Jon Williams – Frimley Cannery

Cynthia Bowers: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. We’ll make a start. It is my pleasure this evening to introduce to you Reverend Jon Williams. Last year, I was at a function in Hastings at Hastings Girls High School, and Jon spoke about some of his family history. And he was absolutely outstanding, and so as he tried to leave the Assembly Hall I sort of cornered him and asked him if it would be possible for him to come and speak to our group. As you’ll no doubt hear, he was very busy working with the author of the book that’s just been released; that sort of tied up quite a lot of Jon’s time, but he’s now through all of that, so has very, very kindly agreed to talk to us tonight about … his words, not mine … his illustrious ancestor …

Jon: Did I say that?

Well, either you or Joyce did – perhaps it was Joyce; James Nelson Williams. Now look, I know that this is going to be a really interesting story so can I ask you to welcome Jon? [Applause]

Jon: Thank you very much for this opportunity and this privilege. Because I’m involved in a choir in Napier, I haven’t often got to the talks here – I’ve managed to come to two, and I wish I’d been able to come to more. But to suddenly find that I have to do it myself …

It’s not J N William’s fault, or to my credit, that he is my ancestor. And mainly what I want to talk to you about tonight is this book written by Des Harris, ‘60 Miles of Peach Trees’. I’m just going to talk about the slides as they come up.

[Start of slideshow]

That picture you see there is some of the peach trees in the Sixty Mile Orchard, which was about where the Hawke’s Bay Hospital is. And I’m very lucky in having found somebody to prepare a Powerpoint for it; any mistakes that you see in it are due to the haste with which this chappie had to work. But I’m very grateful to Wade Burrell for that.

Now, there’s a little thing here at the bottom: ‘When you copy an item, please acknowledge the source’. That’s if people ever want to use anything from this, and certainly of course from Des’ book, this ‘60 Miles of Peach Trees’.

Now, when Des set out to write the book – I’ll explain why in a minute – people kept on turning up with information for him, and even when the book was at the printers this kept on happening. And it was actually the young man who was printing it for us who found this on the internet. Now one of the main interests that many of us have in history is simply finding things out and making discoveries, and this was certainly one; and Des tells me that people are continually still telling him new things.

The interesting thing about that is that, from Papers Past … and at the time when the factory was in existence from 1904 to 1914, there were no Papers Past in Hawke’s Bay … that indicates the wide-ranging market which the Frimley Canning Factory built up. There’s certainly a newspaper elsewhere in New Zealand; we don’t know which one. Frimley became a by-word for good canning and bottled produce of all kinds, which continued long after the closing of the factory. And more about that later.

Now Des Harris has been a member of Bottle Collectors for a long time, and he used to have a large collection of bottles. Who also collects bottles, or has collected bottles – anybody? One, two, three, four – a few of you have, so you’ll know a bit about collecting bottles. Well, when Des was the Principal of Camberley School, I think it was, a young man turned up with this bottle and asked if anyone knew about it, and nobody did. So that set him out finding out more about this canning factory, and in the course of that time he built up quite a large collection of other bottles, which I’m not going to show many of today, but there are pictures of them in his book. You will see there, it says, ‘Established 1903’ – well, that’s when they had the bottle made, and I don’t know where. There are always more questions you can ask, however much research has been done. Des may know, but I don’t know where the bottles came from.

The Frimley name in fact, in this community and throughout the country, was so well established that in 1934, which is twenty years after the closing of the factory, a much better known cannery was Wattie’s. And Jimmy Wattie used, possibly without any copyright permission – I don’t know about that … anyone? – used the name Frimley. And I can remember my parents telling me that they saw it on cans and bottles, and I think I can remember seeing it as a child. Anybody else remember that? Cans, with ‘Frimley’ on them, pre World War Two.

