Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Remembering Alice Maxwell

Alice Maxwell in 1938 with visitors Mr G. C. Williams and Mr C. R. Kemp,
standing in the doorway of the library at The Elms.
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection, Ref. 0372/08
Upon the death of Alice Maxwell, The Bay of Plenty Times wrote:
‘…Tauranga has lost a unique and well loved figure. Tauranga’s loss is New Zealand’s loss, for there is scarcely a corner of the Dominion from which someone has not come to view the treasures which The Elms contains and to hear from Miss Maxwell’s own lips vivid accounts of Tauranga’s early history. To pass through the doors of The Elms during Miss Maxwell’s long association with it was to enter another world.’ 26 July 1949.

The ‘Alice Maxwell Memorial Kauri’ interpretation panel
Image courtesy of Fiona Kean, Private Collection
Jump forward seventy years and Alice’s contribution to The Elms and the city continues to be recognised. This time in the form of a gathering to witness the unveiling of an interpretation panel, which highlights the importance of two beautiful kauri trees planted to remember Alice.

Peri Kohu (speaking), Andrew Gregg, Elms Manager, and Board of Trustees Chairperson Ian Thomas, at the unveiling,
24 July 2019
Image courtesy of Fiona Kean, Private Collection
The panel reads:
‘Alice Maxwell who passed away on the 24th of July 1949, lived at The Elms for 62 years. She, along with her widowed mother Euphemia and older sister Edith, dedicated most of her life and resources to preserving the house and grounds as a memorial to Christian work done among Māori in the 19th Century. Following her funeral and burial in the Mission Cemetery, her nephews Grant and Duff Maxwell planted these two kauri trees (one each side of the gate) in her memory. This plaque was unveiled on 24 July 2019, the 70th anniversary of Alice’s death.’
Julie Green, who spoke on behalf of the Maxwell family at the unveiling, 24 July 2019
Image courtesy of Fiona Kean, Private Collection

Members of the Maxwell family with a framed photograph of Alice Maxwell. One of the kauri trees is visible far right. Image courtesy of Fiona Kean, Private Collection

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