The immigration of the Roderick and Roberts families from Wales, have a surprising number of parallels with both coming from generations of farming and having a love of the Welsh language and music. The Roberts family was from North Wales and were an adventurous crowd, with quite a group emigrating to Pategonia, Argentina, establishing a small Welsh colony there. They maintained their Welsh culture and language as much as possible. What an agonising decision to have to make to go to the end of the world!
Hugh and Gladys Roberts came out to New Zealand in 1911 via the Panama Canal, taking 12 weeks. They arrived in Wellington and soon after met up with a John Roberts, another Welshman who had settled in Raglan. Whilst in Wellington Hugh and John both saw a job advertised to cut titree for £1 an acre at Taihape. They left Wellington, arriving at Taihape and stayed at the Station Hotel. Before Hugh and Gladys left Wales the Old Welshman said to them ‘what are you going out there for, the country is full of wild animals’. They both went to bed at the hotel and at midnight they were awakened by a lion roaring and passed the remark ‘The old Welsh people weren’t far wrong’. Unbeknown to them the Circus had been to town and they were putting the animals back on the train to go back to Hamilton.
Communications were elementary and letters took 6 months. The Rodericks sailed on the R.M.S Tainui with 37 first and second-class passengers and 320 third class. The ship left Southampton, arriving in Auckland later in 1925. Having sold their farm in Brecon they were faced with a different style of farming in New Zealand and felt it wise to work for farmers before purchasing their own property. They rode out the depression by working in the New Zealand Co-op Dairy Company’s butter factory in Te Awamutu until 1936. They then purchased a property on No 1 Road Te Puke, which now has the fourth generation living on it, though the emphasis has gone from dairy farming to horticulture.
Designed by: Andrea Cooper
Created by: Andrea and Damien Cooper
Contributed by: John and Elaine Roderick, Maureen Oliver and the late Llew Roberts