Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Early Polynesian Voyages to and from New Zealand and across Pacific

Vaka - photo courtesy Te Ara - Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise, Muri Rarotonga,  2017

When at school, I was taught the" great fleet scenario " It was enshrined in the learning culture  at school and throughout New Zealand. Great pictures were conjured up in my child's mind of canoes, filled with paddlers, frantically paddling to reach distant shores, thousands of kilometres away.. Never did I dare to question what other methods of navigation, did these people of the  eight canoes use. I puzzled and puzzled, where this place Hawaiki was ( modern scholars are now of the thought that Hawaiki might just be Tahiti).

My education on the " Great fleet scenario" was on the cusp of change, when there was another " great migration" taking place in New Zealand  - when rural communities were seeing their communities  experience, their people moving to the cities and the large housing areas, for work in the cities. Even a song was written about it and can be seen on John Archer's " the New Zealand  Folk Song"

 It was not until going on to University, out to work and finally in later years travel across Asia and the Pacific, that it was suddenly realised the myth of the " great fleet scenario" Now in 2018 it is a generation of genealogy, finding one's roots and the answers in DNA for everything. During travel across and around the Pacific and hearing stories from many different peoples of their ancestors journeys across the seas and from continents way, way back in time.   Visiting the new Te Ara -Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise at Muri, Rarotonga  in 2017, suddenly there came, a eureka moment.

Sign at Muri Te Ara - Cook Islands Museum Cultural Enterprises - photo Chris Ball 2017

There was not one " great fleet scenario" coming to New Zealand. There were in fact a number of visits of canoe to and from New Zealand  by people who knew what they were doing with navigation. Their stories were passed down verbally and in whakapapa or genealogy.  Yes there were some historical facts in the stories, including that of Kupe said to have visited about  925 AD. Kupe is said to be a Chief of Hawaiki ( Tahiti)  whose father was from Rarotonga, and whose mother was from  Raiatea   There is an island in Tahiti said to be called  Raiatea. Kupe is said to have voyaged to New Zealand aboard the double canoe, Matahourua. Kupe is attributed within stories passed down among Iwi for generations, with having visited  the south Wairarapa, Cook Strait, Northland regions, Arahura on the South Island’s West Coast, and to the Coromandel Peninsula -  Taputapuātea and Te Whitianga-o-Kupe  ( Kupe's crossing place).

North end of Buffalo Beach, Whitianga not far from Taputapuātea Stream and looking out toward cliffs where Captain Cook observed transit of Mercury - photo August 2015 courtesy Chris Ball

Today in 2018,  we know this place - Te Whitianga-o-Kupe on the Coromandel Peninsula ( Te Tara-o-te-Ika a Maui )  as Whitianga.  Taputapuātea Stream  flows into the Northern End of what is known as Buffalo Beach. On the island of Raiatea there is Taputapuatea marae - "tapu" meaning sacred and "atea" faraway. This marae was a special place for polynesian voyagers for it was a place of learning. Navigators from all over the Pacific would gather to share their knowledge of the genealogical origins of the universe, and of deep-ocean navigation. Note on map below that "Havaii" was the ancient name for the island of Raiatea.

In Handy, E.S. Craighill. 1892. History and culture in the Society islands. Honolulu: Bernice P Bishop Museum no.79 1930. Hathi Trust

Even  Captain Cook of the HMS Endeavour,  when he visited  Te Whitianga-o-Kupe in 1769 to observe the Transit of Mercury at  Te Whanganui A Hei, (the Great Bay of Hei) was to bring a link to this place in forward years -  in the person of Tupaia.  Also from  Raiatea  Tupaia - navigator and map maker -who encouraged by Joseph Banks, joined Endeavour in July 1769. Banks was appointed to a joint Royal Navy/Royal Society scientific expedition , on HMS Endeavour. Tupaia it is said, proved to be of great value, despite being overlooked and with little to say by Captain Cook. Able to understand and speak the language of Maori met, Tupaia was able to act both as an interpreter along with a mediator role, helping to avert what may have proved disastrous for Captain Cook and the  crew of the HMS  Endeavour.

