Reginald Gardiner – Mark von Dadelszen

Peggy van Asch: Mark, I’m very pleased to introduce you, and look forward to hearing all the information of the history of Reginald Gardiner.

Mark von Dadelszen: Thank you, Peggy. I have to say the invitation to talk about my grandfather came as a surprise in some ways, but not in others … not a surprise, because I now realise as I didn’t as a child, how important he was to Havelock North; a surprise because it required that I sit down and go through family records and other sources to put together a coherent, or semi-coherent story. And I have referred to a number of sources and I have to say one of the interesting things about this is how history gets altered, because people record different dates and I’ll mention one particular date which puzzled me when I get to it.

Can I also record Eileen [von Dadelszen’s] apology – she would’ve been here in March if we had had the correct date. [Laughter] She’s currently in Geneva – she should be in London. [Chuckles] She’s supposed to be coming home, leaving London on Sunday. And you know the expression, ‘God willing … DV’ [Deo Volente] – well they decided in Europe, my family, that it’s ‘VV – volcanoes volente’. [Chuckles] Whether she gets home as she’s supposed to next Tuesday is a moot point.

So this is a photograph of my grandfather, Reginald Gardiner. And I was very tempted when I was thinking of what I was going to call this talk, to say something like, ‘Don’t take your grandparents for granted.’ And I guess we all take our grandparents for granted. He was part of the furniture, as it were; he was just part of my life. He was always there until he wasn’t, and I didn’t even think of him as … I certainly didn’t think of him as being old, and I didn’t really think of him as being adult, either. He was somebody I was always comfortable with. His wife I don’t remember as well … Ruth; and whenever I visited, the two of them were sitting in different rooms. [Laughter]

I don’t know how many of you know the house in front of where Fred Sanders now lives, which I’ll come to later in the presentation, but by the time I remember them they were living in the house in front, which is now occupied by Robert Herrick. And I remember my grandfather sitting in that chair. [Showing slides] I even remember the upholstery – I can tell you that it was brown and orange in colour, striped as you can see. And I’m not sure when that chair disappeared from the family, but I believe we actually had it in the early years of our marriage, and it didn’t really fit houses, and so it – it went. But that is very much as I remember my grandfather – that’s a 1952 photograph.

And Matthew Wright, in ‘The History of the Village’, on the first page says: ‘The whole shape of village life in the twentieth century was profoundly affected from before the First World War, by Reginald Gardiner; the deep-thinking, enthusiastic, community-minded villager and his immediate circle of friends. Their legacy far transcends their organisation, ‘The Havelock Work’, creating a community spirit that appeared later in such forms as the Keirunga Garden Society.’

And I’ve always thought of Havelock North as being ‘the village’; I’ve always known it to be a community. But it really came home to me when … and again, Peggy and others were involved in raising funds for the library. And it was at the opening of the library in 1980 that I decided that I would stand for the Havelock North Borough Council, becoming the third generation of my family to serve on it – my paternal grandfather and my father have preceded me. And it was because of the community spirit that was evident in the fundraising for the library, and so I believe Matthew’s really hit on something in terms of community and I’m glad that it’s him rather than me that makes the wonderful statements about my grandfather.

Those were Reginald and Ruth Gardiner, on the 25th August 1939, and I know that because that was taken from a wedding photograph for my parents’ wedding. And as you can see, he was a handsome man; he was quite tall and at that stage he still had two legs. As I say, I didn’t really get to know my grandmother; she was somewhat reclusive. Very philosophic – I remember her quite seriously talking about the fairies in the bottom of the garden. Now whether she was indulging me as a child, or whether she really believed in it, I do not know. I suspect she probably did believe in it, because she had a definite sense of the spiritual. I’m going to sit down in a chair which I’ll talk about later.

And so, Thomas Henry Reginald [Gardiner] was born in New South Wales in 1972. He was the son of an Anglican vicar, and his brother later became Vicar of St Luke’s. And he moved around an awful lot – I mean you think about the volcanoes causing problems in travel in Europe at the moment – but he was in Australia, South Africa and England before he first came to New Zealand in 1885; and he lived in both in Taradale, Napier and north of Gisborne where he worked for Williams and Kettle, managing a rural store.

