Friday, 9 November 2018

Joy Drayton

This story by Peg Cummins was taken from an interview with Joy Drayton conducted about ten years ago. Joy was Prinicpal of Tauranga Girls’ College from 1959 until about 1981. She was the recipient of many honours the last being when she was made Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. Joy added Te Reo to the College curriculum, the first state school in New Zealand to do so. At various times she was on the executives of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the National Council of Women, Chairperson of the BOP Women’s Refuge and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato. Joy Drayton died in Tauranga in 2012 aged 96.

Joy Drayton, 1986
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 99-1236
Joy Drayton came to Tauranga to be the second principal of Tauranga Girls’ College. Mrs Wakelin (later Mrs Allo), the first principal resigned after a year and Mrs Drayton was appointed in her place.  In those days the Boys’ and Girls’ College shared a Board of Governors with Otumoetai College but when Otumoetai College opted for a separate Board the other two colleges did the same. At first pupils came from Mount Maunganui as well, until a college was built there. The Girls’ College began in 1957 (on the site of Mowatts’ farm) with about 600 pupils but this number grew rapidly until numbers settled at about 8-900. When Mrs Drayton left the college in 1982 the roll stood at 1162. Now (in 2008) they are around 1600. When the Girls’ College was built it was on the periphery of the town but that did not last for very long. At first Mrs Drayton did not have a car so she would catch the school bus in the mornings but because the school buses left at about 3.30 in the afternoon she had to walk back to town to catch a bus later on. Cameron Road was still in its formative stages in those days and negotiating it was often like walking down a rocky stream bed. There was no trouble in attracting suitable staff to the Girl’s College. Staff was appointed on the basis of “building a good team.” One teacher who stands out in Mrs Drayton’s memory is Mrs Claudia Jarman, the art teacher. She was not an artist herself but was a brilliant art teacher, who believed that everyone had artistic ability and encouraged her pupils to exercise their talents by instilling that feeling in every child. Maths and physics teachers were always difficult to find and for some time girls requiring physics had to go to the Boys’ College for that subject.  The Boys’ College was the first secondary school in the country to have a guidance counsellor and the Girls’ College was the second. There was always a friendly relationship between the Girls’ and Boys’ Colleges.

In the early days Mrs Drayton remembers girls as being provided with an education to make them good wives and mothers. Later, women accessed education because they deserved to be educated, just as men did. The third formers in the early days seemed more like children whereas those from a later generation were more like young people, older in their years. The curriculum was carefully divided into “academic” for the brighter pupils, “commercial” for the less academic and “homecraft” for the rest. These decisions were based on the records that come from the primary schools. Mrs Drayton preferred the girls to have greater choice in what they were able to do and in the early seventies, introduced an “options” scheme. As an example, girls from the academic stream were able to opt for some homecraft if they wished. Some of the more unusual options for the 6th Form girls were golf and horse riding.  And at one time the girls wanted to paint a frieze on the top of the library building. Having given permission the staff then had to take out insurance for those who took part. "Options" was an innovative scheme but, in pre-computer days it was a logistical nightmare which tested the timetabling team to the utmost. Of course, there were basic curriculum requirements to be covered and girls’ wishes were not always able to be catered for but in the main the scheme worked very well. In the early sixties some of the girls did a survey which took in a mile’s circumference of the college to find out what the parents thought about thing and how many children there were at home. They were appalled to find that in a number of cases children as young as two years were being left at home alone. This prompted the college to set up first a play-group and later a fully fledged childcare centre to cater to the needs of the area. This provided the girls with the opportunity to observe the children through one-way glass and also to be involved in their care. There was no problem attracting children to the facility.

Dr Drayton’s efforts in the local community were not confined to the college. At various times she took her place on City and Regional Councils and as Deputy Mayor. She was also a Trustee and is now a director of the Elms Trust. Her doctorate from Waikato University was awarded for her work on behalf of the university and for her services to the community. For a time she was Vice Chancellor of Waikato University. One of her proudest achievements is the city library. In the early days the collection was housed in the old town hall and during heavy rain the building leaked, which was disastrous for the books. Getting proper library built was one of the reasons she sought election to the Council and she had to work hard for it because not all councillors thought a library was important. Traditional sporting fixtures were followed but under her leadership the college branched out on some of their own.  Academic standards of the school were very important and Mrs Drayton was also involved in singing and in dramatic productions. Attending the Girls’ High School’s 50th Anniversary celebrations were a highlight and Mrs Drayton is also invited to all important occasions at the school. One of the pleasures of life now is the contact she has with former staff and ex-pupils. Many of these people keep in touch and no doubt Mrs Drayton finds it gratifying to see what her pupils have done with their education.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Early Photographic Portraits in Tauranga

 Ottewill’s Kinnear-style & Scovill-style wet-plate camera with 4 lenses
Images courtesy of Rob Niederman

On the 12th December 1862 John and Celia Kinder arrived in Tauranga on the ship Julia, for a summer holiday visit with her father Archdeacon Brown and his second wife Christina. Along with their clothing and other daily necessities required for a such a stay of five or six weeks, most likely carried in a steamer trunk, John also brought his photographic equipment. Although he is thought to have gained his skills at wet-plate collodion photography around 1861, early views were taken with a twin-lens stereo camera, and it is likely that he purchased a larger format, full-plate camera similar to those shown in the images above, capable of taking photographs on 8½” × 6½” glass plates, in 1862.

