Have you heard of a place called Manna
Where are people you’d think had lost their senses
When they came to farm the land,
Between the Victorias and the Spensers?
How did they find this valley
That made them come here and stay?
Surely the living was better
And easier, some other way.
Some of them came to go prospecting,
Others to take up the land,
But there couldn’t have been any hardier
Than that early pioneer band.
Did you know there was one one before them?
No houses, no buses, no train,
So they started from zero,
Just a small tent pitched on that plain.
Some came as war-brides from England,
From Scotland and Kaikoura way,
Though they knew when they came they would rough it,
They had the grit and will-power to stay.
Can you imagine them leaving their homeland,
Their families and friends so dear,
Then travelling out to New Zealand
To settle at old Maruia?
They were here in the days of the wagon,
Of pack-horse and deep muddy tracks,
Of camp-ovens, iron kettles, and candles,
And their carpets often were sacks.
Now sealed highways take stock-trucks and buses,
There are cars that are foreign and fast,
And I guess there are few of us pause to remember
Those lovely old folk of the past.
There are very few of them left now,
Some have moved—some passed away,
But they left us something to be proud of,
That’s Maruia as I see it today.
By Maud Ferguson