Friday, 28 December 2018

Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo: the early years

When Rodeo was...

"The Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo Association was formed in 1964 and the inaugural rodeo was held in  April 1964. 

The First ever Rodeo at Rerewhakaaitu :

"This was fitted in at the end of the regular circuit and attracted many top-riders who were anxious to pile on some points for the National Championship. Over 2,000 people attended which is pretty good for a country show" Rotorua Photo News, 9 May 1964, page 53.

9 May 1964 Photo News p.53
From the above photograph it looks like all the cowboys were in the ring together, including the one riding!  Just a little risk to life and limb!

Just one of the other Hazards! in Rotorua Photo News 9 May 1964 pg 53.

Photo of Susan O’Neill.  Caption says, 'her father, is the president of the Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo Assn.'

Rotorua Photo News, 9 May 1964 pg.57
Three years on and the sport was becoming more and more popular... 

Daily Post, 6 January 1967 and then...
... they lost. Daily Post 7 January 1967 

Phew, that was close!  in Rotorua Photo News 10 Feb 1967 pg.2

"Rerewhakaaitu is just another stop on the rodeo trail that over summer sees maybe 300 riders, both men and women, compete in 35 rodeos, scattered all over the country"  from "Dances with horses" by Mark Scott in NZ Geographic, Issue 21, Jan-Mar 1994.  Read the full story here

In 2002, Life Membership was awarded to Sue & Merv Church, Pat Dale and Alby Schuster.  Mr Mervyn T. Church was award an O.N.Z.M for services to the sport of Rodeo in the 2003 New Year Honours List" from 'Pupils, pastures & pine trees' by Rerewhakaaitu District Reunion Committee, c2003.

Rerewhakaaitu was also 10 years young in 1964.
Daily Post, 23rd April 1964, pg.8

The Rerewhakaaitu Rodeo has been held every year since this first one and despite country wide disapproval of rodeos in general, the Rodeo will be held again on 26 December 2018 at the Lake Rerewhakaaitu Domain.

This Post is by Alison.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Christmas Lights Spectacular

Christmas lights are twinkling across Rotorua as part of the 20th annual Christmas Lights Spectacular.

The Christmas Lights Spectacular is run by Professionals McDowell Real Estate, which started in 1911 when Thomas McDowell and his son moved to Rotorua and opened a general store and McDowell and Co ltd, Land Agents, on the corner of Tutuanekai and Eruera Streets,

The first competition, which was held in 1998, attracted 22 entries in the houses section, 12 businesses, and four streets. The Riley family won first prize in the houses sections with a display featuring about 700 bulbs. Not Just Books won the business section, and Larch Street won the streets section.

Last year there were 23 registered houses. Pat Ashton (known as Nana Pat) won for the second year in a row.

She offered Christmas cake and shortbread to visitors last year. She estimated that she made at least 12 Christmas cakes and more than 90 batches of a dozen shortbread biscuits. The then 78-year-old told the Rotorua Daily Post that she tries to hang most of the decorations herself.

Pat Ashton's Christmas Lights display 2017. Credit: Rotorua Daily Post

Pat Aston with 2018 Christmas Display. Credit Rotorua Daily Post

This year voting was open to public from the 4th to 14th of December via the number of likes on the Facebook or Instagram photo. 

32 Stafford Rise received first place winning $1,0000, 2nd place winner 51 A Holland Street received $700, and 77 Homedale Street won $300 for third place.

1st Place - 32 Stafford Rise. Photo credit: Professionals McDowell Real Estate
2nd Place - 51A Holland Street. Photo credit: Professionals McDowell Real Estate
3rd Place - 77 Homedale Street. Photo credit: Professionals McDowell Real Estate

This post was written by Graeme. With thanks to information from Rotorua Daily Post and McDowell Professionals Real Estate.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Rotorua at Christmas Time, 30 Years Ago

Christmas 1988

As Christmas nears once more I thought it would be fun to look back 😊 
Daily Post, 23rd December 1988.

Can you remember when :

Your holiday movies were at the Odeon Theatre and the Majestic Theatre.

