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Saturday 1 November 8:00 a.m.

Leaving from St.. George’s Church, Whakatane, travelling by bus to All Saints Church, Matamata, Waharoa via Peria Wairere Falls,
Robert will give a running commentary on the Musket Wars, Hans Tapsell; the first mission stations including some Catholic Mission Sites of Father Seon.
We also pass sites of the first Maori Parliament.. 

Home again about 6: p.m.

 Transport   50+ people   $25;    less than 50   $45

People can bring their own food and drinks or purchase along the way. 

Book with   Robert Bruere    vicarwhakatane@slingshot.co.nz  or phone 07 3085809

Whakatane & District Historical Society Trip to White Island 27th September 2014
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Whakatane & District Historical Society Trip to the Mataatua Marae Experience 12th October 2014
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Penny Doorman’s presentation to the Society AGM 24 March 2012
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History of the Dolores Cross Project

Cumberland News NZ Graves
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Celebrating 60 Years 1952–2012

Eighty-five members and guests attended the 60th Anniversary luncheon on Saturday 27 October to hear AUT History Professor Paul Moon deliver a highly informative, entertaining and often amusing speech on many of the events leading up to the presentation of the Treaty to assembled Maori Chiefs at Waitangi on 6 February 1840.


Professor Paul Moon speaking to Society members

Visitors came from as far as Masterton, Raglan, Kawhia, Tauranga and Hamilton to join the celebrations. Many had very close family connections to either Jack London or Clive Kingsley-Smith, two prominent members of the Society at the time of its formation in 1952. It was universally agreed that the function was a great success and that speaker Paul Moon was an excellent choice.



The ceremonial cutting of the cake (in the shape of the Lady on the Rock) was carried out by 97 year-old Honorary Life Member Lillian Jordan, ably assisted by 96 year-old Aylmer Haldane.



Aylmer Haldane & Lillian Jordan with the anniversary cake

A copy of Dame Judith Binney’s book Encircled Lands, Te Urewera 1820-1921 was raffled and won by Ailsa McCarthy.

A Synopsis of Paul Moon’s Speech:

 The pre-treaty part of New Zealand’s history has often been ignored as a great many historians tend to focus on what happened after the Treaty was signed. For a more complete history please refer to Dr Paul Moon’s book Te Ara Ki Te Tiriti, the Path to the Treaty of Waitangi

We all know that Captain Cook visited New Zealand in 1769 and whenever he set foot on land, he planted a British flag. By the beginning of the 1800s sealers, whalers and missionaries were regular visitors. By 1814 Reverend Samuel Marsden was expressing concern over ‘wanton acts of oppression, robberies and murders committed upon the persons and properties of the natives of New Zealand’. Later, in 1831 we find a Mr. William Yate petitioning Britain to make efforts to control the unruly whalers, traders and sealers who were having a very adverse effect on the Maori population.

Yates petition was ignored by the London based Colonial Office which held to the official position that Britain no longer had any need for further colonies. Although Mr. Yate was a learned man for the times, his sexuality was in question after he was heard “giggling” in his cabin with two other gentlemen. As a result the Colonial Office chose to ignore what he had to say on the grounds that his personal life impacted on his professional life in a negative way. 

However, in 1833 the Colonial Office made a small concession and appointed a young and unpopular James Busby as the Resident. He quickly solidified his unpopularity by choosing to live at Waitangi at a time when almost all the immigrant population was living at Russell. His demand that he be given 8000 troops was refused and he was largely ineffectual in that he had no budge and no staff or troops to enforce any legal sanction on the unruly and regularly drunk immigrant population. 

In 1835 a Frenchman Baron De Thierry (with a glorious ambition to become a King) arrived back in New Zealand waters having visited in the 1820’s and purchased 800 acres of land in the Hokianga by striking a deal with Hone Heke. Busby’s reaction to this was to notify Britain that a French invasion was imminent and that he must be sent troops to maintain British Sovereignty. Sea passage from Britain to New Zealand at that time took 5-6 months and a return trip with an answer could take 12 months so, as an immediate ‘stop-gap’ measure Busby prepared a Declaration of Independence which was signed by 35 (Northern) Maori Chiefs on 28 October 1835. 

