As St Valentine's Day approaches, our Local History Librarians at Tuakiri | Identity, Tūranga have been busy trawling through the library collection and archival material in pursuit of things romantic from years past. Here’s a random and eclectic mix of information they unearthed on the themes of love and affection (and a tale of jealously thrown in for good measure!)
Edward Chudleigh arrived in New Zealand in 1861 and later in that decade he moved to the Chatham Islands where he ran the Wharekauri sheep station. His life on the Chatham Islands was not a happy one. Diary entries recorded his feelings of loneliness:
“I feel the utter loneliness of this Chatham life very depressing, indeed scarcely to be endured when I am well and when ill… there is no-one of the Island that my inclination turns to…”
That is until he met and married Mabel Potts in 1880. Mabel was the daughter of Thomas Potts, an explorer and conservationist and Emma Potts (nee Phillips). She was the eldest of 13 children.
Edward’s diary reveals how besotted he was with Mabel throughout their 41 year marriage. The diary is peppered with numerous references about Mabel and his love for her. In one entry he describes how “she is oil on the troubled waters of daily life”.
In November 1919 Edward took ill and was confined to a rest home. He wrote letters to Mabel daily for as long as he was able to. Edward died on January 3rd, 1920. Mabel survived Edward and died on the 7th November 1928.
- Holm, Janet, Fond Memories of Mabel, The Press, 1996 June 27, p. 23
- Chudleigh, E. R. Diary of E.R. Chudleigh, Chatham Islands