THE TEKAPO 1929 STORY
ONE OF THE TOWN’S ORIGINAL PROPERTIES PRESERVED TODAY. LOCATED ON THE LAKEFRONT, THIS HISTORIC HOME OFFERS SPECTACULAR VIEWS OF LAKE AND SURROUNDING SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAINS.
THE FIRST OWNER WAS FROM A WEALTHY BRITISH FAMILY, SOMEHOW OYSTER CAME INTO HELPING HIM MAKE DECISION TO IMMIGRATE TO NEW ZEALAND AND LOVE INSPIRED HIM TO BUILD THIS LOVELY HOUSE DURING ECONOMIC DEPRESSION…….
This house was built in 1929, its owner Dick Beauchamp, who was born in a wealthy middle-class family in England, joined the navy at the age of 16. The Voyage age had lasted for 10 years, during which he sailed to Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and stayed a couple of years in the mainland of China. In 1925, after the first world war, Britain was having economic trouble. Dick, at his age of 28, undergone medical check, when he was told his left eye was below sea watch-keeping standard, he chose to retire from an officer, got a pension and started to give a blueprint of his new career- idealist farming community.
During that time, Canada, Australia, South African, New Zealand all wanted more settlers and all had spread out their most attractive wares to lure the restless and the enterprising. Dick was much inclined towards New Zealand because he still remembered how his history teaches had sung the praise of the warrior Maori people who brought their wounded enemies food and water and never fight with British soldiers on Sundays. And personally, he found the kiwis more to his liking than Aussies.
IMMIGRATION TO NEW ZEALAND
Somehow oysters came into helping to make the decision too. One day, while is destination still hung in balance, he dropped into a fish and chips shop for a dozen oyster. The price was seven shillings and six pence. On his next stool was a bronzed young man. “like eaten gold in it”, he said. At first, dick paid little attention to his remark, as he had not been introduced to the young man. But he went on…” Where I come from they’re ten pence a dozen”. Dick’s natural English reserve was shaken by this astonishing statement, he asked the young man where this fabulous land was. “Noo Zilland”, the young man replied.
Then, Dick booked a passage to the land where the oyster was ten pence a dozen immediately!
While waiting for the boat to sail, he bought a map of new Zealand, in the middle of the south island was a large splodge of brown- that was mountainous country; and in the middle of that splodge was a little blue lake. Its name was Lake Tekapo. That was where he dreamed to seek his fortune- gentle sheep, soft eyed cattle, waving plant and all!
DESTINY TO LIVE IN LAKE TEKAPO
He arrived Tekapo and found a part time job in a farm called Braemar. He slept in the bunk of a portable rabbiter’s hut and tumbled to the fact that there was no housemaid to look after his daily life. He has gradually adapted to a “do-it-yourself” kiwi lifestyle, learned animal care, animal feeding, how to harness a draught horse and fold his cloth. The most important thing, he reaped his true love.
One member of the farm family-Molly, she is young, pretty and gentle, possessing every desirable quality that Dick likes. However, the path of true love was not smooth, the country carried about one sheep to five acres and a pretty girl to about fifty square miles, the competition for Molly was intense. The owner Tom, who was Molly's father, disliked pommies who came out in fancy pants to farm in the colonies at first. After two years of apprenticeship, Dick kept learning and working hard, he even built a cottage on a section beside the lake during his spare time and started to run a tourist hotel himself. Finally, he won the heart of Molly and the got the permission from old man Tom.
BUILD WITH LOVE
A HOUSE TO FIGHT BACK DEPRESSION
Molly and Dick got married in 1928, the following year was a hard year -- a year of snow storm and financial storms. As many of his friends were unemployed at that time, he and his friend had hit upon the same idea: idle hands + unwanted wool= pleasure, profit and clothes for their children. Dick bought a hand loom used for pattern making, it cost him 25 pounds, which was nearly a quarter of his previous naval pension. They hired a Scottish man Jim, who used to work in Timaru woolen mills as a weaver, Jim taught all the others the weaver art. By putting the model out in the yard and raised the shed roof to take their new machine, they started running their new wool weaving business. The suit they made had a high reputation, word got about and even some celebrates including governor general had a suit made from them. With all this activity and more cash coming in, another baby arrived about that time. Therefore, they started building their first home - Tekapo 1929.
There was one thing about the depression: there wasn’t much money but young people were glad of a home, a lively life and an interesting work; Tekapo 1929 in Mackenzie country, had all those good things. To read the biography of Dick, simply click the button "see the whole history" below.