Saturday, 29 June 2013

What's on in July

Kaimai air crash memorial (Courtesy of  NZ History)

Wednesday 3rd July - 50th Anniversary of the Kaimai Air Tragedy
Commemoration of the 50th anniversry of the crash of a DC-3 in the Kaimai Range, with the loss of all 20 passengers and 3 crew.  A service will be held at the memorial plaque on the Old Te Aroha Road (600m SE of Aramadale Rd intersection) at 9.00 a.m. (Courtresy of The Weekend Sun)

Oliver Macey Quintal's headstone on Norfolk Island
Image © Copyright and courtesy of Vivien Edwards
Sunday 7 July 2.00 p.m. - Monthly Meeting and Talk
in the Society Hall at the rear of Brain Watkins House
Vivien Edwards will give a talk to the Society, Oliver Macey Quintal: How did a Pitcairner Become a Barrister in Tauranga?  This replaces Dr Peter Vickers' postponed talk on Cameron, Grey and the Invasion of the Waikato, which he will deliver at a late date to be advised.

If you know of an event of significance to Tauranga/Bay of Plenty history that will take place in the next few months, please email me and I'll add it to this list.

Friday, 28 June 2013

"The Palms" Licensed Maternity Nursing Home

Mrs Chappell opened a nursing home at Topcroft in 1899. In 1908 she moved to a new house built by her husband on the east side of Cameron Road between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and called “The Palms”. In 1982 these palms were still standing outside the house.

Collection of Justine Neal
 The message on the back of one of the postcards reads:
To dear Emma, This view of our house is taken from the roof of Joseph’s shop. Imagine another house similar to it only no bay windows on the next section shutting out the view of our neighbours old sheds and that is where our newly built house stands.Then you will see me standing on our kitchen verandah I am looking at the camera but I turned my head to the right. I should be looking at the accompanying view which we think is a lovely view to enjoy and so do our friends and patients.      Jan. 1911.
Collection of Justine Neal
 An advertisement in the Bay of Plenty Times 16 July 1913 reads:
The “Palms”   Cameron Road Tauranga
Licensed Maternity Nursing Home     M. Chappell Registered Midwife.      Phone 47

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Book Launch: The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Katikati and District

Book Launch: The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Katikati and District
ISBN: 9780473206055
Tauranga City Library, Research Collection Room, 16th June 2013, 11 am

The turnout for the launch of Christine Clement and Ellen McCormack's new book about the settler families of Katikati was excellent, with almost double the numbers expected braving the cold, wet weather to gather in the Tauranga Library's Research Collection Room.  Fortunately, the Stephanie Smith and her staff found enough extra chairs between the reference shelves to cope.

After a short introduction from Stephanie, Christine gave us some background to the book.  Ellen has been compiling an archive of material relating to Katikati for some 4 decades.  She also helped Christine with the compilation of her two books on Te Puke, during which they learnt that the two districts shared much history, and had many interlinked families.  The ensuing collaboration is a melding together of Ellen's passion and accumulated archive packages on each family, with Christine's considerable research skills.

The book covers the early years of the settlement from 1870 to 1910, containing the histories of over 125 pioneer families from Athenree to Apata.  Many previously unpublished photographs, letters and testimonials’ are included within the book which had its impetus from Ellen McCormack's over forty years of research into Katikati's history.

The book details the triumphs and tragedies that befell the settlers. From the story of George Alley who established the Homewood Trust to assist returning soldiers from World War II; Reverend Katterns and his Ostrich farm; publican Barney MacDonnell the six-foot two big-bearded twenty stone Irishman who dealt out his own form of justice; Joseph Shaw who had his cow bails varnished; at least three men who had wives back in England as well as one in Katikati; a bigamist; some fudged CV’s; World Champion axeman George McCauley; the honourable Charles Macmillan who was both mayor and MP for Tauranga; photographer Albert Diggelmann who experimented with trick photography and the honourable Randolph Thomas Rowley.

In the audience were a number of representatives of the families mentioned in the book, including a healthy proportion of Katikati residents, and several distant cousins were reunited.  There are sure to have been many entertaining stories told during the tea served in the library's canteen afterwards.
Christine Clement is the author of two previous books on Te Puke.  Copies of these, as well as the new volume on Katikati, may be ordered from the author by email.

Te Puke – Nga Tangata Me Nga Wahi – People and Places covers an area from Otamarakau to Upper Papamoa, and Ngawaro to Maketu, including Te Puke township, with over 3000 surnames in the comprehensive index.  It deals with the period from the arrival of the Te Arawa waka to 31 December 2006. (Surname lists A-L, M-Z)

The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Te Puke and District covers the same geographical area as its predecessor, but is more biographically oriented.  It deals with the period from 1830, with the arrival of Philip Tapsell,  to 1909. (Surname list)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Needlework from the Brain-Watkins Textile Collection

Figure 1 Table Runner 103cmx33cm

With few outside distractions for their amusement, the Brain girls developed skills in many different media. They painted; they made many of their own clothes, created fine hats, and embroidered beautiful fabrics.  This sample of needlework is one of the many pieces belonging to the Brain-Watkins collection, presently on display in the master bedroom.

