Heritage New Zealand magazine, Ngahuru Autumn 2021

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Issue 160 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 NZ $9.95 incl.GST


love Taking a walk with Wellington’s Modernist icons


Honouring historic Chinese/ Māori links


Music soars again in Christchurch Town Hall

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Taonga returns to its Wairoa home Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 i

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Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 Features


Journeys into the past

12 Brought to life Architect Mick Hesselin’s passion for Southland heritage has been captured on screen

16 A sense of completion A maritime memorial honours historic links between Chinese and Māori communities

22 Modern love Taking a walk by Wellington’s Modernist icons

30 The corner shop

42 Burning bright Taking a stroll through town with Reefton’s very own ‘Restoration Man’

48 Standing firm How do we protect and conserve our timber heritage buildings and the contexts in which they sit?




A couple’s loving – and cost-effective – restoration of a Christchurch corner store

3 Editorial

34 Now, as ever

52 Books

All appears as it once was in the magical Tamatea/Dusky Sound historic area

Tales of New Zealand told through many eyes

4 Noticeboard

38 Full circle

54 Our heritage, my vision

A taonga returned from Scotland to its Wairoa home is helping to tell an important story

Our history impacts on our spiritual and economic wellbeing today, says Leah Bell

Explore the List 8 Sweet sounds Once a “fractured treasure”, the Christchurch Town Hall is now well and truly put back together



10 Place of rest Napier is home to one of New Zealand’s few ‘living memorials’ to World War I fallen

Heritage New Zealand magazine is printed with mineral oil-free, soy-based vegetable inks on New Silk paper. This paper is Forestry Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified and manufactured from pulp from responsible sources under the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Please recycle.

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Good changes are coming to membership BANKING CHANGES

If you have read the supporter update on page 4, you’ll already be aware there are changes coming in how you pay for membership – with cheque payments no longer an option from 30 April. As a result, we’re rolling out new ways to pay for your membership renewal. This will include a bank transfer option for those of you who like to pay ‘online’ (this is in addition to the current credit card option on our website). For those who have been paying by cheque or who require ‘offline’ payment, we’re introducing Direct Debits which will allow members to complete one piece of paperwork and then an easy renewal process afterwards that doesn’t require internet banking or credit card.


As well as changes to payments and banking, we’re also updating our membership systems and technology. You have told us you would like a simpler renewal process (especially for those of you who complete the online form each year). As far as possible, we’ll be simplifying things for you – with an email renewal notification process. This will cut down drastically on our print costs, which means more of your membership can go towards supporting heritage projects across the country.


Finally, you’ll benefit from a new, more robust membership card, as we strive to improve their quality and shelf-life (especially the 5-year ones!).


If you have questions about any of these upcoming changes or just want to find out how to make the most of your membership benefits, please get in touch with us – either by phone on 0800 802 010 or by email to membership@heritage.org.nz

THANK YOU We are very grateful to all those supporters who have recently made donations. While many are kindly acknowledged below, more have chosen to give anonymously.

Sir James Wallace Mr Robert Smellie Mr & Mrs J F Harper Mr Don & Mrs Margrethe Huse Dr N C & Mrs R N Lambrechtsen Mr & Mrs R I Hubbard Mr Philip Rundle

David Jarman & Moira Farrell Mr Gordon & Mrs Vivienne Christie Mr Graeme & Mrs Michele Lythgoe Mr Rod Clough & Mrs Sarah Macready Miss Mary Brown Mr Desmond & Mrs Yukiko Hunt Mr Paul & Mrs Natalie Hickson

Mr Steve & Mrs Helen Wakefield Mr Gordon & Mrs Rita Chesterman Gillian Whitehead & Joyce Whitehead Mr Peter Washbourn Mr Geoffrey & Mrs Paulette Handley Mr Richard & Mrs Eleanor Lane Mr L & Mrs L Jacobs

Mr Peter & Mrs Victoria Jackson Mr David & Mrs Joanna Lynch-Watson Mrs Johanna & Mr Clive Raharuhi


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Issue 160 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 NZ $9.95 incl.GST


love Taking a walk with Wellington’s Modernist icons


Honouring historic Chinese/ Māori links


Music soars again in Christchurch Town Hall

I’ve been everywhere


Taonga returns to its Wairoa home

Heritage Issue 160 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 ISSN 1175-9615 (Print) ISSN 2253-5330 (Online) Cover image: Dixon Street Flats, central Wellington, completed in 1944 as part of the first Labour Government’s state housing programme. Image by Mike Heydon.

Editor Caitlin Sykes, Sugar Bag Publishing Sub-editor Trish Heketa, Sugar Bag Publishing Art director Amanda Trayes, Sugar Bag Publishing Publisher Heritage New Zealand magazine is published quarterly by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. The magazine had a circulation of 10,485 as at 30 September 2020. The views expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Advertising For advertising enquiries, please contact the Manager Publications. Phone: (04) 470 8054 Email: advertising@heritage.org.nz Subscriptions/Membership Heritage New Zealand magazine is sent to all members of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Call 0800 802 010 to find out more.

Tell us your views At Heritage New Zealand magazine we enjoy feedback about any of the articles in this issue or heritage-related matters. Email: The Editor at heritagenz@gmail.com Post: The Editor, c/- Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, PO Box 2629, Wellington 6140 Feature articles: Note that articles are usually commissioned, so please contact the Editor for guidance regarding a story proposal before proceeding. All manuscripts accepted for publication in Heritage New Zealand magazine are subject to editing at the discretion of the Editor and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Online: Subscription and advertising details can be found under the Resources section on the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga website www.heritage.org.nz.

From the Heritage New Zealand magazine team, welcome to 2021! While that ‘new year’ feeling might be fading a little as we enter the third month of the year, this first magazine of 2021 nevertheless feels like an opportunity to recognise a fresh start after the turmoil of 2020. (Although who knows what this year will bring?) Along with washing our hands and stifling our sneezes, one of the things Kiwis were encouraged to do in 2020 was to explore more of our own backyard – visiting new places and supporting those struggling in the tourism sector, which includes many in the heritage world. This seems to be a message that the magazine team has well and truly taken on board. While we always endeavour to cover stories the length and breadth of Aotearoa, this issue is a particular cracker in terms of geographic spread. Writer Peta Carey released her book Tamatea Dusky: The remarkable story of Fiordland’s Dusky Sound in 2020 offering a detailed portrait of this remarkable part of the country. As a regular Heritage New Zealand magazine contributor, she draws on that background to share insights into the area’s heritage in this issue. Listed as an historic area in 2015 and located in a corner of Fiordland National Park, it’s a remote area that few people get the chance to explore. But, as Peta outlines in her story, “this is the magic of Dusky”. “With no roads, no development and so little in the way of tourist traffic,” she writes, “all appears as it once was.” It’s a story that sits in stark contrast to another in this issue, which explores Wellington’s Modern architectural heritage. The capital’s Modern and late-20th-century heritage has been in the spotlight in recent

times, as the city explores the future and heritage status of sites such as the Gordon Wilson Flats and the Wellington Central Library. With this in mind, writer Jacqui Gibson went on a walking tour to take in some of Wellington’s Modern heritage, and reports on the experience. The tour ran for the second time in late 2020 as part of Wellington Heritage Week, and in the story the festival’s director and founder David Batchelor highlights some of the central questions being posed about Modern heritage right now. “The question is,” he says, “do we save Wellington’s Modern heritage or get rid of it to make way for development? Do buildings less than a century old qualify as heritage? Do we even like the look of these often paredback buildings? These are the sorts of things people are talking about.” The untouched world of Tamatea has never, perhaps, seemed quite so far away. Where else will you travel to in this issue? In Northland, we look at how historic properties such as the mission houses at Te Waimate and Māngungu are employing new methods to learn and share the stories of some of our oldest wooden buildings. In Wairoa we learn how a community’s efforts to repatriate a flag from the New Zealand Wars is helping to tell an important story, and we take a tour of Reefton with its resident ‘Restoration Man’, John Bougen, who estimates he’s been involved with close to 30 heritage projects in the town. There’s more – but I’ll leave you to explore the following pages to see where they take you. We hope they’ll provide further fuel to satisfy your local wanderlust. Ngā manaakitanga Caitlin Sykes

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THREE QUICK QUESTIONS WITH PAULINE EVANS Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga member Pauline Evans is one of a number of locals helping to promote the heritage of Kohukohu, on the northern shores of Hokianga Harbour.


... WITH BRENDON VEALE Membership payment changes As you've seen from the information on page 2, some recent changes within the banking sector and our own administration will affect your Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga membership payments. The first big change is the demise of the bank cheque. Your bank will have already notified

Ngā Taonga i tēnei marama Heritage this month – subscribe now Keep up to date by subscribing to our free e-newsletter Ngā Taonga i tēnei marama Heritage this month. Visit www. heritage.org. nz (‘Resources’ section) or email membership@ heritage.org.nz to be included in the email list.

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you that cheques will cease to be accepted by all major banks by the end of June 2021 – with some already rejecting them. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga will accept cheques until 30 April, but after this date please contact us if you need an alternative way to pay for your membership. We’re here to help! To give our members and supporters payment choices, we’re rolling out new options, including an internet banking gateway (which allows for both credit card and payment transfers straight from your bank account) and direct debit. These options will make renewing your membership much simpler – something we know you’ve been wanting for a while. We welcome feedback on these alternatives, so please feel free to contact us any time.

Brendon Veale Manager Asset Funding 0800 HERITAGE (0800 437482) bveale@heritage.org.nz

You've been involved in community efforts drawing attention to a range of heritage sites in the Kohukohu historic precinct. What drew you to this work? I wanted to help build on the work others had already done to interpret and promote the history of Kohukohu. I’m particularly interested in historic features that are less obvious but that still provide important clues to the area’s history. Over the past decade or so I’ve helped develop interpretative signs for the Category 1 stone bridge and a steam tram locomotive relic in the town. The researchers for those signs – Stuart Park, on behalf of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, and the late Robin Hoare of Rāwene – had done the work to find out their histories.

years ago, has significant whānau connections relating to the original farmer who built it. The cream stand also represents a part of the larger picture of the history of the Kohukohu heritage precinct. As the timber mills closed in Kohukohu and Hokianga, the dairy factory at Motukaraka played a large part in keeping the local economy going and the heritage of the town preserved.


You've recently researched and helped develop interpretation for a cream stand [see image] in Kohukohu. Why was it important to recognise this heritage piece? There were once hundreds of cream stands in Northland and most have disappeared. People in the Kohukohu community were concerned that this cream stand might also be lost, so funding was sourced in 2011 and vintage materials donated and used for its renovation. Many people have ancestors who were suppliers to butter factories and who built their own cream stands. Farmer-built cream stands are very much part of Northland history because they were essential to the infrastructure of the co-operative dairy industry and to the lives of the farmer families. The Kohukohu cream stand, built about 70


What's something new that you learnt while carrying out this piece of research? I learnt that the cream stand was still being used after the Hokianga Co-operative Dairy Company closed in 1958. I thought that the cream stand stopped being used at the same time, but the local truck drivers continued to pick up cream from this stand and deliver it to the Bay of Islands factory until the farmer stopped supplying cream. I also found out that this particular cream stand had no direct association with the early days when cream was picked up by the harbour cream launches and horses and wagons. The stand was built much later when the launches were replaced by trucks.

Heritage New Zealand



tairangahia honour

The organisational whakatauākī gifted to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga by Kahurangi Rangimārie Naida Glavish encourages us all in New Zealand to honour the past and inspire the future.

we visit

Wairoa, p38

Opononi, p16

Tairangahia a tua whakarere Honouring the past

tātakihia inspire

whakatauākī: a significant saying attributed to a person of high standing

Tātakihia ngā reanga o āmuri ake nei Inspiring the future The two highlighted words above left are examples of kupu hāngū or passive words. Passive words in Māori are indicated by the use of a suffix at the end of the active word. In our highlighted words –hia is the passive ending of the two active words tairanga and tātaki. Other suffixes to look out for are –tia, –ngia, –nā, –ria and –a.

Wellington, p22

Napier, p10

Reefton, p42

Christchurch, p8, p30

Invercargill, p12 Tamatea/Dusky Sound, p34

BEHIND THE STORY WITH PHOTOGRAPHER JESS BURGES For this issue you travelled to Opononi to document the blessing of the SS Ventnor memorial. What was the most memorable aspect of this assignment for you? Learning about the story behind the SS Ventor and meeting some of the descendants of lost family members was a privilege. Living in Northland myself, I was surprised that I didn’t know much about the Ventnor history prior to being asked to photograph the opening of the Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre and the blessing of the Ventnor memorial. Everything I learnt was so interesting. You're based in Kerikeri, which is rich in heritage. What's your favourite heritage spot in the area? My favourite local spot would have to be the Rangihoua Heritage Park walk down to Marsden Cross. It has the most incredible views across the Bay of Islands and you can take a rewarding swim once you get down to the beach.

