Spectrum 551. Ohura

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Tono kōrero mai

Spectrum was a long-running weekly radio documentary series which captured the essence of New Zealand from 1972 to 2016. Alwyn Owen and Jack Perkins produced the series for many years, creating a valuable library of New Zealand oral history.

This episode takes a look at Ohura, a King Country settlement west of Taumarunui. It was once a thriving sawmilling and coal mining centre but is now just a shadow of its former self.

Several unidentified local residents talk about Ohura prior to 1969, in the days before the mines closed down when it had a school, garages, public transport, doctor, barber shop and many stores and clubs.

John Koorey owns Kallil Motors garage repair workshop which is routinely flooded when the river rises. His family has always lived in the town, but he finds it financially difficult. He talks about the demise of Ohura with smaller farms being bought out by neighbouring larger farms contributing to the population loss.

Pat Simes owns the electrical repair shop with her husband and talks about their business.
Methodist missionary Jim Woodhouse remembers the early 1930s in Ohura.

Ena Ryan whose husband was the County Engineer in the 1950s recalls friendships with the miner’s wives.

John and Pat talk about transient, unskilled newcomers buying cheap housing in Ohura before selling due to lack of work. They comment on the unemployed, subsequent high crime rates in the area and lament the lack of pride in the town which looks run down.

Jack Perkins talks to John and unknown man, oil rig workers living in house trucks on a cheap section.

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Year 1986

Reference number 17642

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits RNZ Collection
Perkins, Jack (b.1940), Producer
Ryan, Ena, 1908-2005, Interviewee

Duration 00:28:49

Date 13 Sep 1986

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