Cape Coast Arts and Heritage Trust – Martin Bates and Keith Newman

[Background audience noise]

Jim Newbigin: It’s 14th August [2018], and I’m at Landmark[s] at the [Hastings] Public Library. They’re talking about the coastline of Hawke’s Bay; Cape Coast Arts and Heritage Trust – the Arts and Heritage Trail.

Joyce Barry: I have great pleasure tonight in welcoming Martin Bates – take a bow, Martin – and Keith Newman, the historian. Now Martin is heading up the Heritage Trail at the moment, which has an interesting history. I think the coast, and I hope it’s to you too, is that you go for ten minutes out of Napier, Hastings and you feel as though you’re on holiday. And that’s the feeling I’ve always felt when I’ve driven out to Haumoana or Te Awanga – it’s just that lovely beach side, relaxed feel. So what you’re doing and what you’re planning, I think is wonderful. So over to you, Martin, to introduce tonight, and Keith will tell you the history. Thank you.

Martin Bates: Thank you, Joyce. Good evening, everybody. Thank you for coming out tonight. As Joyce said, I’m one of the founding trustees of the [coughing] Cape Coast Arts and Heritage Trust which probably won’t mean anything to you, but on the table at the top of the stairs there’s a little leaflet that gives you some information about us. And I’m just going to do a brief introduction, just to give you a flavour of where we’re coming from and where we’re going; and then Keith is going to do the interesting part of the talk and let you into some of the history that we’ve discovered or uncovered on the Cape Coast.

As Joyce intimated the Trust is doing a number of things, but the first real public and visible item is an Arts and Heritage Trail that was opened a week ago on Friday by the Mayor and Tom Mulligan of Matahiwi Marae. And it starts at Black Bridge; for those of you not familiar with the Cape Coast, the coasties that live out there – we would say the coast starts when you cross the Tukituki River and you get into Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton. And that is what we term the Cape Coast. So the Arts and Heritage Trail starts at Black Bridge and it follows roughly the limestone cycle track that goes along there; and it goes all the way through the villages or townships of Haumoana, Te Awanga and culminates at Clifton, although you could do it from the other end – you could start at Clifton and head back as well; no one’s forcing you to start there.

Why was the Trust formed? Well the Trust was formed for a number of reasons, but primarily because Keith and I are both newcomers, or blow-ins as the term goes, to the Cape Coast having been there only … Keith? Nine years now, I think, and I’m seven years. And one of the things that stood out to us was that there wasn’t a consolidated history. No one knew what originated in the Cape Coast; how did it come about? Why are there houses here? Why is there Clifton Station? There’s the story of Cape Kidnappers which most people are aware of, and Captain Cook landing there etcetera; but even if you go up to the school, the school don’t [doesn’t] have a detailed history for the children to learn about the Cape Coast and where they came from. So that was one of the key driving forces behind this, and the Hastings District Council back in 2012 started a community plan process for the Cape Coast. And the number one item on that list when they held public meetings around, was some sort of Arts and Heritage Trail to go through the coast, so people could understand the history of the environment that they live in. So there’s a number of outcomes; I’m not going to bore you with the details of those, but that is what’s driving this initiative … to discover and uncover the history of the Cape Coast and make it available for everybody; and importantly, for new generations coming through so they can understand their heritage and where they came from.

The first thing on this trail is a series of marker posts or discovery panels, and on these it provides information – it’s only snippets of information, giving you a flavour of what we’ve uncovered on the coast on that [those], the idea being that it’s enough to intrigue you and want you to dig deeper and delve more into the history of the coast. And that information will be made available online and from various mediums as we go forward, including a book, which is being supported by the Ministry for Culture and History. And Keith is working on that at the moment as well.

Now to support these marker posts as you go round we’re also planning to put in some sculptures; artistic sculptures. These are, as you can see from the scale of it – this is Haumoana – and they’re linked to the stories that we’re telling on the marker posts. What many people aren’t aware of is that Haumoana was once thought of, if you like, as a spa town almost, yeah? Benefit for your health. Doctors inland [coughing] would send their patients there to recover and recuperate after illnesses, because it was believed that there are seven different breezes that cross through Haumoana. Each of those have life-giving benefits.

[Shows slides]

So what we have here – we went out to various local artists and sculptors, and gave them a brief based on stories we’d uncovered. In this case it’s about those breezes … the seven different breezes … and Amy Lynch and Rick [Ricks] Terstappen came up with this idea of seven poles going up, and those little silver things at the top, I think you get on the top of chimneys. So it’s going to be a kinetic sculpture. As the breezes and the winds come through those will spin. So that’s how it links back to the story, and there’re more of those to come.

