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



The Hawke's Bay Highland Society was established in the year 1894, with the object of encouraging the cultivation of Highland and Scotch literature, music, and games; to perpetuate the Gaelic language; and “to take cognizance of all matters which may be considered of special interest to Scotchmen.” It is controlled by a council of management consisting of the chief, three chieftains, a secretary and treasurer, and seven members of the committee. Meetings are held on the first Friday in May, June, July, and August; on the second night of the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society's show, on the evening of St. Andrew's Day, and on the evening of the 25th of January (Burns' Anniversary). At these meetings harmony is indulged in, matters of general interest are discussed, and a paper is contributed by one of the members. Sports are annually held. The ordinary yearly subscription is 10s, for honorary members £1 1s, for honorary life members £5 5s. Officers for 1906–1907: Messrs R. D. D. McLean (chief), J. Neilson, H. Mc. Kenzie and J. McLean (chieftains), J. Alexander, J. McKay. J. R. McRae, J. Webster, J. P. Thomson, P. S. McLean, and R. Yuill (councillors), T. Parker (secretary and treasurer), J. H. Martin (choir-master), W. Scott (librarian).

Mr. Hector McKenzie, one of the Chieftains of the Hawke's Bay Highland Society, was formerly a member of the Caledonian Society, and afterwards assisted in the formation of the present body, of which he has been a member of the Executive Council since its inception. He is the eldest son of Mr. Hector McKenzie, a farmer on the Hill of Fortrose, Ross, Scotland, an ancient seat of the McKenzie Clan. He was page 357 educated at the Royal Academy, in Fortrose, and afterwards learned the trade of carpentry. As a young man he left Scotland, under contract to the South African Government, and after working for two years on the South African railway works, came to New Zealand, and landed in Dunedin. Soon afterwards he removed to Hawke's Bay, and since 1891 has been continuously in the employ of Messrs Bull Brothers, of Port Ahuriri.

Bunting, photo,Mr. H. McKenzie.

Bunting, photo,
Mr. H. McKenzie.

Mr. John Neilson, who has been one of the Chieftains of the Hawke's Bay Highland Society since 1902, is one of the original members of that body, and for many years held office both as a councillor and as choir-master. He was born in February, 1853, at Coatbridge, situated about eight miles from Glasgow, in Scotland. In the year 1877 he came to New Zealand, and made the latter part of the voyage in the s.s. “Tararua.” For the first ten years Mr. Neilson was engaged in business as a jeweller at Waimate, South Canterbury, and late in the “eighties” removed to Napier, where he bought the old-established watchmaking and jewellery business formerly conducted by Mr. V. Jensen, in Emerson Street. Mr. Neilson is vice-president of the Napier Harmonic Society, and has always taken an active part in musical matters.

Bunting, photoMr. J. Neilson.

Bunting, photoMr. J. Neilson.

Mr. James Harry Martin, Choir-master of the Hawke's Bay Highland Society, belongs, on the maternal side to the Mackay clan, and although colonial born is a most enthusiastic Highlander. He is the second son of Mr. John Martin, the oldest-established tailor and woollen merchant in Napier. He went to England to study cutting, and, having gained a first-class diploma at a cutting academy, now assists in the firm in a practical manner. Mr. Martin has always taken a great interest in music, and has been a member of the various musical societies that have been formed in Napier; he has represented his province in inter-provincial cricket matches all over New Zealand, and he holds a commission in the 3rd. Battalion (East Coast) Wellington Rifle Volunteers, being captain of the Napier Rifles.

Bunting, photoMr. J. H. Martin.

Bunting, photoMr. J. H. Martin.

Mr. Thomas Parker, Secretary of the Highland Society, was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the year 1867, and was educated at Beith. He subsequently joined the staff of the Clydesdale Bank, and five years later was transferred to the head office at Glasgow, where he remained for seven years. Mr. Parker came to New Zealand in 1894, and finally settled in Napier. He is further referred to as a general outfitter, and hat and cap manufacturer, and as Junior Warden of Lodge Scinde, No. 5, N.Z.C.

Mr. T. Parker.

Mr. T. Parker.

The Napier Dramatic Students, a society formed with the object of cultivating local dramatic talent, and for purposes of public entertainment, was founded in the year 1901, with Mr. G. A. Broad and Mrs Edgar among its principal promoters. Their first play was “The Magistrate,” which was staged in the Theatre Royal in October, 1904, and drew a crowded house, and this was followed soon after by “Liberty Hall,” and “One Summer's Day,” which were equally meritorious, and met with unqualified success. page 358 The proceeds of the society are devoted to charitable purposes. Several locally-trained actors of acknowledged ability are connected with the organisation, including Mr. A. E. Renouf.

The Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society was founded in the early days of the provincial settlement, and Messrs J. H. Coleman, G. P. Donnelly, R. D. D. McLean, J. N. Williams, J. H. Williams, and Thomas Tanner were among its chief promoters. The show ground comprises thirty acres of rich level land, situated in the borough of Hastings adjoining the township. It is one of the finest show grounds in the colony, and possesses a large and handsome grand-stand, two produce sheds, poultry and dog stands, and a full complement of yards. There are also luncheon and afternoon tea rooms, fitted up with every convenience. Two shows are held annually, known respectively as the spring and autumn shows, and rank among the finest and most successful agricultural and pastoral exhibitions in Australasia. The attendances on these occasions is invariably large. The executive committee meets on the first Friday in each month, and the annual meeting for the election of officers takes place in June, at the Society's rooms in Tennyson Street, Napier. There is a membership of 1,050, and the annual subscription is £1. Officers for the year 1906: Messrs N. Kettle (president), A. H. Russell (vice-president), G. S. V. Wenley (treasurer), and Charles Douglas (secretary). There is also a general committee of twenty four.

Mr. George Home Monro, formerly secretary of the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society, is the youngest son of Mr. George Home Binning Monro, who was a nephew of the late Sir David Monro. He was born in the year 1880 on the “Valleyfield” Station, in Marlborough, of which his father was manager for a time, and was educated at Wanganui College, and afterwards at Dover College, in England. In 1897 he returned to New Zealand, and was employed in the firm of Messrs Williams and Kettle until 1901, when he resigned his position as assistant stock agent to accept the appointment of secretary to the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society. Mr. Monro was a member of the Napier Golf Club, the United Cricket Club, the Napier Sailing Club, and the Napier and Hastings Clubs. He is now (1906) farming in Marlborough.