In 1896, on medical advice, he returned to England, where in London in a rooming house where he was staying, he met Canadian, Ruth Gardiner [née Scott] who was there with her father, who was very much involved with one of the railways in Canada; and he followed her to Canada, where they became engaged, and then married in 1900. And he worked for his father-in-law’s Quebec Railway Company; what I always understood was that his father-in-law, in fact, or the company, was responsible for much of the rail line, coast-to-coast across Canada.

He was still in poor health, and he returned to New Zealand in 1907, settling in Havelock North where Allen, his brother, was Vicar of St Luke’s. And initially he established an import and commission business; later becoming secretary of the Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune newspaper. And he was secretary of the Woodford House Board for thirty-five years from 1909 to 1944.

I’m very grateful to the Woodford archivist, Gaye Robertson I think it is, for extracting that information for me. One of the interesting things is, she knows that he left the Board in 1944; in 1943 he was absent for Board meetings because of ill health, and it was in 1944 that he had a leg amputated, so I’m sure that that was all related. She’s not certain, but she believes that he was probably Secretary from the time the Board was established in 1909. And they had a record of Reginald and Mason Chambers – not the one that you will all know, but his father or grandfather, I’m not certain – walking the hills of Havelock North to identify the site where Woodford is now established.

Reginald was known generally as Reg; he and Ruth had three children … Tony, who’s correct name was actually Ireton. And the reason for that is that I am descended from Oliver Cromwell’s daughter, [chuckles] who married Ireton, who was one of Oliver Cromwell’s military types, and so I’m descended. My wife’s Irish grandmother would be rotating in her grave [laughter] at the thought that Eileen married somebody who is descended from Oliver Cromwell. [Chuckles] Then there was Faith, who was two years older than my mother; and Michael, my mother. And whether she, they thought that she was going to be boy, I simply don’t know, but she was always known as Michael. Her full name was Sybil Mary Michael, and she was known as Michael. She came to put an ‘a’ on it so that people wouldn’t get confused, particularly for purposes of her painting in the last … just sort of twenty-five-odd … years of her life.

Reginald and Ruth purchased about eighteen acres of Mason Chambers’ ‘Tauroa Station’ land, and in 1907 ‘Stadacona’’’, as it was known, was built by Robert Holt, for five hundred pounds; built of heart kauri and totara, all the building materials being dragged by bullock dray up a track which is now known as Joll Road. Charles Tanner then purchased the property in 1919, renaming it ‘Keirunga’ – the place on the hill. ‘Stadacona’ I understand to be a North American Indian word, and I did at one stage know what it meant but I can’t now recall.

I understand it is likely that they shifted from what we now know as ‘Keirunga’ to the top of Duart Road, because by 1919 when Tanner purchased the property, ‘’Whare Ra’’ was occupied by the Felkins, and as you’ll see there was a connection between the two. And just to complete the story, in 1928 George Nelson bought ‘Keirunga’ where he lived until his death at age ninety-three, in 1964. Because Reg Gardiner was a supporter of the Arts and Crafts movement, which I’ll talk about more later, he would be delighted that the house he built is now home to the Keirunga Arts Society; and I took that photograph from the Keirunga Arts Society website.

Just to give you a little bit of context, in 1910 to 1911 the Chambers family, Hugh Campbell and George Nelson established the Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune, and Reg Gardiner became its Secretary and later a director; and I think I’m correct in saying he was a director until the time of his death in 1959; he might’ve retired a little bit earlier.

In 1911 the population of Havelock was five hundred and one. Woodford moved from Hastings to a site chosen by Reg and Mason Chambers, and to buildings designed by Willie Rush, and they had a grand roll of fifty-two girls. In 1912, following a petition to the government which Reg Gardiner signed, Havelock was proclaimed a town district, but was chronically short of funds. And 1913, Heretaunga School moved from Hastings; later merged with the Wanganui school Hurworth, to become Hereworth.

Talking then about the Arts and Crafts Movement – this was a British, Canadian, Australian and American design movement, so it was pretty international, that flourished particularly between 1880 and 1910; and it was inspired very much by the writer and artist, William Morris, and by the writings of John Ruskin. It influenced architecture, domestic design and decorative arts, using simple forms in the medieval style of decoration. It also advocated for truth to materials, traditional craftsmanship and economic reform. Quite how those three things fit together puzzles me a tiny bit, but there we are.

