Newspaper Article 1931 – Earthquake Casualty Lists Mount Ominously

The Dominion   Thursday, February 5, 1931   9



Appalling Conditions Revealed


Injured Being Brought To Wellington

Although the full details of Napier’s tragedy yet remain to be told, and the ominously mounting lists of the dead and injured are by no means complete, reports which poured into Wellington yesterday and last evening from the stricken areas indicated with grim clarity that the earlier accounts of the Hawke’s Bay disaster – appalling as they were –  under-stated rather than exaggerated the true position.

Napier and Hastings are smoking ruins. In Hastings a clear estimate of the damage done and an official estimate of the casualties, have been secured. There relief work is proceeding and the organisation is as complete as possible in the circumstances. In Napier, however the conditions could hardly be worse. Strenuous efforts are being made to cope with the situation to advise New Zealand of the casualties in the town. The evacuation of Napier within two days has been ordered, the authorities fearing an outbreak of serious disease if the inhabitants do not leave the town expeditiously.

The official estimate of the Hastings casualties is between 80 and 90 dead. It is reported that 31 persons were killed in Taradale, three at Wairoa, and one unknown workman at Mohaka. The authorities at Napier have issued the names of eleven dead, but there is every reason to fear that this is but the prelude to a list of shocking dimensions.

The story of Napier’s destruction is told by refugees and eye-witnesses. They describe the fate of those who were trapped in the falling buildings – the disaster which overtook the hospital, where nurses were killed in their sleep and others displayed magnificent heroism, thinking only of their patients, prisoners from the Napier prison, the walls of which collapsed, behaved in praiseworthy fashion and assisted in some of the rescue work.

An express train from the Napier area arrived in Wellington City last evening, poignant scenes being witnessed when a waiting group of residents began the search for missing relatives and friends. A train conveying injured is expected at Wellington at 4.30 a.m, to-day.


Toll of Destruction


Unbelievable Ruin


Napier, February 4

Shrouded with a pall of evil-smelling smoke. Napier has become overnight a skeleton of its former self and the grave of what still remains an indeterminate number of its population of about 20,00 persons. With one gigantic sweep the earthquake has reduced the town to a heap of ruins still blazing and crumbling with every shake.

The population has become a community without a home, without food or water, and for the most part without shelter. In one moment, so suddenly was the visitation, the population was divorced from its town to become, as it were, a thing apart from the roaring mass of buildings that joined in one great conflagration from end to end of the business area.

The futility of describing the tremendous havoc, can only be realised by those who have seen the aftermath of the Dominion’s most disastrous upheaval, and particularly by those who have gone through it and yet show an almost unbelievable calmness.

Napier as a town has been wiped off the map. To-day it is a smouldering heap of ruins, the sepulchre of a prosperous port and the gaunt remains of a beautiful seaside town.

The people are wandering the streets hopelessly, yet with a fortitude born of extreme adversity. Before them the seafront has receded perhaps a hundred feet from the famous parade that itself has risen from eight to ten feet. Behind them the whole town is a reeking mass of ruins with not one building standing in the centre part enclosed by Dickens, Emerson, Tennyson and Hastings Streets

The face of the Bluff has come down across the road to Port Ahuriri and blocked access to it by land as well as by sea, at least for the moment. Whole faces of Hospital Hill and the other heights behind the town have crashed on to the buildings below. Not a building in Napier has escaped damage. Houses have lost chimneys or whole sides. Streets have been torn up like billiard cloths ripped with a sturdy cue, and telegraph poles have been thrust at a crazy angle over every road with wires tangled and hanging from wrecked buildings like charred serpents suspended from the last branches of a brick and concrete forest.

The accounts of those who were in the town at the time of the upheaval of the earth show that the movement of the earth was almost vertical, and that the whole area was forced upward for several feet with one terrific jerk, to subside with a sickening jolt.

As appears to have been the case in other parts of the stricken district, the upheaval came like a flash and left behind it a trail of ruin within a few seconds. At 11 o’clock in the morning shops and offices were full of people. There was an immediate rush for the streets, but those who gained them were in many instances buried as they reached the footpaths.

The whole of Napier was deafened with the roar of falling masonry. Then a strange silence followed for a space. Suddenly recovering from their terror, the people raced for the foreshore to avoid being trapped by still crumbling buildings. Even on the beach the sight was terrifying. The sea washed away from the beach for, it is stated, hundreds of feet, and then rolled back. At the same time the Bluff roared over the road at its feet, and then rolled back. Rocks that before had never appeared above the surface came above the water level, the whole seafront rising about 8 or 10 feet.

Appalled, the residents of Napier gazed in horrified amazement at the destruction. The hills behind the town were crumbling away in clouds of dust, whole sides of houses high above the shore were being torn away, and on the flat huge tongues of flame were appearing from every direction. The town was immediately isolated from the outside world and Napier was left a blazing ruin to witness the burning of its heart for a day and a night.

No possible estimate can be made at the moment of the death roll although it is thought that it is considerable, and it might run into hundreds.

The nurse’s home and the hospital on the hill collapsed like weather-boarding in a hurricane, and it is known that at least seven deaths have occurred among the nurses. It is also feared that a number of students, probably 40 at the technical School, at the south end of the town, have perished beneath the buildings, which tumbled in and rolled partly across the road.

Dr. Moore’s hospital on the seafront, a two-story structure, tilted back several feet in the front to lie at a queer angle, and crumbled in at the back. No report has yet been made as to the numbers who might have died within the building, nor can any statement be made as to the numbers who have lost their lives in the heart of the business area, which until late this morning was a roaring mass of flame. It would be practically useless to differentiate between buildings that have been destroyed and those still standing. A statement that the entire central part of the town from the seafront to the gardens on the south has been razed, covers the position.

Apart from that incalculable damage has been done in every direction, and there is not a part of Napier that has not suffered. The back country for miles is covered with cracks in the earth, some too wide for a man to jump. Roads have been torn up in places, bridges have been thrust feet out of alignment, and railway lines lead to one bridge several feet clear of the ground.


Shortage of Food



Napier, February 4.

It was one consolation for the stricken inhabitants of Napier that the weather was fine after the earthquake. Living indoors was made quite impossible, and the town spent the night in the open. After dark the flames from the burning town cast a fierce glow on to the hills and reflected dimly upon small groups of people taking whatever shelter they could get below.

Tents were erected along the beach, but if a family had no such covering it was content to spread a mattress or two in front of the house gate and sleep in the street, where falling debris could do no harm. The public gardens were turned into a popular sleeping place, but for most part people wandered around the streets away from the main centre and gazed in dazed fashion upon the huge fire.

Morning broke fine and clear, and it was realised early that immediate precautions would have to be taken to provide food and water for thousands. Business was naturally at a complete standstill and there was not a shop of the few standing open. Being cut off from the world, as far as telegraphic communications were concerned, the majority of the people were anxious concerning the relief that would be offered, as they were powerless to do anything for themselves. Most of the households, many now pitifully reduced in number, had sufficient food for a morning meal, but the town’s water supply had failed and other services were no more to be had.

One of the most urgent needs was medical and nursing assistance, and the town was gratified to learn at a fairly early hour that both the Government and the Navy, as well as private individuals, were coming to their aid. Over 300 serious casualties had been admitted to the Napier Park emergency dressing station at an early hour, and these will require attention.

Wireless communication was established with Wellington from the park in the morning and a large number of messages was transmitted. Valuable relief was afforded upon the arrival of specially recruited Red Cross party, under Mr. v. H. Ross and Mr. Peterson. In addition, a party of about 20 nurses and six doctors, including Dr. T. H. Watt, assistant-Director-General of Health, arrived from Wellington. Nurses also arrived from the Kensington Street Home in Wellington and from other parts of the province, while doctors came from all parts.

As the day progressed the already apparent shortage of food gave promise of becoming more acute, and making itself felt.

There was no water at all to be had in town for the great majority, and only a very few had any. Money was of no use at all in Napier to-day, as the necessities of life could not be bought, and everything else was at a standstill.

It was thus a great relief for those on the waterfront to see the warships Diomede and Dunedin arrive at a fairly early hour after a fast run down the coast from Auckland. With its usual quiet efficiency, the Navy made its presence felt within a short time, in spite of the fact that those who landed had to be brought into the town by a circuitous route.

Armed Marines made an appearance in the streets, and parties marched through the wrecked town to prevent a recurrence of the pillaging of the night before. Shortly after lorries appeared in the town bearing the sign “Navy Food,” and it was not long after that bread and other things could be had. Even so, supplies were not excessive at first, and care had to be taken in the rationing.

The appearance of the naval ratings in town had a good effect in the town, and from the time they arrived the real organisation of relief work was started. However, much ground work had already been done by the police who received reinforcements from other districts, the commissioner, Mr. W. G. Wohlmann, coming through from Wellington overnight

Everything had been prepared by the warships for extreme emergencies. Luckily, they were fully provisioned for a cruise, but before leaving Auckland everything in the way of food available was rushed on board. The bakers worked all night on the trip down the coast, and the carpenters were fully occupied making splints. A special class in stretcher work was taken on the trip, and as soon as the men landed they were in a position to give immediate help. The average speed on the run down was 24 knots, and as much as 28 knots was done.

Parties from the boats were detailed to land stores, which were brought ashore in great quantities. Other parties were detailed to clear away debris from buildings under which it was known people were buried.

A start was made on the Technical School in the afternoon, the latest information stating that 40 boys were buried beneath the ruins.