 Camera, tripod, plate holders, glass plates, portable dark room and chemicals, similar to those probably used by Kinder in 1862-1864 (from Cameras, from Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures, Brian Coe, 1978)

Over the course of the next two weeks Kinder took a series of at least twelve photographs around the Te Papa peninsula, some in the vicinity of the mission house and chapel, others a little further afield at the Mission Cemetery, Taumatakahawai Pa and Otumoetai. Given that the photographic plates needed to be exposed in the camera immediately after their preparation, and then developed soon after their exposure, he would have needed some kind of portable dark room or tent, as shown above.

Maori girls (Bakehouse), Te Papa, Tauranga, December 1862
Albumen print on white card, Image courtesy of the Hocken Collection Ref. P1922-001-017

His photograph of a group of eight children arranged in front of the bakehouse is a highly competent image from both technical and compositional stand points, particularly for an amateur who was a relative newcomer to these difficult techniques. It also has the distinction of being probably the first photograph taken to include human figures, Maori or Pakeha, in the coastal Bay of Plenty, and is therefore probably as important to Tauranga’s history as the Barrett Sisters daguerreotype (attributed to Lawson Insley, circa 1853) is to that of New Plymouth and Taranaki.

 (Left) Tarapipipi te Waharoa (Wiremu Tamehana), (Right) Rapana and unidentified young man
Te Papa, Tauranga, January 1863
Albumen prints on white card, Images courtesy of The Elms Collection

Between New Year’s Eve and 7th January, Kinder accompanied Archdeacon Brown on a trip over the Kaimais to Patetere in the Waikato (near present day Putaruru and Tirau). For whatever reason – perhaps they went on foot, and the glass plates were heavy – he appears not to have taken his photographic equipment, although he did produce a watercolour painting of Te Wairere (Falls) on their way back. Over the next couple of weeks he returned to his photographic pursuits but on a very different tack. Kinder replaced the single landscape view lens on his camera with a lens board containing four portrait lenses. This arrangement allowed him to produce four separate, smaller images on a single plate, by exposing through each lens successively. At least sixteen such carte de visite format portraits have survived, suggesting that he exposed at least four full-sized plates in this fashion. The first portrait shows Tarapipipi te Waharoa (Wiremu Tamehana) standing in front of Brown’s library, while the second shows Rapana (Laban) and a friend standing in front of Volkner’s cottage, also in the Mission Station grounds. Tarapipipi most likely accompanied Kinder and Brown back from the Waikato, and the two young men acted as guides.

(Left) Hoko Hoko Tutahi (Right) Unidentified young woman, Te Papa, Tauranga, January 1863
Albumen prints on white card, Images courtesy of The Elms Collection

This half-length carte de visite-style portrait shows an older Maori man seated in a chair on the porch of Volkner’s cottage. He is bearded, wears a korowai covering a light-coloured shirt, and holds a book in his right hand. The subject of the portrait is probably Te Tūtahi (Hokohoko Tutahi) (c1810-after 1864), chief of the Maungatapu section of the Ng¬āti Hē hapū (Ngāi Te Rangi) who had signed the Tauranga Treaty of Waitangi sheet in 1840. He was the father of Taiaho Hōri Ngātai (c1832-1912), veteran of Gate Pa and Te Ranga, who later gave accounts of the Battle of Gate Pa to historians James Cowan (1901) and Gilbert Mair (1903). Hokohoko spoke at the peace negotiations following the battles (Te Raupatu o Tauranga Moana). Gifford & Williams (1940) include Hokohoko as one of the “Maori converts.” The young woman seated in the same location is as yet unidentified.
Perhaps originally intended to fill the slots in a family photograph album - cartes de visite of family, friends and the famous became something of a fad in the 1860s – these images, being the first taken of tangata whenua in Tauranga, now form part of an important regional treasure.

This forms part of an ongoing study on Kinder’s photography in the Bay of Plenty. Grateful acknowledgement to Rob Niederman, The Elms, The Tauranga Heritage Collection and the Hocken Library for the opportunity to study items in their collections, and for permission to use these images.

