“Chance find highlights early New Zealand cash shortage” HNZHT Media Release

July 10 (2020)

MEDIA RELEASE

Chance find highlights early New Zealand cash shortage


A chance find on a Bay of Islands beach has shed light on colonial New Zealand’s economy.

A tradesman’s token – a small ‘coin’ minted for an Auckland ironmonger and trader – was found by 11-year old William Edwards of Kerikeri, while out on a post-lockdown stroll at Whangaruru with his dad Bill. 

William Edwards presents the tradesman’s token he found at Whangaruru to the Manager Curator of Russell Museum, Fiona Mohr. (Source: HNZPT Media Release)

Bill Edwards, the Northland Manager for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, immediately identified the mysterious coin which was found on the beach as a relic from New Zealand’s early trading past. 

“The token has a value of one penny stamped on it, and bears the inscription ‘S.Hague Smith Merchant Auckland Ironmonger’ on one side, with a likeness of Prince Albert – husband of Queen Victoria – on the other,” says Bill. 

“We know that Samuel Smith arrived in Auckland in 1859 and established himself as an ironmonger and ship owner there, so the coin must date from around that time. We also know that a small trading post operated nearby, and so it makes sense to assume that the token was connected with that.”

The tradesman’s token found by William. (Source: HNZPT Media Release)

By a strange coincidence, Smith’s brother John was one of the founders of the Thames School of Mines; a heritage property which is today cared for by Heritage New Zealand PouhereTaonga. 

According to the Te Papa website, British coinage was made legal tender in 1858, though New Zealand’s Colonial Government did not have the authority to strike its own coins. Lower denomination currency used in day-to-day trading was in short supply and so an alternative was needed. 

“Some business owners kept accounts for their customers and tried to get around the shortage of loose change by offering credit while others gave change in the form of postage stamps and matches,” he says.

“Other entrepreneurs, like Mr Hague Smith for example, developed their own ‘currency’ – tokens usually valued in penny or half penny denominations that could be redeemed at their outlets.” 

The tokens encouraged people to return to the store. Customers, however, were frustrated by the fact that they couldn’t use them in other stores. And if the business failed, the token became worthless. 

“Although tokens were never legal tender, they were an important part of the economy. According to Te Papa, which has a number of these tokens in its collections from all over the country, it was estimated that in 1874 half of the copper coins circulating in New Zealand were tradesmen’s tokens,” he says. 

Almost 60 traders in New Zealand are understood to have issued their own tokens between 1857 and 1881, however use of tradesmen’s tokens declined after 1876 when a large supply of imperial coinage became available. Tokens were eventually phased out in the 1880s. 

The coin was a chance find – literally lying on the sand waiting for someone to pick it up. 

“We didn’t dig for it, which is important to note, as under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act it is illegal to undertake earthworks which could destroy an archaeological site without an archaeological authority,” he says. 

“As an archaeologist, I know the importance of context when an artefact is found – understanding how it sits within an archaeological site can provide us with all sorts of information, which the archaeological authority process enables us to capture. 

“The coin was a one-off find, however, with no archaeological context at all – so in this case it was fine for us to pick it up.”

In the case of taonga tuturu (Maori cultural objects) found on private or public land, Bill advises that people should take the object to their local museum, who will then notify the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. [For more information:https://mch.govt.nz/nz-identity-heritage/protected-objects/taongatuturu]

“We’ve photographed the token and carried out some research on it. It’s a small object, but it has a lot to say about life and the economy in early New Zealand.” 

Given the local connection to Whangaruru, William was happy to offer his find to the Russell Museum for their collection. 

“Former Kaeo Post Office building listed as a Category 2 historic place” HNZPT Media Release (07.20)

The Kaeo Post Office building today. (HNZT Media Release)

Former Kaeo Post Office building listed as a Category 2 historic place

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga has added the former Post Office in Kaeo to the New Zealand Heritage List Rarangi Korero as a Category 2 historic place. 

The listing formally identifies the landmark building as a place of heritage significance. 

Kaeo has a long history of postal service dating back to 1857.

“Postal services began operating here only 17 years after New Zealand’s first Post Office was established in Kororareka-Russell in 1840,” says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Northland Manager Bill Edwards. 

“Based in the general store of lumberman and former convict William Spickman, the Kaeo sub-post office was only one of four in Northland. Spickman and his successors provided postal services to the community for over 50 years before Kaeo’s ‘official’ Post Office building was completed in 1912.” 

