The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69
The races for the various clubs of the Auckland Rowing Association, which were held as part of the Jubilee celebrations, did not prove as complete a success as was anticipated, as the fresh S.E. wind which prevailed during the afternoon caused a heavy roll on the northern side of the harbour, which proved too heavy for the light string-test gigs, and after one or two had been swamped, several of the races for this class had to be abandoned. The courses were laid from near the Calliope Dock to the Devon-port Wharf. The starter was Mr. J. F. Haultain, who, with the umpire (Mr. J. M. Brigham), had the use of the Permanent Force's torpedo boat, while the judge (Mr. G. S. Kissling) was stationed on one of the wharves. The details of the racing were as follow:—
Maiden Whaleboats.—Six crews—Waitemata, Hauraki, St. George's, Ponsonby, North Shore, ana City—competed, and were despatched about three p.m. to an even start, and a slashing race ensued. For half the distance all were well together, but as the wharf was neared, Ponsonby, Waitemata, and Hauraki drew ahead of the rest, and only half a length separated the three. A determined struggle to the post ensued, and resulted in favour of Ponsonby by about half a length, Hauraki being second, and Waitemata close up third. The winning crew was:—1. S. Bowden; 2. E. Taite;3. D. Cole; 4. J. Cole; P. W. Scott, stroke; J. Scott, steer-oar.
Champion Gig Race.—This was considered to be the event of the programme, but owing to the rough state of the water, the Auckland and two West End crews declined to start The field consisted of Waitemata, North Shore, Poverty Bay, and Ponsonby. The two latter swamped shortly after the start and both North Shore and Waitemata skipped a lot of water. The two latter kept a float and finished, but Waitemata had the advantage throughout, and won easily by several lengths. The Waitemata four comprised:—1. R. Moore; 2. G. Barrett; 3. T. O'Connor'; M. Keefe, stroke; P. Bailey, (cox.)
Dingy Race.—A. Bailey (Waitemata), H. Cooke (Ponsonby), R. Masefield (West End) started, but the race was a hollow affair, in Bailey speedily distanced his opponents, and won easily. Cooke did not finish.
Maiden Gigs (under 10 stone).—Of the seven crews entered all went out except the West End, but all were swamped at the post before they could be started. Waitemata baled out and went over the course, the starter protesting, as he considered the state of the water dangerous for gigs. The Waitemata crew was:—1, J. Philpot; 2, H. Bailey; 3, D. Dysart; E. Bailey, stroke; P. Bailey, cox.page 83
At this stage the Association Committee met and decided that, owing: to the heavy seas, no more gig events should be started, and the junior maiden and senior bona fide gig races and scullers' race were abandoned for the time, but to be rowed off on another day.
Native Canoe Races.
The first of these events, which were run at the North Shore, was a contest between Paul Tuhaere's grand war canoe, manned by about 80 rowers, and two whakatiwai, or plain canoes, each having about 20 paddlers. The course was from the Devonport Wharf round a buoy off Calliope Dock and back. They were despatched on very even terms, and gradually increasing their pace as they progressed, a grand spectacle was presented to the thousands who lined the foreshore of about 150 stalwart Maoris, the majority of whom were nude to the waist, swaying in a graceful rythmic motion in time to the wild, exhorting chant of the several fuglemen, while the spray broke frequently over the rapidly-progressing craft, and drenched the lightly-clad paddlers. On the up journey the smaller craft held gallantly to the big whakataua, but at the buoy the latter forged ahead, and, though the rowers redoubled their efforts, she increased her lead, and won a good race by a couple of lengths. The result of the race was hailed with cries and antics of delight by the Maoris ashore, the wahines particularly being vociferous in their expressions of approval.
The whakatiwai race, over the same course, brought out four canoes, which were named the Momoni, Tarai Puruku, Ruahori, and Pumrikana. Each craft contained about 20 paddlers, two being composed of Huntly natives, one of Kaipara, and the other of Rangiriri men. The course was the same as in the previous race, and an exciting contest ensued. Near the finish the Momoni and Tarai Puruku drew out, but the former, whose men paddled with great vigour and in splendid time, distanced their opponents, and won. The Momoni was the canoe which won the whakatiwai event on Thursday.
