Thursday, 15 March 2018

NZ Polynesian Festival to Te Matatini in Rotorua

1st ever NZ Polynesian Festival 

Held 11th – 12th March 1972 in Rotorua.

Excerpts from the Daily Post :
The festival was planned to be held at Rotowhio Marae, Whakarewarewa.  DP 2nd March 1972
Opened by Governor-General Sir Arthur Porritt. The event was attended by the Ministers for Maori Affairs and Tourism. Mr McIntyre and Mr Walker, High Commissioners of Britain, Canada & Australia, embassies of USA, South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands.  Also in attendance Maori Queen, Te Atairangikahu and Bishop Manu Bennett. 

17 teams of 680 performers, 2 teams each from 8 Maori Districts, 2 Samoan teams from Auckland & Wellington. Teams from the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau were also participating.

10th March 1972 DP pg. 1
The Festival had to be transferred to the Sportsdrome due to wet weather forecast for the weekend.
This meant that limited seating was available of 3,350. Owing to the change of venue there would be 2000 less seats for teams and supporters. The organisers hope to provide closed circuit TV coverage of the event. The Festival was covered by Northland Television and would be shown at a later date.

12th March 1972, DP pg.1
Colourful opening to Festival’
The Sportsdrome was crammed to capacity and stiflingly hot with many fanning faces with their programmes.

Rotorua Photo News "new Sportsdrome is open, behind the Rotorua Museum", 1964.
The Formal welcome was on time at 10.00am. Sir Arthur & Lady Porritt were picked up at the airport by the Mayor Mr R. Boord and Mayoress Mrs P.W. Tapsell. 
The official party were welcomed by Mr R. Keepa and speeches were from Mr H. Rogers, Mr R Boord and Rev Kingi Ihaka. The speeches were followed by a hymn and karakia by Bishop Manu Bennett.

13th March 1972, DP pg. 1
Mr McIntyre announced a $6,500 grant from government to send the winning team ‘Waihirere from Tai Rawhiti, Gisborne to the 1st South Pacific Festival of Arts to be held in Suva, Fiji on 6th-20th May 1972.

‘Highlights from the first New Zealand Polynesian Festival Rotorua’ in Te Ao Hou 1st July 1973, pg.61
Excerpt from Reviewer Alan Armstrong.
“…speaking as one of the large and appreciative crowd who attended the festival, I must say that the domestic organisation reflected great credit on the Arawa people. It can have been no small task to feed and accommodate such a large number of groups and their supporters. What was particularly impressive was the smoothness of the change of venue when the weather made it impossible to stage the festival out of doors”

He goes on “There were bad patches of course – an Arawa powhiri group dragged from preparing a hangi to welcome the Governor-General and appearing on TV in singlets and shorts”

“The Honourable Duncan McIntyre conducted an impromptu sing-song to keep the audience entertained, while the judges had their dinner, keeping thousands of people waiting for the night performances”

NZ Polynesian FESTIVAL 1973 

Held at Arawa Park.  The festival was officially opened by Sir Dennis Blundell followed by a speech by the Prime Minister Mr Kirk.

Arawa Park Racecourse, Rotorua. Ref: WA-36320-F.
 Alexander Turnbull Library/records/23529887

Excerpt from Mr Kirk’s speech:
His first announcement was that “the winner of the festival will perform at opening of the Sydney Opera House in October of this year (1973). He went on to say “The festival was a creative expression of the hopes of people…what they have been and what they are going to be… Maori people could be compared to a canoe in a harbour getting ready for a journey to another land. Before departing the crew has to know where the canoe has been and what it has done. The festival is like the harbour and the people are the canoe setting out on a path through society, they must know where they are going and what they have don, and what they have been”

The next speech was from Minister of Maori and Island Affairs, Mr Rata. In Te Reo and English.
He announced that “government was giving serious consideration to the establishment of a school for Maori music and that of the Pacific Islands… would like to see the establishment of a centre with emphasis on the music of New Zealand. Of a standard suitable for both under-graduate and post-graduate studies to be carried out there. “

The festival photographs appeared in the Daily Post on 26th March 1973 pg. 1, 3 and 7.

There are more articles that document comments from Mr Rata, Mr A.M. (Murray) Linton, Mayor of Rotorua, Mr H.R. Lapwood M.P for Rotorua, Dr P.H. Jones President of the NZ Maori Council and Mr Young M.P for Taranaki, regarding the standard of the performances this year.

