Friday, 1 June 2018

Vice-Regal Tourists to Rotorua


Vice-regal tours and duties in Rotorua.  1870-1911


The first governors were junior British naval and army officers. From the 1860s most were professionals who had governed other British colonies, and from the 1890s they were minor aristocrats. In 1972 the first New Zealand resident, Denis Blundell, became governor-general. Gavin McLean, 'Governors and governors-general', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/governors-and-governors-general (accessed 8 May 2018)Until 1972 all of New Zealand’s governors and governors-general were British, including an array of minor aristocrats from the 1890s onwards. The first New Zealand resident in the job was Sir Denis Blundell, and since then a more diverse group have been appointed. The earlier ceremonial trappings of ermine robes, plumed helmets, sashes and swords have also been largely relegated to the past.

1870 - Visit with H.R.H Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred, Sir George Ferguson Bowen G.C.M.G. was Governor of New Zealand at this time.

28 Jul 1874: NZ Governor, Sir James Fergusson, Baronet P.C. visits Rotorua and Te Wairoa. His suggestion was that the waters of the springs be analysed in Wellington. This was at the beginning of his term in office. 

15 Mar 1876 – Governor ‘Marquis of Normanby’ arrived at Ohinemutu en-route for Rotomahana.

26 January 1881 – Governor ‘Hon. Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon’ visited Ohinemutu, Whakarewarewa & Rotomahana and Te Wairoa.

27th March 1884 – Governor, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois – visited Ohinemutu for the purpose of unveiling the bust of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. He went on to Rotomahana after the ceremony.

1887 – Lord Onslow visited Rotorua although he was not officially the governor until 1889. On the 28th April 1889 Lord and Lady Onslow arrived from Auckland they were met by 300 natives who welcomed with a ‘war dance’ and the vice-regal carriage was drawn by the natives from the Utuhina Bridge to the Lake House.  Evening Post, 29 April 1889. The Utuhina Bridge at this time was approximately where it is now and was built in 1872 so the locals of Ohinemutu had to draw the carriage approximately 550m. Full story here in the New Zealand Herald.

1891 – Lord Onslow made a brief stop in Rotorua on his way to the Urewera’s to visit the principal chiefs of the district. His party camped just outside Rotorua.  24th Feb 1891.

16 Mar 1891 – The Countess of Onslow, Lady Charles Scott and Miss Gardiner accompanied Lord Onlsow on another trip through Rotorua. The party travelled across to the Ohau Channel by steamer, once there the party got out and walked overland to Lake Rotoiti, leaving the steamer to navigate the channel unencumbered. The party re-joined the launch once it arrived at the lake. This was the first time the steamer had been on Lake Rotoiti. They went over to Ruato Bay where the men disembarked to continue their trek to Ruatoki overland. The ladies of course returned to Rotorua via the steam launch and stayed at the Geyser Hotel, visiting Waiotapu the next day.  Press 16 March 1891. Countess Onslow also visited Rotorua in 1905 when the Wairoa Geyser consented to play for the visitors.

1892 - Sir George Grey K.C.B
Said to be the “first white man to see the Terraces half a century ago” NZH 5th Dec 1892.

“Flags were flown from the Palace Hotel and the Lake House in honour of New Zealand’s Grand Old Man, whose arrival caused some excitement amongst Europeans and Maoris. The Rotorua Brass Band welcomed Sir George to Rotorua as a mark of respect to the veteran statesman”  

 1894 –“Lord Glasgow and his party were met at Rotorua by Sir P. Buckley. The Town Board presented an address of welcome”.  Colonist 18 May 1894.
When visiting Mokoia Island, Lady Glasgow expressed her sympathy in the sufferings of an aged native Keepa Ngakau, who is afflicted with a huge carbuncle on the small of the back… before leaving Rotorua the Countess had a case of cordials and stout made up which she instructed Mr MacDonald to convey to the old man…” Hot Lakes Chronicle 10 June 1896.


Pringle, Thomas, 1858-1931. Pringle, Thomas, 1858-1931 :[Tamatekapua meeting house, Ohinemutu]. Ref: 1/1-003714-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22362702

The meeting house would have looked like this in 1896 until c.1943. 








1898 – Lord Hampden visited on his tour of NZ and pronounced the accommodation ‘lacking’ and the innkeepers were complaining that ‘present charges were inadequate for their needs’

1901 – Premier Seddon along with 800 Imperial troops arrived in Rotorua to make preparations for the visit of HRH Duke & Duchess of York in June.  17th Feb 1901. Premier Seddon and family were regular visitors to Rotorua for holidays also.  (See P.O. Clock)

1902 – Sir Uchter J M Ranfurly.  Presented the Arawa tribes with the flag sent by the Prince of Wales as a memento of his visit last June. While in Rotorua Sir Ranfurly visited Waiotapu.  He returned to Rotorua in 1904 as part a farewell tour of NZ before returning home to England.

1904 – Lord Plunket along with Lady Plunket and their daughter the Hon. Kathleen arrived for a holiday in Ngongotaha. Lord Plunket went trout fishing and the ladies went sightseeing.  This first visit in December of 1904 was supposedly incognito.  He arrived for an official visit as Governor in January 1905 to a Civic Reception and Guided Tour of the town.  The tour of course included Whakarewarewa where Guide Rangi showed Lord Plunket around the sites and Mita Taupopoki escorted Lady Plunket.

Lord Plunket returned for fishing holidays in 1908, 1909 and 1910. Lady Plunket returned for holidays with their daughter in 1904, 1905, 1906 and 1908.  ** Plunket Society of NZ is named after Lady Plunket.

1911 – Lord Islington chose to camp at Awahou on this visit and also in 1912 so that he could go fishing.  “The camp will be of considerable dimensions, as including the household staff, there will be over 20 people to provide for” Auckland Star 5th January 1912.

Lord Islington
From Sir George Grey Special Collections.
AWNS 19120201-p14-i005-b

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