The followers of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Havelock North included Reg Gardiner; architect James Chapman-Taylor who designed ‘Turama’ for the Gardiners and ‘’Whare Ra’’ for Dr Robert Felkin, and other local buildings; and also artist and architect, William Rush, who designed the village hall … St Luke’s hall, now demolished … Rush Cottage and others. At a time then of social and intellectual change, the Havelock Work was an artistic, cultural and spiritual movement that stimulated much that happened in Havelock North. In 1907, Reg and Ruth and Harold Large formed an informal literary discussion group, meeting regularly in Havelock North; and then in 1908, over a hundred people – bear in mind at that at that time the population of Havelock North was just over five hundred, so a number of them presumably, went to Frimley – a number of them were obviously drawn from Hastings and possibly Napier, but they met at Frimley to discuss cultural issues, with Reginald Gardiner a main speaker proposing an organisation to encourage the talent of musical, dramatic and literary people. The Havelock Work was born, and eventually embraced the whole town. Now that’s rather [a] startling statement to make, [coughing] but I think it’s probably true. There were no doubt some people who didn’t believe in it, but the majority of the population appeared to.

And initially, from Shakespeare and Dickens readings held in the St Luke’s school room, where I went to kindergarten, it moved to social weekends and Wednesday night talent shows, then carving and drama classes, flower and fruit shows and arts and crafts exhibitions; and Reginald Gardiner opened a craft shop in the village to foster local interest. It was also a Morris Dancing site formed by school children; the first in the country, and it’s something which continues today.

I’m sitting in a chair, which I believe was carved by my grandfather. It wasn’t upholstered by him; I reupholstered it. And also to my now shame, I stained it at the time I reupholstered it. It’s oak and one of the projects that I want to undertake at some time, is to see whether I can remove the stain; I think I did it with potassium permanganate, and I’m not certain that I can do it, but I suspect I’ll be able to bleach it if nothing else.

I also have four carving chisels … went to find them this morning and I couldn’t, so I’m not quite certain what’s happened to them, but I do have his four Marples carving chisels, which I used particularly when I was in my late teens and early twenties to carve sculptures and wooden jewellery. So if you want to have a look at this later, by all means do. And while I’m talking about his carving, the reason I visited the Herricks last weekend, was to see whether I could photograph the carved cupboard doors in my grandfather’s study. I couldn’t even identify where … well, I knew where the study was, but I couldn’t identify a room as being his study, and the carved doors have disappeared. [Murmurs] The house has actually been changed almost beyond recognition; and that’s not a criticism, it’s just simply a fact of what happens. But I really was rather sad that the doors which I know he carved, are no longer there; but I’m fairly certain this chair was carved by him, and as soon as I put it in here and Peggy saw it, she said, “Oh, we’ve got one that looks just like that upstairs.” [Chuckles] So who knows, it may well have been carved by him.

The Havelock Work then proposed a village hall, and £1100 was collected by public subscription. And the hall was opened by Bishop Averill in 1910, and there were weekly dramatic performances in the hall. Just think about that – weekly; not every two months or something or other like that, nup [no] – weekly. In 1911, an old English village fete was held, opening with a procession of over a hundred men, women and children in medieval costume, and carrying banners. King Arthur and his court presided over Morris and folk dancers, tourneys and playlets, and stalls sold refreshments and crafts. Entertainments included games, sixteenth-century songs and dances. Do you remember, Peggy, the medieval dinner we held at Hereworth to raise funds for the …

Peggy: Yes, very successful.

… for the library? We were obviously following tradition. Music by the Hastings Town Band and other concerts; a Woodford House production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’; a performance of the ‘Merchant of Venice’, and scenes from ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘King Lear’, ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Love’s Labour[’s] Lost’; and Reginald was Don Adriano de Armado, and Ruth as [was] Katherine, so they were both well into it. And a ball was held in Shakespearean costume. The three-day pageant opened with a grand procession, including Queen Elizabeth and her court and retinue, as well as Shakespeare and players. [You] may not be able to see it, but [showing slides] that’s my grandfather up there, and one of the three boys kneeling down is Tony – I don’t know which one; the photograph is too indistinct to identify who was what. But at that time my grandfather had rather more hair than in the earlier photograph, but you can see that he was quite tall.

