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Temperance and Prohibition in New Zealand

IX — Temperance Organizations

page 188

Temperance Organizations

(1) Independent Order of Rechabites

The Independent Order of Rechabites had a very humble origin, and from the day of formation at Salford, England, in 1835, it has always kept the principles of abstinence from all intoxicating liquors as beverages in the forefront of its work, and has never changed its opinion as to the necessity for the legal Prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and importation of such liquors by the will of the people as a means to protect and to advance the best interests of the British people, and the whole human family. The New Zealand Rechabites, a registered Friendly Society, are working under charter issued by the head office, which is situated in Manchester, England, and are thus affiliated with the world wide Order, numbering now over a million and a quarter members, and is a united brotherhood banded together to assist each other in times of sickness and distress. There are two Districts operating in New Zealand. The oldest is the New Zealand District No. 84. The headquarters are in Auckland, and the district secretary is D. M. A. Bodley, 570, New North Road, Mount Albert. The other district is the New Zealand Central District No. 86, and these headquarters are 125, Willis Street, Wellington. The district secretary is T. Fathers.

page 189

The Order was first introduced into New Zealand in 1843, when a branch was opened at Nelson, on the hillside amongst the titree and toi-toi overlooking Tasman Bay. Prominent amongst the early settlers was Mr. Alfred Saunders, who, at a later period, became the superintendent of the Canterbury Province. With him were Messrs. Hammond, Butler, Hill and Andrews, who assisted at the opening of the first Rechabite Tent in New Zealand. William Andrews, the grandfather of George William Andrews, a well-known worker in the temperance field, resident at Ashburton, has the certificate that was issued to his grandfather by the Reformer Tent, Nelson, in 1843. This branch of the Order only existed for two and a half years and was dissolved by mutual consent, the members sharing equally the funds. The next effort to establish the Order was made at Wanganui in the early fifties. Messrs. John Harding, C. M. Harkness and Thos. Scrivener were charter members who did their best to keep the branch going without success. The next attempt was made at Auckland in 1863, when the Hope of Auckland Tent was opened, and is still going strong with over three hundred members. Very little is known of the names, and early struggles of the Hope of Auckland. Some of the stalwarts who have laboured so successfully in carrying on are J. G. Carr and his brother W. Carr, W. Johnson, W. Danby, J. W. Foster, J. McDermott, A. Jenkins, W. Perritt, T. W. Marshall, J. Jebson, R. H. Wilson, A. E. Clark, W. Day and D. M. A. Bodley.

In 1866 a branch of the Order was instituted in Wellington, in response to a requisition sent to Auckland, as the Senior Society in New Zealand, when Bro. William Johnson, a member of the page 190 Auckland Tent, who came to New Zealand with the Sixty-fifth Regiment, was sergeant tailor of the regiment, when he retired from the army at Auckland, came to Wellington to open the Tent on December 13, 1866. The following were duly initiated—F. H. Fraser, M. Reid, A. Levy, W. Lawes, D. Watson, J. Godber, C. Jacobs, G. Janson, W. Isaacs, J. Tolley, I. and W. H. McClelland.

The Tent was named the Hope of Wellington, and has continued in actual work and now has a membership of nearly two hundred and fifty. In 1870, Tents were opened at the Thames and at Napier. The Napier Tent was opened on September 13, 1870, in the St. Paul's church schoolroom. The following were elected officers—C. R. Denholm, D.R., R. C. Harding, secretary, J. McVay and W. Burton, steward, and was named the Hope of Napier Tent.

In 1871 a Tent was opened at Blenheim and named the Bon Accord Tent. Amongst the officers were the Rev. W. Sherriffs, Messrs. H. Jellyman, S. Carvell, W. B. Earl, A. McKenzie.

In 1872, the second Tent was opened in Wellington, and named the Perseverance. Amongst the prominent workers were Gilbert Carson, who later went to Wanganui, G. Ward, J. T. Rogers, D. Hall, J. B. Haddon, W. H. Frethey, R. A. Ferguson and R. Burton.

In 1874 a branch was opened at Nelson. Amongst the officers were A. Wilkie, A. T. Jones, W. T. Sherwood, T. Fathers, W. H. Berry, J. Milroy, W. Mitchner, J. Piper, R. Watson, J. M. Calder, H. Budden.

