A & P Society – Ewan McGregor

Joyce Barry: Ewan, there’s no introduction to you – I believe you’ve been around Hawke’s Bay a while and haven’t been anywhere [else].

Ewan: Yes.

Joyce: It’s over to you.

Ewan: Okay. Good evening everyone, can you hear me? It is a good evening too – I was in The Warehouse this morning and I passed a barrel of umbrellas, and I thought ‘I’ll tempt fate and buy one’. And I put it to good use the last half hour, and I’m trying to figure out why I didn’t buy one a couple of months ago.

But anyway, I’m going to talk about the history of the A & P Society up to the road to Tomoana. And I’ve got 1925 there actually, because that was when the Tomoana Showgrounds were opened. But I’ll just go forward a bit from that to the acquisition of Waikoko and into the 1930s.

I’ve been asked … I was asked about three years ago to write the history of the A & P Society, and I was very delighted and privileged to do it ’cause it’s to my way of thinking, the most enduring organisation in Hawke’s Bay. The purpose for the book is to commemorate a hundred and fifty years since the first Show in 1863. And that’s a long, long time ago, it’s only fourteen years after the first sheep arrived in Hawke’s Bay, and it just shows how important the settlers felt about forming an Association, coming together, work for the interests of their industry.

I haven’t been involved in the A & P Society. My off-farm activity’s been mainly in farming politics some time ago, and local body politics, and I think perhaps this has given me a better, detached view of the history of the organisation, but I’ve been a [an] addicted show-goer.

[Shows slides, talks about each throughout]

There I am at the 1948 Show – might have gone to one or two before that but there’s no photographic evidence of it, and I doubt whether I’ve missed one since. My mother and father and brother there all dressed up as everyone was. And so I believe I’ve been to every show since.

I just want to thank the A & P Society for giving me the opportunity; the staff and those who’ve provided material, and I want to thank the librarians at Hastings, particularly Madeleine – she’s been absolutely a wonderful in providing me with information – and the librarians at Napier. Hawke’s Bay Museum’s been in some sort of abeyance over the period I’ve been writing the book, because they’re going through their redevelopment, and went to the Auckland Library for images from the old Auckland Weekly, and Alexander Turnbull Library for the Freelance.

I’ve tried to intertwine the history of the A & P Society with the wider farming industry because the two are linked; one serves the other, and I think that the history of our farming industry’s fantastic. It really is interesting and it deserves a book on its own, so I’ve obviously focused on the Society but I’ve tried to integrate into the book, the wider industry.

The A & P Society – what did it do? Well it ran Spring Show, since 1863. It missed a couple of years as it found its feet after that, but from about 1867 it has never missed a Spring Show with one partial exception … [it] was in 1942 at the depth of the War, and there was a carnival held for fund raising for the War effort at the Tomoana Showgrounds at the same time. So, it was a sort of Show. And if you think about that, that record of endurance, I think that it is fantastic.

It ran the Autumn Show from 1902 to 1958. Did suspend them during the war years. Ran a Ram Fair for over a century – in the 1920s they had over seven thousand entries. And at its peak that made it a major annual event but it ran its course and was terminated in I think 1984. Ran a Ploughing Match for many years before the Autumn Show. It included a Grain and Wheat Show which was held in the autumn so they could show produce from the farmland.

It lobbied politically until 1903. Why 1903? ‘Cause that’s when the Farmer’s Union was formed, and then it became Federated Farmers in 1945. So up to that time the A & P Society would lobby central and local Government for issues that were concerning its members.

It ran a comprehensive library for its members. It was considered to be one of the best Agricultural Libraries in the southern hemisphere, and it was in their office, Church Road, [at the] time of the earthquake, and it was victim of the fire after the earthquake, and was lost.

It ran an enhanced … and this is sort of a more general accomplishment of the Society … I think that it enhanced town and country relationships like no other organisation. I believe the Show has been a wonderful bringing together of town and country.

