Letter, Selwyn H Baker

Baker, Selwyn

Object detail

Brief Description
Entry to be Our Guest competition by Selwyn H Baker. He talks about his memories of the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

Selwyn was sixteen at the time of the earthquake. He was spraying pear trees in his father's orchard in Kaiapo Road when the quake struck. They were using a horse-drawn spraying machine. Selwyn writes that over the entire area of the orchard the ground was moving in waves, and every branch of every tree was madly waving up and down in a vast sea of movement. He walked to town and helped to put out the fires.

His cousin Cassie Harris worked in the tea room at Roach's on the upper floor and was trapped by rubble, but was rescued. There was a strong aftershock at 6.30pm that night. This quake brought down the rest of the Grand Hotel in Hastings and destroyed the bridge at Havelock North. Selwyn's younger brother Raymond had started school at Napier Technical College but survived. Raymond and other students found lifts with people to get home to Hastings and William writes that this day was the end of Raymond's schooling. Selwyn, his father and brother assisted with the unloading of the freezing works at Paki Paki which was badly damaged. The carcasses went to Wanganui.

The woman who later became Selwyn's wife was also sixteen at the time of the earthquake. She lived in Fitzroy Road, and after the earthquake moved to Auckland.
Production period
Production technique
Media/Materials description
A4 photocopied sheets, typed. Signed in blue ink.
In the Be Our Guest Folder No 2.: Height x Width: 297 x 210mm
Selwyn B Baker, Signature
Subject person
Subject period
Subject date
03 Feb 1931
Credit line
gifted by Selwyn Baker
Other number(s)
m2006/27/173, 36458


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