Pioneer Women – Marianne Morrow and Mrs Mary MacLean

The names of Buckland and Maclean are surely well known to local residents – but largely only from the exploits of the men of that name.

Here are the stories of two remarkable women who lived in Buckland’s Beach and Howick and came to love this place as ‘home’.

Marianne Morrow – daughter of Alfred Buckland and Eliza Buckland, nee Wallen.  Born in 1855 at Highwic in Newmarket, she grew up alongside 6 sisters and three brothers at Highwic in Newmarket before Eliza’s tragic death in 1866. Marianne lived to a grand aged of 105 years.

Marianne married Colonel Arthur Morrow. She was described at that time as being ‘bright-eyed, erect and of a remarkably agile mind’

Marianne had many tales to tell.

At the age of 15 Marianne visited the Pink and White Terraces near Rotorua.  The family travelled by boat to Tauranga and overland by buggy to Rotorua.  They visited the villages of Te Wairoa and Te Ariki, crossed Lake Tarawera by canoe and were “poled” up the river to the warm Kaiwaka creek by the Terraces which Marianne described as ‘beautifully wonderful’.  A sudden thunderstorm meant they were unable to return across the lake and their guide; the ‘famous Sophia’ arranged accommodation in a ‘whare’ where the party were forced to spend the night.  The next morning, they met the rebel chief, ‘Te Kooti’, who was fleeing to the Urewera following the ‘Poverty Bay’ massacre.  He was described as “not a big man and not fierce looking’ and other than a request for money, he did not alarm them greatly.  Sixteen years later Mrs Morrow sat in her Epsom home, Auckland, and saw the glow from the Mt Tarawera eruption light up the sky.  The sound resembled gun fire and it was thought a German man o’ war ship that had gone aground in Manukau Harbour.

Marianne was a crack shot (as was her husband) and was invited to fire the first machine gun bought to New Zealand.  She met most of the early Governors of New Zealand, being Sir George Grey, John Logan Campbell and James Dilworth, all of whom who became friends.

Mrs Morrow became a regular resident at Buckland’s Beach from 1915, when travel by milk cart became possible. She lived for many years in Hattaway Avenue, Buckland’s Beach, with her daughter. The milk cart suited them ideally as it made two trips a day.  One in the early morning with empty milk cans to Pakuranga, then to the milk stand beside Pigeon Mountain return journey to Newmarket with the full milk cans.  The track from Bucklands Beach had to be made on foot and Mrs Morrow would hitch up her long skirts and trek across the mud.  An active and spirited woman indeed.  Her grandson, Geoff Fairfield became a well-known and respected conservationist, geologist and archaeologist, who provided many well documented studies of the area.

Mrs Maclean – The Maclean brothers, Robert and Every, had inherited land in Cornwall which they sold to purchase land in the new colony of New Zealand.   They owned many farms in the East Auckland and Waikato, and are recalled in the district, as having a “college” , and a ‘road’ bearing their name; as well as ‘Bleakhouse Road’ – the name of their main farm house (Bleak House) in the district. Latterly ‘Macleans College’

None of the wives were shrinking violets in those days – getting out and getting doing was all in a day’s work –

Excerpts from Mrs Every (Mary) Maclean’s diary 1897 –

1 Jan:   Brodie and I hoeing up grasses in the gully

2 Jan:   Brodie and I burning grass at the gully and cutting cocksfoot (grass)

3 Jan:   (Sunday)

4 Jan:   Brodie hoeing up furze on the road leading to the house and washing his clothes

Took Aunt, Ellen, David and Elsie in the buggy to the manse

5 Jan:   Brodie hoeing up furze on the road near the house.  Went to Auckland with the trap

and two pigs

6 Jan:   Brodie mending rocking chair. Got two plates made for it at B..?..   Myself gathering

up furze and burning them.

7 Jan:   Brodie made a box for the bathroom -and over subsequent days Brodie took the cattle to water, helped catch the lambs, cleaned the dam near King’s house, dug mud from the creek, cut oats in the ten acre block (this took several days), shifted clay off the roadway and then on the 16th of January helped put up swings among the trees for the picnic.

Presumably he attended the picnic – then went back to pitching oats in the paddock and shaping stooks.

Friday 29th January:  Wet Day. Brodie working in the shed.

Who was Brodie?  Obviously, a hard worker.

‘Furze’ is better known these days as GORSE – and it seems it was a problem even back then.

Mrs Maclean’s diary is held at the Howick Historical Village.  There is little of a personal nature in it though she records assiduously the small details of day to day tasks.

Text supplied by Marin Burgess from research from Alan La Roche, Geoff Fairfield and the primary source of Mrs Macleans diary.