All the marker posts are in the ground now, as of last Friday. Every one is there, so you’re welcome to travel out and read the stories, read the histories on the marker posts and hopefully, in the next year, we’ll start to see implementation of the sculptures as well. If you would like to know a little bit more about the Trust, we have a website and details of the website are in the leaflet here. And I just want to point one little thing out to you there – where it says ‘Our Heritage’ if you were to click on that link it would take you to a series of stories that we’re slowly releasing. I say ‘slowly’ … they come up every month or so; we drop a new story in there that the historians and people that we’re working with have uncovered, and we publish them on the website. And of course, there is a bright orange button there as well that says ‘donate’. [Laughter] I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention that, but that’s not what you’re here for tonight. So there will be the opportunity to ask questions at the end, although I’m sure you’ll have no questions of me; it’ll all be on what Keith has got, so I’d like to introduce to you now Keith Newman. [Applause]

Keith: Kia ora tatou. Lovely to see you all. It’s a privilege to be here amongst such a wonderful audience. You don’t have to turn your hearing aid up or anything; I’ll shout, or maybe I have to have a glass of water. But I’m a blow-in, as Martin said; at Haumoana you’ve got to be there for ten years before they embrace you as a local. A lot of change has gone on out there, but as a journalist and as a person who’s inquisitive – and I am inquisitive, I’m always poking my nose in where it’s not wanted – and sometimes it’s like, ‘what happened here’? When you go for a holiday somewhere fresh, I always want to know what happened here? What does this name mean? What’s the history? And sometimes it’s great when you can pick up a pamphlet or something and go, ‘Well that’s great; that’s interesting’; I feel invested in the story.

But it took me a long time to get the sense of what had happened along the Cape Coast. I went to the various libraries – and this is not a bad one actually; I just today picked up ‘Early Stations of Hawke’s Bay’ by Miriam McGregor; and ‘West to the Annie’. And I was talking to Pat Parsons, and he told me he had quite a bit to do with this; and that’s the story of Renata Kawepo, an amazing man. And sometimes history’s about people, isn’t it, when you get down and you understand the story about people and what they went through in the pioneering times; what they had to struggle with. And so much has happened here to create a rich story along the Cape Coast.

And, you know, sometimes we start our stories with the pioneering times and we think it’s … these are the colonial histories. But really, I think, to be honest and to be real, we’ve got to go back further than that. And I’m more aware now than I ever was that our history here in Hawke’s Bay goes back eight hundred years. And you have to pause on that one, you have to do a [?] and think, ‘What do you mean, eight hundred years? Europeans have only been here since the 1950s; [1850s] [chuckles] this was one of the last places where they brought the sheep up the coastline from down there towards Wellington [cough] and got grass leases and all of that.’ No, there’ve been people here for quite a few years before that, and certain negotiations had to go on.

And I think it’s only fair that we try and understand that history. And what excited me was to discover that Whatonga who come [came] in the Kurahaupo Waka from Rangiatea, which is [coughing] somewhere near the Society Islands, was [coughing] here about 1350; and after getting married at Mahia he parked up at Te Awanga, married a woman called Hotuwaipara, and built a house called Heretaunga, and that’s how we got the name Heretaunga Plains. I’m going, ‘Now we’re away – there’s a story here; this is great! I want to know more.’ But it’s such a fragmented story and it’s so difficult to pull the pieces together, that the Maori story in particular is taking me a long time. I’m learning as I go, and everybody has a different view; but Maori have a wonderful ability of being able to – through their whakapapa – go back through the generations and be able [coughing] to tell you who they’re related to. [Continuous coughing] And from that you can get a timeline, and you can begin to get an understanding of what might’ve happened here.

Let’s just start afresh. The ‘Cape Coast’ is an umbrella term; Maori didn’t name it the Cape Coast, just like they didn’t name Clifton. They had their own names, and I’m rediscovering some of those names. Cape Coast came into use about 2009, because a few of us thought it was pretty hard to say Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton every time somebody wanted to talk about that wonderful area that we came from. And of course Clifton was named by James Gillespie Gordon about 1860 for the popular English beach resort in Karachi, India, and the English school he attended.

