this week i joined prairie's class on a day trip to visit an historic village. they have recreated, on a smaller scale but using original buildings, one of the settlements built for the first government funded scheme for immigrants in this country. new zealand was part of the british empire and under the rule of queen victoria (i learnt all this while sitting in the gorgeous old schoolhouse) retired soldiers from mainly england and ireland were lured out here to perform military duties in return for an acre of land and a two-bedroomed cottage. they were known as the fencibles, shortened from defencibles. between 1847 and 1852 10 ships made the six month journey here with the soliders and their families aboard.
this is what they had in mind.
but this is how they had to start their new life here. the cottages were not ready for them so they sheltered in tents and cooked outside. and this is prairie wondering what is for dinner, looking like, i think, holly hobbie!
with the help of local maori they progressed to these little huts made with a local hollow reed called raupo.
and if you were lucky you got a chimney so you could cook indoors!
and this must have been luxury.
isn't this the sweetest little outhouse you've ever seen!
some of the cottages were peeled back exposing the layers. you could see into the roof and see the underside with the wooden shingles and the original kauri walls (kauri is a beautiful timber that people now pay the earth for) with the layers of news and wallpapers. these cottages were, funnily enough, the places where some of the children got quite spooked.
it was such a lovely day out and i thoroughly enjoyed it from the bonnet making beforehand (i had one too!) to learning more of our history. our own little house on the prairie!