Other parties of marines started upon the demolition of the remnants of buildings to avoid further injury to people, and the first blasting operations were started shortly after midday. Still other parties were set upon an attempt to re-establish telegraphic communications.

Huge quantities of medical supplies were brought to Napier by the warships, and it is believed that almost everything that will be needed in the meantime has been secured as a result. On board the Dunedin were 12 doctors and several nurses, and the Diomede carried 10 nurses and about eight doctors from Auckland. By early in the afternoon the position as far as casualties were concerned had been got in hand, and there was ample staff to cope with the work. It is hoped to take as many away as possible in the near future, and the steamers Taranaki and Northumberland were still standing  off the shore in the afternoon in case they will be needed to transport serious cases to either Wellington or Auckland.

The sympathy of the Government for the sufferers was also shown by the early arrival in the stricken area of four members of the Cabinet, The Hon. R. Masters, the Hon. J. G. Cobbe, the Hon. A. J. Stallworthy, and the Hon. E. A. Ransom. They stated that a preliminary meeting of a small Government committee had been held in Napier for the purpose of arranging relief, and they were able to assure the people that the Government would do everything it could. Both Dominion Motors and General Motors offered the use of as many cars and lorries as they could gather, and a number has already arrived laden with provisions. The sympathy and support of the Wellington City Council has been offered to Napier. Members of Parliament who have already arrived in the area include Mr. R. Semple, Mr. W. Nash, and Mr. P. Fraser, all of Wellington

The evacuation of the women and children from the area is one of the chief concerns at the moment.

Already hundreds have gone by private cars, and it was expected that at least another 400 would be sent away by to-night. It is fully realised that serious danger now exists throughout the district through the complete loss of all sanitary arrangements, and every effort is being made to avoid a second disaster.

A special committee of Napier citizens has been formed to avoid trouble in this respect, and although both the newspaper offices are shattered an effort is being made by one to bring out a sheet merely for the purpose of issuing instructions regarding sanitary arrangements. Further assistance in these matters will be given by military authorities, and 12 military lorries laden with blankets and stores are expected to reach here to-night.


News of Lowry Family

The report cabled yesterday that Mr. and Mrs. Jim Lowry, of Oreka, Hastings, are in Sydney, is untrue, as they were unable to get away for Miss Falkiner’s wedding to Mr. Eric Nelson.

Mrs. T. Lowry went to Australia for the event, accompanied by Miss Ruth Scannell, of Hastings, and they will leave Sydney to-morrow by the Aorangi. Mr. and Mrs. Eric Nelson will also be passengers.

The Egmont Racing Club telegraphed the Government yesterday suggesting that the Government taxation of the meeting should be paid direct by the club to the earthquake relief fund. A reply has been received disapproving of the proposal.


Night at Hastings



Hastings, February 4.

Hastings was a town of death last night. Beneath its ruins lay the bodies of dozens of men, women and children, but it will be impossible to estimate the death roll until the many bereaved families are able to report with certainty that members of their households will not return. A total of 30 bodies had been recovered by this morning, but it will be days before a reliable estimate can be made. Cut off from the outside world through the severing of its communications at the moment the earthquake occurred, the town did not learn until nearly midnight that its plight was unknown beyond its own immediate precincts.

Throughout the day and far into the night the people underwent a terrifying experience, for from the moment at which the upheaval shattered the district and buried beneath the ruins of the town hundreds of those who were shopping, the earth heaved  at frequent intervals. At each successive shake buildings quivered and added heaps of debris to the piles that already crushed the remains of hundreds.

It was with cruel suddenness that the first and most devastating shake occurred shortly before 11 o’clock in the morning. Within a minute or even less Hastings has been almost completely razed to the ground. The town was full of shoppers and they were caught like rats in a trap. Buildings of several stories crumpled as if swept aside by the hand of a giant, and before the horrified people had a moment to realise what had happened they were surrounded by the wreckage of what had a moment before been a flourishing centre.

With one almighty upheaval Hastings became a vast charnel house. Its streets were dust-filled gullies in to which sank the remains of shops and stores. Three-storied buildings crumbled with a deafening roar, vomiting great masses of debris in all directions and trapping those who crowded both streets and shops.

Heretaunga Street, the main thoroughfare was transformed into a gully of destruction beneath whose ruins could be heard the cries of women and children, but which died within a few minutes to give place  to silence such as might creep over some alpine slope after a passing roar of an avalanche. The destruction was complete. It seemed that even time itself had been obliterated by the upheaval as for one horrified moment the whole town was wrapped in a death-like silence.

The upheaval had come without warning and its momentary passing left everyone spellbound. Dozens who had rushed out of buildings were buried beneath bricks and mortar as soon as they gained the footpaths. Even had they remained inside there would have been no escape. The staffs of drapery and other stores were crushed beneath the whole might of the buildings as they stood at the counters and those they were serving shared a like fate.

It is feared that the loss of life at Roach’s store, one of the largest in the town, will prove the most serious, as it is reported to-night that many of the girl employees have not been seen since. As was the case with other buildings throughout the whole town, the roof of this four-storied structure is almost flat with the ground and its only support is the great pile of bricks that once went to make up walls.

The centre of all streets was littered with a tangled mass of telephone and electric light wires, veranda poles, great masses of concrete, and furniture hurled from shops and offices. A constable who rushed from the police station immediately after the shake was confronted with the sight of a young girl sitting near the road with her legs severed below the knee. From every direction came the screams of men and women.

Some children were crying piteously beneath the ruins of a shop near the remains of the Cosy Theatre. Nothing could be done for them, and it was not long before they were swallowed up in the flames that engulfed the area.

Those who had escaped tore frantically at the piles of debris covering people who had been standing near them when the shock occurred. Rescues were made in many instances with debris falling on every side.

The escapes were remarkable. Some people were thrown right into the street to get up and walk away almost unhurt. A porter in the Grand Hotel was on an upper floor. The shock threw the whole building into the street, and the porter went with it. He was recovered some time later little the worse for the experience. The proprietor, Mr. Ross was trapped in a cellar, and it is thought he would have been safe until early next morning, when the fire swept the street and consumed what remained of the building.

Many motor-cars were buried as they stood beside the kerbs, and in several instances their occupants were engulfed with them. Every few yards there was to be seen a motor-car smashed beyond repair and the wreckage of some had been laid bare by the frantic efforts of police and civilians to effect rescues.

It was impossible to stand up on one’s feet during the moment of the shock. Two elderly women were thrown completely under a car and they were severely injured, although they escaped with their lives.

One man was trapped beneath a great pile of bricks from eleven o’clock in the morning till seven o’clock in the evening, and although injured, he greeted his rescuers with a smile.

It is believed that dozens of bodies are lying beneath the hopeless tangle where once stood the public library. The building was full of people when the shake occurred. Few were able to run clear and the whole structure collapsed on staff and readers.

A band of workers spent a great part of the day clearing away piles of rubbish, but the task was hopeless and finally abandoned when it was realised that no-one could be alive.

The serious general position being realised, numbers of citizens offered their services to the police and, with members of the police force staff, they were responsible for the wonderful work until practically dawn. Order was maintained in the town and rescue bands organised and supervised. Great credit must go to the police and to the members of the fire brigade for the wonderful rescue work amid falling buildings.

Following close upon the earthquake parts of the town were swallowed up in flames. Fires ranged in several great piles of debris and spreading to buildings that had not been greatly damaged, it swept through them unchecked. Fire raged through the town all day and it was quite impossible for the brigade to stop it spreading.

Shakes of various magnitude occurred with little interruption and at about nine o’clock in the evening thousands of people in the wrecked streets were struck motionless by another shake almost as heavy as the first disastrous upheaval.

This cut off the water supply the town had had up to then and the fire raged with even greater vigour.

None would go inside buildings, and those who arrived at Hastings late at night were appalled at the sight of half-demented women aimlessly wandering the wrecked streets and asking people indiscriminately if they had seen husbands or children.

As the night advanced the stricken town became lighted with the hopeless glow of its own funeral pyre. The reflection could be seen for miles. Lighting and gas services were cut off earlier in the day, but the raging fire illuminated the remains of the town and showed in pallid relief the faces of men and women who still lingered over piles of debris beneath which it was thought were buried their relatives or friends.

There was no thought of sleep. At two o’clock in the morning small children still stood about the streets, but later beds were made up on vacant sections or in the parks.

Families refused to return to their houses and mattresses were taken into the centre of the roadways for the night. What damage was done by the earthquake was rapidly supplemented by the fire. The Bank of Australasia was apparently little damaged by the shock, but the flames reached it in the early hours of the morning and left it a gaunt shell. Wooden buildings had fared best, and it was particularly noticeable that the Albert and Carlton Hotels stood safe and uncracked to all outward appearances.

As the dead were recovered the bodies were taken to the morgue and to the Y. M. C. A. at which places there were 39 bodies by dawn. The injured numbered hundreds and the worse cases were taken to the racecourse tea kiosk. Doctors worked there under most trying circumstances and serious operations and amputations were carried out without anaesthetics. In the early hours of the morning a doctor with blood-stained coat made his way into a chemist’s shop in town to secure supplies of materials needed.


General order Issued


Serious Disease Feared



Hastings, February 4.

A general order was issued tonight decreeing the evacuation of Napier within two days. There has been a breakdown in the sewerage, and the authorities fear that an out break of serious disease may result if the inhabitants do not leave the town as expeditiously as possible.

Arrangements have already been made to evacuate 5000 women and children to Palmerston North.

