic facts don’t give proper context. First-hand and passed down real life experiences bring history to life and give it a rich texture. This allows direct descendants and others to emotionally connect to the past, irrespective of whose history, Maori or Pakeha, it belongs to. In short, it brings a better understanding of both the differences and similarities that all cultures share. This is something bald facts alone cannot achieve.
Obviously I am not qualified, for example, to tell any stories relating to the Maori history of the area. Haumoana (Rodney) White, the Maori Kuamatua of Nga Hapu o Poutama, is best qualified for this. He has already passed on his oral history to the Waitangi Tribubal. The Poutama iwi plan is available by clicking on to the link as follows: http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/PageFiles/21886/2229425%20Poutama.pdf.
I have done interviews with the MacKenzies and the O’Sullivans, but these are limited in scope. For some reason I didn’t get around to interviewing the Gibbs.
Whenever I saw people at any of the sites I visited at Tongaporutu, I recorded their presence. This was irrespective of whether I spoke to any of them or not. These basic people sightings or ‘bodies’ as I sometimes irreverently called them, are also recorded here in this section. People relate to people, whether they are known to them or not. It is a basic human instinct.
Also notated here are relevant roads such as the Whitecliffs Walkway, barns and other buildings etc. Clifton Road leads onto the farm road that is the Whitecliffs Walkway.
NOTE: The Whitecliffs Walkway and the Gibbs’ Whitecliffs Station have been spelt as one word. As for the geological White Cliffs proper, I’ve chosen to split them into two words. Both spelling versions are widely used. I have differentiated the spelling here purely for separation purposes. Does it really matter? Probably not.