Now Des has said in his book that we can establish exactly where the factory was beyond all doubt. I was responsible for sort of assembling the material in the book, and I thought I knew when I glanced at this map where the factory was, but I was quite wrong. That is called a new road in one of the maps, and that one is also called a new road. This road here is Canning Street, at the end of the hospital now; and this is just beyond. If you project that, what would that be? Avenue Road? Up there – it’s in line with that. So it’s not in line with Frimley Road, which was in fact in those days, inside the Frimley Estate and probably just a driveway. If you look at the next map, you’ll see what I mean … Avenue Road, Ikanui Road, Frimley Avenue. That’s where you are. Now, if any of you are curious enough to do so you could probably go and ask the people who live in the houses there whether they’ve found any bits of the old factory – it’s quite possible, but for a long time nobody knew exactly where that was. This map, incidentally, is … a man called Rockford who was a surveyor and did quite a lot of work in the area and some for J N Williams as well.

This building here was originally the woolshed of the Frimley Estate which started off at about two thousand four hundred acres, and later on – there was more land towards the centre of Hastings and towards where the railway is – was about three thousand, and so there were sheep there originally. And when Frimley and all that land was acquired by the syndicate called the Twelve Apostles – and that’s another story and you probably all know it well – there was a meeting of the first Roads Board in that old woolshed. That’s right at the beginning of Hastings in 1871. When they were about to open the factory, immediately that building there was added, in 1903 just before the opening of the factory.

Des assembled a large number of pictures of exactly what went on in the factory. How many of you have been inside, or worked at, or had something to do with Wattie Canneries? Quite a number; me too – used to work for Jimmy Wattie sometimes when I was a student. You’ll be very familiar with the sort of things that go on in a cannery, and I can imagine that this is what you had to have before the fruit comes, is the cans. And you can only imagine – if it was anything like Thompsons, who had their own business in the middle of Jimmy Wattie’s factory – you can imagine the amount of noise there would’ve been here with beating the cans into shape from sheets of tin and that sort of thing. None of those men seem to be wearing earmuffs, do they? [Chuckles] The other thing you can see in these pictures is the old building; some of that is probably the woolshed.

When the factory started, they obtained the best canning equipment available at that time. There are some pictures of that in Des’ book, and some of them look very quaint old machines to us, but it was the very latest thing. And I imagine that here is where the can sat underneath for soldering.

There was very good advertising for the factory, and a number of postcards and advertisements in newspapers with recipes, and all sorts of things. And this is a reproduction of an old postcard; you probably can’t read it from where you’re sitting, but that says, ‘Packing the fruit’; ‘The Fruit Room’, another one; ‘The Cooking Room’, and you’ll see a lot of cans in the lower parts of this picture.

And here’s the real business with the peaches – you’ll see a picture later on of those baskets out in the orchard. And it’s amazing to me, when you blow up the photographs like this, they come up very well; and you can even see the faces of some of those women so well that if any of them are your great grandmother you could probably recognise them. I think that’s amazing. And the other thing that’s notable in the picture is that for hygienic reasons they were asked to wear – what do you call it? Sort of a headdress, like nurses wear, you know – things to keep your hair out of the way.

This is very intriguing, and it was a late discovery just when the book was about to go to print. Des was given this one – I think that’s right. Can you read the word, ‘Frimley’ on the photograph? In three places … peas and vegetables and marmalade; and it would be most intriguing to know – that’s probably an old corner store, even in Hastings – don’t know where, but you can see the door here. Really intrigues me; can you remember the smell of old grocer’s shops? No doubt you can, some of you; fascinating picture.

Not only peaches, but a great deal of other fruit, sauces and jams were made in the factory, and here is the old Worcestershire sauce, and it’s amazing how clearly that bottle comes up – you can actually read the words on it.