Small shakes preceded by booming in the hills to the west are still being experienced in the stricken area. Two fires are still burning in Hastings to-night.

Families are camping in gardens and on waysides and under canvas throughout the Napier-Hastings area.


Chlorinating Plant


By Telegraph – Press Association

Auckland, February 4

The following message from the commodore the Dunedin, who is ashore at Napier, to the warship was intercepted by H. M. S. Veronica: –
“Send lieutenant in charge of torpedo stores with all available demolition stores with all available demolition store to report to Veronica.”

Commander Clover said that this message indicated that it was intended to blow up several buildings in Napier in order to check the flames

The commander of the Veronica later sent the following message to the commodore of the Dunedin: –

“The O. C. Air Base reports that four moth planes are ready for immediate service. Mr Elliot Davis offers chlorinating plant, which will be carried by plane.”

The commodore replied with a request that chlorinating plant be sent.

Five aeroplanes left Auckland this afternoon with the plant and an expert.


Technical College Scenes



Napier, February 4

In the ruins of the Technical College, several boys are known to be buried beneath a mass of bricks and mortar. Mothers from all parts of Napier and Hawke’s Bay came pleading for information, and heartrending scenes were witnessed.

There were many buildings standing almost intact, however are Dalgety’s, A. O. F. Building, Public trust, and Power Board Offices. These are cracked.

The new Post Office, opened by the Hon. J. B. Donald in May, 1929, is practically a shell.

Pictures of the battle-scarred towns and villages of France and Flanders are scenes not one whit worse than those in the business area of Napier.

Dr. Moore’s large hospital, near the Bluff was broken round the base, and took a backward cant of five to ten degrees, but did not topple right over. The Napier newspaper offices are in ruins. There were several new buildings which had been erected under the lee of the bluff, and in the neighbourhood of Emerson Street, including the new Anglican Church, hardly any of which are now anything but tottering walls.

The conduct of the people under the awful calamity which has befallen them, is magnificent, their courage being beyond all praise. They are not bemoaning their fate. The women and children are being evacuated as fast as motor-cars can get them away, and the men are giving a helping hand in every possible way. Two hours after the first earthquake many business men returned to their offices and succeeded in saving valuable books, documents, and cash, and all have been collected from the buildings that can be entered.


Mr. C. Plank, of telegraph engineers’ headquarters received advice yesterday morning of the death from shock of his brother, who was head gardener to the Napier Hospital. Deceased was known to have a weak heart.


Lists Still Tragically Incomplete


Casualty lists still remain tragically incomplete. The dead in Hastings are authoritatively estimated to be between 80 and 100, but the mortality in Napier cannot even be calculated. The opinion is freely expressed, however that the deaths will run into the hundreds and the injured to more than 1000. Until debris is cleared, however, it is impossible to hazard more than a rough guess.

The following are the official lists compiled by the police, and are mainly from the Hastings and country areas: –



ALFRED BONOR, about 55, married with a grown family.
MRS T. BARRY, burned to death in St. John’s Cathedral.
VAL. HARRISON, 18 jobbing compositor.
NANCY THORNE GEORGE, nurse at the Public Hospital.
MRS C. BICKERSTAFF (who had a young family).
MISS META DEWES, Union Steam Ship Company.
FRED McARTHUR, 54, telegraphist at the G. P. O. (died on road from shock)
Infant named CANHAM
(Others killed but not identified).


P. DEVINE, fractured right arm and left femur (received at the Kiosk); serious.
W. T. LEVERSEDGE, manager Bank of New South Wales, in Napier Hospital suffering from slight concussion due to being hit by a piece of falling brick.


MRS STAN DALLEY, Wife of the accountant of J. C. Williamsons Films Ltd. Wellington.


J. H. COLEBOURNE, care Williams and Kettle, Hastings.
EDWARD HOLLAND, address not stated.
RAY GRAHAM, Hastings.
S. A. SPENCE, address not stated.
T. W. ALEXANDER, Pakipaki, Hastings.
MISS GRUDENOFF, Wellwood Street, Hastings.
BERT DWYER, 911 Southland Road, Hastings.
WILLIAM LOVE, Karamu Road, Hastings.
HERBERT WALKER, address not stated.
PERCIVAL LEWIS, care Nelsons Ltd.
ELLA NUTTALL, address not stated.
MRS. JENSEN, Haumoana, near Hastings.
KATHLEEN BOWEN, 615 Avenue Road, Hastings.
ALBERT GIGG, Hastings.
MRS. DOUGLAS F. MURRAY, Hastings, and DINA MURRAY her infant daughter.
ALEX RATTRAY, Bush Inn Hotel, Riccarton.
MISS SYLVAN ALLAN, address not known.
ERNEST JONES, Williams Street, Hastings.
W. Z. WALKER, power house employee, Hastings.
RAY BROWN, address not stated.
DICK HERCOE, address not stated.
RODNEY FRANCIS RUSS, 802 Fitzroy Avenue, Hastings.
MISS HOULAHAN, c/o Gill’s Auction Mart, Hastings.
MRS. FRANK COLE. Of Hastings, and her two sons, aged three and four respectively.
HENRY DIMOND, 700 Avenue Road, Hastings.
ROY McLENNAN, Havelock North, married.
ERNEST LEANING, bootmaker, Hastings.
ALLAN McDONALD, address not known.
MRS. A. H. WING, Hastings.
PATSY WHYTE, daughter of Dr. A. D. S. Whyte, Hastings.
PHILLIPA COUPER, Otane, Hawke’s Bay.
RAINA MARIA MOUNGA, Bridge Pah [Pa], Hastings.
PAKOTOROA MOUNGA, Bridge Pah, Hastings.
ROY HEENEY, 304 Miller Street.
MRS. BERRY (supposed) Address not stated: short, and brown hair, dressed in pale grey crepe-de-chine dress trimmed with red: wearing necklace.
MRS. BARTLETT, (supposed). Address not stated. Dressed in floral silk frock, ring, and a two-diamond engagement ring.
LILY JENKINS, Caroline Road, Hastings.
MRS. LEONE TURNER, Found in Karamu Road; address not stated.
MABEL ANN STEER, 801 East Aubyn Street, Hastings.
MARY ALICE McLEOD, wife of William McLeod, Paki Paki, Hastings.
GLADYS ALMA CLEARY, single, Warwick Road, Hastings.
RAYMOND BROWN, care Becks Pharmacy, Hastings.
JAMES WOODFORD HEIGHWAY, married, 604 Queen Street, Hastings.
OLIVE CAMBRIDGE, aged 18, address 822 Karamu Road, Hastings.
BRIAN COUPER, 622 Ellison Road, Hastings; aged two years.

Unofficial List.

The following are unofficial but well authenticated: –

MRS. COLIN FITZPATRICK, St Aubyn Street, Hastings.
IVY THOMPSON, Hastings (daughter of T. J. Thompson).
JOHN A. ROSS, proprietor of the Grand Hotel.
MRS. TOUHY, Seddon Street, Hastings.
T. H. GILL, auctioneer, Hastings.
ARTHUR L. RYAN, (missing, believed killed). Journalist, Hastings.
ALBERT GOODALL, signwriter, Hastings.
MRS. BARRETT, supposed to belong to Masterton and believed killed; mother of Mrs. Pearce, living at Petone.

An authoritative estimate issued at a Cabinet Ministers’ and citizens’ conference to-day reckons the probable deaths in Hastings at between eighty and one hundred. Many are known to be still buried.

There are six unidentified bodies, four mutilated beyond recognition.

Nine people, definitely missing, are believed to be buried beneath the debris of Roach’s Ltd. and the Public Library.


