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Our Cambridge Collection has changing exhibitions about Cambridge.  Much of our collection is in storage to ensure its preservation for future generations.



In October of 2006, the Cambridge Historical Society celebrated its 50th Anniversary and a poetry competition was held as part of the celebrations. Entrants’ original poems were to be based on the subject of Cambridge and/or the surrounding districts and we present here the prize winners of each section together with some of the highly commended entries.

by Caryl Haley – Winner of the Adult Section

“I hope that my poem reflects something of what the pioneering families experienced and endured as they laboured to fulfil a dream. We are the inheritors of their vision, their aspirations and their sacrifices. Through air travel and modern methods of communication the whole world is now so readily accessible. How different for those brave souls who set sail with little idea of what would be there for them at the end of their voyage. The debt we owe those founding families can never be repaid. All we can do is be eternally grateful for their foresight, their fortitude and their faith.”


Hang heavy cloud days,
Rain sodden grey days,
Drops the size of copper pennies,
Chilling to the bone.
As they dragged each kauri plank
Up Waikato’s cliff-sheer banks
Did they long for slate and stone
And the land they still called home?

Sky mirror clear days,
Sun streaming golden days,
Breeze as soft as babies’ breath
Cooling leaden limbs.
As they planted row on row,
Willed the oak and planes to grow,
Did they dream of leafy lanes
They might never see again?

Misty shrouded dark days,
Shadowed sombre dim days,
Made ashen by the fog
Rolling down the winding stream.
As they wrote their hopes and fears,
Stained the letters with their tears,
Did they yearn for city noises
City smells, familiar voices?

Wind from the south days
Crisp and glittering wild days
Air so brisk it stung their skin
Once pale as wind blown snow.
As they saw the trees grow tall,
Watched the leaves and acorns fall,
Ploughed and tilled the fertile land,
Built a town with willing hands,
Did they know then this was home?
A place to call their own.