Miriam Gibbs became Postmistress in 1876 after the death of her husband, Richard, who had been the second Postmaster. The transfer of the role to his wife appears to have been seamless. 

Located next to the current Post Office building, Miriam operated her general store business and postal service for 12 years before she sold the store and moved the service to a side lean-to at her house. 

“Miriam was by no means the only Postmistress in New Zealand. The Post Office was a pioneer in women’s employment in New Zealand, although women were paid less than their male counterparts,” says Bill. 

“They were also required to resign if they got married – which seems incredible by today’s expectations. Interestingly, Miriam was one of several women in Kaeo who signed a nationwide petition in 1893 seeking the right for women to vote in parliamentary elections; legislation that was later passed that year.”

Besides managing mail, Kaeo’s postal services included collection of Government duties, taxes and fees; payment of pensions and advances; and operating as agents for Government bodies like the Public Trust. 

“Post Offices were important hubs, and increasingly became symbolic of community progress. A major period of new post office construction in New Zealand took place between 1900 and 1914, and the Kaeo Post Office building was constructed within this ‘boom’ time,” says Bill. 

Originally designed as a single-storey building, plans were finalised in 1911 for a two-storey timber structure designed in the Edwardian Baroque style, which drew on architectural features of classical influences like Rome.

“In Kaeo the architecture was executed a little differently from many places in that the Post Office was built from wood – a decision influenced by the abundance of timber in Northland,” says Bill. 

Timber was supplied locally, and the building itself was constructed by Kaeo builders Joseph and Wesley Hare.

The result was an amenity that ticked all the boxes – including community pride. One observer wrote that its rimu and totara linings, when polished, ‘looked more like a handsome piece of furniture than a public office’. The new building opened for business in May 1912.

The Kaeo Post Office with its telegraph bureau room, large mail room and a small telegraph exchange represented state of the art technology, while the Postmaster’s residence upstairs included a sitting room, two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and scullery. 

“The earliest occupant was postmistress Emily Adams. At this time, the Post and Telegraph Department was one of the largest employers in the country with more staff than the rest of the public service combined,” says Bill. 

“In 1916, the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Association passed a remit supporting equal pay for female employees – a principle that the Public Services Commissioner agreed with ‘where the duties are equal’. At a time when jobs were filled in greater numbers by women due to men enlisting to fight in the First World War, this proposal was supported by many men who believed it would lead them to being preferred over women for the same position.”

Besides social change, the Post Office reflected changes in technology. In 1920, a new telephone exchange opened with 42 subscribers. The manual switchboard was operated predominantly by female employees – some as young as 14 years old. The telephone exchange became a coordination centre in requesting assistance for childbirths, medical emergencies and fires. 

During the Second World War, the Post Office fulfilled vital functions for servicemen and residents connecting servicemen at nearby Army, Navy and Air Force camps. Many parcels for local servicemen stationed overseas also passed through the mail room. 

The Postmaster at the time, Percy Miller, was generally the first to be notified of a local soldier’s death, and it fell to him to visit bereaved families to inform them of their loss. 

“After the Second World War, the Post Office continued to be a community hub with staff undertaking informal roles including translation between te reo Maori and English for older Maori residents drawing their pensions,” says Bill. 

Mail volume at Kaeo peaked in the 1970s, and the Savings Bank made for a busy workplace. During the global fuel crisis of 1979-80, Carless Day stickers were issued from here as part of government efforts to economise consumption. Weddings were carried out, and the manual telephone exchange – which included some party lines – remained in use until November 1989; the last of its type to be used on the mainland. 

“Changes during the Fourth Labour Government of the 1980s impacted the service as functions of the Post Office were divided into three State Owned Enterprises – New Zealand Post, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and PostBank. The writing was on the wall for Kaeo Post Office – as it was for many small Post Offices around the country,” he says. 

“Kaeo Post Office closed for business in May 1989.”

It wasn’t the end of the road for the local landmark, however. In 2012, the building was refurbished to commemorate its centenary, and has held an important community role as a library and community centre operated by Far North District Council. 

Free Admission to Mangungu Mission, Clendon, House, Pompallier Mission and Printery, Kerikeri Mission Station – the Stone Store and Kemp House, Te Waimate Mission On Waitangi Day: HNZPT Waitangi Day 2020 Event.

