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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]


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Taranaki has troops of mounted rifle and infantry volunteers, which are included in the Wellington battalions. Its mounted corps form part of No. 1. Battalion, Wellington (West Coast) Mounted Rifle Volunteers, which has its (head-quarters in Wanganui, and dates from the 1st of May, 1901. The Taranaki companies are known as the C Company—Hawera Mounted Rifle Volunteers; D Company—Stratford Mounted Rifle Volunteers; E Company — Opunake Mounted Rifle Volunteers; and F Company—Egmont Mounted Rifle Volunteers. The infantry division forms the 4th Battalion Wellington (Taranaki) Rifle Volunteers. The headquarters of this battalion are at New Plymouth, and eight companies form the battalion. The Tarata, New Plymouth, Rahotu, Kaponga, Tariki, and Urenui Defence Clubs are all within the Taranaki district.

The 4th Battalion Wellington (Taranaki) Rifle Volunteers
Collis, photo.Humphries' Castle, Mount Egmont.

Collis, photo.
Humphries' Castle, Mount Egmont.

has its head quarters at New Plymouth, and dates from the 1st of May, 1901. The battalion consists of eight companies; namely, A Company—Taranaki Rifle Volunteers (New Plymouth); B Company—Taranaki Guards Rifle Volunteers (New Plymouth); C Company—Patea Rifle Volunteers; D Company—Inglewood Rifle Volunteers; E Company—Eltham Rifle Volunteers; F Company—Hawera Rifle Volunteers; G Company—Waitara Rifle Volunteers; and H Company—Stratford Rifle Volunteers. Staff officers Lieutenant-Colonel E. N. L. Okey, V.D.; Major William George Malone; Adjutant Captain Claude H. Weston; Pay and Quartermaster-Captain George Cock, V.D. Medical officers: Surgeon-Major H. A. McCleland; Surgeon-Captain G. Home; Honorary Chaplain, the Rev. F. G. Evans.

Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Nelson L. Okey, V.D., Officer commanding the 4th Battalion Wellington (Taranaki) Rifle Volunteers, was appointed to the position on the 8th of September, 1904.

The Taranaki Garrison Band was formed in the year 1898. It is a full brass band, and has competed in various band contests, and taken third place at the Wanganui contest. Officers for 1906: Messrs T. B. McConnel (bandmaster), J. Richards (deputy-bandmaster), and Corporal N. Allen (secretary and treasurer).

Mr. Thomas Baird McConnel was appointed Bandmaster of the Taranaki Band in November, 1904. He was born in the year 1868, in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, where he was educated, came to New Zealand in 1880, and landed at Port Chalmers. He learned the trade of a painter and paperhanger, and was for some time employed by the Union Company. Mr. McConnel became a member of the Port Chalmers Band, of which his father was bandmaster; and in 1892, on his removal to Napier, Hawke's Bay, became bandmaster of the Napier Garrison Band, and held the position for about three years. He returned to Port Chalmers about 1898, and became bandmaster of the local band. In the year 1901, he went to Hawera, to take charge of the Municipal Band, and continued there until his removal to New Plymouth, in 1904. Mr. McConnel married a daughter of the late Mr. Jack Hare, of Dunedin, in 1889, and has one son and one daughter. He is further referred to as a painter and paperhanger.