Two years later this Declaration was clearly not succeeding as the members of the Congress of Chiefs were more intent on fighting one another than meeting to discuss matters of sovereignty. 

In 1836 Busby again wrote to the Colonial Office seeking a Treaty with the Maori Chiefs. As always the letter went via the penal colony in New South Wales where the Governor of the day, knowing that the British Parliament and Colonial Office had ruled out a Treaty, and wanting to strangle any career aspirations Busby may have had, held on to the letter giving the British Government time to appoint a Captain of the Royal Navy, William Hobson, (who left school at the age of 9) to visit New Zealand and prepare a report on the situation there. This report arrived in London before Busby’s letter. 

Another to arrive on the New Zealand scene was Edward Gibbon Wakefield. This completely undisciplined ‘entrepreneur’ saw an opportunity to make a sizeable profit by buying up vast areas of land, subdividing it and selling it to immigrants he would ‘ship’ over from Britain. In his earlier years he had aspired to become a Member of Parliament but failure led him to kidnap a 14 year old and marry her in Scotland. He was jailed for kidnapping the girl and formulated much of his grand plan while in jail.

As an illustration of his ‘salesmanship’ he had what he termed ‘Hilltop Surveying’ which meant standing on the top of a hill and every bit of land you could see from that vantage point was the land for sale.  

To add to the evidence of his duplicity, the sale of agreements were drawn up by a New South Wales firm and a whaler was responsible for translating the document into the Maori language. 

Wakefield’s advertising ‘back home’ was equally suspect. Apparently prospective settlers for the Wellington settlement were told that the ‘Natives’ were ‘very kind’, there was an abundance of cheap land, it was a great climate and you could ‘grow bananas’ there. In May 1839 he sent a ship with 250 settlers to Wellington. By this time he had decided he would aim to be the Governor of New Zealand. However, when he learned that Hobson had been asked to prepare a Treaty his New Zealand Company started to worry about the lands he had ‘purchased’ and on 4 January 1840, in Sydney he tried to auction 68 million acres of land (New Zealand on has a total of 66 million acres). 

On 15 August 1839, James Stephens, head of the Colonial Office instructed William Hobson to proceed to New Zealand to sign, as Governor, a treaty with the ‘natives’ using copies of earlier treaties with African countries as a guide. He landed in the Bay of Islands on 29 January 1840 but even his landing on New Zealand soil was delayed because he argued that he should receive a 21-gun salute but was told he could only have a 17-gun salute. Upon his arrival he met William Colenso, told him his plans and asked him to arrange for all the Maori Chiefs as far inland as Kaikohe to attend the signing of a treaty document on 5 February 1840. 

At much the same time he was met by Rev Henry Williams, a resident of 18 years standing and fluent in the Maori language, who was asked to translate the Treaty document into Maori. Busby had offered but was politely told ‘thanks but no thanks’. 

On 1 February William Hobson ‘thought about’ drafting notes. On 2 February William Hobson took sick with ‘paralysis’ (probably syphilis). On 3 February a draft was completed by none other than James Busby. In the afternoon and into the next day there was a constant stream of visitors seeing copies (some say as many as 20) of the Treaty. On 4 February a translation of one of the draft copies (not the original) was completed by Williams who argued that there were some words he was unable to translate into Maori. 

On 5 February the Maori Chiefs assembled and Williams translated English into Maori and Maori into English. At the end of the day the chiefs were told that the signing of the treaty would take place on 7 February but shortly after there was a panic amongst the negotiating

team when some of the Chiefs started to pack up to travel back to their tribal areas and so it was decided that the Treaty would be signed the next day – 6 February 1840. 

Hone Heke was the first to sign the Treaty on 6 February 1840 but later, in May the same year, Heke sworn enemy Kawiti signed the Treaty above Hone Heke’s signature. Soon after, on 21 May 1840, Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson decided that he had sufficient signatures to proclaim British Sovereignty over New Zealand. At that time the New Zealand population was thought to be 2000 European and 150 000 Maori.


