Newspaper Article 1956 – Hastings Becomes NZ’s Fifteenth City


Hastings Becomes N.Z.’s Fifteenth City


Impressive ceremony

“Now, therefore, pursuant to section 6 of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1954, I, Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie, the Governor General of New Zealand, hereby proclaim the borough of Hastings to be a city.”

It was an impressive moment for the 6000 or more people gathered on Nelson Park on Saturday afternoon as his Excellency solemnly proclaimed that declaration. The thousands of Hastings citizens, with well-wishers from other cities and boroughs were present at the birth of New Zealand’s 15th city.

The moment was a culmination of literally generations of effort, dating back to a day 83 years ago when swamp land on the Heretaunga Plains was auctioned for town sections – sowing a seed which was to grow into Hastings of today – Hastings the fruitbowl of New Zealand, and commercial centre of Hawke’s Bay.

Over recent weeks, as interest in the city celebrations quickened, that moment on Saturday was a culminating point toward which the town’s expectations were directed. Yet when it came scarcely a cheer was raised from the huge assembly. Only when his Excellency turned and conveyed his personal congratulations to Mr. W E. Bate, first mayor of the new city, did the crowd appear to realise that a moment of civic history had been reached. There was warm applause.

The proclamation was read almost to the minute of that planned months ago and as the crowd rose to its feet for the playing of the National Anthem, R.N.Z.A.F. Vampire jet fighters from Ohakea, in impeccable formation, swept low over the crowd in salute to the new city

Saturday’s function developed into something of a gamble with the elements, as several times throughout the afternoon the horizon, and Havelock Hills especially, blackened ominously with rain-sodden clouds. Early in proceedings light rain fell for a comparatively short time, but apart from a cold breeze, the weather could do little more than mildly mar the colourful proceedings.

The programme was a master-piece of timing, beginning at 1.30 when the vice-regal party was welcomed Maori fashion at the Caroline Road entrance to Nelson Park

There followed a series of Maori […] circuit of the park by vehicles of the Transport Through the Ages procession, further items, then four speeches and the reading of the Proclamation.

And through the meticulous arrangements ran the thought that the reading of the proclamation and within seconds, be followed by the fly-past of R.N.Z.A.F. air-force. An upset in timing and the  impressive effect would have been lost.

The official party were their Excellencies Sir Willoughby and Lady Norrie and aides; General Sir Geoffry Scoones, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in New Zealand, and representative on the day of the mayor of Hastings, England; Mr E. J. Keating, M.P. for Hastings and Mrs. Keating; the mayor, Mr. W. E. Bate and Mrs. Bate; the Minister of Works, the Hon. W. S. Goosman, representing the Prime Minister and the Government; and the town clerk, Mr. N. C. Harding;

Following their challenge at the gates by a Maori warrior, members of the official party were escorted to special seats in the grandstand, from where they watched the Maori items and the procession of vehicles. Each of the latter paused, for a moment in front of the vice-regal box.

As his Excellency commented later in his speech, many of the old vehicles had brought back memories of his younger days.

Within seconds of the final Maori item, delivered from the dais in the centre of the ground, arrangements were in hand to transform the stage into a tastefully decorated dais for the official party.

A truck was rushed across the park carrying flower boxes and cane chairs and within a minute or two all was in readiness for the official party, led by Sir Willoughby and the mayor, to move from the grandstand to the elevated staging, which for the next 30 minutes was given over to speeches and the reading of the proclamation.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, at his Excellency’s express wish, several of the Maori entertainers were brought forward and thanked and congratulated by him for their contribution to the afternoon’s programme.

W.E. Bate

Friendship of Town and Country

That the spirit of co-operation and friendship between town and country was typified in the new city of Hastings coat-of-arms, and in its new motto, was emphasised by the mayor, Mr. W.E. Bate, in his address at the proclamation ceremony on Nelson Park last Saturday.