Figure 2 Close up of needlework

The medium is Irish Linen, and the edging is commercial Reticella lace –or tape – worked with a fairly coarse thread (1), attached to the embroidery with a Hedebo stitch (2). The main body of the work is needle lace of Hedebo type. Two large areas of the surface embroidery are cut from the cloth and in filled with needle weaving. These two areas are linked with drawn-thread work.

1. D.M.C. Encyclopaedia of Needlework p 611
2. Weldons Dictionary of Embroidery

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Painting Mauao: Painted Images of Mt Maunganui

Te Papa Cemetery in the 1860s, by an unknown soldier (Collection of the Tauranga City Library)

Mauao/Mount Maunganui has been portrayed in paint since the earliest European arrived.  Its unique form continues to be a source of inspiration for today's artists.   Members of the Society were treated to an entertaining and informative tour of the Tauranga Art Gallery's exhibition Painting Mauao: Painted images of Mount Maunganui since the mid-19th century by gallery director Penelope Jackson on Sunday 9th June.  Thank you, Penny.

The colonial paintings have come from the Auckland Art Gallery and the City Library's collection.  The paintings include one by John Kinder who had married Celia Brown, daughter of Archdeacon Brown, at the Elms Te Papa Mission Station. Horatio Robley, who painted a number of scenes in Tauranga in the 1860s, has a painting of The Surrender of the Tauranga Natives at Te Papa in 1865.  He took part in the Battle of Gate Pa and made a sketch of the Maori defences.
Bright Morning by Betty Wishart (Collection of the Tauranga City Council)

Most of the paintings in the exhibition are by artists who have lived in Tauranga.  Those by Nigel Brown, Edward Bullmore and Dame Robin White are from the gallery's collecting area. Three paintings by John McLean called Childhood Memories were specially commissioned by the gallery for this exhibition.  They feature a well known local character, Michael Hodgkins.

This is a first class exhibition and well worth a visit.  It will run until 25th August.  On Thursday 4 July at 5 pm the Gallery Director Penelope Jackson will give an Art After Dark talk about the paintings.  Bookings are essential.

April 2013 Newsletter

Society Meetings

Sunday 5 May, 2.00pm. Heather McLean - Her topic is ‘Highlights and achievements from 40 years of genealogy’ Held in the hall at rear of Brain Watkins House

Sunday 9 June 2.00pm at the Tauranga Art Gallery, Willow Street. The curator, Penny Jackson will give us a talk and guide through the Mauao exhibition.

Sunday 7 July 2.00 p.m.  Dr Peter Vickers BDS BDefStud will speak on ‘Cameron, Grey and the Invasion of the Waikato’. To be held in the hall at rear of Brain Watkins House

Stephanie Smith our new President opens Jazz in the Garden on 3rd March

Jazz in the Garden

On Sunday 3 March the Society held its annual Jazz in the Garden event, opened by new president Stephanie Smith.  This is the first year we have held the event in March instead of February. The weather was sunny, though fortunately not quite as hot as last year, and visitors enjoyed the music provided by two talented young keyboard players from Tauranga Boys’ College.  $1450 was raised for the Society after paying the musicians, with the popular second hand bookstall making the most money. So the message is - start putting books away for next year's stall.  The crowd was slightly down on last year's event but all the stalls showed a good return.  One of our members has offered to find sponsorship for the event so next year we should be able to provide excellent entertainment as well as have increased advertising.  Thank you to all the members who contributed to the afternoon tea and donated cakes, plants and books for the stalls.  The Save the Children folk again agreed that it is a worthwhile event for them to attend which means we are supporting another charity as well.

Brain Watkins House Collection

Besides all the furniture, paintings and objects a visitor sees when walking through the house there are many more that are stored in drawers, wardrobes and boxes (some under the bed). With five daughters born before 1900 it is not surprising that there are many examples of handwork, whether crochet, embroidery, tatting or hand sewing.  To be an accomplished needlewoman was an expectation from all young women of their era.  They were also taught to draw and paint and in the house are many examples of Esther Brain’s oil paintings and Bessie’s charcoal drawings. The plaster statue of Britannia on a shelf in the front hall is an artist’s model although we so nor have any works where she is portrayed. However, clues to their inspiration lie in the postcard albums where the originals of the two horse paintings from the rear hall are found and the large oil over the fireplace in the lounge is very similar to postcards of cattle in a lake in Kilkenny. Other inspiration came from popular Victorian English artists such as Arthur Elsley whose framed drawing of a girl and her dogs is very similar to a Bessie Brain composition in the same room - probably a copy of another of his works. The third accomplishment of every young woman was music and although there has not been a piano in the house since the Society inherited it, the evidence remains with a selection of sheet music of popular songs of their day.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Archaeology at Bowentown Reserve