I just want to go back and just touch on the agriculture in Hawke’s Bay before 1863. The Maori were mainly hunters and gatherers, particularly when you move down south from the north, where they could grow more sub-tropical crops. They grew kumara – that was about all that they cultivated here. William Colenso made a very detailed record of Maori agriculture amongst other things, and they were quite active in their gardening in Wairoa – it started to peter out when they came down here.

But then things changed for the Maori agriculture when the explorers came and they started introducing new species, particularly the likes of the potato, corn, turnips, cabbages – those types of things – and the Maori were very adept at cultivating them … did it very successfully. And of course they also had to introduce steel tools. You can imagine trying to dig a patch with [a] wooden spade. And so it opened up whole new opportunities for Maori gardening and Maori agriculture.

The first sheep to arrive in Hawke’s Bay came in 1849. It’s a long story so I’ll just touch on it because it was very historic. And Charles Mann with two drovers, Tiffen and Northwood, brought three thousand sheep up in 1849 to Pourerere, but Mann came up – he could speak Maori, he was a young man, it was obvious he had a lot of initiative, and he came tramping up here the year before and realised that it was a great opportunity to grow stock at Pourerere, and so, he staked his claim by chiselling his initials and the date, or the year, there. I went and photographed that a couple of years ago.

But things started to get organised when the Crown Purchasing Officer, Donald McLean – later Sir Donald … he was a great man, could speak Maori – and he came to Hawke’s Bay in December 1850. Came up through the Manawatu Gorge and he tramped through the Forty Mile Bush which was pretty arduous challenge. And he burst out onto the Ruataniwha Plains, and he saw ahead of him a sea of tussock and toe toe and flax, and with spring fed and mountain fed streams and rivers running through it, and he thought this was a dream land for the sheep man. But he went on to Waipukurau – the Pa there – to negotiate the acquisition of land, because the graziers that were there up to that time, they only had lease arrangements with the Maori – they had no title. And so the procedure was for McLean, on behalf of the Crown, to purchase these great blocks of land from the Maori and then transfer title to private individuals. And he was welcomed, the Maori knew he was coming and they were going to meet him – by the time he got to Waipukurau he had a great number with him. And they cheered him, and he entered into the negotiations.

The next day went through to Te Hauke and negotiated with Te Hapuku. And they had a great relationship and Te Hapuku believed that the people would be served … the Maori people would be served … by embracing European technology. And that really set the scene for tenure of farmland in Hawke’s Bay, and so it was really relationship that served us well. And that’s not a very good reproduction, it’s just the way we’ve put it onto Powerpoint.

[Continuing with slideshow]

But in 1863 McLean had a meeting of Maori at … it said Greenmeadows, but it would be Otatara there where there was a huge population of Maori. And that image believe it or not was published in the Illustrated London News.

Now that’s just a scene of the Heretaunga Plains … little bit naive, the hills are a bit bigger than they should be … at about the time of European arrival. And the Heretaunga Plains were nothing like they are today – they were to a very large extent, particularly on the coastal side, a series of wetlands really.

And that’s a very good image taken from the Te Aute hill, looking down. The transmitters are about there [points] – that’s the main Highway 2. And that was when the road up the Te Aute hill wandered – you can still see the line of the old road. In 1949 it was straightened, but I just put that in to show you a good example of the landscape at that time, with patches of bush that escaped the Maori fires. But the big Maori fires of the 16th and 17th centuries had largely cleared Hawke’s Bay … most of Hawke’s Bay … but not the wetter areas. And this made it … you can see a fire there now, but this is under European settlement ’cause of the fence … but this really opened it up for the sheep man.

