Friday, 19 October 2018

New Zealand Aria

The celebrated New Zealand Aria is on again here in Rotorua next week. The annual competition is being held Thursday 25th and Friday 26th October with the finals night on Saturday 27th October. Many locals will remember it as the Lockwood Aria but the competition’s origins go back 72 years to 1946.

The first annual festival was held by the Rotorua Competitions Society from Friday 10th to Wednesday 15th May 1946. The festival included choirs, dancing, elocution and instrumental acts.

Public notice advertising first annual festival. Source: Rotorua Morning Post, Thursday 9 May 1946, p. 1.

In 1946 the Wellington-based judges were Mr. Hamilton Dickson (music – vocal and instrumental), Mr. Barton Ginger (elocution), and Miss Irene Stone (dancing).

Mr. Barton Ginger said ‘the society is to be congratulated on its initial venture, and I trust it will become an annual attraction in Rotorua.’

The Rotorua Morning Post reported in 1947 that the 2nd annual festival saw approximately 50 per cent, more entries than the previous year. The competition has been going strong ever since. 

Public Notice. Source: The Waikato Independent, Monday 3 February 1947, p. 1. Courtesy of Papers Past.

In 1993 the song section formed its own trust and the Aria part of the competition was held as a separate event. The Lockwood Group, which was formed in Rotorua in 1951 by Dutch immigrants, Johannes La Grouw Snr and Johannes Van Loghem, came on as the principal sponsor and the 48th Annual Festival was branded as the Lockwood Aria. 

1993 Aria winner Patricia Hughes, with Daphne Collins and Deborah Kapohe. Source: The Daily Post, Monday 18 October 1993, p. 1.

In 2007 the Lockwood Aria was rebranded as the New Zealand Aria. The 2007 event featured a performance by then 18 year-old Rotorua-born singer Elizabeth Marvelly.

The 2018 Aria competition is being held at the Rydges Hotel. The finals night is at Destiny Auditorium on Saturday 27th October.

2007 New Zealand Aria. Source: The Daily Post, Saturday 3 November 2007, p. B13.

2018 New Zealand Aria. Source: The Daily Post, Saturday 6 October 2018, Entertainment, p. 2. 

With thanks to Rotorua Morning Post, The Daily Post, and Papers Past for the above information and photos.

This was post was written Graeme. 

Friday, 12 October 2018

A look back to October 1895 in Rotorua.

Rotorua Library c.1895 from the Hot Lakes Chronicle. 

Library and Reading Room, Annual Subscribers Meeting, 11th October 1895 in the Institute.

Report as printed in the Hot Lakes Chronicle 16th October 1895.
“Mr C. Malfroy, president, occupied the chair. Mr Malfroy expressed his regret at seeing so comparatively few present, but at the same time signified his delight in meeting amongst the number so many who had been for many years identified with the town”

There follows a reading of the seventh annual report in which a number of concerns are outlined “Your committee very much regret that during the past year no concerts or other entertainments have been given in aid of the Library funds, nor has there been any material receipts from the sale of publications, both of which sources of revenue have been of great assistance in previous years, and taking this into account as well as general financial depression which necessarily reacts on the Institution they have been unable during the past year to order any new books for the Library. They regret this the more, in view of the constant enquiries made by members on the subject, and would earnestly urge on you the duty of individually endeavouring to secure additional subscribers”

The report goes on to say “during the early part of the year the roof of the building was repaired, and your Committee would return their thanks to the Town Board for bearing a portion of the cost… and an application made to the Government for funding to paint the front of the building and repair window frames was granted.

“The quarter acre section formerly occupied by the Government Agent’s office in Arawa Street., has been granted by the Government as a site for a new Library, free of cost, but it is not yet gazetted. It rests with the members, and the general public of Rotorua as to what steps shall be taken to utilise it”

The income for the year is noted as £79 14s 5p and their expenditure is also £79 14s 5p. So no money is wasted!

Later in the report of Mr Malfroy he records the following “in regard to the new Library site he was pleased to find that the Surveyor-General had seen fit to keep all the Government buildings, so far, on the one block. The site set apart was in his opinion, one of the best in the town and he hoped means would soon be forthcoming to build an institute which would be a credit to the place”

The Institute mentioned here is, not the Victoria Institute building into which the Library moves into by November 1898, it is the Library building at Ohinemutu which had been opened officially on 10th April 1889 in what was described as an old building next to the Comet Store. The Victoria Institute was situated on Arawa Street was the next location for the Library, this building also included Rotorua’s first museum. 