Another indication of the ongoing reputation of Frimley products: this is a notebook that belonged to Mr Ploughman. Ploughman’s business was in Napier, wasn’t it? It’s a recipe for tomato chutney … takes a little while to look at it in detail, but down here it says, ‘Basil Jones’ formula; Frimley Canning Factory.’ Now Basil Jones was the manager who got the factory up and running, and had a lot to do with how it was operated. He was the manager throughout the life of the factory, I think, until … think within a few months of its closure. And he lived on a section right next to the factory – it’s actually shown on the map; ‘Basil Jones’. And the intriguing thing is that Mr Ploughman has written again, up at the top, some years later: ‘Frimley Canning Factory’ and so on, as if he’d forgotten what he wrote down there. I think that’s most intriguing. If you want to, and have a copy of the book, or have a copy of that, you could make it yourself I suppose.

Now, I’m going to work going backwards in history – how much time have we had? I’ve been going for how long now? Fifteen minutes – all right.

Well we’ve started with the factory, but before you have the factory you have to have the fruit; and the fruit of course had to come from orchards. The story of the orchards I’m going to get on to now, and how they came about.

This is the 60 Mile Orchard, so called because there were sixty rows of peach trees a mile long, and I believe it was about a hundred and twenty acres, or something like that. And that also is a postcard, and you see everything in connection with this factory. In those days, the vehicle was a horse, and that applied to getting a factory worker, some of whom came from Napier to come up on big dray things from the Napier Station. They had to start off fairly early from Napier – and it was a full long day – and then go back to the Hastings Railway Station. And they too were on horse-drawn vehicles. This looks to me like orchard maintenance, old style.

Harvest time. Peaches must be harvested with care. And if you look there you can see empty baskets, full baskets, all displayed, and old-fashioned ladders; none of those things my son uses in an orchard nowadays. What do you call that?

Audience response: Hydralada.


But employment for a lot of people, and that was part of JN’s vision in establishing this factory; that there would be employment for a lot of people. It was also part of the difficulty which proved insuperable in the end.

It all began, as far as JN was concerned; he was aware that people of course were growing fruit in Hawke’s Bay. Maoris had done it; Sturm, and Anderson, and people like that who had nurseries; there were a number of orchardists. And exploring the possibility of having a fruit-growing industry here, one of his motivations was, “Why do we have to import tinned fruit from America when we can grow it here?” A similar thing incidentally, as what motivated Jim Wattie, a generation later.

And so he went to California, and in fact right up to the north of the country near Niagara Falls where he looked at orchards; and to a town in California which … thirty thousand people living from orcharding and canning. And in France also; and he was convinced that it could be done here. So that’s what started him off.

Now with other orchardists, he worked persistently; in fact his persistence was exceptional. And they tried to start a dried fruit factory. It didn’t work. At that time, Frimley had been up to three thousand acres – sheep and Clydesdale horses and all sorts of things like that. And as you may know, Cornwall Park was a bull paddock once, but here was another way of using the land. He offered the Seddon Government one thousand eight hundred acres; they actually only took about eleven hundred, I think. And he started an experimental orchard; all sorts of trees, possibly obtained at that stage from local nurserymen. All mixed up; quite close to where Frimley Park is, where the old house was. And eventually he proposed a canning company, and raised I think £15,000 – you can check the figure in Des’ book, but I think that’s what it was – at least, that was what he was trying to get. He didn’t get enough to get the show underway, so he said, “Right, I’ll do it myself.” And that’s how the factory started.

He was able to gradually get rid of quite a lot of the rest of the land and sell it to people … I might get onto that in a minute. What we’re on about though is the trees, at the moment. And with others, he started the Fruitgrowers Federation. We’ll discover, as we go back a bit further back in JN’s history, he was a great man for working with other enterprising people.

One such person was Thomas Horton, who had a nursery down in the Wairarapa. And he came up and bought forty acres of Frimley, where there is still on that site, well known to most of you, a nursery, which has been in various ownership. I remember it when I was young as Wilson’s Nursery.

Well now, there’s a lot of things I haven’t told you about the factory; if you want to ask questions about it and there’s time, do so … fact we could stop and do that now.

