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". 


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