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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Revival of The Anniversary Regatta

Revival of The Anniversary Regatta.

When the anniversary of the colony approached next year (1850), the previous year's protest in favour of a regatta instead of horseracing bore fruit. The horse races seem to have been discredited from a published letter in the New Zealander by the Rev. Thos. Buddie, in which he says:—"Being at Epsom yesterday in the course of ministerial duty, I was greatly shocked at the utter disregard of the Holy Sabbath which I saw manifested by certain parties training their horses for the approaching races." As the outcome, the Southern Cross of January 22, 1850, contains the following:—"At a meeting held at the Masonic Hotel for the purpose of considering the best means of celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of this colony, Mr. Herbert, 58th Regt, in the chair, it was proposed by Mr. Woodhouse, and seconded by Mr. Gray, 'That the most appropriate way to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of the colony is by a regatta.' Proposed by Mr. Young, and seconded by Mr. Coates, 'That the following gentlemen be requested to act as a Committee of management, with power to add to their number: Major Bridge, 58th Regt., Mr. Cooper, 58th Regt., Mr. W.S. Grahame, Major Gray, Mr. Thomas Lewis, Captain Laye, 58th Regt., Mr. John Me Dougall, Mr. F. W. Merriman, Captain Solman, Mr. Woodhouse. Proposed by Colonel Wynyard, and seconded by Mr. Woodhouse, 'That Mr. Merriman be requested to act as secretary and treasurer.'"

The New Zealander makes the following comments on the subject, which read curiously in the light of present events:—"The proposal to celebrate the anniversary of the colony by a regatta is about to be acted under auspices which promise well for its proper arrangement and efficiency. This amusement, we need scarcely say, is free from many of the objections which have been urged (in our opinion justly), against horse-racing, and, moreover, is better suited to a colony like ours, where strength rather than Heetness is desirable in horses which are with comparatively few exceptions, employed in farm work, but where—from our insular position and maritime engagements and prospects, and from the fact that so large a portion of our communication with the interior is carried on through our coasting vessels—everything that tends to the construction of better and safer boats is especially valuable. Our regatta, therefore, may be found not only an agreeable recreation, not necessarily involving anything which should offend the most fastidious moralist but also the means of doing much practical good by stimulating to augmented taste, liberality, and effort in the designing and building of boats."

The advertisement of the regatta is headed "Auckland Regatta, in Commemoration of the Tenth Anniversary of the Colony, January 29, 1850," and was under the patronage of His Excellency Major-General George Dean Pitt, K.H. The flagship was the Josephine, Captain Smith, and the committee—Major Bridge, 58th Regiment; Major Gray, Captain Laye, 58th Regiment; Mr. Cooper, 58th Regiment; Captain Salmon, Captain Smith; Messrs. W. S. Grahame, Thomas Lewis, John McDougall, Woodhouse, and F. W. Merriman (hon, sec.) The three races of the regatta of 1842 expanded in the regatta of 1850 to twelve races, with prize money ranging from £2 to £15. The cargo-boat race was won by Mr. Osborne's Polka; whaleboat race, by Major Bridge's Parewa; sailing boats, by Mr. Waite's Jerry: gigs, by Colonel Wynyard's Anne; watermen's boats, by Angelo Peragi's British Queen: dingies, by Mr. Carr's Alert; duck and drake race, won by the duck, Angelo.