Neighbourly and unneighbourly behaviour in the Te Aroha district
Hart, P. (2016). Neighbourly and unneighbourly behaviour in the Te Aroha district. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 119). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10453
As is to be expected, many examples could be found of neighbourly and unneighbourly behaviour. Because of the nature of their work, miners and indeed settlers generally had to help each other, and ‘fair play’ was a desired ideal. Residents mingled at weddings, funerals, farewells, and patriotic socials. When people were in need, assistance was given and money was raised by special events, and when fires broke out, everyone did their best to save both life and property. Despite such neighbourly acts, there were plenty of examples of quarrelsome residents and rude behaviour. In small settlements, prying and gossiping were endemic. Disliked residents were mocked, some practical jokes were malicious, and some libels were spread. In particular, local government politics provoked much bitterness over minor matters, and rivalry between Te Aroha and Waiorongomai could be friendly in sport but unfriendly on some issues. A detailed example of one prominent resident, Charles Ahier, is provided to illustrate how a pillar of the community was vilified and how he vilified his critics. Newspapers sometimes provided biased reporting, fanning the flames of petty disputes. But overall, squabbles were outweighed by positive interactions.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart