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Carse Head & Crichton Park farms

A story of the land and its people, the Trapski-Pullar family

Margaret Pullar


Out of print

To order contact trapski.pullar@gmail.com


Photos from the launch, check them out here >

Read the Southland Times review at stuff.co.nz >

Read a great review by Federated Farmers General Manager of Strategic Communications, David Broome at the end of this page.

‘Napoleon said, “What France needs is good mothers”, but I am sure that with mothers such as Mrs Trapski, New Zealand will most surely prosper.’ [Southland Times, 1883]

Alicia (née McKenna) Trapski demonstrated the spirit and will animating the pioneer settlers, when her husband Frederick Ferdinand died subsequent to a horse coach accident very soon after they signed to take up land in Waipahi in 1874. Alicia fought a huge battle against adverse circumstances, and although suffering a four month terminal illness, she paid off the last instalment of her land in 1883 before she died leaving her four children to carry on.

In 1883 the Tapanui Courier in recognising Alicia’s life and achievements, foretold a family legacy that would follow — If the colony possessed many women of Mrs Trapski’s pluck and energy, there could be no question of its future greatness.

In 1896 Alicia and Frederick’s second son, Frederick 2nd purchased Carse Head, now part of Crichton Park farm, situated in Pukerau, Eastern Southland.  It has now been farmed by five generations of the family.

This book was initially compiled in 2005 for the New Zealand Century Farm and Station Award, and subsequently extended into a fascinating snapshot of rural life over the 150 years of Trapski–Pullar history in New Zealand and includes their Polish, Irish and Scottish origins.

The book draws on interviews, letters, memories, newspaper and internet resources, with particular focus placed on those who have lived and farmed at Carse Head and Crichton Park.

The book includes:

  • Carse Head, Frederick 2nd and Elizabeth (née Carruthers) Trapski and descendants
  • Disputed Spur and Moa Creek, Ida Valley, Central Otago, Robert and Helen (née Fraser) McIntosh and descendants
  • Springfield and The Raggetts, Robert and Helen 2nd (née McIntosh) Pullar and descendants
  • Crichton Park Downs, Professor James Gow and Jennie (née Crichton) Black
  • Crichton Park, owned and farmed since 1920 by the Trapskis and then the Pullars.
  • George and Jenny (née Trapski) Pullar and descendants
  • Gordon and Margaret (née McCarroll) Pullar and descendants
  • Camp Columba Presbyterian Camp, Pukerau.

Comprehensive family trees of the descendants of Frederick Ferdinand and Alice Alicia (née McKenna) Trapski, and the descendants of Joseph Pullar and Helen McIntosh are included within the book, along with 168 family and farm photographs.

This publication provides insight into the world of a Southland farming family over the years.  It will be a treasure for family members, as well as for those interested in the early history and ongoing development of this Eastern Southland land and its people.

The book was launched at Crichton Park homestead, Pukerau on 24 November 2013.

Carse Head & Crichton Park Farms

by David Broome, Federated Farmers General Manager Strategic Communications

The book is listed as a story of the land and its people through the lives of the colourful Trapski-Pullar families but in telling the story, author Margaret Pullar manages to tell the story how pioneers built the New Zealand farm system into what we know today.

At 213 pages and richly illustrated by photos, anecdotes and stories, it provides the New Zealand story told through two impressive families and their eventual union.  There are fascinating currents to people and personalities many readers will know.  It shows how deep the roots of these two families are in the farming fabric of New Zealand.

The Trapski story starts with Frederick Ferdinand Trapski I’s arrival from Prussia and his marriage to Alice Alicia McKenna, herself born in Ireland.  Ferdinand dying at the age of 38 from a head injury in a coaching accident; the road accident of the day.  Alicia tragically dying young at 49 before seeing her children flourish.  The Pullar side will be familiar to New Zealanders being Scottish immigrants Joseph Pullar and Helen McIntosh from Perthshire.

In many respects this is a biography of the land which cleverly weaves in the story of the people who were born, raised and died on it.  It even features murder too.  As the Maori proverb on the cover states, “people pass on, but the land remains.”  What the book manages to convey are stories of love and sacrifice but above all, progress, incrementally demonstrating how farming has evolved but the land and a love for it remains.

Margaret Pullar tells the story through the lens of someone intimately connected but not to the extent it becomes self-indulgent.  While a family history, its approach, style and sheer accessibility, makes it the story of us all.

About the author

Margaret Pullar