“WWII Northland heritage inventory achieves key milestone” HNZ Media Release

Jack Kemp (left) and Dr Bill Guthrie – ‘somewhere in Northland’ – enthusiastically uncovering and recording the little known places associated with Northland’s World War II defences.

June 29

MEDIA RELEASE

WWII Northland heritage inventory achieves key milestone

A research project to develop a heritage inventory of Northland’s World War II military places has achieved a crucial milestone.

Seventeen military camp sites associated with the defence of the Bay of Islands have been identified from official records and other sources, and information about them recorded. The work completes the initial phase of the inventory.

For Jack Kemp and Dr Bill Guthrie, volunteer researchers with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the completion of the Bay of Islands component is an important first step.

“The Bay of Islands was an important part of what became Fortress Northland, and a central part of New Zealand’s defence strategy,” says Jack Kemp.

“Major General Harold Barrowclough, who headed divisional headquarters in Whangarei, had identified the Bay of Islands as the most likely place for the Japanese to land a main attack force, with simultaneous additional attacks at Whangaroa and Doubtless Bay a distinct possibility.”

Barrowclough had grimly predicted that – based on the defence that was in place in early 1942 – if the Japanese attacked the Whangaroa and Bay of Islands simultaneously at 7am, they would take both areas by lunchtime, and face only limited resistance on their road to Auckland. (more…)

“Whangarei’s archaeological gem captures imagination of students” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (25.05.2018)

May 29

Boys from Whangarei Boys High School sketch Parihaka Pa.

MEDIA RELEASE

Whangarei’s archaeological gem captures imagination of students

A heritage site dating back hundreds of years has captured the imagination of students from Whangarei Boys High School.

Mair’s Landing / Tawatawhiti, just north of Whangarei’s CBD, contains a number of prehistoric and historic features – including a remnant Maori stone field garden, the remains of a coal chute associated with the Whau Valley Coal mine horse drawn tramway and Mair’s Landing itself – a stone wharf dating back to 1841. Interest in the extensive heritage site was sparked by a public talk given by Heritage New Zealand’s Northland staff as part of last year’s New Zealand Archaeology Week.

“I was told of the site by a friend who attended the talk, and so I got in contact with Bill Edwards of Heritage New Zealand in Kerikeri,” says Whangarei Boys High School Deputy Principal, Allister Gilbert.

“He was pleased that a school was interested in the history of the place, and supplied documents recording the archaeology of the Whangarei area and harbour as background material for the students. Heritage New Zealand people have been fantastic to work with.”

Bill, and his colleague Northland Archaeologist James Robinson, took 22 of the school’s staff members on a walking tour of the site – and the ideas for using the site as an outdoor learning environment grew from there. Mair’s Landing / Tawatawhiti was recently listed as a Historic Area, and research for the listing report has helped raise understanding of the site’s significance.

“The science and social studies teachers were enthusiastic about being able to walk classes to the site and back to school in 90 minutes, and a cross curricular unit was developed between the two faculties,” says Allister.

“The English Faculty then became involved with the project as they wanted to use it as a source of inspiration for writing. The Te Reo Maori teacher has also used it as a source of information and experience for te tuhi me te korero[writing and speaking activities].”

About 250 Year 9 students – split up into 10 teaching groups – visited the site earlier this year and took part in a number of activities including sketching the outline of Parihaka Pa across the Hatea River, one of the largest archaeological sites in New Zealand. The students also sketched the stone garden remnants and learned how the garden was used.

The boys also rolled up their sleeves and helped clean up the rubbish in the area that had come in from the road. Year 9 Horticulture students will also be involved in weed management of the site as part of their course working with Whangarei District Council.

“About 42 percent of the Year 9 students are Maori, and the ability to give these rangatahi pride and a place in the city is a really positive outcome of this cross curricular work,” says Allister.

“The response from all the boys has been positive, with growth in a sense of connectedness to the place they live in. The ability to weave the Tawatawhiti garden site – which is very early – with the Parihaka site has really put their history into perspective.”

The project has had other spin-offs that have impacted the students.

