Okaihau to celebrate 150 years

Snow Harrison with farming equipment that will be on display in the 150th commemorations of Okaihau.
BAYLEY MOOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Snow Harrison with farming equipment that will be on display in the 150th commemorations of Okaihau.

Okaihau is preparing to celebrate 150 years of the settlement in the Far North - with the organising group asking for help.

The centenary celebrations in 1968 were attended by around 5000 people.

A cycle ride from Kaikohe to Okaihau, old-time displays and a special parade will all feature during the 150th commemorations in 2018 over the Easter weekend.

Snow Harrison in Utakura Valley, with his 1946 Farmall B tractor that will feature in the 150th commemorations of Okaihau.
BAYLEY MOOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Snow Harrison in Utakura Valley, with his 1946 Farmall B tractor that will feature in the 150th commemorations of Okaihau.

Snow Harrison, from the Utakura Valley, was 16 at the time of the centenary celebrations and was aboard the valley's blacksmith float.

He says the float recognised his grandfather Washie Harrison building the blacksmith shop for the local people.

"My dad trained two bullocks to pull a cart for the centenary for a parade down the main street from the school to the recreation grounds."

Some of Harrison's historic farm machinery will run in the parade and he is also hoping to build a museum to display the equipment on his property which has the Twin Coast Cycle Trail running through it.

His daughter and champion shearer Brya Harrison will be putting on a display at the 150th commemorations.

Jenny Couchman is calling for history, memories and photos from the past 150 years, which she will compile into a booklet.

"I would love for people from all over the country or world to be encouraged to send copies of their photos and their memories to me."

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Couchman has been working on the booklet for six months.

"I've worked here for most of my life, and there are things that I keep discovering, places and people that I didn't know existed. I've been on a really interesting journey."

As well as families, organisations have shared their archives including the Okaihau Fire Brigade.

A theatre production entitled 'Alice in Puketi', based off Alice in Wonderland will be performed on the Saturday night of the Easter weekend with a social dance hosted by the Okaihau Lions on the Sunday night.

A parade will also travel along the main street to form a static display at the rugby club fields, among many other events planned for the weekend.

The next meeting will be held on May 28 at 2pm at the Okaihau Hall, with people encouraged to attend and see where they might be able to help.

To contribute to the 150th commemorations booklet, email ljcouchman@xtra.co.nz

 - Stuff

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