HERITAGE NEW ZEALAND POUHERE TAONGA DIRECTORY National Office PO Box 2629, Wellington 6140 Antrim House 63 Boulcott Street Wellington 6011 (04) 472 4341 (04) 499 0669 information@heritage.org.nz Go to www.heritage.org.nz for details of offices and historic places around New Zealand that are cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.


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The Daring SUMMER 2018, ISSUE 151


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It’s hard to dislike stories about animals. Any nagging doubts about their popularity were put to rest with a winning post about horses on the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Facebook page late last year. More than 30,000 people were reached, making it one of the best-performing posts in the organisation’s social media history. As the post detailed, it’s a delightful, stable relationship we have with horses. And it’s stables in which they’ve been housed since carrying the loads of early pioneers following their arrival in New Zealand in 1814. Our longfaced friends literally provided the horsepower for our farming, transportation and building prowess – not to mention socialising and sporting pursuits. There are a number of stables on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero (www. heritage.org.nz/the-list) that underline their importance in our history. Those no longer used for

The Daring was pictured immersed in black Kaipara Harbour sand when HEART OF GOLD it appeared on the cover of Heritage New GOOD PRESS Zealand magazine for our 2018 story on the IN FULL shipwreck. SWING But the schooner, which had lain in the sand since its controlled beaching there in 1865, has been on quite a journey since. Shipwreck exposes maritime heritage threats In December 2018, the Daring Rescue Group undertook a complex operation to salvage the vessel from the beach and transport it to a temporary storage facility at Auckland’s Hobsonville Point. There it’s since sat, protected under a scaffold and plastic tent, and misted with fresh water four times daily as part of its short-term conservation plan. But it’s now on the move again, and this time the Daring is returning home – to the Northland town of Mangawhai, where it was built in 1863 by Nova Scotian immigrant Donald McInnes. In November last year the Daring Rescue Group handed over guardianship of the schooner to the Mangawhai Daring Trust, which will oversee and execute a vision to house the Daring in a purpose-built museum. Larry Paul, of both the Daring Rescue Group and the Mangawhai Daring Trust, says the primary reason for returning the schooner, made from kauri and pōhutukawa, to Mangawahi is to further tell and share its story. “The only way that people and products really moved around the country at the time of the Daring was by sea,” says Larry. “There’s no other New Zealand-built coastal trading ship that exists today in such incredible condition, and there’s so much history we’ve already uncovered related to it. The whole focus of this project is to educate people about this history.” At the time of writing, the aim was to transport the Daring to Mangawahai by the end of summer. Creating a cradle on which the vessel could be transported and rest in Mangawhai was underway. The Daring will be housed in a temporary structure in the coastal town as its long-term conservation plan and ultimately the museum are developed. al

Heritage New Zealand Social Media Manager


Issue 151 Summer 2018


NZ $9.95 incl.GST

Working hard for tourism in Arrowtown

Serving up new fodder at Wellington’s Press Hall

New life for old Kopu Bridge

their original purposes have been adapted and reused as tearooms, restaurants, general stores and even museums. Our Facebook followers were also in a friendly flap over our feathered friends, with more than 15,000 people taking a shine to a post about black-billed gulls that took up residence in an earthquake-damaged building in Christchurch. Included in the tally of reactions, comments and shares were more than 100 ‘love’ and ‘wow’ emojis. Most of us have an attachment to birds, whether we’re listening to their birdsong as they fly freely through a beautiful forest, supplying breadcrumbs for them to nibble, or, less fondly, dealing with what they leave behind. The main image in this post was snapped by Jan Titus, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Promotions Advisor, showing the gulls nesting, breeding and relaxing at their new and temporary home. It was a lovely display of activity continuing within the ruins – a feathered form of adaptive reuse in a city making giant strides following the earthquakes of a decade ago.


For more information, visit www.classicyachtcharitabletrust.org.nz/trust_boats. htm?boat_id=17.

Heritage New Zealand

A NEW BUZZ The pōhutukawa flowers around Te Waimate Mission were humming this summer thanks to a recent trial that brought hives back to an important early beekeeping site. Honeybees were first introduced at Māngungu Mission in 1839, but it was from another property cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga – Te Waimate Mission – that beekeeping really took off. That was thanks to Reverend William Cotton, who arrived at Te Waimate in 1842 as chaplain to Bishop Selwyn and was also an accomplished apiarist. Cotton helped to introduce and spread beekeeping skills in the North Island and authored several books on the subject, including Ko ngā pī – written in te reo Māori. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Property Manager Alex Bell says three hives were stationed at Te Waimate over spring and summer, and a further five at Kerikeri Mission Station, to assess the viability of commercially producing honey from the sites. “William Cotton was New Zealand’s first commercial beekeeper. He brought in hives, set them up at Te Waimate and then sent them out across the North, as well as writing a lot of books on the subject, so that gives Te Waimate a really strong connection to beehives,” explains Alex. “Te Waimate is also all about an entire imported food landscape. We’re trying to tell that story by returning Te Waimate to its historical roots of plants and animals and agriculture – and bees play a significant part in that.”


You can read more about the new ways the stories of Te Waimate – and other Northland properties cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga – are being explored and told from page 48.


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Sweet sounds Once a “fractured treasure”, the Christchurch Town Hall is now well and truly put back together

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Ask any Cantabrian about the Christchurch Town Hall and stories will emerge – their first concert, traipsing across the stage at graduations, school choir events, or maybe a citizenship ceremony. The building holds many of the cultural and social aspirations of the province. Now, newly restored, strengthened and listed as a Category 1 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List/ Rārangi Kōrero, the town hall is ready for the 21st century. It’s been a journey to get to this point. The Canterbury earthquakes put the future of the building in doubt. The building’s proximity to the Avon River destabilised the structure. There was strong public support for its restoration, but there were also calls for its demolition,

including from the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, Gerry Brownlee. In response, several advocates rose up to argue for the retention of this Christchurch icon. “A group of us,” says Dr Ian Lochhead, editor of the book The Christchurch Town Hall 1965-2019: A Dream Renewed, “including original architects Sir Miles Warren and Sir Maurice Mahoney, were very keen to see the town hall saved. We met regularly to plan how to achieve this.” The Keep Our Town Hall group collected information and letters of support from musicians across the world. Their submissions to the Christchurch City Council demonstrated the groundbreaking nature of the building. Ian explains that the Christchurch Town Hall’s

significance is twofold. Warren and Mahoney’s architectural design is an outstanding exemplar of post-World War II Modernism. Sir Miles Warren designed the oval-shaped Douglas Lilburn auditorium to give the audience a sense of involvement. “There’s the sense of surprise at how intimate that huge space feels,” says Ian. “You almost feel you could put your hand out and touch the performers on stage.” But it is the acoustics that are the unsung hero of the building. “The acoustic consultant Harold Marshall developed a new theory of lateral reflected sound during the design process,” says Ian. “Marshall used ex-NASA computers for modelling the acoustics and created a space with remarkable resonance and clarity. In 2015 the building was included in a survey of 10 of the world’s finest concert halls.” In June 2015 Christchurch city councillors voted to restore the town hall complex, convinced by the financial, environmental and heritage submissions.

Heritage New Zealand

LOCATION The Christchurch Town Hall is located in the central city on the banks of the Avon River.

“That’s the clincher for what makes heritage so valuable – the memories that are brought back to life” The engineering design laid out how site remediation, new foundations and strengthening would restore the building to 100 percent of the New Building Standard. Alistair Pearson is the Christchurch City Council’s manager in charge of delivering major facilities. The challenge for the Christchurch Town Hall project team was to protect heritage but enhance the building’s future. “We had to maintain the heritage value,” says Alistair. “Ideally, now you can’t even tell work has been done. If you look at the handrails, they still have the scars of years of use.”

Conservators carefully removed, stored and rehung the bold Rainbow Pieces mural by Pat Hanly. The builders lifted parquet flooring so they could relay it onto new foundations. Marble and carpet were carefully matched to the originals. The project was also an opportunity for modernisation. “There was an awful lot of thinking about how to improve heating, ventilation, security, accessibility and backstage facilities,” says Alistair. The iconic Ferrier Fountain was a particular challenge. Although it looks unchanged, behind the scenes a complex technical project installed environmentally friendly filtration systems.

“A lot of people had their graduation photos in front of those fountains,” says Alistair. “Now their own children will be able to do the same. That’s the clincher for what makes heritage so valuable – the memories that are brought back to life.” A key element of the project, which in November 2020 won Best in Category of the Heritage and Adaptive Reuses Property Award at the 2020 Property Industry Awards, was a new facility built for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. The CSO Centre, designed by Warren and Mahoney, is on the site of the former Cambridge block of the town hall, which had to be demolished. The centre is the orchestra’s first permanent home. “We feel extremely proud to be the orchestra in residence of the Christchurch Town Hall and love welcoming people through the doors of the CSO Centre,”

says Gretchen La Roche, Chief Executive of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. “We are very fortunate to call this remarkable facility home and look forward to enjoying it for many years to come.” Robyn Burgess, Listings Advisor for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, says it has been a milestone to have the Christchurch Town Hall recognised as a Category 1 historic place. “For some years now, we have been making efforts to recognise New Zealand’s post-war Modernist architecture. The Christchurch Town Hall was on our radar but then the Canterbury earthquakes happened. So it is doubly exciting now to include the newly restored Christchurch Town Hall on the List.” The Christchurch Town Hall reopened on 23 February 2019 – eight years and one day after it closed on 22 February 2011. For Ian Lochhead, it was “absolutely thrilling to go back into a building that you feared you would never enter again and see it looking as if it had hardly changed”. At the end of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra’s Phoenix concert on 2 March 2019, the audience gave a standing ovation, applauding not only the orchestra, but also the building. As The Press reviewer Patrick Shepherd wrote: “Bravo to the performers, but also to the remarkable team of people that put this fractured treasure back together.” RETURN TO CONTENTS

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Intended as a support space for women and children, the Napier Women’s Rest is also one of New Zealand’s few ‘living memorials' to those who fell in World War I In Napier’s Memorial Square sits a long, low brick building that is as interesting for its architectural history as it is for the different conversations and debates that surrounded its construction, post World War I. The Napier Women’s Rest and the Cenotaph it sits beside form a remarkable juxtaposition, says Blyss Wagstaff, Senior Heritage Assessment Advisor for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. The building, which opened in 1926, has recently been added to the New Zealand Heritage List/ Rārangi Kōrero as a Category 1 historic place. “It is a really special building,” says Blyss. “It was built to provide a space of support for mothers and their

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children, but it was also designed to honour those who had fallen during World War I. It represents the often intense debate some communities had around that time about how best to honour the dead who had fallen in war.” Blyss says after World War I memorial monuments became very important as a civic focus for grief and pride, often also acting as surrogate tombstones for those who remained buried overseas. But some communities thought that ‘living memorials’ in the form of functional facilities, with lasting social value, would be a better way to express the debt of gratitude that society owed to the soldiers. She says the Napier Women’s Rest is a good representation of

that intense debate, as it is one of the few functional facilities constructed in New Zealand after World War I as a living memorial. Its location in Memorial Square, beside the Cenotaph, was no coincidence either. “The Women’s Rest and the Cenotaph have an important relationship with each other, as they were designed to offer different ways of commemorating those who fell in World War I. “In all the intense debate that happened around that time, the argument that largely won the day was that utilitarian memorials didn’t appropriately reflect the idealistic principles of war service. As a result, the vast majority of communities built purely symbolic monuments –

like Napier’s Cenotaph, completed in 1924,” says Blyss. She says post World War II there was more of a movement towards building community halls as sites of remembrance, but during the period in which the Napier Women’s Rest was built only around 5 percent of surveyed memorials were functional facilities. As a result, the Women’s Rest is part of a relatively small group of memorials that combine the symbolism of commemoration with a functional use. It has even more unusual significance because it is a war memorial specifically providing for the needs of women, says Blyss. “The Women’s Rest and the adjacent Cenotaph demonstrate

Heritage New Zealand

LOCATION Napier is situated in Hawke's Bay, about 320km northeast of Wellington.