Te Awanga – now where did that come from? I heard that it was a flax; that was about as far as I got. But it also apparently, can be a south-west wind or a depression on a hillside. Chief Hawea named his hilltop Pa ‘Te Awangawanga’, meaning disturbed or undecided – and he probably was when he set himself up there at Te Awanga, because he’d just been defeated in a battle, and he’d come there to just rethink and re-strategise, and recover from being wounded. And he’d actually been given the rights to all the area along the Cape Coast, all the way to Matahiwi Marae, after two brothers fell out over a stranding of whales there at Te Awanga, and one of them jumped on the whale and pushed his brother off into the water. And that was his older brother, and his older brother said, “All the land you’re going to have after this is the land you’re standing on, on the whale. You knocked me off the whale – sorry, mate, you’ve lost rights to all of this area.” And he made a deal with Hawea, who married into his family; and that’s why Ngati Hawea are very important tribal ancestors for this area.

So we don’t want to get too lost there; I mean there’s another name called Kokopu tauaki, which was the mouth of the Maraetotara River where there used to be about four lagoons on the southern side of the Maraetotara River there at one stage; and a Maori fishing village – I didn’t know that – and they had gardens there. And I found that name on an old map that I photographed from the 1860s, and I looked it up; and I think Pat Parsons and a couple of others agree that it actually probably means Kokopu tamaki. Kokopu is a small native fresh-water fish or whitebait. And if you’ve ever been out to the Cape Coast round about November and you’ve seen the boil-ups, and all these little whitebait or small fish – they head down to the river mouth for spawning, and up come the kahawai, and in come the gannets, and in come the seagulls; and it’s an amazing spectacle. So that makes sense to me, that that area had a different name than it was [is] today.

And the name Haumoana – I just took it for granted that that’s what it was. And then we discovered that it was Clive Grange; that whole area became Clive Grange when the Rhodes Brothers made an audacious claim over it, and ended up with two thousand six hundred and fifty acres after their attempt to own all the land from Wairoa to Wairarapa was overturned by the Treaty of Waitangi, and that was all they were left with. But they were schemers; they managed to get a lot more land, and ended up owning Cape Kidnappers – they got it from the Crown, and they got it just in time to on-sell it to Mr Gordon for Clifton Station. And all the others, so they made an awful lot of money. In fact Rhodes, I’m discovering, became a bit of a millionaire very early on in the colonial days. And his brother, Joseph, ended up owning Clive Grange. But W B Rhodes – he steered in one of the very first New Zealand Company ships; he was a founder of the Bank of New Zealand; a founder of New Zealand Insurance; boy! That guy had an influence, and I think he ended up with something like three hundred thousand acres around the country through somewhat questionable dealings at times. But anyway, Haumoana – the New Zealand Post Office came in 1913 and said to the locals as they were about to start their delivery system and put in the first telephone poles, “We think we’ll call you Tahumoana, which means ‘seaside’. And locals went, “Well that doesn’t really have a ring of authenticity or anything – no, don’t tell us what to do.” So for a couple of months they deliberated, and decided, “We’re actually going to be called Haumoana.” So that name’s only been around since 1913. Prior to that the whole area right the way through a good part of what we know as Te Awanga today, was called Clive Grange; and it was Clive Grange School as well.

So I’m discovering that really, the whole area out there’s been a bit of an historical footnote for a long time. When I went through all the books I found about five references, and in one particular book they were all in one paragraph. [Chuckles] So I thought, ‘Okay, something’s got to be done to try and recover this history, and to try and make sense of what has gone on here.’

So even archeologically I feel it’s a partly told story. You know, there are so many remnants of middens, and evidence of past history up on Cape Kidnappers. And Pat Parsons told me that when he went up there when they were looking into the permits for the golf course up there … Mr Robinson’s estate … that he wasn’t allowed to get in there, and that they had a particular story that was very limited. But one night he snuck up there with a torch and looked around with some people, and he said, “Goodness me! There’s a lot more evidence here of ancient occupations than is being let on about.” So there’s a whole lot of history out there that we don’t know enough about. In the hills between Clifton and Te Awanga, there are ridges there where there’ve been Pa, and there’ve been fortifications and there’s been fishing villages. And hopefully, somehow, we can pull all this together and enrich the history … the original history … of that area.

