Saturday, 28 October 2017

Rotorua Maori Choir c.1936 and the Rotorua Maori Musical Society c.1940

Music in Rotorua from the 1920's-1940's

·         In 1928 a Rotorua Amalgamated Society of Musicians was in existence and performing monthly concerts for locals.

·         In 1936 a Maori Choir Company was formed. 

Excerpt from the Rotorua Morning Post, 9th September 1936

A public company ‘to exploit Maori music, Rotorua Maori Choir Ltd. To which objection was raised when the proposal was placed before the Rotorua Borough Council in July, has been registered in Auckland with a capital of £100, in £1 shares… The objects are stated to be “to promote and develop Maori music, singing and entertainment by the formation of choirs to be properly trained to give concerts and entertainments in New Zealand and abroad; to make gramophone records; and to arrange for the services of a qualified teacher of voice production”.  The subscribers are S.H. Hay, M.H. Hampson, with 13 shares each; E. La Trobe Hill, H. Bertram, R.A. Gardner, F.M. Boord, D.W. Steele, 12 shares each; A. Brown, L.C. Ryan 6 shares each; R. Ratema, L.R. Morrison, 1 share each’

  • Guide Molly along with Deane Waretini, were foundation members of the Rotorua Maori Choir.  The choir was made famous due to Mr Gil Dech, noted pianist and conductor, who ‘superintended the making of gramophone records of the choir’ c.1929,  He was also  'the man who made the Rotorua Maori Choir famous throughout the world through the medium of those gramophone records'.  R.M.P 27.4.1937. The choir was disbanded by the time this article was published.  To read Guide Molly’s Obituary, see Don Stafford’s Biography Folder, page M82. 
·         By mid-1940 a Maori Musical Society was formed ‘to promote and preserve in Rotorua’ by Guide Molly (Mere Te Mauri Meihana) who was a trained singer.

Excerpt from Rotorua Morning Post 13th June 1940 
The chief aim of popularising a musical tradition that is both authentic and progressive. At the same time the society will take on interest in legends, history, poetry, and crafts of Maori culture’.  Their first production as a ‘patriotic effort Alfred Hill’s opera “Hinemoa”. It is understood that Mr Hill himself has expressed his willingness to come to New Zealand and conduct the opera’.

Published in the New Zealand Herald 16th October 1940.
Thanks to Papers Past for this article.
Officers of the society were appointed, these being: Patron Mr M.H Hampson; President Mr R. Morrison; Vice-Presidents,  Mr L. Kingi, Mrs M. Anderson, Mr A. Hill ; Secretary Mr P. Munro; Committee, Mr H. Gordon, Mr H. Haupapa, Mrs F. Mitchell, Guide Rangi, Mrs M. Eparauna; Treasurers,  Mr W. Watson and Miss F. Mitchell.

It is unclear how many of the above people performed “Hinemoa”. We know from the R.M.P of 27th April 1937 that Guide Molly did.

The Rotorua Morning Post reported that “Two officials of the Auckland Operatic Society… travelled here especially to hear the Maori Musical Society at a rehearsal of “Hinemoa” which will be performed early in the New Year” and on the 20th December 1940 the R.M.P published the following “Advice has been received by the Maori Musical Society, that Mr. E. Hill, brother of Mr Alfred Hill the composer of “Hinemoa” will produce the opera for the society”

Further articles were published on 4th January 1941, 11th January 1941, 4th February 1941, 18th May 1941 and 23rd October 1941.

With Thanks to the Don Stafford Collection Arts & Biography Folders for the above information.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Rotorua Arts : Music 1890's to 1900's

Rotorua Music & Musicians c.1892-

The Rotorua Brass Band was formed c.1892 and consisted of:  J. Munro, Bandmaster and Clarinet; F. Samson & E.R. Webbe, 1st Cornets; W. Dansey & C. Griffiths, 2nd Cornets; W. Young, 3rd Cornet; C. Clarke,  Alto Horn; J.W. Webber, 1st Tenor Horn; W.A. Williams, 2nd Tenor Horn; T. Samson, Baritone; Joseph Munro, Euphonium and R. Wake, Bombardon.   Information courtesy of Bay of Plenty Times 12th October 1892, pg. 2, see Papers Past to read the full article.

Don Stafford's records show that the first public performance occurred on St Andrew's Day 30th November 1892, and was a Picnic organised by the band members as a fundraising event on Mokoia Island.