Celebrate our national day on 6 February and visit 15 staffed properties that Heritage New Zealand cares for. Entry is free, with special events planned at some of the properties.  

There's some amazing stories to share, so come along, be part of our heritage and make a day of it with family and friends. Pick up a copy of our special Waitangi Day commemorative booklet.

Northland:

Mangungu Mission

10am - 4pm, free admission

Site of the largest signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. See the table on which the Treaty was signed and imagine the huge gathering of over 3000 people and hundreds of waka on that day.

Flags flying!  Display: The Story of our Flags.

Clendon House

10am - 4pm, free admission

Home of James Reddy Clendon, and his second wife Jane. Their home and story sheds light on the early colonial politics of Northland. James Clendon was one of the few Europeans who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Flags flying!  Display: The Story of our Flags

Pompallier Mission and Printery

10am - 5pm, last admission at 4.30pm.  Free admission

Explore the Printery and Tannery building and beautiful gardens.  Guided tours of the site at 11am and 2pm. Browse in our French–themed shop and enjoy coffee and croissants from our pop-up café (own cost), with views across the bay.  Flags flying!  Display: The Story of our Flags.

Kerikeri Mission Station - the Stone Store and Kemp House

10am - 5pm, last admission at 4.30pm. Free admission

Perfect place for a family day out, Kerikeri Mission Station has it all.  Guided tours of the site including Kemp House at 11am and 2pm. Numbers limited. 

The Honey House Café and the Stone Store shopping experience are operating as usual.

Flags flying!  Display: The Story of our Flags.

Te Waimate Mission

10am - 5pm, last admission at 4.30pm.  Free admission

Explore the Mission House at New Zealand's first farm.  Bring a picnic to have under the trees.  A great family day out in a beautiful historic place.

Flags flying!  Display: The Story of our Flags.

“Butler descendants visit Kerikeri” HNZPT Media Release

(Left to right) Douglas Barton, Rev Dr Kirsten Griffiths and Tim Ritchie at St James Church. 

Butler descendants visit Kerikeri

Descendants of Rev John Gare Butler – New Zealand’s first resident ordained missionary who served as the founding Superintendent of the Kerikeri Mission – paid a visit to Kerikeri recently to celebrate the bicentenary of the Butler family’s arrival in New Zealand on 12 August 1819. 

Two Great, Great, Great Grandsons of Rev Butler – Tim Ritchie and Douglas Barton – reflected on their ancestor at a service held at St James Church in Kerikeri, a brief walk from Kemp House and the Stone Store, now cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. 

“It is very humbling to be here in this church which William Hall and John Gare Butler originally marked out on October 6, 1819,” Tim said.  

“Given the perils they faced together in their calling to missionary work, both John Butler and his wife Hannah clearly had a cooperative and loving relationship totally interdependent on each other.” 

While in New Zealand, the Butlers had a significant impact on agriculture according to Tim. 

“Rev John Butler clearly identified the potential for agriculture here – he recorded in his journal: ‘…there is no nation upon earth, perhaps, more favourable for the operations of agriculture than New Zealand’ which he said would ‘enable us to provide the first necessities of life’, and run schools that could not otherwise function ‘without the means of victualling the children’,” said Tim. 

“On May 3 1820, he recorded the first ever use of the agricultural plough in New Zealand and noted his thoughts in his journal: ‘I trust that this auspicious day will be remembered with gratitude, and its anniversary kept by ages yet unborn. Every heart seemed to rejoice on the occasion – I hope it will continue to increase, and in a short time produce an Abundant Harvest.’”

A year later, a report sent to the Church Missionary Society in London recorded what he and his team of Maori co-workers had achieved – seven acres of wheat, six acres of barley and oats, a variety of vegetables, fruit trees and ‘an excellent bed of hops’ – along with a potato house, fowl house and a goat house. He also noted in his report the building of a working house for his ‘working natives’ to live in and a small school house. 

“Many Butler descendants have agriculture, horticulture and viticulture in their DNA, farming through much of New Zealand – particularly the Wairarapa and Canterbury,” said Tim. 

“We can be very thankful of that pioneering Butler agricultural / horticultural gene.”

Rev Butler – who had worked as an accountant for a shipping company in London before coming to New Zealand – fell out with missionary chief Rev Samuel Marsden after he expressed concern to Marsden about financial issues relating to the mission. He was dismissed shortly after. 

