The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (November 2, 1936)
One Hundred Years Old. — The Problem Of Our Centennial Celebrations
November is New Zealand's National Month. With the oddest persistence, November appears throughout our history as the month of important happenings. The first recorded event of striking importance was the proclamation of British sovereignty by Captain Cook, on the 15th November, 1769. The most outstanding fact, however, is that New Zealand, as an entity, was born in this month. On 16th November, 1840, New Zealand was created a separate colony and the names of Northern, Middle, and Stewart Island, were changed to New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster. Until that date we were part and parcel of New South Wales. On the 28th November, 1840, the settlement round the shores of Port Nicholson, loosely called Britannia, was given the name of Wellington. On the 5th November of the next year, the “Arrow,” the first ship, entered the port of Nelson. It was in November, 1845, that Captain George Grey arrived as Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony and the real building of our nationhood entered upon a new order. The first general election in the Dominion was held in November, 1855, women first in the British Empire recorded their electoral votes in November, 1893, the first weekly half holiday, the establishment of free compulsory and secular education, the provision of Old Age pensions are all allotted to this month. The two new provinces of Marlborough and Hawke's Bay were established on 1st November, 1858 and 1859 respectively. We should not forget either that the first New Zealand Derby was run in November, 1860, and the first New Zealand Cup five years later. The list could be extended indefinitely, but it is an inescapable fact that November is not only our natal month but it is invested with a special significance. And, best of all, it is the gateway to our summer.
You have seen in railway sleepers and in household sitting rooms, in hotel lounges and steamer saloons, folks with earnest faces and closely-knit brows, working out crossword puzzles. I have been accosted by a total stranger in a railway smoker who wanted to know if I could give him the name of a Jewish prophet in eight letters ending with “h.”
Any of these enigmas are child's play compared with arriving at the right method of celebrating New Zealand's hundredth birthday.
The difficulty is unique because the history of the colonisation of New Zealand is unique. The panorama of our settlement story differs from all others since the dawn of civilisation, so this centennial might best be named the “New Hundredth.”
Although the crowded year of 1840 does genuinely mark the actual creation of the new and splendid addition we made to the British Empire, celebrations must take into their view the complex mass of happenings both before and after that date, the whole pageantry of our growth. The centennial must be planned to present as a whole the vision of the great events of the past, and a picture of the present achievement.
The settlement of New Zealand had no central point on which it would be right or fair to focus attention. We have no one single locality where our Pilgrim Fathers landed.
The romance of the coming of our pioneers is enriched by the fact that these argosies of British men and women had so many destinations, so many ports of call. It was not enough that this purely British cavalcade should light upon the portion of all the earth's surface most like their own Homeland. The various differing elements of the procession went, with miraculous precision, to the very parts of the new country that owned distinctive features reminding them of the very valleys, hills and skies of the actual localities from whence they came. The Cornwall and Dorset men went to Taranaki, a land of headlands and rolling downs; the Scots went to Dunedin, whose climate bears exactly the same relation to our North as that of Edinburgh does to the South of England; the purely Anglican expedition went to the level sweetness of Canterbury, where conditions were most suitable for the creation of a new Sussex, complete with a new Brighton.
The history of Auckland runs far deeper down the years. Keri Keri, now a populous fruit growing district, with streets of handsome houses reminiscent of Remuera or Heretaunga, is the cradle of our history. Here in 1819 the first wooden and stone buildings were built; they still stand without a blemish. In May, 1820, the first plough was put into the land of New Zealand. Six years before that Samuel Marsden had established the first Christian Mission at the Bay of Islands and a resident British Magistrate had been appointed by the Governor of New South Wales.
Away back in 1825, the islands of Waiheke and Pakihi had been purchased by an English company and the “Rosanna” arrived packed with hopeful immigrants. Hokianga was also to provide these new folk with the means of making their fortunes in the new land. However, hordes of tatooed Maori warriors provided such a reception by way of war dances and other signs of active dislike, that the frightened passengers decided to exercise their right of return. The company lost £20,000 and New Zealand obtained no new population.