It was necessary for all, said Mr Bate, to enter the new city’s inheritance with a deeper sense of responsibility to town and district, that their mutual interests and prosperity might be enhanced, and so that a city might be developed which […] children can appreciate.

Mr Bate briefly traced the development of Hastings from the time of the first land auction, spoke of the vision and work of the early settlers who laid the foundations for what was to become New Zealand’s 15th city.

Expressing pleasure at the presence of their Excellencies, Sir Willoughby and Lady Norrie, the mayor invited Sir Willoughby, as representative of the Queen, to […] to her Hastings’ assurance […] loyalty and affection, and [,,,] both to her and to the […] Mr. Bate recalled, with pleasure, the Royal visit to Hastings in 1954.

Knowing that the time was coming when their Excellencies’ term in New Zealand was coming to an end, Mr. Bate alluded to what he described as […] and dignified manner with which they had carried out their high office.

[…] is much more to this day […] coat-of-arms and mayoral […] declared Mr. Bate.

During his tribute to the early settlers, he spoke of the day years ago when the land on which the city now stands was auctioned, and of a year later when the first Hastings Town Board was set up.

Much of the land was swamp, the prospects for the infant community might not have been bright, but the swamps were drained and a town built.

The new coat-of-arms, said Mr. Bate, recorded the spirit of friendship which had always existed between town and country. The Hastings people had worked hand-in-hand with the Maori people of the district, who farmed the land, and who virtually made the shearing industry their own.

It was appropriate, said the mayor, that the city’s new coat-of-arms should have as two of its central figures, the ram and a Maori warrior.

In lighter vein, he commented that although the College-of-Arms had conceded that the council probably knew what a Maori warrior should look like – and he was a fine looking chap – they considered they knew best when it came to the ram.

Accordingly, he said, the ram on the coat-of-arms would scarcely be recognised as such in Hawke’s Bay.

Returning to his theme of urban-rural co-operation, Mr. Bate said that over a comparatively short period of years, the townspeople of Hastings, the farming community, and the Maori people working together had brought about a thriving city and a prosperous countryside.

Split-Second Timing Secret

There was a secret to the success of the split-second timing of the appearance of jet fighters over Nelson Park on Saturday, immediately following the reading of the city proclamation.

Inside the park was an Air Force ground-to-air radio transmitter which was in constant touch with the aircraft, so that radio operators on the ground where able to bring the machines over the park at precisely the correct time.

The impeccably tight formation of the three jets as they whistled over the crowd and rolled in formation at the end of each “run” drew gasps of admiration from onlookers.


“A sobering experience,” was how the mayor of Hastings, Mr. W. E. Bate,” described his feelings on wearing in public for the first time at the proclamation ceremony on Saturday afternoon the new mayoral robes presented by the Junior Chamber of Commerce to the borough on the occasion of the attainment of city status.

Speaking lightly at the civic dinner, Mr. Bate said that the wearing of formal robes was a sobering experience and on such an occasion, one could relax only with the greatest difficulty. “One is acutely conscious of wearing a cockade,” he said amid laughter.

Women always felt well-dressed if their hat was right, he said, and even men became sensitive about the sort of hat they wore. Ask the average man to wear a grey topper, and he became shy and psychologically disorganised immediately.”

“So you will see what I mean when I refer to the wearing of a cockade,” he said, and added that some of his friends thought it ought to be worn crosswise, like Napoleon; but others that it should be fore and aft as worn by Lord Nelson. “As a matter of course, the Nelson tradition is right,” he said.

He concluded amid hearty laughter by adding: “No matter, how funny you may feel in a cockade, or how funny you may appear to be in one, you dare not try to be funny in one.”

Civic Service of Thanksgiving At Nelson Park

The first public function after Hastings was declared a city was held in Nelson Park yesterday afternoon when a good muster of Citizens joined in a service of thanksgiving. The Lesson was read by the Governor-General, Sir Willoughby Moke Norrie, who, with Lady Norrie, attended the service.

