"We'll need to hurry and get our houses built this summer," Sergeant Knox said to Private Hastie. "We have been alloted timber from the Puketaha mill, but we can only use Bush Road when it has been very dry."
Private Hastie's section was next to the area where the Maoris from Miropiko had been settled in 1865 and Sergeant Knox had drawn the next block. That summer, both cottages were erected; two rooms, shingle roof and a wide chimney that took up almost one end of the house. And because Sergeant Knox insisted on a brick chimney, (using bricks made by a friend in Hamilton) John Hastie was able to use bricks too. Mrs. Hastie was delighted.
"The slabs or bark some chimneys are made of go on fire so easily, and the tin ones are almost as dangerous. If you get a good fire going they become so hot they can ignite where they touch the side of the house, and they're so noisy too"
Bundles of hawthorn stakes were brought out. "We'll do the boundary first," the Sergeant told the younger man and the two worked together, digging the ditch shoulder high and then ramming the hawthorn tightly on one side. The boundary between the farms was in the middle of the drain. It was hard work, especially as the stakes had to be rammed very firmly and the soft peat on the side of the drain often fell in. There was clay on the hill where the Knox home was built and though it was harder to dig, it was easier to keep the hawthorne upright. Autumn rains stopped their digging till next summer when they worked at it again, and by the following year, there were six neat, enclosed paddocks on both farms. Wheat was sewn to make their bread, and oats for their porridge and swedes or turnips for the stock. The Knox horses prepared the ground and John helped his neighbour with the reaping and threshing which was done by hand.
But Mrs. Knox did not like Hukanui.
"I never see my friends," she complained, "and there is no way to make money here. Let's go back to Hamilton." And they did, leaving the hawthorn hedges to grow steadily on, and the black swans and pukeko nest unmolested in the rushes. The Hasties were dismayed but they had no money and no trade so they determined to stay.
During those first years, the crops sown on any dry part of the farm were good. Vegetables grew well too, and soon the peach trees were laden. Plums and apples seemed to be taking longer to bear, but the trees were growing well. Hasties had wool to sell though the price wasn't good and they were able to milk three cows to help feed a dozen pigs.
In 1874, John and six year-old Bill had driven the pigs down to Primroses, as he had offered to take them with his own to the Taupiri sale. Surely there would be enough money to buy some sugar and salt; perhaps some material to make dresses for the girls - they hadn't had anything new for a couple of years.  So all the family welcomed the travellers when they walked home late at night. John had some interesting news. "The Government has agreed to sell most of the land on the other side of the Komakorau Stream to Captain Steele's company," he said. "They'll be wanting workers and I'll be able to earn extra money." 
But somehow everything began to go wrong. The crops did not do as well as they had done; even the grass wouldn't grow. Dainty, the little heifer, gave hardly any milk. "I knew I shouldn't have bought a Jersey cow," uvorried John. "The Holsteins do better on this poor feed."
On the big estates they were experimenting with adding fertilizers but the smaller settlers couldn't afford it.
"We'll run our cows on the road and some of the sheep too," John told the children. "It's double width because there's supposed to be a railway line along here but no one uses the road past our place. They can't get through anyway."
So the animals were let out and every now and then the children were sent to stop their going too far.
One afternoon, Bill came running home in distress.
"Where's Dad? Dainty's bogged," he panted. "They were trying to cross the gully on the other side of Knox's old house."
"Your father is working at Woodlands," Mrs. Hastie replied, "get a rope and we'll try to pull her out."
By the time they arrived, the little cow was floundering even deeper in the mud; bellowing in distress. They gathered ti-tree fascines from the road and threw them in front of her but she wouldn't move. Bill lay on a log which his mother and sisters pushed out until he was close enough to throw the rope around her neck. Mother and Bill pulled while Vera threw sticks to urge her up the bank. A direct hit on the rump and Dainty bounced forward. Her feet touched a fascine which held her weight. The little cow came out of the bog like a cork out of a bottle and up the bank. The mother fell over backwards but Bill still held the rope. With a bellow, Dainty lowered her head and went for the boy. She caught him in the side with her sharp horns, tossing him to the ground. With another bellow, she went bucking and kicking down the road.
Bill's face was grey. Carefully, Mother and sister carried him home, there was no way of getting him to a doctor.  For days he lay scarcely breathing; then came one day when he was able to sit up.
"He's going to get better," the mother thought, and she breathed a prayer of thanks.
"I'll put a fence across the road by Knox's," John said. At Christmas time he received a letter from the Kirikiriroa Road Board ordering him to remove the fence.
"Whoever went that way to know it was there?" he muttered and paid no attention. But in March there was a very stern letter from the Board. "If you don't remove that fence within 16 days, labour will be employed by the Board at your expense," he read. "I suppose they'd take my fence too," he added angrily.
After that the girls spent many hours watching their animals on the road.
One morning, John woke early to hear a strange clatter in the shed. 
"Whatever is that?" he exclaimed, running outside in time to see a huge sow grabbing a bag of wheat and there were others in the garden.
"They are deVere Hunt's," shouted Bill.
Waving sticks, screaming at the top of their voices, slapping and pushing they at last got most of the pigs back onto the road. One little runt wouldn't see the gate. Round and round he went, smashing the bean trellis, over all the cabages, and breaking the kumara vines with his sharp toes. Dogs and children dodged behind it. Everyone was exhausted. Then the pig trotted quietly out the gate.
Mrs. Hastie burst into tears. "We are going to be hungry," she wailed, "so much of our food is destroyed."