One of those places is known as Tirimoana Pa, up there in Charlton Road opposite Summerlee. And in the 1970s that was identified by Lady Fox, who did a bit of poking around and brought some Auckland University students down there; and that’s kind of gone into history as this wonderful lady from England – came out here and did all of this research. But [sneeze] the more I looked into it … I discovered that her methods were questionable; she was a bit of a bossy old bat, according to some. She didn’t find much up there except an [sneeze] old bottle, and when we look into it today we discover that it’s not Tirimoana – that’s a fairly recent name. Well … she helped map it all out and brought a lot of these things to light. Basil Shaw said … well, his son reckoned that round about 1936 – old Bill Shaw – that his father gave the name. But I looked back further to John Gatenby – I think it was called Tirimoana at that [cough] stage, and may even, in 1910, have been known by that name as well, by the previous owner.

But Pat Parsons says that the original name was Te Pae-o-Mahanga, established by Waimarama ancestor, Te Onuhara, who gifted it to Tuku Pounamu’s sons, Te Tutira and Rangikamangungugnu [Rangikamangumangu] [cough] who fell out over the distributed meat from a beached whale – which takes us back to that story of Hawea who was gifted all of the land around there. So this Pa has a rich history, a rich story; and it’s not simply the Lookout – this is somebody’s home and somebody’s history that we still know little enough about.

So there’s Lady Fox [showing slides] and one of her drawings there. So it’s a great story, because some of the dating there suggested that this was probably one of the oldest Pa in the country, and there’s another one down in Wairua, down in the South Island. And I rang the University down there and the guy surprised me by saying, “Actually, all the carbon dating that we’ve relied on for many years has been faulty. We’re having to rethink a lot of our history, and certainly this Pa is not one of the oldest ones [coughing] and neither is the one down south.”

So there’s a whole lot of rethinking about history; it’s like history is still unfolding today. I mean, look at the internet and the resources that are available to us today – even the digital archive locally. [Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank] What a wonderful thing that a researcher or a writer has all of these resources at their fingertips to begin to re-look at history and make it come alive again. I’m still discovering history. I think the idea of a book is you build a framework; you work with every piece of information you can possibly find; you talk to as many people as you possibly can who have first-hand or second-hand knowledge or whatever; and then you’ve got some idea to begin to work with, and that’s when the real treasures start to happen, I believe.

So at this stage I’m quite excited because I’m learning things that I might not’ve understood previously, if I hadn’t done the research that I’ve done so far. And even this week I’ve gone to see Hawea Moananui – I think his name’s John – and I discovered that Hawea is one of the very few full-blooded Maori in the country. Now that challenged me. And he sat me down – he’s directly related to Hawea; he’s directly related to Te Moananui; and he was telling me the things that his nanny and his aunties had been telling him. And one of the things he said … I thought that Matahiwi Marae, for example, was at the river mouth of the Tukituki River. And as I learned more, I discovered it was on an island; there were three islands in the river mouth of the Tukituki, and when the two rivers came together there was a huge lagoon there. And when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi in June 1840, that’s where the ship parked, opposite Waipureku Pa; and suddenly we get a picture – we get a story here. And he told me … he said, “Actually, my nannies and my aunties said the original Matahiwi Marae was right there underneath Hawea’s Pa by the lagoons on the southern side of the Maraetotara River.” Wow! You’re the first persons I’ve told this; it might be wrong, and I know it’s being recorded, but a historian has to be ready to accept the fact that he’s wrong. But he’s also allowed to get a bit excited sometimes, and say, “Wow! I didn’t know that.”

So, all right – I told you a little bit about this fellow Rhodes, all right? He made an audacious claim in 1839, while Maori here … and this is pivotal, isn’t it? That Maori in Hawke’s Bay … they got weaponry, they got rifles and muskets a lot later than in many parts of the country. And somebody started a bit of a dispute down towards Te Aute somewhere, and called on people from Waikato and people from Ngapuhi to come in and sort it out. They shouldn’t have done that because when they came with their muskets [cough] they were outnumbered, and the troubles began for the musket wars. And it became very dangerous after a while for local Maori [cough] to remain here, so a lot of them went to Nukutaurua on the Mahia Peninsula, into a place of exile where they were protected by a friendly tribe up there. And they stayed there for a while, but they kept hearing stories about all of this incursion into Hawke’s Bay … into their land … not only from other tribes, but from this fellow William Barney Rhodes, who parked his ship offshore and started to deal with the chiefs as they came back to check on their land. And he had five signatures to agree to sell all the land from Wairoa all the way down to Wairarapa. That’s shiploads of land! That’s a lot of land. And when William Williams, the missionary, heard about this from one of his listening ears that had been down, he said, “That is just not on!” So he wrote back to England, and by the time the Treaty was signed, like I said old Barney Rhodes wasn’t left with much at all … two thousand six hundred and fifty acres.