Long before 1840, the semi-tropical climate and the rich lands of the Northern peninsula had attracted adventurers of all sorts and conditions. The roystering rover, Captain Tapsell, married his pretty Maria Ringa in 1823, and, by the same token, lost her on the wedding day. She bolted for the bush. Romances on a spacious scale and numbered by the thousand will one day be retrieved from those roaring days.
However, concentration upon 1840 is inevitable, and I place as the quartette of vitally important events of that year, these:
On 30th January, the hoisting of the Union Jack at the Bay of Islands by Governor Hobson; the first formal act of British Government in New Zealand.
On 5th and 6th February, the first reading and acceptance of the Treaty of Waitangi.
On 11th August the hoisting of the British Flag at Akaroa by Captain Stanley and the exercise of British authority for the first time in the South Island by the holding of a court.
On 16th November, the issue of Letters Patent in England, constituting New Zealand a separate colony.
There are many more happenings of signal importance. The 7th February is the date when Malcolm McKinnon was the first settler on the Canterbury Plains; the founding of Wellington was on the 22nd January, and on the 21st September purchase was made of the ferny district round the Waitemata Harbour that was to be Auckland, the capital of the new colony.
It will seem at once how widespread must be the centennial celebrations, even of those events confined to the one year of 1840. But ceremonies confined to that year would give no proper picture. It is necessary that the celebrations should portray the essential and unique features of both our history and our present “scene.” In other words, we should show the world, not only how our forebears worked and lived, but also what we have accomplished here and now.
Special glory will be shed upon our season of rejoicing by the participation of our Maori brethren, with whom we live in amity and equality, in a sense that has been far too rare in most countries of the world.
That old Polynesian, Captain Cook Kupe, must not be forgotten, and the seven great canoes that came here neary six hundred years ago are at least as important as the first four ships.
The Whare Runanga at historic Waitangi will be finished by the date of the celebrations, and the gathering to commemorate the Treaty will become one of the word's famous spectacles.
The special genius of the Maori race for organised celebration will be exercised to its full, and it is certain that some of the finest functions of the year will be those for which they are responsible.
The Exhibition at Wellington is a proper idea. The Capital City will naturally be the centre of much of the activity of the whole community, and an exhibition is a convenient method of putting before the world our achievements in all fields of human endeavour. It will be an attraction for tourists and visitors and a display window for the whole Dominion. Here will be the opportunity for some of our great business organisations that have spread all over the world. But possibly the most admired distinction of New Zealand development is its remarkable decentralisation. Here, in contradistinction to so many parts of the world, our country towns and hamlets have maintained their growth. No mighty city monopolises an undue share of our population. Life is as pleasant and the amenities and conveniences of civilisation and modern comfort have the same standard in Timaru as in Auckland.
Our centennial celebrations, therefore, to be a faithful portrayal of our country, will be spread over the whole area of the Dominion. Every element in our history and in the country that we have created for ourselves should be represented. The Ulstermen who followed that flamboyant genius Vosyey Smith to Kati Kati must not be overlooked any more than the gallant seafarers who came to Waipu from faraway Nova Scotia.
The people of New Zealand have gone wisely and well in the task of making the centennial worthy of this “Britain of the South.”
First of all, a National Memorial will be built. Secondly, thorough and authoritative historical surveys are to be made.
This is possibly the most vital work that is proposed, and, let it be remembered, it is, even now, under way.
For all local celebrations, Government subsidies are to be granted. It is from the splendour, variety, richness, and complexity of the local celebrations that the year 1940 will worthily commemorate New Zealand as a country from which that absurd title “young” has forever passed away.
The Wellington Exhibition is being liberally helped, and arrangements are in being for entertaining guests from abroad and for larger expenditure in the Tourist and Publicity Departments.
However, the main cause that emerges from all these activities is this: New Zealand is a country of unique qualities; its racial purity is the highest in the world; its life story is almost without blemish; its foundations were planned, selected, and maintained with scrupulous care; it is a universe of natural wonders; its rich lands, mild climate, and sea-girt terrain, make it a possible earthly paradise; it houses the finest native race in the world; the culture, vision and daring of its early people, have made it famous for social ideals and courageous experiment in the furthering of the ends of social justice and the growth of human brotherhood and fellowship.
