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settlers of Puhoi (Maori for "Spring Water") came in 1863 from Bohemian, an area of what is now the Czech Republic, approx. 60 km from Prague.
At the time the migrants left Bohemia it was part of Austria-Hungary but in the German Confederation.
On the snow-laden midnight of 26 February 1863, a train with 86 ballots left Staab (pronounced Stod) for Prague with the farewells of their parents and friends they would never see again. Three days later they were at Hamburg, their port of departure. After a long journey they arrived in Auckland from were the last bit was by Captain Kasper's cutter to the Puhoi mouth where they were transferred to Maori canoes for the last four miles of their journey. They arrived at two
whare on the riverbank, an area now part of the presbytery grounds.
This was after a 106 days journey
on 29 June 1863.
In the cold and dark the women settled on the ground and wept. According to
the village tradition, the Bohemian settlers went on their land at once and
began building Nikau shacks, cutting tracks between neighbours and making their
first clearance. Nobody knows today whether the lots were adequately marked and
how they were identified, or how they were allocated.
There was food in the bush, in the river and sea. The
Local Maori also provided them with food.