‘The Forerunner’ was a magazine intended as an informal publication of the Havelock Work; initially typed and hand-illustrated, but soon printed on a small press at ‘Stadacona’. That was printed in the cottage, which is now occupied by the quilters. I do have, I think, a complete set of ‘The Forerunner’ including the hand-illustrated versions, but I didn’t think it was appropriate to bring them. In the first issue Reginald Gardiner explained its purpose, and I’m quoting this because it gives you some idea about his philosophy of life:

‘We seek expression of the ideas that well up from time to time from the deeps of our eternal self. So we’ve produced this first attempt at a magazine, which may draw nearer together those who live for the same great ideal. As we keep true to the invisible limits, we should steadily grow to express our local conditions, our local environment, in terms of truth and beauty, joy and harmony.’

‘The Forerunner’ was the voice of the Havelock Work, publishing social and philosophical commentary, while also printing literary criticism, poems, stories and self-help items. Also, the first issue is a further glimpse of Reginald Gardiner’s philosophy of life.

If we faithfully follow an inner life and leaning, our subject will grow more vital and defined; our point of view and treatment more varied and direct. Our work will be like some great and glorious symphony, vibrating in accord with the mysterious genius of our land. Each one of us will add his chosen path, his individual units, in an orchestral band’.

‘Forerunner’ had a later successor, ‘The Lantern’, a publication from 1936 to ’49, associated with ‘Whare Ra’. And I decided that we ought to keep something of the Havelock Work alive in the Community Centre – I chair the Trust which raised funds for the Community Centre. And the Lantern Gallery is named after that, [murmurs] and you’ll see just to the side of the door of the Lantern Gallery, an explanation of the how the name came about, and something about the magazine.

Turning then to ‘Turama’, which is where the Sanders now live; and this illustration is taken from Judy Siers’ book about Chapman-Taylor. You’ll see the nature of the house. My Aunt Faith was recovering from surgery in her bedroom at the time of the earthquake, and was stuck in it; and my mother and her mother having run outside, my mother ran back into the house, up the stairs, and helped Faith to open the door. And as they were coming down the stairs a marble and brass clock fell off a shelf, narrowly missing them; and I don’t know whether it’s still there, but there was a dent in the stairs where the clock fell. My brother has the dome of the clock, which is now in use as a bell. So that was the house and the porch and windows. You’ll see that the illustration there … the front elevations at the top did not have the porch area … and the porch with windows in it was added at a later stage.

It’s interesting that Ngaio Marsh lived in Havelock North around the time of the First World War, and fifty years on said: ‘By one of those curious runnings together of affinities, Havelock North had become a cultural centre and thought of itself as such. The esoteric found a fertile soil there.’

Indeed, many philosophies flourished – theosophy; Rudolph Steiner’s anthroposophy which still, of course, exists in Havelock North; Robert Sutcliffe’s School of Radiant Living – and I remember the alleged goings-on at the School of Radiant Living [murmurs] as a child; Order of the Round table which still exists, and used as a hall in Tainui Drive; and the Hermetic Order, of which more in a moment.

Inspired by former theosophist, Harold Large, who stayed in the cottage in the ‘Stadacona’ grounds … that’s the cottage where the quilters now are … Reginald and Ruth Gardiner, Exchange Hotel owner, Mary McLean, and Reginald’s sister, Rose, sought the esoteric wisdom teaching a western philosophy, and prayed and meditated together. They felt that the church had lost the esoteric teachings of Jesus and his disciples, and through training and initiation sought to learn those hidden teachings. The group grew, and became known as the Society of the Southern Cross. Reginald Gardiner considered the Havelock Work to be built around this silent power station.

You’ll see there the reference to Rose Gardiner … Rose Mohi now lives in the house that Rose Gardiner had built for her on the corner of Campbell Street and Duart Road, and my parents purchased that house, I think just after the Second World War – I think when Rose died; and we lived there until 1953 when we moved up to 49 Duart Road, on the corner of Nigel Street.