The service was held in fine though overcast weather. It was conducted by the Rev. H.A. Mitchell, and the singing was accompanied by the Salvation Army Band.

An address and prayer in Maori were delivered by the Rev. Te Hihi Kaa, and Canon K.F. Button also led the gathering in a prayer of thanksgiving and intercession. A hymn was sung by a Maori choir.

This was a service of thanksgiving and dedication – thanksgiving for the past and dedication to the service of God and man in the coming days, said Rev. L.C. Horwood, president of the Hastings Ministers’ Association, who delivered the address.

There had been a great no of men and women who were little known but to whom we owed a tremendous debt. Unfortunately there were many people who did not seem to realise they owed anything to anybody. They took all their advantages for granted. However, our inheritance did not come by chance, but by the grace of God and the sacrifice and service of thousands.

“We are all interested in the rights and privileges of our democracy, but let us not forget its responsibilities,” he said. Our city will be as good or as bad, as fair or as ugly, as the people that live in it.”

A combined choir from the various churches led the singing of the hymns.

If Hastings was to be a good city in the coming days the rank and file must be good citizens. Sometimes it seemed that the scale of values had been entirely upset. A great deal of very hard work had been done to improve outward conditions, and none should belittle that work. But all these improvements did not necessarily make a happy and healthy community. It was one thing to possess every gift that civilisation could provide and another to make good use of them. Their worth depended on the character of the folk who used them.

“Let us get our scale of values in order,” appealed the speaker. “The best assets of any community are good citizens, good fathers and mothers, good children, good teachers, plumbers and carpenters, good doctors, lawyers, parsons and priests. For only good people can make good use of good things.

“As we commence our life as a city, let us pay what we can of our debt to the past, let us create a Christian public opinion, let us aim at the goodness of Christ, let us present ourselves a willing sacrifice unto God. And if, as we dedicate ourselves, we mean that we do, Hastings shall be a city indeed and our children rise up and call us blessed.”




Whereas a petition has been received from the Mayor, Councillors, and Citizens of the Borough of Hastings praying that the said borough be proclaimed a city under the Municipal Corporations Act. 1954.

And whereas the population of the said borough is not less than 20,000.

And whereas it is desirable that effect should be given to the said petition.

Now therefore, pursuant to Section 6 of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1954. I, Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie the Governor-General of New Zealand, hereby proclaim the Borough of Hastings to be a city.

Given under the hand of His Excellency the Governor-General, and issued under the seal of New Zealand, this 8th Day of September, 1956.

Minister of Internal Affairs


The above, an exact copy of the proclamation declaring Hastings a city.

Mr. Goosman

Hastings Centre Of Biggest Area Of Rich Land

Hastings district land was described by the Minister of Works Mr. Goosman, as the biggest area of naturally rich land in New Zealand.

For this, he said, the district was indeed fortunate, and in its urban development, within the boundaries of the new city, the people were fortunate, too, that they lived in one of the lowest-rated cities of New Zealand.

Mr. Goosman was the personal representative of the Prime Minister, Mr. Holland, and the Government. He expressed the Prime Minister’s regrets at his inability to be present, and conveyed to the people Mr. Holland’s appreciation of Hastings’ “solid achievement.”

Hastings was in an important part of New Zealand, with its wide variation in farming, and its production from sheep, fruit, vegetables, canning – and of course thoroughbreds, said Mr. Goosman.

“You are lucky, too, to have a racecourse in the centre of the town and a progressive club which has kept up with the times” said Mr. Goosman, although he conceded that not everyone would agree it was good to have the racecourse in its present position.

Other sports were well catered for; in fact, when Hastings did something it did it well, he declared.

He spoke of the development of the town through the years, and commented that it was hard to believe that Hastings had once been a swamp.