Then [in] 1858, the graziers started to coalesce, and they wanted to form a Society called the Graziers Society. And they met in January of 1858, but all the ‘Hawke’s Bay Herald’ papers that were published – I’ve been able to see them on Papers Past, which is a wonderful research tool – and there’s no evidence of anything emerged from that meeting for several years. But anyway, this is just 1860 at the same time, just to show you how early it was in the settlement of Hawke’s Bay, ’cause that’s Napier at the time they held that first meeting. But anyway, they then became active again in early 1863. They’d tend to hold a meeting, or a show – this was a meeting to consider holding an exhibition of stock and produce at Meeanee. But anyway it did eventuate, but it was at Danver’s Paddock at Havelock North. And Danver was a merchant and had a little bit of land there, and made his paddock available and used to hold auctions and that type of thing. Okay. And that’s his Paddock today. [Chuckle]

And this is the Karamu, [Stream] but it was the Ngaruroro [River] at the time. And we think the Show … and that’s the domain there … and we think the Show was somewhere about there. [Indicates] Four hundred turned up to the first Show. It was very competitive – there was a long report in the paper of it, and who was winning what, and it was obviously a good kickstart for this organisation.

And this is just in the Society’s archives … certificate that John Hislop won for the best cow that’s not a Shorthorn. Well I thought just about all cattle then were Shorthorn, but anyway there it is, and Donald McLean’s signature is at the bottom as the President. He was the inaugural President. He was the inaugural leader, and for much of early Hawke’s Bay’s history.

The organisation stuttered a bit – it started to find its feet, but by 1874 it was really consolidating itself. It was a new era; it had new grounds. It started off … two years before that it brought a small section of land where the Police Station is, held a couple of Shows there and then sold that piece of land to the Police Department – and they’ve been there ever since – and brought the Racecourse but it was actually the Showgrounds, owned by the A & P Society, where they held races. And it settled on a final name … it went through two or tree name changes. It started off with the Ahuriri Agricultural Society; Hawke’s Bay Agricultural Society; and then they added the word ‘pasture’, and it’s had the same name ever since; it’s held the Spring Show ever since, and it’s had two Showgrounds.

So then we entered into a new era, it was the long Depression, but the Hawke’s Bay wool barons seemed to do rather well. They built some tremendous homesteads at that time, but there was a lot of hardship too. I think probably it was the greatest disparity of wealth in Hawke’s Bay’s history at that time, but nevertheless it grew, and the Industry … the wool industry … developed, and the Society grew steadily with it.

Then we entered a new era. Of all the images I’ve presented to the formatter, and I don’t know how many, I haven’t counted them and I haven’t heard back from him to say there’s too many yet, but this was the only one that doesn’t have a direct relationship to the Society. I just included this because the first big sub-division of an estate in Hawke’s Bay was Elsthorpe in 1896. This is under the Liberal Government and this changed the face of Hawke’s Bay. You’d have … in some of these big estates like Hatuma and Milbourne Estate in Central Hawke’s Bay, they were sub-divided into about sixty farms with a village in the middle, and so this changed the face … changed the farming industry. At the same time in 1884, William Nelson started his freezing works at Tomoana, so there was a new industry – it was wool, it was meat, and there was a greater settlement of land around which of course reflected in the potential membership of the Society. So, we went through, from that date, into what I consider to be the first golden era … the second one, I’d say it was the fifties … first golden era in Hawke’s Bay farming.

Now I’ll just go through a few images. This was A Jones & Sons – they had a factory in Hastings and Waipukurau, and they made vehicles, gigs, carts, ploughs … a real industry, so secondary industry was developing Hawke’s Bay to service the farming industry. And they won for decades – they were winning cups, and all sorts of awards – gold cups and what-have-you, for their implements in the Hawke’s Bay Show.

Just another example – this is the Morepork Bacon Company, so that was probably about the early part of the century.

The first machine shearing competition in 1901 at the Show. By that time probably machine shearing was becoming universal. It had been around for about fifteen years before that in the big stations, developing the shaft plants there. And the next one just shows a recent trophy that was because of the contribution that Maori people have made to the shearing of the Hawke’s Bay flock – I mean, basically they shore those for decades. The Maori shearing gangs shore the wool off … pretty tough going, and so Maori produced this nice trophy … wonderful trophy … for the winner of the Shearing Competition at the Show.

And just while we are on that just a couple of images to show the wonderful trophies that the A & P Society have. Another one … okay.

And just a couple of images of early Shows, taken from the Archives.

