Haumoana memories of Hiraani Logan (nee Scott)
- A cow named Tiki, donkey business, love and tragedy
Hiraani Logan (nee Scott), who was three years old when her family moved into The Grange property in Haumoana Rd in 1921, remembers Haumoana as “one of the best parts of New Zealand…except when the storms come.”
While flooding from rain, river or the sea would at times cause water to come over the road “it never got to our property which was protected by a stop bank. We all had canoes and others would row a boat to the store until the water subsided,” said Hiraani.
“We were blessed because we were on the river and had our own jetty and diving board. When they made the stop banks the river stopped at the edge of our place,” and an area under the trees became known as Lover’s Lane “where couples liked to canoodle”.
In fact, she says, the Scott family had quite a job keeping people away. “They’d go up the river and land on our jetty.”
Hiraani, a former hairdresser and “haute couturier dress designer” and one of seven children of Charles and Kathleen Scott, was a grand 96-years old when interviewed in 2016.
She was elegantly dressed and engaging, tapping her walking stick on the ground to emphasise a point or in frustration when details wouldn’t come as quickly as her desire for expression.
She recalls riding a horse to Clive Grange School (later renamed Haumoana School), attending church in Clive with her father and described the Haumoana she knew as a close-knit community of families, most of whom had permanent homes, with holiday baches at the south end of town.
Her father Charlie, a Gallipoli veteran who was wounded while trying to rescue a fellow soldier, loved hunting, shooting and fishing, and was a great tennis player despite his injury. Her mother Kathleen, was “a very artistic and capable woman who always had a bed for people who were needy.”
The social scene
There were afternoon tea parties with cakes every Sunday. “Kath was a wonderful cook. She really helped build that sense of community in Haumoana. The place was always full of people.”
Many garden parties were held to raise funds for the Red Cross and other causes. “I didn’t like them because we had a two storey house and I always had to show people to the upstairs and downstairs lavatories.”
“Every Wednesday night there were things on at the Haumoana Hall including folk dancing. Everyone knew each other...we were independent but joined up through sport or dances and that included people from Te Awanga as well,” recalled Hiraani.
She remembers the tennis courts and club neighbouring their Grange property at Cavill Park (named after Edith Cavill) and a rifle club. “Haumoana was so lively. We used to have films in the local hall, music evenings at the motor camp and dances.
We had two general stores where you could get everything you needed and one was a Post Office. The butcher and baker both called with their vans. We bought fish off the boats.”
Hiraani’s father was often unwell and she and her brother Blake often wondered why he went to Auckland regularly. “I wondered if he was going away from mother but we later learned he was having treatment from Dr McKenzie at the hospital to remove the shrapnel in his shoulder.”
She recalls the large vegetable garden her father created and an orchard area with grapes and passionfruit and apricot trees; when the trees were laden and the she had a hand in distributing ripe fruit the neighbourhood.
“He had the most beautiful chook house with green trellis, red roof and concrete path and 500 chooks. He sold the eggs and people would come for the chooks as well.” The hens were also something of a tourist attraction.
Tiki the wonder cow
We had our own tennis court and beautiful gardens; in the ‘forest’ we’d build tree houses and there were natural camellias there and the family had a cow named Tiki that produced milk continually for 17-years. “The local newspaper came out and took a photograph, evidently that was quite something,” says Hiraani.
Indeed, the Auckland Star reported in February 1935 that “town and country folk alike in the Hawke’s Bay district have been mildly surprised by the revelation of Mr C. Scott, farmer at Haumoana…that a cow on his property has given milk every day for the past 11-years without having calved.”
Her owner Charlie Scott is reported as describing the family pet, purchased 13-years previously for £14, as a “lacteal gold mine”.
She was then a second calver and had two more calves in three years. “Following after the third calving she dried off, but from the time she produced her fourth and last calf, 11 years ago, she has given milk daily…Tiki’s record for continuous production is in no way attributable to special feeding. Even under the extremely dry conditions lately ruling, she has averaged a gallon and a half a day. When the spring lush in growth sets in her production leaps to the two gallon mark.”
