WOODVILLE AND DISTRICT HONOURS FORMER MAYOR
Tribute to Mr and Mrs H.P. Horne
Residents of Woodville and the surrounding districts gathered in full force at the Foresters’ hall, Woodville, on Monday evening to pay tribute to Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Horne, in recognition of Mr. Horne’s untiring efforts as Mayor of Woodville over a period of 17 years. Among those present to show their appreciation of Mr. Horne’s ﬁne services were Hon. E A. Ransom (Minister of Lands) and his secretary, Mr Mulligan, Mr. J. B. Thompson (Commissioner of Crown Lands, Napier), and Mr. N. Hubbard (Crown lands ranger, Napier).
Mr. M. Pickering, senior councillor of the present Borough Council, was in the chair, and on the arrival of the guests of the evening Mrs. Horne was presented with a charming bouquet of freesias and violets by Mrs. Pickering.
Proceedings opened with a welcome to the visitors by the chairman and a delightful musical programme, provided mostly by Palmerston North artists. The performers were most enthusiastically received and had to respond to recalls, the audience not being satisfied until Miss Woodﬁeld had contributed a second encore. Instrumental trios by Miss E. Woodﬁeld (piano), Miss G. McKenzie (’cello) and Mr. L. Loveday (violin) found great favour with the audience, and also solos by these artists individually. Miss Dorothy Stairs charmed with her sweet songs, and Mr. Fannin, of Woodville, the other vocalist, was very warmly applauded for his well rendered items. Mrs. R. Johnston and Miss Woodfield were the accompanists.
Mr. Pickering then called to the platform the guests of honour and Hon. E. A. Ransom, their appearance being the signal for prolonged applause.
Mr. Pickering expressed his pleasure in the size of the gathering, but said that probably only those who had acted on the Borough Council could possibly know the full extent of Mr. Horne’s services to the district. As the senior councillor and having been associated with Mr. Horne over a long period, the speaker desired to pay tribute to Mr. Horne’s work. The public as a whole did not realise the time given and the work entailed in services much as Mr. Horne’s, particularly in the war period, in earthquake relief measures, and in dealing with the unemployed.
Mr. John Harding said that while it was not his duty to refer to Mr. Horne’s efforts as Mayor, in view of the speaker’s long association with him on the Borough Council, even though they had differed keenly at times, he could not let the occasion pass without saying, and without the least reservation, with regard to Mr. Horne’s work, that it had been unequalled. (Applause). There was not another man who could have done as well, continued Mr. Harding. Referring to Mr. Horne’s work on behalf of the returned soldiers, in connection with the Patriotic Society and even previously, the speaker said Mr. Horne had called a meeting as early as August 10, 1914, to consider the best way to help the soldiers by providing comforts and equipment. Thus did he show his deep interest in the affairs of the country. At that meeting the Patriotic Society had been formed, and in 1916 it was merged with the Hawke’s Bay War Relief Association. All through the years meetings had been held, about 200 in all, and Mr. Horne had only missed about 13. “Think what that means,” said the speaker, “in time and work and out of pocket expenses.” And that had been only a part of his duties while Mayor. Thousands of soldiers had been interviewed and helped. Mr. Horne had been faithful to the trust given to him, and the speaker hoped he would be able to continue this work in the future. He desired to bear his personal testimony that Mr. Horne had conducted the business of the council with dignity and honour, and that of the Patriotic Society with diligence and respect.
Mr. E. W. Ruddick was pleased to express his kindly affection and high esteem for Mr. Horne, as an old councillor and on behalf of the staff. He had served under Mr. Horne for a number of years with pleasure in his conduct of the meetings. At times the work had been arduous, taking a man of backbone and grit to see it through. If the ratepayers had known all the details and facts they must admire and be thankful to have such a man as Mr. Horne to come forward and take the position of chief citizen. In the Chamber of Commerce Mr. Horne had ever been a champion of Woodville, his heart and soul in the development of the district. The speaker challenged anyone in the hall to show a town of the population of Woodville with as good facilities in the way of water supply, sewerage, etc., and rated as low per section. The pioneers were to be thanked for their enterprise, and Mr. Horne for keeping up the facilities that were being enjoyed to-day. Mr. Horne had been associated with the Manawatu Gorge Board of Control, the Power Board, the Fire Brigade, the War Relief Association and, indeed, every movement for the welfare and, indeed, every movement for the welfare and progress of the district, and he held a distinguished record. On behalf of the old councillors and members of the staff the speaker wished that the days of Mr. and Mrs. Horne would be long in the land and that good health and prosperity would be ever their companions.
Hon. E. A. Ransom, to whom was entrusted the most important duty of the evening, expressed his pleasure in being associated in doing honour to one who had served as chief citizen for so many years. He spoke in glowing terms of Mr. Horne’s work for the advancement of the district, and from his intimate knowledge of that work as Mayor of Dannevirke for nine years and as representative of the district in Parliament over a further period.
