New Zealand Activities: Toy Riding Horses

Figure 1.-- Here we see 6-year old Reginald with a rocking horse in 1910. Unfortunately we do not know his last name. As this is a studio portrait, we can assume this was a studio prop. Notice that it is not a true rocking horse, but one on a kind of frame that allows back asnd fort motion motion, but on a more stable and thus safer platform.

The toys New Zealand children played with are very similar to those enjoyed by English children. We see New Zealand children enjoying rocking horses which for many years was the favorite toy of younger boys. As in ERngland, we see few girls on rocking horses although our New Zealand archive is admittedly very limited. We do not know how common rocking horses were in New Zealand. We suspect that the popularity was comparable to England. Of course if they were imported from England they woyld have been expebsive, but you would think that a hand crafted itemn like a rocking horse would be a product that could be easily manufatured in New Zealand fom an early point in the colony's development. We notice that they are produced in New Zealand today, but have no idea when this began. We do know that John Roebuck was making rocking horses in England. The family had a long history of mnaking ricking hoerses. Roebuck delivered one of his horses to the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) for the very young Duke of York. Roebuck is of interest here because he closed up his shop in England and migerated to New Zealand where he participated in the Maori Wars (1865). He did not stay in New Zealand, however, but moved on to Australia where he began making rocking horses.


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Created: 6:12 PM 12/31/2010
Last updated: 6:12 PM 12/31/2010