 Cook recorded in his log about  the first map of Aotearoa being  drawn on the deck of Endeavour by Ngati Hei ancestor Toawaka. Ngati Hei are said to be descended from Hei - a navigator aboard the canoe Te Arawa.The tribe took its name in the 13th Century from Hei, the elder brother of Tama Te Kapua, Captain of the Arawa canoe.

Purangi Estuary off Cooks Beach - photo courtesy ASB 2012

Other stories and histories have been passed down of  other canoe and people arriving in New Zealand. Debate amongst scholars continues over the exact date that Maori arrived in New Zealand  with varying opinions. It is said that between  1000–1100 AD, the Polynesian explorer Toi arrived in New Zealand. Also from Tahiti as Kupe was, Toi is said to have  met the tangata-whenua in  the Hauraki Gulf. Intermarriage took place and Toi finally settled at Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.

At Entrance to Whakatane  November 2015 photo courtesy Chris Ball

At Tairua on the Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard, a fishing lure was found in an Archaeological site  in 1964. The significance of this fishing lure made from th black lipped oyster shell is that it is thought to have been bought to New Zealand by  Polynesian arrivals to this shore.  The lure thought to be around to be around 1250 - 1300 A,D  gives support to the theories which tell of migrations from the islands of the Pacific to New Zealand.

Tairua Harbour  - where the tree Tutuaki is said to be standing guard over the place where the pearl shell fishing lure was found - photo 2018 courtesy Chris Ball

Not far from Te Ara Museum at Muri, Rarotonga is a place marking the spot,  said to be where seven vaka ( canoe) left in about 1250 -   1350 A.D from the bay of  Ngatangiia. This was a favoured location for there is a gap in the reef which fringes the widest part of the island's lagoon. It is said these vaka  voyaged to Aotearoa ( New Zealand)

   In the Bay of Ngatangiia, Muri , Rarotonga - photo 2017 courtesy Chris Ball

The seven vaka leaving  the Bay of Ngatangiia, were Takitumu, Te Arawa, Mataatua, Aotea, Kurahaupo, Tokomaru and Tainui.  Whether these seven left at the same time or over a period of time  is still a point of conjecture and debate amongst scholars of  polynesian migrations.

Modern Day Vaka anchored in the Bay of Ngatangiia - photo 2017 courtesy Chris Ball

After visiting the Te Ara museum at Muri, Rarotonga, another " eureka moment" gave realisation that these early polynesian voyagers to New Zealand were in fact great navigators. It was not paddle, paddle, paddle.  A  vast knowledge about currents, winds, seasonal weather changes and the stars enabled these  navigators to move across the vast Pacific Ocean (  Te Moananui-a-Kiwa ). Te Moanui - a-kiwa said to be 70 million square miles of ocean.

The stars - photo courtesy Andy Holmes

On the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand those stars that helped guide those early navigators. Guiding their  canoe to the coastal places of the Coromandel Peninsula: Te Tara-o-te-Ika a Māui (the jagged barb of Māui's fish), It is in the Maori place names of the Coromandel Peninsula and oral stories and song passed down thorough Iwi and whanau that is found those of ancestor navigators who came and travelled back home in many waka ( canoe) over several hundred years. Or settled in place enjoying the bounty of land and sea.

Many of those stories are now being written and recorded - a very relevant part of the past New Zealand history that marks a long history of many canoe rather than one great fleet coming to the shores of New Zealand.

