The Fencibles, whose cabins form the backbone of this outdoor museum of early pioneer history, were recruited from British soldiers retired in the colonies. They were given land in exchange for their readiness to defend new settlements on New Zealand soil. This well-designed and interesting lay-out provides an informative and interesting introduction to this seminal period of NZ history. As well as the overall story of settlement and growth from which modern-day Howick and sister settlements descended, you learn of individuals and families who gave up their previous lives elsewhere in exchange for the promise of a new life. Some of the stories are very moving, especially when you learn how unprepared the people were for what they had to face, with cabins half- or not built at all on their arrival. Life was certainly not easy, but you also get a sense of how the community pulled itself up by its boot-straps and made progress. It is worthwhile pondering on how we would fare today in similar circumstances. A memorial to the survival instinct in Man. Allow a good full afternoon. Oh, and there is a good coffee shop there too!
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