a thoughtful compromise on the two perspectives of the complex post-war debate about how to appropriately commemorate the dead. It was an issue that every New Zealander would have cared about at the time, as World War 1 had a massive impact on everyone’s lives,” says Blyss. The Napier Women’s Rest is also symbolic of the broader fight for women’s rights that was occurring in New Zealand in the 1920s. As communities like Hawke’s Bay debated how best to commemorate their dead, women’s organisations were also actively campaigning for ‘rest rooms’ for women, which were seen as necessary to allow women to be more active participants in the lives of their cities. Despite women outnumbering men in most of New Zealand’s urban centres, it took decades for the provision of public toilets for women to catch up. “The Women’s Rest was also built around the same time as there was a long-overdue movement of councils improving the provision of public restrooms for women,” says Blyss. Hastings had opened what was believed to be the first purposebuilt women’s restroom in 1921 and Napier, like many other towns around the country, wanted to follow suit. So, with the help of donations from Plunket Society fundraising, prominent Napier

architect James Augustus (JA) Louis Hay was commissioned to design the domestic-looking public building. At that time local government had the view that women would not want to be seen entering a building so directly connected to bodily functions, so it was that sense of propriety that also led to the Women’s Rest offering more than just the basic toilet and washbasin facilities usually afforded to men, says Blyss. When a memorial plaque was affixed by Governor-General Sir Charles Fergusson to the in-progress building in 1925, it stated that the building was a “Women’s Rest … erected by the people of Napier in commemoration of citizens of this town who fell in the Great War”. At that time it contained rooms for the Plunket Society, a large restroom, a kitchen and other facilities. The Napier Women’s Rest was officially opened on Anzac Day 1926, at the same time

that Clive Square was renamed Memorial Square. Fleur Lincoln, Napier City Council Strategic Planning Lead, says the Women’s Rest building has a rich history, serving the community in various ways since it was built. “It is a tangible reminder of our nation’s social progression in terms of the role of women and has architectural merit, being designed by notable architect JA Louis Hay. It is also one of only a few utilitarian World War 1 memorials.” The Women’s Rest is located in the western half of Memorial Square, amid a network of curved footpaths. Its design is heavily influenced by the work of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie style. The Prairie style is still readable in the building today, despite changes since its original construction. Aspects of the Women's Rest that reflect these stylistic influences include the building’s long, low-profile, cruciform

internal layout, deep verandahs (now enclosed), horizontal bands of windows, hipped Marseille tile roof with broad eaves, and solid brick construction. The Women’s Rest is also important as a survivor of the 1931 Napier earthquake and still holds an important place for many in the community today, says Blyss. “Even though the building has been closed for a few years due to seismic concerns, it is heartening to see that the Women’s Rest still has social value, with groups such as the National Council of Women and Historic Places Hawke’s Bay offering to work with the Napier City Council to help reopen the facility for its original use as a centre for women,” says Blyss. The building's significance, as well as its surrounds, has been recognised in the Napier District Plan, says Fleur, and the Napier City Council is committed to returning the building to being a functional community facility.

“The Women’s Rest and the Cenotaph have an important relationship with each other, as they were designed to offer different ways of


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The rivalry between English universities Oxford and Cambridge is legendary and has reached far-flung corners of the globe – including Invercargill. This particular spat happened after Colonel Joseph Cowie Nichols, a wealthy North Otago landowner, bought a fire-damaged section between Tay and Esk Streets and commissioned established architect Allan Charles (AC) Ford to redevelop the area. What had begun in the 1850s as a hotel, stables and blacksmiths with timber buildings had grown into a bustling commercial centre surrounded in the early 1900s by two-storey brick structures. However, a fire in the blacksmiths in 1930 left the centre of the arcade burnt out and empty until Nichols bought it. AC Ford set about an extensive Art Deco-themed renovation of the fire-damaged arcade. Knowing Nichols had been educated at a prestigious English university, Ford added the final flourish to his project, naming it the Oxford Arcade. “I went to Cambridge,” huffed the Colonel. The hurriedly renamed buildings became a mainstay of the block bounded by Kelvin, Esk, Tay and Dee Streets and the story made its way into Invercargill folklore.

It’s a favourite story of architect Mick Hesselin, who has shared it over the years with hundreds of southerners who have joined his walking tours of architectural sites as part of Southland Heritage Month. And now he’s set to share this story and more with a much wider audience. Mick and his stories of the Kelvin/Esk/Tay/Dee block are the subject of a documentary being made to commemorate and memorialise this inner-city zone of more than 30 heritage buildings. The buildings were slated for demolition in 2018 to make way for a retail, commercial, residential and car park building development. Named The Last Tour, the documentary follows Mick as he leads a group around the block just months before the buildings started to come down earlier this year. “You need to look up,” he reminds people. “You’ve really got to look up at buildings.” Mick says he was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who turned out for the tour. “We usually have about 30 people, but after we announced it would be the last chance to see these buildings, over 100 people signed up.

BROUGHT TO LIFE Architect Mick Hesselin has a passion for Murihiku/Southland’s architectural heritage gems – and the stories of the people who have inhabited them WORDS: KIM TRIEGAARDT

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Heritage New Zealand

Previous page: Mick Hesselin leads a walking tour of architectural sites as part of Southland Heritage Month. This page: Mick leads a group around the block bounded by Kelvin, Esk, Tay and Dee Streets for The Last Tour documentary. IMAGERY: MAROLYN DIVER

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“My idea of heritage is that you have to provide some humour to it … if you can relate it back to the characters who owned, lived and worked in [heritage buildings], then people are interested”

“It’s because people know this is the block that started Invercargill,” says Mick. “Where the Bank of New Zealand is, on the corner of Tay and Clyde Streets, is where the boats landed after they rowed up from the ships anchored in the estuary.” Mick was impressed with the interesting questions people asked, and the information they volunteered about their descendants who had lived and worked in the buildings. Even more exciting for him was the number of young people on the tours. “I was delighted to see children because I think if you can get an idea into a child’s mind then the child might retain that interest into adulthood. Sometimes it just takes one little action at the right time in a fertile young brain. That’s the beauty of humanity.” Mick believes his passion for heritage and architecture stems from a long-remembered childhood memory of his own. “We visited the old wooden house where my grandmother used to live, and I recall walking up the stairs and looking out of the window on the landing. I was a very young child but that is something that has always stuck in my mind.” On leaving school, Mick became a draughtsman with the Southland Education Board, where he steadily became deeply disillusioned by the constant use of Nelson-designed, standard-plan classroom layouts by the board architects. “They were totally inadequate for the environment here,” he says. Mick started studying architecture at night, inspired by the work of FW Burwell, CJ Broderick and AC Ford, among others. He even found work in the AC Ford office before moving to Auckland to complete a year at architecture school to finish his qualification. “It took a long time,” he says, but by the 1970s he was finally qualified, back in Invercargill, and working at Ford, Gray and Derbie. “AC Ford had retired by then, but he was still considered one of the city’s premier architects and it was exciting to find drawers full of his old drawings for those early Invercargill buildings, including the

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Heritage New Zealand





1 Mick Hesselin sits on

a street wall north of St John’s Church. IMAGE: NICOLE GOURLEY 2 The ruins of the local

police sergeant’s house, built in 1886, emerged during the demolition. 3 The top of the soda

factory well, which was filled to the brim with 19th-century soda bottles. 4 An intact bottle of olives

found in a well beneath the former Cambridge Arcade. IMAGERY: SUPPLIED

original of the Cambridge buildings, still marked up as the Oxford Arcade,” says Mick. Filmmaker David Dudfield says working with Mick on The Last Tour was very compelling. “Mick is so passionate about Southland architectural heritage, he’s a really interesting guy to hang out with. He has an amazing talent for bringing stories and characters to life.” It was that talent that heritage specialist and Chair of the Heritage South Trust Rachael Egerton spotted immediately when, in the late 1990s, she was the Department of Conservation representative on the Southland Branch Committee of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga (then the Historic Places Trust). “It was clear Mick was one of the knowledgeable people around the table,” she says. “He knew so much about Southland architecture, the architects and the people who had lived in the buildings. “He is so generous with his knowledge and it just rolls off the top of his head. He doesn’t need to go and look it up. You can tell Mick loves the heritage and admires not only the architectural strengths of buildings, but also the funny stories of the people who lived and worked in those buildings.”

Demolishing a city block captures slices of more than 150 years of bustling town life. “We’ve found lots of pretty amazing stuff,” says Dr Dawn Cropper, Director of Archaeology at New Zealand Heritage Properties. These include 20 wells identified during the excavations, of which some were filled to the brim with artefacts, such as the ‘soda factory well’. The 5.3-metredeep well was full of late 19th-century soda bottles belonging to Invercargill soda manufacturer William Moffett, who operated from the site in the 1870s. The excavation of a well associated with a former photographer identified a large number of unused photography plates and other artefacts associated with the business. Another well, found near the former Cambridge Arcade, contained a mix of artefacts, including children’s toys, spirit bottles, an intact bottle of olives, and a button from the uniform jacket of a member of the New Zealand Armed Constabulary (1867-80s). Excavations also revealed evidence of the area’s early buildings, long since demolished, including the local police sergeant’s house (built in 1886), a printing room for the Southland Times (circa 1878-1909), and the brick walls and floor of an 1863 warehouse built by merchant Calder Blacklock and Co.

“Well, my idea of heritage is that you have to provide some humour to it,” says Mick. “If it’s all facts and figures that’s very boring. But if you can relate it back to the characters who owned, lived and worked in [heritage buildings], then people are interested.” But while the stories are important, as a retired architect Mick’s eye does focus on the buildings and there are a couple of “exciting” buildings in Invercargill. “There is a tractor sales showroom on Dee Street where I actually went into the building and congratulated the owner. It’s a very good building. The other is SIT’s redevelopment of the old St John’s Church,” says Mick. “In both buildings, the proportions are correct, they respect our weather conditions and in the St John’s building they have an appreciation of what was there before.” The Last Tour is screening in March as part of Southland Heritage Month and Mick, David and Rachael hope that as people watch they’ll gain a greater appreciation of the architecture around them. And the passionate heritage campaigners hope it will raise awareness that people need to value and protect the buildings around them. Because, as Rachael says, “you can’t get them back once they’ve come down”. RETURN TO CONTENTS

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Heritage New Zealand


A sense of


A memorial in Northland to those lost on the SS Ventnor honours the historic links between Chinese and Māori formed following the tragic sinking Heritage New Zealand

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When the names of those who were aboard the SS Ventnor are read out next month during an event at a memorial to them, it will likely be the first time in over a century that their names have been spoken in public. Descendants of those involved in the maritime tragedy near the Hokianga Heads in Northland will celebrate the Qingming Festival at a new memorial in Opononi commemorating the event. The memorial was built by the New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA), and the ceremony marks the end of a special chapter in Chinese and Māori relations. The story started with the sinking of the SS Ventnor en route to China in October 1902. It was followed by a century of care and respect and is now marked by a beautiful cultural, spiritual and physical bond. Qingming is a traditional Chinese festival in which families visit ancestral gravesites to pray and make ritual offerings. This year it’s particularly special for the descendants of 499 Chinese who were making their final voyage home on the SS Ventnor for reinterral after years in New Zealand working mainly in the Central Otago goldfields. When the ship went down, also carrying 13 crew, their resting place had been determined, or so most thought.

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When some remains washed ashore, iwi members from Te Rarawa, north of the heads, and Te Roroa to the south, cared for them in accordance with tikanga at burial sites nearby. Fast forward to 2007 and, following a meeting with Chinese descendants and iwi, the story became more widely known. In 2013 Chinese descendants gifted plaques to Te Roroa and Te Rarawa in thanks for their care. The Te Roroa plaque is fixed to an impressive stone monument in Waipoua Forest; the Te Rarawa plaque is at a Chinese gate at Mitimiti designed by iwi member Nick Grace. Then in December 2020 the 15-metre-long memorial carrying the names of all those on board the Ventnor was unveiled to coincide with the opening of the Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre at Opononi. For the NZCA’s Kirsten Wong, who first met with iwi in 2007 along with Wong Liu Shueng to learn more of the incredible story of recovery, care and internment, Qingming at Opononi will be very special. The memorial is within walking distance of where some bones and lifeboats were washed ashore following the sinking. Its location connects both sides of Hokianga Harbour, where the other memorials are.

1 The New Zealand Chinese

Association celebrates an historic moment. Left to right: John and Connie Kum, Wong Liu Shueng, Gordon Wu, Lynette Shum, Meng Foon, Kirsten Wong, Rich Tam, Richard Leung and Jenny Too. 2 Taniwha carvings look

out towards the mouth of Hokianga Harbour, which they traditionally guard. 3 Memorial designer

Rich Tam of TT Architects.