Between 1898 and 1940 many additions and changes occurred and on 14 October 1940 the new library in the Municipal Building was opened with approximately 2000 items (books and magazines). The children’s library stayed at the Victoria Institute until the collection was moved in 1941. 
To read an overview of the Rotorua Library history 1889 to 2009, click here

125 year Celebrations, Rotorua Library 

Here are a few Local News and Notes published in the Hot Lakes Chronicle 2nd October 1895:

 “Mr W. Rogers has just received a consignment of prime Canterbury potatoes at his store.”

“The Town Board notify water consumers in arrears with their fees that unless same be paid by the 15th inst. the supply will be cut off”

“The telephone posts for the service between the old and new townships are now being erected, and as soon as the wires are stretched the instrument will be fixed in Mr Lakin’s shop”

“In looking over a map in the Courthouse the other day the eye fell on a place called Ngapepeangaowaiwhakanga, situated on the shore of Lake Okataina. Ngapepe-&c., ought to be utilised as a name for one of our streets.”

“Mr H. Kirk opened the new butcher’s shop which has been erected for him on Fenton Street…. The fittings and general appearance of the shop reflect the greatest credit on the contractor. The walls of the office are of mottled Tawa which bears a strong resemblance to English Oak and the ceiling is of Rimu from Messrs Kusabs yards. The ceiling of the shop, which is very lofty, is composed of alternate planks of black and white varnished Tawa and a pretty pattern of paper covers the walls.”

“…Mr Clarke (C.A.C. Clarke) is a deft manipulator of all that is enticing in the way of harmless ‘refreshers’, the knowledge of which fact opens up a vista of happiness for even the most rabid Prohibitionist during the coming sultry summer months.”

And last but not least J
“The Library Committee handed in an estimate of the cost of renovating the building. A sum of £7 was asked for, but it was explained that this would only meet urgent requirements as three times that amount could be spent to great advantage” 

Moving Day, from our 21 year tenancy of the Masonic Building
to 1127 Haupapa Street. November 1991. 

With thanks to Papers Past for online access to this Rotorua Newspaper.
This blog post compiled by Alison.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Rotorua Bike Festival

Matt Scoles National Downhill  Credit: Alan Ofsoski
Redwoods Coast Credit: Alan Ofsoski
The 1st Rotorua Bike Festival occurred on 8th – 17th February 2013. During the 10 day festival, over 3000 people participated in the 24 festival events. The festival was to be “a celebration of all things cycling, a mix of fun and frivolity – and serious competition”.
Events included Bike polo, Bicycle
Sam Gaze . Credit: Alan Ofsoski - Fotoengine
 Speedway, BMX championship, the Redwoods Coast and the Skyline Sprint Warrior. The first weekend hosted the Bike NZ and MTBNZ Mountain Bike National championships. The final weekend featured the 2W Gravity Enduro.

The 2nd Rotorua Bike Festival ran from 14th-23rd February 2014. Events on the opening weekend included the addition of Bike the Lake, with the option of doing one or two laps around the lake. The Sprint Warrior, downhill mountain biking at Skyline Skyrides, proved popular with riders and spectators alike, as did the Inner City criterium,
Credit: Mike Vincent
racing in downtown Rotorua.  With over 30 events, and riders ranging in age from 2 – 72, the Bike Festival included the general community, getting people out on their bikes.

The 3rd Rotorua Bike Festival, kicked off on the 13 February 2015 with the encouragement to Go-by-Bike to work or school, and then in the evening the opportunity to Ride the Runway at Rotorua Airport! Over 850 people took advantage of the chance to bike on the Rotorua Airport runway, which was followed by time trial/sprint races. Bike the Lake was back, along with BMX championships, National MB championships, the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro and the Redwood Coast among others. A gentler Valentine’s Day twilight ride also featured. This year the Sprint Warrior was missing as preparations were under way for Cranxworks the next month

February 12th, 2016 saw the return of the 4th Bike Festival. Once again there were many favourites from previous festivals such as Bike the Lake, the Runway project (1300 people participated), Tykes on Bikes and Frocks on bikes, along with the usual serious events. Some new events were included such as the Mountain Biker’s Ball, Bike Photo workshops, the Big Bike Film Night  and the Dipper Dash (a girls only fun event). The festival  numbers had doubled since the 1st festival with approximately 6,000 participants.

