Search billions of records on

The Old McKenzie Trail

There is a story that you're bound to hear
if you're down Otago way
about an outlaw and his dog that bought him fame
about an ancient Maori trail
through a grassy mountain vale
to the rugged land that bears McKenzie's name.

Where the campfires are a blazing
and the droving men are lazing
to bide with Hokonui mountain rye
there's a story in the making
and perhaps a little bacon
as they weave the legend round McKenzie's dog.

Now old McKenzie so the story goes
rode the ranges on a steer
preselecting Scottish sheep
then when he'd done
he would send his collie pup
to go back and round them up
and to punch them forward
to his mountain run.

Well the troopers hit the trail
for to send this Scot to jail
and to capture all the mossy faces too
in a rugged mountain pass
and he went before the judge in Timaru

There was no sign of reporters
when McKenzie heard his sentence
but the last words rang from him a
dreadful cry he defied the law and told them
hat no prison bars could hold him
when the judge condemned his faithful dog to die.

There are city folks who swear
old McKenzie and his dog
were a pair of devils
wrapped in hair and hide
and along the outback trails
where the campfires beamed at night
you can hear the shepherds
speak his name with fright.

There is a story that you're bound to hear
if you're down Otago way
about an outlaw and his dog that bought him fame
about an ancient Maori trail
through a grassy mountain vale
to the rugged land that bears McKenzie's name.

                                                                                                       written by the song writer Bob Edwards in the 1950s.

Another McKenzie song


Now Bullocky Jones was mighty tough and rough as a man could be
A full pipe and a bottle of rye his favourvite company
While known in the outback around South Canterbury
Just like many pioneers at the turn of century


He always sang to his bullocks
We'll pull a heavy load
From the seaside town of Timaru
Along the dusty road
Pass inland lakes of Tekapo and Pukaki you will see
The open tussock country around the outback Mackenzie

He left his local pub one-day
With a heavy load of flour
For a cockie way up Burke's Pass way
And was running late by an hour
His bullocks flooded westward
And then he woke up cold and blue
You won't have heard him cursing
He was back in Timaru


A gentleman came up one day
Ask Billy for a ride
Billy looked, cursed and swore
Said hop up by my side
He offered him his bottle
Then held his head hung low in shame
The man he was carrying was the parson from the Grange.


Note: For fifteen years 'The Plainsmen'  entertained the crowds (12,000 strong) at the Caroline Bay Sound Shell, Timaru during the New Year Carnival in the mid sixties and have now have remixed and remastered their folk songs.  Available on CD or cassette "Travelling Man" from Radio Pacific Radio Workshop or Cosmos Records of Temuka. Posted May 22, 2000



Bray was the butcher
The helper was I
So we heated the water
And into the sty

A stab of the knife
A spurt of the blood
And his life it departed
As he lay in the mud.

The body it changeth
The head it grew bald
For the Boss was delighted
To have such a scald

The pig it was fat
And with praises did sing
As he whipped in the knife
And changed the whole thing

For straight down the belly
His knife did clutch
When out it came flying
A barrow of guts

Enid stood waiting
her heart never gladder
Oh Daddy dear Daddy
Just give me the bladder

Oh Godfrey he wants it
As upward he struts
When lo and behold
He was smothered in guts

We pulled him up skyward
We heard a great thud
As down he came flying
Once more in the mud.

The Boss he was angry
For alas and alack
We scalded him white
And now he is black. And

Next morning we found him
As hard as a stone
Set from the belly
Right to the backbone.

We carried him homeward
As heavy as lead
One slash with knife
And off came the head.

It rolled off the table
The Boss gave a shout
It landed on Edgar
And flattened him out.

His mother was angry
Her face it grew red
She hipped up the window
And tossed out the head.

Mid fighting of cats
And fighting of dogs
It's into the washhouse
now under logs.

The dogs they were hungry
Their stomachs high geared
In the course of a minute
The head disappeared.

Back to the body
We worked without pause
Mid slashing of knives
And rasping of saws.

We looked at the pieces
With prospects assuring
As it lay in the tub
All ready for curing.

