Pioneer Spirit Swells Puhoi

Thousands of people helped Puhoi celebrate its 150th anniversary at the weekend.

Parking was at a premium as visitors crammed the hall, hotel, farmers market, church, museum and every other public place in three days of ceremonies and celebrations shared by both pioneer descendants and newer residents.

Good weather allowed people to stroll through the village, while dancers and musicians entertained at a packed Sunday farmers market.

Every organised function was filled, including Friday's elderly descendants' luncheon, a Saturday Mass celebrated by Bishop Pat Dunn, an opening ceremony, and old-time dance.

Meanwhile, the rest of Puhoi benefited, with caterers and coffee suppliers flat out feeding the crowds and lots of business for the general store, cafe and cheese factory.

Sellers of memorabilia, books and other souvenirs also did well.

Descendants of Puhoi's pioneer families, some of whom came from overseas to attend, reconnected with relatives they had not seen for many years, and studied family trees with their kinsfolk.

The celebrations continued the pioneer tradition, anniversary organising committee chairman Brendan Schollum says.

"They shared their faith and worked together to help one another."

- © Fairfax NZ News