Saturday, 12 May 2018

Royal Tourists 1870-1920

H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred, our first Rotorua Tourist

14th to 18th December 1870, H.R.H Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred along with the NZ Governor was our first documented Royal Visitor.

His itinerary included camping on Pukeroa Hill under guard of Captain Gascoigne and ‘the Native Contingent’ while at Ohinemutu he presented a statue of the Queen.  

On the 24th April 1883 this same statue was in the newspapers throughout NZ ,  the article printed reads as follows:  “An event affording considerable amusement and consternation occurred ‘here’ (Ohinemutu) on Saturday. The statue of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria lately presented, was being placed in position in Tamatekapua, when a cart arrived with an escort of police, who took possession of the illustrious figure, carrying it off to the lock-up to keep company with the Maori deity Matutonga, whose term of imprisonment has not yet expired. We are at loss to account for the proceeding.”

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, 
Auckland Libraries, 755-Album-17-52'
Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua, taken 2018

Photograph on the left "Showing a statue of Queen Victoria, overlooking Lake Rotorua, from Ohinemutu. This bust of Queen Victoria was presented by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, to Maori at Ohinemutu when he visited Rotorua in 1870" 

This has been restored and sits in a different position close to Tama te Kapua, currently without the the bust of Queen Victoria which also needs restoration. 

While Prince Alfred was here, he rode to Lake Tarawera, where he stayed with Rev. Spencer at Te Mu Mission Station.  On the way there he stopped at Whakarewarewa, and the next day his party rode to Rotomahana where some of his party swam in Te Tarata (the White Terrace) and visited Otukapuarangi (the Pink Terrace.)  They camped at Rotomahana and visited the Geyser Ngatapu and Mud Springs at Rotokanapu [1] returning to Te Mu for the night and Rev. Spencer conducted Divine Service on the shores of Lake Tarawera that Sunday morning, after which the Prince and his party returned to Ohinemutu staying a further 2 nights before going back to Maketu to re-join his ship. 

[1] More correctly known as Rotokanapanapa 

1880s, New Zealand, by Burton Brothers studio, Alfred Burton.
Te Papa (C.010647)

13th June to 15th June 1901 “Prince George and Princess Mary, Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, visited New Zealand as part of a world tour to pay tribute to the service given by the Empire nations during the Boer War. 
Originally the tour was intended to be undertaken by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, however the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901 meant that he was now required to plan his own coronation for 1902. Consequently his son, Prince George, was consigned to undertake the voyage instead. The royal couple arrived in Auckland on 11 June…”  

This booklet detailing the progress of the tour was issued as an official souvenir and illustrates their visits to Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Lyttelton and Dunedin. This booklet was one of many souvenirs collected by Frank David Thomson, a career public servant and statesman from 1901 to 1934.

The Royal Visit is documented in all the major newspapers of the day. During their brief stay The Duchess officially opened the new ‘Cornwall Baths’ the ‘Duchess Bath’ named after her. The bath was ornately decorated in the Tuscan Style and fitted with electric light. It was furnished specifically for the Royal Visit with “turquoise silk hangings, softly cushioned chairs and chesterfields, great cheval glasses, dainty fittings, rose shaded lights and velvet carpets” Evening Post, Ladies Column, 22 June 1901.

In addition to this the Royal couple visited Ohinemutu, Tikitere, Whakarewarewa where Guide Sophia personally guided the Duchess who was very appreciative and on the way back to their coach stayed to watch children dive for pennies off the bridge.

From the collection of tourist postcards owned by C. Jeffery, on Kete Rotorua.

1920 The Prince of Wales was at Arawa Park – Maori Reception Camp ; Ohinemutu ; Whakarewarewa where Pohutu refused to play ; Stayed at the Grand Hotel, while there the Prince and Guards exited via the back gate and went across to the Merry-go-round, set up on a vacant section, where the Prince rode a horse and then went back to the hotel with little or no fanfare. Later he bathed in the ‘Duchess Bath’ opened by his mother in 1901.

Edward Prince of Wales visiting Rotorua, New Zealand. Creator unknown :Photographs of visit of Prince of Wales to New Zealand. 

Ref: PAColl-9163-05. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22319477
The Duke & Duchess of York 3rd March 1927- Stayed at the Grand Hotel.

Attended a concert put on specially for them in the King’s Theatre, by combined local and visiting tribes, visited Whakarewarewa where they were welcomed by Guide Bella and Mita Taupopoki, Pohutu Geyser played for a full 20 minutes for them (soaped for the purpose), visited the Fairy Spring where the Duchess threw bread to the trout and the Duke knelt down in the mud to see them feed from his hand. The Duke unveiled the new Arawa War Memorial in the Government Gardens.  

Kaumatua in Rotorua during Royal Tour. Ref: 1/2-203405-F.
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23232994

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