Friday, 26 October 2018

The House at 30 Cameron Road

Mirrielees home in 1997
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 00-554
The house on the corner of Monmouth Street, Tauranga and Cameron Road has gone through several transformations, from a family dwelling to flats to commercial premises. In 1910 Alexander James Mirrielees (1897–1972) arrived in Tauranga from Johnsonville and bought a chemist’s shop on The Strand that had been G Allelly’s business and, at one time, Woods'. As a newcomer he was surprised to find that on days when there were no boats berthed at the wharves, locally known as ‘no boat days,’ the businesses in The Strand closed their doors and the proprietors went fishing. However, the town and harbour suited him and he lived here until his death, aged 95.

Joan Mirrielees, teacher, jouralism, local historian outside their house on Monmouth Street
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-853
Mirrielees bought two sections in Cameron Road on the corner of Monmouth Street for £200, and built the weatherboard house with a corrugated iron roof for £3275. This part of Tauranga was known as The Camp. He built the house during or after 1917 as by then he was paying rates on the property. His wife and three children Joan, Ronald and Elsie lived there. Joan Mirrielees, teacher and journalist became an enthusiastic local historian. She was a member of the Tauranga Historical Society and a recipient of the Tauranga Heritage Award. Ronald kept pigeons in the loft of the house. Mrs Violet Mirrielees predeceased her husband by many years and it may have been then that he divided the house into two flats.

Captain Alexander Mirrielees of the 6th Hauraki Regiment
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-934
Known generally by his military rank, Captain Mirrielees led the local territorial company of the 6th Hauraki Regiment. He was prominent in local politics and organisations, chairing the Tauranga Harbour Board for many years, and was instrumental in locating the industrial area to Sulphur Point. A life member of the Rifle Club he was a champion shot. By 1947 he practised as an optician, which was not unusual for chemists of that time.

Notes by Joan Mirrielees in VF Tauranga City Library, Jinty Rorke, and Tauranga Borough Council rates books.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Book Review: Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms, by Robert Craig Scott

Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms: Early Settlement on Confiscated Land
Written and published by Robert Craig Scott, 303p, 2017
Reviewed by Lee Switzer

Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms is thoroughly researched, despite lapses, covering a huge number of families and individuals in the district. Numerous streets are named after local farm owners who nurtured the land. Other land owners developed businesses in Tauranga and elsewhere. This is not just a list of names, however. Scott provides genealogical backgrounds of residents. They came from other parts of New Zealand, Australia, the Greater Empire and other countries.

Scott makes great use of land survey and lot maps highlighting various sections in multiple colours with good explanatory text. As expected, families were involved in businesses throughout the region, not just Greerton.

There is a Table of Contents, an index but no dedication, acknowledgements or bibliography. Photos generally are not attributed to any source. There is very little information about the village’s namesake: Col Greer who fought in the NZ Wars. And on whose property Maori signed documents accepting the Crown’s dominance. Greer had one of the two Pakehas, who spoke te reo Maori, jailed because he was not collaborating with the Government’s line of seizure and bequest (Stokes, Evelyn, 1980, A History of Tauranga County, p80.)

Scott uses NZ Government online data for some of his research. He notes errors in the site when dates are listed. He too makes errors with dates and misspells names from time to time. Sentence structure is a little awkward in places.

On page 138 is a photo of a headstone, again not attributed, with the appellation Peter Allan Grant. Beneath the name is Patrick Allan Bannerman on the headstone.  Scott says "I am not sure what the significance of Patrick Allan Bannerman is."  A quick internet search established that Mr Grant's full name was Peter Patrick Allan Bannerman Grant. It is his baptism name. References can be found on the Tauranga Memories page and a genealogy web page.

Of the Kerr family, John Andrew Bathurst Kerr, member of the Camel Corps died in battle 19 April 1917. Scott says the forces "lost 6,444 men in battle." The figure may have come from this wiki summary, "509 killed, 4,359 wounded, 1534 missing."

It is apparent Scott spent a huge amount of time and diligence writing the many short bios of numerous people who often began their lives in England, Scotland or elsewhere. Some who joined the 1st Waikato Militia in Australia were shipped to NZ with the promise of land when the NZ Wars ended. Greerton being part of the lands given after hostilities ended.

Greerton Township and Surrounding Farms is a comprehensive, very useful addition to the expanding shelf of local history monographs.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

White Crosses on the Waterfront

The first of one hundred and nine white crosses were installed on Tauranga's waterfront this morning. The crosses are being progressively installed between October 17 and November 8, each new group representing a month of the four-year war and the soldiers from Tauranga who died during that time. The public is invited to join cadets from the Western Bay of Plenty Cadet Unit in bringing the crosses out at dawn. On November 11, Armistice Day, there will be an 11am centenary service at Memorial Park marking the day and time the war ended in 1918.

All images Copyright and courtesy of Fiona Kean

Raymond John Baker (1890-1915)
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Frederick Hugh Dodson (1891-1915)
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Ronald Tracey Matheson (1874-1915)
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