But in 1914 there had been a bad frost where there was no production. There was a great deal of difficulty in finding enough people to do the work. JN himself died in 1915, and was in failing health and I think living with his daughter in Havelock North at that time. The factories closed; the equipment was sold to one of the newer, rival ventures – a firm in Nelson. What’s it called?

Audience response: Kirkpatrick.

Yeah, Kirkpatrick. And all that equipment went there. But this was the pioneer factory, and made a huge difference to this district and to its future as a fruit-growing area.

Okay, well that’s enough about the factory and the orcharding. We’ll go back a bit further if there’s time and inclination. I’d like to stop now, and … it’s not easy to tell you lies because Des’ research was pretty thorough and he wouldn’t accept any information he couldn’t back up by being a proper historian and going to primary sources. Mostly, I’m only a student of history and I go to secondary sources – books. But now if you ask me questions I’m able to tell a few lies if you don’t catch me out – if anybody has one; otherwise we’ll go on if you like, and we’ll go back a bit further into the history of JN.

Question: Now was it really the frost that caused the factory to close, or were they in financial difficulty? Or what really caused the factory to close?

Jon: It’s not quite clear. Some people said that the factory was mismanaged; it doesn’t seem to me that Basil Jones could be a mis-manager because he had done wonderful work in getting it set up. And you can see the quality of some of the advertising; there was no doubt about the quality of the fruit. One factor was probably that other firms like Fitzpatrick [Kirkpatrick] were able to underprice Frimley here in Hawke’s Bay. Another was definitely the shortage of labour. I can’t answer any more clearly than that.

Question: Was the canned fruit exported?

Jon: Oh yes.

Question: To where?

Jon: I guess to Australia and other places. It certainly went all over New Zealand – to start with, throughout the North Island and then down south. One of the things that Des found is pictorial stills at the Christchurch Exhibition. When was that? In 1907 or something like that. The produce was well known throughout this country.

Question: Was the shortage of labour due to recruitment for the First World War?

Jon: Well, this is before the war started, really. It was the number of people living in Hastings and Napier were [was] not sufficient for employing up to … by the time you have people picking fruit, picking peas as boys did; there’s pictures of boys doing that, and some of them apparently, if they had a basket or whatever to pick into, they would weight the basket. They were usually caught out. [Chuckle]

Question: I think it’s only a small error in compiling the Powerpoint, but I think in 1899 it’s the Fruitgrowers’ Association, not Federation.

Jon: Oh yes, well that’s my mistake. Oh, you’ve caught me in a lie – good one. [Chuckles] I don’t know what’s written in the book but you can check that out for yourself.

Right, shall we move on? This shows the extent of the … can you read that?

That is the [??] get up and go at the beginning of the factory’s operation. And that tells you something of the vision. It’s interesting to reflect as we read our newspapers today what all the debate that is going on about various initiatives to increase the economy in our region.

Yes, well now we’re going to go right back a lot further in JN’s story and what I’d like to tell you is how he came to Hawke’s Bay; how he became involved in farming here and some of that story. Some of it will be familiar to you already.

Now he was born in 1837 up north; his father was a missionary, William Williams. And Waimate North is a place inland from Paihia, and was probably the first English-style farm in New Zealand. I can’t vouch for that but I think it’s very likely. And as a young chap he was there, but very soon his family moved to the Gisborne area, and I’ll tell you a bit more about that later.

He arrived at the age of twenty here in Hawke’s Bay, to work for a short time with his uncle … would it be his uncle? Samuel Williams at Te Aute. It wasn’t very long, however, before he took up Kereru, and that’s typical of one of those large stations; it was twenty thousand acres. Some of it was in fact on the north side of the Ngaruroro [River], which is now Beamish country. And from sheep farming there, within a year or two he was able to repay a loan from his father with interest, so growing sheep was very profitable in those days. However, he didn’t find Kereru a very good sort of place to farm. Can you read this text? Can you see it? It’s no wonder that, having begun there in partnership with Jasper Herrick … Colonel Jasper Herrick … he, before very long, was keen to go somewhere else.