Your Christmas dinner of Roast Lamb leg, didn't actually cost you and arm and leg.

You could take your Christmas visitors to see the new Water Organ in the Orchid Gardens.

Daily Post - December 20th, 1988 pg.1

Or in the wet weather you could rent a video or two from DIC.

Your holiday snaps could be developed in 1 Hour!.

A photo of your little one on Santa's knee was worthy of a space on the front page of the Daily Post.

Daily Post December 24th, 1988 pg.1

Geyser Court had many interesting shops and a cafe.

You could buy a house and be a landlord for under $100,000. 

At the Stock Cars the entry fee was $8 per adult and children for free if with an adult. BUT Unescorted Children had to pay $3 entry fee.  -- Huh, Unescorted Children, really!  

Your Holiday weather forecast was for a big storm and gale force winds. Known as Cyclone Eseta, We copped the tail end of the cyclone but it still caused 60 mm of rain to fall here in the 24 hours to on the 29th of December. Campers flocked to the shops because there was nothing else to do!

What else happened in 1988? 

  • Sophia Street residents were evacuated from their homes as steam vents appeared in their lawns.
  • Father Takuira Mariu, of Rotorua, was appointed as the country's first Maori Catholic bishop.
  • Alpine horns were heard playing in Tutanekai Mall
  • Susan Devoy won her fifth successive British Open title at Wembly
  • Rotorua Round Table donated a Cot Death Monitor to the Rotorua Hospital
  • The National Speedboat Championships at the Blue Lake 
  • New Zealand's longest serving police woman, Senior Constable June Berry of Rotorua retired.
  • An ancient .22 calibre pistol was stolen from the Rotorua Museum.
  • The  NZ Maori Arts & Crafts Institute (Te Puia) staff went on strike over work-related conditions.
  • Rotorua Maori Affairs staff were 'stunned' by the proposed abolition of their department.

You can reminisce along with us here at the Library any day! The Heritage & Research Area on the 2nd Floor has all the issues of the Daily Post on microfiche and film continuously from 1931-2018.  

See our list of available titles and dates for the Rotorua Newspapers here

Front cover of the Christmas Menu for the Denbies Guest House.
Courtesy of Mrs B. Reid

This post written by Alison

Friday, 7 December 2018

Christmas Music Celebrations in Rotorua

When I think of Christmas, I always think of the carols especially that have been part of my Christmas experience. I remember going carolling, usually on the back of a truck with a Salvation Army band accompanying. So this year, I've chosen 2 events that have been around a while in Rotorua, and are still going strong. This is only a short summary. I hope you are able to take the opportunity of hearing and being involved in one or both of these events this Christmas season.

Rotorua District Choir

Beginning as The Rotorua Chorale Society in 1960, the first Christmas concert was the “Prom Concert” - Carols in the Bath House. In 1962 the name changed to Carter Chorale which continued till 1989 at which time the name changed to The Rotorua District Choir. Every Christmas, covering a range of venues such as Tudor Towers, Soundshell, various churches, the Civic Theatre, the Council Chambers and Galleria and several of the Resthomes, the Choir has consistently offered to the community an occasion to hear and participate in the music of Christmas. The music has always been a mixture of classical, traditional, folk and contemporary.

Rotorua District Choir, previous years posters

This year’s Christmas Carol Concert will be held at St Luke’s Church on 7th December, 7pm and Saturday 8th December, 2pm.

To find out more about the Rotorua District Choir, see Our spirit sang all day: the 50 year history Rotorua District Choir by Dianne Estcourt 993.423 EST, held in both the New Zealand History & Travel lending collection or in the Don Stafford Room. Applications to join the choir can be found here

Carols by Candlelight

In 1992 The Geyserland Lions Club introduced the first Carols by Candlelight. By 1994, 3000 people were attending. Beginning in 1995 were several years of Midnight Magic, which began with Carols by Candlelight at Kuirau Park, followed by fun activities and shopping in town. A decorated Christmas trail guided folks from the park into town, or they could catch a double-decker bus. Numbers attending Carols by Candlelight rose to approximately 6,500 by 1999. A couple of years ago the Geyserland Lions Club combined with Rotorua East Lions and they jointly decided to continue with the free family event.