But then he went on, ‘cause he was very clever, to lease a lot of the land around the area – or at least him [he] and his brother did. So that’s really the beginning story of what we had here, going from Hawea owning it to Moananui being in charge of it, to leasing of land – and some of those leases were very difficult to get out of once you got into them. So the sheep people bringing their sheep up and looking for some land, and a lot of Scottish people came out here to live in this part of the country as well. And we’ve got Clive Grange which extended all the way through the Tukituki valley to Te Awanga, Haumoana and out to Clive itself.

By 1850s Rhodes was the Wellington millionaire and by the 1870s he’d co-founded all those things I told you about; he was a very clever man. So feeling safe from further attack, Hawke’s Bay Maori began returning from Nukutaurua after the Treaty was signed. Like I said, it was signed in the river mouth near Waipureku Pa on the 23rd June. They stayed there for a while … by Thomas Bunbury and Edward Williams; he’s the guy who helped translate the Treaty of Waitangi, so he knew what it was all about … and they remained at anchor for three days there, in this lagoon.

The main body of Maori returned after the chiefs agreed that William Colenso should come and live there, and Te Moananui suggested a place out there in the swamp, and said, “This is ideal because they’re not encroaching on any of our territories; it’s kind of neutral here. You’ll be good for us, you’ll be able to keep the peace, you’ll be able to inform us what’s going on. You seem to have a lot of people who are interested in this Christianity business, but unfortunately the place where you’re about to settle – only eels lived there before.” [Chuckles] So poor old William and Elizabeth Colenso had to make do in a swampy netherworld there, just to keep the peace for a while. And of course with the tides and the river shifting and all of that, they couldn’t last there too long.

So after a while all the Maori came back, they huddled around Colenso; then they went back to their various areas and Te Moananui established Matahiwi Marae on that island in the middle of the river.

So younger Joseph [Rhodes] ends up managing the Clive Grange Estate. This is the house – he built one of the first major houses in Hawke’s Bay, or houses of any substance at all. So we’ve got Heretaunga; we’ve got that house built by Whatonga after which the region was named; and we’ve got Joseph Rhodes building what I imagine to many people would’ve been a magnificent mansion at the time. So he builds that there, in East Clive in Haumoana Road, pretty much where the replacement place still exists today. And he had an idea, this Joseph – he imagined East Clive, just across the river, being a magnificent city. He thought, ‘This will be a great port.’ And there was a bit of a competition going on because there’s other people coming in now in Napier and whatever, starting to think, ‘Hey, this is a great place!’ ‘Cause it took a long time for them to decide that this was a good place to establish because it was very difficult access. So there’s a bit of posturing here for who’s going to influence the development of this area. So old Joseph, he’s got this idea of having a thriving port and a city at East Clive, so he buys three hundred and fifty-two acres near the original Matahiwi Marae from Te Moananui and others, including the islands within the lagoon of the Tukituki River; so he had a really great idea, but it really wasn’t to come about.

1879 – Major General George Whitmore purchased Clive Grange from Rhodes, and he and ten influential investors proposed South Clive, across the river where Haumoana is today, would be the most flourishing port and city on the East Coast. These guys had big ideas … they had really imagined amazing things happening. The Clive Grange Estate and Railway Company Limited prospectus imagined a town with a harbour, and a bridge in sufficient proportions and strength to carry a road and a railway line; a two thousand five hundred foot concrete wharf at Clifton Beach … harbour between the wharf and Black Reef for all colonial shipping.

So imagine what it would be like today, can you? If they’d gone ahead with that. So they needed £75,000 – sounds like an awful lot to me, but imagine what that would’ve been like today. He wanted to sell Clive Grange, but his ten investors had to buy fifteen hundred shares at £50 each. The sale fell through; the prospectus was [with]drawn; eventually the market crashed and Napier won out, so it was a six-week vision … didn’t last long, but isn’t it amazing what people imagine and what comes to reality? So I just think that’s one of the great stories, and there’s Whitmore’s Clive Grange homestead, [shows slide] and he did it up a bit and it lasted for a while.