In ’64 he was persuaded to join Tanner in leasing land from Māori at that stage, in the Heretaunga Block. Now you’ll probably know that other blocks had been bought about 1850 by McLean; and by ’64 the Heretaunga Block was still in Māori hands. And they leased it for two or three years, and then the leases were made legal. And in 1867 Tanner set out, particularly, to persuade the local Māori chief to sell the land. And you possibly know that at that time the law in New Zealand was that a tribe didn’t own the land, or a chief didn’t own the land; you could buy land if you could find ten people who had the authority to sign on behalf of the tribe. And Tanner made damn sure that he got ten people.

That’s quite a story, and you’re probably familiar with this book; one version of it is in Kay Mooney’s wonderful account of the … If you haven’t read this book, and I’m sure many of you have, there’s piles of fascinating stuff about the early history in here. How many have read it? The library here has a copy of it – ‘Kay Mooney’s History of the County of Hawke’s Bay’.

Now, when JN was a child in the Gisborne area, his parents lived in a raupo-thatched building to start with. Some of the floor was planks and some was just plain earth, and it got very muddy. He came first to here, which was later called Frimley. That’s his house, and that is an illustration from Miriam McGregor’s book, and it mentions the name of another family member. How many people can you see in that picture? I only just realised yesterday how many people wthere are in it.

Audience response: Three and a goat? [Chuckle]

Jon? Three and a goat, or three and a sheep … I think it’s a sheep. A very modest dwelling, quite different from what Williams built later. And incidentally, I have a great respect for most of the historians of Hawke’s Bay, but there was one publication, and also some articles in a newspaper, that said that that house belonged to another settler and didn’t even mention Frimley. So I have some difficulty with that particular historian.

In 1868 Williams married Mary Margaret Beetham. Her family had taken up land in the Wairarapa; they originally settled in Lower Hutt. I found that picture with the help of the librarian at the Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery; and isn’t she beautiful? And she’s actually my great-granny. I think she was also quite an ambitious person.

One thing that is quite astounding is the wealth which a number of those early pastoralists acquired through sheep. Well in the case of Williams, it was other things. The interesting thing is the factory was established after she had died. She was in England in 1903; one of her sons, my grandfather actually, was involved in the Boer War. And I don’t know why, and I don’t know how she died – that’s another story. And there’s a picture of him as an old boy. Now there was a portrait in the Hawke’s Bay Club; I believe it is now in the Council Chambers, is that right? Have you seen anything like that?

Cynthia: It’s now in Council Chambers?

Jon: Well, somewhere in the building.

Cynthia: Could be.

Jon: That is a copy from a newspaper, I think. And incidentally, in the old days in families, and certainly in ours, you never referred to a person by his first name; only his intimate friends, his wife, [chuckles] certainly not his children, would call him by his first name. In the tribe I belonged to, he was always known simply as ‘JN’. I was greeted this evening by someone who went to school with me who referred to me by my initials, so that custom was carried on. [Chuckle]

And this is the magnificent house that was eventually built at Frimley. It was burnt down in 1950 but it was built in the nineties, and you can see the Indian style veranda. And another interesting thing – I remember this feature of it because I used to go and visit an old aunt who lived there. That is a lowerable fire escape. You let it down on ropes if you wanted to escape; one would hope that the ropes were kept in sound condition. However, this Elsie Williams who lived there was not in that house when it burnt down, fortunately. Recently I met someone who lives not far away … down the road … who was asked if they’d like to go and watch the house burn. And they said, “No thank you. Their only concern was that was poor Elsie Williams getting burnt?” I’m very glad to say that the old dear wasn’t. She was a spinster lady, although she‘d brought up two nieces who’d lost their parents in the flu epidemic; and very much involved in things like gardening, St John’s and so on. “No more Frimleys,” somebody said concerning that book.

