Helensville Historical Society Vice President Leigh Bosch has a long association with this area. Her great grandparents Tony and Mary Ellen Keane moved here around 1920 with their eight children and bought and ran Hinemoa House. Their grandson Reg Keane married Gay Scott, whose Mâori ancestors were from Otamatea and were associated Reweti marae. Leigh is one of their six children.
Growing up firstly in Helensville and then in Parakai, Leigh left home at 18 to study te reo Mâori and waiata tawhito at Canterbury University. In Christchurch she married fellow student Frank Bosch and with their two children the couple moved to Wellington, where Frank established the Child Support unit, then to the North Shore, where Frank became IRD Service Centre Manager.
A big life changer came in 2001 when, with their children now grown, the couple moved to Eritrea for Frank to take up his job with the United Nations’ International Monetary Fund (IMF). Life in Eritrea was very hard, particularly for the local people who had suffered much through war and malnutrition, and Leigh found rewarding volunteer work at the children’s hospital and the women’s prison.
Looking for land on their return Leigh found herself back home, where she and Frank bought the 10 acres in Rimmer Road they named Pureora and set about establishing a business breeding pacers with their neighbours, Doug and Wendy Gale.
Frank’s ongoing work as a contractor for the IMF has taken the couple to many countries, including Kosovo, Tajikistan, Laos and Malawi. Having written newsletters about her travels for several years Leigh is now talking about her travels in the blog http://leebee.freeblog.site/
Other writing projects include helping edit the latest versions of ‘Pioneering Women’ and ‘Men Came Voyaging’ and now Leigh is writing a book, titled ‘One Last Bend’, about the 1963 Brynderwyn bus accident. “We lost some very important people who passed on the culture,” Leigh explains. “The support base was gone and everybody from Rewiti was affected in some way.”
In addition to being Helensville Historical Society’s Vice President, Leigh is Mâori advisor and is supervising digitisation of the photographic collection.
“The Helensville Historical Society is my passion,” says Leigh. “This place is such an asset, with its enormous photograph and artefact collection and building set-ups.It’s very important for the district that we cherish and preserve our past and I just love being part of it.”
Leigh’s mother Gay Keane passed away on June 14, 2016. Our condolences to Leigh and her family.