Looking back over the years one must realise that the ambitious pioneers had believed that Woodville would one day become a large business centre. It was not the fault of its chief citizen that these ambitions had not been realised, it being due to the fact that splendid roading and transport facilities had attracted people to the larger centres. Having regard to what had been done in the district, however, Mr. Ransom felt that, if other districts had followed Woodville’s example in conducting its affairs, it would have been better for the Dominion. The speaker instanced the successes of the dairy factories, and in particular the United dairy factory, at the Manawatu winter show, and the importance to the district and to the whole Dominion of the production of such high quality produce. The results of the good work and excellent products the Woodville district had been a considerable inspiration to the speaker as Minister of Lands when visiting other parts of the Dominion. One of the problems today was that there were not sufficient producers. There were only 80,000 primary producers – a small proportion of the population of the Dominion – but the system of farming and intensive cultivation carried out in the Woodville district demonstrated the possibilities of increasing production by scientific methods, a fact he would stress when a large block of some 22,000 acres was opened in the near future.
Continuing, Mr. Ransom said the name of Horne was associated with the pioneers of the district, Mr. Horne’s father, the late Mr. David Horne, having done wonderful service. The men in change of civic affairs had looked well to the district’s progress. Those taking positions of responsibility did so at considerable sacriﬁce and their services were seldom fully appreciated until after they were lost to the community. If Mr. Horne had any regrets he must know also that he had rendered good service in the interests of the community and had never failed to recognise each and every portion of the district.
In asking Mr. Horne’s acceptance of an illuminated address, Mr. Ransom congratulated him on the services he had rendered to the town and district. Mr. Horne had the satisfaction of knowing that the ﬁnest thing any man could do was to render service to his fellow men, said the speaker in conclusion.
The company rose and sang “For They Are Jolly Good Fellows,” cheers being also given for the guests of honour.
Mr. Horne Replies
On rising to speak, Mr. Horne was accorded an ovation. He said he found it hard to express his thanks, honoured as he and Mrs. Horne had been that evening, but he deeply appreciated the great kindness and the handsome address. He did not feel that he deserved all the kind things that had been said, although he had tried to deserve their respect and esteem. Giving a review of his association with the council since 1903, ﬁrst as a councillor and later as Mayor, Mr. Horne mentioned that the total revenue of borough had more than trebled in that period. One of the features that had made his work worth while was the opportunity of meeting and making friendships with men outstanding in public life, and he was pleased to see members of the civil service present that evening. Giving a little advice to budding public men, Mr. Horne referred to the help given him when starting out by Mr. Hubert Burnett and the late Mr. A. Kirkpatrick, who had advised him ont [not] to be too serious about things, but to look for the funny side. This had been very good advice. It had also been a pleasure to come in contact with the farming community and gratifying to ﬁnd the interest taken by them in borough affairs. He paid tribute to the borough staff, which had given loyal service, and also to the consideration accorded him by the various councils. He again thanked the residents for their many kindnesses to Mrs. Horne and himself, and for their public recognition of his services that evening.
Thanks to the musicians were carried with musical honours, and also to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Johnston, who had been largely responsible for the happy function that evening. In expressing his thanks Mr. Johnston took the opportunity to make reference to the unique services in the cause of charity rendered by Mrs. Horne, (Applause.)
After the formal programme had been completed, supper was served by an energetic committee of ladies and gentlemen. The ﬂoor was then cleared and dancing was enjoyed to music provided by Mrs. J. S. Nelson (piano) and Mr. Phil Knox (violin). Mr. T. Finer carried out the duties of M.C. The function concluded at midnight with the singing of the National Anthem and “Auld Lang Syne.”
The text of the illuminated address, which was read by Mr. A. H. Hustwick was as follows:- “In presenting you with this token of esteem we, as residents of the Woodville borough and district, desire to express herein out [our] sincere appreciation of your many public services during a long period of years. “Since 1903, when ﬁrst elected to the Woodville Borough Council, you have rendered yeoman service on that body, and during the past 17 years, which include the strenuous and difficult time of the Great War, you have occupied the Mayoral chair. Your services throughout have been distinguished for ability, energy, unselfish devotion and never-failing courtesy.
“Your activities on the Borough Council do not nearly comprise the total of your services to the Woodville district. The great work of the local branch of the Hawke’s Bay War Relief Association was inaugurated at a public meeting held at your request, and since its inception in 1915 you have been the able chairman of its meetings, a work entailing much time and patience. You were also a very active member and ofﬁcer of the Volunteers, member of the Fire Brigade, founder of the local Chamber of Commerce and member of the Gorge Control Board. In the establishment of electricity supply for the district you gave willing assistance and had the honour of being the borough’s ﬁrst representative on the Dannevirke Power Board.
“On every occasion you have identified yourself with any movement making for the welfare and progress of the district. We recognise the splendid civic spirit that has prompted your participation in such, and we assure you, sir, of our continued esteem and best wishes.
“We desire in conclusion to pay tribute to the sterling qualities of Mrs. Horne and express to her our heartiest thanks for her enthusiastic co-operation with you and the manner in which she has carried out every duty devolving upon her during her term as Mayoress.”
A telegram of appreciation was received from Mr. H. S. M. Quigley, of Dannevirke, expressing regrets for unavoidable absence.