In 1875 a branch was opened at New Plymouth. Prominent amongst the workers were J. Whitaker, page 191 F. Goodacre, P. Hopkins, W. Chatterton and W. Jones.

In 1875, the third Tent was opened in Wellington, named ‘Excelsior.’ Officers—W. J. Gaudin, Senior and Junior D. McIntyre, A. Huggins, G. Bedford, T. W. Ward, A. Kelloway and Mr. H. Jeffery. In 1876 the Order reached Dunedin. The Tent was named the Hope of Dunedin. Officers—C. R. Clarke, A. J. Bennett, D. J. Stokes, A. Hayes, Bros. Brown, Hooper, Porteous, Henderson. Trustees, G. Watson, J. A. D. Adams, J. Neale. Tent Surgeon, Dr. Murphy. R. Farrant, R. Cole, A. McIndoe, Fleming and Davis.

In 1877 the Order started in Christchurch. The first Chief Ruler, Bro. J. T. Smith, was a well-known temperance advocate. Associated in the early days were S. W. Fox, who was an active member of the Rechabite Order and the Rev. Richardson.

Christchurch has always been an active centre of Rechabite work, and is now the largest, numerically, in the Dominion, having eight branches in active work. Messrs. J. Flesher, J. Henwood, R. H. Taylor, J. Palmer, and C. H. Bascand, materially assisted to raise the Order into the leading place in the Dominion.

Invercargill in 1877 opened the Murihiku Tent. Prominent amongst the early workers were C. W. Brown, J. J. Wesney, W. Stead, and J. Hensley.

Ormondville was the next place to start a branch of the Order. A. Levy, R. C. Groom, were amongst the first officers. As the Dominion population increased, branches of the Order were opened, and now there is an active branch in Woodville, Masterton, Carterton, Aratapu, Wakefield, Johnson- page 192 ville, Onehunga, Whangaroa, Waihi, Northcote, Palmerston North, Warkworth, Hawera, Brightwater, Stratford, Inglewood, Levin, Cambridge, Petone, Wanganui, Hastings, Ashburton, Hamilton, Mount Eden, Huntly, Timaru, Gore, Bluff, Port Chalmers, Lower Hutt, Granity, Motueka, Ohai, Devonport and Remuera.

(2) International Order of Good Templars

The Independent Order of Good Templars (since changed to International) originated in Central New York in 1852. The honour of introducing the Order into New Zealand is due to Brother the Rev. B. J. Westbrooke, a minister of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, who, on his emigration from England obtained a commission from Bro. J. Malins, G.W.C.T. of England, to act as deputy for New Zealand. Upon his arrival in Invercargill he set about the work of organizing a lodge of Good Templars. He succeeded in securing a sufficient number of signatures to an application for a lodge charter, and on September 9, 1872, sixteen gentlemen assembled for the purpose of being constituted the ‘Southern Cross’ Lodge No. 1, I.O.G.T., New Zealand. Sister Mrs. Westbrooke was also present and assisted in the ceremony. Those who thus took upon themselves the Templars' vows were—Bros. Gibson, Nicholson, McMillan, Hay, J. R. McKay, Ribston, McEwan, McIntosh, Crack, Bonthorn, Ross, Gramson, A. McKay, Green, Wood and McLean. Brother McLean was chosen the first W.C.T., and Brother D. Bonthorn first W. secretary. Their organization was noticed in the
Rev. W. Gittos,Early and devoted worker amongst the Maori

Rev. W. Gittos,
Early and devoted worker amongst the Maori

Rev. R. T. Haddon,Maori Chief, Methodist Missioner and eloquent prohibition advocate

Rev. R. T. Haddon,
Maori Chief, Methodist Missioner and eloquent prohibition advocate

The Maori Viewpoint

The Maori Viewpoint

It is said that in the early days of settlement in New Zealand, a Maori who had become intoxicated was placed in the stocks. A notable citizen passing inquired the cause of his being there. The Maori replied, ‘You put me here for being drunk, but you let the man who sold me the stuff that made me drunk go free. Why?’ The incident is depicted in the above illustration. The question asked by the Maori still remains with us—Why do we arrest the drunkard and punish him, and license the sellers of intoxicating liquor that makes men drunk?

