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



Henry George Tucker (born at Okitu in 1868) was the eldest son of Captain W. H. Tucker. He was educated at Kaiti native school under his father, and then at Gisborne Central School. Taking up farming, he became manager of his father's estate at Makauri. He was a member of the East Coast Hussars and also took a keen interest in hunting nd polo. His death occurred on 24 July, 1945.

Thomas Holden (born in Lancashire in 1851) was brought out to New Zealand by his parents in 1859. His father (Jonathan Holden) took up Springvale (Hawke's Bay). In 1890, Thomas Holden bought Rimuroa (near Gisborne), which was in heavy bush. He served on Pouawa Road Board, Cook County Council (18 years), Cook Hospital Board, Gisborne Harbour Board, and East Coast Rabbit Board. He died on 14 November, 1941.

Poverty Bay Sheepdog Trials Club: The first trials in Poverty Bay were promoted by E. M. Hutchinson at Waihuka in 1894. On 1 August, 1895, the club held its inaugural trials at Ormond. Fifteen clubs were affiliated in 1948.

Poverty Bay Winter Show Association (1922–38): Keen rivalry between Makaraka-Matawhero and Waerenga-a-Hika in the district courts section was a feature of the earlier shows. In 1927 a Poverty Bay court gained first award at the Auckland Winter Show, and the success was repeated in 1928. G. E. Darton arranged the exhibits. In 1949 the plant was presented to the Kaiti Residents' Progressive Association. Presidents: H. J. Lougher, 1922–27; J. Greig, 1927–28; J. B. Greig, 1928–29; F. Murphy, 1929–30; G. W. Armstrong, 1930–36; T. G. Johns, 1936–38.

Red Cross Society, Gisborne Branch (30 January, 1939): Dr. A. L. Singer was elected first president. A special feature of the branch's activities during the Second World War and subsequently, was the splendid work carried out by the ladies' transport section under Miss D. Bagnall as commandant. During the five-year period up to 31 March, 1947, its members made 5,832 trips, aggregating 50,939 miles, to assist 9,352 service personnel from trains to their homes or from their homes to and from hospital.

Rotary Club of Gisborne (26 April, 1926): Past presidents: A. L. Muir, F. W. Nolan, W. H. Irvine, L. Miles, H. Kenway, F. R. Ball, L. G. Barton, J. A. Mackay, R. F. Gambrill, C. A. Smith, V. E. Sanders, H. F. Forster, J. O. Musgrave, I. J. Quigley, J. Hutton, J. Williams, F. T. Robinson, H. D. Chrisp, W. M. Jenkins, P. C. Dwyer, H. Gilmer, H. F. Wise, W. Keith. During 1947–48 R. F. Gambrill held the position of Rotary Governor for the 39th District (which embraces the bulk of the North Island).

St. John Ambulance Association, Gisborne Branch. First aid classes were inaugurated in Gisborne in July, 1895. Dr. J. Craig instructed the East Coast Mounted Rifles in ambulance work in September, page 427 1901. Classes for women were held by Dr. Welby Fisher in May, 1902. A Field Ambulance Corps was formed by Surgeon-Captain Schumacher in March, 1909. First aid classes proved very popular during both Great Wars. Divisions formed in Gisborne: Gisborne Ambulance Division (11/9/1926), Gisborne Nursing Division (6/6/1928), Gisborne Cadet Nursing Division (1/12/1931), Gisborne Cadet Ambulance Division (1/12/1931), Turanganui Ambulance Division (20/9/1935), and Turanganui Cadet Ambulance Division (1947). C. E. Bickford became superintendent in 1938, and, two years later, District Officer. He and Mrs. Berridge and Miss H. Humphreys (of the Gisborne Nursing Division) hold the Long Service Medal of St. John. The first cadets to gain the Grand Prior's Badge were Donald Neal, Dean Cockburn and Roy Muir. Winners of the Wendy Bickford Memorial Cup (for most proficient cadet in Gisborne Nursing Cadet Division): Kathleen McQuillan, Lorraine Tucker, Gertrude Atkinson, Ann Clark, Jocelyn Hailey. A campaign in 1949 for funds to build an ambulance station in Gisborne netted over £4,000. Miss Suzanne Field (the “County” candidate) won the Popular Girl contest.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (13 April, 1907): First president, Colonel T. W. Porter.

Tai-Rawhiti Maori Association, “Te Ropu o te Tai-Rawhiti” (10 July, 1931): Patron, Sir A. T. Ngata; president, Judge H. Carr; secretary, R. W. Halbert. The proceedings for 1931–32 were published in a booklet entitled Echoes of the Pa.