According to Douglas Barton, Butler was respected by Maori who came from a distance of up to 30 miles to see him when news of the family’s departure became known in November 1823. 

“They anxiously enquired ‘what have we done to you?, pray tell us’. He could not tell them why, and appealed to their parental feelings by telling them that they needed to go to Port Jackson for the sake of little daughter Hannah’s health,” he said. 

New Zealand had not seen the last of Rev Butler however. The Butlers returned to New Zealand in 1840 with Rev Butler engaged by the New Zealand Company as a Native Guardian and Interpreter. 

The Arakite Trust: “Public Archaeology award for iwi-led trust” HNZPT Media Release

Public Archaeology award for iwi-led trust

A Northland iwi-led charitable trust has won this year’s New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) Public Archaeology award. 

The Arakite Trust – which headed a two-week archaeological excavation at Mangahawea Bay in the Bay of Islands in January, and more recently a three day wānanga on traditional voyaging and navigation – took out the national award at this year’s recent NZAA conference held on Stewart Island.

The excavation and wānanga was funded by the Lottery Tuia – Encounters 250 Programme, and was supported by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the Department of Conservation, the University of Otago and Te Rawhiti Marae.

“The Public Archaeology Award is an acknowledgement of Arakite Trust’s commitment to engage with the public in a way that increases understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s rich archaeological heritage,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Regional Archaeologist, Dr James Robinson, who together with Department of Conservation Ranger Andrew Blanshard, accepted the award on behalf of the Trust. 

The Arakite Trust organised a public open day during the 2019 excavation, as well as the recent wānanga and a historic cruise of the Bay of Islands which was open to the public – all part of the wider Mangahawea project. 

“In terms of fostering engagement with the public and archaeology the project has been a major success, quite apart from the archaeological significance of the work that was undertaken, which would never have happened without the Trust’s commitment to this kaupapa,” says James.

“Archaeology, traditional history and the hard sciences are different data bases, but when combined together can create something bigger than the sum of their individual parts.” 

According to the President of the NZAA Council, Katharine Watson, the Mangahawea Bay excavation project ticked all the boxes. 

“Criteria for winning the award includes making a contribution towards the identification, protection and preservation of archaeological sites; the enhancement of public awareness, enjoyment of and education about archaeology; and the strengthening of the relationship between Maori and the archaeological community,” she says. 

“The programme led by the Arakite Trust engaged the interest of hundreds of people who visited the site over the two-week excavation, as well as thousands of New Zealanders who learned about the excavation through extensive media coverage, which included national radio, television and press. 

“Historic Williams Shed a drawcard for visitors” HNZPT Media Release.

Image: HNZPT

Historic Williams Shed a drawcard for visitors

An unassuming stone shed dating back to the 1880s is proving to be a drawcard for visitors to Paihia. 

The Williams Shed, which sits within the historic Williams Homestead precinct, is making a name for itself as one of the country’s smallest – and perhaps most unlikely – museums.

“The shed is Paihia’s oldest surviving building, and had been languishing for years. It’s now a fully functioning part of the Williams House reserve in the heart of Paihia,” says Marg Civil, who is a Friends of the Williams House committee member.

“The shed has gone from being a bit of an eye-sore to being an attraction in its own right.”

Built from locally sourced brown rock – not known for its durability – the shed survived for over a hundred years thanks to an exceptionally good plastering job. 

After vandals damaged the historic shed in 2004, the Friends of the Williams House began a project to conserve and restore this original feature of the property that was settled by Church Missionary Society missionaries, Henry and Marianne Williams. The project was completed at the end of 2006. 

“More recently, the Friends commissioned Workshop E to design and construct a display facility within the stone shed to showcase its various uses over the years,” she says. 

The result has been the development of an innovative conservation and display solution for a number of artefacts related to the Williams family at Paihia. 

“You really couldn’t come up with a bigger challenge than displaying historic artefacts in a shed made from porous stone,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager, Bill Edwards. 

“It’s cold and damp for a start – all the things you don’t want in an environment where artefacts are stored.” 

The solution developed by the Friends and Workshop E, however, is “nothing short of brilliant” according to Bill. 

“The large display cabinet in the middle of the shed is independently climate controlled and provides a secure way to display the artefacts in a way that is attractive and accessible,” he says. 