page 193 local newspapers and thus heralded through the Colony, which, together with the frequent notices of the Order's progress in Britain, read in the various Home papers, caused interest to be taken in the Movement. There were already a few in the Colony who had joined the Order before they left their native land for New Zealand, and the news that a Lodge had been started in Invercargill revived their love for the Order. In Dunedin two Brothers, Robert Greig and David Wilson, got up an application for a charter, which was rapidly signed and granted by Bro. Westbrooke. On receipt of the charter a meeting was called for October 30, 1872, and attended by seventeen persons, male and female, who were initiated members of the Order by Brothers Greig and Wilson. Bro. J. W. Jago, who had for many years been a devoted advocate of the temperance cause, was chosen Worthy Chief Templar of Lodge Pioneer of Dunedin, No. 2, and Bro. J. James, W. secretary. Bro. Greig was recommended as Lodge Deputy, and to the credit of its members, Dunedin has never permitted the Lodge to close its doors.

From that date the cause went forward with surprising success. Lodges were constantly springing into being in the smaller towns and country places, until in a very short time the I.O. G.T. became one of the most popular organizations in the province.

The North Island. In the North Island the first movement in favour of the Order was made in Wellington. Brother Mackune had arrived and almost immediately issued the first Charter. On May 30, 1873, he instituted ‘Lodge Pioneer.’ Bro. F. H. Fraser was the first W.C.T., and Bro. Henry page 194 Budden, secretary. On the same night he also instituted the ‘Star of Wellington’ Lodge. The ‘Pioneer’ members decided on Monday for their night of meeting, and the ‘Star of Wellington’ fixed Thursday for their meetings to be held. All down the years these two Lodges have never closed their doors, on Monday and Thursday a Lodge session being held. The Order caught on and in a very short time there were in Wellington more Lodges than nights in the week. On one occasion the writer took part in the initiation of one hundred and four members at one session, the result of a short week's mission.

The origin of the first Lodge in the City of Auckland was the result of a visit to that place of Bro. Hobbs, of H.M.S. Dido. This brother had been commissioned by Brother Westbrooke to organize Lodges where opportunity offered. He succeeded in inducing some of the temperance men of the city to combine for the formation of a Lodge of the I.O.G.T., and Pioneer Lodge was instituted under promising circumstances on July 23, 1873. In this way the Order was well established from south to north in less than a year from its introduction. The membership soon ran up to several thousands. There was no lack of ardour on the part of our good Brothers on whom fell the responsibility of directing affairs. There was no shrinking from severe and self-sacrificing duties. There were no railways in those days and steam communication a poor foretaste of what we now possess, yet the work went on in spite of difficulties and received all the supervision primitive conditions would allow.

The want of a Grand Lodge as a centre of action and direction was soon felt. Provincial page 195 Grand Lodges were formed at Dunedin, Auckland and Nelson. These were superseded by the opening of a Grand Lodge for New Zealand, which was constituted on September 29, 1874, in the Forrester's Hall, Christchurch. Brother B. J. Westbrooke, S.D.R.W.G.T., took the chair, forty-six representatives of subordinate Lodges being present. After the Grand Lodge degree had been conferred on these, the election of officers was then proceeded with:—

G.W.C.T., Bro. S. P. Andrews, Christchurch. G.W.C.T., Bro. J. A. D. Adams, Dunedin. G.W.V.T., Bro. D. C. Cameron, Dunedin. G. W. secretary, Bro. W. T. C. Mills, Christchurch. G.W. treasurer, Bro. John Caygill, Christchurch. Assistant secretary, Bro. W. Smith, Christchurch. G.W. Chaplain, Bro. S. McFarlane, Christchurch. G.W. Marshal, Bro. W. Carr, Dunedin. G. W. Guard, Bro. J. Donaldson, Timaru. G.W. Sentinel, Bro. W. Kerr, Avonside. G.W. Messenger, Bro. J. W. Carter, Christchurch.

The following is a list of the Grand Chief Templars. The same year appears twice in some cases during the period of the two Grand Lodges.

