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Ohariu Valley Oral History : Seton Nossiter

About this oral history

Recorded: 7th and 8th December, 1987. Interviewer, Vivian Harris.

Seton Nossiter was one of Ohariu Valley's most notable personalities of the 20th Century. He came to live in the valley aged five in 1914 when his parents purchased what was to become one of the first dairy farms in the area. He began farming as soon as he left school and later inherited the family farm but became best known by the wider community for his involvement in local body politics. He won a seat on the Hutt County Council representing the Makara "Riding", then became a City Councillor when Makara and Ohariu Valley were absorbed into Wellington City. He served in this role for many years under the mayoralties of Sir Francis Kitts, Sir Michael Fowler and Ian Lawrence. He also sat on the Wellington and the Hutt Valley Milk Boards and was elected to the Johnsonville Liquor Licensing Trust where he was instrumental in the establishment of the Burma Lodge and the Broderick Inn. Shortly after his death in 1989, Seton Nossiter Park in Paparangi was named in his honour.

This is a vintage analogue recording of Seton Nossiter being interviewed by Vivian Harris. Wellington City Libraries wish to thank and acknowledge Vivian Harris and Gill Pratley (the daughter of Seton Nossiter) for allowing us to digitise the recording and to make it available via this collection. Vivian and Gill have also contributed their own stories to our archive and these can be listened to by clicking the named links on the main page of the Ohariu Valley Oral History Project.

Ohariu hillscape

These files are in MP3 format. If you don't have software that will play MP3 files (e.g. Windows Media Player, iTunes), here are some suggestions: Winamp, iTunes.


Part 1 Summary (Time: 15' 11")

Time marker: Summary:
0'00" Seton describes arriving in Johnsonville from Fielding at the age of five, and settling in the valley with his family in 1914.
01'06" Seton recounts his school days at the valley school, Johnsonville School and then at Wellington College. Describes having to walk to Johnsonville to catch a steam train into Wellington and then a tram over to the basin reserve to attend college.
03'33" Seton describes the farm that he and his family lived on for most of his life.
05' 10" Dairy herd was originally milked by hand then machines introduced after Seton's eldest sister left home (women were generally regarded as being far better at hand-milking than men). Describes how milk was collected and distributed
07' 41" Introduction of milking machines in 1936 leads to the expansion of the herd size. Concerns in the valley with Bovine Tuberculosis. Details about hay-making and what a big annual event this was in the community.
10' 04" Information about the various dairy farms in the valley, who owned them and their location. Location of current and former schools detailed

Part 2 (Time: 7' 09")

Time marker: Summary:
0' 00" Seton tells a number of amusing anecdotes surrounding his time with the Ohariu Valley Home Guard during WWII. Members of the troop are named.

Part 3 (Time: 10' 48")

Time marker: Summary:
0' 00" Descriptions of the postal service, the school and school teachers, the churches in the community, the annual community ball, the tennis club, the hotel and other community facilities.

Heritage Links (Local History)