Candles by Candlelight in Kuirau Park 1997 and 3 year old Benjamin Cocker at Midnight Magic

Evelyn Falconer with  2 year old Matthew Ennor at Candles by Candlelight 1997

4 year old Laura Evans-Kemp with her aunt Carrol Whyte at the 1999 Carols by Candlelight

This celebration of Christmas will commence at 7 pm on Friday 14 December at Kuirau Park and will finish around 9:30 pm. The programme will feature the Rotorua Symphonic Band and local choirs and entertainers led by soloist and choir conductor, Evelyn Falconer. Paul Hickey from Classic Hits will MC the evening. Candles will be lit around 8:50 pm. Candles will be available for sale, with the proceeds going to the Hospital Chaplaincy. Vendors will be selling hot food, and Hospice will have a Tree of Remembrance.

Thanks to Margaret Callaghan from the Rotorua District Choir, and Rotorua East Lions for information and pictures. Other photographs from Daily Post fiche held in the library. This blog written by Trish

Friday, 30 November 2018

Book Reviews for new & related to World War 1 items

Kiwis at War series: This series of Teen books, written by popular New Zealand authors, gives a fictionalised overview of the First World War and the involvement in all aspects of it by Kiwis. Although each book is written by a separate author, characters slip seamlessly between the different books, bringing the characters to life. Don’t let the Teen label put you off – these are a great read!

1914: Riding into war by Susan Brocker, follows Billy and his best mate Jack as they join the Mounted Rifles Regiment along with their horses. The story begins with the difficulties encountered in keeping their horses alive and healthy during the sea voyage from New Zealand to Egypt, and then the eventual move minus their horses to Gallipoli.

1915: Wounds of war by Diana Menefy, is the story of Mel and her cousin Harriet, who join the NZ Army Nursing Corps. They set sail for Egypt then serve on Hospital ships involved in caring for wounded soldiers from Gallipoli. Letters flow between home and the ships, nurses on the different ships, giving insights into conditions, workloads and even shore leave.

1916: Dig for victory by David Hair. When Leith from Otago learns that the Mounted Rifles are to be combined with the Maori soldiers into the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion, he’s not happy, especially as they’re to be digging trenches! As well as dealing with a bullying Sergeant, Leith becomes friends with a young Maori soldier, Tamati, and we get to meet some famous names. Together they deal with the dangers and horrors of building trenches in France, and then with a treasonous officer.

1917: Machines of war by Brian Falkner. New Zealander Bob Sunday's story opens in La Bellevue, France, where he is bring driven to the RAF aerodrome to begin his posting as an observer/gunner. Disturbed by a strange throbbing sound, he and his fellow recruit realise German bombers are headed to the aerodrome. The story unfolds, revealing life as part of a flying squadron, where young men fought in the air, often with a short flying career.   

1918: Broken poppies by Des Hunt. Henry Hunt, a Kiwi soldier is close to enemy lines in the trenches on the battlefields of France. When he rescues a little terrier dog, Henry faces a disciplinary hearing. To his relief, Poppy is allowed to stay, for along with comfort for the soldiers (and a belief in their safety while with them), she’s a good ratter and hunter.  Once again, we are exposed to descriptions and emotions of a hellish time where many were broken.

An ANZAC in the family: Private McAlpine of the 4th reinforcements by Sherryl Abarahart 940.412 MCA, Reference only

Expat New Zealander Sherryl Abrahart has extensively researched the story of her uncle Private Leslie McAlpine, who served in the 4th reinforcements during the First World War. He survived the battlefields of Gallipoli and the sinking of the Marquette, but was tragically killed in action on the Western Front on the 8th July 1916, aged 19. He is buried at Cite Bonjean Cemetery, just outside of Armentieres.

The softcover book also features over 60 black and white photographs, as well as maps, digitised newspapers clippings, military records and other ephemera from the time.  

Listener, 10 November 2018
An article on page 28 mentions lack of understanding for medical personnel on their return to New Zealand and the ignorant attitudes of the public to their work as stretcher bearers.