                            Tairua / Pauanui shores looking out to Whakahau - photo 2015 courtesy Chris Ball 

Reference Sources:
  • Best, Elsdon. 1934. The Maori As He Was : A Brief Account of Life as it Was in Pre-European Days. Wellington: Dominion Museum.
  • Hiroa, Te Rangi.( Sir Peter Buck) 1949. The Coming of the Maori . Wellington: Māori Purposes Fund Board.
  • Smith, S Percy. 1904. Hawaiki: The Original Home of the Maori, With a Sketch of Polynesian History. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited
  • Howe, K. R. The quest for origins: who first discovered and settled New Zealand and the Pacific islands? Auckland: Penguin, 2003.
  • Reed, A. W. Treasury of Maori exploration. Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1977.
  • Simmons, D. R. 1976. The great New Zealand myth : a study of the discovery and origin traditions of the Maori. Wellington,NZ: A.H and A.V Reed.
  • Sorrenson, M. P. K. Maori origins and migrations. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1979.
  • Rushforth, David. 2015. "The Lures of Tairua." In True Tales of the Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard, by Anne Stewart Ball Compiler /coordinator for TCHT, pp 8 - 11. TCHT The Coromandel Heritage Trust.
  • Best, Elsden. 1915. "Art. XLVII.—Maori Voyagers and their Vessels: How the Maori explored the Pacific Ocean, and laid down the Sea Roads for all Time." Transactions & Proceedings New Zealand Institute, November 8thKupe Te Matorohanga, recorded by H.T. Whatahoro, and translated by S. Percy Smith; from the Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 4, 1913,http://archive.hokulea.com/ike/moolelo/kupe.html
  • KUPE The Polynesian Navigator and Explorer by T. V. Saunders - in Te Ao hou The Maori Magazine No. 66 (March 1969)

  • In Handy, E.S. Craighill. 1892. History and culture in the Society islands. Honolulu: Bernice P Bishop Museum no.79 1930. Hathi Trust

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Williamson Park reserve ,Whangamata, Coromandel Peninsula

Williamson Park  31 January 2009 - before the changes - photo courtesy Chris Ball

"Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artefacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations……"Whatever shape they take, these things form part of a heritage, and this heritage requires active effort on our part in order to safeguard it."
            From Forum 2014 Minmar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey " Preserving Culture and Heritage Through Generations"
Often in New Zealand we tend to think about Heritage buildings or heritage structures, often overlooking that intangible heritage - our cultural heritage - which is often reflected in place with stories  Williamson Park Reserve, Whangamata on the Eastern Seaboard of the Coromandel Peninsula is  one of those places.
 I am of the  view, that due to the recent changes to Williamson Park in the last two years  since 2016, that we are in grave danger of losing a part of Whangamata's intangible cultural heritage, along with the very reason we had this Park in the first place.  Especially if we ignore the stories and  special things about this park, passed down in our family stories to future generations.

  The very fact that we, as people on the Coromandel Peninsula, inherited from past generations, who lived at Whangamata in the early 1900s, this park. That because of the generosity of the Williamson family we were bestowed this park as a gift in 1929 for the benefit of future generations. 

The Gates of Williamson Park Reserve - constructed and opened in 1970  to acknowledge the gifting of this park - photo HMS Stewart ( my mother)
I  am of the view that active effort is required ,on the part of many, who have enjoyed the benefits of this park, to safeguard it for future generations - along with the stories and the intangibles, before they are lost, forgotten or trundled over by those with little regard to preserving cultural heritage.  Who would, in fact, bring to this park, an imported culture, not necessarily chosen by the majority of the ratepayers and residents of Whangamata.

Williamson Park Reserve in 23  September 2016  -  the start of major changes to Williamson Park - photo CHris Ball
With part of the past of our New Zealand history I  research and write many stories for this blog.  The following is how this  park  came to be - the stories and words passed down by dear friends - the Williamsons. A park that over many decades for me has seen many of those intangibles - enjoying the surf club ( started by family member - Matt Whyte) and  the adjacent beach; marriage at the park for family and friends; lots of walks, picnics; enjoying the free events on offer over the years with others - surf carnivals, whanga week, the Summer Festival and in recent years Brits at the Beach and Beach Hop - all very much what I regard as some good cultural heritage of Whangamata and the Coromandel Peninsula.  This was a gift given to all of us,  by the Williamsons in 1929 and has been passed down, by many for decades until now.

Williamson Park 2014 before the changes - looking out toward Hauturu ( Clark Island)
and  Tuhua (Mayor Island )in distance - photo Chris Ball

 Williamson - past history in Whangamata

 In early 1919, there arrived in the small community of Whangamata, one, Philip Williamson and his wife Madeline. Whangamata back then was a community of farmers, fishermen , a storekeeper and hotel owner. Unlike today in 2018, there was no electricity and no roads in. Travel to and from Whangamata was via a six weekly steamer bringing supplies or horse along  bush tracks. 

