Monday, 30 September 2013

On this day in 1914

Highland Pipe Band members, undated postcard
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 03-420
30 Sep 1914 - First practise of pipe band

Friday, 27 September 2013

Brain's Boatyard

Vectus under construction, Brain slipway, Tauranga
Undated silver gelatin print, Brain Watkins House Collection

In 1881, shortly after moving to Tauranga, Joseph Brain took over the boatyard located at the northern end of The Strand, on the beach below the Monmouth Redoubt, from Charles Wood. He had previously worked as a carpenter on board gunboats on the Waikato, and in the naval dockyard, and set up as a boat builder with William Bishop in Auckland.

The General Gordon, a ketch, was probably the first boat built there by Joseph Brain, but it was by no means the last. The Ventnor, Vectus and Dream were scows designed for trade along the coast and, having a shallow draught, were able to navigate estuaries such as up the Waimapu to Blundell's flour mill. He manufactured the whaleboats Esther and Tarawera, coal barges for the Waihi Mining Company, a naphtha-fuelled launch, the Coy, and a shallow draft punt for the Matata flax mill. Steamers of the Northern Steamship Company, such as the Katikati, Fingal, Kaituna and Result, were also repaired on the Brain slipway.

On the wall of the central passage in Brain Watkins house are three mounted wooden half hull models, almost certainly replicas of boats that Brain built, although there are unfortunately no names attached to them.
Prior to the twentieth century, half hull model ships were constructed by shipwrights as a means of planning a ship's design and sheer and ensuring that the ship would be symmetrical. The half hulls were mounted on a board and were exact scale replicas of the actual ship's hull. With the advent of computer design, half hulls are now built as decorative nautical art and constructed after a ship is completed. [Courtesy of Wikipedia]

The boatyard business continued to operate under Brain's proprietorship in this location until the East Coast Main Trunk Railway was constructed in 1923.

Joseph Brain's interest in boats extended to leisure activities and several trophies, including this fine example won at the Tauranga Regatta of 1900, on display in the Harpham Room, are evidence of his success.


Arabin, Shirley (n.d.) Notes on Joseph Denham Brain.
Matthews & Matthews Architects Ltd., et al (2004) Brain Watkins House Conservation Plan.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Militaria Show

Charlie with machine gun (Photo courtesy of Fiona Kean)
In the weekend I went to the Militaria Show at the Greerton Hall with Aunty Fiona. It was really interesting. Here I am with a Machine Gun.

My favourite thing was a very old gun. The man who owned it told me it was used during the New Zealand Wars. It is more than 140 years old.

Remembering WW1 - 100 years on
There was a display for WW1. There was a gas mask that was really strange looking. I learnt that next year it will be 100 years since WW1.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

On this day in 1926

Tauranga Hospital, undated
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 03-320
17 Sep 1926 - New twenty-four bed hospital in use

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Second Tauranga Hotel

Tauranga Hotel, c. 1908
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-615
Following the 1881 fire John Chadwick rebuilt his Tauranga Hotel and John Menzies applied again for the licence.1

Like its predecessor the hotel provided rooms for public and club meetings, commercial travellers’ samples, coroners’ inquests, and luncheons and accommodation for important visitors to the town. In June 1883 the Maori King, Tawhiao stayed at the hotel and  “despite his loyalty to the Queen, Tawhiao has decided Fenian proclivities” was not sufficient to put off a welcome by Tauranga residents and school children although some of the leading local Maori were noticeably absent.2

John Menzies junior took over the licence after his father’s death in 1885 and sold to AH Fisher. Because of debts he signed an agreement not to commence business again within seven miles of Tauranga but tried to circumvent this by setting his wife up as licencee of the Star, now the Menzies Star Hotel, in Spring Street. In the colourful language of the day Fisher called Menzies for trying to avoid an agreement by a ‘sidewind’.3  WJ Suiter & Co to whom the debt was owed pointed out that the reason Mrs Menzies had left Tauranga was the great pain occasioned to her remaining eye by being compelled to look at the white shells on the Strand. “Has her eye suddenly got well again?4

Advertisement, The Bay of Plenty Times, 19 Dec 1892
Image courtesy of Papers Past
It was at this time that the Inspector of Nuisances raised the issue of the unsanitary drains from all the hotels on The Strand and Devonport Road whose cesspits drained into the harbour.  In 1891 John Chadwick died and Messrs. Ehrenfried bought the building while David Asher became the licencee. Asher was a popular host and held the licence for fourteen years. In 1903 his son Albert was chosen to play in the New Zealand Representative Football Team for an Australian tour.5

Tauranga Hotel fire, 1936, Postcard
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 03-128
In February 1936 a fire broke out in the staff quarters and once again the Tauranga Hotel and adjacent shops were destroyed. At this fire there was a fire brigade in attendance but they could not save anything and the licencee KJ Rennie escaped with just the cash. One of the shopkeepers intent on saving his stock narrowly avoided succumbing to smoke inhalation.6


1. BOPT 9 May 1882
2. BOPT 6 July 1883
3. BOPT 10 June 1887
4. BOPT 24 June 1887
5. Auckland Star 31 August 1903
6. Evening Post 17 February 1936

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

On this day in 1932

St John Ambulance, Tauranga, undated
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 00-100
10 Sep 1932 - St John Ambulance Branch formed

Sunday, 8 September 2013

On this day in 1882

John Lees Faulkner (c.1812-1882)
Photographic copy of possibly an ambrotype portrait by unknown photographer, undated
Image Private Collection courtesy of Te Ara and Tauranga City Library
8 Sep 1882 - Death of John Lees Faulkner, trader of Otumoetai.

The house built by John Lees Faulkner at 25 Beach Road, Otumoetai, is now located at the Tauranga Heritage Village.


Jinty Rorke. 'Faulkner, John Lees', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012

McCauley, Debbie (2013) 'John Lees Faulkner (c1812-1882),' from Tauranga Memories: Tauranga Local History

Friday, 6 September 2013

Maori women were great with accessories

Kete Kiwikiwi, Tauranga Heritage Collection
This small traditional Maori woven kit adorned with kiwi feathers (kete kiwikiwi) is a fine example of a woman’s personal accessory used on important occasions and could be considered a symbol of one’s status within Maori society likewise a clock made from similar materials.

This particular kete displays the traditional weaving technique used to prepare flax fibre (muka) into a double pair twining of cordage which is then woven together to bind the wefts and form a webbing (whenua). The feathers are applied in the same manner and the handles are two-ply twist termed tawai or tamarua. Although the kete displays a loss of feathers, the overall condition of the kete is good when considering it was probably made about the mid-19th century.

Kete Whakairo, Tauranga Heritage Collection
The kete whakairo, decorated kit, is made from harakeke Phormium tenax a native variety of the commonly known flax. The handles are four strand plaits called tuapuku. The Kete has a very fine weaving technique and woven  using natural dyed fibres which appear in two tones of brown. The inside of the kete at some point in its history has had a velvet lining added.

The exterior woven pattern of the kete is Te ara moana design. The kete was donated to the museum as part of the E. L. Adams collection.

Kete Muka, Tauranga Heritage Collection
The kete muka or bag made from dressed flax fibre has a fringed edge in brown and golden shades and has a striped vertical pattern of human hair and houhere Hoheria populnea, commonly termed lace bark. The inclusion of hair would signal that this kete muka is of some importance and possibly connected to a particular person or a taonga of a personal nature, such as a gift.

On this day in 1884

Archdeacon Alfred Nesbit Brown, c.1875-1880
Carte de visite/albumen print (91 x 56mm on mount 101 x 62mm) by R.H. Bartlett of Auckland
Image courtesy of National Library of New Zealand
6 Sep 1884 - Death of Archdeacon Brown

The Late Ven. Archdeacon Brown.
The deceased gentleman was one who for very many years has been intimately connected with Tauranga, hence the following items will be read with interest, bearing as they do upon the early days of this district.
It was not until 1834 that any families of missionaries ventured south of the Bay of Islands, but prior to that date the deceased, the late Bishop Williams, the late Rev. Mr. Hamlin, the Rev. J.A. Wilson (now residing in England), Mr Fairburn, and Rev. H. Williams - all these gentlemen from time to time made excusrions throughout the Waikato, Thames and Bay of Plenty districts.  These excursions commenced in 1826, and continued from that time until 1834, when three missionaries - Messrs Wilson, Fairburn, and Preece - brought their families to the Puriri, and within six months after the Rev. Mr Brown (now deceased) founded his station at Matamata, now know as Mr Firth's run.  In 1837 Mr Brown's station was sacked and burned by the Rotorua natives during an attack they made upon Te Waharoa, the father of William Thomson.  Mr Brown retired to the Puriri, and from thence came to Tauranga in 1837, where he founded the Tauranga station in the beginning of 1836.
Since that time (1837) the deceased gentleman has never been removed from Tauranga.  At the time his station at Matamata was sacked and they made their escape, one of the servant girls (a Christian convert) was killed.  The rest of the party escaped.  The deceased was the senior missionary in this district, comprising Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, and the Opotiki districts as far as Cape Runaway, and every year he travelled throughout the whole of his district, and invariably on foot.  The ven. gentleman was always a strong, active man, remarkable for his businesslike ways and punctual attendance to his duties, and never was known to have a day's illness.  In 1844 he was made an Archdeacon.
The above facts show that the late Archdeacon Brown was for nearly half a century connected with Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.  After so many years' active life he succumbed to feebleness on Sunday the 6th Sept., aged 81.

Bartlett, Robert Henry, 1842-1911. Bartlett, Robert Henry, fl 1875-1880 : Archdeacon Alfred Nesbit Brown (1803-1884). Ref: PA2-0201. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
The Bay of Plenty Times, 9 September 1884, courtesy of Papers Past.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

September Meeting: Cameron, Grey, and the Invasion of the Waikato, by Dr Peter Vickers

Peter Vickers, who recently completed a Bachelor of Defence Studies at Massey University, gave a very interesting talk on “Cameron, Grey, and the Invasion of the Waikato” on Sunday 1st September.

The two key figures in the Waikato campaign were the Governor, Sir George Grey, and General Cameron.

Governor Grey
Grey had had  a series of failures in his previous appointments yet he was sent for a second time  to New Zealand as Governor. Peter described him as a “yes” man and a “hit man” for the British Government, who wanted to withdraw their troops as soon as possible to save money.

General Cameron
Cameron, on the other hand, had had a distinguished career in the army before his appointment in 1861 as commander in New Zealand. It is said that he had discovered a plot by the Waikato Kingites who were planning to attack Auckland. He began the subjugation of the Waikato in 1863 by ordering troops to cross the Mangatawhiri River.

Prior to that the Great South Road had been built to reach the seat of war and great use was made of armoured steamers on the river.  The Maori were to be punished by the loss of their land.

Peter explained that there were different interpretations of what happened in the Waikato campaign. He believed that Belich gave a revisionist view of the wars and would question some of his claims.e.g. that the Maori were the first to develop a deep, complex system of trenches.

On this day in 1872

Masthead, The Bay of Plenty Times
4 Sep 1872 - First issue of the Bay of Plenty Times

The Bay of Plenty Times Building, The Strand, c.1870s
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 04-213