“The local museum, KiwiNorth, brought artefacts relating to Maori gardening and other tools to the school. We had them at the school for two days, with the Year 9 classes rotating through the display of Ko [digging sticks], Timo / Ketu [small wooden digging implements], Toki [adze], and Mahe [fishing sinkers] and Punga [anchor stone].

“This was the first time they have brought material out of the museum, and we were very privileged to have this opportunity. The source of the stone has triggered interest with the boys, and so the inquiry continues.”

Mair’s Landing / Tawatawhiti will continue to play a central part in Whangarei Boys High School’s learning – and the Year 9 cross curricular unit in particular.

“The school feels very close to the site and is looking forward to helping develop it, and hopefully getting access to a high enough standard that it can be open to the public as it is an easy walk from the popular Town Basin café and tourist precinct,” he says

“Stone Store nominated for retail award” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (28.05.2018)

 

 

 

May 28

Liz Bigwood at Kerikeri’s Stone Store.

MEDIA RELEASE

Stone Store nominated for retail award

The New Zealand Retail Association has nominated the Stone Store as a finalist in the Best Provincial Retailer category of the 2018 Retail Hotlist awards.

The Association praised the way the Stone Store shop “balances its role as a living museum with a successful and beautifully merchandised retail operation”.

Manager of the Stone Store, Liz Bigwood, is delighted with the nomination, which she says is a tremendous honor in itself.

“The Stone Store began as a trading post in 1836, and has been in business in one form or another pretty well since then,” she says.

Trade of iron tools and implements, cloth, and basic foodstuffs like flour, tea, and sugar were stock in trade with local Maori and it was primarily this trade and the attraction of shipping into the Eastern Bay of Islands that Hongi Hika and other Ngapuhi leaders intended when they allowed a missionary settlement here.

“In later years, people used to say of the store that you could buy anything from a needle to an anchor, and we continue that tradition by stocking a wide range of goods, including authentic items similar to those that would have been on sale in the 19thCentury.”

A recent example includes wooden butter molds, similar to those available in New Zealand over a century ago, that are still manufactured in Germany. The Stone Store also stocks a range of quality New Zealand merchandise.

“It takes time to source these products, and it’s important that they fit well with our market and the heritage values of this place,” says Liz.

“The nomination acknowledges the special nature of the Stone Store as a unique retail operation, and the team that makes it so special.”

The awards take place on June 6.

“Crafts and Coffee kick off winter hours at the Honey House Cafe” Heritge New Zeland Media Release (15.05.2018)

 

Rina Ward at the Honey House Café (Image HNZ Media Release)

May 15

MEDIA RELEASE

Crafts and Coffee kick off winter hours at the Honey House Cafe

The Honey House Café – one of Kerikeri’s favourite coffee spots – is staying open throughout winter, and a local artist is taking advantage of the extended hours to share her craft with others.

Jewellery maker Rina Ward will hold the first of a number of ‘Crafts & Coffee’ get-togethers on Thursday, 31stMay (10.30am-12.30pm), and is encouraging people to come along and enjoy a morning of “coffee, cake and charm jewellery making”.

“For the cover charge of $25 people can enjoy coffee and cake, and receive a jewellery starter kit to start them off,” says Rina, who owns Nostalgems Handmade Jewellery.

“I’ll be showing participants how to create one-of-a-kind heirloom-style jewellery, and offer a helping hand if needed. It’s not a workshop, but more an opportunity for people to get together and have fun. What better way to spend a winter morning than with some coffee, cake and a bit of crafting, together with people who have similar interests?”

One person who has taken part in one of Rina’s jewellery workshops in the past is the Manager of the Kerikeri Mission Station and Honey House Cafe, Liz Bigwood.

“As the name Nostalgem suggests, Rina’s jewellery has a wonderful heritage feel and her work is very popular in the Stone Store shop,” she says.

“Rina’s charm bracelets, for example, give people the opportunity to incorporate little keepsakes or objects that might otherwise become lost or overlooked – instead, giving them a purpose and significance that they might not otherwise have.”

A bracelet made by Liz incorporates a button from her grandfather’s army coat which he wore at Gallipoli.