Heritage New Zealand



“The new memorial is a beautiful thing that acknowledges something that happened long ago. It means the story will never be forgotten”


Heritage New Zealand

The new memorial at Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre is designed by Rich Tam of TT Architects and design partner Rob Tse. Both are descendants of early Chinese settlers. While Rich does not personally have family connections with the SS Ventnor, he says, his great-grandfather was a gold miner in the Otago fields and would almost certainly have known some of the men. Rich says the memorial is where descendants and visitors can honour those who lost their lives and learn about the sinking. The key design element is the array of steel stelae fanning out to support bronze panels inscribed with the names of those on board. As you approach the tail end of this corten steel wall leading to the bronze panels, he says, there are 499 perforations that sweep upwards, with the hope that the visitor “experiences this inspiring sense of uplifting as they walk along the memorial”. Adding further poignancy are seven stepped concrete benches with the words ‘departure’, ‘hope’, ‘gratitude’, ‘waiting’, ‘tears’, ‘memory’ and ‘honour’ inscribed in English, Chinese and Māori. The words, by Wong Liu Shueng, reflect the journey from when the Ventnor left port to today. Rich feels “incredibly privileged” to have been involved in this project. “It’s been a long and hard road and the irony is not lost that our ancestors experienced the same. To finally see the result of all these years of hard work manifesting itself in Opononi is quite special.” n

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THE SS VENTNOR SHIPWRECK: A POST-1900 ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE Bill Edwards, Northland Area Manager for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, is in no doubt the SS Ventnor shipwreck site should be regarded as a cemetery. The site, covering a 500-metre circle around the main body of the wreck, was designated as a protected archaeological site in May 2014 to prevent disturbance and the further removal of objects. “This area is extremely significant as an historic heritage place, particularly as a maritime disaster site and a final resting place for the deceased. It is as much a cemetery as it would be if on land – and people need to respect that. “The sinking of the Ventnor and the subsequent care and protection shown by Māori of the Chinese kōiwi for more than a century is incredibly emotional and powerful. We’re here to help look after what’s here and support communities to tell their stories. “The new memorial reflects the story of the Chinese in New Zealand and their importance in our society and in the shaping of our country. Their story is compelling and crucial and continues with greater strength to this day.” The SS Ventnor shipwreck is one of eight post-1900 archaeological sites declared by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Two others with direct links to the Chinese community are the Ng Brothers Chinese Market Garden Settlement in Ashburton and 20th-century goldmining sites in the Remarkables Conservation Area in Central Otago. n

“For us, this memorial marks a sense of completion. It will be a place where people can remember the history and see the inscribed names of all those on board. It’s like their gravestones. We want people to see the names and have a tangible sense of them as individuals. During the unveiling at Qingming we will be reading out all the names. It’s probably the first time for more than 100 years that their names have been spoken in public. “Te Hua o te Kawariki Trust, which is behind the Manea Footprints of Kupe cultural centre, has a similar sense of ancestral history to ours – and the importance of telling our own stories. It’s very synergetic and great to feel like we are supporting each other. A lot of their ancestors were people who collected the bones, so we have a very deep connection with them. “Since 2007 we have formed close relationships with Te Roroa and Te Rarawa. They have been outstandingly generous to us – they have set land aside for our plaques and built beautiful surrounds, including the gateway. They have always said we are welcome and that this is our home.” Snow Tane, General Manager of Te Roroa, remembers from a young age being well aware of the places where the Chinese kōiwi were buried. They were always regarded as areas to be treated with respect. His mother’s father helped inter them when they washed ashore at Koutu Point in Hokianga Harbour. More kōiwi also came ashore further north at Mitimiti.


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Heritage New Zealand


1 2 The Manea Footprints

of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre celebrates the voyage of Kupe to Hokianga and his journeys across Aotearoa. It opened in December last year with the support of young people from Opononi Area School and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Tonga o Hokianga.

kaitiaki: guardian kōiwi: human remains manaakitanga: respectful care tangata whenua hau kāinga: indigenous, local people te ao Māori: the Māori world tikanga: cultural protocol wairua: spirit whenua: land

“Fifty years ago, when I was growing up, we never really had a relationship with the Chinese community. That all changed in recent years, which is really good from a tangata whenua hau kāinga perspective. “It was a great experience, a humbling experience, the joining of cultures that set the tone for the relationship. It was all based around getting an understanding of how we treat kōiwi as Māori – it’s tikanga. They saw the value we place on kōiwi. “The acknowledgement, bonding and connection since that time has been really positive, but it’s what any iwi would do up and down the country. It’s our tikanga – it’s something we would do no matter who it was. It’s important the wairua is settled.” Nore Martin, Te Rarawa iwi member and spokesperson for Mātihetihe Marae at Mitimiti, says ancestral stories passed down tell of remains being brought to Rāwene and other burials in their whenua north of Hokianga Harbour around Mitimiti. The Chinese gate built there is a sign of respect and an acknowledgement of those who passed away and a place to which descendants can come and pay their respects. “We’ve had many Chinese come on to our marae. We’ve tried to make our Chinese friends feel at ease in our looking after their ancestors.” The connection with the Chinese community is personal for Nore. Three years ago, Race Relations Commissioner and Chair of the NZCA Chinese Historical Ventnor project Meng Foon attended his father’s tangi to pay his respects. As with Te Roroa, Te Rarawa has been

kaitiaki of the remains, all part of the wider te ao Māori value of manaakitanga. “The new memorial is a beautiful thing that acknowledges something that happened long ago. It means the story will never be forgotten. It is something special for the manaakitanga – of our people looking after these remains and our connection to the descendants of the Chinese community who are connected to them.” For NZCA National President Richard Leung, the Ventnor connection is incredibly strong. “My wife, Debbie Sew Hoy, and our children, Sabrina and Fletcher, are direct descendants of Choie Sew Hoy, the one who started this whole journey for the Chinese miners who passed away in New Zealand searching for gold to be taken back to the land of their birth.” Choie Sew Hoy was a Dunedin merchant and prominent leader of Otago’s Chinese miners. The Cheong Shing Tong society that operated from his Dunedin store was responsible for returning 230 Chinese home for reinterral in 1883. He died in 1901 and was one of the 499 who went down with the Ventnor. Richard says while the journey to get to this point has been long, “in a way it also has only just begun”. “We are indebted to both Te Roroa and Te Rarawa for looking after our ancestors, and also the Te Hua o te Kawariki Trust, who have given us a home for this memorial. We have made deep connections with Te Roroa and Te Rarawa that will last for future generations of both our communities. It is a fitting memorial to our ancestors and the people who lost their lives.” RETURN TO CONTENTS

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What parts of a city would you forgo in the name of progress and what parts would you hang on to? Jacqui Gibson learns more while touring some of Wellington’s Modernist icons


It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in Wellington’s CBD. Six of us are crowding around Karen Astwood, Area Manager Central Region for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, leaning in to hear her speak over the commotion of wind and traffic. We’re the final stragglers in a group of more than 30 people who’ve turned out for today’s Modern Wellington Tour on the final day of Wellington Heritage Week, an annual festival in its fourth year. This year, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is a major sponsor of Wellington Heritage Week and has six events in the festival line-up.

“These are the sorts of things people are talking about. I don’t have the answers. But it’s wonderful to have agencies like Heritage New Zealand and speakers like the University of Auckland’s Associate Professor Julia Gatley and Senior Lecturer Bill McKay, as well as architect Ken Davis, championing the topic at Wellington Heritage Week.” Karen tells us it’s the second year she’s hosted the tour. Both years the tours have sold out. “People are clearly interested in the topic. And it’s great you’re here.”

The goal of today’s 90-minute tour, she explains, is to showcase Wellington’s Modern heritage and to help people better understand where it came from.

When I catch up with festival director and founder David Batchelor a week before the tour, he tells me Modernism is hot right now. “The question is: do we save Wellington’s Modern heritage or get rid of it to make way for development? Do buildings less than a century old qualify as heritage? Do we even like the look of these often paredback buildings?

Dixon Street Flats, central Wellington, completed in 1944 as part of the first Labour Government’s state housing programme.

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Heritage New Zealand

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WHAKAAHUA TE WĀHI • PLACE • PROFILE “This tour is really a story about the huge social and cultural change that swept through Wellington in the midto-late 20th century. The buildings we see along the way tell that story. “Up until the 1940s, Lambton Quay had a small-town, Edwardian feel, characterised by low-rise buildings with classical façades. By the end of the 1980s, it would’ve been hard to recognise the city. Most buildings were brand new.” After checking we’re all wearing good walking shoes and have plenty of sunblock, Karen outlines the route. We’ll start at artist Phil Price’s Protoplasm sculpture, continuing down Lambton Quay to Midland Park. From the park we’ll head up Woodward Street through the Kumutoto Stream tunnel to a subterranean car park under the motorway. Next we’ll walk up to The Terrace, where we’ll cross the motorway, before finishing the tour on the grassy intersection between The Terrace and Everton Terrace. The first landmark on the trail is the wedged-shaped MLC building, built in 1940 to an Art Deco/Style Moderne design, on the corner of Lambton Quay and Hunter Street. From Julia Gatley’s presentation on New Zealand’s Modern heritage the day before, I learned that the 1940s was the decade Modernism took hold in New Zealand. Pointing skyward to the clock face of the Category 1-listed building, Karen explains that the MLC building is both an early example of the city’s Modern heritage and a symbol of a building boom that stretched on until the late 1980s.

See more from Karen Astwood on our video: www.youtube.com/user/HeritageNewZealand/featured

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Heritage New Zealand

“People wanted to move on from the Second World War. They wanted access to new materials and new ways of thinking. They wanted a break from tradition,” Karen tells us, her clipboard papers flapping in the breeze. The architectural style known as International Modernism reflected this mood exactly, she says, and eventually led to a new-look city. We learn that Modernist architects employed new materials such as glass curtain walling and reinforced concrete. They built everything from glass-clad office buildings to slab apartment blocks to Brutalist hotels. Wellington’s Dixon Street Flats, completed in 1944 as part of the first Labour Government’s state housing programme (and now a Category 1-listed building), is one of the city’s best examples of Modern heritage. Lambton Quay’s Massey House, the first partially curtain-walled Modernist building in New Zealand, designed by Plischke & Firth in 1957 and also heritage listed, is another. But the new wave of urban development had its downside too, Karen explains, as we pause outside Anton Parsons’ stainless-steel sculpture, Invisible City. “By the 1980s it was basically a construction freefor-all. Faced with having to earthquake strengthen Wellington’s older stock of Victorian and Edwardian buildings or upgrade them, private developers tended to tear buildings down. “The preference was to build high-rise offices and apartments offering better returns. This was so much the trend in the 1980s that at least one major new building was approved by council every month.” Walking towards Midland Park, we learn that the stunning Spanish mission-style Midland Hotel that occupied the site for more than 60 years was demolished in the 1980s to make room for a new, green space for Wellington’s office workers to enjoy. At the time, says Karen, city planners, led by prodevelopment mayor Michael Fowler, wanted to create a more European city with apartment living, a café culture and public art. They wanted more places to shop and eat. They wanted a more walkable city with better pedestrian access between office life on Lambton Quay and apartment living on The Terrace. The question is, says Karen, if you were a city planner or mayor, what parts of the city would you forgo in the name of progress and what parts would you hang on to? We ponder this as we trail behind one another up Woodward Street through the Kumutoto Stream tunnel. After a brief stop to listen to the tunnel’s sound installation by artist Kedron Parker, we gather under Wellington’s urban motorway to discuss the 10-year construction project that displaced thousands of working-class residents and exhumed thousands of people buried in the Bolton Street Cemetery. Later, standing opposite Shell House on The Terrace, we learn that the gleaming glass tower completed in 1961 is another prized example of Wellington’s Modern heritage, and we wonder which ornate Victorian villa it might have supplanted.

Heritage New Zealand


1 Karen Astwood, Area

Manager Central Region, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. 2 The MLC building, the

former head office of the Australian Mutual Life and Citizens Assurance Company, completed in 1940.

