It was so quiet! There were no birds singing although the morning was sunny and warm.

Many people in the village had left with their families and furniture. Our belongings had already gone to our new home on Victoria Street in Hamilton. But today was the day the water would rise, and we were headed up the hill to watch it happen.

Mum had a large thermos with hot tea and a few sandwiches. My sister Dorothy and I looked at each other – we usually walked up this hill to our classroom in the Karapiro Hall but we’d be going to a school in Hamilton now, and Dad would be a mechanic at the Te Rapa Freezing works. People were gathered at the top, watching quietly as the water rose. “George, do you want a cup of tea?” asked Mum. “Yes please” he replied.

The ground and the roads were first to disappear, then the grass around the house, then the wood and the windows. Strangely we could see the reflections of the glass even through the water. The roof disappeared quite quickly, then the chimney; and then it was just a little history gone forever.

Dorothy and I each drew close to Mum and held her hand. Then we climbed into the truck and drove off to our new home in Hamilton.


Before flooding


The new lake