- Born: 13 Jun 1873, Wanganui, New Zealand
- Marriage (1): Elizabeth Cole on 19 Sep 1900 in Wanganui, New Zealand
- Died: 21 May 1960, Taumaranui, New Zealand at age 86
- Buried: Between 24 and 26 May 1960, Taumaranui Cemetery, New Zealand
Oliver Old and Elizabeth Cole were married on the 19th September, 19 00 in Wanganui. From Pukeokahu they moved to North Taranaki in 1904. A ll eight children attended the Tokorima School.
From ...Roll Back the Years... an article by Pat Old
Many of the potential entrants to the ballot came into Tokirima Vall ey to look around before selecting the sections they wished to put in fo r. Oliver old was one who made his way to Tokirima on horseback in 190 2. He travelled from Wanganui, via Raurimu. Kaitieke and up the Ohura Riv er. On his arrival he found road men camping on what is now known as Blanc hard's flats and constructing cart tracks (unmetalled) to service the n ew block.
He found the land covered with high fern, scrub and a few pockets of bus h. The river was clean and no willows grew along its banks. Each secti on had been marked by the surveyors with poles and flags. So impressed w as he that on his return home he entered for sections 18 and 19 and his wi fe Elizabeth, for section 17. These sections they won when the ballot w as drawn in New Plymouth on 15th March, 1904 and they took up residen ce on the 1 July, 1904.
First priority for the men when they arrived was a roof to keep away the m idwinter weather. Most had all their worldly possessions with them, the ir many horses, furniture, pots, pans, books and all, and were campi ng in tents while they set to with pit saws and hammers to construct the ir first little whare.
The first arrivals were sometimes called upon to show the newest settle rs to their sections, which in some cases, they had never seen, and h ad to search through the scrub to find their survey pegs.
On occasion about this time, Oliver Old and his son Ambrose, on becoming t ired of eating pork, decided to hunt some wild cattle which were sometim es seen in the valley. They set out up the Kokopuiti, climbed up to a rid ge and walked along it heading for the Heao, apparently becoming a litt le disoriented in the process. Espying some black and white beasts in t he distance, they proceeded to stalk them until at last came upon their o wn camp! They had walked in a circle and were stalking their own piebald h orses - no beef that day!
Once that first winter was over and the whare was built, the women and chi ldren arrived and life began to revolve around the family and their need s. It was essentially a simple life. Isolation encouraged the community to become close knit and dependent on one another.
To retain their lease on the land, the new farmers were required to fulfill certain requirements. One was that the section holder had to resi de on their own piece of land. Elizabeth Old was obliged to write to the C ommissioner of the Crown Lands in New Plymouth three times before she w as granted an "Exemption of Residency" to live with her husband on the ne xt section.
There was also a requirement that boundary fences should be speedily erected, however, many were beaten by the weather and found themselves explaini ng by letter to the Commissioner that the roads were impassible to carts a nd that fencing materials were almost impossible to procure anyway.
The first route to Aukopae landing was down the Tokirima valley, over the Ohura River at Old's Bluff, then up the east side of the river to Craig 's and over the tunnel hill.
Oliver Old had a canoe moored in the river and a wire led up to an old cow bell at his whare. When so called he would go down and ferry people acro ss with their goods. Horses and stock were taken across the ford just ups tream from the present swing bridge. Most of the supplies were carri ed by Hatrick's river steamer service to Aukopae landing, and this coul d, at times, be most unreliable as this was primarily a tourist service a nd farmers orders often had to wait until next trip if a large number of p assengers were booked.
It was quite an occasion after the building of the first 'real' house in T okirima - It even boasted hot and cold running water. The house was for Ol iver & Elizabeth Old and family. The builder was Mr H Craven and Jeff Hill was the bricklayer.
Noted events in his life were:
• He resided at Kimbolton, New Zealand after 1900.
• He resided at Travelled to Tokorima to check for the land settlement. in 1902.
• He resided at Sections 18 & 19 to Oliver, Section 17 to Elizabeth at Tokorima on 1 Jul 1904.
Oliver married Elizabeth Cole on 19 Sep 1900 in Wanganui, New Zealand. (Elizabeth Cole was born on 29 Aug 1876 in Wellington, New Zealand, died on 12 Apr 1964 in Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand and was buried about 16 Apr 1964 in Taumaranui Cemetery, New Zealand.)