WHAT IS MODERN ARCHITECTURE? Modern architecture is an architectural movement that became dominant in Europe and the US in the 1920s and ’30s before being taken up globally. Modernism emphasised the new and was thought to be an expression of its age and of industrial means of production, drawing on innovative technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass, steel and reinforced concrete. It was gradually replaced by Postmodern architecture in the 1980s. n

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According to Julia Gatley, editor of Long Live The Modern: New Zealand’s New Architecture, 1904-1984, buildings like Shell House are now vulnerable to demolition themselves. She argues that too few Modern buildings are recognised through legislated listing and scheduling processes and believes New Zealand’s Modern heritage isn’t adequately valued overall. On top of that, the age-old arguments against spending to strengthen or adaptively reuse heritage buildings in favour of better returns on new builds persist among many of today’s property developers. The upshot is that Wellington is now at risk of losing its Modern heritage too. In 2014 Lower Hutt’s Horticultural Hall was demolished, followed by Wellington’s ICI House in 2017. In 2019 building owner Ryman Healthcare opted to demolish the best part of the former teachers’ college, an exemplar Brutalist complex in Karori. Right now, the future of Wellington’s Gordon Wilson Flats hangs in the balance, despite the building appearing as a heritage item in Wellington City Council’s District Plan. As we wander past the James Cook Hotel, an early local example of 1970s Brutalism, we reflect on lead architect Graham Kofoed’s use of raw concrete, which Karen explains is characteristic of the approach. Gathering on a patch of grass at the intersection of The Terrace and Everton Terrace, we come to our last stop on the tour. Pointing across the road to Herbert Gardens, a Modernist apartment block built in 1965, Karen notes the emblematic floor-to-ceiling windows in each of the 52 apartments.

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Back then, apartment blocks such as Herbert Gardens and Jellicoe Towers were built, in part, to fulfil the city’s vision of Wellington as a little Paris characterised by metropolitan-style living and good design for the masses. From what we know now, it seems Wellingtonians weren’t quite ready to make the shift from the suburbs to the inner city, says Karen. But apartment living has definitely come into its own these days. As we say our goodbyes, we agree it’s ironic that just as some of the ideals of Modernism are coming to the fore again, the built heritage that expressed those ideas is under threat.

1 2 Kumutoto Stream

tunnel, Woodward Street, Wellington. 3 Gordon Wilson Flats,

The Terrace, Wellington, completed in 1959.


Heritage New Zealand


WHO SAFEGUARDS MODERN HERITAGE? In New Zealand, local authorities have the power to protect Modern heritage, while Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is responsible for the formal recognition of the country’s Modern heritage. Internationally, Docomomo International is the working party for the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the Modern movement. Around the world, each Docomomo working party (New Zealand has one, chaired by Auckland-based Dr Phillip Hartley) is compiling a register of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods for its region, which is held in the archives of the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam. To date, approximately 800 Modern heritage places have been registered with Docomomo, representing more than 35 countries. Find out more about Docomomo New Zealand at www.docomomo.org.nz. n RETURN TO CONTENTS

For more Modern Wellington, view our video story here:

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In full sail The classic A-class keelboat Rainbow heads slowly out of Waitematā Harbour during the 2020 Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. An enthusiastic crowd watches as dozens of classic yachts of all shapes and sizes make their way down the harbour – the same stretch of water that the latest iteration of America’s Cup yachts traversed this summer as they sailed out to do battle on the Hauraki Gulf.

Rainbow was designed and built by famed Auckland boatbuilder Archibald (Arch) Logan and launched in 1898. In 2005 she was purchased by a five-member syndicate that included America’s Cup legend Brad Butterworth. A full restoration was undertaken and she was launched again in 2007 and rejoined Auckland’s impressive fleet of classic yachts.

It’s easy to become seduced by the superb detail and finish of a classic yacht and I find myself shooting tight to capture these. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I also need to pull back and capture the boat in its entirety. It’s a very pleasant dilemma.

TECHNICAL DATA Camera: Canon 5D MII Lens: Canon 16-35mm Exposure: 1/800, f9 ISO: 200


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This page: The restoration used professional, HelpX volunteer and family labour. IMAGERY: ANNA AND TIM CHESNEY

Opposite: The Chesneys outside their building. IMAGE: NICK AND KIRSTY PHOTOGRAPHY

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Heritage New Zealand


With no commercial property experience and two small children, Anna Chesney successfully managed the restoration of a Victorian corner shop in Christchurch. Here she shares her insights into how the project came in on time and under budget – and turned out to be less complicated than expected

The timber building at the corner of Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets was at one time similar to many others across Christchurch: shop on the ground floor, shopkeeper’s home above, weatherboard exterior, corrugated-iron roof, double-hung sash windows, and a generous bullnose verandah along the street frontages. Time and acts of God, however, have made it rare. It is, as Robyn Burgess of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga says, “a symbolic survivor of a recognised character area that was dramatically affected by the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011”.

Heritage New Zealand

The inner-city crossroads of Kilmore and Barbadoes have been home to buildings since the early 1860s. Number 226 Kilmore Street was built in 1899 for a small-business owner (tobacconist and hairdresser, Charles Sycamore) and his wife who also ran a small business (Mary Sycamore, grocer). Almost 120 years later, Tim and Anna Chesney bought it when Tim’s advertising and design agency, Make, needed a permanent home. The building also had space in which Anna, a psychologist, could run her business, Heritage Psychology. The building’s heritage values added to the appeal.

The couple had done some research: a builder friend had accompanied them on a walkthrough and given them a ballpark cost for its restoration. When another friend’s company did a quick quantity survey report, which came in at a similar price, they were confident of their figures. However, they had several nail-biting days during which four banks turned them down, before one looked at their paperwork and said yes.

Moving fast

The building’s earthquake repairs (after the collapse of an adjacent brick building) had been completed, but it was still woefully under code. The previous owners had strengthening plans and architectural drawings, and a resource consent. So as soon as the Chesneys confirmed the building purchase, in October 2018, Anna started work on a resource consent amendment, which the council rapidly approved. She got her building consent application in before Christmas, “which meant it ticked along really fast,” she says.

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1 3

everyone on every quote. I got more than one joiner, more than one fire alarm firm, more than one asbestos removalist. There was a lot of time in that but the differences in price could be astronomical.” Obtaining competitive quotes and being driven to do things rapidly meant Anna was able to apply for a Christchurch City Council Heritage Incentive Grant within around six weeks of owning the building. They received $100,000. 4

“I think we are an example of how anyone can do it … because we’d never done anything of this magnitude or at this level of complexity before” Anna says she was able to move fast largely because she retained key contractors used by the previous owners. The downside was they weren’t people who had been personally recommended, but it was important to do the work swiftly and get tenants in to start paying the mortgage.

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Doing the mahi

From the moment they bought the building, Anna says, she “lived and breathed” the project. “It just comes down to doing homework and being vigilant on that. As soon as we bought the building, I was getting quotes, and I picked and chose from

Valuing transparency

Anna tendered the building work to two companies that had been involved under the previous ownership. Although the tender prices were similar, the winning quote was particularly detailed and that approach enabled Anna to keep a tight control on costs. The quote specified realistic allowances for the not-sounexpected, like a certain proportion of rotten boards. The Chesneys set aside 20 percent of the total budget as an additional contingency. Anna says she questioned her builder on every contingency invoice. “I had a very friendly relationship with him but also one where both of us were strong and able to say what we wanted.”

Using HelpX labour

From December 2018 to June 2019, the Chesneys hosted people on working holidays who traded their time for bed and board through the HelpX platform (helpx.net). The couple had up to five helpers staying with them at a time, spread over two rooms inside and a bus on their driveway. The helpers did demolition, site clearance, fence painting, lead paint removal, sanding of windows and doors, and other manual tasks. Anna estimates HelpX saved them $50,000-60,000, although that came at the cost of making up to five extra lunches and dinners every day, and “running the house like a ship”.

Re-using heritage materials

Inside the building, some original features remain, notably the decorative wooden staircase. The Chesneys have repurposed materials for contemporary purposes, such as the tongue and groove on a new internal wall in Anna’s consulting rooms. Anna’s passion for the building is evident in her efforts to fully reinstate the wide kauri floorboards. “About 70 percent of the original kauri flooring was

Heritage New Zealand


intact. Getting it back to 100 percent became a bit of a goal for me,” she says. Anna trawled Trade Me and rang salvage yards right around the country. The final load came by train from Tauranga.

Involving the children

The couple had two children, aged three and six, when they bought the building. Some aspects of the project were really exciting for them, such as concrete truck days. Anna says the pre-schooler visited the site several times a week, donning his own high-vis vest and hard hat.

“Our six-year-old got sick of it faster but was keen to earn pocket money by pulling nails out of the carpet or picking up rubbish in the carpark.” Anna and Tim now have a third child and a commercial building that is, they confess, much flasher than their house. (For the first time in its history, 226 Kilmore Street has no accommodation upstairs.) And in May 2020 the building was recognised as a Category 2 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List/ Rārangi Kōrero. Would she do anything differently? Anna can’t think


of much, except an internal window featuring heritage glass that incurred high professional fees because of its position in a load-bearing fire wall. “The expense in that tiny window is just stupid, but you could never have known that, and it’s still beautiful,” she says. “I think we are an example of how anyone can do it. I think that’s fair, because we’d never done anything of this magnitude or at this level of complexity before. At the outset it looked more complicated than it probably really was.”

1 The Make office. 2 The restored internal staircase. 3 The upstairs kitchen. 4 Alternative view of the Make office. 5 An exterior view of the building. 6 One of the consulting rooms at Heritage Psychology. IMAGERY: NICK AND KIRSTY PHOTOGRAPHY

To see images of the restoration in progress, check out @bullnoseverandah on Instagram.

BEST CHAIR IN THE HOUSE Continuing the long association between the building and hairdressing, the prominent street-front tenant at 226 Kilmore Street is the Golden Blade Barber Lounge. Owner George Toumazou designed his shop fitout to reflect the building’s heritage. Its high ceilings, display windows and polished kauri floorboards mean the salon is light and spacious, while his choice of vintage barber chairs and golden-brass fittings makes for an opulent, old-school feel. For George, it is the dream spot. “Clients already know this building. The number of people who were watching the restoration was incredible, and the community around here is really supportive.” n


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Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 33





f you sail into Tamatea/Dusky Sound from the Tasman Sea, the first sight is the very same view that William Hodges etched from the deck of the HMS Resolution in 1773, of the many islands and ridgelines of ‘Dusky Bay’. Each landform successively fades into variegated shades of grey and green into the far reaches of the Fiordland mountains. Magnificent. They had a following wind that day, 26 March 1773, so it would have been quiet on deck and easy to hear the chorus of birdsong as they sailed alongside Pukenui/ Anchor Island. The Resolution – 33.5 metres in length, with three fully rigged masts – would have been within sight of a Māori whānau watching from Mamaku/ Indian Island, not far away.

The story has been told and retold, with historians poring over logbooks and journals and admiring Hodges’ beautiful watercolours and oils. What’s extraordinary, however, is that, unlike so many historic sites around the world, here in Tamatea/Dusky Sound so very little has changed. You can step onto the actual rock, on the northeastern extremity of Mamaku/Indian Island, where James Cook took the arm of a Māori elder – the first meeting between Māori and European in Fiordland. You can voyage into Pīkōau/Luncheon Cove on Pukenui/Anchor Island, and readily imagine the crew of a longboat wading the shallows for crayfish. And you can sail alongside Whetū/Astronomer Point, where the Resolution tied up for nearly six weeks, and be

The magic of the Tamatea/Dusky Sound historic area is that all appears as it once was

34 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021

Heritage New Zealand

amazed that almost nothing has changed since 1773. This is the magic of Dusky. With no roads, no development and so little in the way of tourist traffic, all appears as it once was. Tamatea/Dusky may well be one of the most beautiful areas in New Zealand, but historically it’s also one of the most fascinating. It boasts a series of European firsts in Aotearoa of which few New Zealanders are aware: first European settlement (1792, long before missionaries landed in the Far North); first European house; first European ship building; first endeavour in commercial trade (sealing); and New Zealand’s first European shipwreck – an astonishing story of survival. Of course, the Europeans were not the first. The name Tamatea refers to the master navigator Tamatea, captain of the waka

Tākitimu, and either the master of the original waka from Hawaiki that morphed into the Tākitimu Mountains east of Fiordland or the grandson of the elder Tamatea, in a new waka named after the original. Either way, Tamatea was a skilled navigator, with many of the landmarks in the area referencing his name. He navigated into Tamatea long before Cook named it Dusky. What’s less clear is when and why Māori made their home in Tamatea/Dusky. Archaeological investigations have been carried out over the past 60 years into the many sites of Māori habitation, all of which appeared to be temporary. They’re dotted throughout the archipelago on islands, under rock overhangs and in what remains of caves. Why the many whānau were here, and their tribe or

whakapapa, is forever questioned; did they live here only seasonally, perhaps to take advantage of tītī/muttonbirds, or were they perhaps fleeing from conflict? The contact by Cook and his crew with Māori was the first and the last here. Although there was evidence of Māori habitation on subsequent voyages into the early 1800s – smoke from fires and figures glimpsed disappearing into the bush in fiords further north – it appeared as if they had suddenly upped and left; yet another mystery. Tamatea/Dusky would certainly not have been an easy place in which to live – wet, wild and remote. European settlement did not endure either. So almost all of Dusky was left, relatively untouched, for almost a century. Which was why, in the late 1800s, the 21,000-hectare Tau