MRS. MULGROVE. 402 Miller Street, Hastings, contusions on head, injuries to spine.
MRS. HUTCHINSON, 126 Parade, Island Bay, injuries to right arm.
MISS McROBBIE, Havelock North., external lacerations condition serious.
ARNOLDA RETTER, 1023 Frederick Street, Hastings, broken leg.
MRS McKENZIE, 905 Willowpark Road, dislocated shoulder.
MISS N. DUGGAN, Hastings Club, minor cuts on head.
MAVIS FAULKNOR, King Street, Hastings, fractured right leg, head injuries.
MRS. JOHN ETHERIDGE, 30 Ashridge Road, Napier, left arm broken.
MRS D. S. STOREY, 207 Avenue Road, Hastings, broken leg, injuries to back.
MISS HOATA, care Mrs. Cook, Hastings, wound to right leg.
MRS. POTHAM, Queen Street, Hastings, compound fracture right arm, scalp wound; condition serious.
MISS BETTY PERCY, care Nairn, Railway Road, Hastings, injuries to head and side, and bruises.
MRS. LEANING, Heretaunga Street, Hastings, shock and left groin injured; condition serious.
MRS. D. SCHOLFIELD, Grove Road, Hastings, injured leg.
MISS CARROLL, Beech Road, Hastings, fractured left femur.
MISS PEGGY BLOWES, Riverslea Road, Hastings, lacerated upper arm, bruised leg.
MISS A. BROWN, 618 Avenue Road, Hastings, injured back.
MRS. BAUMFIELD,306 King Street, Hastings, injured hand.
MRS. MARTIN, 410 Lyndon Road, Hastings, cut head.
MISS DOROTHY RUSE, Fitzroy Avenue, Hastings, crushed finger, head injuries, and broken leg.
MISS CLARK, 503 Eastbourne Street, Hastings, facial injuries.
MRS. McLENNAN, Havelock North, injuries to arm and leg.
ROSIE LAHOOD. 227 Heretaunga Street, Hastings, crushed body; condition serious.
MISS BADDLEY, 205 Albert Street, Hastings, leg and right femur fractured; condition serious.
MRS. BEAL, Mona Street, Hastings, crushed body; condition serious.
MR. LAHOOD, JUN., Warren Street, Hastings, broken leg.
J. SHEFFIELD, Fergusson Street, Hastings, broken leg.
THOMAS CARNEY, 111 King Street, Hastings, back injured.
SCHOLLS, 230 Heretaunga Street, Hastings, broken ribs.
– SCHOLLS 230 Heretaunga Street, Hastings, broken leg.
J. MARSHALL, 408 Market Street, Hastings, broken leg.
B. HONE, Pakipaki, Hastings, bruised shoulder and head.
LEO KELLY, Pakipaki, Hastings, feet crushed.
T. ISAACSON, 810 Joll Road, Hastings, arms and legs injured.
G. WILLINGHAM, Willowpark Road, Hastings, skull injured; condition serious.
P. CHING, care Ah Wing, Hastings, crushed foot.
T. F. BOWNEY, 608, King Street, Hastings, head injuries.
F. E. BOWEN, Thompson Road, Napier, broken leg and crushed ankle.
W. T. BLEWETT, 506 Riverslea Road, Hastings, fractured femur; condition serious.
FRED BOYLE, 413 Queen street, Hastings, bruised thigh.
R. THOMPSON 508 Riverslea road, Hastings, injured back.
JIM RYAN, Park Road, Hastings, abdominal injuries.
W. THOMAS, 215 Stanley Street, Hastings, fractured ribs.
– MACDONALD, 116 Willowpark Road, Hastings, fractured ankle.
J. G. SEATON, care P.O. Hastings, head and leg injuries.
D. CARRINGTON, Nottingly [Nottingley] Road, Hastings, leg broken.
LESLIE RATTRAY, Riccarton, dislocated knee.
R.A. MORLEY, 614 Whitehead Road, Hastings, injured.
H. G. LEAN, Havelock North, leg broken.
JOHN WALLACE, 909 Karamu Road, Hastings, injured.
STAN NEWLAND, 309 Charles Street, Hastings, crushed foot.
J. RYAN, Charles Street, Hastings, broken ribs.
JACK O’DONNELL, 105 Pakowhai Road, Hastings, broken spine and legs; condition serious.
J. ELDER, 510 St Aubyn Street, Hastings, injured arm.
W.L. LAWRENCE, of Waipukurau; heart attack.
R.P. GALVIN, injured skull.
The following are also inmates: – P. Palleson, William Bartle, Hastings: Brown care Beck chemist, Hastings: Miss Holmes, Frimley Road, Hastings.


It is reported that 31 are dead.



LIM KEE, Chinaman.


Unknown workman killed.



H. P. HOPKINS, exchange clerk at P.O., badly hurt, in hospital at Waipukurau.


By Telegraph – Press Association.

Dannevirke, February 4.

The following have been admitted to Dannevirke Hospital: –

John Baird, Puketitiri, fractured arm; Arthur Spackman, chemist, Napier, broken leg; Albert Lenden, Napier, head injuries and broken leg; Hark Jarvis, Taradale, surgical case from Napier Hospital; George Orme, Nelson Street, Napier, broken leg; Doris Fallery, masseuse, Napier Hospital, fractured arm; Herbert Massey, Student, Greenmeadows, broken leg; Albert Massey, Greenmeadows, broken leg; Mrs. Bessie Crowley, Carlyle Street Napier, broken leg, arm and ribs; Ella Wahlberg, Burke Street, Napier, broken leg; Anne Wells, Napier, broken leg and other injuries.

The New Zealand Educational Institute, at a meeting last evening, decided to forward a message to the Mayor of Napier expressing the deep sympathy of the institute with the citizens of the town in the disaster.



Greenmeadows Seminary


All the Roman Catholic Seminary buildings at Greenmeadows, Hawke’s Bay, have been destroyed with tragic loss of life, according to information received by the authorities of the Marist order in

Wellington yesterday.

The casualties are as follows: –


JAMES DOOGAN, Greymouth.
BODEY ANNISY, Greymouth.
NGAIO RAFTER, Wellington.
ALEC DEVENPORT, Christchurch.



Others injured less severely.

The Rev. Father Gondringer was a Luxemburger by nationality. He was for some years a member of the faculty of St. Patrick’s College, where his ability, knowledge, and bonhomie made him very popular among the students.

Vincent Carmody, aged 19 years, was the third son of Mr. And Mrs, J. I. Carmody, of 36 Liverpool Street, Wanganui, and was in his second year at the Seminary. He received his primary education at the Wanganui Marist Brothers’ School and matriculated from the Technical College. He later attended St Bede’s College, Christchurch, and from there went to the Seminary at Greenmeadows. Sister Chanel, of the Sacred Heart Convent, St John’s Hill, is an Aunt of the deceased.

Father P. J. Boyle, S. M. Procurator of the Seminary at Greenmeadows, was the son of Mrs. T. Boyle, of Harrison Street, Wanganui. He received his primary education at the Marist Brothers’ School, Wanganui, and later attended Villa Maris, Sydney, the Marist Fathers’ Seminary there. After being on the Australian mission for some time he was transferred two years ago as Procurator of the Seminary at Greenmeadows, Father Boyle was at one time manager of the Wanganui “Herald”

The Rev Father Kimball was presiding over a “retreat” at the Seminary this week, and it is supposed that all those killed and injured were in the chapel when it collapsed. It is likely that Father Kimball, who is well known all over New Zealand, would just about have finished his morning’s half-hour discourse and had left the chapel before the tragedy.

Message from Prime Minister

The following telegraphic message has been received from the Prime Minister, Right Hon. G. W. Forbes, by his Grace Archbishop Redwood: “I learn with very deep regret of the tragic loss of life resulting from the destruction by earthquake of the Catholic Seminary at Greenmeadows, and I wish to tender my sincere sympathy to the relatives and to the Church in their sad loss.


Palmerston North


Palmerston North, February 4.

The following is a list of injured admitted to the Palmerston North Hospital to-day – Douglas Carrington, Allan K. McDonald, James Stevenson, Patrick Joseph Devine, Frederick Edward Bowen, Miss Mavis Faulknor, Mrs. Esther Scholfield, Miss Jessie Badley, Miss Dina Libby, Miss Elspeth Stuart, Mrs. Elizabeth Campbell, Mrs. Roma Goodwin, Mrs. Elizabeth Maddigan, Mrs. Florence Webb, Mrs. Emma Beery, Miss Anderson, Miss Annie Hawkins, Miss Ina May Henderson, Mrs. Gertrude Barnett, Mrs. Nellie Trueman, Mrs. May Scott, Miss Majorie Olive Warwick, Miss Kitty Carroll, Neil Cullan, Herbert Wischnowsky, Charles Chatterway, William Fulton, John Marshall Campbell, David Smith, William T. Blewett, Leslie John Rattray, Jack Wallis, Miss Grace Tosher, Mrs. Walter Parsons, Fred King, Vance Jurasovich, Gordon Black, Alexander Burrows, Leopold Kelly, Thomas Lahood, Stanley Newlands, Laurence Calver, Jack Ryan, John O’Connor, Fred Wilson, Stewart McKenzie, Edward Whitton, James Butler, Geo. Haywood, Robt. G Martin, James Gahan, Peter Jacobsen.

The following are the nurses from Napier Hospital who were admitted: – Sister Rona Carswell Cook, Nurses Freda Chesterman, Kathleen Amner, Beryl Cullen, Phyllis Douglas, Thorne George. The following are the children: – Mary Grant, Leslie Hamlin, Violet Pearce, Billy Lavin, Laurie James.


Convicts Rescue Mates


The walls of the Napier prison collapsed and there was nothing to prevent the prisoners escaping. They behaved, however in most exemplary manner. Two of them were seriously injured and were removed to hospital in the park, and five others slightly hurt had their wounds dressed on the spot. They had been buried in the fall of earth in the quarry. Other prisoners dug them out. Hearing there was a woman buried up the street, they went and rescued her. She had a broken arm and was conveyed to hospital in a state of collapse.

The prisoners returned in orderly manner to the prison, where they slept in the open and caused not the slightest anxiety to anyone. The prison was visited by the Prison Controller, Mr. B. L. Dallard, and the Public Service Commissioner, Mr. P. Verchaffelt.


Countryside Shattered

By Telegraph – Press Association

Gisborne, February 24.

At Mohaka the whole of the countryside is shattered. There are slips on most of the hills, and the rivers and streams are dammed up.

At Mohaka railway bridge a workman was buried under tons of debris, and any attempt to recover his body is regarded as almost hopeless […]

10   The Dominion   Thursday, February 5, 1931.



Refugees at Wellington


Some poignant Scenes

A poignant scene occurred at the Thorndon railway station last evening when the Napier express made a late arrival. For some time men and women had been waiting, anxiously expectant of friends and relatives. Only a few tired and strained looking travellers, however, stepped off the long train.

They formed a few quiet groups that soon disappeared almost in silence, but not before inquiries had been made of total strangers concerning expected passengers whose faces were missing. The fate of some was established all too definitely and the enquirers quickly turned away. “She is gone” “He is gone” was the dull repetition of one young man surrounded by questioners.

A few still hopeful stragglers were the last to follow the small band of passengers.

Streets picketed.