In 1910, Father Fitzgerald of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield, [United Kingdom] came to New Zealand, met members of the Havelock prayer group, and agreed to direct their spiritual work from Britain … days before computers, internet, so presumably most of it was done by mail. After a period, Father Fitzgerald told the group that they required personal instruction and recommended Dr Robert Felkin, Chief of the Stella Matutina Order. Dr Felkin and his family visited New Zealand for three months in 1912, establishing a Temple of Stella Matutina Order in Havelock North. In 1916, at the invitation of the members of the New Zealand branch and with the offer of life tenancy of ‘Whare Ra’ (Māori for House of the Sun), Dr Felkin and his family returned to New Zealand for good. By 1926, when Robert Felkin died, the Smaragdum Thalasses Temple had become the largest in the world, with members including many of the most wealthy and influential people in Havelock North and Hastings; including bishops, senior military officers and members of parliament. So when you hear the goings-on that were alleged to have occurred at ‘Whare Ra’, when you think about the very senior people in the community who were members of the order, you just need to take some of the nonsense with a grain of salt. And I’m grateful to Judy Siers’ book for recording this – when they moved here, the Gardiners obviously went up to Auckland to greet them off the boat, and Mrs Felkin said that as they were returning to Hawke’s Bay … they must’ve come down by train to Palmerston North and then up to Hastings … she looked at Reginald Gardiner, and reflected on the fact that “he had exercised so great an influence over our lives, and was the motive power for the Felkins move to Havelock North in 1916.” Dr Felkin, again according to Judy’s book, described Ruth Gardiner as “small and fair. She was very psychic, and I had a profound admiration and respect for her gifts.” I can’t remember how old I was when she died, but I never felt I really got to know her. I certainly got to know my grandfather.

Reginald replaced Dr Felkin as a greatly honoured chief of the Order, and with Mrs and Miss Felkin, who I do remember, ruled for a further stable period of thirty-three years. I remember at Christmas time going up to ‘Whare Ra’; I can smell now the scent of the pine tree that was erected there. I still have a few of the ornaments that decorated the tree at ‘Whare Ra’, and it was one of those rituals – we always went up there. Mrs Felkin, I remember as a rather remote, austere woman, and Miss Felkin slightly less so, but fairly remote.

By 1930 the Inner Order had over a hundred members, and the Outer Order numbered over two hundred at its peak. During Reginald Gardiner’s time as Chief, the Order was renamed ‘The Order of Smaragdum Thalasses’. The Order declined during World War Two, and by the time Reginald Gardiner and Mrs Felkin died in 1959 numbers had dwindled, with Miss Felkin dying three years later. In 1978 a letter was circulated to members announcing closure of the temple in 1979.

Another outcome of the Havelock Work, the Mt Tauhara Trust, was formed in 1938, with the original trustees being Dr Felkin’s daughter, Ethelwyn; Reginald Gardiner; his son-in-law, soon to be married to my mother and eventually my father, John von Dadelszen. And my father was a trustee right up until the time of his death in 1987.

I just mention here that if you do a search on the internet you’ll discover all sorts of things about ‘Whare Ra’ and the Order that was based at it. Frank Salt, whom I remember, who lived in what is now the site of the service station in Tomoana Road, close to Cornwall Park, alleges as you’ll find if you do a search on the internet, that the Order was handed over to him as chief. I do not believe that to be correct; I believe that my father was the Chief at the time the Order was closed down, and that it was a permanent thing, and the records were all transferred up to the Tauhara Centre in Taupō.

So Reg Gardiner, later life; aged seventy-two in 1944. He had a leg amputated above the knee to cure a circulatory problem, and when he walked he used crutches. I was born in 1946, and by then I believe my grandparents had moved from what is now 82 Duart Road where the Sanders live, to what is now 84 Duart Road. I remember my grandfather being most often seated in his sitting room armchair. Ruth died in February 1954, so I was seven and a half, and Reginald on the 20th January 1959. In those days children didn’t go to funerals; I was then thirteen, and I regret I wasn’t allowed to attend his funeral. Well, I don’t know about not being allowed – it just simply didn’t occur to anybody that I should go.

