Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Thames (NZ): Chief Taipari's residences 1868-1870

Sometimes you look at a photo and make it into what you think it should be, rather than looking for other clues and 'truths'. There are not a lot of early photographs of the Shortland area looking towards the Una Hill and dating them can be the next challenge.

View of Chief Taipari’s House & Grounds.
From the album: Views of the Thames Gold Fields; American Photographic Company
Source: Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand Collection
At a quick this glance scene is looking east along Clarence Street towards Chief Taipari's residence on the eastern slopes of Bowen (Rolleston Street). Then you will look closer and see that this is not the house we know as Taipari's, and where is James Mackay's house that should be on the left?

Another view also shows that the Una Hill is relatively untouched from mining, so this in fact makes the photo 1868 before the houses were built. The Daily Southern Cross newspaper holds the answer concerning the house - Chief Taipari had built a home on the hill and then in the early part of 1869, had it replaced with a larger house. This then is the house we recognise in later photographs, and was at the site into the 1950s.

Part of the report on the new  (2nd house) appears in Daily Southern Cross, 19 April 1869:
Conspicuous amongst the private dwellings in course of erection at Shortland stands the handsome dwelling-house just completed to the order of W. H. Taipari, the lord of the soil at this place. The site is the brow of the hill near the Hape, and immediately behind the township, adjoining the handsome residence of Mr. Commissioner Mackay. The first decent dwelling put up at the Thames was erected on this site for Taipari, but it has recently been removed to make room for the present handsome building. Mr. D. M. Beere is the architect, and the model is highly creditable to that gentleman. It occupies an area of 40ft. by 42ft., and comprises ten rooms, with a verandah round three sides, and when completed is to cost some £1,200. The grounds are to be laid out in first-class style, and four or five Europeans are at present employed on their improvement and laying out. The dwelling is approached from the carriageway in Willoughby street, and the private way leading out of Baillie street, the same road likewise leading to the residence of Mr. Commissioner Mackay adjoining. The building has been put up by Mr. Thorpe, the builder of Mr. Mackay's residence, which is a sufficient guarantee of the excellence of the workmanship and superior finish of the building."
Full report at: Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3666, 19 April 1869, Page 4

Using the cottage on the right hand side of the photos, the two residences of Chief Taipari can be readily identified. The top photo has the pre April 1869 residence and the lower photo the post April 1869 house.
Below then, are the adjacent homes of  Mackay (left) and Taipari (right) - post April 1869
So next time you look at an early Thames photo - Stop, look and look again and see what else you can find in the view.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Thames (NZ): Kingsford Smith says hello to Thames 1933

Australian Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was an aviator who set numerous flying records in Australia and other parts of the world.

In January 1933, the people of Thames eagerly awaited the chance to see Sir Charles Kingsford Smith’s world-famous monoplace called the ‘Southern Cross’. In the latter part of the 1920s previous efforts had been made to have Thames included in a visit, but this does not seem to have taken place.
Mayor of Thames, Mr S Ensor tried vigorously to get Thames included in a touchdown visit during the January 1933 New Zealand visit. Alas this could not be arranged, so Mayor Ensor sent a special telegram to Sir Charles at Rotorua.
“Citizens regret Thames cannot be included in your itinerary, and would appreciate your circling above Thames during flight from Waihi to Auckland. A favourable reply would afford great pleasure.” (Thames Star 19 Jan 1933).
To everyone's delight a reply was received: “Pleased to fly over Thames approximately 3 o’clock Friday, 27th instant. – Kingsford Smith.”

The town went into a frenzy of preparation led by Mayor Ensor. The Thames High School grounds were chosen as the suitable venue for the town gathering to watch the ‘Southern Cross’ circle Thames. The word “WELCOME” to be painted in white 20 foot letters across the ground at the school. Thamesites were urged to attend with flags and other emblems of greeting. Also that buntings and flags be flown on businesses around the town where possible.
The big day arrived and an altered schedule meant that the plane did not arrive until just before 5pm 27 January 1933. People had gathered at the Thames High School and other vantage points around the town.
“Sir Charles Kingsford Smith had notified his approximate time of arrival over Thames as 5.15pm; but shortly before five o’clock the machine was sighted coming from the south-east from the direction of Paeroa, and the news quickly spread.  As the big ‘plane, flying low, swept closer into view the majority of residents were afforded their first glimpse of the world-famous “old bus,” as Sir Charles affectionately terms her,

Dipping low over the High School ground and rising sharply to circle over the town, the Southern Cross revealed her graceful lines to the many watchers below, the passengers being distinctly seen waving through the windows of the ‘plane, and the registered lettering, VH-USU, showing up boldly. Amid the cheers from the younger brigade and much hand-waving, Sir Charles manoeuvred his big machine as easily as the smallest Moth, and the impression gained was one of great latent power in the three engines which roared out their response to the welcome from the people of Thames.

A handkerchief fluttered from the side of the Southern Cross, and with a final dip of the wing Sir Charles soared higher and was away once again across the Gulf in the direction of Auckland.” (Thames Star 28 Jan 1933)
A telegram was sent from Sir Charles to Mayor Ensor the following day: “Many thanks for beautiful emblems of welcome, which were sincerely appreciated.”

Maybe amongst your family memorabilia photos you may have a picture of the day Thamesites saw the great Southern Cross fly over Thames?