The Winning team was from Upper Hutt, Mawai Hakona Maori Club. A photograph appears on Pg.3 of Mr Rata presenting the McIntyre Trophy to Mr K. Tukukino. 

More photographs can be found here or Read the book "Mawai Hakona of Upper Hutt by Patricia Raney. Available in the Maori Collection at 781.62z RAI

Locations for Festival after 1973

1975 Whangarei; 1977 Gisborne; 1979 Wellington; 1981 Auckland; 1983 Hastings; 1986 Christchurch; 1990 Waitangi; 1992 Ngaruawahia; 1994 Hawera; 1996 Rotorua; 1998 Trentham, 2000 Ngaruawahia; 2002 Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland); 2005 & 2007 Rangitane (Palmerston Nth); 2009 Mataatua; 2011 Te Tairawhiti; 2013 Rotorua ; 2015 Waitaha (Christchurch); 2017 Ngati Kahungungu (Hawkes Bay). 

"In 1983 the Polynesian Festival became the Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Festival and teams from other Pacific Island nations were no longer eligible to compete. 

In 2004 the Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Festival was again renamed, as Te Matatini o te Rā national festival, held every two years. The name ‘matatini’ (’many faces’) was coined by Dr Wharehuia Milroy in reference to the number and diversity of the participants.  

In 2010 Te Matatini once again became an international event when a team from Perth ‘Manawa Mai Tawhiti were eligible to compete after defeating 8 other Australian Kapa Haka teams".

Valance Smith, 'Kapa haka – Māori performing arts - Urban groups and formal competitions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 6 March 2018)

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Rotorua Festival of Arts

Rotorua Festivals, Old to New

Rotorua’s 1st Festivals were held 1966 -1970s, when the Rotorua Arts Society staged events, exhibitions 1946- and in the 1960s the Arts Ball was a regular annual event.

In 1946 a Rotorua Music Appreciation Group was formed by Mr James (Jim) Healy, an avid classical music fan who had just recently moved to Rotorua.

Mr Healy said that “up 70 people came along to the Music Appreciation Group’s monthly meetings to listen to classical music records” however once records became more available to numbers dwindled, this group became the Rotorua Chamber Music Society in 1955, this later became the Rotorua Music Federation in 1980.’

 In 1984, 1986 & 1988, FestivArt, was a popular event. See previous blog post 12 October 2017 

The next official Festival of the Arts was ‘Spellbound – Te Ihi Te Wehi’, Produced by: Monty Morrison and Asst. Producer: Nick Dallimore. Held 12th January 2001-27th January 2001. 

This new Festival of the Arts encompassed 4 events – Chamber Music Festival, Lakeside ENZSO Concert, Opera in the Pa and for the 1st time A Capella Festival of Song.

Programme of the 2001 Arts Festival.
The Chamber Music Festival at the Convention Centre.  Jan 15th 2001 - Jan 19th 2001.
 🎶 Featured: Ogen Trio : Dimitri Atanassov, James Tennant & Katherine Austin with backup instrumentalists. Summer Music was commissioned by the Ogen Trio for their concert which launched the Rotorua Summer Music Festival in 2000.

🎵 St Luke’s Festival Orchestra 🎵Newly formed String Ensemble with players from around the B.O.P. Conducted by Joachim Atanassov ♪ Duo Deirdre Ions and Jan Tawroszewicz 🎵Soprano – Deborah Wai Kapohe, 🎵Mezzo Soprano – Kate Spence ♪ Violinist - Bistra Dimitrova 🎵Stravinsky’s The Soldiers Tale narrated by actor Paul Barrett 🎵Rotorua Youth Chamber Orchestra ♪ Goldner String Quartet from Sydney ♪

Lakeside ENZSO Concert:  20th January 2001. 
🎶 Featuring: Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra with ENZSO ♪ Tim Beveridge🎵Margaret Urlich ♪ Annie Crummer ♪ Daryl Lovegrove ♪ Eddie Raynor ♪ Hayley Westenra ♪ Michael Barker ♪ Roger Rangitaawa ♪ Noel Crombie ♪ New Zealand National Youth Choir.

Opera in the Pa at Rotowhio Marae: 27th Jan 2001
 🎶 Featuring :  Natasha Brown ♪ Paul Chappory ♪ Brandon Pou ♪ Terri Williams ♪ Bill Kingi, ♪ Ruakiri Fairhall   
A Cappella Festival of song: 27th January 2001. 
🎶 Featured: “Idea of North” from their website - In short, a quartet of musicians, serious about their music without taking themselves too seriously.  Their instrumentation: voice (soprano), voice (alto), voice (tenor) and voice (bass), with a little bit of vocal percussion thrown in. They have a beautifully distinct sound and style, but they cross many musical genres: jazz, folk, gospel, pop, classical, comedy - exactly what you see and hear at a concert is difficult to describe.     


