On Saturday afternoon the 22nd September at the Raetihi Cosmopolitan Club at 1pm, we had another successful public meeting of the Friends of the Mangapurua Society.
We have developed some new plans and activities for the society and after outlining some of them, we held a film show. The show was a series of five films and videos each about 15 minutes long.
They started back in the 1940-50’s with a historic old film produced by the NZ National Film Unit titled the “Legend of the Whanganui River” with impressive old-style commentary. We next covered the navigation of the River with early Jet Boats and the impact they had on accessing the back country at greater speed. Jet boats have also revolutionised tourist use of the river.
In 2010 a new traditional style River Boat built by one of our members, Robert Baldwin, was the first old style River Boat in 82 years to navigate the River to Taumaranui. The next video “Failed Farms” covered the First World War Soldier Settlements along the Whanganui and up the Mangapurua River across the Bridge to Nowhere. Further up the River we visit Whakahoro, the famous Blue Duck Lodge, and the settler activities up the Kaiwhakauka Valley.
We finished with the “Valley of Dreams” a modern video of the pioneer efforts of the farming families in these remote valleys seen from the perspective young visitors with a two-day trek to take in the remnants of the houses, farm histories and the dreams of 45 families.