Monday, April 13, 2015

THAMES NZ: W H Newton, Scout and Headmaster of Thames

For sale today on an auction site, is a scout badge that belonged to W H Newton of Thames. Who was W H Newton? His full name was William Henry Newton and as well as being involved with the Scout movement at Thames, in 1916, he was the headmaster at Central aka Waiokaraka School.

The badge was awarded in 1916.  Newton was in the newspaper on 30 March 1916, This was concerning the recent visit by the Ponsonby Boy Scout troop to Thames. Following that visit it was noted that 30 boys joined the Thames troop.

 In April 1920, Headmaster Newton left Thames to take up the role of headmaster at the Grey Lynn School in Auckland. A farewell was put on by the Baptist and Congregational Church, of which Mr Newton had been an active member of, especially in the area of the Sunday school. It was reported that Newton had been headmaster at the Thames schools for 30 years. In 1906, Newton was appointed headmaster at the Waiokaraka School, at that time he was in the same position at Tararu School.

Auckland Star 19 June 1920
Mr W H Newton, left the town in 1920, having been active in the community, sports, church and the schools of Thames.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thames (NZ): Calendar of the town's history.

New blog page to keep an eye on, it is a work in progress - first step finally taken after years of being on the 'must do' list!  The page can be found in the top right column.

Thames (NZ): 1936 Flood

Even by Thames standards, this was a major flood. Described as a cyclonic storm, which resulted in three deaths, which included a man an Waiomo on the Thames Coast. The street in the photo is Albert Street, looking towards Queen Street at the far right.

New Zealand Herald 3 February 1936

Friday, March 13, 2015

Thames (NZ): Whale at Shell Bank, Parawai 1928

There was great excitement in Thames, whenever a whale was seen or stranded in the firth. On 17 June 1928, a whale attempted to enter the Waihou River, only to be stranded on the Shell Bank where it sadly died. The town flocked to view the great whale, which was claimed by Mr E Dufty of Thames. Sadly another whale also stranded a few days later near the Thames Railway Station.

Thames Star 21 June 1928

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thames (NZ): 1909 Price's Foundry Train

Another proud day for the management and worker of Price's Foundry.

"Members of the firm: Messrs George Price, William Price, and John Watson (on left), Mr Haskins, Government Inspector (looking from window Cab)."
 NZ Graphic, 16 June 1909, p30

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thames (NZ): Views of Early Maori Settlements

Looking for illustrations and photographs of early papakainga, maori settlements on the Thames Goldfields. There are some examples in the following books:
Waihou Journeys by Caroline Phillips
Thames & the Coromandel Peninsula 2000 years by Z & J Williams
Hauraki Contested 1769-1875 by Paul Monin

If you know of others or can direct me to photos and drawings on the net please let me know.

1. There is a Lindauer painting at Thames (NZ): Early Painting by Liardet

2. The drawing below is of the Puriri Mission Station May 1836.

The full drawing is below. The description reads:
Mission buildings and thatched huts with Maori settlement in background, bend of river with canoe and several Maori in the foreground. Hills behind the settlement in the distance.
Inscriptions: Inscribed - Recto - beneath image, lower left: title. Lower right, at edge of image: initials and date.. Puriri was the station of Reverend John Morgan

Source: From the W.N.W. / W.R.W. 1837.. Ref: A-113-001. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22714372

3. Laishley, Richard, 1816-1897 :Maori at home, Thames, near Auckland, N.Z. 1887.    Description: Shows a Maori family in a bush clearing, their houses and domestic animals (pigs), around them. A group sits around a camp fire in the middle background. There is a kete (woven flax basket) in the right foreground.

Source: Laishley, Richard, 1816-1897. Laishley, Richard, 1816-1897 :Maori at home, Thames, near Auckland, N.Z. 1887.. Ref: G-708. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23039683


Thames (NZ): THe House of Hotunui revisited 1880

I have often looked at the photo featured here and just acknowledged that the House of Hotunui was in the distance but that there was nothing else to see apart from the front gardens. High resolution scans have meant that this is far from the truth and yet again a wealth of information can be found on a SECOND LOOK.

The Description given for the photo reads: "View from Shortland (also known as Thames), looking towards Parawai, showing Colonel Wirope Hoterini Taipari's meeting house, Hotonui (completed 1878) at right centre. Photograph taken in 1880 by Daniel Manders Beere."
View from Shortland, looking towards Parawai. Beere, Daniel Manders, 1833-1909 :Negatives of New Zealand and Australia. Ref: 1/2-096137-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23047558
In the foreground of the photo is the area that today is housing and occupied by Thames South School. In this photo is this the large garden area associated with the old Kauaeranga Pa, a place where the reported Kumera and other crops would have been grown.
HOUSING: To the left of the photo is what looks like a shack, on closer look there is even an outhouse like structure, but given this looks like a garden then maybe it is just an implement shed?. Note that the fence completely surrounds this garden area.
Moving closer to the meeting house, the hills in the background of Parawai are a marked contrast to that of Shortland and Grahamstown - which would at this time be ravaged by the effects of mining. The land appears farmed and in set paddocks. No shortage of fencing here!  Also the houses are substantial compared to the miners huts in the northerly parts of the Thames. The rich folk lived at Parawai!!!
HOUSE of HOTUNUI: A closer look at the meeting house, located near the corner of Bowen (later Rolleston Street) and Fenton Street. Later in the 1920s this would be moved to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where it resides today and it is the centrepiece of their Maori cultural display area.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Thames (NZ): Kauaeranga Swing Bridge

The bridge has been gone for many years, but for many the memory remains.