“The button is only small but by incorporating it into a piece of jewellery it somehow gives it a focus and enables his story to be kept alive. Charm bracelets are a great way of highlighting these little treasures which might otherwise be in danger of being lost or forgotten.”

Holding the ‘Crafts & Coffee’ get-togethers at the Honey House shows what a versatile space the café can be according to Liz.

“It’s warm and comfortable with great food and a wonderful outlook – the perfect place for gatherings of this kind. Being open throughout winter also means this space can be available for community use like this – as well as being good news for all our local regulars.”

The Honey House will be open Wednesdays through to Sundays from about 9am and will feature a menu of tasty winter lunch meals and snacks including hearty winter soup, pies, toasted sandwiches, scones and frittata as well as favourites like the café’s toffee apple cake and its quality espresso and teas.

People can book their place on the crafty coffee meet-up by calling Rina on 021 175 9700, or emailing Rina at nostalgems@gmail.com

“Pompallier Mission coffee house open all winter” Heritage New Zealand (02-04-2018)

 

 

 

April 26

MEDIA RELEASE

Pompallier Mission coffee house open all winter

The news is all good for fans of the delicious espresso and stunning bay views of the Pompallier Mission Coffee House.

Winter fare on offer now at Pompallier Mission’s coffee house.

The French-themed eatery – which is part of the historic printery cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga – will remain operating throughout winter by popular demand.

The coffee house has become a favourite of Russell locals as well as visitors to the Bay of Islands, and will open between the hours of 11am and 3pm every day offering the perfect range of French-themed light lunches for winter.

“We’re delighted to be able to extend our service throughout winter, and look forward to providing such delicacies as French Onion soup and Leek and Potato soup, as well as savoury French tarts,” says the Manager of Pompallier Mission, Scott Elliffe.

“Other delicacies on the menu will include local oysters and sparkling mineral water, as well as our delicious espresso and selection of teas.”

The historic Pompallier Mission printery building will be fitted with a fire sprinkler system during winter and will be closed to the public while that work is being done (June through August). The coffee house, however, will remain open during this time.

The new winter hours will take place from Tuesday May 1. Due to the intimate space in the coffee house lunch bookings are recommended – Ph 09-403-9015.

 

 

“Mair’s Landing added to Heritage List” Heritage New Zealand Media Release

 

 

 

April 27

MEDIA RELEASE

Mair’s Landing added to Heritage List

The heritage value of an outstanding archaeological landscape in Whangarei dating back to the earliest days of human settlement in the area has been recognised by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Tawatawhiti / Mair’s Landing – owned by Whangarei District Council – has been added to the New Zealand Heritage List / Rarangi Korero as a Historic Area. The listing formally identifies it as a place of heritage significance.

Mair's Landing (Image Heritage New Zealand)

“Tawatawhiti / Mair’s Landing is very well preserved and incorporates evidence of Maori horticultural practice and later waterfront activity beside the upper Hatea River,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager, Bill Edwards, who completed the research for the Listing.

“It also includes Mair’s Landing itself, which is likely to be the oldest surviving European structure in Whangarei City. The historic area is rare in that it spans a long period of human settlement.”

The combination of fresh and sea water, together with rich volcanic soils, meant that Tawatawhiti would inevitably become a centre for settlement – and that’s exactly what happened.

“Today you can still see clear evidence of living areas and remnant horticultural field systems that pre-date contact with Europeans,” says Bill.

“You can also see basalt rocks of varying sizes that were stacked to form a rock wall as part of a Maori horticultural field system. Stone-faced terraces constructed specifically for gardening or living areas – as well as stone heaps [puke] that were used to increase the temperature around the plant roots to assist their growth – are also clearly visible.”

Although there are no firm archaeological dates for the field systems, they are probably hundreds of years old according to Bill.

“As well as being a Maori archaeological landscape, the story of Tawatawhiti / Mair’s Landing is also one of people who have changed the landscape for their own purposes over generations,” says Bill.