Charles Scott bought the first donkeys to Hawke’s Bay, other than the team of Indian army donkeys landed by James Gillespie Gordon when he offloaded his worldly goods at Clifton in 1859. The Scott family had a holiday home on Waiheke Island and befriended the Chamberlains who also had land there and bred donkeys to feed the lions at the Auckland Zoo.
Charles had asked whether they would sell him one to take back to Hawke’s Bay. “Mr Chamberlain said why not make better use of the stock carriage and take six more...The Bones family bought one and built a little phaeton (carriage for it) and rode from Hastings into Napier for a charity parade. It took all day and they were all dressed up with a carrot on a stick to keep the poor thing moving. That was the first time people had seen them,” said Hiraani.
The Bones’ began breeding donkeys after that as did their neighbours the Coops (Coutts?) family, she says.
Donkey rides on the foreshore were once a popular drawcard. According to a 1961 article in the Daily Telegraph, visitors would on arrival take their horse out of the gig and tie it up under the trees while the children played, swam and rode the donkeys.
The donkeys were owned by Hiraani Blake’s maternal grandfather John (J.T Blake) and his wife Eliza (the parents of Kathleen) who owned a holiday home at Haumoana. J.T was a long serving member and one time chairperson of the Haumoana Beach Improvement Society. The paper recalls one incident when a Mr John Walden, proud owner of a show horse that had taken many prizes, arrived at the beach.
After securing his horse safely under the trees. Later when he planned to set off for home “he had not reckoned on the donkeys and that his horse had never set eyes on one before. No sooner has he harnessed his horse then one of the donkeys emerged from behind the trees and brayed loudly. The horse, whose name was Jack, dropped dead with fright.
Hiraani’s brother Blake Scott had been a sergeant in the airforce and was flying one of the first Kittyhawk aircraft in New Zealand in December 1942. His mother Kathleen heard a plane overhead and as the sound got louder she went outside to investigate.
“And there was Blake waving at her. He swooped down again and again and mother was quite frightened and she waved at him to go away, so he did one more loop and off he went,” said Hiraani.
On his journey back to base he ran into a storm at Taihape and hit power lines. “The Duncan family who were shepherds got on their horses to go to his aid but it was too late, he was on fire when they go there. Mr Duncan got burned trying to assist and was given a George Medal for his efforts. It was very sad. Mother was so upset. She gave him a couple of Maori artefacts as her way of saying thank you for trying.”
Hiraani and Bob Logan, a shepherd working around the wider Haumoana area, had met as teenagers. He was so infatuated with the young daughter of Charles and Kath Scott, that rather than travel across the single lane Black Bridge he found it quicker to row across the Tukituki river in a dinghy to the back of the family property.
Bob returned shell shocked in the middle of WW2 and asked Hiraani to marry him. When they were first married he worked as a shepherd at the Haddington property of the McNiven family at Te Awanga and lived in the little cottage which is still by the roadside.
Hiraani’s daughter Louise says the McNivens treated her and Bob like family. She recalls those first few years growing up on the farm alongside the McNiven daughters Barbara (Casley) and Jocelyn.
Her parents then moved to the family farm at Pukekino, near Kereru.
Engaging with Maori heritage in those times was not an easy thing to do. Even though her brother, the much-lauded architect John Scott designed a new bar for the Hastings Club, and it was suggested by some that it would be a “nice idea if he became a member” that process took time.
“That hurt a bit. We knew why but the president was determined and eventually John became a member,” says Hiraani.
Husband Bob agrees things were very sticky. “It’s unbelievable what took place and it’s very sad the country got itself into this stupid mess. There was no need for it. Maori and Pakeha fought side by side in the first and second world war and it (race relations) were very badly handled.”
Interview with Hiraani Logan, 2016
Lacteal gold mine – Tiki of Napier, Auckland Star, 9 Feb 1935
Horse saw donkey then died, Daily Telegraph, July 1, 1961
RNZAF aircraft struck tree making an emergency landing during bad weather. Sergeant Blake Francis Scott lost his life. Evening Post, Iss 143, 14 December 1942
Photos Keith Newman and early Bob and Hiraani supplied by their daughter Louise Pomare via Mathew Scott