Moana/Resolution Island was a prime candidate when the government was seeking a sanctuary for native birds. (In another first, it was officially set aside in 1891 as the first nature reserve in the world.) Three years later, when Richard Henry was appointed custodian of the island, he became the world’s first conservation ranger, who then worked tirelessly to move more than 750 kākāpō and kiwi from the mainland to Resolution and other islands he considered safe – the first attempts at bird translocation. For the visitor or archaeologist wanting to step back in time, Tamatea/Dusky offers a tangible and powerful gift of history and heritage. Most of Dusky – protected within Fiordland National Park – is designated an historic area by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga,

Looking west over Tamatea/Dusky Sound to the Tasman Sea. IMAGE: DAVE COMER

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1 2

but Heritage Assessment Advisor Sarah Gallagher says it’s important that any historic site “remains with a light touch” – that it remains, as much as possible, as it was. The one exception to this is Whetū/Astronomer Point, probably the most oft-visited site in Dusky. When the Resolution anchored here in March-April 1773, a convenient rātā branch was available for the crew to fashion with guard ropes as a gangway from the ship to shore. Today, another rātā branch gives at least an impression of what was there, but in no way provides access. Visitors now step onto slippery rocks, but a boardwalk then protects the rest of the area from foot damage. The Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai has built a convenient viewing platform on which to gaze up Cook Channel, and there’s an interpretative panel for

36 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021

information. One can view the stumps of the massive rimu that were cut down to provide an open sky for astronomer William Wales – the same timber that was used to create New Zealand’s first brew of beer. Elsewhere, however, there are no boardwalks and only limited signage. There is simply the wind, the waves, the extremes of weather, the birds and the bush. In Pīkōau/Luncheon Cove on Pukenui/Anchor Island, it’s difficult to identify the site of New Zealand’s first European house, the regenerated forest now covering much of the site. It’s perhaps easier to imagine the slope where the vessel Providence, built by sealing crews, finally eased into the water in January 1796, sailing to Norfolk Island with 90 of the shipwrecked survivors from the Endeavour. Just how the Endeavour – not Cook’s first ship, but an East Indian trading vessel – came to

grief in Facile Harbour in 1795, and how the 240 passengers survived is an amazing story (sadly, too long to tell here). In July 2020, the first marine archaeologists to examine the wreck, Kurt Bennett and Dr Matt Carter, dived and photographed the remains. Although much had already

been taken away, with the teak remnants being in reasonable condition, they believe they have enough evidence to recreate an image of the ship. What also remains in Tamatea/Dusky is the incredible birdsong. On Wāwāhi Waka/ Pigeon Island, where Richard Henry built a house, a bird pen

Heritage New Zealand

“It’s important that any historic site

(a Category 1 historic place), a storage shed and a boatshed, visitors can also be entranced by rare New Zealand native birds. Sadly, there is little left of the house, save for the moss-engulfed bricks and stones of the fireplace. (It is believed that a fisherman stole the roofing iron when Henry left, in 1908, then burned down the remaining walls to cover up the crime.) The upright ponga remains of the bird pen, where Henry kept southern Fiordland tokoeka (southern brown kiwi) and little spotted kiwi, are still here. But pause long enough and an avian visitor might fly in, one of the only surviving South Island wattlebirds: the tīeke/South Island saddleback. Meander a little further into the island, following one of the predatorcontrol tracks, and be entranced as a cloud of mōhua/yellowhead surround you with their beautiful canary-like song. Alongside the protection of these historic sites is the protection of perhaps an even more important aspect of our heritage – our biodiversity. Here in Tamatea/Dusky is yet another gift, the most significant and ambitious conservation and restoration project in Aotearoa. Many visitors traverse the beautiful Pukenui/Anchor Island, usually stepping ashore where George Vancouver’s ship, HMS Discovery, survived a massive nor’west storm in 1791. Unbelievably, the island is home to more than 60 kākāpō, but such is their stealth, camouflage and nocturnal behaviour, few visitors will ever see or hear them. Now predatorfree, the island is also home to many of our other rare and endangered avians.

1 Real Journeys’ Milford Wanderer,

looking east from Whetū/ Astronomer Point up Cook Channel. IMAGE: PETA CAREY 2 Dusky Bay, New Zealand, by William Hodges. IMAGE: COURTESY OF STATE LIBRARY OF NEW SOUTH WALES 3 Fireplace remains at Richard

Henry’s house on Wāwāhi Waka/ Pigeon Island. 4 The entrance to Waka Harbour.


5 The remains of a kiwi enclosure built

by Richard Henry. IMAGERY: PETA CAREY

While admiring any of the historic sites, visitors can be surrounded by mōhua, kākā, kākāriki, tīeke, ruru and kārearea, the New Zealand falcon. With almost all deer now gone from the island, the understorey vegetation of the forest is again intact, evoking in visitors thoughts of the never-never land that New Zealand once was. This is the gift of Tamatea/ Dusky. Just as Hodges first looked up to the mountains, meticulously documenting the beauty he saw in the labyrinth of ridgelines in the dusky late evening light, the beauty of Dusky exists in its human heritage, still tangible in so many of its historic sites, and in the extraordinary work of restoration and species recovery. For all that, we can be very grateful. Peta Carey is the author of Tamatea Dusky: The remarkable story of Fiordland’s Dusky Sound, which journeys through the extensive conservation efforts in this spectacular and remote area of New Zealand, while charting the history and many episodes of human endeavour that have taken place there: www.pottonandburton.co.nz/ product/tamatea-dusky-sound.



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38 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021

Heritage New Zealand

1 The historic Pai Mārire

flag now exhibited at Wairoa Museum. 2 Wairoa Museum cura-

tor Nigel How (Ngāti Kahungunu).


After almost a century spent in a Scottish museum, a taonga has been returned to its Wairoa community and is now helping to tell an important story



It took the community of Wairoa fewer than two years to bring home a rare taonga that had spent almost a century in a Scottish museum. The taonga, a Pai Mārire flag from the New Zealand Wars, was repatriated from Hawick Museum in the south of Scotland in 2016. The flag is now on permanent display at Wairoa Museum for all New Zealanders to see. Learning that the taonga existed at all was a major revelation, says Wairoa Museum curator Nigel How of Ngāti Kahungunu. “I grew up in Wairoa. I was raised by dozens of kaumātua who passed on many, many stories to me. Stories of our marae and so on. I have ancestors who fought with Pai Mārire and who were Crown loyalists. But I was never told about the flag or the day in 1865 that ultimately led to its loss and the loss of our tribal sovereignty and land.” On Christmas Day in 1865, 200 Crown forces attacked the unfortified village of Ōmaruhākeke, north of Wairoa, killing more than 12 Pai Mārire followers. The battle marked the beginning of a downward slide into conflict and land confiscation. By mid-1866, the Pai Mārire followers had surrendered to the Crown at Wairoa, with government agents confiscating the flag and other taonga. Today, the two-by-three-metre flag is one of few surviving relics from the 1865 Battle of Ōmaruhākeke and is helping to tell that important story.

Heritage New Zealand


Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 39



Both Nigel and Mike believe there is plenty more to learn about the museum’s Pai Mārire flag and the times in which it flew Yet, says Nigel, it took a chance visit to the Scottish museum by Kiwi tourists Cindy Batts and Susan Price to know the hand-stitched calico flag existed at all. In Scotland, Susan recognised the name Ihaka Whaanga on the flag’s label. The Mahia rangatira had been a Crown loyalist at the Battle of Ōmaruhākeke. Arriving home, Susan told a descendant of the rangatira, Mere Whaanga, about the find. After hearing the news, Mere touched base with Nigel and Wairoa Museum Director Mike Spedding and reached out to Pita Walker-Robinson, another iwi representative with ancestral ties to the flag. Within months they’d joined forces to pen letters to Hawick Museum seeking permission for the flag’s return, confirm the tikanga of the repatriation and raise the $7000 needed to pay for Nigel to bring the flag home in his hand luggage. Shona Sinclair, Hawick Museum curator, says the decision by seven local authority councillors to return the flag to New Zealand was unanimous. In her report to the Scottish Borders Council, she set out the ethics of keeping the flag, as well as

40 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021

kaumātua: elders korowai: type of cloak kuia: female elders Pai Mārire: independent Christian faith rangatira: chief taonga: treasure tikanga: cultural protocol tohunga: priest, expert

repatriation. She noted the flag’s condition and the fact it was being transferred to another museum and would be preserved, studied and made available to visitors and the wider community. She says repatriating taonga isn’t standard practice in Scotland. However, her research revealed the return of human remains had been carried out by Scottish museums four times previously. “This experience has been a highlight of both my professional career and personal life. I knew nothing of Māori culture or the New Zealand Wars. But I found meeting Nigel and the handover process very emotional. Hearing Nigel’s speech made us all realise the decision we’d made was the right one.” Flag expert Malcolm Mulholland of Ngāti Kahungunu is excited the rare flag is back in New Zealand. In November 2020 Malcolm completed a five-year PhD thesis exploring prominent flags in New Zealand and their relationships with national identity. In it, he included a special chapter on Māori flags. “It’s hard to know exactly how many Pai Mārire flags were in circulation at the peak of the New Zealand Wars

Heritage New Zealand

or how many survived. There’s been no official survey of the flags – the best guess is around 30 existed. But we do know a bit about what they represented.” Malcolm’s research shows there were three common flag types used by followers of the Pai Mārire faith. One type, known as the Riki flag, was used to represent war. Another, known as the Ruru flag, was used to show peace. The third type was used as a marker of mana to indicate which Pai Mārire apostle or tohunga was overseeing a ceremony or event; for example, the founder Te Ua Haumēne or Titokowaru, the Pai Mārire leader who led the fight against the Crown in Taranaki. Meanwhile, emblems such as crosses indicating the Pai Mārire connection to Christianity and the Greek ampersand symbol representing ‘kororia’ or ‘to glorify’ were seen across many Pai Mārire flags, says Malcolm. Looking at Wairoa Museum’s flag, he believes it might represent Patara, one of the apostles of Te Ua Hamēne, or Te Ua himself. But it’s hard to say exactly. Both Nigel and Mike believe there is plenty more to learn about the museum’s Pai Mārire flag and the times in which it flew. “For example, we know the flag was gifted to the Hawick Museum by Scottish artist Tom Scott in 1921 after it was presented to him at Government House in Hawke’s Bay,” says Mike.


“But the reasons why the artist was given the flag in the first place or why he passed it on to the Hawick Museum are still a mystery.” Nigel says he’d like the Wairoa community to better understand the political and social context of the time and how the flag came to symbolise Māori resistance to colonisation. “One hundred and fifty-five years have passed since the attack on Ōmaruhākeke. Locally, little is known of this event and how it came to be part of the greater sovereign battle for control of this country,” he says. “I’m hoping the main gallery exhibition and education resources we’ve developed will help change that.” According to Pam Bain, Regional Services Director for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, regional museums such as Wairoa Museum provide models for others around the country. “Some of our smallest museums are doing some of our most important work. In this case, they’re sharing a totally unique story that you won’t hear anywhere else. “This rare taonga is not travelling to any of the big national centres. If you want to see this amazing flag for yourself, you have to go to Wairoa to see it. You have to engage with it right there in the community that it came from.”

1 Wairoa Museum

curator Nigel How (left) and museum Director Mike Spedding, Wairoa Museum. 2 Wairoa Museum, Ma-

rine Parade, Wairoa.

For more on the Pai Mārire flag, view our video story here:



Research and consult widely, talk to whānau, hapū and iwi and gather as much information as you can about the taonga as the first step. Be open to all perspectives and see all interpretations of the importance of a taonga as valid. Any taonga is likely to mean different things to different people.


Seek the support of the descendants of the taonga; for example, kaumātua, kuia and others like iwi trust board representatives. Work with them to determine the tikanga or protocols to follow to repatriate your taonga. For example, who should retrieve it? How formal should that process be? How should it travel and with whom? How will you welcome it back into the community? Where will you keep it and how will you care for it in the long term?


Support the descendants of the taonga to lead the repatriation process. Museums can play an important facilitator role, especially when a taonga is housed in another museum, as they share similar protocols, speak the same language and are likely to have the practical skills and knowledge needed to store many taonga.