One thing that was taken for granted, however, was the railways. Some people, he said, apparently would like to get rid of them, but it should always be remembered that the railways were a major element in the development of this district, and the people owed much to the service.

Mr. Goosman said he was interested in Hastings rating. It was now the 15th city of New Zealand, and it had the lowest loan liability, it collected the smallest amount in rates, and spent the smallest amount on its streets. The latter remark, delivered seriously sparked off loud laughter from the crowd.

Another point in Hastings favour, mentioned by Mr. Goosman, was that its subsidy from the National Roads Board came nearer to meeting its roading needs than for any other New Zealand city.

Hastings, he said, had come through earthquake, fire and other tribulations, but now it was populated with grand people lucky to be living in a favoured area.

Sir Willoughby Norrie

‘May Hastings’ Progress Be Maintained

The attainment of city status by Hastings seems to be a natural development in the centre of a district so richly endowed by nature, whose people have taken full advantage of their opportunities,” said his Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Willoughby Norrie, in his address to Saturday’s assembly at Nelson Park.

“I extend my congratulations to all who have contributed in any way to your city status. May the progress of Hastings be maintained, and may its citizens enjoy every happiness and all prosperity be added.

“You may be assured that when my wife and I leave this friendly land – as indeed some day we must – our thoughts will often turn with a sense of pride and affection to the small part of pride and affection to the small part we have taken on this important occasion today,” said his Excellency.

As the Queen’s representative in New Zealand he expressed thanks for the expressions of loyalty and he would be pleased to see that these sentiments were conveyed to her Majesty, as requested by the mayor, said Sir Willoughby.

“We all have very happy recollections of the Royal visit to New Zealand, and you retain particular memories of her Majesty’s and the Duke of Edinburgh’s morning spent here in Hastings in January 1954 – memories which will always be treasured and passed on to future generations.” He added.

His Excellency said both Lady Norrie and himself were more than pleased to be able to share in the happy and important celebrations, and it was a pleasant duty to proclaim the borough of Hastings to be a city.

“The proclamation I am to read has been specially prepared under my hand as Governor-General and issued under the seal of New Zealand, with the counter-signature of the Minister of Internal Affairs.

“I think it is correct to say that the future Hastings was born in 1864, when the Heretaunga Block was leased from the Maoris, and a few settlers took up land,” said his Excellency.

He commented that he had used the expression “future Hastings” because it was some little time before the name of the first Governor-General of British India, Warren Hastings, replaced the settlers, original name of “Heretaunga.”

“Hastings is a great name, and I am confident your new city will continue to make great progress,” said his Excellency.

He recalled that he had visited Hastings in Sussex on many occasions, and it was a well-known and famous watering place, with a dry, mild, and salubrious climate.

His Excellency told the assembly that present in the official party was the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in New Zealand, General Sir Geoffry Scoones, who was also present in a dual capacity.

“Sir Geoffrey, although occupying a high office in New Zealand, was in Hasting as the direct representative of the of mayor, of Hastings, England.

“This happy link between the two cities of Hastings is further evidence of the bonds of friendship which unite all partners in the British Commonwealth,” declared Sir Willoughby.

His Excellency said that 1066 was a date all school children knew, for in that year the Battle of Hastings was fought, when William, Duke of Normandy, defeated the English under Harold. From William’s victory, which took place nearly 900 years ago, much of our development and present-day characteristics could be traced.

“I would like to suggest another date to you children, and to the grown ups as being very important for Hastings, and that is September 8, 1956. We know that in 1066 King Harold not only lost an eye through an arrow which pierced it in the Battle of Hastings but he also lost his life and throne. Today we are witnessing an historic but peaceful and happy occasion, when I hope there will be no loss of eyes or limbs,” said his Excellency.

Pleasure at the attendance of so many children, was expressed by Sir Willoughby, who said the young generation was looked to to carry on the good work and great traditions established by parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.