“New Zealand’s first national historic landmark announced” Hon Grant Robertson Media Release

Te Pitowhenua Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the country’s first National Historic Landmark, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson announced at Waitangi today.

The new programme to establish National Historic Landmarks will help protect New Zealand’s defining moments in time and the special places that are the cornerstones of national identity.

“Some of these sites are associated with important and sometimes challenging discussions about the events that have shaped our past and will influence our future,” Grant Robertson says.

“Given the cultural, historic and social significance of this place, both before and after 6 February 1840, it’s appropriate the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is New Zealand’s first National Historic Landmark.”

Te Minita Whanaketanga Māori Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says places such as Waitangi have deep significance to New Zealanders and its safeguarding is important to us all.

“Following discussions with site owners, iwi and the community, further Landmarks will be identified and added to the programme to recognise and preserve the heritage value of these places throughout the country,” Nanaia Mahuta says.

“A key objective of National Historic Landmarks is to help prioritise Government’s heritage conservation efforts. This includes developing long-term risk planning and management to ensure these places are earthquake resilient and protected from other natural disasters as much as possible.”

The National Historic Landmarks/Ngā Manawhenua o Aotearoa me ōna Kōrero Tūturu programme was introduced by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.  Heritage New Zealand works in partnership with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and other stakeholders including the Department of Conservation to deliver the programme.

Details about National Historic Landmarks is available on the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga website at: www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/national-historic-landmarks

Questions and Answers

Q 1: What is the National Historic Landmarks programme?

A: The National Historic Landmarks programme was introduced by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 (HNZPTA) to acknowledge those places that New Zealanders demonstrably care about as cornerstones of national identity.

Q 2: Haven’t we already got a Landmarks programme?

A:Tohu Whenua is the new name of a tourism programme covering a nationwide regional group of visitor assets.  A pilot programme, under the name Landmarks Whenua Tohunga, was initiated in 2015 in Northland. Otago followed with the West Coast included in December 2018 under the new name Tohu Whenua.  The National Historic Landmarks programme, in contrast, recognises heritage places of deep significance to New Zealanders as the stories they tell are meaningful and their survival important to us all.

Q 3: Who runs Tohu Whenua?

A: Tohu Whenua is run by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Department of Conservation and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. The aim is to showcase our historic and culturally important places to locals and tourists in a coordinated way.  Heritage New Zealand now oversees this programme, with a programme manager based in Wellington.

Q 4: What is the aim of National Historic Landmarks?

A:The aim is to protect heritage places most important to New Zealanders through long-term risk planning and management, including from natural disaster. These places have rich historical, physical, and cultural significance and without them we are losing something special that identifies us as New Zealanders. A key policy objective of National Historic Landmarks is to help prioritise the government’s heritage conservation efforts, including earthquake strengthening. 

Q 5:  Who runs National Historic Landmarks?

A:The National Historic Landmarks programme was introduced by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 (HNZPTA) as a way to better recognise and protect this country’s most outstanding heritage places.  Heritage New Zealand works in partnership with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and other stakeholders to deliver and promote the programme.

Q 6: How much is National Historic Landmarks costing the taxpayer?

A:The programme is being undertaken by Heritage New Zealand within existing baseline funding.  Heritage New Zealand adjusted some of its programmes to generate the financial and capacity requirements for National Historic Landmarks.

Q 7: What are the sites selected for National Historic Landmarks?

A:In 2015 Heritage New Zealand, in consultation with Manatū Taonga and the Department of Conservation, short-listed potential National Historic Landmarks. Te Pitowhenua Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Meretoto/Ship Cove and the National War Memorial (Wellington) are currently being progressed. Under the HNZPTA criteria and process, Heritage New Zealand recommends places for inclusion following public consultation with the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage making the final decision.

Q 8:  How many National Historic Landmarks will there be?

A:Recognition is not based on achieving a set number, but rather by sites put forward meeting several thresholds. Any site can be proposed for recognition as a National Historic Landmark, and is then assessed in terms of heritage significance, risk management and community engagement. Rigorous criteria are applied to the assessment of what makes a National Historic Landmark.

Q 9: What is this ‘rigorous criteria’?

