Maria and the Family
The story of this era is told in detail in the biographical section of this website, as the 1st & 2nd generation stories recount people, events and places. As the family dispersed through marriage and re-location, Maria did much to keep them a close-knit and united group. Living on at the Rangitane homestead, and from 1923 with Dolf nearby, she humbly and lovingly cared for her children and growing circle of grandchildren. At the time of her death there were 32 grandchildren, plus three who had died. Bill Alve who was born in 1955, son of Eddie & Ina, was the only additional grandchild after Maria died. There were also 29 great grandchildren when she died, with many more to come in the years following - 90 are recorded in "Alve Road" as the eventual total of great grandies.
After Dolf married at the end of 1931, Maria spent her last ten years moving and staying with various members of the family. Mary Busch spent time with her at Dolly’s. At the end she was with Clara in Palmerston North. A fondly remembered occasion was Maria’s 80th birthday celebration at Dolf’s in 1936. Many of her grandchildren remembered that as a great day when they honoured their grannie who so loved her children and grandchildren.
A published biography of, and obituary to Maria is located at the bottom of this web page.
Charlie led the Brothers from the Top of the Farm
Alex Wallace (Charlie Alve’s brother-in-law) used to visit the Alve’s during his school holidays around 1910-15. He travelled by train from Eketahuna to Palmerston North and by “dog cart” along metal roads to the farm at Rangitane. He reports breakfast with the family consisted of porridge, home-made bread, boiled eggs from the farm fowls (4-5 for the men often), and meat. The family sat either side of a long, white-painted, wooden table. Maria did the cooking over a very large range. Sometimes she gave the family fried eggs, but this involved much more work. The staple diet consisted of potatoes and meat.
Each of the boys had his particular job on the farm, Alex reported. Charlie was the slaughterman - there were pigs at the time. Eddie was the bee keeper. Charlie would pay Alec to cut thistles with a slasher and this was the means of buying a music stand for his cornet music. Until they got their share of the land, Charlie and Catherine milked the cows with all the others. Memories of Henry were how he would drop off to sleep so easily upon sitting down. The boys would play cards for entertainment in the evenings, but very often Henry would fall asleep during the game.
A Co-operative Venture and Innovation
Flooding a Big Issue
- Dolly's house on the riverbank adjacent the preserved native bush
- Henry & Theresa's house (the original Alve homestead) across the farm on the river bank
- Henry's cowshed
- Eddie's houses
- Dolf & Nita's house on the bank of the Main Drain in the midst of the Taonui Basin
- Burke's Drain - the major (human-made) watercourse draining the Taonui Basin
Manawatu Catchment Board and Regional Water Board Archives
Photo taken by Hugh Russell Farquhar
The 1941 Flood Remembered
Shortly after Dennis Alve’s birth, and life threatening surgery for him, the 1941 flood poured water through [Dolf's & Nita's] farm and home. They were rescued, with Maria Theresia and the children, by boat and taken to safety at Rangiotu. This flood drowned ten cows....
End of an Era - Maria's Death
PASSING OF A PIONEER - MRS MARIA T. ALVE
There passed away on April 30 (1942) at the residence of her daughter, Mrs L. Purdom, Stanley Avenue, a very old and highly esteemed resident of the district in the person of Mrs. Maria Theresia Alve, at the great age of 86 years. Born in Beckum, Essen, in the year 1856, Mrs. Alve with her husband and infant daughter left her native land for New Zealand in the sailing ship Gutenberg, the journey taking 100 days. They finally landed in Wellington, and then went on to Featherston where they lived for a few years. Later when the Forty Mile Bush was opened up, Mr. Alve took a small holding at Eketahuna, which was then a tiny bush settlement. For years there were no metalled roads, and the only means of transport was by bullock wagon. The deceased lady with her husband and family lived there for 15 years, where she was beloved by all who knew her. They then returned to Featherston for six years. Forty-two years ago Mr. Alve bought the property at Rangitane, Palmerston North, which was then all standing bush. Mrs. Alve with her family have lived there ever since. Possessed of a kind and loving disposition, Mrs. Alve will be remembered by many, as she was always ready to help those in need, often walking miles on muddy bush tracks to help a sick neighbour. Mr. Alve predeceased her 32 years ago. Of the large family of 13, eight are left to mourn her passing, Mrs. Busch (Pirinoa, Featherston), Mrs. Simmons (Mangawhata), Mrs. Pedersen (Koputaroa), Messers A. Alve (Rangitane), H. Alve (Rangitane), E. Alve (Palmerston North), R.A. Alve (Rangitane) and Mrs. Lionel Purdom (Palmerston North). There are 32 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren. The funeral left for the Palmerston North cemetery following a service at the Gospel Hall conducted by Mr. Whitehead. The service at the graveside was conducted by Mr. Neale. Many beautiful floral tributes were received with messages of sympathy marking the love and esteem in which the deceased person was held.