And then we move to the first Autumn Show in 1902. It’s got a character all of its own – I can just recall the Autumn Show that I went to as a young fellow. I remember the cattle pumpkins – I didn’t know they were bred for cattle, and you know, they were about that big, and I thought ‘well that would feed a few families’, but they probably were inedible. But that was my memory of the Autumn Show. It had a particular character because it was fruit, grains and that type of thing – produce were [was] displayed in it – but also in latter years, one of the highlights of the Autumn Show was the Chiller Beef Competition. And just on the left is the train arrangements.

Okay – next one. I just put that in to … and that’s 1879, and the first railway only reached Hastings in 1874. But right through for many years, the railway served the Show. It brought in the livestock; it brought in the attendees … the visitors to the Show. And the trains – one news item I read was that they had to put two of the most powerful engines in the region to pull the train from Napier, it was so full of people. Here it goes – the line’s gone to Kopua, which is where the monastery is, and to the Spit to the south, which is Ahuriri which was then known as the Spit. So I just put that in to illustrate the importance of the rail, and they took the Spur Line away in 1965.

This is an early one of 1909, and you can look along the bottom line there. There’s A McLean – he’s no relation to Donald McLean, but I think he was brought out … Donald McLean brought out from Scotland a lot of his relations. Douglas McLean … the second one is his son. Wellwood – there’s another Wellwood there, this guy here – he’s a second rower. Is that your predecessor?

Audience member: No, that’s my great-grandfather.

Oh, okay. Yeah, Ambrose Wellwood, Cartwright Brown, Nathaniel Kettle, founder of Williams and Kettle, Thomas Tanner, [?] Sir George Hunter, Birch, Sir William Russell, and on the end there is Coleman. So, these are the heavyweights.

Another few of the Show – remember we’re still at the Racecourse, and that’s looking towards Havelock … the hills coming down towards the coast. And I presume that’s the Grand Hotel because that’s looking right over towards the centre of Hastings.

Then another good one of the Racecourse Show there – I’d say that’s about 1910, something like that. That’s not a very good reproduction but it’s another example.

Frimley Orchard – I think that was tied up with the Cannery there, but preserved fruits, and they were at one of the Autumn Shows.

And another one of the Autumn Show … Farmers’ Union Exhibit at the Autumn Show.

And the Ploughing Match was a big thing, and you can see Te Mata Peak in the background, so its somewhere in line of the Havelock Road. And I can’t get over this because the guy’s opened up a furrow, and ‘course the idea is to get your first furrow straight because the horse followed the furrow from then on. And it took quite a bit of doing when you were doing it with horses – and by cripes! He’s got some critics there, there must be a hundred people having a [laughter] checking it out [laughter].

And of course draught horses were … huge thing, I mean there was no mechanical power to cultivate land – they were just so vital. And these are judging draught fillies at the Hawke’s Bay Show.

That’s Douglas McLean. The Spring Flower on the left won the first prize, and there was great rivalry between Douglas McLean and Walter Shrimpton of Matapiro – it’s just on the other side of the river – the Ngaruroro was between them, and I’ve got a feeling – and they were always having each other on at the Shows with their horses and Lincoln sheep. And I suspect that the rivalry was very, very tense.

Williams and Kettles’ display – they was always at the Show, right up to their demise. And what a wonderful company that was, and we’re sorry that’s it gone, but it’s gone.

And this is one they haven’t reproduced all that well, but … the Women’s Driving Competition. Actually, I should have corrected that – that’s the 1913 Show I made a mistake there. And that’s Mrs Campbell from Horonui … the bottom picture … and there’s a few there, and I don’t know if they have self-starters – I saw somewhere recently and it listed the hundred great inventions of the twentieth Century, and it didn’t mention the self-starter. The self-starter doubled the number of people that could drive a car, because women … it took quite a lot of strength to crank a car. And I was always taught you never wrap your thumb over the crank handle – it backfired, it broke your thumb. But that’s beside the point. The thing is that the self-starter meant that women could drive, and if you lived in the country it gave women a great freedom which they didn’t hitherto have.

