Coracle-making learnt in Shropshire

00:11, Jun 25 2014
Southland Times photo
Iona Brimecombe in a coracle made by her father Paul, of Te Anau.

Southland's only coracle maker is Paul Brimecombe, of Te Anau, who learnt the craft at Ironbridge in Shropshire, one of the traditional coracle areas.

The Treaty of Waitangi signing took place aboard the frigate Herald at Ruapuke Island in June 1840. Chiefs Tuhawaiki, Kaikoura and Taiaroa signed on behalf of their people.

Before this, on May 21, 1840, Governor William Hobson had already proclaimed British sovereignty over New Zealand - over the North Island by agreement manifested in the Treaty of Waitangi and over the South Island and Stewart Island by right of discovery.

Southland's first pre-stressed concrete power poles were made in Invercargill by Stresscrete in 1963. A Government ban on the import of hardwood poles prompted the development of a local industry with the first contact for the supply of 1750 35-foot poles for Southland Electric Power Supply.

Southland's first air race took place on January 20, 1956, when 47 light aircraft took part in the centennial air race from Blenheim to Invercargill. The winner was R A Coulter, of Dunedin, in a Tiger Moth in 5hr 29min. The first prize was [PndStlg]500.

In Britain, the rabbit was protected by gamekeepers, and English cats were chided if they caught one. In contrast, in Southland in 1896, rabbits were hunted ruthlessly by man and beast. Mark Twain visited Invercargill that year on his world tour. He said, "In Bluff, the cat found with a rabbit in its possession does not have to explain - everybody looks the other way; this is a sure way to undermine the moral fabric of a cat. Thirty years from now there will not be a moral cat in New Zealand"

About The South
Lloyd Esler 
15 Mahuri Rd, 
Otatara, RD 9, 
Invercargill 
Phone-fax (03) 213 0404 
email: esler@southnet.co.nz

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