With no electricity. cooking on a coal range or wood stove and light from a kerosene lamp or candles, was the order of the day back then. Philip and Madeline soon settled in to this small community and with the arrival of daughter Beverley in 1920 were involved in daily living.  By 1921 Philip was reported as being Chairman of the Whangamata Settlers Meeting and attending a meeting of the Thames County Council. With a delegation and a petition asking for completion of the Waihi - Whangamata road and a wharf at Whangamata. The following year, 1922, Philip Williamson was appointed a Justice of the Peace, a welcome role in this rural area. By 1923  Philip was soon to realise that rather than farming, more chances lay in forestry  and beach front sections ,so turned attentions towards those visions. In 1935, immersed in the subject of pinus radiata and timber treatment, Philip wrote a letter to the British Wood Preserving Association who published this in their journal which ended: -

Vast areas of trees, particularly Pinus radiata, have been planted in New Zealand during the last four years, and this timber is one which should respond readily to preservative treatment. The principles and economic value of such treatment should be thoroughly understood by those interested before the trees reach maturity. Many of the plantations are now ready for a first thinning, and these thinnings would, if properly treated with creosote, be very valuable for fencing posts, building blocks, light telephone poles, etc., provided some simple and economical means could be devised for removing the bark. This seems to present rather a difficulty at the present time. (Editors A. H. LLOYD, M.C., AND R. C. B. GARDNER. 1935)

Whangamata area in the 1930's was  a trial area for forestry and gave employment to those out of work in planting projects in the newly established Tairua State Forest. In 1946 Philip began construction of a sawmill. By the beginning of 1947, felling of the pines and processing of the wood at the sawmill , provided timber for baches being built in what was the beginning of Whangamata as a seaside resort. My cousins each bought a section from Madeline Williamson in 1946 opposite Achilles Store  and both built baches.

Aerial view of Whangamata, looking southwest towards hills in the background. Photograph taken January 1953 by Whites Aviation. Photo courtesy Whangamata. Ref: WA-31979-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22891112
(See pine forest and the mill in Whangamata photo  1953 above  mid right.)

It was also in the 1930's that Philip was elected member Tairua Riding, Thames County, throwing in his energies for an upgrade of " Pipi" Bridge at Tairua in 1938  and improvement of all roads and bridges in the Tairua Riding. Tairua Riding then included the townships of Tairua, Whangamata and the  settlements of Hikuai and Wharekawa (including Opoutere). There was no settlement at Pauanui or Onemana in that era - just farms. Philip as member of Tairua Riding, followed in the footsteps of Harold Cory Wright, James Prescott and Ernest Niccol who had also represented the area, as councillors on the Thames County Council. Ernest AKA Ernie was nephew of George Turnbull Niccol, shipbuilding and who sold his subdivided farms at Hikuai  to the New Zealand  Government in 1921 for Rehabilitation Scheme farms by ballot. 

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19280209-49-2
With the outbreak of World War II, Philip found himself involved again in the war effort. This time enlisted as Captain with the home guard based in Paeroa Army Office. Also from the Whangamata/ Opoutere area in the Home Guard  were Statham, Willetts and Widdison.

Following World War II, Philip and Madeline Williamson saw new changes at Whangamata, as sections were bought and people looked towards this new "beach resort" as offering summer holidays. A surf club, a fire station and engine - " old heartache", Whangamata community church - both volunteer work and money were donated by them to see these community necessities established and of course Williamson Park reserve - a very special gift in 1929.

Williamson Park Reserve - Gifted forever:

Auckland Star   23 May 1929   Page 5
Following the meeting, Philip Williamson received a letter from the Thames County Council clerk, accepting the " generous offer" 

On 11 April 1933, Madeline Williamson signed a Memorandum of Transfer, witnessed by the Postmaster of Waihi. The particulars are said to have been entered in the Register Book , Vol 616, Folio 284 on 2 May 1933. The Transfer "  in good consideration to the Chairman, Councillors and Inhabitants of the County of Thames. "  The land was described  " to be held by the Transferee as a Public Park and  Recreation Reserve for the use of the Public forever."