The Hawke’s Bay Show was just a great place to display and hopefully sell cars, and it was one of the big attractions, was the cars on display – right through until … well, even now they still have a good display of cars … but when the latest models would be coming out every year, and people would go along. And in the good years they’d buy a car at the Show. It might have been a pretty expensive one too. And this is from 1915 and that’s in the archives, and I don’t know where that’s come from, what publication it is. It’s not the best reproduction, but I’ve put it in the book because it just shows you the sort of half-way point, I guess. Cars were tremendous … featured, you know – everyone wanted to buy a car if they could afford it, and if you were farming in the country it was just so … such a breakthrough in mobility. And so this is 1915, so there’s plenty of cars turning up to the Show then, but there’s still horse drawn carriages there to get to the Show.

I just want to feature just the 1917 Show. I’ve singled out certain Shows that I think deserve some special treatment. And what was the on the minds of the attendees at the Show? What were they talking about? What we know, when two farmers get together at the Show the first thing they would say is … they’d talk about the feed situation, or the lack of it, and that would be obviously the first thing ’cause the farmers always do that. But there were times there when there were other pressing matters, and when I researched the book, going through the papers leading up – there was one thing, it was easy to research the Show because it was held in mid-October, so you could go to that month and have a look to research it. But it was interesting to see the things that were obviously on the minds of the people that were attending the Show, and so the 1917 one I’ve singled out.

This was right at the depth of World War 1. And this is the Friday before the Show and you notice right through the first World War all the headlines had Germany on the brink of collapse. They were on the back foot the whole way – I mean, it’s amazing anyone believed it, but … So they’re at the end of their tether here and there’s the red flag, and everything’s going wrong for the Germans. But it wasn’t to be – or it might have been, but it was going wrong for us too – because on the Monday of Show week was the opening of the Battle of Passchendaele, and that was the worst day in New Zealand’s history. We lost twelve hundred men that day, and a lot thereafter. This was a disastrous battle, and the New Zealand Division was led by Sir Andrew Russell, who was President of the Society in 1911.

And he could see that this was going to be a disaster, and he and his Australian colleague went to visit General Haig, who was the British Commander under whose command they were, and they said that the troops were exhausted, the weather was incessantly wet, they were in their trenches and they were waterlogged, the battlefield was a sea of mud, the Germans had defended themselves behind concrete pillboxes with machine guns fronted by barbed wire. But no, Haig wasn’t moved. So, the attack went forward and you’ll see here – this was the headline on the Thursday. I’ve just missed a little bit there but it says ‘ANZACs’ part – another thrilling story’. But then the Show went on, but on the right-hand side, two full columns of casualties, and that was just the start of it.

There was a debate within the A & P Society as to whether they held Shows during the First World War – and you know, the committee might have been about forty – and they moved to continue showing it … and there was one dissenting vote … because they believed that life must go on; stiff upper lip; British are undeterred; and I make no moral judgement about that – that was their decision at the time, to continue with the Show, and why not? But it was interesting to compare the life here during the First World War with that of the Second.

All consumer goods were available during the First World War – the only difference is that they tended to be more American because some of the British manufactures couldn’t supply. But if you wanted to buy a car any year – 1917 included – during the War, well all you could buy if your budget was a little bit restricted – you could buy a Ford; if you had a bit more money you could buy a Cadillac. It’s 1915, that advertisement, but you could buy a Cadillac all through the First World War. And that’s … just took it off the microfilm … that’s 1917 – ‘Rolls Royce would be exhibited at the Hastings Showgrounds on Thursday’. You could buy a Rolls Royce in 1917 when we were struggling in the trenches.

But also, we’ve seen just the emergence of the mechanical farming – that’s the first tractor that I’ve seen, on my research, to be demonstrated at the Show … ‘See our Exhibition at the Local Show.’

And of course, you had to turn out in your absolute best dress … ‘On Show at the Show.’ I’ll come back to ‘On Show at the Show’ later on because dress was such an important aspect of turning out for the Show.

But also there was … and this was the Thursday evening of the Show. It mentions it somewhere – yeah, at the Showgrounds. Well it was actually Napier, but it was a concert to raise funds for the War, and it was deliberately designed, or coordinated with the Show when people’d come around from [from around] Hawke’s Bay to Napier and Hastings.

