Archive for May 2017

Those Places Thursday: The Wesleyan Native Institution

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The past few months have seen a campaign to recognise the importance of the name Wesley to the Puketapapa (Mt Roskill, Auckland) area. Although Wesley isn't an official name for that part of the Auckland isthmus, it is the name that has been given to the area for decades. There is both Wesley Primary and Wesley Intermediate schools, and the name is held in great affection.  The campaign came about when developers of a new town at Paerata, north of Pukekohe, applied to the NZ Geographic Board to use the name Wesley, and to dis-establish it from the Mt Roskill area. But as schools, the historical society, and the local board backed petitions to save the name, the developers acknowledged the affection shown towards 'Wesley', subsequently withdrew their application, and the Intermediate school held a mufti day in celebration.
So how did the name Wesley come to find a home in Mt Roskill?
It was all down to the Wesleyan Native Institution, established in the Three Kings area in the 19th century. The school occupied a significant piece of land alongside Three Kings, following a shift from its original Grafton location. The school aimed to be self-sufficient with farming, along with teaching and training of boys and girls, not only in ministry work but with a wide range of skills.  But in 1923, the school moved. Concern had been raised over Auckland's encroaching industry, meaning Three Kings was no longer a suitable location with it's farming ethic. A new school, Wesley College, was established at Paerata which still exists today. For a well researched background, the 2015 Three Kings Heritage Study, Te Tatua a Riukiuta is worth reading.

 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A227'

The plaque below is to mark the foundation stone of Wesley College. It was laid on 6 April 1940 in McCulloch Avenue and reads:
This marks the site of the Three Kings Wesleyan Native Institution Foundation Stone laid by the Governor Sir George Grey, April 6, 1848. Transferred to Wesley College, Paerata, August 28 1922.

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-2671-30'

If you had a methodist relative in your past, there are plenty of resources at Auckland Libraries for you to do a little digging. One gem is the New Zealand Methodist Centenary Index, published in 1922, which lists Methodist ministers and preachers on "trial" - a history of where these folk served and what years. There is also a list of those who were at the Three Kings College and an alphabetical list of deceased ministers. Below is an example of the information you may find:
Call Number 2 NZL OCC in the Family History collection, Central Research Centre
And for a little bit further afield, check out Marie's blog post a few years back on the Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll.

Central Research.

Happy Mother's Day, New Zealand

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Happy Mothers Day, here in New Zealand!
In honour of mums everywhere - and not just the human ones! - here is a selection of photos from Auckland Libraries Heritage Images.

From the early 1900s, this shows a group of pupils from central Auckland's Beresford Street Public School with their dolls (their babies!) The children were taking part in the school concert at the Auckland Opera House.

 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19001109-8-2'

"Mothercraft" (later changed to 'parenting') classes were offered by the Plunket Society, as the 1935 photograph below shows. Skills were often taught to girls at high schools, and later the classes extended to the new fathers. They were a feature of Plunket's Karitane Hospitals, set up to care for new mothers, and  those babies needing extra help to thrive. 

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries AWNS-19350807-41-4 ' 

Different styles of carrying your baby. This photo from 1911 contrasts the 'old' and the 'new' style with Maori mothers.
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19110413-14-3

The description of this photograph doesn't say that these three children are actually those of the named Mrs Johnston, but if they are, her cute son looks a bit of a hard case! From 1911.
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-64695'

And finally, some animal world, mumsy cuteness!

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries AWNS-19351030-57-1

 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19320504-44-4

Central Research.

Wellington histories

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A couple of new books appeared on display this week, and for those of you with an interest in the Wellington area, you might like to take a look.

First up is A History of Tawa by Bruce Murray, published in 2014 by the Tawa Historical Society.
It follows the story of  the suburb decade by decade, and is filled with illustrations from maps and photographs charting Tawa (or Tawa  Flat as it was known earlier) from Maori, early European settlement, the coming of rail and subdivision, through to the present. A big event for the growing suburb was the extension of the Wellington rail line known as the Tawa Deviation. It was completed in 1935 to provide access from Wellington further north.
The photograph below is from our Heritage Images, and shows the line as it neared completion. Two tunnels made up half the deviation, and the NZ Government Public Works Department took on the project, beginning around 1928. Public Works camps were constructed to house around 300 men, although numbers shrank during the depression as the government made job cuts.
 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries AWNS-19350724-52-1
A second book is Half A World Away: Eastbourne in Wartime 1899-1928 by Julia Stuart. As the title suggests, it covers war time, and has some informative appendices: service records of Eastbourne residents and people with links to the area, deaths in the First World War, and folk mentioned in the book but with no direct link to Eastbourne.
In 1900, the eastern bays of Wellington Harbour were a mix of baches, small settlements, and day trippers would swarm there on weekends and public holidays.
From our Heritage Images, the photo below is from the Auckland Weekly News in 1913: the caption reads, "A suburb running its own municipal ferries: Eastbourne, on the Eastern side of Wellington Harbour."
 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19131030-41-2 '
And from April 1933, comes a glorious page of photos from an Easter Gala held to raise funds for the East Harbour Distress Fund to aid the unemployed. The papers ran progress reports on the lead up to the event, and according to the Evening Post, "Every care is being taken by the organiser and his staff to see that expenses are kept down to the minimum. The money handled is subject to Government audit, and before any item of expenditure is incurred it is very carefully scrutinized."
Even in the weeks beforehand, there were fundraising events from dances, bridge parties, ping-pong tournaments, garden parties, and sports events. On the weekend itself, Wellingtonians converged in their thousands via ferry boats and buses to join in, with donkey rides for the children, fancy dress and even a decorated bike contest. Maybe one of your Wellington relatives is in the pic below!

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19330419-35-1