I took the photo below ten years ago as we wandered around looking for entrances to the beach. I thought the house was interesting, even if it is abandoned, and posted it in sepia on a NZ photography group on Facebook.
Come to find out that some of the other photographers had played there and knew the owners, so I had to look it up.
Hubby took me back today for an updated photo, below.
Description - Fleming House is a copy of the Rutherford House in Nelson. It features three dormer windows for the
three upstairs rooms, with a plain verandah full length to the ground floor, giving the building a very
distinctive early Colonial form. It is clad in rusticated boards on the front elevation with plain lapped
boards elsewhere. A brick chimney reaches up the full height of the gabled roof at the south end. The
house is in a poor state of repair.
The suggestion of this house being a copy of the Rutherford house in Nelson could be a local myth.
This is fuelled by the house design being typical of the period in which it was built. Also many
differences between the houses exist like the positioning of the windows.
History - Fleming House was built for the Jeffries family when they moved to the district from Nelson in 1882.
The Jeffries were one of Rahotu's early settlers. It was the Jeffries family's friendship with the
Rutherfords in Nelson that led them to copy the design of the Rutherford house. Along with William
Wright, the Jeffries family came to assess the potential of the Rahotu area for farming and flax.
This house has been continuously owned by the Fleming family since 1919.
Not known but design based on Rutherford House, Nelson.
Statement of Significance - The Fleming House is important as an intact example of a colonial-style cottage, characterised by its
gable roof, verandah and the distinctive row of three matching dormer windows. Such an house is
unusual in Taranaki, and although once common in New Zealand, is now increasingly rare. It would
repay careful study for the information that could be retrieved about 19th century building practices
and materials. The house and its owners have had a long association with farming in the district,
giving the place strong historical value.
I P Stevenson, Opunake Heritage Working Party
From 1902 services were held in local homes at Niagara and Waikawa, the dates dependent on “Paddy’s lantern”, the full moon, so that parishioners could see to travel to the service. The foundation stone was laid on 1 May 1930 and the church was opened and dedicated by Bishop Richards on Thursday 10 March 1932. The Vicar then was the Rev WHS Hine. Sadly, with a dwindling congregation, the church was closed in 1994. https://discover.stqry.com/v/catlins-coastal-heritage-trail/s/ad875be907684267d81958e2cb3d6083
I enjoy finding places like this memorial as we drive around. I always feel a bit sad that the only thing left standing is a partial wall and a plaque. If you weren't looking around, you'd never know it was there.
1909 - 2009
SCHOOL OPENED 1909
HALL BUILT 1939
SCHOOL BATHS OPENED 1962
SCHOOL CLOSED 1973
The only information I could find about this gone-but-not-forgotten school was the following
article in the local paper from 2009.
Few people today know that on the Opunake-Stratford Road, 1000ft above sea level, lies a small district called Makaka, 24kms west of Stratford.
Now all past & present members of Makaka School & District are invited to a 100th year celebration & reunion on Sunday November 22.
Even fewer people know that over 100 years ago, Makaka was intended to be a rural service town.
The friendly community, and a school, for 64 years, meant that although it never got to be a town, Makaka was still not a place to be forgotten.
In the early 1890's the first families arrived to settle the district, and began the arduous task of clearing the bush for use as dairy farming land.
By 1908 a school was needed, and it opened in 1909, with a roll of 18, from seven local families.
The teachers boarded with local families and in the early years the school was used for church services. They also held euchre parties and dances in the school as a way of raising funds for the school.
School picnics were an annual event, with popular places being Opunake Beach, Kaupokonui Beach, Te Ngutu Domain, and Ngaere Gardens and pupils travelled to these on the back of the Awatuna Factory lorry.
It was a real credit to the pupils, parents and teacher, when Makaka school won the Tisch Shield twice, first in 1930, then 1949. The shield was presented each year for the previous year's best kept school grounds in Taranaki, according to the size of the school. Also in 1956, Makaka was judged the best of 19 schools in the area, when visited by board officials.
Electricity coming to Makaka in 1925 made life a little easier, but the change was gradual. Some families only had a few light bulbs and no hot points to begin with.
Milking became easier with electric motors as well.
1925 also saw the Opunake-Stratford Road get a metal surface.
In 1930, two inches of snow fell. None of the children had experienced snow, so the most was made of the situation, and they had a snow fight at school.
As a result of the floods, part of the Taungatara Factory got washed away and residents went down to salvage timber, mainly from the curing room. It was carted back to Makaka on the back of a truck, and used to build the hall, which still stands today.
The hall was completed in 1939. It had an excellent dance floor, because the wax had dripped from the cheese, in the curing room, and onto the floor. This made it smooth.
For about 10 years, during the 1940's and 50's, the Horgan family lived in the hall. It was partitioned into temporary bedrooms for the children, with a wood burner stove in the centre.
Makaka had a tennis Club, which must have started around 1931-32, and a very popular table tennis Club for many years, until it finished in 1972, due to the lack of numbers.
In 1960, the Makaka CWI (Country Women's Institute) was formed, and only recently amalgamated with Te Kiri.
Over its 64 years the school saw over 600 pupils pass through its doors.
No one in this small community liked the school closing, but it had been inevitable.
At the end of term 2, 1973, Makaka school closed.
The main part of the school was taken to Stratford for use as a playcentre.
The junior room was sold, and the schoolhouse was moved for use as a school house in Opunake.
The seven pupils went to either Awatuna or Riverlea schools, which meant the end of Makaka as it's own little community.
So, after starting out as plans for a town, Makaka developed into a close, friendly community.
Most of the movie theaters in New Zealand are run by the local district councils.
The Kings Theater in Stratford, built in 1917, (click here for its history), was the first in NZ to show 'talkies' and, of course, is a historic place.
On the other hand, Hawera Cinema is more modern. I can't find any info on when it was built but it was recently upgraded with some Premium seating, complete with tables, cushions and footstools (not in the photo).
Although many films don't really interest Hubby and me, we went to see
'Yesterday' and try out the premium seating. It was a good choice and we both loved it!
I know we are among the last to get any movies from anywhere
This lovely mural on the new public toilets is located along the
Forgotten World Highway.
When I googled the school for more information, I ended up shaking my head.
Here's what Wikipedia says about the town of Marco:
...The settlement is named from Marco Road, which runs a short distance to the northwest. The road was named after a dog owned by the district surveyor, Mr Sladden.
Marco was killed in the middle of the road line by a
huge boar while he and his master were pig hunting.
The toilet is at the entrance to a short walkway to a single grave, that of Josh Morgan. When you get to the grave, it seems to be deep in the bush,
This is the wreck of the S. S. Waitangi that sank at the Patea breakwater in 1923. It was covered with black sand for decades, peeking from its resting place on occasion, but being covered again. The winds uncovered it over the last few years but I haven't been to Patea for a while, so I don't know if it's still visible. Click here for more information.