Turanganui Public Library (12 April, 1869): This is the oldest public institution in Poverty Bay. Its founders were: C. Evans (chairman), A. F. Hardy, J. W. Harris, G. Scott, A. Kempthorne, T. Oliver and G. G. Mill (secretary). It was then known as the Turanga Library, the books were kept in a room in the old courthouse, and it was open only on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. till 8 p.m. In 1872 a move was made to a back room in the Music Hall. A branch was formed at Ormond in 1870, and another at Makauri in 1873. The Auckland Provincial Council set aside a section in Lowe Street for the joint benefit of the library and the Highways Board in 1873. In June, 1874, the library was styled “The Gisborne Public Library (Incorp.).” When it was located in Townley's Buildings in the late 1870's chess, draughts and backgammon boards were installed. On 7 February, 1880, its property was vested in the mayor (T. W. Porter), A. Graham, J. Townley, J. T. Large and E. Woon. For some years the library was located in Lowe Street, then in Bushnell's Buildings, and, in more recent years, in the Albion Buildings. It received its present name on 12 July, 1882.

Y.M.C.A., Gisborne and East Coast Branch: The first branch was formed in April, 1880. It was resuscitated in March, 1903, with C. Rosie as president, to stress the religious side of the movement. In 1908 steps were taken to include social and sports activities. Charles R. Webster (of Melbourne) was appointed secretary in 1909, rooms were rented and equipped with a billiard table, pingpong table, chess and draughts boards, and reading and writing rooms were provided. Within a year a drive yielded 390 members, and teams were entered in various sports competitions. A Ladies' Auxiliary, with Mrs. W. D. Lysnar as president and Miss F. Quigley as secretary, was formed in April, 1911. Mr. Webster resigned in September, 1910. On account of the branch getting into financial difficulties, his successor (S. Morris) resigned in February, 1911. P. W. Bushnell then took over the post. The branch was closed in February, 1912. It was re-formed in February, 1918, with H. Kenway as chairman. In 1927 the Y.M.C.A. building was erected. F. T. Robinson and H. J. Poole became the first life members in 1946.

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Waikanae Beach Improvement Society (28 May, 1918): Waikanae Beach—which, to avoid confusion with the beach of like name on the mainland opposite Kapiti Island, might well be renamed “Gisborne Beach”—is famed for its wide sweep and gentle shelving. The only dressing sheds on it in the early days were the depressions among the sand dunes. In 1878 complaints arising from neglect on the part of some bathers to wear costumes led to a ban being placed upon bathing between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. A small bathing shed for women was erected in 1888. Two sheds were built by the borough authorities in 1906 at a total cost of £52, and, in 1912, Kaiti Beach was similarly equipped.

The society owed its origin to an offer by the Borough Council in 1918 to grant a subsidy of £150 towards the cost of new bathing sheds if the public subscribed a like amount. In the ranks of the earliest workers were: C. W. Cameron, R. Stone Florance, T. J. Adair, W. J. Robinson, R. Morse, D. S. Jamison, J. Mouat, T. Todd, C. Bruce, C. G. Bloore, H. F. Forster and Mesdames Keaney and Sceats. Extensions to the new bathing sheds soon became necessary. Under Mr. Adair a team collected gifts of cement and other materials, as well as money, to provide the promenade and the paddling pool. A striking feature of the improvements is the model camp, which attracts a large number of visitors each summer. In 1949 the society's accumulated funds amounted to £7,000. As a Centennial memorial a more commodious bathing pavilion is to be erected. J. A. Nicol (as chairman for 25 years) and A. S. Jamison (as hon. secretary for 21 years) have built up fine records of service.


Waikanae Beach could not have been so named by the natives; they used the designation “Te Oneroa.” The Waikanae block lies on the north side of Waikanae Creek. Wai-o-Hiharore block abuts on the beach.

The Gisborne branch of the Navy League (formed 26 August, 1909) was the largest outside the cities in 1910. Gisborne Central School provided 328 members. On Empire Day in 1913 a huge bonfire was made on Kaiti Hill as one of a chain encircling the Empire.

A Gisborne branch of the Overseas Club (formed on 5 April, 1911) raised sufficient moneys in 1917 to enable two aeroplanes to be presented to the Royal Air Force.

The Poverty Bay branch of the New Zealand Philosophical Institute (formed on 11 June, 1918, with Archdeacon H. W. Williams as president) was disbanded on 19 January, 1924. Its aims included the establishment of a museum and a reference library. If a suitable building could have been obtained G. J. Black would have handed over his extensive collection of curios, and W. D. Lysnar and W. E. Goffe would have made substantial contributions from their collections. The branch's efforts proved fruitless.