Settlement celebrated in Feilding

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 18/01/2013
Feilding's Settlers' Day
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ
SETTLING IN: Dorothy Rose, Rosalind Bagley and Robyn Corpe enjoy a sit-down in a vintage cart at the Coach House Museum, Feilding.

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Pitching horse shoes and playing skittles - Feilding's Settlers' Day tomorrow invites people to step back in time and try the games of yesteryear.

Activities will also include a slowest bike-riding competition and the popular pioneer pastime of whacking the "rat in a drain-pipe".

The annual celebrations commemorate the arrival of European settlers in Feilding nearly 140 years ago.

Feilding and District Historical Society member Helen Trotter said visitors were in for a treat.

"It's a simple, fun-filled family day where we get together to celebrate the history of the town," she said.

"It's a way to honour our pioneers, to show people a different way of life and we look forward to it every year."

The highlight of the morning promises to be what Mrs Trotter says is "the world's longest apple short cake" - nearing on 8 metres.

Made by Feilding bakers, it was always a tasty treat, she said.

Roaming the streets will be horse-drawn vehicles, traction engine-drawn carriages and vintage cars.

There will also be wool spinners at work, Edwardian style clothes to try on for size and a historical sausage sizzle.

The Feilding Scottish pipe band will be there alongside stilt-walkers and fully garbed society members.

Settlers' Day starts at 10am tomorrow and finishes about 1pm.

FEILDING FACTS

The first European settlers at Feilding arrived in 1874. Some Europeans were leasing land from Maori groups, but the new settlers were mainly working-class immigrants from England looking for a better life. They lived in a town of tents, fending off mosquitoes, before cottages were built. An initial group of about 28 settled in a swampy clearing known as the Manchester Block and by 1879 there were 1800 people living there. The Duke of Manchester and the Earl of Denbigh were active agents for the scheme in England and the earl's brother, Colonel William Feilding, was sent to New Zealand to find suitable land for felling bush. Feilding was one of only a few successful private immigration schemes in New Zealand.

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- Manawatu Standard

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