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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.


Automobile Association, Auckland (Gisborne Branch): In 1926 the Poverty Bay Motor Association (formed on 17/2/1917) linked up with the A.A.A. Local chairman: F. Tolerton, 1926–.

Gisborne Beautifying Society (formed in 1897, with C. A. de Lautour as president and G. E. Darton, secretary, and resuscitated on several occasions): Much valuable work was carried out at different periods. The largest undertaking was the transformation of the riverbank between the Gladstone Road and Peel Street bridges. A feature of the society's activities in the 1930's was the extensive planting of native trees (including pohutakawas) and pines on Waikanae Beach, Waiuni Beach and Lysnar Park.

Gisborne Burns Society (2 December, 1938): President, Dr. R. M. Gunn. The anniversary of the birth of the “Bard of Ayr” was first celebrated in Gisborne by members of the Poverty Bay Caledonian Club, which was formed in 1878, G. Matthewson being president. A Caledonian Society (established in 1892) then sponsored the festival. For a number of years the celebrations were in the hands of a Burns Club, of which Dr. C. F. Scott was president and T. A. Hogg secretary. A Scottish Society was formed on 16 June, 1911, with Dr. W. P. Porter as president. It built the Scottish Hall (later known as the City Hall), but disbanded in 1917.

Gisborne Chamber of Commerce (4 February, 1885, and resuscitated in 1894 and again in 1908): In his annual report for 1885 A. Parnell (the first president) mentioned that inquiries had been made as to what protection the Government intended to afford Gisborne in the event of war with Russia, and that a reply had been received that cruisers would be available to protect the seaboard. He also stated that a few consignments of frozen meat had been sent to London, but that the high coastal rate of 3/- per head and the low prices ruling at Home had precluded any profit. A Junior Chamber of Commerce, with W. C. Kohn as first president, was established in July, 1945.

Gisborne Co-Operative Building Society (2 February, 1899): By December, 1947, twelve issues had been floated and five had terminated. Nearly £600,000 had been granted to members by way of loans. Chairmen: L. T. Symes, W. Morgan, C. H. Ambridge and H. Miller. Secretaries: A. G. Beere (1899–1939), M. W. Craig (1939–).

Gisborne Law Society (18 January, 1907): J. W. Nolan was the first president and R. U. Burke the first hon. secretary.

Gisborne Permanent Land, Building and Mutual Investment Society (12 May, 1874): Initial directors: J. Buchanan, J. Meldrum, T. W. Porter, A. Y. Ross, M. G. Nasmith and J. R. Morgan. It was not uncommon for small borrowers in the 1870's to be required to pay interest up to 17½ per cent; hence the movement to form the society, which is now one of the oldest institutions in the district, and has F. R. Ball for its secretary.

Gisborne Savage Club (19 May, 1913): The first korero was held on 19 June, 1913. When the membership reached 400 it had to be pegged. On account of the lack of a suitable hall the club went into recess from 1941 till 1948. Mrs. Ada Emily Beer, J.P. (one of its members), page 424 is, probably, the only lady member of a Savage Club in New Zealand. Her many good deeds as a social welfare worker gained for her the M.B.E. award in 1948.

Rangatiras: W. F. Cederwall, 1913; A. H. Wallis, 1914–17; G. Stock, 1918; F. W. Nolan, 1919; H. Kenway, 1920; W. F. Cederwall, 1921; J. A. Nicol, 1922; F. W. Nolan, 1923; H. E. Bright, 1924; Canon H. Packe, 1925; F. Tolerton, 1926; L. Miles, 1927; H. F. Forster, 1928; M. L. Foster, 1929; A. Zachariah, 1930; W. H. Irvine, 1931; C. V. Harre, 1932; J. S. Wauchop, 1933; C. L. Margoliouth, 1934 J. Chrisp, 1935; W. J. Sinclair, 1936; R. L. Maclean, 1937; L. C. Parker, 1938; Dr. W. A. Bowie, 1939; W. C. Kohn, 1940; W. M. Jenkins, 1941–48; A. Williamson, 1949–. Secretaries: H. H. Feilding, 1913–18; R. R. Baldrey, 1919–20; C. Adair, 1921–29; T. Adams, 1930–.