Conor Mahuika Big Air

The 5th Rotorua Bike Festival, 10th-19th February 2017 once again “included events for all types of bikes and biking enthusiasts”. And the participant figures of 6,500 shows how many of those enthusiasts there are! This year the Runway Project was moved to late afternoon, as a twilight event and included add-ons such as Bike Sheep Dog Trails, Elite Eliminator Race, Open Speed Sprint and a Kids Obstacle race, all accompanied by live music, food, DJs and lots of fun. Instead of the Bike the Lake, there was a Tour of the Valleys road race. Frocks on Bikes were back along with the Big Bike Film night. A Frock n Roll Fashion Show, Ride and Reflect meditative events and an outdoor overnight adventure, Stars, Spokes and Tent Poles, all added to the diversity of the bike festival.

 This year, 2018, the 6th Rotorua Bike Festival is back, but moving to October, running from Friday 19th October to Sunday 28th October. The festival will kick off with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Village Green. The homepage of the Rotorua Bike Festival invites all to “Join us to celebrate the start of Summer with 10 days of festivities, wheels and fun in NZ's very own year-round biking mecca. Once again, there are old favourites and new additions. And running throughout the festival is the free Pedal Powered Scavenger Hunt. The programme of 34 events with dates, venues, descriptions and any costs are clearly laid out. There’s something for everyone including lots of spectator opportunities too. Roll on October!

With thanks to the Rotorua Bike Festival website for the above info and images.

This blog post was written by Trish.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Chinese University Students' Football Tour - Rotorua, 1924


新西兰中文周 New Zealand Chinese Language Week (23 – 29 September 2018) is coming to a close and to celebrate we are looking back at an event from 1924 - the Chinese Universities Association Football Tour of New Zealand.

In 1924 the New Zealand Football Association organised the Chinese University Students’ Tour, which saw them play 22 games across New Zealand, including one game in Rotorua.

In the 1920s, Rotorua had a relatively small Chinese population. In the 1921 Census there were 30 Chinese residents living in the Bay of Plenty of which 14 lived in Rotorua. This event was covered favourably and widely by the media at the time, and drew interest from locals.

Source: Hawera & Normanby Star, 6 June 1924, p. 7. Courtesy of Papers Past.

On the 11th August the Chinese soccer team arrived in Rotorua by rail from Auckland. The team played a game in Rotorua on August 13th before returning to Auckland on the 15th.

The Press Association reported that despite the strong wind and cold rain attendance at Arawa Park was good. The Rotorua team won the toss and had the advantage of the wind in the first half. Despite this no one scored in the first half.

In the second half Kennedy scored for the home team and Lowe scored for the Chinese team. The New Zealand Herald reports that a player named Tai kicked a second goal, while the Press Association reports that a player named Jap scored the second goal. Regardless of who did kick that goal the game ended China 2, Rotorua 1. This was only one of four games they won. They drew six and lost twelve during their 22 game tour.

Another point in the game reported was that during the second half one of the Chinese players was knocked out and a substitute had to be brought on.

Source: The New Zealand Herald, 14 August 1924, p. 6. Courtesy of Papers Past.

While in Rotorua the Chinese team visited many of the thermal sights and enjoyed local Māori performances. The New Zealand Herald reported that the team was ‘delighted with the reception extended to them.’

This was reiterated at the New Zealand Football Association committee meeting where it was decided to write to Mr. M. L. Richards to thank him for arranging the Rotorua part of the tour, and express that the Chinese team ‘much enjoyed the programme of entertainment.’

New Zealand Football Association. [New Zealand Football Association] :Chinese Universities Association Football. N.Z. tour 1924. Souvenir programme. [Chinese Universities v Wairarapa. Masterton. 17 July 1924]. Published by Geo Hunt, Gladding and Co., 24-25 H.M. Arcade, Auckland.. Ref: Eph-A-SOCCER-1924-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23052246

This post was written thanks to Papers Past, a free resource offering access to millions of pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers.

This post was written by Graeme.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Suffrage Centennial Celebrations in Rotorua

Today marks the 125th anniversary, when on the 19th of September 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country to grant women over the age of 21 the legal right to vote.