Just before we go off onto the new era of Tomoana, it’s worth just looking at – that’s a plan of the Racecourse Showgrounds, and you’ll see there’s quite a lake there. And there it is – that’s about … I calculate to be where the Royston carpark is. So that’s about turn of the century scene, and you can see that it was quite a nice Showgrounds.

But anyway, in 1911 – just going back – 1911, the A & P Society believed that if they were to hold a really … type of Show that did justice to Hawke’s Bay, they’d have to have new Showgrounds, because the Racecourse was too restricted and there was no railway connection to it, so all the exhibits had to be taken off at the Station in town, the livestock were driven through the middle of town to get them to the Racecourse Showgrounds. So they looked at about a dozen sites around Hawke’s Bay and they didn’t come up with quite the right one, and then they were approached by William Nelson, who said he would be prepared to sell Tomoana to the A & P Society. He wanted them to have it, and he offered it to them under generous terms. So that was 1911, and they were determined not to have a Show there ‘til they had all the facilities in place, which was in 1925, but ‘course the First World War intervened and didn’t help that … delayed that somewhat.

So 1920 we come to a … what I would define as the end of a Golden Era. 1921-22 season saw a sharp Depression which forced many newly settled Great War veterans off their farms. It was a disaster – and, you imagine, they’d gone through the First World War in the trenches and that – taken a hell of a battering. And many didn’t survive that season, but some did, and many pulled out before the Second World War, particularly when they got to the 1930s. So the years through to 1945 which I’ve devoted to a chapter, were roller coaster years for farming. There was some good, or reasonably good times in the late twenties and the late thirties, but unfortunately there was a running out of fertility; there was rabbits; and there was regeneration coming in. And they didn’t have crawler tractors like we had after the Second World War; didn’t have aircraft to put fertiliser on, and they were tough times really.

Sir Charles Ferguson that was father of Sir Bernard, came and opened the Showgrounds in 1925 – that’s him with the bowler hat there, and you can see those horse boxes that are there to this day. And there he is opening them – that’s from the Freelance – and there’s quite an article which I’ve included, ‘Where the Wool Men Reign’, and it boasts the Hawke’s Bay wool producer as number one in the country, and indeed he was.

And that’s two scenes from the ‘Freelance’ of the first Show at Tomoana. You can see everyone’s turned out there and it’s a great day.

I’ll just jump forward to give an aerial image of the grounds. There is actually – I’ve got an image – of late 1920s but its just not quite as clear as that. Didn’t have the date on that, but it’s clear enough for me to identify an American car on the stand and I’m pretty sure it was 1938 model, and you can guarantee it would have been brand new. But that just shows a good image of a 1930s Show.

All the papers, there were three at the time. There was the ‘Hawke’s Bay Herald’ which was a Napier morning paper, and there was the ‘Daily Telegraph’, and there was the ‘Hawke’s Bay Tribune’ which [was] the Hastings evening paper. And of course, the ‘Tribune’ and the ‘Herald’ combined in 1937. But they always produced a copious pre-Show number which actually [has] been a great source of research, because they have a lot of articles about farm related activity and a lot of reminiscences, and I’ve found it [to] be a tremendous source of general Hawke’s Bay history, and that’s just an example of … I think that’s 1926. That’s a late twenties or … judging by the car I can just pick in the background it might be 1930-’31 … just an example of an exhibit there.

Hawke’s Bay held its first Royal Show in 1930, which is – every five years or thereabouts they hold a Royal Show which is a national Show really, and it makes it an extra big thing. And that’s … ‘Governor General Lord Bledisloe Opens the 1930 Royal Show’, ’cause they always sought to have the Governor General open the Royal Show.

And the Grand Parade – remember the Grand Parades? They’ve been terminated some time ago for various reasons, but they were always popular. There’d always be a bull that would take charge, or a kid with a calf that would lose it and create a bit of fun, but everyone would watch the Grand Parade.

