Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames Goldfields 150 Opening parade and Gathering - 1 August 2017

*****STOP PRESS UPDATE 18//2017 - Youtube video by LIMBO Studios*****

While the day was overcast, it was easy to think back to what it was like for the first miners who were allowed to settle and mine on the Maori land north of the Kauaeranga River. A trip to Pollen Street at 12.30 pm today (1 August 2017) visually transported you back in time as miners, children and adults dressed in period costume paraded along the streets to meet at the Thames War Memorial Civic Hall for an opening celebration.

Mary Street was lined with classic cars which set the scene for the arrival of the walking parade.
 At 12.30pm the walking parade emerged along Pollen Street -from the north and the south, to merge at the Mary Street intersect, before proceeding to the hall.
Above: Russell Skeet who acted as a story-teller during the performance at the hall. Following are the children from Misaki (our sister city), Japan.

Below: the Junior class from Thames South School, who performed a magnificent line dance and were dressed amazingly.

Above: Members of the Thames Hospital Reunion Committee - a reminder that Thames Hospital celebrates their 150th next November 2018.
Below: The sound of bagpipes welcomed everyone to the event, while Allan Judd, MC for the event (below right), welcomed people to the hall.



Those entering the hall were given a programme and a badge,thanks to Marlene and helpers.

Inside the packed hall, the programme started with a Karakia by Wati Ngamane (Kaumatua, Ngati Maru), followed by Waiata and Kapahaka by South School and Thames High School.
 Followed were sessions on the couch, co-ordinated by MC for the day Allan Judd. Then there were the three entrants in the original song contest, superbly performed by Sean and Andy.
 Next Moanataiari School sang their original school song, and Rosalie came to the stage as a story-teller setting the scene for what Thames was like from the time Captain Cook came to the area.
 Parawai School reminded everyone that they too had a reunion happening at the end of the year to celebrate their 50th year, then performed a variety of dances.
 Children from Misaki in Japan performed an action dance, followed by Russell Skeet who covered the history of the area.
 Stars of the show followed, when the children from South School performed their line dance. Followed by a performance by South School's choir - Somewhere Over the Rainbow was a very fitting choice. Then the children from St Francis School sang the Irish Blessing - a very relevant selection given the number of Irish immigrants who settled in the town when the goldfield opened.

A great start to the commemorations, and may the next 150 days be just as enjoyable.
Congratulations to all involved who made the day possible.

*****WATCH THE PERFORMANCE thanks to LIMBO STUDIOS New Zealand*****