Bijou : Vocal trio of Jane Pierard, Lynda Pipe and Viva Sahn offering Jazz lovers a Jam session & a Themed Dinner at the Millennium Hotel on 24th & 25th January 2001. 

AboutFace Productions.  Roaming Performance - from 19th to 21st January 2001.

Gait Productions Urban Safari show. 20th & 21st January 2001.

Out of Hand Productions - The Miss Muffet Show and Puppet Power at the Civic Theatre. 16th to 18th January 2001.

Celine Toner (from Scotland) performing as Shania Twain at the Civic Theatre 23rd January 2001.

IOV Folk Dancers 20th & 21st January 2001.

Toi Maori Aotearoa 'Beyond Tradition' exhibition at the Convention Centre 13th to 27th January 2001.

Suzuki Students Parade and Summer Camp for Strings Concert 13th & 15th January 2001.

Dancing in the Sky Windsock and Bunting Flag Art with Jill Walker & Brian Potiki.  

Information for this blog post from the Daily Post and Rotorua Library Archive Collection.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Jean Batten on Solo flying

Adventures over Land and Sea

Just a few of her adventures as told in her books.  Her book ‘Alone in the sky’ is a reprint of her 1938 book ‘My life’ which can be borrowed from the New Zealand History and Travel section on the 1st Floor, 629.13z BAT. 

Solo flight by Jean Batten c.1934
April 9th 1933 Jean set off from England bound for Australia. It was to be her 1st unsuccessful attempt. Her second attempt April 21st, 1934 also failed when she crash landed at Rome. Her 3rd attempt leaving Lympne on the 8th May 1934 was successful Arriving in Darwin on May 23rd 1934.

 On arrival in Rome, Jean discovers that no-one is there to meet her or expect her to land as it was Sunday.  Jean writes “Aviators should be warned against arriving at a European aerodromes on Sunday for things are very quiet on the continent” she decided to fly on to Naples. 

  Over the Aegean Sea “when I had been over the sea for 2 hours, I experienced a terrible loneliness – my only company were the four flames from the stubb-exhaust pipes of my engine… when nearing one of the many islands, I perceived someone signalling to me in Morse code.  I wished with all my heart that I was more proficient at morse, and could read the message…”

On approaching the mountains… “I experienced a series of small bumps… I was flying at 5000 ft. and had only flown for a few minutes when encountering a sudden down draft of great intensity, the plane dropped 2000 ft. in a few seconds.

  On arriving in Aleppo, some French Air Force officers told her some interesting  facts about the place, “one being whereas in other countries people walk along the street with their dogs, in Aleppo they lead lambs and sheep which they have dyed their favourite shade”

   Once in Syria Jean experienced a sand storm, “I did not know at the time that sand storms travel in circles and after flying through one into apparently clear weather, a flyer is likely to meet the same storm again”

  After an unscheduled stopover in Baluchistan, where she had more adventure than bargained for, she arrived close to her next stop, Karachi only for her engine to fail again and she crash landed on the ‘Drigh Rd’ wrecking the plane, but surviving uninjured,  thus ending her first attempt to fly solo from England to Australia.  

Jean Gardner Batten. New Zealand Free Lance
Ref: 1/2-087791-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. /records/23235041

My Life by Jean Batten c.1938.

  At Ende she saw a volcano erupting so flew near the mountain to get a better view “of this awe-inspiring sight, but when a cloud of smoke and fine ash temporarily obscured my view I decided I had seen enough and headed out to sea…”

 On landing in Rangoon “ I discovered the disconcerting news that the monsoon was expected to break sooner than usual” five hours out of Rangoon the next day “the rain thundered down on to the wings of my aeroplane like millions of tiny pellets… very soon the cockpit almost flooded, and my tropical flying suit wet through”

Victoria Point: “after 35 minutes of anxious cruising the curtain of rain lifted temporarily, disclosing the bases of the mountains. I located a clearing in the jungle which was the aerodrome, although it resembled a lake, and landed just as the rain closed in again. Great sprays of water rose on each side of the machine as it taxied to where a group of natives were sheltering under umbrellas and grass mats. A white clad figure waded out to meet me… ‘Better take the plane over to the dry patch…only a few inches deep, and I stepped out of the cockpit up to my ankles in water”

Monday, 26 February 2018

Rotorua Library: Book Review 'My life' by Jean Batten.