Gisborne 30,000 Club (4 May, 1936): James Chrisp (the sponsor) was chairman until his death on 3 July, 1946, when P. W. Bushnell was elected to the position. B. S. Bree was appointed organiser and secretary in 1943. A. J. Cox (one of its members) made a gift of a £500 paid-up insurance policy to the club, acquired several strips (in all 5 acres 24 poles) along the banks of Waikanae Creek and presented them to the town to form an Alfred Cox Park, and raised sufficient money to enable the first section (two miles) of a marine drive along Waikanae Beach to be formed. The club plans to establish a holiday camp, on the latest English lines, on Churchill Park (about three acres adjacent to Waikanae Beach), which it presented to the town.

Gisborne R.S.A. (1916): When the first Anzac Dinner was held in Gisborne (25/4/1917) there were 187 members. Captain W. T. Pitt (the first president) was president of the N.Z.R.S.A. in 1917. The branch became moribund in 1921, but was resuscitated on 23 June, 1926, and sub-associations were formed at Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Ruatoria, Te Karaka, Tikitiki, Waikohu, Matawai-Motu and Te Araroa. In April, 1938, 52 Poverty Bay and East Coast “Diggers” were members of a New Zealand contingent which participated in the Anzac Day service in Sydney. As at 31 March, 1948, the association had 3,019 members.

During the economic depression in the late 1920's and early 1930's the association greatly helped unemployed members by assisting to provide funds to enable the McRae Bath and Darton Field to be constructed and improvements to be made to the riverbank in the vicinity of the War Memorial and to the Kaiti Beach Road. To mark its appreciation of the steadfast manner in which the public had co-operated with it through the years, the association presented to the district, for a park, portion of Kaiti Hill, which, on behalf of its members, Lieutenant-Colonel R. F. Gambrill had obtained, piecemeal, in the form of gifts or by purchase. This property (68 acres) includes the site of the famous Titirangi pa.

The association acquired an acre at the south-west corner of Childers Road and Bright Street, Gisborne, as a site for a block of buildings (including a Memorial Hall and club premises) as a memorial to the district servicemen who gave their lives during the Second World War. In 1945 it was proposed that this memorial should be the district's memorial, and the Gisborne Borough Council and the counties of Cook, Waiapu, Uawa, Waikohu and Matakaoa signified their approval. A preliminary campaign for donations yielded over £10,000, together with a promise from a private trust to donate £4,000 when the project was ready to take material shape.

Presidents: Captain W. T. Pitt (1916), Sergeant-Major W. R. Williams (1917), Captain Turnbull, D.S.O. (1918), F. H. Bedford (1919), Lieutenant-Colonel Moir (1920–21), Lieutenant-Colonel R. F. Gambrill (1926–47), Lieutenant-Colonel J. Leggat (1947–48), G. C. Jones (1948–). Secretaries: M. G. Oman, J. B. Erskine, C. E. Lees, A. H. Lange, W. Oakden (1929–39), and A. H. Miller (1939–). Life membership was conferred on W. Oakden in 1947, and R.S.A. Gold Star badges were awarded to G. C. Jones (1947) and J. H. Taplin, D.C.M. (president of the Rautoria sub-association, 1928–47) in 1948.

A Gisborne branch of the Second N.Z.E.F. Association (Incorp.) was page 425 formed in March, 1949, with I. McCallum as president, E. Dominey secretary, and J. G. Mackay treasurer.

Farmers' Union, Poverty Bay Branch (19 October, 1901). J. Macfarlane was the first president, and W. Lissant Clayton organising secretary. In April, 1946, the members linked up with Federated Farmers of New Zealand. The retiring president (J. E. Benson) had held office for 15 years, and C. Blackburn had been secretary since 1928.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand, Gisborne Provincial District (22 June, 1945); Branches, with membership in May, 1949, were formed at Gisborne (477), Matawai (85), Te Karaka (129), Tolaga Bay (82), and Ruatoria (169). Presidency: C. H. Williams (1945–48), S. McGuinness (1948–). Secretary, A. J. Stock.