“People in Napier are not entirely homeless,” replied a refugee upon being questioned as to the accommodation available. Except in isolated cases, he said, all the wooden buildings in the residential area were intact. Up to yesterday, when large supplies began pouring in from all sides, the main problem was not accommodation but food. That was due to the complete destruction of the business part of the town. Yesterday morning, when he left, the devastated business portion of Napier was being patrolled by police and naval pickets, and no one was being allowed to approach.

A young man resident in Wellington who was spending a holiday at Napier at the time of the earthquake said he was in the office of the Marine Department when the shock occurred. Those people in the building rushed to the door, where falling bricks and a screening cloud of dust repelled them. They stayed inside the building in preference to the danger of the street. When the dust had cleared, dead bodies of a man and two women were seen on the footpath in front of the office.

The fear of a tidal wave spread quickly, so that many people ran to the hills for safety. Water was pouring down from the hills from a broken reservoir. Scarcely a person slept indoors on Tuesday night for fear of further earthquakes.

Women’s Narrow Escape

Looking dazed and shocked to the depths of their being, two women refugees who arrived on the express train told, in a slow faltering way, as though even speech was an effort, of how they had just escaped being caught in their house when the rear part of the house collapsed.

When the ‘quake came they at first did not realise what was happening. Fortunately they were in the front part of the house at the time, but they began to rush to the back door in a frenzied hysterical effort to get outside. Then the back chimney came down, and with it the whole of the rear portion of the house, and they were compelled to turn about and reach safety through the front door.

Scenes in the town itself, they said, were horrifying – people were buried deep down in piles of bricks, and to them it seemed that rescue was hopeless.


Word from Mr. Masters


Six members of the Crown are now in the devastated area. The Hon. Ransom, Cobbe, Stallworthy, and Masters, who left Wellington on Tuesday, have been reinforced by the Minister of Public Works, Hon. W. B. Taverner, and the Minister of Education, Hon. H. Atmore, who left yesterday morning.

As soon as telegraphic communication was established with Napier yesterday afternoon, The Prime Minister received the following advice from Mr. Masters: – A camp has been established at the racecourse, and medical arrangements are well in hand. Three camps have been established for the injured and homeless, and satisfactory arrangements are under way. Citizens’ committees met at Napier and Hastings, at which Ministers attended. I am satisfied that everything possible is being done to relieve the situation. H. M. S. Dunedin and other ships are co-operating, and rendering valuable service.

“Ample medical attention is available. The public is bearing its trial in splendid spirit.”

“Inquest held at Napier at two o’clock to-day. The main road to Wairoa is considerably damaged and settlers are short of food. Arrangements are being made to meet immediate requirements.”

Hydro-electric Power.

Advice was also received by the Prime Minister from the Engineer-in-Chief of the Public Works Department, Mr F. W. Furkert, that Waikaremoana would be supplying Gisborne and Wairoa with power last night. Power would be supplied to Napier from Mangahao.


Services Yesterday

Aerial mail services between Wellington and the Stricken areas were run yesterday. A machine left Rongotai early in the afternoon for Hastings, and another machine, bearing mail from Hawke’s Bay, was to be flown to Wellington from Dannevirke.

It is not known whether these services will be continued to-day.

Messrs. G.G. Wallace and C.M. Duthie of the Wellington Aero Club, left Rongotai at 5.27 a.m. yesterday carrying telegrams, but Mr. Duthie was forced down at Dannevirke with a leaking petrol tank. Mr. G.G. Wallace is expected back this morning with telegrams for Wellington.


Mr. Coates Leaves for Scene

By Telegraph – Press Association

Auckland, February 4.

An offer of co-operation has been made by the Right Hon. J. G. Coates, Leader of the Opposition, to the Prime Minister:
In this hour of disaster and sorrow for our fellow-citizens in Napier and elsewhere, my party and I send to you and through you to those who are left and those who are suffering our sincere sympathy and concern. We will be glad to help you in providing measures and men for the relief and help of all who have suffered.

Mr. Coates left Auckland to-night to visit the scene of the earthquake.


Confusion at Napier


Lack of Definite Plan

Napier is full of nurses and doctors who are giving the injured all the attention they require, but there is a lack of organised effort in dealing with the situation generally in that town, said Mr. Michael Styver, of Wellington, yesterday. Mr. Styver conveyed a party of nurses to Napier in his car on Tuesday, arriving there at 3.15 a. m. yesterday and returning to the city at dawn.

Mr. Styver said there was a tremendous number of nurses at Napier – indeed, there were as many nurses as patients. Doctors were standing round on the racecourse because there was nothing for them to do. That was at 9 a. m. yesterday. By something of a miracle a water supply was again available, and attempts were being made to extinguish fires that were still burning. He did not think there was anybody, who needed attention, who was not being taken care of.

There seemed to be no organisation of any kind in Napier; nobody knew what was being done, nor what should be done in any organised fashion. He even had difficulty in ascertaining where to take the nurses who were in his car. However, when he left at dawn a conference was in progress at the police station to organise the efforts that were being made. No proper estimate of the loss of life could be made at that juncture.

An instance of what lack of organisation existed, said Mr. Styver, was the accidental discovery by policemen walking down one of the streets of Napier yesterday morning of three bodies under wreckage. There seemed no definite plan existent for the rescue of bodies.

At Hastings it was reported to Mr. Styver that thirty bodies had been recovered and forty more were still in the ruins. The reason given why better progress had not been made with this work was the lack of crowbars and similar implements.

Criticism Endorsed

Another Wellington resident had a somewhat similar tale to tell on arrival from the stricken area last evening.

“When one first entered Hastings at an early hour this morning,” he said, “one was immediately impressed with the expedition with which gangs had got busy and got a most difficult position in hand. It can be authoritatively stated that not later than 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon effective relief measures had been organised. Looking along Heretaunga Street in the direction of Havelock all that could be seen was smouldering ruins, reminiscent of a wartime bomb attack.

“Napier presented a much worse appearance than Hastings, all buildings in the vicinity of Hastings Streets and Tennyson and Emerson Streets being reduced to smouldering ruins.

“As late as 10 a.m. to-day fresh out-breaks of fire were occurring. One feature that an observer noted was the wide difference between the measures taken in Napier and Hastings to cope with the situation. In the last-named town everything appeared to be handled with complete thoroughness. Streets were adequately patrolled, partitioned off, and every assistance given anyone making inquiries.

“At an early hour both business premises and residences were being boarded up and temporary repairs made. Most of this work is being done by volunteers. This activity does not appear to have spread to Napier, where patrolling, cleaning up and a general attempt at organisation seems to be somewhat lacking.”


Rescuers Handicapped

“When we left Napier in the morning it was absolutely impossible even to estimate the number of casualties. All that can really be said is that they run into well over the thousand mark,” said two travellers who arrived in Wellington by the New Plymouth express last evening, after having travelled from Napier to Palmerston North by motor-car.

Now that the first excitement was over, they said the work of extricating people from the ruins of what had been stable, solid buildings was progressing in an orderly way, but the rescuers were greatly handicapped by a lack of proper implements, such as crowbars.

Great trouble, also, was being experienced through a lack of water in the town, though tanks were being brought in and in many instances people were carrying it from creeks – wherever they could get it, in fact.

Many people were camping along the foreshore, sleeping out on rugs, blankets or anything they could get. When the travellers left yesterday morning there were still occasional rumbles and in a great many cases people were leaving the town behind and making their way to Palmerston North and Wellington.

“We were talking to one man who said he, his wife and three children were trapped in their home by falling debris,” the travellers said, “Four of them got out without much difficulty, but they could not locate one of their children. However, the child crawled out from a heap of bricks after being imprisoned for about two hours, unhurt.


Dr. Gilray Not Dead

Reports were circulated in the Hawke’s Bay district yesterday that Dr. Gilray, of Napier, had lost his life in the earthquake. The report was definitely denied last evening by Dr. D. S. Milne, of Otaki who had parted company from Dr. Gilray at Napier just prior to his return to Otaki.

Dr. Milne said that he arrived at Napier at midnight on Tuesday in company with Dr. Church, of Marton, and two nurses, and found that there was ample medical assistance offering. There appeared to be more doctors than were required.

When the earthquake occurred Dr. Gilray had just finished an operation. He got the patient outside and then went back to the assistance of others. He later established a base about a mile from Napier on the seashore.

At Hastings Dr. Milne was particularly struck with the splendid organisation, all the casualties being treated in the commodious grandstand at the racecourse. The same co-operation was not possible in Napier, and medical depots were scattered all over the town.


Anxiety of Accountant

Mrs. Stan Dalley, wife of the accountant of J. C. Williamson’s Films, Ltd., is missing. With her husband, she arrived in Napier on Saturday on holiday, Mr. Dalley left his wife to have a bathe off the Marine Parade and she went to a hairdressing establishment. He did not see her again.


Killed in Man’s Arms


Crushed Against Counter

By Telegraph – Press Association.

Dannevirke, February 4.

Among those who were inside Roach’s, Ltd., buildings at Hastings when the earthquake started yesterday was Mr. Ernie E. Weston, managing director of Weston Bros., Ltd., Christchurch. To a “News” representative Mr. Weston related his trying experience.

“I had just completed my business when I felt the preliminary movement of the “quake”, and one of the female assistants rushed to my arms. I endeavoured to pacify her, remarking that all would be over in a second: but then the big crash came. Suddenly one of the steel pillars fell right across the girl’s body, and she was crushed alongside a counter. She pleaded for freedom, but the big pillar held her in such a position that in a moment life was gone. I realised that I had missed death by inches.