The father thought, "We'll go short of bread unless we are very careful but I must save some wheat to sow next Spring."
They all had to remember to keep the front gate wired shut.
Near the end of December 1878, John Hastie brought home a copy of the Waikato Times. On the 19th, the first piles had been driven to build a bridge across the Waikato River at Hamilton. "Hamilton East will go ahead," predicted John and they all believed it would open their road to Hamilton. They chuckled over the description of the flood. The Cambridge bridge had been washed away and was floating down the river. It was a beautiful moonlight night when it reached Hamilton and the men who were watching were able to row out and secure most of the pieces.
"It must have been rather dangerous," suggested Mrs. Hastie, "because the river is very swift and there was so much other debris."
"The timber they have saved will be very useful," commented her husband, "though they wouldn't have been so successful if it hadn't been a full moon."
But once again the summer rains were disastrous for the small farmers scattered throughout the Waikato. The wheat crops were ruined; oats were little better and even the potato crop, usually so reliable and profitable, was poor. Work was short in the towns too, and there was real hunger in many homes in New Zealand.
For the first time John Hastie faced the fact that he could not carry on. Two of the cows had slipped their calves and were not worth milking. Bessie, who should calve in less than a month, had got very thin and seemed to be coughing all the time. They had had to sell the pigs at no profit because there was nothing to feed them on. The sow had died and he didn't know why. "At home there would be someone to ask, but in this country there is no one to help," he thought, "You are so alone when things go wrong." Worse still he had caught a chill digging drains on the Woodlands estate and he couldn't stop coughing.
It was a bitter day at the beginning of August. All day, the wind howled round the little house bringing showers of icy rain. Mrs. Hastie was in despair. Vera crouched by the smoking fire, trying to read. The two younger girls were sitting on the hob, too dispirited to even talk. Bill was huddled up in bed. The pain in his side still troubled him especially in the cold.
"Where's Dad?" asked Vera suddenly.
"He went up to the house at Woodlands. He's gone to see if the Association will buy this farm." Mrs. Hastie replied. "He should have been home a long time ago." Vera could hear how anxious she was.
"Do you think God is punishing us because we haven't been to church this year?" she asked.
"Oh, no, He couldn't," the mother answered quickly. "It's not our fault. When the priest came last year one of the babies was sick and I couldn't go to his service, But you and Dad went." Then she added under her breath, "But we will need to pray now or we will all starve." "I'm hungry," Joan sobbed, "I'll even eat bracken pudding."
"Wait till Father comes home and I'll make some manuka tea. It will be hot and we can pretend there's lots of milk and sugar in it."
Vera said flatly, "All we had yesterday was the soup you made out of the young leaves of the cabbage tree I found hidden by Knox's deserted house. There isn't another one within five miles. And there aren't any bracken roots either. It used to take us a long time to pound them up but it was better than nothing. We sure do need to pray."
There was a thud as the door opened. Smoke from the fire swirled round the room and for the thousandth time, Mrs. Hastie wondered at the stupidity of the men who had put their door on the West side of the house. Mrs. Martin's house is a hundred times warmer with the door on the East." she thought before all other thoughts were submerged in concern for her husband who staggered to a chair and flopped down, his face grey, and fighting for breath. A fit of coughing left him completely exhausted.
The manuka tea was made and drunk. It was bitter without either milk or sugar and not much comfort for empty stomachs. When he could speak, Mr. Hastie said, "I didn't see anyone who could authorise the Association to buy the farm. Andrew Primrose says just to leave the cows here. It might be something catchy. I can't see how abortion can be contagious, can you? And even if Bessie does have T. B. (tuberculosis) I'm sure it won't affect her milk. Anyway he has promised to buy the sheep. ..he's a real Christian, is Primrose. It will give us something to live on in Hamilton till I get a job."
There was another coughing fit and this time his handkerchief was stained with blood.
"The sun is trying to shine," Mrs. Hastie said to Vera next morning. "Go and look everywhere to see if you can find an egg. We haven't had anything to feed the hens for ages and we can't expect them to lay well, but there just might be an egg."
They were all startled to hear a wild shriek and Vera came stumbling back into the kitchen, sobbing wildly.
"The hens. The hens. They are all dead."
The hens were lying round the shed, most of them headless. 
"Whatever could have done it?" cried the children.
 John roused himself to go and have a look. "It wasn't dogs," he decided, "it looks like the work of weasles. I didn't think there were any in the colony."
"They released some in Otago to try to control the rabbits," Mrs. Hastie remembered through her tears. "Perhaps someone let some go in the Waikato to try to kill birds. All the authorities are making a fuss about them."
It wasn't a pleasant task to pluck the mutilated bodies, but at last it was done. "Chicken soup for breakfast," said Mrs. Hastie,trying to sound bright, "and we'll have chicken for lunch."
When Mr. Primrose rode in with the money for the sheep, he brought a bag of potatoes, a couple of loaves of bread and a pat of butter.
"We don't want charity," began Mrs. Hastie fiercely, but Andrew said, "My wife wants Vera to come and help her. This is just an advance payment."
Before he left he said, "If you really want to try your luck in Hamilton, John, we'll take you all to Taupiri as soon as the waggon can get through."
Like so many other soldier-settlers the Hasties walked away from their allotment with nothing to show for their years of back-breaking toil.
About ten years later Charles Honeybun was "in beneficial occupation" of Hastie's allotment and Fulton Cunningham had bought Knox's.