NZHPT Heartland Archaeology Field Trip to Bowentown Reserve
Saturday 8 June 2013, 2 - 4 pm 

Anzac Bay

Despite the overcast skies and threatening showers, a large crowd of several dozen, including a significant proportion of local residents, gathered at Anzac Bay, Bowentown on Saturday afternoon for this well advertised walking tour, organised by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as part of their Heartland Archaeology series.

Brigid Gallaher, a local resident and archaeologist with plenty of experience both locally and abroad, gave a thoroughly entertaining introduction to the geology, prehistory and recorded history of Waihi Beach and Bowentown. The remnants of a volcanic cone, the flat sands of the tombolo spit, and their position on the coast relative to the harbour, Coromandel, Mayor Island and the waka arriving from the Pacific to the north-east were all discussed in relation to patterns of early habitation, food gathering and defensive pa building on the peninsula.

Bowentown Peninsular

There have been few formal excavations in the area, but Brigid demonstrated that this is no barrier to investigating its prehistory. We were invited to examine the landscape with fresh eyes and look beyond the obvious fortifications at the top of Te Kura a Maia Pa, and terraces extending down the western slopes. Minor undulations and depressions, almost imperceptible changes of grass colour in the mown areas, variations in vegetation height, straight lines and corners where nature never intended them to be, etc. were all used as potential indicators of previous human activity.

Brigid has had the opportunity to examine a considerable number of artifacts recovered from the Waihi Beach area by Mair and colleagues shortly after the turn of the century, currently held at the Auckland Museum. Sadly the exact locations where they were excavated, and therefore much of the context, have been lost, but they probably relate to earliest Maori settlement in the Bay of Plenty. We were shown evidence of more recent pre-European habitation levels in the vicinity of the car park, where recent erosion has revealed soil horizons buried beneath layers of sand. Remediation work to stabilise and protect the area from further damage is planned. The effect of settlement on the peninsula over the last century was also discussed, and the concrete remnants of a wharf examined at the western end of the beach.

Brigid kept us entertained, and the showers mostly at bay, with her depth of knowledge, obvious enthusiasm and passion, finishing with a question and answer session appropriately on the tihi of Te Kura a Maia, which must have one of the best views in the bay.

Many thanks to Brigid, as well as to Rachel Darmody, Cathleen Hauman, Fiona Low and Janet Hetherington of the NZHPT for organising this event, and we look forward to the next one. We hope to give notice of future events of historical interest on the Society blog, and would encourage members to attend - they are very worthwhile.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Welcome to the Society's web site and blog

Tauranga Wharf and Waterfront, photo by Henry Wright, c.1902 (Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library)

Welcome to the Tauranga Historical Society's web pages.  Using the tabbed links above you'll find brief histories of the Society and the Brain Watkins House, an outline of our objectives and a list of membership benefits, as well as details of how to join.

There is much of interest in the Bay of Plenty's history, both before before pakeha settlement and after the arrival of European traders such as Tapsell and Faulkner, and the founding of the mission station at Te Papa.  There have been intriguing characters, many of whose descendants still live in the area, and a plethora of long remembered events which have shaped the Tauranga that we see today.  We hope you will join us in this exploration of our history.

Our new Blog has been created to provide news and articles relating to Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty's history, which we hope will encourage a returning readership of both members and non-members alike.  In the coming weeks and months, you can look forward to contributions on a wide variety of historical topics written by society members, each of whom have their own varied interests and strengths.

•    Notices of forthcoming events of historical interest
•    Brian Davies and Brett Payne will report on historically related events in the Western Bay of Plenty community, including Society meetings and talks.
•    Lois Hembrow displays and talks about items in the Brain Watkins House Collection that she has found of particular interest during the course of her cataloguing project.
•    Justine Neal shows off a selection from her treasure trove of historic Tauranga postcards.
•    Shirley Arabin enlightens us with her knowledge of and enthusiasm for old Tauranga buildings.
•    Writing as curator of the Tauranga Heritage Collection, Fiona Kean illuminates some of its hidden gems.
•    Stephanie Smith delves into the stories behind the names of streets and roads in Tauranga.

Please feel free to add this blog to your RSS feed, subscribe by email or use the Google Friend Connect button (at right) and recommend the URL to others you feel may be interested.  We also welcome feedback - you'll find the comments box at the end of each article.

If you have information about a planned event that you think we should include, we'd love to hear about it, and if you would like to contribute in any form, again please get in touch with me by email.

Brett Payne
Web Editor