But the area remained fairly isolated until 1888, and people complained, as they do today – “Oh, that’s only going to benefit a few people – what about me? Oh, there’s no value in that for us of building a bridge across the Tukituki River.” The Tukituki River was still shifting, it was dangerous, people complained that this bridge was so low to the ground, or so low to the river, that sometimes the river swept across it. Sheep would come across it all the time, and when people tried to walk across it they had to sort of dance around what the sheep had left behind. Then when cars came along, the sheep and the cars – it was like … who was on first? Sometimes there’d be two cars, and the stubbornness of some of those people then – would just refuse to back off. There are stories of people having fisticuffs. I imagine the old, you know, “I was here first.” “No, I was, and I’m not backing up.” So sometimes the police had to be called, and sometimes people had to move their sheep around the cars; there’s a whole lot of stories around that. But it broke the isolation of the area, and as a result of that people started to see that whole area as being a place worthy of coming to, certainly coming for a holiday … coming to visit … and they did.

So Clifton Station – there’s a photograph here – I’ve got some wonderful photographs from there. It’s just great to rescue old stuff, isn’t it? ‘Cause a photograph tells a story of its own. So you’ve got Clifton Station, and with all these sheep farmers, farmers, and they’re moving their sheep around [cough] the coast. I imagine, like today, if you’re going round to see the gannets you need to know what time the tide is coming in, otherwise your sheep might float to the next destination, and it might not be where you want them to be.

So Te Awanga [chuckles] after the bridge opens up, and Haumoana. The newspaper of the time said, ‘We’re for [to] Hastings what Westshore is to Napier’. How’s Westshore today? Well, it’s recovering, isn’t it? Something’s happening there.

February 1904 – headmasters reported that their school rolls were well reduced. “Where were those kids? They’re supposed to’ve been back at school three weeks ago?” Well, they were still in Haumoana enjoying the playground that had been built there, or they were down at Te Awanga at Burden’s Camp. I don’t think it was called Burden’s Camp at that stage, but there was a lagoon there, and it was a great place for swimming. And I don’t imagine that the area was as shingly as it is today; a very different place, through a number of reasons including the earthquake later on. About 1908, ‘09 the Gordons were starting to complain about squatters encroaching on their properties, setting up tents, building makeshift shacks, and hanging around much longer than a holiday. And they tried to clear them away, but nobody took any notice. And they noticed that every year people were staying longer. Pretty soon horses, drays, carriages and early cars began bringing people to swim, to hire row boats and even sail in what is known as the Te Awanga tidal lagoon at the Maraetotara river mouth. It was estimated up to five hundred families would be heading out there every Sunday, so it was a pretty popular place.

Frank Gordon in 1914 eventually sold thirteen acres to Norman Wellwood and John Holden. I’m still finding out about those two characters; the Wellwoods were related to the first Mayor [of] Hastings; and John Holden … there’s interesting stories I’m learning about these fellows too, but I’m not prepared to … ‘cause these are people’s families and stories, aren’t they? And you want to get it right. So they’ve both got streets named after them out there.

By January 1919 Burden’s Camp was official. Thomas Burden purchases the camp area along for his son, Mick, and they begin charging for car parking, hot water, and facilities. There’s no electricity – everything’s done by kerosene burners and the like and candles at night, so it was pretty primitive really, but hey – we were all pretty primitive way back then.

So both Clive Grange – which becomes Haumoana – and Te Awanga villages were swimming with do-it-yourself baches, seaside homes, and both locations were soon being subdivided. Look at this – [shows slide] this is the lagoon at Te Awanga. Sail boats in it for goodness sake! It’s just a little puddle today compared to what it was, and they have to keep pulling the weed out of it to make sure that the ducks have enough room to swim in. But this was incredible! This was a huge lagoon that the Burdens kept battling away to try and keep open; and it’s just a remnant really of the four great lagoons that existed there in the years earlier on from that. Just south of that, like I said earlier on, there was a Maori fishing village on one of those three or four lagoons, but when the Maraetotara shifted in 1931, everything shifted.

Another reason to go out there, of course, was the largest mainland gannet colony that was established in 1871. So if you went out there, and you were lucky, and somebody had a tractor that was robust enough, and – I think a lot of vehicles have been very damaged going out along all that coast, but this was the extra attraction, to go out there. I think Derek van Asch, a local pioneer, took a lot of the photographs for those early postcards, to promote the area out there.

So Clive Grange Beach – the first of several playgrounds that battled seasoned bureaucracy; some of the letters to the newspapers way back then are incredible. There’s a series of letters about the metal road, and these new-fangled motor cars coming out and not caring about all the cyclists, [chuckles] and just pushing them off the road; and people … you can just imagine the picture – people wobbling and saying, “Oh-oh, new technology!” Keeps happening, doesn’t it? Technology keeps changing our lives. But they had swings there, they had changing sheds; but the sea would come and [cough] take those changing sheds away, so they’d have to be rebuilt. And you had progressive associations, and some very interesting people like J T Blake, and the Scotts, who were early influential families out there that really were advocates for the area.