Sunday 9 August 2009

For its second field trip of 2009 the Whakatane & District Historical Society visited Rotorua on Sunday 9 August, after the trip had been postponed from 12 July due to bad weather.  After an icy, slippery drive to Rotorua, the party of 19 were met by Bryon Somervell at the Te Amorangi Museum.  After a general introduction from Bryon, the party split up as its size was not well suited to the intimate spaces of the museum buildings.  People explored the exhibits of indigenous logging, as well as steam, industrial and agricultural machinery.  A special feature enjoyed by all was the restored Douslin house and the Sheward Collection of Maori, Missionary and Colonial artefacts.  Bryon remained on hand until lunch time to answer questions.  As it was a Live Day, the static displays were complemented by steam exhibits, a blacksmith’s forge and model train.  The latter was greatly enjoyed by the young-at-heart.


After lunch at Te Amorangi, the party moved to the Rotorua Museum of Art & History where it was met by guide Brian McEntee for an extensive tour of the exhibits, most notably the moving (literally) cinema experience of Rotorua’s volcanic history; the ‘Taking the Cure’ gallery about the building’s previous life as a spa and the stories of the Tarawera eruption.  The group also took in the recently opened roof-top viewing platform, which provided a splendid panorama of the city and lake.  When it came to the scheduled time to leave, one or two car-loads decided to stay on to take a more detailed look at exhibits such as that of the 28th Maori Battalion.

Sunday 3 May 2009

WDHS at Monmouth RedoubtThe
Whakatane Historical Society group explore the fortifications of Tauranga’s Monmouth Redoubt.


On Sunday 3 May, a beautifully clear and sunny day, nine members and guests of the Whakatane & District Historical Society were met at the foot of Mauao (The Mount) in Mount Maunganui by Historic Places Trust archaeologist, Frank van der Heijden.  While meandering up the four-wheel-drive track, Frank pointed out some of the many archaeological features of Mauao and its surroundings, in an area which had been heavily settled in pre-European times.  These included: numerous platforms cut into the hillside for gardens; kumera storage pits; a distant view of the ditches of a large pa on the western side of the mountain and an enormous shell midden, a sure indication that the people had plenty of kai.

The next stop was preceded by a climb up steps from the town centre to Hopukiore (Mt Drury).  The summit of this former pa provided excellent views of the mass of terracing on the slopes of Mauao.  The party descended past the pa fortifications to some very modern terracing, the seating for a 1960s sound shell and then along Pacific Avenue to view the little-known site, nestled into the east side of the hill, of the barracks occupied in 1842/43 by the 80th Regiment, the first British Army unit to serve in New Zealand.

The group then moved to the Robbins Gardens, Cliff Road, Tauranga for a picnic lunch in the sun overlooking the harbour, before exploring the nearby Monmouth Redoubt, near the modern Police Station.  Imagining the site without the present trees and buildings it was clear that the redoubt, as well as the pre-existing pa, had been sited in a superb defensive position.


Next to be visited were the nearby grounds and buildings of ‘The Elms’, formerly part of the Church Missionary Society’s Te Papa Mission Station, sited, once again, on an extensive pa that also incorporated the cemetery overlooking the present harbour bridge.  The group was guided through the two main buildings, the mission house and the separate library, which was built first in 1839 to house Archdeacon Brown’s extensive collection of books. It was made clear that the Mission Station was as much about providing education to local iwi as in promoting Christianity.

The final stop for the group was the Brain-Watkins house, a fine Victorian villa on the corner of Cameron Road and Elizabeth Street, which has much of the original furnishings of the family that occupied it from the time it was built in the 1880s until 1979.  It is now cared for by the Tauranga Historical Society.

Future events will be advertised on this page and in the local Whakatane newspapers


WDHS at Mauao – Frank van der Heijden points out the archaeological features on Mauao to a Whakatane historical Society group.


Warner Haldane,
Whakatane & District Historical Society.
Ph: (07) 308 0215,
Email: warnerh@wave.co.nz


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