“When Gilbert Mair and his family moved to Whangarei in 1842, for example, they used some of the local rock to build a stone jetty. It still exists today and is one of Whangarei’s oldest historic structures associated with early European settlement.

“Heritage role just like coming home for Ohaeawai resident” HNZ Media Release (28-02-18)

Heritage New Zealand’s Property Lead, Te Waimate and Hokianga Properties Alex Bell preparing a spit roast Hogget for the recent Waitangi Day cricket match at Te Waimate Mission. All in a day’s work – Alex’s third day of work actually.

February 28

MEDIA RELEASE

Heritage role just like coming home for Ohaeawai resident

For Ohaeawai resident Alex Bell, taking on a new role with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is a bit like coming home.

The 31-year old was recently appointed Heritage New Zealand’s Property Lead, Te Waimate and Hokianga Properties;  a role that involves the management of New Zealand’s second oldest surviving building – Te Waimate Mission – as well as Mangungu Mission in Horeke and Clendon House in Rawene.

Alex has a particularly strong link to Clendon House.

“Dennis Cochrane, who was the father of Jane Clendon, was one of my ancestors. Jane, who married James Reddy Clendon, was instrumental in keeping Clendon House in the family after his death until it was eventually gifted to the NZ Historic Places Trust in the early 1970s,” says Alex.

“Besides that link, I grew up on a dairy farm near Lake Omapere and went to Okaihau Primary and College. Both sides of my family are long-time Northlanders with a good mix of 19thCentury links to the Hokianga, Bay of Islands and Whangarei.”

Discovering physical evidence of his ancestors on family land as a child was instrumental in forming an interest in history according to Alex.

“The objects I found poking out of the banks of the Hokianga Harbour were likely disposed of by them, so those old spoons and whiskey bottles created a more personal link between them and now,” he says.

Highlighting links that help bring history alive, as well as making stories and information accessible to the community, are objectives Alex wants to explore in his new role.

“I love to get into the gritty parts of the stories, and to find historical tidbits to incorporate into the story of a property or archaeological site that give it some personal context,” he says.

“Heritage New Zealand’s Hokianga properties were all established in the early phases of European settlement and are all Landmarks Whenua Tohunga. As well as travelling half way around the world, settlers had to build their lives in an unfamiliar nation, build relationships with a well established Maori population, and build the foundations of Missionary societies from which they had been sent – all while staying alive.”

Each of the physical buildings sit in landscapes that incorporate centuries of Maori settlement and politics, and have their own stories to tell.

“Te Waimate Mission is an untapped treasure – and that goes for Mangungu Mission and Clendon House too. There is a wealth of stories to be told beyond just those of key historical figures,” he says.

“They’re also beautiful places to enjoy. Te Waimate Mission, for example, is perfect for people to bring a picnic and sit under the trees.”

Te Waimate is a far cry from Western Australia where Alex worked as a contract archaeologist prior to returning to New Zealand. He is enjoying being able to walk through knee-deep grass without having to worry about standing on a sleeping snake, or surveying in the bush and getting covered in kangaroo ticks. Neither does he miss being away for weeks at a time, the relentless heat and sleeping in a swag by the fire.

“I certainly loved it there, though. A beer at sunset with your mates after a 10-hour work day in 45 degree heat, looking over a mountain range of premium grade iron ore – that’s the good life,” he says.

After working as an archaeologist in the north following his return from Australia, Alex is looking forward to the next step of his heritage journey. And his family connections make it all the more personal.

“One of my ancestors, William Robinson, is buried in the Mangungu cemetery – so this job is kind of like caretaking a bit of family history I suppose,” he says.

 

 

Christmas Cheer At Pompallier Mission On Saturday December 23 At 6pm. (2017)

 

 

 

December 4

MEDIA RELEASE

Christmas cheer at Pompallier Mission                                               

Christmas cheer will be coming to Russell once again this year at the annual Carols @ Pompallier concert at Pompallier Mission, the Heritage New Zealand property in Russell, Bay of Islands.

