Originally from Scotland, then Suffolk, England the Black family first moved out to Canada in 1911. Lured by the prospect of free land and a house and barn from the Canadian Pacific Railway who owned the land for 10 miles either side of the Railway, they were full of hope for the future of grain growing on the Prairies of Alberta. The sections of land were 600 acres each and the only cost was a rental to the Canadian Pacific Railway of one third of the annual crop.
For nearly 20 years they struggled to survive the hardships, severe weather problems and the frequent crop failures. They invested in several hundred chickens to provide extra income as well as a food source; and stored all vegetable crops in the cellar for the winter. All meat slaughtered for home use was stored outside, frozen solid for months. You just cannot imagine the hardships there were with 5 months of ice and snow, the only transport by horse and sledge. If your bed was touching the outside wall of the house the condensation would have your blankets frozen to the wall.
Then came the depression years of the 1930’s with drought and crop failures forcing them to look for a better life elsewhere. New Zealand was the ‘chosen place’ so they sold up and set out from Vancouver in 1937. Three weeks later they arrived in New Zealand - the green grass and the sunshine was a wonderful sight. A year later, land was purchased at Te Puke and the challenge began all over again. Three generations later members of the Black family still reside in the district. This is the story of the first family to arrive from Canada, and over subsequent years until the present time Te Puke has welcomed further Canadians into the community.
Designed and created by: Reneé Benner
Contributed by: Dinah Black