“Looking around I observed daylight shooting through the debris. I then crawled and managed to get out. Everywhere there were poor souls panic and terror-stricken. Appeals for help were coming from everywhere, and in what was once the boot department one could observe the figure of a man desperately fighting for life. Help was beyond question.

“In one corner fire broke out, but an appeal for buckets bought little response among the panic-stricken community. It was an appalling sight. With others I was able to assist in lifting a heavy beam from across the shoulders of Mr. Gerald Roach, and he was lucky to crawl out alive.

“As the fire engines were pinned in at the station, and as the water mains had burst, there was little that could be done with the hose that was available. It was a shocking position to be in when one considers that only a few moments previously the usual business atmosphere had prevailed.

“After many tense moments during the afternoon,” continued Mr. Weston, “there were two short and sharp shocks between 8 and 8.30 last night. That added more fuel to the catastrophe. The Grand Hotel then commenced to burn and this, along with other pitiful sights, was heart-breaking, particularly as the community was practically powerless. I summed up the position, and with my wife decided to camp for the night in the park.

“It is remarkable to find that among all the conflict three churches still remained intact – the Church of England, built of ferro-concrete: the Roman Catholic Church built of ferro-concrete; and the Salvation Army Citadel a single-storied brick edifice. The latter has not even a window broken.

“The whole affair makes a sad and depressing picture,” concluded Mr. Weston, “and I have no desire to undergo another experience like that. When Roach’s crashed many of the staff never had a chance. Some probably would have saved themselves had they sought shelter under the counters, but no one ever thought that such a big shake was coming.”


Men and Equipment


It was decided yesterday morning to send some of the City Council’s officers to assist in the rehabilitation of Napier and Hastings. These were Messrs. W. Cable (electrical engineer and manager). E. R. McKillop (water engineer), and -. Thompson (assistant city engineer), all three men with special knowledge as to lighting, water, and general engineering work. Mr. Thompson has had a professional experience of the district.

On Wednesday the Mayor, Mr. G. A. Troup, dispatched a motor lorry and six men to Napier to undertake any essential work in Napier that offers. In view of the break-down in the hydro-electric service, his Worship also thought it prudent to forward, with these men, a stock of portable electric battery lamps, which are sure to be needed for work after dark.


Phenomenon on Farm


By Telegraph – Press Association.

Gisborne, February 4.

On Mr. J. Barns Graham’s station at Hangaroa, inland from Gisborne, it has been always known that oil exists in the vicinity, and gas has frequently excuded from the soil, and after the first shake yesterday a column of hot, slaty-coloured mud twenty to thirty feet high, played up into the air and continued until the second big shake subsided, some minutes later, when the geyser ceased.

The heat of the blow-out was so intense that a party of men half a mile away could feel it. The wind at the time was blowing from the direction of the geyser toward the men. The blow-out was accompanied by a very loud noise.

Mud from the geyser ran down into the Hangaroa River and so much mud was thrown up that, although almost of a liquid nature, it entirely dammed the river.


Their Excellencies Cancel Trip

On receiving the news of the disastrous earthquake, their Excellencies Lord and Lady Bledisloe, who had proposed to spend a few days at the Franz Josef Glacier, decided to return at once to Wellington, and will arrive here to-morrow morning.


To avoid duplicating and over lapping, arrangements have been made between the authorities of the Women’s Institute and the Red Cross Society for the Red Cross Society in Wellington to receive parcels of food and clothing for transmission to the stricken area. Members of the institutes in the South Island and territories adjacent to Wellington who may desire to help are requested to consign their parcels to “Red Cross Society, Wellington.”

Institute workers have also arranged to render extra assistance to Red Cross Headquarters in packing and handling goods.


Prime Minister’s Statement


Validating Legislation

An appeal for financial assistance to relieve as far as possible the plight of those who have suffered through the earthquake was issued yesterday by the Prime Minister, Right Hon. G. W. Forbes. The setting up of relief funds in each of the centres of population was suggested by Mr. Forbes, who stated that steps would be taken to bring down legislation to validate donations by local authorities.

“In view of the magnitude of the earthquake disaster in Napier and Hastings and surrounding district, and the sad loss of life, widespread suffering, and distress which have been caused,” said the Prime Minister, “I desire to issue an appeal to the people of New Zealand for financial assistance to relieve as far as possible the desperate plight in which so many sufferers have been placed by the catastrophe. I have no doubt that the philanthropic spirit of New Zealanders to assist their fellow-citizens who are in dire need will ensure a ready and generous response, as was notably the case in connection with the earthquake in the Nelson and Buller district in 1920.

“I would suggest the setting up of relief funds in each of the centre of population throughout the Dominion, preferably by the municipal authorities and newspaper offices. The Government propose to establish a general fund to be administered by a special representative committee, which will be paid into the Public Account at the bank of New Zealand to the credit of this fund. A similar course should be followed in respect of donations received by Mayors and local authorities in other parts of the Dominion.

“The bank receipts for such payments should be sent to the Secretary of the Treasury, Wellington, with a covering letter setting out details of the contributions, and, in addition to sending the bank receipts to the Treasury, Wellington, with details of the contributions, I should also like to be advised by letter of what has been done. Steps will also be taken by the Government to submit legislation to Parliament in due course to validate any donations by local authorities to the Earthquake Fund.

“I feel there is no necessity for me to stress the urgency of the matter of financial assistance, and I am deeply impressed with the generous offers of help already intimated to the Government. Let us all remember in a national disaster such as has lamentably occurred the old maxim that “He gives twice who gives quickly.”


Many Donations Already

The Prime Minister has received advice that his Excellency the Governor-General (Lord Bledisloe) will contribute £100 to any appeal the Government might make for relief funds.

The directors of the Bank of New Zealand have given £2500 towards the relief of the sufferers by the earthquake disaster.

A donation of £1000 has been made to the earthquake relief funds by New Zealand Breweries. Lady Myers has donated £50, and the Timaru Druids £5 5/-.

Wellington Speedways Ltd. At a meeting yesterday decided to donate 50 gns. to the fund.

James Smith’s Ltd. Has forwarded £100 worth of children’s clothing to be distributed free among deserving cases in the stricken area.

The Wellington branch of the Hotel Workers’ Federation last night decided to donate £100 for the relief of hotel workers in the Napier and Hastings districts. The president of the Federation, Mrs I. E. Davies, and the president of the New Zealand Federation of Hotel Workers, Mr. J. Colgate, were requested to visit Napier and Hastings and help in promoting relief measures.

Mr. A. Wilson, manager of the Grand Opera House, yesterday received the following cablegram from Mr. Beaumont Smith, managing director of J. C. Williamson Films, from Sydney: “Cabled Prime Minister donating £100 for earthquake suffers. Please pay cheque.”

The officers of the Education Department, Wellington, have subscribed for the relief of sufferers from the earthquake the sum of £50, which includes £25 voted for the purpose by the the department’s Recreation Club Committee out of funds that were being held for the purpose of the annual staff picnic. The money is being handed by an officer of the department to one of the relief organisations in Napier to be used in providing immediate relief. The department’s boys’ home, Austin Street, donated £1 of the sum mentioned from its sports fund.

The superintendent of the Presbyterian Social Service Association, Mr. G. B. Stephenson, has received generous donations of clothing from the following firms Messrs. Macky, Logan and Caldwell Ltd., Sargood. Son and Ewen Ltd., Ross and Glendining Ltd., and James Smith Ltd. (including £100 worth of clothing). Mr. Stephenson proceeded yesterday afternoon to the devastated area with these goods.

Subscriptions received by “The Dominion” for the relief of distress in the earthquake area are acknowledged as under: –

£.   s.   d.
Previously acknowledged   210 0 0
Mr. B. Sutherland   100 0 0
I. J. A 15 0 0
Mr. J. M. Struthers, Christchurch   10 0 0
Rev. M. W. P. Lascelles   10 10 0
Mrs. F. D. Kean   10 10 0
Mr. F. D. Kean   10 10 0
C.   0 10 0
E. S. B. 5 0 0
Herbert C. Thornton   5 0 0
Zealandia Printing Co.   1 1 0
Mrs. Sullivan   0 5 0
J. M. 1 0 0
O. A. P. 0 2 0
R. M. 2 0 0
Miss Florence Sutton   5 0 0
Total   386 8 0


The following donations have been received by the Red Cross Society for the distress fund. The society is in direct touch with the position in the stricken area, and is, therefore, able to gauge and handle the extent of relief necessary. Further donations should be forwarded to the secretary  of the Red Cross Society, Box 969, Wellington.

£.   s.   d.
F. T. Clarke   10 10 0
Miss and Mrs. Adams   10 0 0
F. L. Young 5 0 0
Miss McGill-Brown   5 0 0
Sympathiser   1 0 0
J. A. Plimmer 2 0 0
Mrs. T. Hallinger   2 0 0
M. A. Edwards 5 5 0
D. G. Clark 1 0 0
W. H. Morton 5 0 0
Anonymous   2 0 0
Miss Reid   1 0 0
Mrs. C. F. Miller   2 2 0
Miss Ewart   1 0 0
Mothers’ Club, Taranaki Street   5 0 0
Miss Cheetham-Hardy   2 0 0
Anonymous   0 5 0
Mrs. McCree   5 0 0
C. B. S. 3 0 0
Miss Tricker   0 5 0
Total 68 7 0


Districts Prepare


Food being Dispatched


Palmerston North, February 4.