Closer to home, on page 35, there is a fascinating article by Sally Blundell concerning a young Te Arawa soldier, Winiata Rewi Taphiana (Tapsell), and his part at Le Quesnoy, the place of New Zealand's famous victory.

Other recommended World War One titles

Broken branches: New Zealand families who lost three or more children in the Great War by Josh Scadden 940.467 SCA, DSR Reference only

The Bulford Kiwi: the kiwi we left behind by Colleen Brown 940.393 BRO, NZ Lending

Facing the front: New Zealand’s enduring first World War by Gavin McLean 940.393 McL, NZ Lending

Gallipoli to the Somme: recollections of a NZ infantryman by A Aitken 940.48193 AIT, NZ Lending

HMAS A.E.I’s Kiwi soldier: John Reardon – one of the first 2 New Zealanders to become submariners in 1914 by Gerry Wright 359.93 REA, DSR Reference only

Heroes of Gallipoli: gallantry of New Zealanders on Gallipoli by Richard Stowers 940.426 STO, DSR Reference only

Jack's journey: a soldier's experience of the First World War by Jack Pryce 940.48193 PRY, Lending

Make her praises heard afar: New Zealand women overseas in WWI by Anne Tolerton 940.3 TOL, NZ Lending and DSR Reference

New Zealand Methodist Chaplains and Ministers at war: the First World War through their eyes by Allan K. Davidson 940.478 DAV, NZ Lending

100 years New Zealand Military Nursing: New Zealand Nursing Service - Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps, 1915-2015 by Sherayl McNabb 940.475 McN, NZ Lending and DSR Reference

Recovery: Women's Overseas Service in World War 1 by Kay Morris Matthews 940.3082 MOR, NZ Lending and  DSR Reference

The Western Front: a guide to New Zealand battlefields and memorials by Ian McGibbon 940.427 McG, Genealogy Reference only

Friday, 23 November 2018

War quilts

Anzac quilts

Te Aka Mauri is fortunate to have been lent 2 quilts made by Tracey Shepherd to commemorate the end of the First World War.

The first of these is titled Toward the Light. ..When you study this quilt you can see at the bottom the blood stained, barbed wired waters and beach. This was created by dyeing the fabric. The dull colours speak of the war-scarred ground, burnt out trees are visible. Parts of this quilt are created using old war uniforms. You can see a pocket with the blood-stained lace of his wife/sweethearts handkerchief which he carried close to his heart to remind him of home. The fabrics lighten as they rise to softer browns, and pale greens. Eventually fields of poppies, under which so many lay, appear, followed by the blue yet stormy looking sky, symbolising the end of the conflict and beginning of peace. 

The second quilt, Forgotten Son, is more personal. In the upper half of the quilt is a fabric photograph of Jesse Rogers, the great uncle from Oamaru who headed off to WW1.  Again, the colours of the ground hold images of conflict along with scattered poppies. Again, pieces of army uniforms and lace are used. To the right is Jesse’s oak tree. Jesse was killed 3 months before the end of the war and is buried in France. The town of Oamaru planted an oak for each of the local soldiers who perished in WW1. Underneath each tree is a cross with the soldier’s name. 

These quilts will are on display on the 2nd floor of Te Aka Mauri, near the Discovery Space/ Heritage and Research area for the month of November. Please come and view the quilts and other items, such as old newspapers announcing Armistice, that are also on display.

Thanks to Tracey Shepherd for lending the quilts for display. This post is by Trish.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Brave Hearts Exhibition

Brave Hearts: The New Zealand Cardiac Story is a temporary exhibition currently in Jean Batten Square in front of Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri.

The exhibition is developed by the Auckland Medical Museum Trust, with support from Auckland University of Technology. It explores the pioneering work of New Zealand’s heart clinicians. The interactive displays explain how the heart works, investigates heart disease and explores the stories of New Zealand’s role in the evolution of heart surgery.

New Zealand's first heart transplant - a Rotorua connection

In 1987, a Rotorua accident victim became the donor for New Zealand’s first heart transplant operation.