A:Places on the National Historic Landmarks list must be of outstanding national heritage value, having regard to the outstanding historical significance of the place in relation to people, events, and ideas of the past; the outstanding physical significance of the place in relation to its archaeological, architectural, design, and technological qualities; and the outstanding cultural significance of the place to tangata whenua and other communities in relation to its social, spiritual, traditional, or ancestral associations. Any nomination must first be listed on the New Zealand Heritage List and put through a public consultation process before being presented to Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Grant Robertson for approval.

Q 10: Are there any regulatory impositions on places deemed National Historic Landmarks?

A:All National Historic Landmarks have to demonstrate appropriate legal protection and risk management planning. Should Heritage New Zealand consider these are not fulfilled anymore by the owner a recommendation can be made to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage to remove the place’s recognition as a National Historic Landmark.

Q 11: So are the National Historic Landmarks places the government is going to protect if there is a natural disaster?

A:As these places are those recognised as most valuable to all New Zealanders priority will be given to ensuring they remain part of our history. Insightful conservation is key to the long-term protection of these places. To achieve this will require close relationships between government and those caring for these places to ensure long-term plans and daily efforts are closely aligned, with natural disaster risks appropriately managed.

Q 12Why was an Act, the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014, required to get them off the ground?

A: National Historic Landmarks/Ngā Manawhenua o Aotearoa me ōna Kōrero Tūturu was introduced by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 to better recognise and protect this country’s most outstanding heritage places and help prioritise the government’s heritage conservation efforts.  Heritage New Zealand was charged with identifying places of outstanding national heritage value in terms of their historical, physical, and cultural significance.  The purpose of a National Historic Landmarks list is to promote an appreciation of the places of greatest heritage value to New Zealanders and the long-term protection of such places, including protection from natural disasters.

Q 13: How will I recognise one?

A: Every National Historic Landmark will have a wakahuia, a carved treasure box holding the certificate of Landmarks status, as a symbol of its National Historic Landmarks recognition. This recognition will be communicated via Heritage New Zealand and the owner’s website

The world’s daftest Indian? (HNZ Media Release)

The mysterious Army Indian Scout motorcycle.

May 23

MEDIA RELEASE

The world’s daftest Indian?

Was it an accidental wrong turn? Was it an ill-timed twist of the throttle? Was it the result of a night’s inebriation that may have led to a Court Martial? Nobody knows.

But one man would certainly like to find out.

Jack Kemp – a volunteer researcher for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga – is keen to learn more about how this Army Indian Scout motorcycle (pictured) wound up in a swamp near Kerikeri.

“The army motorcycle had been retrieved from the swamp some years ago, and is now being cared for by members of the Vintage Car Club in Whangarei,” says Jack.

“People believe the motorbike found its way into the swamp during World War II, but nobody knows the circumstances in which the bike disappeared.”

Jack is appealing to anybody who may know – or may have heard stories, perhaps from family members in the past, about how the classic army motorcycle ended up in a bog.

“As part of carrying out research for Heritage New Zealand’s heritage inventory of war sites in Northland I have been involved in a number of oral history interviews, including people sharing mementoes and photographs from the war,” says Jack.

“We’ve discovered pictures of mysterious American float planes landing in Mangonui and a mine sweeper clearing sea mines from the Bay of Islands – and when we’ve put them out in the public domain it’s been amazing how much more information people have been able to share about them. We’re hoping we can pull it off again with our formerly submerged Indian.”

The Army Indian is made by the same company that made the Indian Scout motorcycle that was suped up by Invercargill speed king Bert Munro in his successful bid to break the motorcycle under-1000cc world record at Bonneville in August 1967. His epic run was later made famous in the movie The World’s Fastest Indian.

Although much loved by Munro, the Indian was not an easy motorcycle to drive as Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager Bill Edwards can attest.

“When I was younger I owned, briefly, an Army Indian Scout 741B. It was only 500cc, and was a very difficult bike to drive, with the right hand throttle set for ‘advance’ or ‘retard’ to line up the pistons properly for ignition. It also had a gear stick and a foot clutch. The throttle was operated by the left hand grip, and oddly enough you had to take your hand off the throttle to change gears,” Bill says.

“Presented with such a complex sequence of operation I can see how a driver could lose control of the bike quite easily during a tricky manoeuvre – or even encountering something a bit unexpected on the open road.”

Whether the complexity of operation was a contributing factor to the motorcycle ending up in the clag, or whether other factors came into play, the mystery of the misdirected Indian is worth following up according to Jack.