Yes - a forever document and now in 2018  a number of ratepayers and residents are looking to Save Williamson Park. http://savewilliamsonpark.org.nz/

 To  value the intangible cultural heritage that is Williamson Park - the people's park.  ( a part of the past New Zealand history )

Whangamata Main Surf Beach 1970's - looking toward Williamson Park and Surf Club centre middle top photo - photo
JM Stewart friend of Philip Williamson and County Town Chairperson Whangamata early 1970's
Reference Source:

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Thames - Scrip, stock brokers , gold , money and a goldfield

 August 2017 saw  a 150 year jubilee which marked when the Thames Goldfields was opened and the township of Thames began.

Thames in  1869, the year the Thames Stock Exchange formed. A bustling, noisy, dusty, gold mining town which was expanding rapidly to accommodate those seeking gold, on the newly opened Thames Goldfields , a fortune or providing all manner of services and provisions to the " diggers" ( goldminers). 
Thames Goldfields early 1870s Photo taken by HT Gorrie courtesy from Gwen Buttle photo album. PLEASE DO NOT COPY - seek permission to use
  Stock brokers and scrip sellers plied gold mining shares on the corner of Brown and Albert  Streets, Thames  becoming  known as "Scrip Corner".   

 Typical of money making ventures,  some were professional and welcomed a formal Stock Exchange and some were unqualified and said also to be unscrupulous. For here this was where fortunes, gold and shares were bought and sold. Scrip Corner  was a great location for on an  opposite corner was the Bank of New Zealand.

Major T L Murray


Here was Manager of the Bank of New Zealand -Thomas Leitch Murray who had his finger on the pulse of money, gold movements and the economics of Thames for many a year. In fact about twenty five  years  until 1893. Murray had been sent to Grahams town in 1868 as the Bank of New Zealand's Agent , not long after the officially opening of Thames Goldfields  in August 1867. Murray was a typical  settler from Perthshire, Scotland. As  well as a banker, Murray was involved with family and community. Passionate about the militia, Murray joined the Thames Naval Volunteers on arrival in 1868 as Lieutenant. Service to the various volunteer militia was continued  until his death in 1900.  

Between the years of 1869 and 1872 initial stock exchanges operated at Auckland and Thames. Based  on the rules of the  London Stock Exchange and Melbourne Stock Exchange respectively.

A very first  meeting was held at Samuel Cochrane's auction mart, Auckland  on 16 July 1869 . In July  1869 a meeting held at the Governor Bowen Hotel  of Grahams town and Shortland shareholders, saw a  newly formed Thames Stock Exchange. Office holders elected were Captain Skene chairman; Joseph Lyle, secretary; and Oliver  M  Creagh, treasurer.

 In 1870 pioneer settler,Joseph Newman commenced business as a sharebroker, in which he  continued   till laid aside by illness, when Mr. George Alfred Buttle assumed the management, and became a partner in the firm.

 Four  brothers - John, Robert, James and William  Frater came to Thames   to try their luck. While other " diggers" were digging  to find a fortune or working for some else to dig their fortune , the three Frater Brothers - John, William and James found selling scrip more lucrative than digging for gold. On 20 March 1872 they established a stock broking business in Thames The fourth brother Robert moved to Auckland setting up the Frater Brothers stock broking firm there on 18 June 1872.  This gave more of a professional look to what Frater Brothers and many were doing on street corners - selling scrip. The name Frater Bros became synonymous with stock broking. John Frater remained in Thames,contributing also to  the Thames Hospital Committee for a number of years and recorded as president in 1879.