Learn about the laws that apply to repatriation, such as any antiquity laws observed by border officials such as Customs New Zealand or any relevant biosecurity laws (in the case of korowai, for example) observed by the New Zealand Aviation Security Service. Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage also has advice on repatriation on its website.

5. See more of the story on our video: www.youtube.com/user/HeritageNewZealand/featured

Once the taonga is home, get the wider community involved in learning about it and sharing its stories. Organise student visits to see and study the taonga. Talk to your local i-SITE to encourage visitors to view the taonga. Talk to the council about putting interpretations in your community parks and gardens that tell people about the taonga and why it is important to the community. n RETURN TO CONTENTS

Heritage New Zealand

Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 41



John Bougen and his partner Helen McKenzie outside the workshops at the former State Mines Office property where he lives.

42 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021

Heritage New Zealand

See more of Reefton on our video: www.youtube.com/user/HeritageNewZealand/featured

Burning BRIGHT Entrepreneur John Bougen has been credited with saving dozens of historic buildings in Reefton, but he says he’s just added fuel to the burning desire of the West Coast town’s residents to preserve and conserve its heritage

Heritage New Zealand

There are good things to be revealed behind the locked doors of Reefton’s 1902 Band Hall, but John Bougen is struggling to find the right key. He works his fingers around a loop of wire the size of his hand, from which hang perhaps two dozen possibilities. It’s an apt introduction to Reefton’s socalled ‘Restoration Man’, who seems to have bought, rehabilitated, tenanted, sold and repurchased half of its heritage buildings in the five years since he arrived in town. A former Buller mayor described John as “a whirlwind”, and there’s certainly something cyclonic in our tour of the town, John at the wheel pointing out heritage landmarks and spinning yarns, a man clearly besotted – his word – with the place he has adopted as both a home and a cause. We’d met earlier in the day at the former Bank of New Zealand building, which stands directly opposite the former National Bank building at the top end of Broadway – Reefton’s proud main street, which looks like it’s straight out of a period movie. The history of both banks in Reefton, on those sites, dates back to the 1870s, although they were rebuilt as the town prospered. Now the restored Bank of New Zealand building, in which John has a share, is an artist’s residence and gallery and the National Bank building has just been bought by the owners of the fast-rising Reefton Distilling Co., who are thinking of turning it into luxury accommodation or a cocktail bar. This is what the renaissance of a waning historic frontier town looks like – artists and mooted cocktail bars, new blood and fledgling businesses, and not a single ‘For Lease’ sign to be seen. Reefton-raised Patsy Bass, who moved back from Christchurch to set up the distilling company a couple of years ago, says she’s had calls from three separate out-oftowners interested in setting up ventures.

Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 43



“These aren’t dreamers or tyre-kickers,” says Patsy, “they’re successful professional business people.” She adds that Reefton houses now tend to sell before they hit the market. After years of feeling “a bit despairing” about Reefton’s decline, Patsy says it has been a joy to watch the transformation of her hometown. “We’re now a tourism destination,” she remarks with something approaching wonderment. But the magic happening in Reefton is not down to John alone. The Reefton Historic Trust and other organisations had restored several historic buildings and infrastructure over the years, then in the early 2000s a community group initiated the rehabilitation of several historic shopfronts on Broadway. “That was the match that lit the paper,” says John. “All I’ve done is put a bit of petrol on the process.” The main accelerants have been energy and capital – his own. John made his money co-founding the Dress-Smart chain and he has invested plenty in Reefton, starting with the purchases that brought him to town: the old Reefton School and the former State Mines Office. The school, 1151 square metres on almost a hectare of land, was going for $179,000.

44 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021

“It just seemed like a good deal,” he offers. “But I had no intention of coming to Reefton.” It was meeting the locals that convinced him to put down roots after living for several years in the Canterbury high country. He bought the art gallery building at the top of town, followed by its vacant neighbour, the Reefton Coffin Co. building, which is now tenanted by a vintage collectables and antiques business. There were further purchases and many more makeovers – John estimates close to 30 – from total rebuilds to paint jobs. At some point he put things on a business footing, employing five staff to work on his own heritage buildings and those of others. At the Band Hall, John has finally found the key. Inside we find a freshly polished rimu sprung floor and newly painted tongue-and-groove walls. Early miners loved their brass music and, unlike some West Coast towns, Reefton managed to maintain its band even after the mines closed. In the centre of the hall, seven chairs and music stands are arranged in a semi-circle. The hall’s refurbishment was financed by community grants, with Mitre 10 donating materials, and tackled by John’s team, who have also been busy in the area immediately outside known as The Strand.


The Reefton Distilling Co.’s first distillery was established in the 1870s Harold Bros general store.


Looking down Broadway, Reefton’s main street.


The Reefton Coffin Co. building has been tenanted by a collectables and antiques business from Christchurch.


An historic shot of the stilloperational Hotel Reefton on Broadway.

Heritage New Zealand



Set above the Inangahua River at the back of town, The Strand provided a stage for the speeches when the main celebration of Reefton’s 150th anniversary rolled around in the middle of January this year. The Strand’s restored 1908 Pumphouse is looking cute as a button, and there are new steps, bollards and parking spaces to come. Back into the car. We pass the 1872 Oddfellows Hall, reopened by the Governor-General in 2009, and the bright-blue, weatherboard-clad courthouse – another early gem saved by community volunteers. John points out a house that has been restored by a couple of local heritage stalwarts – “they deserve a medal” – as well as an old Presbyterian church, beautifully restored and converted into holiday rental accommodation by a Christchurch builder.

Heritage New Zealand

Explore more of Reefton – view our video story here:


Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 45




Bridget ‘Little Biddy’ Goodwin was a smidgen over four feet (1.2 metres) tall, wore pants, smoked a pipe, lived with two men and drank liberally. It’d be fair to assume she wasn’t welcomed with open arms into Reefton society, but the truth was much sadder. “There are little old ladies in Reefton who remember hearing from their mothers and grandmothers how they were never allowed to talk to Biddy,” says Patsy Bass of Reefton Distilling Co. Patsy was so moved by Biddy’s story she named the label’s handcrafted gin in her honour. ‘Little Biddy’ gin will eventually be joined by ‘Moonlight Creek’ whisky, which references another historical character with ties to the area, prospector George Fairweather Moonlight. Patsy says referencing Reefton’s heritage arose naturally. Until recently, when the distillery moved into larger premises near the railway, the two-year-old business was based in the 1870s Harold Bros general store. Being surrounded by history, and wanting to develop a brand that was distinctively of the West Coast, for Patsy it was a no-brainer to draw on the past. “When you set up a business in a town like this, you’d be silly not to,” she says. n



46 Ngahuru • Autumn 2021

They’re known as tohu whenua – historic sites that have created our defining stories – and Reefton is rightly included in their ranks. In 1888 the town was the first in the Southern Hemisphere to have street lighting that used a commercial electricity supply. For years it was also a hub of gold and coal mining, which fits with the Tohu Whenua programme’s focus on the West Coast as being emblematic of the gritty resourcefulness of early New Zealanders. A partnership between Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai and the Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Tohu Whenua programme initially focused on Northland and Otago before it was launched on the West Coast in 2018. Other West Coast sites with Tohu Whenua status include: the Brunner and Denniston mines; Hokitika port, commercial and government centre; and Waiuta. Tohu Whenua Chair Andrew Coleman says it isn’t only Reefton’s electricity and mining history that counts – the visitor experience is an important factor too. “The fact that the locals tell that story so well and welcome visitors with such enthusiasm and passion is a huge part of the selection criteria.” n

Heritage New Zealand


At the western edge of town, we stop at the Reefton Racecourse. The 1891 grandstand still needs a lick of paint, but the historic tote building (one of John’s favourites: “It’s just so damned cute – look at that Dutch gable!”) has been saved, and the equally appealing tearooms have been completely restored inside, with grant money earmarked to finish the exterior. Reeftonians, he says, love these grounds. “And it never rains on race day!” We finish up at the former State Mines Office, where John has made his home. He shows me the big workshop that he wants to turn into a New-York-style loft, and the 19th-century Reefton jailhouse that he scored from the Reefton Historic Trust in exchange for painting the courthouse, and which is now rented out. It prompts an anecdote that partly explains why, despite seemingly long odds, Reefton has been able to turn the corner. “There’s the most amazing amount of equipment, knowledge and skills in this town, and this building is a classic example. “When we’d put in the piles and sub-floor, I rang Pete from Reefton Crane Hire and said, ‘What are the chances of getting your 50-tonne crane to lift the jail?’ He said, ‘John, it could be a while.’ “I said, ‘Are we talking weeks or months?’ He said, ‘Come on, John, the boys have got to finish smoko’. Quarter of an hour later a crane was here. Only in Reefton!”


1 A photo of Bridget

‘Little Biddy’ Goodwin at the Reefton Distilling Co. 2 John, Helen and Bob

the dog at the Reefton Racecourse’s restored tearooms. 3 Local volunteers have

been working on Reefton’s historic railway precinct. 4 The 1872 Oddfellows

Hall was restored by the community and reopened in 2009. 5 The Reefton Courthouse

was constructed soon after the town was laid out in 1872. Closed in 1972, it has been maintained and conserved by the Reefton Historic Trust Board. 6 John’s fascination with

Reefton began with the purchase of the old Reefton School.



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With many of our important heritage buildings being crafted from wood, what is some of the latest thinking on how we protect and conserve timber buildings and the contexts in which they sit?


The challenges of preserving heritage structures built of timber have vexed civilisations through the ages. In ancient Greece, victories won by the mythical king and founder-hero of Athens, Theseus, in a string of naval battles led to the Athenians preserving his ship as a memorial of his heroic exploits. But as time went on, the wooden planks began rotting away and were replaced with new timbers, raising one of the great philosophical questions of identity: if you replace the planks, is it still the same Ship of Theseus? Does an object that has its components replaced remain fundamentally the same object? For a country like New Zealand, where buildings are built overwhelmingly of timber, the Ship of Theseus dilemma is ingrained into every plank and shingle. New Zealand’s second-oldest building, Te Waimate Mission, hosted the second signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and was occupied by the British army in 1845 during the Northern Wars. In 1932 the Auckland Star reported that the century-old building was still sound and strong.

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Heritage New Zealand


1 Traditional Cypress bark

shingles on the Yakushiji Yasumigaoka Hachiman shrine. 2 Carpenters replacing the

shingles on the shrine. 3 Conservation painting

and roof work underway. IMAGERY: ALEX BELL

“Those who have lived in it say that in a gale it stands as firm and unshaken as a stone house.” Te Waimate Mission is the only surviving building of what was once a sprawling town covering seven hectares and a central point for all traffic between the east and west coasts – and it was here that one particular traveller arrived just before Christmas in 1835. British naturalist Charles Darwin was four years into a five-year voyage around the world when he encountered its three mission houses standing amid plentiful crops, flowerbeds, pigs and poultry. “As the evening drew to a close,” he noted, “the domestic sounds, the fields of corn, the distant undulating country with its trees, might well have been mistaken for our fatherland.”

Community care

More than 180 years later, in 2019, and 10,000 kilometres north along the ring of fire, in Japan, an international meeting of minds was held to explore conservation approaches for structures like Te Waimate Mission.

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New Zealand’s man in Japan was Alex Bell. An archaeologist and heritage consultant, Alex is a Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga custodian of some of our earliest timber structures – buildings that have shaped the nation’s history. These include: Clendon House, the home of ship owner, trader and witness to the Treaty of Waitangi Captain James Clendon, and his wife Jane, who, through hard work and enterprise, brought her young family back from poverty after the death of her husband; Māngungu Mission, the location of the largest Treaty of Waitangi signing; and Te Waimate Mission. “It was really good to see how heritage is being incorporated back into the community instead of just being individual things,” Alex says of the Japan trip. “People are proactively working in and conserving areas they live in, like George Town in Malaysia and Takayama in Japan. There are active communities with these fantastically preserved heritage buildings, but they haven’t become separate museum spaces in themselves.”

Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 49


Japan dedicates a huge amount of money to conserving its national heritage and the public has access to these resources, so a culture has developed around investing in and preserving heritage. Alex observed Nara residents, for example, conserving a small 18th-century wooden shrine. “If you go around New Zealand, you see a vast amount of neat old buildings that are at risk of being lost completely. They represent our diverse architectural/built history, but if we don’t start thinking about caring for them now, some of those gems will slip past the point of being recovered. “I think Japan did a great job of that communitylevel heritage management and [instilling] ideals of conservation at that level.” He’s urging people to flag places they see as significant to New Zealand heritage, and says that Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga can offer advice about funding and undertaking conservation work. He points to Saving the Town, a free, new resource that facilitates and encourages heritage retention and preservation, and illustrates proactive and contemporary approaches to heritage.

