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