TRIP TO ROTORUA
9 August 2009
For its second
field trip of 2009 the Whakatane & District Historical Society
visited Rotorua on Sunday 9 August, after the trip had been
postponed from 12 July due to bad weather. After an icy, slippery
drive to Rotorua, the party of 19 were met by Bryon Somervell at the
Te Amorangi Museum. After a general introduction from Bryon, the
party split up as its size was not well suited to the intimate
spaces of the museum buildings. People explored the exhibits of
indigenous logging, as well as steam, industrial and agricultural
machinery. A special feature enjoyed by all was the restored
Douslin house and the Sheward Collection of Maori, Missionary and
Colonial artefacts. Bryon remained on hand until lunch time to
answer questions. As it was a Live Day, the static displays were
complemented by steam exhibits, a blacksmith’s forge and model
train. The latter was greatly enjoyed by the young-at-heart.
|After lunch at Te Amorangi, the
party moved to the Rotorua Museum of Art & History where it was met
by guide Brian McEntee for an extensive tour of the exhibits, most
notably the moving (literally) cinema experience of Rotorua’s
volcanic history; the ‘Taking the Cure’ gallery about the building’s
previous life as a spa and the stories of the Tarawera eruption.
The group also took in the recently opened roof-top viewing
platform, which provided a splendid panorama of the city and lake.
When it came to the scheduled time to leave, one or two car-loads
decided to stay on to take a more detailed look at exhibits such as
that of the 28th Maori Battalion.
FIELD TRIP TO TAURANGA AREA
Sunday 3 May 2009
WDHS at Monmouth Redoubt–
Whakatane Historical Society group explore the fortifications of
Tauranga’s Monmouth Redoubt.
On Sunday 3 May, a beautifully clear and sunny
day, nine members and guests of the Whakatane & District Historical
Society were met at the foot of Mauao (The Mount) in Mount Maunganui
by Historic Places Trust archaeologist,
Frank van der Heijden. While meandering up the
four-wheel-drive track, Frank pointed out some of the many
archaeological features of Mauao and its surroundings, in an area
which had been heavily settled in pre-European times. These
included: numerous platforms cut into the hillside for gardens;
kumera storage pits; a distant view of the ditches of a large
pa on the western side of the mountain and an enormous shell
midden, a sure indication that the people had plenty of kai.
The next stop was preceded by a climb up steps from the town centre
to Hopukiore (Mt Drury).
The summit of this former pa provided excellent views of the mass of
terracing on the slopes of Mauao. The party descended past the pa
fortifications to some very modern terracing, the seating for a
1960s sound shell and then along Pacific Avenue to view the
little-known site, nestled into the east side of the hill, of the
barracks occupied in 1842/43 by the 80th Regiment, the first British
Army unit to serve in New Zealand.
The group then moved to the Robbins Gardens, Cliff Road, Tauranga
for a picnic lunch in the sun overlooking the harbour, before
exploring the nearby Monmouth Redoubt, near the modern Police
Station. Imagining the site without the present trees and buildings
it was clear that the redoubt, as well as the pre-existing pa,
had been sited in a superb defensive position.
Next to be visited were the nearby grounds and buildings of ‘The
Elms’, formerly part of the Church Missionary Society’s Te Papa
Mission Station, sited, once again, on an extensive pa that
also incorporated the cemetery overlooking the present harbour
bridge. The group was guided through the two main buildings, the
mission house and the separate library, which was built first in
1839 to house Archdeacon Brown’s extensive collection of books. It
was made clear that the Mission Station was as much about providing
education to local iwi as in promoting Christianity.
The final stop for the group was the Brain-Watkins house, a fine
Victorian villa on the corner of Cameron Road and Elizabeth Street,
which has much of the original furnishings of the family that
occupied it from the time it was built in the 1880s until 1979. It
is now cared for by the Tauranga Historical Society.
Future events will be advertised on this page and in the local
WDHS at Mauao –
Frank van der Heijden
points out the archaeological features on Mauao to a Whakatane historical Society
FURTHER INFORMATION FROM:
Whakatane & District Historical
Ph: (07) 308 0215,
Copyright © 2009 Whakatane
Historical Society. All rights reserved.