Provided that the necessary transport is available, it is expected that in the vicinity of 5000 women and children refugees will arrive in Palmerston North early this evening, and in response to an appeal for assistance in this connection Mr. J. A. Nash, M. P., convened a special meeting, at which Messrs. J. Linklater, M. P., J. R. Hardie, town clerk, A. H. Shelton, chief postmaster, C. Louisson, president of the Manawatu Racing Club, and R. J. Hughes, city engineer, were present.

Mr Nash reported that authority had been received for the utilisation of the Manawatu show-grounds buildings, and that the Speedway meeting, to have been held tonight, had been postponed to enable the committee to accommodate refugees.

The Manawatu Racing Club, through Mr Louisson, showed its eagerness to assist by offering what facilities were available at the racecourse at Awapuni. Including the use of the tea kiosk as sleeping quarters for 100 persons.

It was reported that arrangements had already been made to send 2000 loaves of bread to Napier, the request for additional constables had been considered, and the city engineer was instructed to dispatch a lorry load of benzine for use in relief work on the East Coast.

An offer to provide accommodation for 1000 people in tents at Napier was received from Dahls, Ltd.

The Manawatu Automobile Association reported that they were arranging transport from Palmerston North in connection with relief.

A number of City Council employees have been instructed to proceed to Hastings, while eight employees of the Manawatu-Oroua Power Board are also to proceed to the stricken area to reconnect the power lines.

The Prime Minister, Hon. G. W. Forbes, was communicated with on the question of relief organisation, and he undertook to issue instructions for the forwarding of all available military blankets and bedding for arrival at Palmerston North at 5 p.m. to be provided to the refugees.

Hotels are being approached for the loan of blankets and bedding for the same purpose.

Hospital Board’s Offer

At the Palmerston Hospital, accommodation has been arranged for 50 people, and it is expected that at least this number will arrive by train some time today. If necessary, further accommodation will be found at the Otaki Hospital.

All the nurses that could be spared from the Palmerston North Hospital have already been dispatched to the East Coast, while several nurses who are at present on leave have been recalled.

The cases that will be accommodated at the Palmerston North Hospital will be the most serious cases, the others will be sent on to the Wellington Hospital.


Wellington Measures


A remarkable response was received by the women’s division of the Farmers’ Union following an appeal it broadcast yesterday morning asking its members at the south end of the North Island to accommodate as many as[of] the homeless as possible. Within an hour of making the appeal telegrams were received by the headquarters of the Union from all parts.

Yesterday morning the Wairarapa branch of the division sent a quantity of bread to the devastated area, and supplies of cooked meat are being forwarded to Napier today.

The Mayor, Mr. G. A. Troup, has called a meeting for 11a.m. today at the City Council Chamber to consider what measures shall be taken for the relief of the sufferers by the earthquake in the Hawke’s Bay District, and chiefly in Hastings and Napier.

All citizens who can possibly spare the time are invited to attend, and all help is needed, as the emergency is a great one.

The Red Cross has arranged for the accommodation in Wellington of 164 adults and 87 children. An offer has been made of twelve to thirty furnished houses in Stoke’s Valley.

Advice was received by the headquarters of the Red Cross Society that the medical and nursing aid was sufficient for the need, but clothes, foodstuffs and blankets were required. An appeal was broadcast accordingly and throughout yesterday there was a constant supply.

Through the co-operation of the Automobile Association 109 cars fully loaded were dispatched to Napier and Hastings.

The articles included 160 mattresses, 120 blankets, three bedsteads, 160 pillows, 90 parcels containing foodstuffs and clothing. Medical necessities to the value of £50, three large quantities of bread and £75 worth of groceries donated by the Precision Engineering Company, three stretchers, one X-ray apparatus. Irvine Stevenson donated £50 of preserved meat and a similar amount was donated by the Gear Meat Company.

The society is open to subscriptions and the sum of £67 has been received.

Commissioner Cunningham has requested “The Dominion” to make an appeal on behalf of the refugees who will soon be arriving from the stricken area. Those able to contribute are requested to ring 49-240, or communicate with the commissioner at the headquarters, Cuba Street. A number of Salvation Army men and six nurses are already at Napier, and yesterday the Army dispatched eleven cars loaded with 1000 loaves of bread to meet the urgent need.

The directors of the Colonial Motor Company Ltd., have placed at the disposal of the Government all possible facilities in the way of provision of fleets of motor vehicles and trucks. Members of the staff of the Ford organisation have been drafted from all surrounding districts to give whatever assistance lies in their power.

At a meeting of the Home Missions Committee of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand held on Tuesday evening it was arranged that the Moderator and Home Missions Superintendent, the Right Rev. George Budd, should proceed immediately to Hawke’s Bay to investigate the situation and ascertain in what ways the church can render assistance.

Prior to leaving Mr. Budd dispatched a call to the ministers of the church throughout New Zealand, pointing out the urgency of the situation, and asking for immediate monetary assistance, to be forwarded to the general treasurer, P. O. Box 573, Wellington.

At a meeting called by the Rev. F. H. Wilkinson, Moderator of Wellington Presbytery, yesterday morning, the following resolutions were carried: –

Hospitality: Anyone able to offer hospitality in their homes to refugees who may be arriving Wellington, are requested to communicate with their ministers immediately, or with the Presbyterian Social Service Association, telephone 42-805

Clothing and bedding are urgently needed and may be sent in to either the Presbyterian Social Service Association, 114 The Terrace, or the Red Cross Society, 63 Dixon Street.

The Upper Hutt branch of the R. S. A. has placed at the disposal of the Red Cross Society its rooms as a depot with continued attendance for receiving food and clothes for earthquake relief. Also, if required, the services of several ex-servicemen to do anything that is required. The phone number is 95 Upper Hutt.

The Education Department has notified the Health Department that if experts in cookery are needed to help in the stricken area, it feels sure that the boards will release their staffs of special instructresses for the purpose. One instructress has already volunteered for service.

All New Zealand ex-service men willing to assist, if necessary, with casualties arriving from the earthquake area are requested to register their names with Mr. L. Williams, 124 Lambton Quay, telephone 41-185.

The Harbour Board yesterday morning offered assistance to the Health Department, and twelve Harbour Board employees who had Red Cross training, in some cases during the war years, left Wellington at 11 30 a.m. for Napier with a ton truck, loaded with provisions and ambulance gear, and two private cars.


Restriction of Traffic


Dannevirke the Limit

No one will be allowed to proceed further than Dannevirke without a permit. This restriction has been announced by the Police Department. Permits are being issued by the Health Department.

A team of traffic inspectors from the staff of the Wellington Traffic Department was sent to Hawke’s Bay to take control of the traffic management at vantage points on the main road between Wellington and Napier.

It was feared that many car-owners would seize the opportunity of proceeding to the devastated area out of mere curiosity, and so obstruct the roads and make demands on the available accommodation, food and petrol supplies, which will be needed for the people concerned and the workers who are assisting them.

Instructions were issued to the inspectors to turn back any motorists who are not provided with passes (which are being issued by the Health Department) or who have not urgent business connected with people or places in the stricken area; and also to keep the roads clear for the ambulances, and such cars as are engaged in rescue work.


Railway Tunnel Collapses


By Telegraph – Press Association

Wairoa, February 4.

Yesterday’s was the severest shake in the history of the district. No chimneys are left standing, and whole buildings have been demolished. All land communications to the south have been cut off, and miles of road have been obliterated. The town bridge is all but gone.

The Mohaka railway tunnel collapsed and the workmen escaped through an 18in. fissure.

The Diomede is proceeding to Waikokopu to pick up medical relief for Napier.

The railway line from Wairoa to Kote Maori [Kotemaori] is twisted in all directions. Lorries, cars, and passengers are marooned at intervals between Wairoa and Napier. There are road blockages everywhere, but the Public Works engineer has every available railway worker engaged clearing slips. The road has gone into the river in several places. Provided there is no further damage, it is expected that cars may be able to get through in a few days.

It is reported that the whole face of the country has changed. In several places small hills have completely disappeared.

A huge meeting of citizens was held yesterday afternoon, and committees were organised for light, water, and food, as the electric power and water system has been cut off. The transformers at the sub-stations were turned topsy-turry, and water pipes were smashed. The telephone is also out of action, and wires and poles are down.

Food supplies are likely to cause anxiety.

Thousands of carcasses of meat at the freezing works are likely to be ruined unless a boat arrives within a day or two at Waikokopu meat works. The New Zealand Shipping Company’s big building, Williams and Kettle’s store, and other places, were badly damaged, and numerous shops were razed to the ground. Whole blocks of brick and concrete buildings along the river front were levelled. The Gaiety Theatre, the post office, and dozens of shops were wrecked. Unless the Government comes to their assistance dozens of business men will be faced with ruin.

Citizens’ committees are now organising food supplies, carrying water, and are patrolling the town to prevent pilfering and arranging for the safety of damaged buildings. It will be a month before things can be restored to normal.

The town and district has received a setback, and it will take years to recover from the appalling disaster.


£737 Already in Hand

At the emergency meeting to be held in the City Council Chamber at 11 a.m. today, the Mayor, Mr. G. A. Troup, will make an appeal to citizens for funds.