“We always enjoy meeting children and talking to them. The children in New Zealand always appear so friendly, and not at all shy, which is a good thing,” he added.

Sir Willoughby expressed particular pleasure at the traditional Maori welcome accorded himself and Lady Norrie.

“No one is more conscious than myself of what we owe to our Maori brethren – brave in battle, cultured and generous,” said Sir Willoughby.

Maori and Pakeha had become united after the Treaty of Waitangi, and were now all good New Zealanders. During the last war it had been his privilege to have fought in the Western Desert in close association with the Second New Zealand Division, under their great and inspiring leader, Lord Freyberg.

No troops could have fought better or more valiantly, and although unfortunately campaigns could not be won without casualties, to preserve our freedom it had been necessary to fight.

“It is freedom we all cherish. Freedom to choose our work and lives, freedom of speech, and freedom of the Press. We are even given freedom to criticise if we wish to. I would like you children to remember that there are many countries where there is not the wonderful freedom which we enjoy. So it is up to us to enjoy our privileges, but at the same time to accept our responsibilities in this world,” said his Excellency.

He added that the record of Hastings district was a noble one. He and Lady Norrie and seen a great deal of Hastings. They admired and enjoyed the district’s schools and children, the rich pastures and orchards, and the sheep and cattle.

“And of course,” said his Excellency, “I must add the good racehorses you breed.”

Sir Willoughby, in paying tribute to the work of the pioneers, said they showed what courage really meant – it was faith in God, faith in their country and faith in themselves.

The district’s historical associations provided a spiritual background which was just as important in the life of a nation as the more material factors, he added.

Sir Geoffry Scoones

Other Hastings Extends Its Congratulations

A message expressing the goodwill of the mayor, aldermen and burgesses of Hastings, England to the people of Hastings, New Zealand and expressing their congratulations on the attainment of city status, was delivered to the Nelson Park assembly on Saturday by the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in New Zealand, General Sir Geoffry Scoones.

Although, in many respects, there was little similarity between the two Hastings, there was a bond between the two cities, and on issues which mattered the two were fundamentally as one, said Sir Geoffry.

Sir Geoffry attended Saturday’s celebration as the representative of the city of Hastings, England and it was in his official capacity that he expressed the regrets of the English Hastings, mayor, at his inability to be present in New Zealand for Saturday’s proclamation.

The message of congratulation from Hastings, England, expressed the view that the elevation to city status of its New Zealand namesake would not be the last major progress made by the new city.

It referred to the close association which has existed and still exists between the two cities, especially during and after the war, when the dispatch of food parcels from Hastings New Zealand was deeply appreciated.

The message contained a personal aside to the Mayor, Mr. W.E. Bate, expressing the hope that his first term of office as mayor of the new city would be a happy one, and stating too that his visit to Hastings, England, in 1957 was being looked forward to.

Sir Geoffry said he would like to be able to establish some closer relationship between the two Hastings, and in a flight of fancy suggested the escape of a worthy Hastings citizen from the fury of the Battle of Hastings, a journey in to the unknown, the facing of  tremendous privation including “a diet of gannet,” culminating in his settlement in New Zealand and the naming of his new home Hastings. Unfortunately, said Sir Geoffry, nothing of the sort had happened.

In actual fact, Hastings, England, had a population of 65,000, and its population’s living came mainly from the sea.

“You earn yours from the fertile land. Hastings is growing, but it hasn’t got to the sea yet.”

“Hastings, England, boasts a daily average of five hours of sunshine. Yours….but enough of these comparisons,” he said with a laugh as the crowd shivered beneath a lowering sky.


Civic Dinner Speeches

A memorable day in the history of Hastings ended on Saturday with the civic dinner, which even his Excellency the Governor-General was gracious enough to say was “more of a banquet than a dinner.” It was certainly a wonderful experience for some 350 guests, who were representative of all sections of the community and was a fitting climax to Proclamation Day in the city celebrations.