The Centennial Celebrations can only succeed in being a suitable commemoration of all these, if the whole community of our fellow citizens work together faithfully to the one end.page 36
The Thirteenth Clue.
(Continued from page 31).
sisted on travelling with him and the overloaded ‘plane crashed at Kaiwarra. The llamas escaped uninjured, but Impskill suffered a bad fracture of his false beard, which he had donned with professional ardour on receipt of the wire from “Gil.”
For this reason “Gil” was left lamenting (should we say lla-menting) alone in Matamata, and he was also left mourning by the graveside, as the body of Pat Lauder was lowered to its last resting place.
“Gil” had a terrible thirst on him that morning, and, unable to wait until he reached the nearest hotel, visited a suburban dairy where he demanded a glass of milk.
“A glass of milk” inquired the dairymaid, with unrestrained laughter.
“Oh, my pretty maid,” cried “Gil.” “You know something!” Even as he said this, he noticed on the counter a dangerous looking bread-knife. He produced Binge's photo of the wound, put two and two together, added seventeen for luck, and sent another urgent wire to Impskill as follows:—“Milkmaid involved in butter scandal stop cable Tooley Street stop Horsey lift your tail up stop butter still rising—‘Gil.’”
Meanwhile, owing to his enforced inactivity at Kaiwarra, Impskill was steadly putting on weight. By the time the ‘plane was repaired he had to discard all luggage, even his clothing. Eventually he caught the ‘plane attired in his false beard (repaired) and a pair of v's.
When he reached Matamata the inquest on Pat Lauder had opened, “Gil” having prepared the whole case.
The first witness was the dairymaid, who tearfully admitted that in a fit of jealously—Pat Lauder having transferred his attentions to another lady (un-named)—she had stabbed her erstwhile lover with the bread-knife (produced). The butter stains (produced) were from the said bread-knife. Although there were indications on the body that deceased had been poisoned, garrotted, burnt alive, kicked to death, etc., etc., etc., witness was positive that the bread-knife was the primary cause of death.
Other evidence of a purely formal nature was given by C. Stuart Bury, who produced his account for the burial and who protested when it was treated as an exhibit; Dan Doolan, whose evidence was ruled as irrelevant as it dealt merely with the quantity and retail value of the beer supplied at the wake; and P.C. Fanning, who gave evidence in rebuttal of Hilson Wogg's supposition that death was due to a blow from a horse-shoe.
Amidst cheers the parcel of fishing bait was admitted as evidence and labelled exhibit Z.
Leslie Binge created a scene when he protested loudly against the non-admission, as an exhibit, of his photo. of the knife-wound. He grudgingly withdrew his protest when the coroner pointed out that, having reached exhibit Z, there was no alphabetical provision for further exhibits.
Just as the coroner was about to give his verdict, Impskill Lloyd rushed into the courtroom waving a dead llama by the tail.
In view of the fact that he was still attired in v's, the coroner ordered his arrest for contempt of court and was about to claim the v's as an exhibit when the milkmaid screamed, and Leslie Binge's camera went off with a loud report.
Then a strange thing happened!
(To be continued.)
Cigarettes, while the annual consumption in England, America, France, Germany and other countries runs into billions, are also becoming extraordinarily popular in New Zealand, where the demand has increased enormously since the introduction of the two famous cigarette tobaccos, Riverhead Gold and Desert Gold. These, but especially the former, may be classed as real luxury lines; pure, sweet, fragrant and soothing, they appeal irresistibly to smokers of both sexes, and challenge comparison with anything from overseas. Latterly, sales have eclipsed all previous records. Although so choice in quality, they are yet so comparatively moderate in price that you actually roll ten, full-sized smokes for fourpence! Both brands being toasted, therefore practically free from nicotine, may be freely indulged in without fear of consequences. The same remark applies to the three toasted pipe brands—Cut Plug No. 10 (Bullshead), Cavendish and Navy Cut No. 3 (Bulldog). But the fame of the genuine toasted has resulted in various rubbishy imitations finding their way on to the market. Ask for any of the brands named and you'll avoid being imposed upon.*page 38