There are many events being held across the country this month to mark #Suffrage125. This blog post looks back at how Rotorua celebrated the Centennial celebrations in 1993.

Rosemary Michie with a list of local women registered on the electoral roll for 1893.
Source: The Daily Post, September 17, 1993, p. 3

Rotorua hosted a weekend long suffrage programme that kicked off on Friday 17th September 1993 with The Great Suffrage Centennial Debate at The Civic Centre. The debate organised by the Rotorua Toastmasters and Mokoia Jaycees saw Brian Gillespie, Emily Schuster and Daphine Frizzell take the affirmative that women have achieved positive change since the vote, against Johnny Lepper, Anne Mackay and Ben Benfield. The affirmative team won of course.

On Saturday morning there was a chance for women to tackle a new confidence course at the opening of the Banks Challenge Course at the Agrodome. The course was designed by ex-army major and the then director of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Craft Institute John Mark.

Rotorua MP Paul East with Lyn Preston at the Banks Challenge Course at the Agrodome.
Source: The Daily Post, September 20, 1993, p. 2.

A Saturday afternoon garden party was hosted at the Te Runanga tearooms in Government Gardens. Members of the Suffrage committee dressed up in period clothing. The Daily Post reported that Mrs Dorothy Pountney, 100, was the oldest person present. A time capsule signed by those present is kept here at Rotorua Library.

Women's Suffrage Centennial Time Capsule held at Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library.

An interdenominational service was held at St Lukes Church on Sunday evening, where several guests gave accounts of early women settlers to Rotorua.

A suffrage dinner was held that night at the Skyline Restaurant with special guest Dr. Bev O’Keffe, a graduate of Auckland Medical School’s first intake. Betty Mollgaard was also presented with a life membership by the National Council of Women at the dinner.

On Monday evening author Sandra Coney gave a talk and slide show presentation on the history of New Zealand women since the vote to promote her book Standing in the Sunshine: a history of New Zealand women since they won the vote.

Sandra Coney promoting her book Standing in Sunshine in Rotorua.
Source: The Daily Post, September 22, 1993, p. 18.

Local businesses were also encouraged to join the festivities by decorating their windows with the suffrage colours of purple, white and gold.

To mark the Centennial, The New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal 1993 was awarded to women and men who had made a contribution to the rights of women.  545 people received the one-off medal, including nine women from Rotorua. They were Anne Bowie, Inez Haereata Kingi, Areta Koopu, Dorothy Huhana “Bubbles” Mihinui, Christine Shelia Peacocke, Lyn Preston, Emily Rangitiaria Schuster, Elizabeth Marjorie Urquhart, and Rangitamoe Louie Waaka.

The New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal 1993.
Source: New Zealand Defence Force

The Zonta Group of Rotorua, an organisation committed to empowering women through service and advocacy, planted trees in Centennial Park establishing the Suffrage Grove.

Daughters of the Land, Nga Uri Wahine a Hineahuone: a glimpse into the lives of rural women in the Rotorua region 1893-1993 was an exhibition held at The Bath-House Art & History Museum. A book by Joan Boyd that was published to compliment the exhibition.

The Rotorua Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee also published a book Women to Remember, that profiled local women. 

A writing competition ‘Profile of a Memorable Woman of the Bay of Plenty’was run by the Rotorua Writers Group. A compilation of 10 selected entries was published in book form (Memorable Women of the Bay of Plenty).

We have loan copies of both Daughters of the Land and Women to Remember available at Rotorua Library. There is a reference copy of Memorable Women of the Bay of Plenty available to view in the Don Stafford research room at the library.

Memorable Women of the Bay of Plenty, Women to Remember, and Daughters of the Land.

If you have any photos or memories of the 1993 Suffrage Centennial Celebrations please add them to Rotorua Kete, our online community space.

This post was written by Graeme.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Family History- Adoption

Adoption Records; how to access 

With Family History month comes the awareness that for some people their search is that much more difficult because they have been adopted. So this week we’ll look at what resources can be used to locate either birth parents or a child adopted out at birth.
Access the NZ Government website. Click here

Finding your birth parents: Those born in NZ, and over 20 years of age, can request their original birth certificate, which may include birth mother and father.  If the adoption was pre 1968 and you live in NZ you need to nominate an adoption counsellor. To access adoption records, contact an adoption social worker at Oranga Tamariki, giving them a copy of your original birth certificate. They will find your adoption records, giving you details recorded at the time of placement. You may choose to use the counsellor to contact your birth parents or do it yourself.