Opportunity to meet Sir Willoughby and Lady Norrie, as well as Sir Geoffry and Lady Scoones, United Kingdom High Commissioner, was afforded at an informal “cocktail party” preceding the official dinner, and guests were presented to their Excellencies

Following the sumptuous dinner, in which appropriate wines were featured with the dishes served, the toast list was honoured. Altogether the gathering lasted some five hours and was on a scale not previously attempted in Hastings.

Those at the official table at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ luncheon rooms were their Excellencies, Sir Willoughby and Lady Norrie, their son, Guy; Sir Geoffry and Lady Scoones; the mayor, Mr. W. E. Bate, who presided, and Mrs. Bate; The Hon. W. S. Goosman, representing the Prime Minister, Mr. Holland, and the Government; Mr. A. G. Harper, Secretary of Internal Affairs, and Mrs. Harper; Mr. N. H. Moss, president of the New Zealand Municipal Association, and Mrs. Moss; Captain Trotter, vice-regal aide-de-camp; Sir Walter Broadfoot; Mr. A. Kirkpatrick, deputy mayor, and Mrs. Kirkpatrick; Mr. and Mrs. A. I. Rainbow; and Mr. T. I. Tait, president of the Hastings Junior Chamber of Commerce.


Pleasure at the opportunity of meeting and greeting the distinguished guests more informally than was possible at the proclamation ceremony earlier in the day was expressed by the mayor when proposing the toast “Our Guests.” It was delightful to have his Excellency and Lady Norrie, and their son Guy and to have Geoffry and Lady Scoones, for they were representing the sister town of Hastings, Sussex.

It was a privilege too, he said, that the Prime Minister had arranged for one of his senior colleagues, Mr. Goosman, to be present to represent the Government. “We are particularly glad to see with us Mr. Harper, Secretary of Internal Affairs, an old Hastings’s boy himself, who has done a great deal to assist us with the more official portions of the celebrations,” he said and he extended a warm welcome to Mr. Moss, president of the Municipal Association, and other mayors of cities and boroughs.

Mr. Bate said he was particularly pleased to have at the gathering the head prefects of the secondary schools. “We build a city partly for ourselves, but in the main for those who follow after us,” he said. “These young people and all the pupils of the schools they represent will remember this day longer than the rest of us.”

“We shall long remember this day and will recall how our distinguished visitors and thousands of others like ourselves joined with us in this happy and proud day when we came to city status,” he said in conclusion. “We trust that those of you who have the opportunity will retain your friendly interest in our progress and welfare and will visit us again.”


Replying on behalf of the guests, his Excellency said he found himself much impressed by the evidence that this occasion afforded of the links which extend from the British Isles to New Zealand. There was much similarity in this gathering to those held not only in London but in many other cities of Great Britain.

“I thought today’s ceremony went off very well, and it was certainly a most pleasant duty for me to proclaim your borough to be a city,” he said. “We have been particularly impressed by the tributes paid during the celebrations to those pioneers who founded this city.”

There was, perhaps, no place in New Zealand which owed more to the vision and foresight of its early pioneers, he said. They saw the necessity for developments and established them in a favourable position to make possible this fine city today.

Hastings had had its ups and downs. It had suffered disasters from floods and earthquakes, but the people had weathered all the storms with courage. “The population which has enabled you to reach city status has been built up from one of the greatest assets that any country can have – and that is good home life,” declared his Excellency.

The part the council was playing in making known to the present generation the debt owed to those wonderful men and women, their predecessors, would serve as an example of what can be done when there was a will to succeed, he continued. Though not attempting to enumerate the many men and women of vision, he felt that he should mention the name of William Nelson, the founder of the freezing works at Tomoana.

Then again Hastings was indeed lucky to possess the lovely showground together with the former Nelson home. In the soldiering line there was that gallant and distinguished general, Sir Andrew Russell.