Every Christmas, Pompallier Mission and New Zealand’s oldest church, Russell’s Christ Church, come together to host community carols for locals and visitors alike. Local groups and soloists will perform traditional festive favourites as well as modern Christmas songs as part of the show, which takes place on Saturday December 23 at 6pm.

Concert-goers will also have the opportunity to sing along to some favourite Christmas Carols.

Carols @ Pompallier is an annual fixture for the Russell community and is a great way for the community to re-connect and kick off the festive season,” says the Manager of Pompallier Mission, Scott Elliffe.

People are invited to bring a picnic, rug and good cheer.

“Pompallier Mission has the only public gardens in Russell, so it’s a great opportunity for families to enjoy a very pleasant evening of festive entertainment in this beautiful historic setting,” says Scott.

Admission to Carols @ Pompallier is free to everybody. (Alternative wet weather venue – Christ Church in Russell).

Media Contact: Scott Elliffe, Ph 09-403-9015

“Northland’s WWII military spots to be recorded” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (2017)

October 20

MEDIA RELEASE

Northland’s WWII military spots to be recorded

Two Northland volunteer researchers are banding together to undertake a heritage inventory identifying places in Northland associated with World War II.

Jack Kemp of Kerikeri and Dr Bill Guthrie of Doubtless Bay have had a long fascination with the strong military presence that was stationed in Northland during the conflict, and are undertaking an inventory of military camps and other sites before they are lost.

“During the early 1940s there was a proliferation of military camps in Northland associated with the US Marines who were going to be sent to fight in the Pacific,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager, Bill Edwards.

“The people associated with these camps have mostly passed on and the collective memory of these camps is disappearing. Evidence of these places is also often quite ephemeral – so it’s important to record them now.”

Jack has been involved at Santo with the proposed WWII museum there, while Bill Guthrie is a former professor at the University of Macau whose Father-in-law was a bomber pilot at Guadalcanal and whose father served in the Medical Corps.

Athough it’s still early days for the project, some of the initial research undertaken by Jack has already paid off.

“We were recently advised of a new subdivision planned for west of Kamo near Whangarei. We cross-checked against information that had already been gathered on the area and it turns out that the subdivision will be built on the site of what was the C1 Marine camp,” he says.

“The story of the Marines in Northland is not particularly well known, so this provides an opportunity to mark the history of the area through street names and possibly interpretation so that people will be able to understand the story of what went on here over 70 years ago, and the enormous impact that had on our history.”

The two volunteers are starting with military camps, though the inventory is likely to expand to include other World War II sites in Northland including airfields, bunkers and gun emplacements.

“The history of the Second World War is relatively recent, though in some ways that makes it all the more vulnerable to loss. We can’t take it for granted, and instead have to be proactive and record as much information as we can about this important part of our heritage,” says Bill.

“This project is timely and important.”

Anybody with any information about military bases in Northland during World War II, or other related information, can contact Bill Edwards on bedwards@heritage.org.nz or Ph 09-407-0471.

“Sun, Sand, Surf – and a fascinating history of the Far North” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (02:10:2017)

 

 

 

October 2

MEDIA RELEASE

Sun, Sand, Surf – and a fascinating history of the Far North

People wanting to learn about the heritage of the furthest reaches of the Far North can hop on a bus and explore the ‘top, top half’ of New Zealand in an exciting day trip.

The ‘Ninety Mile Beach and Inland Excursion’ leaves Kaitaia at 9am on October 14 and returns 5-6pm.

The Harrison’s chartered bus will drive up Ninety Mile Beach (a public highway) and explore some of the historic places of the area – including the Wagener homestead, the Waipapakauri Hotel with its colourful past, and the site of Norman ‘Wizard’ Smith’s shed – which once housed his world speed record breaking car Enterprise – and its connection to Charles Kingsford Smith’s sixth Trans-Tasman flight.

The tour will be led by Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Manager Bill Edwards and other Northland staff who will talk about different aspects of the Far North’s history.

The cost of the day-trip is $40 per person or $45 for non-Heritage Northland Inc members. Spaces are limited and bookings are essential with payment necessary by October 6. For more information phone Merle Newlove (09-439-7492) or Peter Williams (Ph 09-439-0822).