24 year-old Rotorua man Robert ‘Bob’ John Cobcroft was seriously injured when he hit a dog while riding his motorbike on Te Ngae Road on the evening of Monday 30th November. He was transferred to Waikato Hospital on Tuesday and was declared ‘brain dead’ shortly after admission.

Around 4.30pm that day the doctors asked the family to make the decision if his heart could be used. A close friend Miss Kerry Boielle told The Daily Post that “Bob was a very special person – he would have given his life to save another person.”

Mr. Cobcroft’s heart was removed just before midnight by a medical team who flew by helicopter from Auckland. His kidneys were also donated.

Source: The Daily Post, Wednesday 2 December 1987, p. 1

The recipient was congenital muscular heart disease patient Brian Lindsay, 28 from Whangarei. He had had cardiac issues since three years-old and had been fitted with a pacemaker in 1985, following a major heart attack. He was at the end stage of heart disease, which meant a transplant was his only option at the time.

The heart transplant was performed at Greenlane Hospital. It took the team 30-40 minutes to prepare Mr. Lindsay for surgery, five minutes to transfer the hearts, and another 40-50 minutes for suturing.

The surgery was headed by cardiac surgeons Clive Robinson and Ken Graham; assisted by cardiologists Arthur Coverdale and Trevor Agnew.

The operation was performed one day short of 20 years since the world’s first heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 3rd December 1967.

Mr. Cobcroft’s funeral service was held on Friday 4th December at J.H. Gray Memorial Chapel, followed by burial at Kauae Cemetery, Ngongotaha. The family had to grieve publically with television news crew and newspaper journalists present.

Sadly there was a tragic end to this story. At 11am on Tuesday 5th January 1988, five weeks after the transplant, Mr. Lindsay passed away in Green Lane Hospital’s intensive care unit. Mr. Lindsay had been readmitted to hospital on New Year’s Eve, after a biopsy revealed his body was rejecting the heart. A second heart transplant had been considered but a suitable donor organ was not available.

To learn more about Organ Donation please visit Organ Donation New Zealand.

The exhibition, which is on until 5 March 2019, is open to the public from 12pm - 5pm. The exhibition is closed on public holidays.

Entry for children is free and by a gold coin koha for adults, which is donated to charity.

Compiled with information sourced thanks to The Daily Post.
This post was written by Graeme.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Armistice in Rotorua , 1918-1919.

Victory : Germany Surrenders

Rotorua Chronicle 12 November 1918, pg.2
Held by Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library
This edition is the only copy the Library has of 1918 and beyond, we are thankful this one was sent to the Rotorua Library from Cambridge where it was discovered in items donated to that Library. 

During 1918 there were many soldiers in Rotorua due to the reputation of the Sanatorium and King George V Hospital's as a spa location which offered therapies that would benefit the soldiers greatly.
In an account of nurses that worked in Rotorua at the ‘King George V Military Hospital’ referred to it  as the ‘Pukeroa Convalescent Hospital” as it was sited on Pukeroa Hill overlooking Ohinemutu.  

On 12 November 1918, communities throughout New Zealand celebrated the news that an armistice had been signed between the Allies and Germany the previous day. The celebrations were enthusiastic and heartfelt, but they were also spontaneous and inevitably somewhat rambling affairs. 

Premature reports of an armistice several days earlier raised doubts about whether the 11 November armistice was official, and in some areas celebrations were marred by the 1918 influenza pandemic.

The armistice did not mark the official end of the war; the terms of peace had not yet been signed. Almost immediately, communities throughout New Zealand and the Empire began to plan elaborate peace celebrations that would mark the official end of the war in a manner befitting the sacrifices that had been made.

Peace celebrations were held throughout New Zealand in July 1919 – everywhere from the main centres and their surrounding suburbs to small towns and rural areas. Following advice from the government, most communities held their celebrations on Saturday 19th, Sunday 20th and Monday 21st. Most also followed the format originally announced by the government, which called for a Soldiers’ Day, a Day of Thanksgiving and a Children’s Day.

Rotorua Celebrations (in the New Zealand Herald published on 16/7/1919.)