Creating connections

Unlike some overseas ‘living heritage’ areas, Te Waimate Mission has been a museum since the 1960s. Alex’s strategy is to engender a passion for the building by showing that Te Waimate has been an integral part of the nation’s history.


“If these places fit in somewhere, you’re not just preserving an old building because it’s a nice-looking old building, you’re preserving it because it tells lots of stories about early New Zealand – the good and the bad, as you have these pre-Treaty and post-Treaty merging cultures.” Te Waimate is the legacy of two cultures coming together. “It’s a European agrarian dream embedded in a Māori horticultural landscape,” says Alex, “with agriculture providing a point of cultural engagement and exchange.”



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Heritage New Zealand



1 Replicating traditional

finishes in new materials using traditional tools at Takenaka Carpentry Museum, Kobe. Alex Bell uses the yari-ganna, a spear plane. IMAGE: T. VUONG 2 The Golden Hall or Kondo

at Toshodaiji Temple, classified as a National Treasure of Japan and constructed during the Nara period, 710-94. 3 Reconstruction underway

at the site of the former Nara Imperial Palace. IMAGERY: ALEX BELL 4 Rose Evans of Objectlab

undertakes the conservation of historic 19th-century wallpapers at Māngungu Mission, Hokianga. 5 A large panel of te reo

Māori found during the conservation of Māngungu Mission’s 19thcentury interior. IMAGERY: HERITAGE NEW ZEALAND POUHERE TAONGA

The settlement still has secrets aplenty, and Alex is overseeing ground-penetrating radar surveys to paint a picture of what life was like in the old town. “If you think about your own footprint, how much rubbish you make day to day – 19th-century people were just the same, except all their rubbish was glass and ceramics and metals instead of plastic.” He’s taking a “basic is best” approach, preferring “technology that is accessible and affordable”. “I like finding ways to achieve a really good outcome at these quite rural properties without having to wait for someone to give me a million dollars,” he says. At Māngungu Mission, for example, UV light has been used to highlight details when recording the 19th-century wallpapers and pages used to line the timber walls of the rooms. Inspired by real estate agents creating virtual walkthroughs during the lockdown, Alex is also trialling similar software that could allow visitors to explore properties and projects that might ordinarily have limited public access. And in this age of Covid-19, site closures have even allowed him to carry out conservation work on the floors of Te Waimate and Māngungu that would not have been possible otherwise. Indeed, his time in Japan gave Alex an insight into just how fortunate New Zealand is in terms of building preservation. “We haven’t had the major social and political upheaval in recent decades that has affected longterm conservation in countries like Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam. And although Northland’s warm, muggy environment affects the ways in which the buildings are cleaned and aired, Te Waimate,

Clendon House and Māngungu are above the flood zone. We don’t even have a termite problem.” However, wooden buildings around the world do have one common enemy: fire. Specially designed covers help to blend modern fire systems into the background in the Japanese heritage town of Takayama, where timber buildings are packed closely into narrow streets, and Alex is keen to implement something similar here to soften their visual impacts and retain that sense of being in historic homes. During his trip to Te Waimate, Charles Darwin explored a kauri forest, noting the trees were “remarkable for their smooth cylindrical boles, which run up to a height of 60, and even 90, feet, with a nearly equal diameter, and without a single branch”. At that time, the roof of Te Waimate was covered in kauri shingles. But when the building was re-roofed in 2013, when kauri was no longer in abundance, western red cedar, which fades to a similar colour, was used for the shingles. This brings us back to that question posed by the Ship of Theseus. And it’s Alex’s belief that, regardless of changes in planks, rigging or, indeed, roof shingles, it’s still the Ship of Theseus – and still Te Waimate Mission. He points to journal entries describing the Reverend Thomas Whitehead dying of tuberculosis in the back bedroom of Te Waimate and how they evoke a fever dream of being trapped in the house in the antipodes in the mid-1840s, half a world away from his family. “That’s almost as important a part of the feeling of the house as the timbers. So while you want to work as hard as possible to keep the timbers, they’re a part of the heritage values rather than just values on their own.” RETURN TO CONTENTS

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Ngahuru • Autumn 2021 51



People and places Tales of New Zealand told through the eyes of many History as we remember it from school days often seems to be structured around dates. The year the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, for example, or the year the first ship with a cargo of refrigerated meat left New Zealand bound for England. Although dates are useful markers, details of people and places can evoke the ‘personalities’ of the events. Two people who each give distinctive insights into the times in which they lived and the ways their characters influenced their environments are Choie Sew Hoy and Charles Upham, the subjects of two of the books in this column. We meet Choie Sew Hoy in the pages of Merchant, Miner, Mandarin: The Life and Times of the Remarkable Choie Sew Hoy,

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written by Jenny Sew Hoy Agnew and Trevor Agnew (University of Canterbury, $49.99). In the biography Tom Scott has written, Searching for Charlie: In Pursuit of the Real Charles Upham VC & Bar (Upstart Press, $49.99), we meet Charles Upham. The contrast between the pair is that Choie Sew Hoy moved comfortably through 19th-century Dunedin society, succeeding in business and gaining recognition for his charm and acumen at a time when other Chinese immigrants were subjected to intense racism. Unlike Choie Sew Hoy, Charles Upham was intensely uncomfortable in social settings, but despite his overwhelming shyness, he found places in which he felt he belonged, both on the farm and in the army

during wartime. Although he gained a VC and Bar for his courage in World War II, he had no wish to be honoured; he was thoroughly embarrassed by any praise. He tried to give credit for his achievements to his troops, but there seems no doubt it was he who inspired them. Both men are rather mysterious. Where did Choie Sew Hoy’s urbane charm and Charles Upham’s extreme courage come from? Books such as these, which present biographies as questions to be answered, are thoughtprovoking and memorable. These questions are the open-ended kind. They can be kept as examples to muse over in those spare moments we have in places like bus stops and doctors’ waiting rooms. There are possible answers, but many seem rather unsatisfying – incomplete and oversimplified. After all, their respective complexities are what make these two people so fascinating for biographers and readers.

Possibly with this awareness in mind, award-winning educator and author Alison Jones has written her autobiography, This Pākehā Life: An Unsettled Memoir (Bridget Williams Books, $39.99), with a specific

focus. Alison makes it clear in her preface that the book is her attempt to make sense of “what it means to be me”, examining the ambivalence she and other Pākehā “often experience in our relationships with Māori” (page 7) and her view of herself as an “uncertain participant” (page 9). This book is written with care and integrity. Alison draws you into her thoughts and experiences. Yet at the end, you may feel you want to read it again to use the knowledge you’ve gained from reading the book as a lens through which to re-examine her accounts of events and relationships.

The next book, Our Incredible Dogs: The Stories Behind the Statues, by Phillipa Werry (New Holland, $24.99), links both people and places. Statues of dogs have been erected in many places in New Zealand and overseas because these dogs have played important roles in people’s lives. This book is a valuable family resource – children will find it easy to read and adults will enjoy it too. The surprise is in just how many places you can go to and yet miss seeing the canine statues. Wellingtonians will probably be familiar with the statue

Heritage New Zealand

of John Plimmer and his dog Fritz near Plimmer Steps on Lambton Quay, but many visitors to Wellington may not be aware of it. Canine statues in Napier, Lyttelton, Katikati, Hastings and Rotorua are also included in the photographs and stories, along with poems about dogs and explanations of the different types of role that dogs can play in rural, urban and Antarctic settings.

For those interested in digging deeper into urban life, City at the Centre: A History of Palmerston North, edited by Margaret Tennant, Geoff Watson and Kerry Taylor (Massey University Press, $60), is impressively interesting, concise and informative. It is well worth reading for anyone who is interested in how an urban area came to be, or in the backgrounds of the issues urban areas in New Zealand have had to face throughout their growth.

Stories from our Back Roads: The North Island and Stories from our Back Roads: The South Island, both by Ray Stone (Bateman Books, $49.99), held an immediate fascination for me as I remembered our family weekend trips into the Southland countryside with

my indefatigable father in the driver’s seat, always eager to see where a new and unknown winding gravel road might lead. In his book, Ray gives us a chance to discover those back roads located near our homes or prospective holiday destinations. The books provide some historical backgrounds of different areas, plus maps, advice on the types of drive to expect and suggestions for further reading. There is a lot of information in these two books – far more than I have ever found in any similar publications. Better still, the whole style is engaging, accessible and useful. These books are well worth adding to your stock of motoring publications or considering as gifts.

If you feel like reading something soothing and peaceful, I recommend Homesteads: The Story of New Zealand’s Grand Country Houses by Debra Millar (Point Publishing, $75). These homes have been selected because they are in rural rather than urban areas, which may be one reason why they seem particularly tranquil. The book depicts the houses so meticulously within its text

and photographs that you feel as if you have visited each one. Well-known New Zealand photographer Jane Ussher took the book’s superb photographs, which are reproduced beautifully on high-quality paper. The gardens around the buildings are shown, as well as the homesteads themselves, with attractive and detailed indoor and outdoor views. Debra tells you about the history of each property, so you can understand how it has come to be the place it is now. These grand houses reflect history and take you back to the time when they were built and the people who lived in them. Looking at these houses and reading about them evokes pleasurable visions of what it might have been like to live in them, but spares you the pain of having an owner’s responsibility for their maintenance and upkeep.

GIVEAWAY We have one copy of Searching for Charlie: In Pursuit of the Real Charles Upham VC & Bar to give away. To enter the draw, send your name and address on the back of an envelope to Book Giveaways, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, PO Box 2629, Wellington 6140, before 30 March 2021. The winner of last issue’s book giveaway (Rock College: An Unofficial History of Mount Eden Prison) is Alan Wright, Dunedin.

Books are chosen for review in Heritage New Zealand magazine at the discretion of the Books Editor. Due to the volume of books received, we cannot guarantee the timing of any reviews that appear and we are unable to return any copies submitted for review. Ngā mihi. RETURN TO CONTENTS

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WHAKAAHUA Ō tātou wāhi ingoa-nui, • PROFILE taku kitenga • Our heritage, my vision


Yesterday, today, TOMORROW

Growing up in Waitomo helped give Leah Bell an understanding of how our history continues to impact on our spiritual and economic wellbeing today

Waitomo is the historic place with which I connect the most. It’s where I’ve grown up and where I’ve been exposed to the importance of understanding history – and the suppression of history – and how history affects people’s daily lives in terms of spiritual wellbeing and economic stability. All the children who are raised in Waitomo have some understanding of that. We grow up in a place of tourism and we see millions of dollars pump through our village each year, but little of it goes to mana whenua – Ruapuha Uekaha. While there’s limited economic payoff for people who work in the caves, which has been the number-one form of employment here, there’s still a great sense of kaitiakitanga and connection to the caves. It’s a point of pride, tūrangawaewae, but also a source of historical pain. I am Pākehā but have friends here whose ancestor is Taane Tinorau, who, among other feats, initially opened up the glowworm caves to visitors. However, they were subsequently confiscated by the Crown under the Scenery Preservation Act. I’m a cave guide myself in the summer, and the historical damage to the cave formations reminds us of what happened when mana whenua no longer had control of a place that is tapu. In a few years’ time, mana whenua will have control of the glowworm caves again, which will be a critical turning point. I would love to see more tourism dollars further channelled into kaitiakitanga, mātauranga and sustainable economic futures for ngā uri o Waitomo.

Waitomo was such an inspiration to my friend Waimarama Anderson and me in terms of the petition we sparked to have the New Zealand Land Wars recognised – and our advocacy for New Zealand history education. One of the reasons is that many of our friends and children in this area often feel a sense that they’re not very important in the wider scheme of Aotearoa. As a nation, remembering our history and acknowledging our heritage is vital to the mental health of young people, especially those living in areas that have deeply suffered – to use large and heavy words – colonial oppression. Many young people from rural areas who live in some of the most beautiful places in the world, such as Waitomo, can be marginalised, and that’s very much connected to the heritage and the history that we have here. A visit to New Zealand Land Wars sites while they were students at Ōtorohanga College sparked Leah Bell and Waimarama Anderson to start a petition calling on the government for a day of remembrance for the New Zealand Land Wars. The petition gathered more than 13,000 signatures, and in 2018 the first He Rā Maumahara national day of commemoration of the Land Wars was recognised. A passionate advocate for New Zealand history education, Leah has recently completed an honours degree in history at Victoria University of Wellington.

kaitiakitanga: guardianship mana whenua: people of the land mātauranga: knowledge ngā uri: descendants tapu: sacred tūrangawaewae: a place to stand


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Image: Michael McQueen

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