And pretty soon the place gets subdivided. There’s an area along Haumoana there … I’m not sure what year that was, there’s a lot of other maps. But ‘Great Things Grow Here’ was a real key thing to what happened out there.

1903 – Romeo Bragato identified Clive Grange as perfect for wine-growing. And he’d been brought in by the government to explore the possibilities in New Zealand of moving into different areas of agriculture, and he identified Clive Grange as being perfect. But this is a time of prohibition; the wowsers were doing a bit of browsing, [cough] and they made it feel [chuckle] very uncomfortable for anybody who wanted to grow fermented juices in bottles and whatever. And in the end it was only when the men came back from war and decided, “You’re not going to do that”; so they had a few votes and they saved the day, so we ended up having a wine industry.

1915 – Anthony Vidal established Vidal’s second Hawke’s Bay wine yard [vineyard] on the site of the present Clearview Winery as you head out there. Thelma [Helma] [van den Berg] and Tim [Turvey] discovered the old sign out there when Vidal’s had it; so a hundred years later the Cape Coast is a major wine-growing, horticultural cropping, lifestyle, hospitality and tourism area. There’s a good PR [public relations] for you. But these guys, here they are outside one of the sheds there, that’s Anthony Vidal there in his horse and gig, and this is on the area at Clearview, as it’s known today.

Have you heard of this fellow? Gerhard Husheer – what a colourful character he was! I think he was one of those people who was an extraordinary gentleman; had an extraordinary vehicle; dressed differently, and became a bit of a … I don’t know, I don’t know how you’d describe him, but he was a character in Napier. But he had his beginnings – and you know this is something else I’ve got to check out – that Anthony Vidal and Gerhard Husheer apparently were mates. And they hung out together, and they toured New Zealand looking for business opportunities. I’m yet to confirm that; but here they are both out in Haumoana, Te Awanga, at the Cape Coast in Clive Grange as it was, at this time. And Husheer had a two hundred acre tobacco crop. You know, tobacco still pops up in people’s gardens every now and then, and I’m not sure whether it’s the little old ladies who live behind me who grew their private stash, [chuckles] or whether this is somehow the seeds from Husheer’s days have got into my garden, ‘cause they still come up, these big-leaf tobacco plants. So he was doing all right. That was a big hope for the area for a while, the Department of Ag [Agriculture] helped him experiment. He ended up managing the New Zealand Tobacco Company and established their crops, drying and curing equipment. He started the Ahuriri factory and began selling locally-grown leaf, including Gold Pouch. None of you would remember that, would you? The ‘Toasted Tobacco’.

May 1940 – tobacco looked to be an important crop for Haumoana and Te Awanga. And the first harvest, all the town got together to celebrate; this was going to be an amazing thing. The following year mildew got into the leaf and forced the closure of that factory and that crop, but they had enough leaf stored up for four years.

The New Zealand Tobacco Company was paying handsome profits to its shareholders in 1918, but the directors of the company thought, ‘This guy’s a German! We’re at war with the Germans – we can’t have that.’ So they kicked him out … him and his sons, [coughing] who were part of the success of why that company did so well. They booted them out; they just said, “Out!” Gone! He had a lot of supporters; he was very friendly. Everything I’ve read about the guy, he was just a very helpful, embracing sort of a person who encouraged people. And his workers walked out.

1922 – he formed the National Tobacco Company, and acquired [cough] full ownership of his old company [coughing] which had been run into the ground. [Coughing] That was destroyed in 1931. But Husheer made a fortune, and created the new Art Deco-style factory that we see today; and Rothman’s Tobacco Company took over on his death, aged ninety, in 1954. So one of the great colourful characters of the area who made a go of it out there.

Frank Gordon from the Gordon family at Clifton donated the land to the Crown for Clifton Camping Ground in 1936. [Showing slides] Look at that – [chuckle] there’s an example of what things were like way back then. Everybody just thought that was a wonderful place; and I see we’ve got a new wall out there to try to protect what’s left of it. [Coughing] And at one stage all of that land was available, and there’s the camping ground and some of those old vehicles – they look about 1930s, do they? And those ones at the bottom there, so it’s probably not long after Frank Gordon gave that. And the guy who was leasing the land next door, he wouldn’t stop taking his sheep around; so while you were sunbathing there you might … ‘maa-aaa’; [chuckles] … just to step aside and let the sheep through, so I imagine that was a bit hard case.