Bro. S. P. Andrews, Christchurch (1874). Bro. J. A. D. Adams, Dunedin (1875). Bro. John W. Jago, Dunedin (1876-7-8). Bro. Rev. Samuel Edgar, Auckland (1878). Bro. Sir William Fox, Wellington (1879). Bro. the Rev. Thomas Roseby, LL.D., Dunedin (1879-80). Bro. William Johnson, Wellington (1880). Bro. John Harding, Waipukurau (1881-2). Bro. J. T. Smith, Christchurch (1882). Bro. John Jenkins, Auckland (1883). Bro. J. A. Efford, Christchurch (1883). Bro. J. Edwards, Wellington (1884-5).Bro. Chas, page 196 G. Hill, Auckland (1885). Bro. T. W. Glover, Auckland (1888-9-90). Bro. R. N. Adams, Dunedin (1891-2-3-4). Bro. the Rev. E. H. Taylor, Thames (1896-1906). Bro. D. C. Cameron, Dunedin (1907-8-9-10). Br. G. W. Andrews, Ashburton (1911-12). Bro. A. B. Thompson, Wellington (1913-1914). Bro. T. H. Dalton, Dunedin (1915– present G.C.T.).

The Order continued to grow, and in 1876 there were over 7,000 members in New Zealand. A few years later came a division in the Order over what was known as the Colour Question, and there were two Grand Lodges working in New Zealand for several years. The question was, however, happily settled, and on January 19, 1888, in Wellington, the Lodges became united. At this Session, Bro. T. W. Glover was elected Grand Chief Templar, and Bro. D. C. Cameron, Grand Secretary, a position he held in the Order for a period of thirty years. Unfortunately, about 1900 there came a falling off in the membership, and the coming of the Great War made great inroads in our ranks. Over fifty per cent. of our Brothers went on active service, a record possibly held by no other Order in the Dominion. However, it is pleasing to be able to record that the Lodges have taken a new lease of life; old Lodges are being re-opened and new ones being formed. The Order is looking with great hope for the future.

Juvenile Work. The I.O.G.T. makes a special effort to secure for the children a proper training of the more elementary principles of total abstinence. The Juvenile Department has been and still is the means of doing a good work. Every Lodge is supposed to have its Juvenile Temple. The difficulty is to find suitable superintendents who have page 197 the time at their disposal. Still, those who give their services are amply rewarded.

Personal. This brief outline of the Order in New Zealand would be incomplete did we omit reference to the great service rendered the Order and cause in the years that are passed, by such veterans as Sir William Fox, our first representative to the I.S. Lodge, J. W. Jago, J. A. D. Adams, P.G.C.T.'s—R. N. Adams, E. H. Taylor, T. W. Glover, G. W. Andrews, J.P., W. Johnston, W. T. Bond, J.P., Sister Mrs. C. Cameron, Sister Mrs. M. A. Gunnell. Also Bro. George Petherick, J.P., for about twenty years secretary of the Grand Lodge.

The great mission of Good Templary as set out in its Platform, may be summed up in very few words. It is simply:

1.—To take the people from the drink by means of the Total Abstinence Pledge and the protective associations of the Lodge Room.

2.—To take the drink from the people by the process of legislative enactment and the faithful enforcement of liquor prohibition.

(3) Sons and Daughters of Temperance

Fifty-Seven years ago an ardent band of temperance enthusiasts considered that the time was ripe to form a Temperance Benefit Society. On the evening of February 8, 1871, a meeting was held in Murray's private hotel in Rattray Street, Dunedin, the charter being granted from Australia, page 198 the first Sons and Daughters of Temperance Lodge in New Zealand, and the first Temperance Benefit Society in Otago, came into being. Those present on that memorable occasion were Messrs. W. D. McBride, Alexander Rennie, Thomas Sinclair, William Henderson, Robert Bacon, Henry Spears, John Adams. From the small beginning, stout hearts pressed steadily on until the society had gained a firm footing and, at the end of the year, some thirty new members were initiated, becoming helpful workers in the cause of temperance in general and their Lodge in particular.

The past worthy patriarchs and officers of the early days, by their energy and zeal for the best interests of the division, laid the foundations of the splendid work now being carried on by its present officers, whose united efforts have placed this Lodge second to none in New Zealand, the accumulated funds amounting to £12,000. Since the inception of the society, there have been but four secretaries, Bros. C. J. Thorn, R. Slater, Wm. Crawford and Geo. Stratton. Secretary Bro. Wm. Crawford for thirty-five years carefully watched the finances of the division, and to him we are indebted for the sound position we are in to-day. His name will go down in the history of the Lodge as one who never ceased to promote the objects for which we are associated.