Chores a blast from the past for youngsters

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Kerikeri kids William and Cordelia Edwards get a taste of children's household chores in the 1800s. Photo / Heritage NZ
Kerikeri kids William and Cordelia Edwards get a taste of children's household chores in the 1800s. Photo / Heritage NZ

If your kids are complaining of boredom or moaning about having to clean up their rooms, you could give them a taste of household chores faced by Northland children in the 1800s.

This summer Kerikeri Mission Station is running an interactive tour transporting kids back to missionary times, giving them a chance to try daily jobs youngsters their age were doing at the mission station almost 200 years ago. The tour, called Children's Chores, is held daily at 11am.

Mission station manager Liz Bigwood said as well as having fun, kids would probably emerge from the tour with a sense that life today isn't so hard after all.

"Children played an important role in the day-to-day running of the mission station, carrying out jobs that kept things ticking over - including washing clothes, fetching water and even emptying out the chamber pots in the morning."

Emptying out chamber pots, complete with modesty covers, also featured in the tour, though participants would be relieved to discover artificial waste was used rather than the real thing.

Kids could try washing clothes the old-fashioned way using tubs and washboards or carrying water using bucket yokes. Storytelling would also be part of the experience with guides sharing tales about mission station children and what they got up to, including George Clarke Junior who used to go fishing with a young Hone Heke.

Bookings essential; children must be accompanied by an adult. Phone (09) 407 9236 or register at the Stone Store.

The tour is free for kids but adults pay the standard admission of $10.

- Northern Advocate

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