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Werner Otto Droescher research papers relating to Puhoi.

Identifier: MSS-Archives-A-147

Scope and Contents

The papers include legal documents, correspondence, photographs, sound recordings of Puhoi German dialect, recordings of the Puhoi Centenary celebrations in June 1963, and newspaper clippings.


  • 1857 - 1963


Conditions Governing Access

Partly restricted. No access to original tape recordings (Sub-series D/24) without the permission of the Special Collections Manager. Use digitised copies instead.

Biographical / Historical

Puhoi, 50 kilometres north of Auckland and about 3 kilometres off Highway 1, was settled by German-speaking immigrants from the town of Staab and its environs in what was then Bohemia. They came in three separate groups between 1863 and 1873: the Rauner, Remiger, Karl, Paul, Turnwald, Schischka, Schollum and Straka families, with others, and later the Wech, Wenzlick, Stiller, Bayer and Heider families.

The settlement was founded by Captain Martin Krippner. Krippner was the son of a blacksmith at Mantau in Bohemia, but he had risen to some eminence in the Austrian Imperial Army. The brother of his English wife, Emily Longdill, had settled with his family in the Auckland Province in 1859. The Krippners visited New Zealand and, liking what they saw, persuaded the Provincial Council to extend the forty-acre system of free grants of land to peasant families from the Bohemian homeland.

The land allotted at Puhoi was steeply hilly and covered in kauri forest. It was a daunting contrast to the plains of Bohemia. The first few years were ones of great hardship and difficulty for the settlers, but gradually the land was cleared, the timber sold, and farms established.

The Anglo-Maori wars coincided with the first decade of the Puhoi settlement. Captain Krippner was commissioned to form a German-speaking militia. Several unmarried men joined the company. Afterwards some of them returned to Puhoi, but others settled on soldiers' land grants at Ohaupo in the Waikato.

Werner Droescher came to New Zealand in 1940 with his wife, the writer Greville Texidor, as a refugee from Nazi Germany. After working on a farm in the north he enrolled for a B.A. degree at Auckland University College, took a Masters' degree in German in 1945, and ultimately joined the staff of the German Department. Between 1961 and 1969 he studied and recorded the Egerland dialect of the original settlers as it had survived at Puhoi, and published a monograph on the subject in 1975. In that year he donated the papers he had accumulated in the course of his research to the University Library.


Droescher, W.O. (1975). Puhoi: The Egerland-German dialect of Puhoi (North Auckland) New Zealand. Auckland, The author.

Mooney, K.M. (1963). From the heart of Europe to the land of the Southern Cross : a story of Puhoi, 1863-1963. Puhoi: Puhoi Centennial Publications Committee.

Schmidt, R.E. (1934). The settlement of Puhoi : an incident in the overseas expansion of Central Europe. (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Auckland, Auckland.

Smithyman, Kendrick (1987). Introduction. In K. Smithyman (Ed.) In fifteen minutes you can say a lot : selected fiction (pp. 7-20). Wellington: Victoria University Press.


0.2 metres (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Former NRAM reference number: A800.

Inventory of the papers of Werner Droescher relating to Puhoi, 1857-1974.
Kay Stead
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand