Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Omokoroa Point, by Alf Rendell

Omokoroa Point, Bay of Plenty, undated, probably c. early 1950s
Hand-coloured black-and-white photographic print, by A.H. Rendell, Tauranga
This charming aerial view of Omokoroa Point was found in a cupboard in the Katikati Heritage Museum, sadly hidden from view, but ironically this protection from the ravages of sunlight has preserved the vivid colours of the hand-colouring.  Fiona Kean from the Tauranga Heritage Collection thinks it likely that the colouring work was carried out by Alf's talented sister.

Matua Peninsula and Mauao, c.early 1950s
Black and white print by A.H. Rendell, courtesy of the Tauranga Heritage Collection

Alf Rendell published several series of aerial views of Tauranga and environs in the late 1940s and 1950s, after returning from war service, and taking advantage of a friend who owned a Tiger Moth.  He revisited some of these views half a century later to show what a different place Tauranga had become.

Matua Peninsula and Mauao, c. 2007
Colour print by A.H. Rendell, courtesy of the Tauranga Heritage Collection

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Imperial Camel Corps in WWI: from the Diaries of a Bay of Plenty Camelier

A.H. Watson
Sons of Empire, Tauranga Public Lecture Series

The Imperial Camel Corps in WWI: from the Diaries of a Bay of Plenty Camelier

Stephanie Smith
Wednesday 1 October, 6.30pm
Venue: Tauranga Bongard Centre, Lecture Theatre 104
Bookings essential Email nyree@waikato.ac.nz or phone 027 286 7454

The Imperial Camel Corps, founded in 1916, was a multinational force, including two New Zealand companies, the 15th and 16th. The Corps distinguished itself in the Sinai and Palestine campaigns by helping to protect the Suez Canal from the Ottoman Empire. This presentation reveals the fascinating journey of Arnold Henfrey Watson, a farmer from peaceful Pongakawa, who joined the Corps in 1916.

About the Presenter
Stephanie Smith is a librarian specialising in local history, archives, and the rare book collections at Tauranga City Libraries; she is current president of the Tauranga Historical Society.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Reginald Watkins

Reginald Watkins in his Salvation Army Uniform
Image courtesy of the Tauranga Heritage Collection Watkins Archive

The exhibition ‘From Tauranga to the Trenches’ tells the story of Reginald Watkins (Reg), a Salvation Army Officer who enlisted from Tauranga during the First World War. A few years ago I was lucky enough to meet Val Watkins the nephew of Reg and I was struck by the pride and love that Val felt for his uncle, despite having never met him. Val told me with passion that Reg had never been forgotten and over the last year I have been fortunate to meet many more members of the Watkins family who carry on that remembrance.

Reg was a son and a brother. He was a Captain in the Salvation Army, a farmer and a fisherman. He was a fine sailor and owned a launch. He loved photography, taking and developing his own photographs and turning them into postcards for his collection. He spoke fluent Maori and lived and worked on Rangiwaea Island, his home was often a tent at Rangiwaea Pa. When war was declared Reg had been living in Tauranga since 1911, the second of two spells assisting Captain Moore with Salvation Army Work.   

For Reg the decision to enlist was a difficult one. He wrote to Commissioner Hodder of the Salvation Army, “I am the only one free in our family who is able to volunteer for the war, and my people regard it as a stigma upon the family that they are not represented”. He put forward the case that “all single young men are strongly urged to go and his St John’s Ambulance Certificate would make him useful.

‘From Tauranga to the Trenches’ exhibition
He embarked from Wellington, January 1916, with the Ninth Reinforcements on HMNZ Transport “Maunganui”. On arriving in Egypt there was little action and when an appeal for stretcher bearers was made Private Watkins stepped forward. On 12 July he wrote a few lines in the trenches “to let you know that I am safe and sound here in France… My work consists in dressing and carrying the wounded from the firing line to the first field dressing station where the Red Cross men deal with them afterwards. We need all the nerve and moral courage we possess at the task and we hope and pray that our services will soon be not required… I hope I may soon be privileged to return to New Zealand to continue the work that I relinquished”.

His dream to return to Tauranga and the people of Rangiwaea was not to be. On Thursday 20 July Reg went to the aid of a wounded soldier and while attending to him was hit by shell shrapnel. As he was rescued and taken to the Casualty Clearing Station he sang hymns in both English and Maori. A Chaplain at his beside scribbled a note to Reg’s father ‘He is badly wounded and anxious for me to send word. He sends his love to you and all”. Reginald Watkins died of wounds at 1.30pm Sunday 23 July 1916. He was 30 years old.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Public’s Opinion: Letters to the BOP Times 1914-1918

Sons of Empire, Tauranga Public Lecture Series 

Opening of the Tauranga Domain Memorial Gates, 11 December 1921
The Public’s Opinion: Tauranga’s Wartime Concerns Expressed through Letters to the Editor of the Bay of Plenty Times 1914-1918

Fiona Kean
Wednesday 24 September, 6.30pm
Venue: Tauranga Bongard Centre, Lecture Theatre 104
Bookings essential. Email nyree@waikato.ac.nz or phone 027 286 7454.

Religious disharmony, accusations of sedition, politicking and personality clashes sprinkled with fear, encouraged by war, were publically aired in letters to the editor of the Bay of Plenty Times during WWI. Fiona Kean shares some of these letters as she summarises what was worrying Tauranga during WWI.

About the Presenter
Fiona Kean is the Cultural Heritage Co-ordinator of the Tauranga Heritage Collection; she is a member of the Tauranga Historical Society, editor of the Bay of Plenty Historical Review Journal, and secretary of WW100 Tauranga.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Hairini Bridge

Hairini Bridge
Image courtesy of Justine Neal
The first pile of the bridge at Hairini, to connect Tauranga with the southern side of the Bay of Plenty, was driven on Friday 7 October 1881. The townspeople were asked to regard the day as a holiday from 1.00pm and to attend the ceremony.  The completed bridge was opened on 6 April 1882 by the County Engineer, Captain Turner. It was the largest structure of its kind in the country.

By 1912 its dilapidated state was causing concern and the Tauranga County Council agreed it needed replacing. It seems some things never change ........ by January 1920 its state was regarded as dangerous and the Council was going to have to make temporary repairs while waiting for the Government to make good its pledge to undertake the construction of a new bridge at the cost of 6,000 pounds (without approaches).

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Killen Harmonium

The Killen Harmonium
Courtesy of the Katikati Heritage Museum, Killen Collection
Made in Dublin in 1877 to an American design, this four-stop Mason & Hamlin harmonium, which still has all its keys, reeds and pedals and can still be played, was brought out to New Zealand by John and Ellen Killen a year later in 1878.   John Killen, Justice of the Peace, Councillor for Tauranga City Council and the Katikati Road Board, was an elder of the Presbyterian Church (helping to establish that denomination in Katikati), a farmer, business man, and father to four sons and two daughters.  His wife Ellen Orr Killen née Wilson was the sister of Martha Gilbert, née Wilson, one of whose sons married a Lockington.

Mason & Hamlin trade card, 19th Century
Dr Barbara Mary Smith, whose grandmother Mary Elizabeth Smith née Killen was a daughter of John and Ellen, donated the harmonium, together with a gown, clothing and various war items to Katikati Heritage Museum.

Illustrated Catalogue of the Mason & Hamlin Organ Company, 1880

Working Bee at the Katikati Cemetery on 15 April 1889, courtesy of Tauranga Memories Kete

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Monstrous Anger of the Guns: Poetry, Protest and WWI

Sons of Empire, Tauranga Public Lecture Series
Under Fire on the Western Front
The Monstrous Anger of the Guns: Poetry, Protest and WWI

Dr Kirstine Moffat
Wednesday 17 September, 6.30pm
Venue: Tauranga Bongard Centre, Lecture Theatre 104
Bookings essential Email nyree@waikato.ac.nz or phone 027 286 7454

The launch of this eight-part series includes a brief introduction by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato Professor Alister Jones, along with the President of the Tauranga Historical Society, Stephanie Smith.

In Anthem for Doomed Youth Wilfred Owen evokes the horror of the World War One trenches in which the Monstrous Anger of the Guns are the constant reality. This talk explores how English poets such as Owen, and his Canadian, Australian and New Zealand contemporaries, praise the courage of soldiers, nurses, and doctors, but increasingly protest against the cost of war.

About the Presenter
Dr Kirstine Moffat is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Waikato where her research and publications focus primarily on nineteenth and early 20th century New Zealand settlement writing and culture.

Sons of Empire, Tauranga Public Lecture Series

From the utmost end of the Earth: New Zealand and World War One.

Sons of Empire is an eight-part public lecture series commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War One. Each weekly presentation focuses on delivering a unique New Zealand perspective of WWI: the voices of our soldiers, from the battles and the trenches to their legacy of literature; the diaries, the images and the poetry that remain.

This series is brought to you by the University of Waikato in collaboration with the Tauranga Historical Society.

Sons of Empire will be launched at the Tauranga Bongard Centre with a brief introduction by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato Alister Jones along with the President of the Tauranga Historical Society, Stephanie Smith. The audience will have an opportunity for questions which will be followed by light refreshments.

All series will be held at the Tauranga Bongard Centre, Lecture Theatre 104. Each lecture will occur on a Wednesday evening from 6.30pm onwards.

17 Sept - Dr Kirstine Moffat – “Poetry, Protest, and WW1”
24 Sept - Fiona Kean – “Public Opinion in Tauranga from ‘Letters to the Editor’”
1 Oct - Stephanie Smith – “The diary of a BOP Camelier”
8 Oct - Sue Baker Wilson – “NZ Engineers Tunnelling Company”
15 Oct - Dr Damien Fenton – “The Mundane Realities of Trench Warfare”
22 Oct - Dr Nathalie Philippe – “The Liberation of Le Quesnoy”
29 Oct - Dr Cliff Simons – “The Gallipoli Campaign”
5 Nov - Dr Mark Houlahan – “Kiwis and the Shakespeare Hut, London”

Registration: Bookings are essential for this free series so please register by emailing nyree@waikato.ac.nz.  For any enquiries please phone 027 286 7454.

From Tauranga to the Trenches


A well illustrated book, From Tauranga to the Trenches accompanies the exhibition and is available for sale. Compiled by Fiona Kean, Tauranga Heritage Collection coordinator, the publication is a fascinating social history of the effect WW1 had on those serving in the war and their loved ones at home. Alongside photographs and memorabilia there are excerpts from letters and diaries written by men serving overseas which give an insight into their thoughts and experiences. The Tauranga community joined together to provide parcels containing food, knitted socks and scarves for troops, while many innovative fundraising ventures were held to support both the servicemen and provide for the welfare of their families. From Tauranga to the Trenches vividly shows the impact the war had on the servicemen and women, their families and the Tauranga community.

It is for sale at Books A Plenty for $25. All proceeds go towards further exhibitions.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Masonic Hotel

You can see the Masonic Hotel in this photograph. This was taken in the early 1900s.
Photo courtesy of the Tauranga Heritage Collection

Not everyone knows that Masonic Park is named after a hotel . I didn’t until I looked it up. The Masonic Hotel was there for a very long time, more than a 100 years, before it was pulled down in 1993. This was before I was born!

If you visit the park you will see this!
When they were digging in the park a few months ago they found some bricks and stones. These were used to bake bread in a Bakery. It’s good they have kept the stones and bricks where they are.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Katikati's World War One Soldier

This solar-operated moving diorama was made by Kate and Bob MacIntyre of Pahioa in 2009, for a sculpture competition at Katikati, and later purchased for the museum after achieving a second placing.  They collaborated in the design and construction, Kate with her wonderful artistic skills, Bob with his incredibly varied engineering expertise, and called it a "Kinetic Sculpture" for entry purposes.  It has a small motor in the panel underneath the soldier, and when connected to the solar photovoltaic panel (later situated below a skylight in the roof of the museum), the Katikati soldier “marches” to war, or home from war, and the scenes behind him turn to indicate his going or coming.  There’s an “On” switch on the side to activate the motion.

Bob MacIntyre sadly passed away last year, so posting this short video is a small tribute to Bob's irrepressible enthusiasm for any number of projects.  Many thanks to his widow Jocelyn and daughter Kate for sharing their memories.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Memorabilia from the tug Taioma

"Welcome aboard the tug Taioma," signboard from Tauranga District Museum & Historic Village
Courtesy of the Katikati Heritage Collection
Within the Katikati Heritage Museum's collection are many items which fall into the memorabilia category of artefacts, including two pieces which appear to date from the 1970s, when the former harbour tug Taioma was resident at Tauranga's Historic Village and District Museum.

The tug Taioma in Wellington Harbour
Image courtesy of Tyne Tugs and Tug Builders
Built at Aberdeen in 1944, it first saw service with the British Ministry of War Transport as the Empire Jane.  Only three years later it was purchased by the Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand Ltd., who renamed it the Taioma.  Among its exploits was an involvement in the attempted rescue of the ill fated inter-island ferry Wahine.

Taioma Donation Box
Courtesy of the Katikati Heritage Collection
In 1978 it was decommissioned and in March 1979 rehoused at the Tauranga District Museum, where a fee of 50c per person was charged for tours.  This was not  sufficient, it appears, "to offset tug maintenance," as is demonstrated by the somewhat simplified model of the Taioma used as a donations box.

Bob Owens speaking in front of the tug ‘Taioma’ 14 April 1979
Courtesy of Tauranga City Library's Tauranga Memories Kete
In 1999 part of the superstructure and most of the fittings were removed, and the Taioma was scuttled off the southern tip of Motiti Island on 19 March as a diving attraction.

Tyne Tugs and Tug Builders
The Taioma Tug, Tauranga Memories Kete