Godfrey's recovering
Though still in bed
And the dogs they will bark
When you mention pigs head.

So farmers of Sherwood
When slaughtering your hogs
Take care of your children
And tie up your dogs.

Ernie Slow.

In Memoriam:
Enid Hutt      1914 - 1998      Fairlie
Godfrey Bray 1918 - 1998      Timaru
      Nelson Bray 1915 - 2003  Christchurch

We never said a last farewell.
Or even said goodbye.
You left us all before we knew it.
And only God knows why.
Sadly missed by their niece.

Clancy of The Overflow is a poem by Banjo Paterson -
these word below remind me of the Mckenzie

The vision splendid
Of the sunlit plains extended;
And at night, the wondrous beauty
Of the everlasting stars.

Rock, air and water meet
Where crags debate
The dividing cloud.



A field of brown,
A field of green.
Two stacks stand sentinel between
-The summer rain slants down.

And high, and high
The sharpened hills,
-Proud amethysts that no man tills-
Carve pieces from the sky.

Frances Blunt
Kaikoura 1938


Where flax uprears its rustling spears
By winding creek or river,
From sunburnt reach of shingle beach
Where whispering tois quiver,
On steep hillside, where shadows glide
Of winged hawks, slow drifting
By many a turn through tutu and fern
Of narrow sheep-track rifting

G.H. Hodgkinson (1900)

Oh, far a rush through the sweet manuka
And one more scramble through tussock and fern!
Years will come and pass with their changes,
Bringing fresh beauties to grass and tree,
The sunsets still tint the grand old mountains
With glowing clouds that I long to see.

G. Hodgkinson (1900)

Then I shut my eyes, and in fancy I see it all over again-
The dull fringe of sombre green shrub that marks where the water course lies,
The steep stony range to the north, in front the low wide stretching plain,
And many to the right in the distance the roofs of the old homestead rose.

G. Hodgkinson (1900)

The echoes that I chanced to hear
By gully, mount and town,
So filled my breast with longing that
I strove to write them down.

J. Maclennan (1905)

By Burke's Pass
Nature, earth's angel, man's antagonist
The stern antagonist from whom he wrests his bread,
Long heretofore with vast magnificence
Did carve this scene, prepare the area, spread
Bronze tussocked terraces before precipitous
Great purple alps, loose glacier-shed
Fierce-laughing streams in circuitous riverbeds

Lo, man to assault! In part victorious,
His pretty trophies set he up to amend
The natural scene. The corn-stacks aureate,
Wearing their weights like amulets, the autumn blend
Of orange-spattered poplars, with the various...

Ursula Bethell



O'  The little town of Fairlie,
That nestles in the hills,
With its swiftly flowing rivers,
And its sparkling merry rills,
With its green trees gently swaying,
In the balmy mountain breeze,
Has a charm to soothe your spirit,
And give your heart its ease.

O' The little town of Fairlie,
With its tussock pastures brown,
Where flocks and herds are grazing,
Or contended lying down,
And waving in the sunshine,
Are golden fields of grain,
Will stop your heart from aching,
And make you glad again.

O' The little town of Fairlie,
With its guardian peaks set round,
Which ward off care and evil,
And only peace is found,
Where rustic youth and maidens,
With health and beauty blest,
And bonny laughing children,
Make a scene of perfect rest.

O' The small wee town of Fairlie,
In the Land of Erewhon,
Has romance still to charm you,
When life's pleasures are gone,
So you may keep your crowded cities,
With their glare, and rush, and roar,
But the dear wee town of Fairlie,
Holds my heart for evermore.

Author Unknown



Long you drove the landward furrow,
Into the brown and virgin blankness,
Daring, trusting, eve and morn.
Fair and fairest of the daughters,
Turn you, praised of garth and garden,
Gold-girdled in the corn!

Lo, in brooding winds of summer,
Purple fruity blooms of glory
Veil your remembered hills.
Lo, the tiering guardian ranges,
Solemn ring of blue that watches
Bright garth and busy mills!