£100 was allocated for the children’s demonstration, including procession, entertainment and sports at the Y.M.C.A. 
£150 was allocated for the Soldier’s Dinner to be held on Saturday Evening. £60 was allocated for the Saturday Afternoon Procession.
Saturday and Monday were observed as full holidays.

The NZ Herald, of 22 July 1919 Reported the following about Rotorua’s Peace Celebrations.

“A Procession headed by native veterans of the Maori War, with tattered old flags, and including wounded soldiers, returned soldiers, territorials, cadets, scouts and many effective tableaux, paraded the town. Over 300 soldiers were entertained at dinner on Saturday evening, at King George V Hospital and the Sanatorium, followed by a dance. A procession of over 800 children, followed by sports, luncheon and picture matinee. In the evening a bonfire at the lake shore was lighted”

Krups Gun at the eastern corner of the Arawa Soldiers Memorial in the Government Gardens
With thanks to Kete Rotorua for this photograph
Compiled with thanks to Papers Past and The New Zealand History website  
This blog post is by Alison Leigh

Friday, 2 November 2018

Armistice Day Commemorations in 2018

At 11am on 11 November this year, Aotearoa New Zealand will mark the centenary of the armistice that ended the First World War in 1918. On that day 100 years ago, after four years of brutal conflict, war finally gave way to peace.
The First World War had taken a huge toll on New Zealand. Around 100,000 New Zealanders – or ten percent of the population at the time – served overseas during the war, and over 18,000 lost their lives. Families and communities back home felt these losses acutely.
When news of the Armistice reached our shores it was met with thanksgiving, hopefulness and joyous noise.

The Armistice centenary gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the loss and trauma of the First World War, as well as reflect on peace and hope at the centenary of its closure. As well as joining together in remembrance, we can recapture the relief and jubilation of that important day a century ago.

So, what’s happening in Rotorua during November 2018 to mark Armistice Day?

Week of 5th November: Beyond the graveRotorua high school students will be  cleaning  WW1 soldiers' headstones located in the historic section of Sala Street Cemetery. This project is co-ordinated by the Rotorua Museum and RSA.

Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library's Anahera Sadler & Ani Sharland, Sala Street Cemetery

9th November: Rotorua Armistice Day 1918 presentation by Heritage & Research staff at 11am in the Discovery Space, Te Aka Mauri. This presentation will be repeated on Armistice Day at 1pm at the Blue Baths.

Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library's Alison Leigh & Trish Brown

10th November: Book Launch of Touched by War, by Alison Brown and Matthew Martin at 11am Discovery Space, Te Aka Mauri. There will be copies of the book for sale.

11th November: Armistice Day Commemoration Service 10.30 – 11.30 at Cenotaph followed by 3 hours family friendly afternoon celebrations. See local papers and the  council website for programme. Activities include donkey rides, Highland Pipe Band, Rotorua Brass Band, Travelling Tuataras, Black Porch and more. Afternoon tea and scones will be available at the Blue Baths where there will also be a repeat of the Rotorua Armistice 1918 presentation by a Heritage & Research library staff member

6th -19th November: Field of Remembrance. Crosses in Government Gardens.

16th November: Author talk and book launch of The Aro Street Girls by Lyndsay Campbell, 1.30 Discovery Space, Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library.

Month of November: Displays in Te Aka Mauri, along with weekly blogs on the Library website, include Quilts, Books, 1918 Hot Lakes Chronicle newspaper.

Month of November: He Pou Aroha - Community Cenotaph Kiosk from Auckland War Memorial Museum will be on the 2nd floor at Te Aka Mauri to help you discover and share stories of those who served. Anyone can contribute to the Online Cenotaph by digitising Taonga, documents, letters, medals, photographs, and war memorabilia. Or simply discover your connection and lay a digital poppy or leave a personal message.

November: Creation and Presentation of Roll of Honour, Masonic Lodge. A roll of honour of the names of Lodge Rotorua Brethren who served in WW1 to be hung in Lodge Room.

This blog was compiled by Trish. With thanks to Tracey Shepherd, Allan Birtwistle (Rotorua Masonic Lodge), Auckland War Memorial Museum, Rotorua Lakes Council