His Excellency recalled that earlier this year he had spent leave in England, and he wished to convey messages of greetings from three former predecessors of his in Lord Bledisloe, Lord Freyberg and Lord Newall. He had been privileged to stay at Windsor Castle as the guest of her Majesty the Queen, and he said that both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had very happy memories if their visit to New Zealand.

This is a great occasion when all differences of opinions whether on a national or a local basis, retire into the background and the lions and the lambs lie down together,” said his Excellency in conclusion. “We are united in our admiration of Hastings and our gratitude for a wonderful reception.”


Touching upon the message conveyed from the mayor of Hastings. England, expressing how welcome had been ‘the food parcels sent from Hastings to Sussex during and after the war, Sir Geoffry, proposing the toast “The City of Hastings,” said that the expression of thanks and appreciation was no empty statement.

Rationing in England was some thing very real which had to be experienced to be understood, and anything which helped alleviate it was greatly appreciated. He knew of one single consignment sent from here that amounted to 120 cases containing three and a half tons of foodstuff. “That and other generous gifts have not been forgotten in Hastings, Sussex,” he said.

He offered his congratulations to the people of Hastings on the attainment of city status. “It is my pleasant task, on behalf of Hastings, Sussex, to propose the health of the City of Hastings,” he concluded. “May you all blossom!”


“Whatever outsiders say, we are a united district in this northern part of the province of Hawke’s Bay,” stated the mayor in reply. “I think we can claim to be unique in New Zealand as the ‘province of twin cities.’ It is natural that there should be a certain amount of rivalry between the cities, but between us we can arrange to supply the visitor or the tourist with everything he or she requires.

“If it is salubrious sunshine, surf, bathing, sea breezes and skating, well, go to Napier.” he continued smilingly. “If you want prosperity, progress and parking meters, come to Hastings. No one needs to be disappointed.”

“In this richly-endowed district we can rise above the smaller rivalries and be proud of what we can accomplish as one united community,” he said. “I am proud that Napier is now the largest exporting port in New Zealand. This is largely because the whole province is so amply endowed by nature with fertility and climate that primary produce fills our storehouses and brings a high level of prosperity to us all”

In conclusion Mr. Bate commended the citizens for their remarkable zeal and for the voluntary effort in all civic enterprises. Maori and Pakeha people, and town and country folk, had worked hand in hand in the great effort needed for the celebrations, as they had done in the past. “That is putting into action the theme of our city motto – “Urbis et ruris concordia” he said.

“We have taken a look backwards; now let us keep Hastings a healthy, vigorous city, enthusiastically united in all worthwhile and progressive measures, a happy place in which to nurture our children in the best ideals of citizenship,” he concluded.


Likening the occasion to looking to the rear of a ship at sea, with its straight wake in the deep waters, Mr. T. I. Tait, president of the Hastings Junior Chamber of Commerce, said that the celebrations afforded an opportunity to look along the “wake of Hastings.” He was proposing the toast “The Early Settlers and Administrators,” whom he described as the people of the community who drove the town to the status of city.

“Right through the years the whole community has participated in the development of this city,” he said. “We are justly proud of their work and the manner in which they have fulfilled the needs of the city and of the district.

“There have been many men and women of character and purpose who have been associated with the growth of the town and who have left a lasting impression or imprint of their character on the community in the spirit of co-operation that is so noted in our community today. We salute them!” he concluded.


Replying “on behalf of those in the district whose work and service was finished,” Mr. A.I. Rainbow, former mayor, said that occasions such as these unlocked the door of memories. It was right and fitting that honour should be paid to those who had taken a leading part in the development of the town and district, but at the same time it should be remembered that there were thousands of others whose names never “got into print,” but they provided the motive power with which to further the ideals and aspirations of the founders of this community.

