Story: Farm families

Family outside their hut

Family outside their hut

A man and a woman with a baby stand in front of their shelter at Heathfield settlement in the Catlins district of Otago about 1900. The dwelling is made of tree-fern trunks with a corrugated-iron roof. It must have been cold in the winter. The nuclear family became the most common form of family in rural colonial New Zealand. Husbands and wives had to look to one another for support, because the tough conditions and distance from established settlements made it unlikely that older parents would accompany them to such places.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-077957; F

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How to cite this page:

Emma Dewson and Jock Phillips, 'Farm families - The colonial family – new conditions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 January 2022)

Story by Emma Dewson and Jock Phillips, published 24 Nov 2008