“Our research has touched on the daily lives of men and women in military service, volunteers and civilians, all of whom have shared some wonderful stories with us,” says Jack.

“We’d really love to hear the story of how the driver of this military motorbike may have taken the thrill of off-roading just a bit too far.”

Do you know what happened to the Army Indian motorcycle? Contact Bill Edwards on Ph 09-407-0471 or email bedwards@heritage.org.nz 

Tauranga archaeology to feature in NZ Archaeology Week (HNZPT Media Release 17.04.2019)

Bay of Plenty archaeologist, Ken Phillips (HNZPT Media Release)

April 17

MEDIA RELEASE

Tauranga archaeology to feature in NZ Archaeology Week

The spotlight will fall on Tauranga’s unique archaeology in two major events taking place in May. 

The events are part of the third annual NZ Archaeology Week – a nationwide celebration of New Zealand’s archaeological heritage which runs from April 24 to May 5. 

People can kick off their exploration of Tauranga’s archaeology by joining well-known Bay of Plenty archaeologist and heritage consultant, Ken Phillips, who will talk about the archaeology of early Te Papa including Otamataha pa – an important site in the history of Tauranga. 

Ken discovered the remains of a trench that runs through the Otamataha pa and will talk about the archaeology of the pa and the surrounding landscape. The public talk is a great opportunity to hear from an archaeologist who has researched, surveyed and investigated this area.

Join Ken Phillips in the Rose Garden (Robbins Park, Cliff Road, Tauranga) at 12.30pm on Thursday May 2 (Bookings not required). 

***

On May 3 Brigid Gallagher – local archaeologist, conservator and presenter on the British TV series Time Teamand host of the New Zealand Choice TV documentary series Heritage Rescue– will present a talk entitled Buried: Life Below the Streets of Tauranga

Brigid, who has directed a number of excavations in Tauranga’s central business district, will focus on the archaeology of the central city – including the site of the Tauranga Hotel (now the Lone Star). 

Brigid Gallagher will speak at the Council Chambers on Friday May 3 at 6pm.

To book for Brigid’s talk, follow the link: 

https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/brigid-gallagher-buried-life-below-the-streets-of-tauranga-tickets-59804892042

For more information on either event contact Heritage New Zealand’s Lower Northern office in Tauranga – Ph 07-577-4530 or email infolowernorthern@heritage.org.nz

“Walk and Talks to focus on Northland Archaeology” (HNZPT Media Release 17.04.2017)

April 17

MEDIA RELEASE

Walk and Talks to focus on Northland Archaeology

The spotlight will fall on Northland’s archaeology in two major events taking place in Whangarei on Saturday May 4. 

The events are part of the third annual NZ Archaeology Week – a nationwide celebration of New Zealand’s archaeological heritage which runs from April 24 to May 5. 

People can kick off their exploration of Northland archaeology with the Hatea River Hikoi– a walk ‘n’ talk led by students from Whangarei Boys High School with back-up from Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager, Bill Edwards. 

“Students will share what they have learned about the archaeological features of the area,” says Bill Edwards. 

“The features are quite stunning, and include early gardening and habitations, while illustrating how people have changed the landscape over the centuries. It has a very dynamic heritage story, and that’s part of what makes it really exciting. 

“This archaeological landscape is also very close to Whangarei’s CBD which is actually quite a rare thing in an urban setting.”

People interested in enjoying the free walk can gather at Hatea Drive opposite the Discovery Settlers Motel before the walk begins at 10am (look for the flagpole marking the meeting place).

Later that day, a panel of experts will present six talks focusing on different aspects of archaeology at the KiwiNorth Floor Talks, which will take place at 2pm on May 4. Each talk will be about 15 minutes long, including time for questions and answers. The talks will take place at the Vintage Car Club rooms at KiwiNorth (Admission $5 per person).

Floor Talk topics include: 

  • Korero Around Sources of Obsidian found in the Bay of IslandJohn and Webber Booth
  • WWII Camps in Northland- Jack Kemp and Dr Bill Guthrie
  • ‘Tākou - Red Earth, the Whenua in the Rohe of Hapū Ngāti Rēhia, Bay of Islands, Northland, NZ’  - Chris Booth
  • Evidence for Early Polynesian Voyaging to New Zealand- Ross and Gael Ramsay, Grahame Collett, Georgia Kerby
  • The Battle of Kororāreka – the start of the Northern Wars- Bill Edwards