The Mayor announced yesterday afternoon that, so far, the following donations had been received: –

£ s. d.
J. R. McKenzie 500 0 0
“N. Z. Truth   200 0 0
Mr. and Mrs. W. Cole   25 0 0
W. E. Luff 10 0 0
F. Cocker 0 5 0
Total   £737 5 0

Collecting Depots

Red Cross depots for receiving clothes and food are as follows: –

Island Bay: Mrs Crump, 259 The Parade: Mrs Lind, 128 The Parade. Khandallah: Mrs Moyes, Tel 26-448, cr. Of Everest and Dangar Road. Northland: Mrs R. Belman, Tel. 26-607, will pick up and deliver any contributions. Petone: McEwan and Carter. Lower Hutt; Cunningham Carrying Co. Heretaunga: Mrs Blane, 46-878, will pick up and deliver any contributions. Seatoun: Mr. McFarlane carrier. Miramar: H. Fitzsimmons, 22 Darlington Street; Mrs Chegwin, tel 16-782. Lyall Bay Service Station. 202 Queen’s Drive, tel. 17-763. Wadestown: W. T. Prince, tel. 42-615, 11 Cecil Road. Karori: J. Fugle, tel 26-774.


Desolation in Napier


Finding Bodies Continuously

Passengers from Napier who arrived in Wellington by train last night were unanimous in the declaration that it would be impossible for anyone who had not actually witnessed the scenes of ruin, desolation, and disaster to visualise Napier as it now is. They describe Tuesday night as one of continual alarm, with tremors at frequent intervals.

Mr. G. Davies, Napier manager of the A. M. P. Society, interviewed on his arrival with his wife and family, described Napier as a ghastly ruin. He expressed fear that it would be a very long time before it would be possible to restore the town to its former commercial status. Business people upon whom the vividness of the disaster was still the predominating impression were naturally inclined to doubt if the town would ever recover from the devastating blow. The extent of the damage could only begin to impress the outside public when it realised, for instance, that all the Government’s Land records had been lost. So also had the invaluable documents of other institutions and firms. The earthquake began the terrible act and fire completed it. The completeness of the disaster was its most outstanding characteristic. The ruins of the city were now being patrolled by police and naval units.

Heart-rending Scenes

In a brief reference to the main shock, Mr. Davies said that the two strongest impressions on the senses were the dull roar emanating from every quarter of the city, and the thick cloud of dust caused by falling mortar and brickwork. After the residents had recovered from the state of daze into which they had been so violently thrown, the anxious task of endeavouring to locate their families began. There were many heart-rending scenes as parents sought out their children, and husbands their wives.

Only too often were the searches tragically in vain. Mr. Davies instanced the case of a honeymoon couple from Wellington, whose names he had not ascertained. The wife had visited a shop in the city, and after the shock, her husband was frantically searching for her or news of her. It was one of the many vain searches, for it was reported that death had overtaken the young woman. It was feared that she had been felled by collapsing brickwork and fallen a victim to the flames.

Mr. Davies confirmed the reports as to the devastation of the buildings, and said that he doubted if there was anything worth more than a few shillings to be found between the Masonic Hotel and Clive Square.

City Disorganised

It was impossible even for people in Napier to ascertain the extent of the loss of life. The whole city was hopelessly disorganised, and reports true and false could only be collected by word of mouth. “They are finding bodies all the time,” said Mr. Davies, “and one doctor told me that the dead alone would probably total three hundred. Heaven only knows how many injured there are.”

Another arrival from Napier described the scene at the Port, stating that the whole area had been wiped out.


Appeal to all Citizens


“Wellington has yet to grasp the fullest significance of the disaster in Napier,” said Mr. A. R. Shepard, manager of J. C. Williamson Films (N.Z.) Ltd., who returned from the stricken area last evening.

Mr Shepard said that, although much was being done to rescue and aid the sufferers, Wellington should know the enormity of the position and the desperate need for assistance that was apparent. “The public must wake up,” he asserted.

“The worst of the reports have not been exaggerated. Napier is utterly in ruins and, standing in the town, one can see nothing but piles of debris extending in every direction. There is no water, no power, no light, no sanitation. Everything that can be done to rush equipment and supplies to Napier should be done immediately by all sections of the community.”


Trapped in Crumbling Building

Trapped in a crumbling building in Napier, Mr. R. Webb, of Delmonte and Patience, Ltd., Wellington, had a narrow escape from injury, if not death.

Relating his experiences, Mr. Webb said he was in Ritchie’s sample rooms when the disaster happened. Suddenly the building started to sway, and the roof fell in. He thought that by jumping out into a right-of-way used for hauling up goods, he could make an escape. The way however, was blocked by falling debris. He tried to get out through the front of the building without success. Eventually he reached the street through a back stairway leading into the basement of Ritchie’s crockery shop. The dust was so thick that it was almost impossible to see anything.

The main street was a scene of desolation. Buildings, tramway wires and telegraph poles  were down the town resembling an area that had been severely bombarded. Women and children were rushing about, the majority making for the beach.


Prominent Business Man

Mr. J. H. Colebourne, who lost his life in the earthquake at Hastings on Tuesday, was one of the best-known business men on the East Coast. He was in the service of Messrs. Williams and Kettle at Gisborne and Hastings for many years, and managed both branches for some years. He took a keen interest in defence matters, and was captain of the East Coast Mounted Rifles for several years.


Gisborne People Alarmed

By Telegraph – Press Association.

Gisborne, February 4.

A fairly sharp shock was experienced at Gisborne about a quarter to five this evening, and sent large numbers of people, who are very nervous after yesterday’s big shakes here, running into the streets.


Babies from Napier


A pathetic legacy from the disaster which has overtaken Napier arrived in Wellington yesterday in the form of nine babies, whose ages ranged from four months to eighteen months.

These little tots, when the holocaust struck Napier, were cooing in their bassinettes in the sun outside the Salvation Army maternity home.

Captain V. Delaney, children’s officer at the home, who assisted by Lieutenant F. Durie and Miss S. Thompson brought the babies from Napier by car yesterday, and had a  wonderful story to tell of the miraculous escape they had.

“I was in the washhouse when the earthquake took place,” Captain Delaney explained, “and my first care was for the babies. I rushed out to where five of them were lying in the sun, and was horrified to see a brick chimney collapse and fall down among them. I expected to find some of them dead, as some of the bricks and debris fell right into the bassinettes. Providentially, not one of the little mites was injured. The rest of the children in the home, six in all, were also uninjured, and we hurriedly took the eleven of them to a place of safety. There were also two or three maternity patients in the home, and they also were unharmed.

Captain Delaney left Napier with her little charges by motor-car at 2 o’clock on Wednesday morning, and arrived at the Salvation Army Home in Kensington Street about 1 30 p.m. yesterday. From a glance at the picture in this morning’s “Dominion” no one would imagine that the babies had been through such a terrifying experience. “They did not realise the seriousness of it, and perhaps it is just as well,” remarked Captain Delaney.

The matron of the Napier home, Commandant Weeding, remained to render assistance to the injured and homeless,


Gisborne Meeting


By Telegraph – Press Association.

Gisborne, February 4.

The Gisborne races, which were to be held tomorrow and Saturday, have been postponed for one week on account of the earthquake.

The Poverty Bay Turf Club’s meeting was set done for Thursday and Saturday of next week, but it is expected that this club will fall into line and postpone its meeting.


Payment on Fires


Property-owners have no legal claim on insurance companies, unless they are specifically covered for earthquake risk – fire, consequent upon an earthquake – even though such loss is the result of the spread of the fire, and not directly arising out of an earthquake, according to an authority consulted yesterday. That, it was stated, had been established in test cases.

It was pointed out that that was not necessarily the attitude that companies would take, as it was on record that in disasters similar to that which had overtaken Hawke’s Bay, some British companies had paid out on ordinary fire policies. It would be for the New Zealand Underwriters’ Association to determine what course would be pursued in this instance.

It is understood that during the last two days local insurance companies have been kept busy supplying information as to earthquake insurance to possible clients.


Scenes at Waipukurau



Waipukurau, February 4.

A clearing station reminiscent of the war is working splendidly at Waipukurau. Ambulances and lorries are arriving from the stricken area conveying injured. They are received into an ambulance station fitted up in large sample rooms, where doctors and nurses attend them until dispatched by trains south.

An endless stream of traffic passing through the town tells of the general exodus from Hastings and Napier.

Further details of the Waipawa damage show that practically all business premises are seriously damaged beyond repair and rebuilding is necessary.

Rust’s bakery and confectionery business is in ruins. Burkin’s shoe store collapsed and seriously injured the proprietor. Shopkeepers state the losses in buildings and stock-in-trade are enormous.

In both Waipukurau and Waipawa many slept in the open last night.


The official list of Doctors who have left for Napier is as follows: –

Drs. P. Tresby, E. G. Lynch, A. Gillies, J. W. Jollie, W. H. B. Bull, R. J. Maunsell, Robert Stout, W. S. Robertson, R. B. Martin, L. G. Austin, Leslie Myers, John Thwigg, J. P. Donald, W. J. Pope Robertson, John Russell, A. N. Slater, two from Porirua, and two medical students.

The following medical men have also gone unofficially: Drs. Begg, Anson, D. M. Wilson, T. D. Stout, Luke, Bowerbank, and Cotton.


Matai Still Searching

There is little further reported concerning the missing Wellington yacht Windward. The Government steamer Matai is still searching in the vicinity of the Bounty Islands, but so far has sighted nothing.


The Union Company advise that owing to the Hawke’s Bay disaster the Tamahine excursion from Wellington to Pelorus Sound on Saturday, February 7, has been cancelled. The first excursion of this season will now be from Wellington on Saturday, February 21.

WOOD’S GREAT PEPPERMINT CURE – For Children’s Hacking Cough – Advt.

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Date published

5 February 1931


The Dominion

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