This advertisement appeared in the
Hot Lakes Chronicle on 26th February 1896,
the full page can be viewed on Papers Past.
The band changed since it's formation to include men from Ohinemutu and in 1895 men from Whakarewarewa approached J. Munro to join also. Due to the number of Maori members Mr Munro tried to rename it the Arawa Brass Band, however the Town Board objected to this because the donated monies for instruments had come from the towns people for the Rotorua Brass Band. Instead as you can see from the advertisement above the name was changed to "Rotorua Amateur Brass Band.

By the end of 1895 a Maori band was formed, in addition to the regular Rotorua Brass Band and was referred to as the Arawa Brass Band. The photograph below of the Rotorua Maori Brass Band is in Don's words "probably the original group"

This photograph of the 'Rotorua Maori Brass Band' was published in the
Auckland Weekly News on  8th May 1902.
With thanks to the 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries', for the above photograph.
Other Brass Bands were also in existence around 1896-97, the Tuhourangi Brass Band made the news in the Hot Lakes Chronicle of 12th December 1896 and 2nd January 1897.  The Whakarewarewa Brass Band also made an appearance on 22nd December 1897 in Tauranga. Whether these two were one and the same is unclear. 

For further information on our musical past you can read Don Stafford's "Founding Years in Rotorua" and "The New Century in Rotorua". 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Rotorua Arts and Crafts

Rotorua's Art Scene 1980s onward

Te Arawa Collective Artists Trust
Te Arawa Maori Trust, Pukuatua Street designed and painted by Alan Rikihana only finished c1983 - Obliterated by new shops built on that wall story in Daily Post,   26.5.1984, 5.12.1984, 4.1.1985. The top part of the mural can still be seen on the wall of this building, most of which is untenanted. 
Was this Rotorua's first mural on a building? 

Mural on the front walls and ceiling of the Telephone Exchange DP 18.7.1985 also by Alan Rikihana, Jo Rikihana and Wayne Prue.

The Mural on the Police Station by painted by artist Dave Roberts in Daily Post 21 May 1987.
Source - Don Stafford File:  Arts 1984 p. 3 & 14, 1985 p. 1, 16, 24-27. 

Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua, taken 21 May 2012.
FestivArt (Rotorua’s Bi-ennial cultural festival)  1st March 1984 featuring the Aramoana Maori Fashion Pageant, performances by NZ Ballet, Gary McCormick and Hammond Gamble and a showing of rare NZ Films. Festival ran for 4 days.  
5th March 1986 held for 2 weeks, see DP 04 Mar 1986
Source: Don Stafford File: Arts, 1986 pg. 4-6.

FestivArt 88 was held on the first weekend of April and ran for one week. Featured entertainment was Royal New Zealand Ballet, Limbs Dance Company, a screening of rare films of Rotorua from the New Zealand Film Archive, the National Golden Clef Awards, Auckland Opera Quartet, an evening with comedian Margo O'Mahoney, Northland Youth Theatre production and Schola Musica. Along with lunch time concerts at St Luke's, evening concerts by Rotorua's top bands at the Band Rotunda and several schools held street festivals in Tutanekai Mall.  See Daily Post 30th March 1988 pg. 26 for full story.

Was there a FestivArt in 1990, if so when was it held and does anyone know when this festival ceased?. Email us at Heritage & Research

   Lakeland Progressive Arts Society  c.1996-2003
Formed April 1996 in Daily Post Weekender, 4 Apr 1996 p. 8 

'New arts society for Bay of Plenty artists'  
A new arts society is being established in Rotorua this month by a collective of artists in the Bay of Plenty. The Lakeland Progressive Art Society is holding it's first general meeting on April 10 in Wohlmann House and organiser Shana Ridell, says "their visual arts group promises to be the most exciting thing that has ever hit the Bay of Plenty for aspiring artists or established professionals. Hopefully it'll be written about one day in the art history textbooks of New Zealand"

Other stories : Weekender 16 Jan 1996 p.4, 28 May 1996,  17 Apr 1998, Weekender 9 Oct 1198, p.4, 25 Nov 1998 p.12 exhibition in Library. Jan 1999 Educational Suppl  pg.3, Apr 1999 p.4, Weekender 6 Apr 2001.
Source: Rotorua Library, Daily Post Index.

Art in the Park 1998- present
An annual event that began with the first, held 14th February 1998.  In DP 14/2/98 p.2, 16 Feb 1998 p.1, 19 Feb 1998 p.1. Source: Rotorua Library, Daily Post Index.
The event is held at the Government Gardens every February.

