A new book documenting the history of families in Whangārei's Kaurihohore and Vinegar Hill communities has been written from the heart.
It took 18 months work to pull the book "Memories of Kaurihohore and Vinegar Hill" together for the launch at Kauri Hall last week.
Bev McKenzie was part of a six-strong committee and said it was a proud moment seeing a final printed copy.
"We hope that this collection of stories will add to the social history of this district," McKenzie said.
"These are family recollections that give a glimpse into the past that will no doubt shape the future. They have been written from the heart."
A run of 350 books were printed with locals snapping up 131 copies at the launch.
Early European settlers to arrive at Kaurihohore were the Buchanans, McDonalds, McLennans, McLeods, McKenzies, McInnes, McBeths, Mathesons and McPhees.
Emigrants from overseas who paid their own fares out to New Zealand were entitled to claim land under the Forty Acre Scheme. This method of allotment gave 40 acres to each adult and 20 acres to each child.
The first European house built at Kaurihohore was built by Norman McLennan for his bride Isabella who arrived by ship in 1856 and by the beginning of 1866 it was reported 14 families were living in the area, dairying and cropping.
The 170-plus pages are crammed full of old photos, newspaper clippings from the Northern Advocate and New Zealand Herald, and great memories.
Shona McKenzie wrote about life at Kauri and said the school was the central focus, as was the hall, where dances engagements and weeding parties were frequently held.
The "Haymaker's Jamboree was especially strongly supported.
"I'm proud to have had the privilege of living at Kaurihohore, the place where my ancestors settled so far away from their homeland. It was a great place to bring up a family and it puts a smile on my face every time I think of all the happy memories."
Vinegar Hill resident Judy Tuckey said she had seen many changes over the years including the road being tar sealed, rural delivery, rubbish collection and many lifestyle blocks.
"Life has dealt many challenges but we would not chose to live anywhere else."
Others on the committee were Max McKenzie, Jane Garrick, Judy Tuckey, Ollie Bigelow and Sarah Moon.
The book is available from both book shops in Kamo or from the Kaurihohore School.