My memories of my grandfather: a thinking and spiritual man, calm and secure in his beliefs without being dogmatic; an interested and interesting grandfather. I related to him without regarding him as an adult, but as a knowledgeable and empathetic friend. A renaissance gentleman,; an expression which is perhaps overused, but I think he [cough] really was. I never really appreciated my grandfather’s influence on our community until Matthew Wright’s ‘Havelock North – History of a Village’ was published. [Showing slides] That’s a painting of my grandfather, painted by Howard MacMillan, whose family occupied the original ‘Turama’, and that painting was January 1958. It is far more in accord with my recollection of my grandfather than the 1952 photograph, which I used at the beginning. I remember the red blanket; and you’ll see that he was dressed in a suit with a tie and a jersey, and that was very common. I mean nowadays … well, look around … apart from me, which gentleman’s wearing a suit? [Chuckles] In 1958 if this meeting had been held, he would’ve turned up with a with a tie. So despite the fact that he was well and truly retired and in fact only a year later was his death, he got up in the morning – it must’ve been a struggle with one leg – he got himself all organised, and there he was. You get something of an impression of him as a thinking man I think, because of the pose. What became of Howard MacMillan, I don’t know. My recollection is that he was perhaps in his early twenties when that painting was done, and he was clearly quite talented.

And so the last word goes again, to Matthew Wright; and this is page two hundred and forty-eight of the history, and I started with page one: ‘Havelock North became a tight-knit community, a spiritual centre, a village proud of its heritage and unique sense of purpose. This community spirit was something more than the sum of the ambitions, aims and beliefs of the movers behind the Havelock Work. It was a new social dynamic, that took on a life of its own, adopted with pride by new generations. Socially [sneeze] Havelock North was unique; nowhere else in New Zealand did a living sense of small town community spirit gain such strength and endurance. Much of the credit can go to the legacy of Reginald Gardiner and his friends.’

So that’s it. [Applause] Now if anybody has any questions, I may or may not be able to [chuckle] answer them.

Question: Do you still have that magnificent painting?

Mark: My brother does. He actually had to get it out of his attic in order to photograph it. [Chuckles] Perhaps I might suggest to him that if they don’t want to hang it, that it might appropriately be hung somewhere like here, or the library … I don’t know. Judy?

Judy Siers: Could I ask about ‘Stadacona’ in Keirunga Gardens? Is there evidence that Reginald and Ruth actually commissioned and built that house?

Mark: Yes.

Judy: It’s a piece of history that has evaded confirmation, is that true?

Mark: Well they purchased the land; the house was built for them; who else can have commissioned it?

Judy: Well I thought it might’ve been there when they bought the land.

Mark: No, no, no. No, it was not, no. No. And I can’t point you to any evidence of that – I just simply know that my parents told me that they had built the house.

Judy: It’s interesting for me to think about why they moved, because it’s such a lovely house and in a lovely spot, so I think when you mentioned coming down to be close to the Felkins at ‘Whare Ra’, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Mark: Yes, it does. I’m sorry, I was going to mention the oddity of dates. One of references that I looked at said that they purchased the land in 1907, but another reference says that they built the house in 1906, so that was where I had some difficulty with dates. So I may be a year out in what I said in the presentation, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they built the house, and also the cottage in the grounds which is now in use by the quilters.

Judy: Is that what they called ‘The Chalet’?

Mark: Yes. And it’s interesting that it ended up in the hands of George Nelson, because George Nelson and my grandfather were reasonably good acquaintances … friends. I don’t know much after Tanner who owned it in between, but certainly there was that connection. And my father actually acted for George Nelson.

And when I joined the Borough Council and there were proposals for the miniature railway to go up there, I think there was a suggestion that part of the primary school might be moved up there from the buildings on Te Mata Road. And there were all sorts of things floating around about what was and was not allowed in terms of the way the Borough Council acquired the land, and I was able to go back to the office and find the information on files which I don’t believe we now have; but certainly at that time, we did.

Judy: And is there any … taking the Holt’s construction a little bit further … has there ever been any indication who might have designed ‘Stadacona’?

Mark: No.

Judy: Because it’s before Chapman-Taylor’s era in the district, so I don’t think that it was anything to do with him.

Mark: No. No idea.

Judy: But it’s such a lovely house; you feel there might’ve been an architect involved.

Mark: You might be right, but given my grandfather’s artistic temperament, it is possible that he had a hand in the design. James?

James Morgan: At the time the house was built – and a number of others – I believe that many of them were copied from American journals … the plans were – or adapted from American journals, so that may’ve been [?] in the planning.

Mark: Again, that would be consistent with the Arts and Crafts Movement and background. June?