Now, some of Williams’ earlier occupations: before he became involved in orcharding, he had for a long time been involved in draining the land. When Williams first took up the land … the Frimley Block, which was two sections of the twelve – they were called ‘The 12 Apostles’ – Tanner and he and others; but it was swampy and in 1867 he [?] the Ngaruroro; changed its course radically. I guess some of you know about that. Whereas it used to flow on the far side of Roy’s Hill and meander in various places through the Plains, and go through what is the Karamu Stream, Havelock North – that was all changed and it was much easier to do the draining, I understand, and it must have been very hard work. But a lot of those drains, some of them in the area which is now Mahora, were dug by Irish people. I imagine they had scoops and things to help them; it was hard … what a hard job.

And anyway, later on he’s still involved in ’95, in selling off sections. One of his cares was to make quite sure that when sections were sold they were big enough for people to make a living off, and that continued to be a concern of JN Williams.

Now, anything else about this period; just one or two things about his childhood and then I’m finished. Anybody got any questions? You’ve probably just about had enough anyway.

Question: That letter was to a council official, or … was that letter to Mr Rockford, do you think?

Jon: Mr Rochford was the surveyor. He was the man who drew the map that you saw near the beginning of the programme.

Now, in the Gisborne area, the family moved from near Manutuke where their first two residences were, and eventually they ended up at Waerenga-a-hika. Manutuke didn’t have enough land for their missionary father to maintain a school … he had a school for Māori boys … and he needed more land so he moved. If you notice on the way to Gisborne, you came out on the flats and you go along a long straight, and you turn right and cross the Waipaoa River; some of you know the place I’m talking about … Manutuke. It’s the first place where the initial Station was, and where JN was as a small boy. But as he grew up towards the age of twenty, there was a new Mission Station at Waerenga-a-hika which is on the Ormond Road out to the west of Gisborne. And the interesting thing is that just before he came to Hawke’s Bay, JN was employed by his father in fencing and ploughing, and you can see what made the young [?] or trees there, which also say something about his later occupations. And as I looked at that picture this morning I thought to myself, ‘Perhaps JN as a young man actually laid some of those fences.’ It’d never occurred to me before.

Before the time of photographs there were things called daguerreotypes. This is a picture of the young man with his sister. He had a number of sisters; the family always remember them as the Hukarere aunts, and they were responsible for the setting up of the Hukarere School, and in charge of it. Well other people taught there as well. Mariah was the accountant; she’d had a severe illness as a young woman and she had a very bad back. I see she seems to be sitting up quite straight, probably posing, in that photograph … in that daguerreotype. I should say.

The last thing I should probably mention is to reiterate JN Williams’ ability to work with other people. When he came to Hawke’s Bay he was whangaied / fostered by Samuel for a little while on his farm. Samuel Williams continued to be a strong partner in everything that he did, and there were stories of Samuel turning up at the Frimley Homestead in his gig as an older man. Here we see Samuel in his more typical setting at Te Aute at the time when all those brick buildings had been built.

Later on JN was working in partnership not only with Tanner of course, but with William Nelson to whom he was related … his mother was a Nelson … in founding the boiling down works, which became Tomoana [Freezing Works]. He got a lot of money for Hawke’s Bay enterprises with an investment company which got money from Scotland. He was involved in the Hospital Board; the Harbour Board – one of the projects which didn’t work was to have the harbour at Clifton – but he continued on the Harbour Board. He was for many years on the County Council, and several times Chairman, particularly when a second flood hit the district in 1897 – he had them sort all that out. He was a very modest sort of chap but had his own ideas of what he wanted to do, and there’s a lovely story about how he was asked if he would stand for the County and he said, “Oh yes, I suppose so.”

But what he was busy doing was trying to get salmon in the rivers, and he went way up the back of the rivers with cans which he had to keep cold and treat in very particular and careful ways, and release all the salmon. That was one of the things he did which didn’t work; he was always trying to get things working, [chuckles] for instance, a woollen mill. Another thing was a steamship company; you can guess why. Steamships should be much more efficient in getting meat to England once the freezing industry had started. And that was also a pet project of Tanner’s, but it didn’t come off, largely because England was involved in the war with Russia at the time.