Heritage, Gisborne Branch (May, 1945). F. S. Varnham was appointed chairman of a large committee interested in promoting the welfare of children of servicemen who lost their lives during the Second World War.

Old Folks' Association (17 March, 1943): In 1948, when the membership stood at about 400, a valuable site in Bright Street was acquired for club premises. Presidents: G. Smith, J. McLeod, C. E. Greig, J. Pirie, J. S. Moss and F. Fox

Poverty Bay Acclimatisation Society (20 May, 1881): G. L. Sunderland was the first president. Several residents had, earlier, introduced various kinds of English birds, including linnets, sparrows and starlings. Trout fry were first liberated in Poverty Bay in 1882. Some ova were placed in the Coast streams in 1885. Six pairs of opossums were freed in the Mangatu district in 1890. Hares were procured in 1892. Some fallow deer, liberated on Lorne station in 1891, bred in 1894. Quail were freed in 1902. Settlers at Motu established a trout hatchery in 1909, and restricted licences to fish in the Motu River were issued in 1913. In later years the breeding of pheasants, as well as the hatching of trout, was encouraged. A start was made to stock the Hangaroa and Tahora streams in 1916 and the Wharekopae stream in 1927. The East Coast Acclimatisation Society was formed on 23 July, 1902, “on account of the failure of the Poverty Bay Society to supply that district with deer, opossums and trout ova.” In 1948, the Government removed all restrictions upon the slaying of opossums, which had become a pest.

Poverty Bay A. and P. Association (31 August, 1875): J. B. Poynter was the first president. The first show was held at Makaraka on 29 October, 1875—entries, 133; receipts, £80; expenses, £81 4s. Makaraka was also the locale for the next two years, and then: Waerenga-a-Hika, 1878–80; Patutahi, 1881–3; and W. L. Rees's grounds at Te Hapara in 1884–5. The association went into recess until 1891. Further shows were then held at Makaraka till 1900, when a move was made to the Park at Te Hapara, which became the showground for 30 years.

In September, 1913, the association acquired a block of 38 acres adjacent to the Park from the Riparata Estate, and, in 1925, through H. G. Tucker, it obtained an adjoining block of 34 acres (which the Tucker Estate had sold at £120 per acre, but which had fallen back upon its hands) for £2,225 on terms enabling the payment of the principal to stand over for 20 years. Mr. Tucker paid the cost of levelling, building, the terrace, the timber for 2,000 seats, the cattle-ramp, and of many of the shrubs and trees. In addition, he placed £2,500 in a trust account to be drawn on at the rate of 10/- for every £ collected for building improvements. The new ground was ready to accommodate the whole show in 1930.

The membership stood at 796 in 1935; by 1946 it had reached 1,303. Only £44 was taken at the gates in 1884; the figure in 1946 was £1,261. page 426 Entries have grown as follows: 1875, 133; 1900, 586; 1924, 1,747; and 1946, 4,251. Details of the 1946 entries are: Horses (including competitions), 1,339; cattle, 218; sheep, 455; pigs, 89; poultry, 278; dogs, 376; produce and home industries, 1,017; competitions, etc., 350; fleeces, 129.

Presidents: J. B. Poynter, 1875–79; G. L. Sunderland, 1879–84; A. Graham, 1884–86; G. L. Sunderland, 1891–92; P. Donner, 1892–94; J. Macfarlane, 1894–98; C. Gray, 1898–1900; J. Macfarlane, 1900–02; T. Holden, 1902–09; F. B. Barker, 1909–12; G. Witters, 1912–15; W. G. Sherratt, 1915–18; J. R. Murphy, 1918–19; E. M. Hutchinson, 1919–20; C. A. Fenwick, 1920–22; G. M. Reynolds, 1922–23; G. V. Smith, 1923–24; F. Sherriff, 1924–25; R. W. Coop, 1925–30; J. Eivers, 1930–32; H. G. Smith, 1932–36; J. C. Graham, 1936–39; R. Graham, 1939–41; L. Field, 1941–44; H. W. Barker, 1944–46; A. C. Langford, 1946–48; P. F. Barker, 1948–. No shows were held between 1886 and 1891, and none in 1942. Secretary: A. R. Trafford, 1943–.