Excerpt from the Daily Post 14th February 1998, p.2
'Art and music galore at park event' by Abigail Caspari
'There will be arts and music galore at Rotorua's first Art in the Park at Government Gardens from 10 am to 4 pm tomorrow. Member of the Rotorua Community Arts Council and one of the organisers, Joan Minty, said "the idea if the free Art in the Park was first broached a year ago" The aim of the day, which Joan Minty hopes will become an annual event, is to give artists the opportunity to show off their work with several demonstrating their talents. It will also give Rotorua residents the chance to check out some of the city's artistic talent'

R.A.V.E  2002-renamed The Arts Village
Daily Post 29 Nov 1996 p.3, 4 Feb 1997 p.2, 26 Aug 1997 p.1, 28 Aug 1999 p.20, 21 Sep 1999 p.3
18 Mar 2000 p.3, 02 Aug 2000 p. 1, 13 Sep 2000 p.3 Opening 16 Nov 2002 by Steve Chadwick.
Source: Rotorua Library, Daily Post Index.

Excerpt from Daily Post 29th November 1996 p.3
'Arts village for Rotorua' by Toni Skiffington.
'An arts village may be set up in Rotorua and an arts worker employed in the city following the go ahead from the Rotorua District Council to investigate these options'

Wohlmann House becomes the Rotorua Arts Village - 2002.
Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua.
Taken December 2012 by Alison Leigh

Friday, 6 October 2017

Rotorua Arts: a brief history 1946-1980

The Beginning for Rotorua Artists 

Rotorua Society of Arts 1946-1980.
Formed by Dr W. S. Wallis in October 1946 – Excerpt from report by Debbie Glasgow for the Community Arts Council, Aut., 1985.

Foundation member’s held meetings in private homes at first to discuss and assess their latest work.  Then in the Occupational Therapy room at Queen Elizabeth Hospital where Dr Wallis was the Medical Superintendent at the time. Exhibitions were held annually and displayed in the old St Luke’s Hall, the Ritz Hall and St John's Hall etc.

They also held outdoor exhibitions on Fenton Street around the P.R.O on wire netting fences.
Art festivals were held 1966, 1967, 1975, 1976 & 1978.

After Doctor Wallis died in 1957, the group held together and continued to stage annual exhibitions until 1980, when they were forced into recess due to a lack of active support.  The collection of 58 paintings, held by the group was gifted to the New Rotorua Art Gallery in the Tudor Towers north wing.

Other events run by the Rotorua Arts Society:
Arts Ball 1963-1965 in Rotorua Photo News 14th Dec 1963, pg. 37-39 ; 1st August 1964 pg.13-15 & 5th July 1965, pg. 24-25.

Annual Arts Ball in Rotorua Photo News 14th Dec 1963, pg.38
Photographer Michael Burton

Weekend Art Class in Rotorua Photo News, 5th Jul 1969, p.24-25, and Rotorua Arts Society Competition – Winner 27th Sept 1969 pg. 68.

Other Arts & Artists: see Chronological order in Don Stafford’s 'Arts' folder.  
  • Rotorua's first private art gallery; 'Scholes' at Whakarewarewa opened by the Director of the Auckland Art Gallery, Mr Peter Tomery, in Daily Post  23.2.1963 
  • Public Library held art exhibitions also. In Daily Post 13.11.1959 - Italian art & books ;   Daily Post 31.8.1965 - Children's art competition.
  • New art group 'Studio One' formed for those under 26 yrs, in Daily Post 13.4.1966
  • Rotorua Arts & Crafts Club formed, in Daily Post 25.6.1975 p.22
  • Official opening of the new Art Gallery in Tudor Towers, in Daily Post 12.10.1977; John Perry appointed as Curator 5.9.1978. See the Daily Post index on the Rotorua Library online Catalogue.
  • Rotorua District Community Arts Council formed, in Daily Post 6.7.1978           
Sources: Don Stafford File: Arts pg. 1-3, 1946, 1949, 1964 (1 & 4), 1966, 1967(3), 1973 & 1980. Doctor W. S. Wallis - Events 1957(1) and BIO W7-8e which contains his Obituary & articles from Art NZ v.13, 1979, p. 36-39 and v. 22 Summer 1981/2, p.34-35 by M.N. Day.

Daughter:  Mrs Ynys Fraser – NZ Herald 5th June 1987 – exhibition of Dr Wallis’s work at Rotorua Art Gallery.                                                                                                                                                                                     
More information about Dr Wallis can be found in Don Stafford’s Folders - Medical 69; Town 204-5; and War 1945(1).

Rotorua Photo News 1963-1969, Arts Ball.