Oh, and that’s just another scene, 1937 is it? Yeah – just to show the size of the committees they had, and all very established farmers, mostly.

That’s Sandra Russell, this is 1934. And this gentleman is Retemeyer who was either assistant Secretary or Secretary for the Society for about fifty years, most of them Secretary. He was a great servant of the Society.

Side shows … I could have given quite a few images of side shows, because every kid … get ten bob [ten shillings] or something and go and spend it at the side shows … it was great fun.

The Ram Fair – that’s actually 1938, but I just put it in to cite it as one of the main activities of the Society.

Then we just go to Waikoko, and the Society purchased it in late 1933, until they really took it over in early ‘34. Nelson with one of his gardeners – he had a great garden – he was a great man, and you know, he was the father of the North Island Meat Industry, and he ranks alongside Sir James Wattie as our two great industrial pioneers. And this is the Waikoko Grounds during the first Show, and this has come through sort of three or four years of Depression, but you look at that image and there’s quite a few reasonably modern American cars, and the ladies look pretty well done up, and it’s a nice scene isn’t it? Not bad for a Depression.

[Audience discusses next slide]

If you could just divert your attention from the Iceland poppies for a minute, those were the three daughters of Bill and Mary Whittle from Puketitiri. Hold on, go back to it. [Laughter] And Mary had spent weeks making the dresses for them, because of the big event every year. And the tall girl on the left has the good fortune to be my wife. [Chuckles] She’s lucky, isn’t she? [Chuckle]

And that’s … Sam Nelson gave me that image, just late last week. These are taken from colour slides, and don’t they produce well? And [I] think that’s one we’ve got to enlarge, or hang on the wall of the Waikoko Room. But that shows the Iceland poppies and the wisteria … famous wisteria … and the old homestead in all its glory.

I’m just jumping forward now – my brother took that from the top of a ferris wheel in 1959, with a slide. And you can see it’s reproduced rather well – but just go onto the next one – I’m just making a point here. Someone … I don’t know, I’m a bit embarrassed … someone gave me that, and I’ve tried to be careful to record all donors of images. I can’t recall who gave me that one, but that’s a print also taken – a different year – taken from the top of the ferris wheel, and it just shows the better quality that you get from taking a print off a slide. And I happen to think that hidden in thousands of shoe boxes at the back of cupboards, are, is a great resource of colour images of the 1950s and ‘60s.

In August of 1976 was a disaster … the Waikoko Homestead burnt to the ground. The Society had spent quite a lot of money doing it up, including putting concrete piles under it. And … gone forever. But anyway, that was just the way it was, and you can see there the old, poor old wisteria looked like it’s had it. But no – a little shoot came up from the ground – this is the phoenix that rose from the ashes. That’s the staff … present staff … under it this spring – just took it when I thought it looked its best – and now that is one of Hawke’s Bay’s most historic plants. And ‘the wisteria originally covered the verandah of William Nelson’s Waikoko Homestead, destroyed by fire in 1976 – Photo taken 1900’.

That’s just a park that’s there now.

Now, ‘On Show …’ one of the things – I’ve became an expert on women’s fashions actually, because no woman would go to the Show in last year’s outfit – they always had to get a new outfit. So if you want to see the latest fashion, Hawke’s Bay style, you look at what women were wearing at the Show, and men too for that matter. As 1913 – “What will you wear when you visit the Show, Madam?”

And then ‘On Show’ … ‘Come to the Show – you must have a new frock’ – that’s 1929 ‘On Show’. ‘On Show’ 1934 – that’s similar to the previous image, but there you are. They look pretty good, don’t they?

These are four sixth formers from the Napier Girls’ High School and the dresses they made in sewing class. That’s Judy Klingender on the right, she was Judy Dwight from Waipawa, and she gave me that image. And I betcha the boys were looking out for them.

On Show at the Show 1959. New felt hat for the Show, and more fashions.

On Show at the Show 1965.

On Show at the Show 1978.