At least twenty thousand people go to Cape Kidnappers by tractor-based beach tours, four-wheel drives or overland buses a year, bringing in a huge amount of revenue. So the Cape Coast – really, a heritage being restored after being ignored and neglected for so long; once isolated, discovered as a recreational treasure, then neglected and side-lined, is reclaiming its place as a jewel in Hawke’s Bay’s crown. Its rich history is being recorded, coastal erosion challenges are being faced in the joint Councils’ Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazard Strategy; and confidence is being restored as new subdivisions arise, along with an ambitious planting, landscaping and Reserves Management Plan, and the Te Matau-a-Maui [The fishhook of Maui] Art and Heritage Trail, based on the cycleway from Black Bridge to Clifton, begins to take shape. Thank you.



Joyce: That was fantastic. You seem to speak without notes, am I right?

Keith: Well, its … the thing is you get it into you, don’t you? And you’ve got to get it out. [Laughter] And you guys are unfortunate being here – I get to dump on you.

Joyce: Fantastic – just the enthusiasm from someone who wasn’t born here. We’ve got people here that know that camp, don’t we? Who’ve camped at that camp for … long, long, time. The story of the wall and how it’s been eaten up – could you tell us what you know of the plans of [for] that?

Keith: Well, it’s exciting because it’s taken a long, long time, and probably – we’ve lost three roads. Angus Gordon’s given two roads, and the third one is there; and finally somebody’s seen the sense of putting in that first revetment wall, and the second part of it – I think it’s bedding in really well with shingle build-up behind it, and it’s common sense, unfortunately, we don’t hear enough of these days. They say, “We can’t do it”. And then you’ve got to have reports big enough to be able to turn into paper mache and build a wall of your own. So, something’s happening; good things are happening out our way, and it’s a really good time to be telling the story and putting together this Arts and Heritage Trail, and gathering this material. So I just feel that we’re beginning to [coughing] rebuild [coughing] the potential for an amazing future out there.

Joyce: Right, questions?

Question: Do you think there are remains of old pas up the gullies where you go round to the gannets which you haven’t been able to get to?

Keith: Some of them might have ended up crumbling and washing around the coast. I imagine some of those gullies are pretty … pretty big, aren’t they? But certainly, I think that there is evidence up there that I think with the right discussions with the right people, and with Maori involved and leading that story, and with researchers like Pat Parsons and others who are passionate about reclaiming that, we can do that, and we can commemorate it. And part of what we’re doing with the Heritage Trail is to make sure that we tell the Maori story. What waka landed here? Which people lived here? When did they live here? What did they do? How did they live? What did they contribute to our history? ‘Cause I think, you know, Maori will complain if you desecrate, but if you engage and you discuss and you have a conversation, they will be glad if you honour the stories that are their stories and heritage. Just like all of our stories; and somebody mentioned before that sometimes history’s not appreciated, and relatives who don’t appreciate the photographs or the scrapbooks or the stories that we might have collected, might go, “Well this is just a load of old photographs”, and tip it in the bin. It’s what happened in my family twice, and when I go back and I think, ‘I’ve lost my heritage, my story, documents and photographs of relatives I’ve never seen – that’s painful.’ And for Maori that’s, that’s painful too. So while we’ve got that opportunity, while we’ve got places like the Digital Archive, I think we need to reclaim what we can for the future.

Joyce: I think both of them deserve another round of applause.

[Applause] Have you got a question, Moana?

Moana Munro: [Karakia in Maori]

I want to thank you – you presented us in a beautiful light; in a light that is often not seen, and I really treasure that. When you were talking about Rangikamangumangu, and his home was outside there – he was on top of the whale and got pushed off by the other man. [Chuckles] I remember that story done by Te Tareha, and of course our tipuna over there, Henare Tomoana and Kaitiana Pakamoana. At that time he was … really movers for this area. So thank you for revealing the [?kaupapa?] Maori fragrance within here; and see what kind of cultural heritage that we can develop and grow together, because it’s beautiful.

Joyce: Moana’s been Maori researcher in this library for a long time; she’s Landmarks’ advisor on Maori affairs, and she will have adored your talk tonight because it’s exactly what they’re often fighting. That is fantastic.

Original digital file


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Additional information

Landmarks Talk 14 August 2018

Further information – Gary Baines’ talk on history of Clive


  • Martin Bates
  • Keith Newman

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