Friday, 27 February 2015

WW1 : We will Remember Them

Rotorua District Library and the Rotorua Museum WW1 Hero Competition

This library guide provides information on resources relating to New Zealand in WW1 with a list of useful books, websites and databases available at the Rotorua District Library. It is not a complete list but is intended to help you get started with your research. Books about WW1 can be found at these dewey numbers 355's and 940's. WW1 websites and databases can be accessed here.

Come along to the library for one of our weekly workshops for help with the WW1 research competition.
Where:  2nd floor – Information Services
When:   Every Thursday from 4 Feb – 26 March
Time:     3:30pm – 4:30pm

The Arawa were the first to enlist in the New Zealand Army in 1914.

"In Rotorua there were scarcely any but older people, the women and children, every Arawa who could pass the doctor and look fit to carry a rifle and swag went into the camp to train for the great adventure. The age limit was liberally construed. There is a young maori at Matata who enlisted with the Arawa in the 1st Maori Contingent, fought at Gallipoli in 1915 was invalided home where he married an Arawa girl and volunteered for further service abroad when his wife stopped his wandering by informing the authorities that he was only seventeen!"

"The Arawa and the Ngati Kahungunu of Te Wairoa were the first to volunteer to go to war for the British. They were organised into B Company and Platoon's 5 to 8 were shipped out to Auckland firstly on the troop-steamer 'Warrimoo' to Wellington where they took part in a Parade at Newtown Park before leaving for Gallipoli on 15 February 1915"

1st Contingent : B Company, Platoon 5 = Te Arawa ; Platoon 6 = Te Awa-a-te-Atua to the East Coast and Waiapu ; Platoon 7 = Uawa (Tolaga Bay) and Gisborne ; Platoon 8 = Ngati Kahungunu from Te Mahia to Napier and Wairarapa.   

Captain Roger Dansey, whose dash has already been mentioned, himself killed three Turks with the bayonet. An anecdote of his alertness...was narrated by by one of his men long afterwards. "Captain Dansey", he said is as good a fighter as he was a footballer. Once a big Turk jumps up ahead of him he levels a rifle at his head. But Dansey just ducks and goes in for that Turk low down; the bullet goes over his head..."

Excerpts from James Cowan's 'The Maori's in the Great War'

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Discover Rotorua Heritage – Meade Street

Meade St, namesake killed by experimental torpedo

According to the book “Rotorua streets: the stories behind the street names of Rotorua & district” by Philip Andrews, Meade St was named after a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, the Hon. Herbert George Philip Meade (1).

 Born in 1841 in England, Herbert, the 4th son of the Earl of Clanwilliam, had a short but adventurous life. During his navy career, records show he spent time in Jamaica, Australia and New Zealand (2,3,4).

In 1865, he accompanied William Mair, Julius Brenchley and Te Poihipi Tukairangi carrying letters from Governor Grey to Chiefs of the interior North Island and around Lake Taupo. As Meade travelled he wrote about his observations and experiences in journals which were later published as “A ride through the disturbed districts of New Zealand” (5). 

Pai Marire Worship (5)

The title may have had something to do with his capture by Pai Mārire (Hauhau) supporters at Tataroa on 27 January 1865. He was released, later painting a watercolour that depicts the ceremony to decide his fate. This painting features in the recently published book Tangata Whenua (5,6,7).
Meade’s party stayed at Ngae, Ohinemutu, Motutawa and Epiha from the 26th of December 1864 to the 2nd of January 1865 (5). He describes cooking, lounging on warm stones, tattooing, entertainment, a night of public bathing in the lake, the geothermal scenery and the famed beauty of the women of the Ohinemutu area (5).

Ohinemutu Geyser Mokoia Island and Lake Rotorua (5)

1 Meade Street taken from Fenton Street

Meade was killed in 1868 when an experimental torpedo exploded in his workshop (1). A Daily Southern Cross article from Papers Past gives a pretty graphic account of his accident, last words, death and the Coroner’s investigation.
The only explosions around Meade Street are of the nearby Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa (8).

The beautiful building on the corner of Meade and Fenton Streets is the Landmark Restaurant (9). This became a restaurant in 1976 and was originally a private home built by Charles Kusabs (10). Charles imported a Sunbeam car from England in 1908 and established Kusabs Motors (11). He was the first to carry passengers on the “Round Trip” to Te Wairoa and Waimangu (10,11,12).

As well as being the first to negotiate Mount Ngongotaha by car, Don Stafford points out in his book, “The new century in Rotorua”, that Charles Kusabs was expected to negotiate Eight by-laws for “motors” under the Motor Regulations Act, 1908 such as carrying a bell and driving under five miles per hour around corners (11).

1.       Andrews, P. (1999). Rotorua streets: the stories behind the street names of Rotorua & district. Rotorua: Bibliophil

2.       Great Britain: Colonist, Volume XI, Issue 1152, 9 October 1868, Page 4

3.       Fatal accident to Lieutenant Meade, R.N.:  Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXIV, Issue 3504, 8 October 1868, Page 5

4. 1861 England Census [database on-line]. Access Ancestry free at Rotorua District Library.

5.       Meade, H. (1870).  A ride through the disturbed districts of New Zealand. London: John Murray.

6.       Pai Mārire supporters: New Zealand History  

7.       Atholl, A., Binney, J. & Harris, A. (2014). Tangata Whenua: and illustrated history. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books.

8.       Pohutu Geyser Postcard Kete Rotorua

9.       Rotorua Hotels, Motels, Guesthouses  Kete Rotorua

10.   Charles Edmund Kusabs 1872-1948 Kete Rotorua

11.   Stafford, D. M. 1988. The new century in Rotorua: a history of events from 1900. Auckland [N.Z.] ; Rotorua [N.Z.] : Ray Richards Publisher and Rotorua District Council.

12.   Batchelor, J. (1956). Waimangu-Te Wairoa round trip, Rotorua N.Z. Rotorua: J. Batchelor.

This Blog was written by Sandra Quinn 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Discover your Identity : Book Review "Har Gee Chans in New Zealand"

Settlers in New Zealand : Rotorua

New Zealand has been a popular destination for settlers since the mid-1800s and this has meant many different cultures have added theirs to the mix of ethnicity’s in our fair country now.   One of these cultures is Chinese, the following review is about one such family from which 20 young men came then finally settled in New Zealand in the 1930s.

Har Gee Chans in New Zealand : Har Gee Chan’s Reunion Committee 2014 celebrating the arrival of the wives and children in New Zealand 75 years ago / Helen Wong, Maggie Chan, Vincent Chan, Ruth Lam. c2014.
This history of the Chans of Har Gee village, Guangdong, China tells of their arrival in New Zealand going to relatives in these towns Dannevirke, Ohakune, Raetihi and Rotorua. How they travelled back and forth until 1937 when the Japanese invaded China. After this they decided to move their women and children to resettle in New Zealand. 

Follow this link for more information :  Chinese Digital Community