Jean Batten in her own words.

The Weekly News 21 October 1936, p.10
‘My Life’ by Jean Batten
Foreword by Marquess of Londonderry …”Jean Batten stands for more than a skilled and intrepid pilot. She has outstanding courage, prudence, and resource, and she blazon’s forth to the world the potentialities for good the discovery aviation provides…”

Jean’s own words from her book: “At an early age I took great delight in the wonders of nature amid which we lived… It was not surprising that even at the early age of 2, I had developed a great desire to roam. One afternoon the town was thrown into upheaval at my disappearance… eventually I was discovered contentedly playing on the floor of the stable, among the horses, which had fortunately stood quiet” 

She goes on to describe life in Rotorua and at the age of 4 yrs moving to Auckland.  Shortly after that WWI broke out and her father was shipped out when she was just 5 yrs. He and 2 of her mother’s brothers returned from Gallipoli. She says “The war had been a big blow to everyone,  and among others my father had to start in business all over again. His dentistry practice had been closed while he was away… 

At the age 10 yrs, in 1919, an air race was organized from England to Australia. This flight impressed tremendously.  At school her favourite subject was geography followed by art and music.
Books on travel and adventure increased her enthusiasm and longing to travel abroad. She informed her father that she had decided she was going to become a pilot, and as you might think, he was against the idea saying “It’s very dangerous” and “very expensive”.  

This did not deter her for long and in 1929 when her mother went to England, Jean accompanied her. During her time in England at barely 19 yrs she declared to her astonished father that “I was old enough to make my own decisions and had decided to make a career in aviation” 

Her book goes on to describe her early flying experiences and mentors who believed in her.  As we here in Rotorua know she went on to become a famous aviatrix who we call our own since she was born here. 

Though Miss Batten did not fly into Rotorua, she visited in 1934 and 1936, and was adopted by the Arawa tribe, with the name ‘Hine-o-te-Rangi’ Daughter of the Skies, bestowed on her. She was welcomed to Rotorua by renowned Chief, Mita Taupopoki, a photograph of this event can be viewed here  Link to other digitized photo

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Rotorua's Lakeside Concert

Lakeside Concerts since 1997

Thanks to Rotorua's Ian Edward, Monty Morrison and others, residents and visitors alike look forward every summer to the free open-air concert and extravaganza of entertainment. Monty Morrison did an epic job as the event director from it's inception in 1997 to 2014. 

Top New Zealand performers and local celebrities have kept us entertained, such as Dame Malvina Major, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Howard Morrison, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Howard Morrison Quartet, Frankie Stevens, John Rowles, Eddie Low, Tina Cross, Annie Crummer, Midge Marsden, Jackie Clarke, The Lady Killers, Tim Beveridge, Che Fu, Stan Walker, Candy Lane Dancers, Sol3 Mio, Jason Kerrison and the list goes on...

We have such a talented and generous group of people every year that make Lakeside an event one not to miss. 

To welcome the many performers each year is local kapa haka groups who do Rotorua proud.

Each year a different charity benefits from the generosity of the crowd. The crowd averages 30,000 so getting there early is essential and bringing your family, a picnic or money to purchase food from the food caravans, bug repellent, a comfortable seat and a blanket and you are all set to enjoy the evening to it's fullest, and to top the evening off, awesome and spectacular fireworks!.

Part of the concert each year is devoted to young and upcoming singers, musicians and performers. Here is just a few, Lizzie Marvelly, Elisha Fulton, Michael Murphy, Alayna Powley, Ainslee Allen, Turanga Merito, Ben Lummis, Rosita Vai, Nik Carlson, Hayley Westenra, Ben Hakaraia and more.

Just a few of the theme's are : Spirit's will soar, Heart & Soul, Encore great moments in music, A Touch of Class, Best of the Best, Hollywood goes to Vegas, The Bold, the Blind & the Beautiful, When Love comes to Town, You ain't seen nothing yet, Made in NZ and this year "Whenua #it's abouthome. 

See the official website for awesome photographs and memories of past concerts. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Jean Batten in Rotorua

Rotorua's Famous People 

This plaque indicates the approximate spot of the house on Amohia Street.
Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua.

Jean Batten was born in Rotorua 15th September 1909, only daughter of  Frederick Harold & Ellen (Nellie) Batten, sister to Frederick (Jnr.) & John, one other brother, Stanley, born in 1904 died in infancy. Click here to read her biography on Te Ara : Encyclopedia of NZ.