And now, would you believe it? How casual can you get to go to the Show? On Show at the Show 1980s, and what would their mothers and grandmothers think? Now probably, well they don’t even advertise an outfit to go to the Show. [Chuckle]

Remember this? Free hot water in the carparks? And there was about five of those I think … boilers … and the guy would be boiling up the water. I remember lining up with a teapot to get hot water for tea, and then along … thermos flasks or whatever it was, and that went by the way.

But – and this is nearly – this is 1928, but it’s just an image of the picnics in the carpark were such a big thing for the Show – it’s all gone now, but that was just one of it. And ‘course after the Show, up come the boot and behold! There was a bar inside it, and so a few bottles of whisky were cleaned up at the end of the Show.

Can you believe it? The Judge ignores the best bull of the Show! And wife Edna cleans up the cooking and needlecraft. [Laughter] And he’s not happy, and I don’t blame him [laughter] – it’s a good-looking bull. [Laughter – refers to someone in photo near bull] I wouldn’t stand there if I was you. [Laughter]

Anyway, that’s it folks, that’s the road to Tomoana and there’s a little bit beyond. Thank you. [Applause]

I should explain that I’m a little hard of hearing … I’m hearing impaired, and in a situation like this I have been known to give a profound answer that’s got no relationship to the question. But [laughter] Cynthia might have to help me. I’ll do my best.

Joyce:  Any questions anyone? It’s a very comprehensive talk, Ewan, so there probably isn’t many.

Ewan:  Well if there’s no questions, that solves my problem. [Laughter]

Joyce:   We really can’t thank you enough for that – that is fantastic.

[Refers to memorabilia people have at home]

Please, please, please look them up, please take them and drop them into Stoneycroft, or register them up at Stoneycroft, they can all be put up in the sky on a digital cloud and you can have your slides back again. You know what your grandchildren are going to do when we all hit the mortal coil – they’re going to call the skip faster than the funeral director, [laughter] and they’ll never find it again. So please, please we would love Hawke’s Bay history which has not been famous at being kept. And I think it’s marvellous, Ewan, how much you’ve found among …

Ewan: I’ll just mention … another aspect of Hawke’s Bay photographic history is that in 1928, a gentleman by the name of Moore, went right around New Zealand – well he was in Hawkes’ Bay in 1928 – for about five years. He went right round New Zealand and he had a revolving camera, and he took wide vistas of New Zealand landscapes right throughout the country. And I’ll just give you an example where there was one of the Tamumu Valley, where I’ve been farming. And the family’s gone and their children have gone to Australia. And that’s an image that’s very historic to our district’s gone. So when I was at the … well I was corresponding with the librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library, and I said “just as an aside”, I said “did you ever hear of anyone by the name of Moore? Can’t remember what his first name was – he took these landscape images throughout New Zealand.” “Oh, yes” she said. Well she came back with an email within ten minutes, and she said, “yes – he deposited his whole negative archive with us. We’ve got two thousand five hundred of these negatives of …” And she looked up the record and she said, “there’s three from our district here – they’ve got negatives of it”.

And so I often wonder why the Hawke’s Bay Museum hasn’t been searching this sort of thing out, because they would make a great comparison to the landscapes today. And I’ve got of Tamumu Valley – I went up and I photographed … click, click, click … and it sort of matched up to get a comparison. And that’s just one example of images of Hawke’s Bay history that are not in Hawke’s Bay – they’ve been lost as people drift apart, or the house burns down or whatever. And I’m keen to see if I can get those Hawke’s Bay images back for the Museum here. But they just wait for … it seems to me that the Museum wait for people to turn up and give them an image – they don’t go searching for them and they should. They’re getting $17 million of public money to do the Museum up.

Joyce:  Ewan, a very small modest thank you, very much, it was marvellous. But that was an excellent talk. [Applause] And Ewan, the book is being written still, is it? Or is it finished?

Ewan: They’ll be launched at 2013 Show in October. That’s a hundred and fifty years, and its being formatted at the moment and it will be printed shortly, or in due course. And it’ll be on sale there and we’d like you to buy one. [Laughter]

Joyce: And thank you for being the drought breaker. [Laughter] Thank you very much.

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Landmarks Talk 9 April 2013

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