Five members of the Frater family, whose collective ages total-413 years. From left to right: Mr. William Frater, Mrs. Fletcher, Mr.. Robert_ Frater, Mrs. Whitelaw, and Mr. John Frater. . Auckland Star 19 March 1926 courtesy Papers Past NZ National Library

One month after opening of Frater Brothers at Thames ,The Daily Southern Cross reported John Frater on the Thames sharemarket:-

" Mr. John Frater reports, inspecting the Thames sharemarket :—": — " The market was very active towards the end of the week. I have sold— Caledonian, £20, £21, and £18; Thames, £5, K5 5s ; Sons of Freedom, £10 ; Cure, 21s, 32a 6d ; Otago, 235, 40s; Moanataiari, 85s ; Nonpareil, 755, 77s 6d ; Central Italy, 32s 6d, 37s 6d ; Golden Calf, 30s, 36 1 ; El Dorado, 1s 6 1, and 10s ; Ruby, 5s 6d, ss, and 6s; Unicorn, 4s 611, 6s; Bright Smile, 30s, 28s; Bird in Hand, 63; Smiling Beauty, 3s 6d ; West Coast, 10s and 12s ; Tokatea, 80s ; Pride of Tokatea, 8s 9d, 9s 6d ; Red Queen, 6s, 7d ; Black Angel, 'a 6d to 3h 6 1  Mary Ann, 2s and 2s 6d  Windsor Castle, 10s  ( Daily Southern Cross   22 /04/  1872   P 2  )"

June 1872 saw the establishment of  an Auckland Brokers Association. The formation of this formal group was encouraged by Joseph Newman who was Chair of this organisation for nine years. Thames soon after, followed suit with the establishment of a Thames Stock Exchange ,with first members being Thomas Melhose, John and William Frater, D R Gellion, W.S Styak, John Wilson and E F Tizard.

Auckland benefited from the Thames " gold rush" and saw a number of investors synonymous with investments in the stock and share  market - well- known names of Thomas Russell ( one of the founders of NZI and the Bank of New Zealand and also an owner of the very lucrative Caledonia Mine  ) John Logan Campbell ( regarded as " father of Auckland" with early involvement in goldmining at Tararu  Thames ) , David Nathan ( merchant) , W Aitken,  Thomas Morrin (a pioneer of the Thames goldfields and T. and S. Morrin and Co., Ltd) , James T McKelvie and Robert Graham who had formed Grahamstown.

 Robert Graham
 Thomas Morrin In Chadwick, J. 1906. Men of Mark In the World of Sport in New Zealand. Brett Publishing Company Ltd.
Robert Graham in own publication Robert Graham Waiwera Hot Springs near Auckland, N.Z. 1876

In 1873 the twin settlements Shortland and Grahamstown had merged to form Thames.  By  June 1877 the following were recorded as members of the Thames Stock Exchange: John Salmon, M Hennelly, John Frater, R McDonald Scott, B.C.Fryer. D.R. Gellion, Louis Rudolph Wilhem  Melhose, Samuel Turtle, John L Whitford, George Alfred Buttle.

In the  early days of the Thames Goldfields George Alfred Buttle was a Press correspondent for the Herald. Returning to Auckland in the 1880's Buttle assisted his uncle Joseph Newman from 1892 . With Newman's death in 1895, Buttle became owner of the chair on the Auckland Stock Exchange. He became Chairman of this organisation and remained so for a number of years. Known for " his word was his bond."

 By 1896, the Auckland Brokers Association was firmly established with well known names from those beginning days on the Thames Goldfield, members - Buttle, Frater, Lennox, Garlick, Armitage. 

A part of the past of our New Zealand history of goldmining, stock broking, shares, land agents and mining company managers and what is the New Zealand Stock Exchange today with its boom times and bust times and ups and downs.

Reference Source

  • Cyclopaedia New Zealand Auckland Province 1902 
  •  Grant, David. Bulls, bears and elephants: a history of the New Zealand Stock Exchange. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1997. 
  •  Daily Southern Cross  22 July 1869  Page 4  
  •  Daily Southern Cross   22 April 1872   Page 2  
  •   Page 1 Advertisements Column 1 Thames Star  16 April 1874  Page 1
  •  Thames Advertiser 3 June 1875 Page 3   
  •   Page 3 Advertisements Column 5 Thames Star   11 June 1877  Page 3   
  •   Ohinemuri Gazette 9 February 1898 Page 3    
  • New Zealand Herald 16 June 1925  Page 10
  •     graphic stock. Com