Anyway, that’s probably enough, unless anybody has anything else they want to ask.

Question: That homestead reminds me of the building at Hereworth School with the verandahs and that.

Jon: Yes – the old building which is up on the rise there. Hereworth School was built … it would be a lot later than that … it was not built until about the twenties.

Question: And are there any Frimley cans still in existence?

Jon: Frimley cans? I don’t know about cans; there are a number of bottles of different kinds. There are can labels and you’ll find some of them in the book here.

Question: Thank you, Jon. You mentioned about possible relics of the Frimley Canning factory. There was a property in Frimley Avenue in Hastings, and on their back boundary there’s about an eight inch steel well that comes out of the ground, about four foot six [inches], and that is the original well that serviced the canning factory; still there today.

Jon: Isn’t that interesting?! That is physical evidence on the spot. I had wondered about that.

Question: The other thing is, when the homestead burnt down in 1950, my parents had just built a house round the corner in Ikanui Road, and my father went to the fire. He said the firemen couldn’t get near it because there was so much ammunition in the homestead. [Chuckles]

Jon: Oh dear!

Question: My father, the morning after Frimley’s [inaudible] … used to have there as a child …

Jon: He used to [?] at Frimley?

Response: Yes. And I remember that fire escape very well. Actually, I’ll contact you, because my father was called to that fire and he found the drunk that they thought lit the fire in one of the garden sheds, and he took photos so I’ve still got them …

Jon: What was it that started the fire then?

Response: They always believed it was a drunk who was in the …

Jon: A drunk! Oh! [Chuckles] The story I’d heard was that it was an electrical fault, you know, because of old wiring in the kitchen area. However that’s enough from me, but if you’re interested and able to buy one of these copies of the book, Des, the author, is here. Any of the true things I’ve told you today are probably due to him.

Question: Could you tell us who the others are in the photograph? Do you know who they are, standing behind ..?

Jon: No, I don’t know. None of the Williams’ … was probably that A M Williams who was at one stage the manager at Te Aute. One of them would possibly be the first and very capable headmaster, Mr Fulton. He did things which people he later disagreed with. He gave to Māori at Te Aute – this is another subject – a full public school classical education, and that’s where some of the leaders of the party that came out of Te Aute … Young Māori Party I think it was called … came from. And their education that enabled them to be … one was even the Prime Minister at one stage.

Joyce Barry: Jon, we can’t thank you enough. It’s just touching on so much, isn’t it? Would you agree? They’re just touching on things you just want to take further; but you will remember, a lot of you were here when Caroline Fitzgerald talked about William Williams’ letters, and of course … distant relative again. But that was those letters from the first missionary out there that were in her mother’s home, that she discovered by chance and wrote a book on. And of course they were such a humble family; I think there was eleven children, and that great, great grandmother had nine babies before she had a kitchen. [Chuckles]

Jon: That is my great, great, great uncle’s family.

Joyce: Just another wee story. When we took our history cameo at Frimley School at their fiftieth, I think it was the late Doctor Broughton who had been very ill with some disease as a child and was put into sort of isolation in the Wairarapa. And he could remember lying in this bedroom feeling homesick, and there was a box in this bedroom that held a lamp, and it had the ‘Frimley Canning Company’ written on it; and he brought it up because he never knew what it meant, but the word ‘Frimley’ gave him great comfort. And that was the first we heard about it as far as Landmarks go.

Jon: So this was on a lamp?

Joyce: No. It was on a typical stapled box. So I think you’d agree with me – if you put your hands together – Jon, thank you for that talk. [Applause] I do appreciate it; and Jon has come over from Napier and he’s put this Powerpoint together – these are exactly what should be going to their family.

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Landmarks Talk 13/5/14

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