Kemps gather at Kemp House for 200th anniversary celebration
Over 40 descendants of missionaries James and Charlotte Kemp gathered at the Kerikeri Mission Station in the weekend to commemorate their family ties to one of New Zealand’s earliest settlements.
James and Charlotte helped establish the fledgling Christian mission in 1819. The historic Kemp House – originally built for Rev John Butler and his family three years after the mission was established – was named after the missionary couple, who acquired the house in the 1830s.
“It was a privilege to be able to host some of James and Charlotte’s descendants – and a particular pleasure to meet descendants of Ernest and Dory Kemp, who gifted Kemp House to the nation in 1974,” says Kerikeri Mission Station Property Lead, Liz Bigwood.
“We loved hearing stories from Ernest and Dory’s grandchildren who remember Kemp House as ‘Granny and Grand-dad’s house’ when they were children.”
The descendants of Charlotte and James enjoyed tours of the house and historic Stone Store over the weekend tying in with the Tūhono Kerikeri bicentennial celebrations.
Mysterious visit of American float plane explained
The enigma behind the mysterious visit of a Martin Mariner float plane – photographed landing in the Mangonui Harbour during the Second World War – may have been solved.
Whangarei resident Rose Pera recalls the arrival of the distinctive-looking float plane when she was a student at Mangonui Primary School.
“I remember that the sea plane landed because it was damaged and needed repairs. It was towed by Bob Marchant to his jetty at Butler Point where Bob carried out the minor repairs that were needed,” Rose remembers.
“The crew came ashore to the Post Office to report on their whereabouts to base using Morse Code, and my older sister – who worked at the Post Office – was invited by the American crew to dinner at the Marchant’s house. Later she was given a tour of the plane, which was a real highlight.”
The arrival of the float plane and her family’s proximity to the Americans was the talk of the school for some time, and gave Rose instant school yard status.
According to Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager, Bill Edwards, float planes were slow in the air but had very long range – up to 2600 nautical miles (4800km) – and so it’s possible the plane had flown in from the Pacific after suffering damage in combat, or may simply have just needed repairs.
“Either way, Mangonui would have been a very welcome haven for the American crew until they were able to get underway again,” says Bill.
“The fact that they were able to get word out through the Mangonui Post Office to comrades that they were safe would have been an added bonus.”
Encouraging people to share their stories and information has been central to the success of the Northland World War II Heritage Inventory project which is currently being finalised by volunteer researchers Jack Kemp and Dr Bill Guthrie.
“It’s tremendous that people like Rose have been able to share their knowledge – which in turn has helped build our understanding of what was going on militarily in Northland during the Second World War,” says Bill.
Clarks Mill is extending its last Sunday of the month operating events in January, February and March with more to see and do, and extra operating times. See, hear and feel this historic flour mill come back to life as the machinery rolls into action. Come and explore how wheat is grown, turned in flour and made into our daily bread. There will be vintage tractors and other working vintage machinery from the North Otago Vintage Machinery Club, and activities for children. So, bring a picnic and come and enjoy a fascinating visit to this 19th century engineering marvel.
Machinery operates at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Site tours, music, games and activities for the kids during the afternoon.
Please understand that Clarks Mill is a cash-only site, sorry no EFTPOS available.
Special features for Sunday 28 January
In January there is a Scottish theme so don your tartan and join us for tea and scones in the Miller’s House, music in Smokey Joe’s, games and activities for the children and rides in a horse drawn carriage.
Sundays 28 January, 25 February and 25 March
12 midday - 4pm
Machinery operates at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
Adult $15, Student $5, Child free. Heritage New Zealand members free (show your valid membership card). Please note CASH ONLY for all tickets.
St Francis Xavier Catholic Church – now the Russell Chapel on the Olive Grove – is enjoying a second lease on life. (Image source Heritage New Zealand)
"A historic Northland church that was deconsecrated and sold to private owners as a result of a dwindling congregation is enjoying a second life.
"St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, originally built in Kawakawa in 1875, was relocated to Uruti Bay near Russell in 2012 by Jo and Ross Blackman, and has been re-purposed as a wedding venue – now known as ‘Russell Chapel on the Olive Grove’.