Hastings was a most fortunate community, for those primarily responsible for the administration of the town had patterned a tradition. Now it was for those who followed to take the greatest care to see that the pattern was not allowed to languish or be defaced. And in the shaping of this pattern, he declared, full tribute must be paid to the magnificent part the Maori people had played. They had served Hastings well in good times and had come to the aid of the town in times of need and disaster.

“Now within the pattern a new motif is clear – it is one to be designed by our youth. Already they have revealed the quality of voluntary service and, with determination and vigour, have allied themselves in the efforts to develop the productivity of Hastings and district and in general the betterment of the community as a whole,” he concluded.

As Mr. Rainbow resumed his seat there was a spontaneous tribute paid by a group of Maori guests in bursting into song, and this incident was aptly described as a fitting climax to the evening’s celebrations.

Photo captions – The Governor-General, The Mayor, MR. GOOSMAN, SIR GEOFFRY SCOONES



CIVIC DINNER. – From left: Mr. Guy Norrie (son of Sir Willoughby and Lady Norrie), Mrs. Bate, (mayoress), The Governor-General, Mr. W. E. Bate (mayor), Lady Norrie, Sir Geoffry Scoones (United Kingdom High Commissioner in New Zealand), Mrs. A. Kirkpatrick (wife of the deputy-mayor, Mr. A. Kirkpatrick).


Enthusiastic scenes were witnessed on Saturday when Hastings was declared New Zealand’s 15th city by the Governor-General, Sir Willoughby Norrie, on Nelson Park. On this page are shown in pictures events which took place then, and yesterday the official party, the Transport Through the Ages procession, the civic dinner, the Maoris’ part in proceedings and the service of thanksgiving yesterday.

The day was a milestone in Hastings history, and citizens and thousands of visitors witnessed colourful and eventful proceedings.

THE MAYOR, MR. W. E. BATE (left). – Wearing for the first time his formal robes and hat, presented by the Hastings Junior Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Bate smilingly moves from the stand to the dais at Nelson Park.

THANKSGIVING SERVICE (below). – The combined Hastings church choirs who led the singing at the Nelson Park service yesterday.

MAORI ENTERTAINERS. – An action song by Maori women at Nelson Park prior to the proclamation ceremony.

VICE REGAL THANKS FOR MAORIS. – His Excellency accompanied by Lady Norrie and Mr. Bate, thanks the Maori entertainers for their efforts, watched by a large section of the crowd.

BERT JONES (Centre), original driver of the Hastings Fire Brigade horse team, with two of the present-day brigadesmen.

PENNY-FARTHING – Constable W. Leppien in appropriate attire to his bicycle made a popular appearance.

TRANSPORT THROUGH THE AGES. – A general view of the procession moving along Heretaunga Street.

More Report Seeing Bright Sky Object

Two additional reports of sightings of the illuminated object seen in the sky over Hastings on Friday evening were received today, one from a Hastings resident and another from an Okawa farmer.

The Okawa resident said he saw. the object for two seconds about 6-22 pm. It was a bright orange ball tapering to a long tail, travelling from south to north. He caught a glimpse of it as it crossed a clear patch of sky at a high speed.

Watch and Clock Repairs by expert tradesmen. Prompt delivery. H. J. Grieve Ltd Jewellers, Hastings and Napier.

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Newspaper article

Date published

10 September 1956


The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • W E & Mrs Bate
  • Sir Walter Broadfoot
  • Canon K F Button
  • The Honourable W S Goosman
  • N C Harding
  • A G & Mrs Harper
  • Warren Hastings
  • Reverend L C Horwood
  • Bert Jones
  • Reverend Te Hihi Kaa
  • E J & Mrs Keating
  • A & Mrs Kirkpatrick
  • Constable W Leppien
  • Reverend H A Mitchell
  • N H & Mrs Moss
  • William Nelson
  • Sir Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie
  • Guy Norrie
  • Lady Norrie
  • A I & Mrs Rainbow
  • Sir Geoffry Scoones
  • Lady Scoones
  • T I Tait
  • Captain Trotter

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