June: People might like to know, Mark, that in regard to the Shakespearean pageant of 1912, there is a beautiful set of photographs in the Havelock archives of that pageant; and they’re absolutely beautiful photographs.

Mark: Oh, right. One of the things I would like to’ve done is to refer to a paper my father prepared on the Havelock Work, which was in what was known as the von Dadelszen Papers in the Havelock library. I believe they disappeared, June, at some stage. I don’t know whether there’s a record of what was in them, but I think I may … it occurred to me as I was driving out here that I may be able to locate copies of some at least of the material that was in those papers. Well, I’m actually seeing somebody on Friday next week who may well be able to access it for me. So when I get back to the office, I’ll send them an email and ask. Yes?

Question: One of the friends of Reginald Gardiner, and in fact the first secretary of Havelock Work, was Walter McLean, the son of the people who built this house, [Duart House] Alan and Hannah McLean. And Walter at that time was a young lawyer working for a firm in Napier, but based in Hastings. And he could type, because I’ve seen letters where he offered to type up scientific papers for his brother who was an ornithologist. And it’s my feeling that there’s every chance that Walter himself typed those first few copies of ‘The Forerunner’, but I’ve never really known if they truly were typed. But you’re saying the first few copies are typed and hand-illustrated?

Mark: Yes.

Questioner: Right, because they don’t have copies of those ones in the library; they only have the printed ones, I believe.

Mark: You should talk to Chris Johnson about getting them copied – we do have them at home. That would have been Carlile McLean Scannell & Wood …

Questioner: Yes, that’s right.

Mark: … and it wasn’t uncommon for lawyers to be able to type in those days. I remember my father telling me stories – he worked for the same firm as a law clerk before he was qualified – having to type up a letter to somebody about a … think it was a bull which wouldn’t perform as it was supposed to. [Laughter] And his boss didn’t want the female typists typing his letter. [Laughter] [Of] course things have now reverted, you know, I do 99.9 percent of my own typing. [Chuckles]

Question: The ‘Stadacona’ name you refer to as possibly having an American Indian …

Mark: Or Canadian Indian …

Questioner: … or Canadian Indian, sorry. Would that have any relevance to a conjecture that possibly there was an American architectural designs theory?

Mark: I don’t think so. I think it has more to do with the fact that Ruth was Canadian. That’s what I believe … I should’ve probably googled it to find out what it means, but …

Question: Isn’t it the earliest name of Quebec?

Mark: Well it might well be; that would be consistent with the fact that it was the Quebec Railway Company that they worked for. My parents still maintained some contact with relatives in Quebec. And my parents visited there and I have some drawings that they brought back from Quebec at the time of their visit. But we’ve now lost contact.

Question: Mr Nelson, who you said bought ‘Stadacona’ – did he live in Given Street, in that original old home before that. He seemed to move around quite a bit, or ????

Mark: Once he went to Keirunga, he stayed there for an awfully long time. [Chuckles] We should be, you know, immensely grateful to him because Keirunga is just a great resource now.

Comment: I don’t wish to deliberately introduce another liberty, nor an attempt at an overview, but picking up something that Matthew Wright was referring to, a very laudable and most sensitive appraisal of Havelock North, I have to say that after living in Havelock North for over forty years, with my exclusive accent, [chuckles] which the locals might well regard as Liverpool. But from the very earliest of days, I felt something quite unique in Havelock North; that here was a place that was very rich in characters; it’s attracted people of extraordinary talent, from the very earliest days, and might I say, it’s just the same today. [Chuckles]

Mark: I’m sort of conscious of shoes I stand in, periodically. [Chuckles] But it’s very interesting to look at my grandparents’ interests, and to reflect on the fact that my family and I are interested in music and drama; I’m into wood turning. Every time I put colour onto my wood turning I think of my mother who was a painter; and she clearly got that from her parents. So yeah, it’s fascinating.

Closing: That, I think, ladies and gentlemen, is a pretty nice note to finish the morning with. Mark, you’re an architect of our Duart House Society, and we thank you for that; but we thank you today for sharing with us something of your parents and your grandparents, and the architecture of different kinds that they brought to Havelock North. [Applause]

See also: https://knowledgebank.org.nz/audio/von-dadelszen-mark-reginald-gardiner/

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Duart House Talk 21 April 2010

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