Newsletter May 2022

Good morning members. 

Well your editors and contributors have given us another fascinating Historical Review.  Thanks to all concerned.  Personally I found the “lost” letter about the naming of Kawerau most interesting as it really does point out not to throw potential history away until one thinks about its possible value.  This Review is Volume 70 number 1 which means we have been going for nigh on 70 years. Congratulations.  Your committee have significant plans for the coming October as on 16  September 1952 the late Mr H  (Jack) London called a public meeting to gauge interest in forming what was to become The Whakatane and District Historical Society.  Election of officers occurred on 1 October 1952.

Coming Events

AGM  Thursday 16 June  5.30 at Presbyterian Church, Domain Rd.  

Our guest speaker will be Dot Wilson from the Opotiki Museum.

Many of you would have seen in The Beacon that Dot Wilson from Opotiki Museum has retired. Thanks Dot for all your friendly, enthusiastic work over many years. 

 Refreshments to follow. Please bring a plate.

70th Anniversary Celebrations in October.  Date and venue yet to be finalised.  Guest speaker will be Prof Dame Anne Salmond, the Society’s Patron.  Details will be sent later.

Picnic like Grandma  Glen and Richard are planning another school holiday event.  Details to be confirmed.

Field trip Report

On 22 January we held the second Historic Tour about the Whakatane CBD historical buildings.  This trip concentrated from Pohaturoa along the Strand Extension.  It amazes me what one sees as you walk along looking across the street and slightly up above the cars.

– to Ian Dawson and his team for bringing the 50th celebrations of the Ohope Beach Golf Club and Links at the end of last year. Unfortunately COVID-19 restrictions modified some of the December 2021 celebration plans. However this club is a great example of what a keen and dedicated group of people on a mission can get done. You may have read or heard many interesting stories of the people behind this club. The 19 November 2021 Beacon put out a wonderful 8 page supplement covering much of the club’s history.

– to Sonia Edwards of Opotiki who recently published VALOUR REMEMBERED KAWE MATE WW2 Vol one Opotiki to Raukokore. This is an in depth piece of research regarding this region’s valent young men who did not return from WW2. Thanks Sonia. We look forward to Vol 2.

Sir Wira Gardiner
Many in this region would have recognised the passing of Sir Wira Gardiner on 17 March 2022. To most he was one of the pre-eminent Maori leaders. To me when I attended Whakatane High School at a similar time to Wira, he was one of the senior boys on my school bus from Otakiri, the Whakatane High School Head Boy and RSM of the high school Cadet Corps Battalion.
Sir Wira, of Ngati Awa, Ngati Pikiao, Whakatohea and Te Whanau-a-Apanui descent, was born in Whakatane and attended Whakatane High School before going on to lengthy and distinguished military and public service careers. He also published on many New Zealand military subjects.
Have you been following us on our facebook page? Two of your committee have been developing this recently so that much of what we do, links to our website and product for sale is now available through this medium.

Please anybody out there who wishes Whakatane & District Historical Society to flourish and grow, as we have done for 70 years, we need your commitment. Especially on the committee, some members have resigned and we are getting seriously limited in our capacity to function. New blood is urgently needed. Please put your hand up. See you at our AGM on Thursday 16 June.


Morley West – Vice President
07 3125116.