Country Session - Maruia Springs
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William Blackadder speaks about the local history of Maruia Springs, near the Lewis Pass, and the first European attempt to settle there. [This appears to have been recorded to mark the opening of a new bathing complex at Maruia in 1957.]
He tells the story of an elderly midwife from the Reefton area, Mrs Rosser, who decided to build an accommodation house at Maruia Springs as she was sure the location would become popular, despite there being no road at the time. Her two sons travelled the 40 miles from Reefton along a bush track, to build a three-roomed house there. He tells the story of how they brought their mother, who didn't ride, through the rough bush-clad country with several river crossings.
They planted a garden and dug a bathing pool at the hot springs. Her son brought guests out from Reefton, with the springs recommended as a cure for rheumatism.
People farming at Ada Station used to run sheep across the ranges above Maruia in the summer. There were gold-diggers working the Alfred River, and one of the Rosser brothers decided to buy out one of the claims.
There was a very bad Winter in 1897, in which Mrs Rosser was snowed in for three months on her own, listening to avalanches crashing down into the valley. She just had her cat, the chickens, and a cow for company.
The attempt to run sheep on the range above Maruia failed as most of them died of cold.
After the bad Winter, the Rossers decided to move back to Reefton although one of the sons stayed working the Alfred River gold claim.
Reference number 183504
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Nonfiction radio programs
Blackadder, William (b.1881, d.1974), Speaker/Kaikōrero
New Zealand Broadcasting Service (estab. 1946, closed 1962), Broadcaster
Date 03 Jan 1957