Sometimes there are vetoes in place. Birth parents may have put restrictions in place. Adoptions after 1 March 1986 can’t have a veto applied.

Finding your birth child: To locate a child placed for adoption you need to contact Oranga Tamariki and ask for a Section 8 form. Once that’s filled in they will try to find the birth child and ask if they wish for their name and address to be given out. If the child is under 20 years of age and has asked for the information to be kept private, you will not be able to access the information. Birth children (pre 1986) may also have placed a veto on their information. Vetoes last 10 years but may be removed or renewed at any time. Working with an adoption social worker means they can tell you if there’s any information at all available.

With thanks to New Zealand Government website for the above information

Rotorua Library has produced a resource titled Finding Your Birth Mother.

As well as online resources, we have some books on adoption topics.

Adoption and its alternatives: a different approach and a new framework New Zealand Law Commission (348.0178 NEW) New Zealand Heritage, 2nd floor

New Zealand Adoption: history and practice, social and legal, 1840-1996  by Keith Griffith (346.734 GRI) New Zealand Heritage, 2nd floor

Ideas for adopted people searching and contacting Rotorua Adoption Information & Services Unit (362.734 ROT) Genealogy Reference, 2nd floor

A question of adoption: closed stranger adoption in New Zealand 1944-1974 by Anne Else (362.734 ELS) Genealogy Reference, 2nd floor

Healing for adults who grew up in adoption or foster care: positive strategies for overcoming emotional challenges  by Renee Wolf (306.874 WOL) 1st floor


  This blog post compiled by Trish

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Genealogy Book Reviews

Book reviews of new Genealogy books, Heritage and Research, Rotorua Library

Manorial Records for family historians: with examples of how to identify and locate your ancestor’s property by Geoffrey Barber (929.341 BAR). This fascinating little book gives an overview of the manorial system under which many of our British forebears lived. As tenants of the manor there were rules and customs expected of them, along with loyalty to the “Lord of the Manor”. The author explains, with examples from his own family, how Manorial records work and how they can be accessed. The advantage for genealogists is the wealth of information held, from church records to lines of descent and inheritances, along with a glimpse into a former way of life.

To trace or not to trace: a family history overview for the curious by Carol Baxter (929.102 BAX).  Particularly useful for those who are just beginning their family history search, this guide is full of humour and cartoons, along with charts and lots of information on how to get started. It discusses information we may already have, such as photos and anecdotal stories, along with discussions on sources family historians use to discover records such as birth, death and marriage certificates, migration records, census papers.

It’s all relative: adventures up and down the world’s family tree by A. J. Jacobs (929.1 JAC) When  Jacobs was approached via email byan eighth cousin of your wife”, he began a journey delving into family tree building. His experiences lead to the interconnectedness of all humans, distant relatives and family reunions. Although not a how-to guide, it could be called a why-to guide. Touching on DNA, websites other than, Jacobs also takes us on journeys meeting family and discovering connections in a readable, enjoyable way.

Further new titles that may be of interest include:
It’s not all online: a guide to genealogy sources offline by Shauna Hicks (929.1072 HIC)

Discover the Poor Law in England and Wales by Paul Blake ( 929.1072 BLA)

MyHeritage…my story: explore the lives of your ancestors and discover your family’s history by Rosemary Kopittke (929.1 KOP)

ScotlandsPeople: the place to launch your Scottish research by Rosemary Kopittke (929.3411 KOP)

Papers Past: New Zealand’s yesteryear newspapers by Coral Shearer (929.1072 SHE)

A beginner’s guide to British and Irish genealogy by Christ Paton (929.1072 PAT)

DNA for genealogists by Kerry Farmer (929.1072 FAR)

Australians in peril: tracing your World War Two Australian military ancestors by Neil C. Smith (929.1072 SMI)

The Genealogy do-over workbook: get your genealogy and family research back on track and still have fun by Thomas MacEntee (929.1072 MAC)

The Family Tree Cemetery Field guide: how to find, record, & preserve your ancestors’ graves by Joy Neighbours (929.1072 NEI)