Family settled on Pickering RdJul 14th, 2012 | By Tamahere Forum | Category: Latest News, Local People
Sue and Tom Pickering live on Pickering Rd, Tamahere, and when they give their address to people or fill out forms that require such information, it inevitably arouses interest.
“People always comment,” Tom says. “It’s a bit embarrassing to be honest.
Sue told Waikato Times reporter Denise Irvine (not online) that sometimes it is the ultimate status symbol, quoting a throwaway line she sometimes uses: “You can buy a Ferrari but you can’t buy a road named after yourself.”
She adds cheerily it may have counted against her on occasions when she has been called for jury service and subsequently challenged by lawyers. “I think they see Mrs Pickering of Pickering Rd, and say ‘she’s probably a blue-haired old bat.’”
The Pickerings take it all in their stride and their links to this 1.5 kilometre rural road go back a long way. Tom, aged in his 70s, has lived there all his life and Sue joined him on his dairy farm when they married in 1969. She was a secondary school teacher who worked more latterly at Wintec.
Pickering Rd runs straight between SH1 and the Bruntwood intersection, and when Tom was a schoolboy he biked down Pickering Rd each day on his way to Hautapu Primary. The road was unsealed and corrugated; “coming home, if a sou’ westerly was blowing, it was damned hard work”.
The biting sou’ westerly is also the reason the Pickering property is sheltered by a belt of towering Lawsoniana trees.
Pickering Rd is named for Tom’s grandfather, Martin Herbert Pickering, and Tom thinks it follows the tradition of other roads in the area – such as Peake, Discombe and Forrest – being connected to early settlers. (Click here for a history of Tamahere roads. Click here to read more on Tamahere’s early European settlers.)
Martin Pickering bought his Tamahere land in 1881 and Tom has a scrappy receipt recording he paid £10 an acre for the 250-acre (100-hectare)property.
The farm was named Fernando at the time of sale; the name has continued, although Tom has never discovered its origins. [Ed’s note: Fernando is a corruption of ‘Fern End’ according to the Cambridge Museum record on Pickering Rd.)
Martin Pickering had come from Driffield in Yorkshire, England, where he was one of the younger sons of Thomas Pickering, who owned an iron foundry. Martin set off to make his mark on the other side of the world but Tom says he was actually following a young woman, Kate Barugh, who had emigrated from Yorkshire to join family in Waikato.
Martin was clearly successful in love as well as enterprise. In 1883 he and Kate were the first couple to be married at St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Tamahere and they are buried in the church cemetery, along with other members of their extended family. (Click here for Tamahere cemetery records.)
In the early years, Martin’s property is understood to have produced wheat and specialised in Lincoln sheep but it has long been a dairy unit.
It was farmed next by Kate and Martin’s son Tim and wife Ethelwyn, then their son Tom and wife Sue. Tom and Sue raised their four children at Fernando and Sue says it was a great place for a young family.
The Pickerings are now retired and the farm is leased, but they are still ensconced in the brick homestead Tom’s parents built in 1956 to replace an earlier wooden house. They continue to take a great interest in their local community and note that access from Pickering Rd to SH1 will likely change as part of the Southern Links roading project proposed for Tamahere.
Tom has seen other changes on his patch, the most notable being farm subdivision. In his youth there were around 14 dairy farms on Pickering Rd; nowadays there are two, including his own. Their neighbours now largely own lifestyle blocks, horse studs and horticulture blocks.
The Pickerings recall the occasional lifestyler over the years who hasn’t found the transition from town to country easy, and have complained that cows, chooks and farmers are noisy, dashing their dream of a quiet life in the country. These ones usually don’t last.
A stayer, though, is Ken Thorpe, who lives opposite them. Ken is nearly 85, a third generation Pickering Rd farmer. He jokes he’s a “real stick in the mud”, who has spent his life on the family property.
The Pickerings’ children are established in careers other than farming, so it’s unlikely another generation will live on Pickering Rd.
However, the name will continue, with a set of neat blue and white signposts to honour this Waikato pioneer family.
Click here to read more about Tamahere.