Thousand yeoman valleys greet you,
Brown in Hertha's honest homespun:
Sheer, shadowed gorges deep,
Breasted hill and vapoury upland
Hymn you in the spate and lull you
With the myriad-bleat of sheep.

Jessie Mackay

Cave is a tiny township
Just a Hall, a Church
A Pub and a Store
A lovely little township -
More than a couple of houses,
More than a few
But less than 100
We leapt over Horse jumps in the domain.

NZ Poetry Day Child's poem 2006 winner

The Domain at Cave, 14 Nov. 2009

In The Press Saturday, 05 April 2008 Mike Crean wrote in Crean's Country column
"Leaving the stone memorials behind, I descend into Cave, where school is "out", having closed long ago. The pretty township, named after local limestone formations, is between Pleasant Point and Fairlie. It sports a store and mail centre, pub, carrying company and two more churches. Traces remain of the former Fairlie railway branch line. In the domain, I find three women saddling their horses for a cross-country ride. They say most residents are retired or commute to work elsewhere. Some keep holiday homes here and enjoy a spot of fishing or swimming in the Tengawai river. They call Cave an idyllic spot -- and I agree."

Traces of the railway - a loading bank.

Cave Arms Tavern - 14 Nov. 2009 


Otago Witness Nov. 24th 1883 pg26
New Zealand Ballads III
Haere Mai!
The Maori Lover's Serenade
 by Virgilius Phnstock, Mantua Villa, 16th November, 1883
Haere mai is the Maori phase of welcome or invitation. it has a wailing, melancholy cadence." The Pakeha Maori.

The night is fair, the skies are clear
Soft blows the breeze o'ver Akatora'
The lights of Rangi shine afar
Deep in the bosom of Waipori.
But I am sad and lonely,
Haere mai! Haere mai!
Awaiting thee - awaiting thee-
Haere mai!
Come, love, to him who loves, and loves thee only-
Haere mai! - Haere mai!
Come to me - come to me!
Haere mai!

The ti-trees whisper in the shade,
Beaneath the heights of Maungatua:
The toi bower its graceful head
To greet the coming Rehua
But I am sad and lonely,
Haere mai! Haere mai!
Awaiting thee - awaiting thee-
Haere mai!
Come, love, to him who loves, and loves thee only-
Haere mai! - Haere mai!
Come to me - come to me!
Haere mai!

A thousand streams leap down the hills
To lose themselves in love's inquiry;
Waihora from her smiling home,
Steals forth to meet the flowing Taieri,
But I am sad and lonely,
Haere mai! Haere mai!
Awaiting thee - awaiting thee-
Haere mai!
Come, love, to him who loves, and loves thee only-
Haere mai! - Haere mai!
Come to me - come to me!
Haere mai!


The winds embrace the loving earth,
The heavens bend to kiss the ocean,
the rivers and the restless sea
Are mingling with a glad commotion.
And I am sad and lonely,
Haere mai! Haere mai!
Awaiting thee - awaiting thee-
Haere mai!
Come, love, to him who loves, and loves thee only-
Haere mai! - Haere mai!
Come to me - come to me!
Haere mai!

Cold as the snows that guard the breast
Of far-aspiring Aorangi,
My love comes not-comes not to me
But leaves me sad as dark Waitangi,
For I am sad and lonely,
Haere mai! Haere mai!
Awaiting thee - awaiting thee-
Haere mai!
Come, love, to him who loves, and loves thee only-
Haere mai! - Haere mai!
Come to me - come to me!
Haere mai!

Rangi "the sky"
Aorangi, Mount Cook, literally "in the sky"
Waitangi, "mourning water," the river mis-called Waitaki
Rehua, "the star of summer" - Mars
Waihora, the lake miscalled Waihola
Haere mai is pronounced Ha-e-re ma-e!

The poem below was printed in the newspaper (probably the Timaru Herald) the same day as the St Pat's Day  - Geraldine article. Someone wrote a reply to 'Where is Geraldine' to the tune of Wearing of the Green. It explained how you got to Geraldine and other things about the town.