There was also an event for Rarotongan canoes manned by single rowers. Four boats started, and although one fellow upset his frail craft at the start, and disported himself fur some time in the water, the other three made a creditable race, propelling their canoes with graceful dexterity, Tangaia being first, Kainana second, and Kowtai third.
In the evening, when the tide had gone down considerably, the canoe hurdle races were started, and three craft, manned by a couple of buxom wahines each competed. The receding water had left the hurdle-booms too high above the surface, however, and after many determined and amusing efforts to shoot them over the obstacle, the natives had to abandon the attempt.
The War Dance.
The Maori war dance, whice was to have taken place on Thursday, but which could not be carried out owing to the spectators crowding in on the natives, was given to-day day at what are known as the Bear Gardens, at the North Shore. A portion of the ground was fenced off, and there was a large force of police present to keep the reserve clear. The time fixed for the event to take place was halt-past four, and at that hour some 4000 or 5000 people were gathered in and around the paddock. The hill at the north end of the field was covered with onlookers. After a delay of about half an hour the natives arrived on the ground, headed by a band. The dancing party consisted of about 50 women and 200 men, nearly all members of the Waikato tribe. The women attired in white flowing robes and were decked with some bright-coloured ribbons. On entering the field the women formed in line, and each woman placing her hands on the shoulders of the one in front of her, the whole party marched round in a circle, and then again formed line and faced the people. The Maori warriors in the meantime were crouching down behind the women. Most of the men had only pieces of cloth round their loins, the rest of the body being naked. They carried canoe paddles in their hands in place of guns, or, as was the custom in the old days, taiahas, tewhatewhas, meres, &c. Some of the men had decorated their heads with feathers. Te Rawhiti, who formerly occupied the position of secretary to Tawhiao, had charge of the women, and led them in their dance. The haka kotiro was then performed, and at each interval in the dance the spectators manifested their approval by applause. After a short interval the war-dance was given. The contortions of the men were hideous, and their chant and shouts had a strange effect. The dances were finished about quarter to six o'clock, when the natives returned to their quarters at the Naval Depot.
Shooting and Fishing Excursion.
His Excellency the Governor proceeded to Motutapu Island to-day on a shooting expedition. The Earl of Onslow was accompanied by Admiral Lord Charles Scott, Lord Carrington, Hon. Mr. Mitchelson (Native Minister), Hon. Mr. Hislop (Minister of Education), Mr. J. H. Upton (Mayor of Auckland), Mr. M. Niccol (Mayor of Devonport), Mr. E. W. Alison (Chairman of Directors of the Devonport Steam Ferry Company), Mr, Meysey-Thompson (A.D.C.), Flag-Lieutenant Fitzgerald, Mr. L. D. Nathan, and Major George. The party started for Motutapu in the steamer Eagle at half-past nine a.m. The course taken was round Rangitoto Island. When outside the reef the anchor was dropped, and an hour and a-half was spent in fishing. There was excellent sport, for the party was kept busy the whole time hauling in fish—principally schnappers. About two hundred fish were caught. The steamer was then headed for Motutapu, and on arrival at that island the distinguished visitors were most heartily welcomed by Mr. John Reid. Horses were in readiness for those who might wish to go riding. Here the company were joined by Captain Savile (A.D.C. to the Governor), and Captain Trench (A.D.C. to Lord Carrington), who had sailed to Motutapu in Mr. H. Whitaker's yacht, Wenona. The Governor, Lord Charles Scott, Lord Carrington, and several others went deer-shooting. Two deer and a number of rabbits page 84 were shot. The Earl of Onlow had the good fortune to "bring down" a fine stag with magnificent antlers, and he expressed his intention to have the head preserved. The steamer left for Auckland at half-past five p.m., and reached the wharf at about a quarter past six o'clock. The day was beautifully fine, and the Governor, Lord Charles Scott, and Lord Carrington were very much pleased with the sea trip, the fine scenery, and the good sport they had.
In the evening His Excellency was present at the performance of the Rarotongans at the City Hall. There were present with the Governor Lord Carrington and Admiral Lord Charles Scott.