A farewell evening was held for Alf and Esther Knight from Maharahara West at the Papatawa Hall on Saturday September 29.
Mr Knight came to Papatawa from Feilding in 1936 and started at Papatawa school as a five year old in 1937. He went away to board at Wairarapa College then returned to the family farm and can remember working on hay presses using wire.
The Knights met in Dannevirke when Alf was in the Dannevirke & Districts Highland Pipe Band and Esther was a Highland dancer. They had great times in competitions and Inglesides.
"I always wanted to live on a farm as a young girl having lived in Dannevirke, and I ended up marrying a farmer," said Esther. They bought land in Leith Road, Papatawa, where they raised three children for 10 years.
Then they moved to Maharahara West in partnership with Alf's father running sheep and cattle. They milked 26 cows with the milk being transported in cream cans by truck to the United factory in Pinfold road. When milk tankers were introduced it was going to be too costly to put in a race for the tanker to turn around.
Mr Knight has served on the Victoria Domain Board which administers the Papatawa Hall.
"We are very lucky as a rural community to have a well-maintained hall," said Mr Knight.
He is a charter member of the Woodville Lions Club along with John Bradley when it was formed and was the charter secretary. He is a life member with service awards with distinction including Melvin Jones Award and Lloyd Morgan Award and a Founders Award.
He has been District Governor for the East Coast Region from Wellington up to Gisborne.
"It was fascinating — I went to the International Convention in San Francisco with my wife Esther in 1974.
"Lions Club projects in Woodville have been on a grand scale with the Coast to Coast being the big one that keeps everybody busy," he said.
Mr Knight served on the Dannevirke Hospital Board where he was chairman for 15 years, representing the Woodville County. This meant having to go to Wellington for monthly meetings. He took over from Wallace Galloway who had retired from the Board.
He has been flock manager for Group Romney at Maharahara from it's inception when farm consultant Rusty Firth started it from palmerston North. His son Stephen is carrying on work with the group.
Esther Knight has been involved with the Papatawa Women's Institute for over 60 years, holding office as president, secretary, treasurer and committee member. She served two terms as president for five then four years. She is a life member of the Papatawa Garden Club for over 60 years.
"I love gardening," she said. She has been involved with the St James Union Church in Woodville as secretary and senior elder and did Bible in Schools for many years.
Mrs Knight has been a member of the now defunct Woodville Floral Art Society for 50 years and has since joined the Dannevirke Floral Art group. She has been a regular entrant at the Woodville Horticulture Show. She is also known for her paintings in different media.