The 'The New Zealand Tablet' was the Catholic newspaper for all New Zealand published in Dunedin. "Matt from Geraldine" was Father Matthew Joseph Fogarty, Parish Priest at Geraldine, who was ordained at Geraldine 28th Dec 1916 celebrated his first Mass at Geraldine. In a book titled "Through Irish Eyes" in the section "Spiritual Refuges" pages 62 and 63 have five photos of Father Fogarty and shows the card (both sides) that Priests had printed to commemorate their ordination and first Mass.  He spent many years in Geraldine as he was still there in the late 1940s.  He was a keen fisherman and always taking fish to his older parishioners. Father Fogarty is buried in Ireland.


(With apologies to John O'Brien.)
The "Tablet" Notes have gone to pot
-Ah, wisha, 'its a shame.
They're brief and to the point, maybe,
But the "touch" is not the same.
Since paper shortage spoiled those gems
O purest ray serene.
That week by week came from the pen
Of Matt of Geraldine.

Dear Geraldine! we knew you well;
Yes, all New Zealand knew
As long as we'd those "Tablet" Notes
We knew you through and through.
We rushed the post on "Tablet" day
To read with interest keen
Each week's report of work and sport
That came from Geraldine.

We learned who'd brought a new prize bull
And who had sold a sow,
And who'd began to shear his sheep,
And why they'd dosed the cow.
The floods that swept the countryside,
The shortage of benzine-
The very latest always came
From far-off Geraldine.

We saw who'd come on holiday
To fish in trouty streams,
And who's called in to see the church
(They've got one there it seems)
We drank it all in, word by word,
How much such items mean
There's food for thought in every line.
That's sent from Geraldine.

But now the Notes they print, alas,
Are few and far between,
There's space for London, Paris, Rome,
But none for Geraldine.
And deep the "Tablet" readers' grief,
And loud their mournful caoin
Since war's blue pencil cramped the style
Of Matt of Geraldine.

Ah, Geraldine, come back again,
Yes, come back "on the air,"
We want your news, we need your views,
To save us from despair.
Let Hitler know you're watching him
(Like ancient Skibbereen)
He'll quail before the eagle eye
Of mighty Geraldine.

Great Geraldine! we owe you much;
To you we're all in debt,
Your "tablet" Notes the whole land quotes
- New Zealand won't forget!
One parting favour may we beg
Before you quit the scene
May search in vain - do please explain

Boolam Skee, Auckland

Additions, corrections and comments are welcome!

Ballads were sung for a general audience and come from oral tradition so there are no strict rules dictating their form.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb
(back key on browser better)


'a ballad must tell a story, that it must be written in stanzas suitable for oral transmission, and that there should be nothing about it to suggest deliberate or literary contrivance...'  Listener, June 1, 1956

Native bush up the Te Moana Rd., Geraldine with a typical farmer's flatbed truck.

Otago Witness, 5 January 1884, Page 7
For purposes of crossing with the native cattle the Hereford is superior to the shorthorn or any other breed that has yet been tried. The produce mature early, and are better grazers than the produce of the shorthorn cross, whilst the meat is preferred by the packers in Chicago. The Breeders' Journal for October a report of the State Fair at Kansas, at which the Hereford crosses asserted their superior excellence over all other breeds as grass or ranch cattle. At this fair a yearling heifer named Texas Jane was exhibited, to show the value of the Hereford cross. She was by a pure Hereford out of a little scrub Texas cow ; she weighed 900 lb, and had all the characteristics and markings of thoroughbred Hereford. It is usual, at exhibitions in these colonies to attach the printed pedigrees to the stalls occupied by the cattle ; but, as Texas Jane could not boast of a pedigree, a card describing her birth and breeding in the following terms was posted over her stall : "I was born on W. E. Campbell's ranch, August 19, 1882, and was at once christened Texas Jane.

My father was a Hereford thoroughbred,
My mother a wild Texas scrub;
The cross makes me easily fed,
And I am able to rustle for grub.

Don't stare at the meat on my back,
Or be surprised at my snow-white face,
For it was all the work of papa
That gave me this Hereford grace.