Jean was named after her paternal grandmother, Jane Gardner Batten, although always known as Jean.

The family moved to Rotorua in c.1904 they lived on Amohia Street in the block between Hinemoa and Pukuatua Streets, her father Frederick Harold Batten was one of the 1st Dentist's in the town.  The family moved to Auckland in c.1913.

Frederick Snr served in WWI with the rank of Captain in the NZ Dental Corps and worked also on the troop ship 'Ionic' as dentist to the soldiers en route to England. He received the British War Medal and on return to New Zealand after the war he continued to serve in the Territorial Army, 3rd (Auck.) Regiment (Countess of Ranfurly's Own) to c.1920. Prior to the war he served for 1 year in the Taranaki Rifles and in 1911-1914 he was Captain of the 4th Coy. Senior Cadets based in Rotorua. 

Her brother Frederick went on to become a farmer at Ruakaka and John became a radio actor and announcer, he moved to England c.1960's where he resided until his death in 1993.

Dame Fiona Kidman in Rotorua, author of  'The Infinite air' about Jean Batten.
This memorial was situated in Jean Batten Park on Arawa Street.
Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua

The bronze in the above photograph was crafted by Hamilton artist Marshall Watt and gifted to the Rotorua Museum in 1994, it was later agreed that the memorial would be displayed behind Tourism Rotorua. Jean Batten Park was developed between the Tourism Isite and the Rotorua Library where her bronze resided until redevelopment of the park 2017/2018.

Books about Jean Batten.
Come see our newly refurbished Library and Children's Health Hub at 1127 Haupapa Street. 

"The infinite air" by Dame Fiona Kidman. Fiction on the ground floor.
"Jean Batten, Garbo of the skies" by Ian Mackersey. 629.13z BAT in New Zealand Heritage on the 1st Floor. 
"Alone in the sky" by Jean Batten. 629.13z BAT in New Zealand Heritage on the 1st Floor. 

Reference Only in the Don Stafford Room : Rotorua Collection. "Jean Batten, pioneer of the sky" by Bronwyn Tainui - 926.2913z BAT 
"My life" by Jean Batten - 926.2913z BAT
"Solo flight' by Jean Batten - 629.13z BAT 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Geothermal benefits for residents 1930-1980s

Rotorua Thermal attractions.

The Pavilion & Rachel Baths upgraded and becomes Ward Baths c.1930-1972.

New Blue Baths facility opened in 1931, the Children's pool supplied by thermal water.

Photograph of the Children's pool at the new Blue Baths, 1961 by L.R. Leigh

1930 - Kuirau Park, a new layout designed by Landscape Architect Mr F. Tschopp.  He included rugby, cricket, soccer, hockey, tennis, netball, croquet, running and cycling tracks, open air swimming pool, a children's playground, dressing pavilions, rest rooms and a tea kiosk as well as all the natural thermal ngawha.

Photograph taken 1961 by L.R. Leigh.

1938 - Mr P. A. Kusabs had a water diviner locate a source of water, then a bore drilled on his property he was developing. He wanted to use the thermal resource for heating and water supply.

1940 - Borough Motor Camp utilised the diviner to locate a source of  hot water for baths and the laundry.

1940 - Cosy Cottage Motor Camp bore drilled to supply hot water to the camp.

1940 - Rotorua Primary School bore drilled to supply hot water for baths.

1946 - Amohau Street Transit Camp bore drilled to supply hot water to the camp ablution block. Cooking boxes were planned for the following year.

National Publicity Studio. Archives NZ

1948 - DSIR Scientist Mr R.W. Foster received approval to install a thermal reticulation system to the block bounded by Pukaki, Fenton, Whakaue & Tutanekai Streets.

1953 - Government passed the 'Geothermal Energy Act' this stipulated that all bores deeper than 200 ft. required a licence.

1958 -  Mr Gilltrap donated an old traction engine to the Borough Council for the children's playground in Kuirau Park.

1962 - New Zealand Insurance Co. Ltd. donated a fountain and funds for surrounding gardens for Kuirau Park as part of the company anniversary celebration.

1966 - Approx. 60 bores existed in town and in the area closest to the centre of town.

1967- Mr Lewis Vause engineer, built an artificial geyser.

1967/68 - Mr N. T. Ussher opened Thermal Nurseries in Sala Street.

1970 - Waikite Hot Pool complex opens.

1972 -  Ward Baths becomes Polynesian Pools.

With Thanks to Don Stafford, Archives NZ and Kete Rotorua for the above information and photographs.