Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Waipu Settlers Monument (1914)

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19130925-54-5

In late August of 1913, the committee overseeing the future Waipu Diamond Jubilee celebrations for the settlers and  their descendants mad the decision to commission a memorial to commemorate the landing of the original Novia Scotia settlers on September 1, 1854. The cost was to be around £200.

The arrival of one group of Scots in the 1850s is among the most dramatic of New Zealand’s immigration stories. The charismatic preacher Norman McLeod left Scotland in 1817 for Nova Scotia. In 1851 he led his people, who were facing economic hardship in Canada, first to Australia and then on to New Zealand.
In 1854 they secured land at Waipū in Northland. After 1854 more Scots came, from Nova Scotia and direct from Scotland. The total number of Waipu Scots exceeded 800. Most were Highlanders. Though now indistinguishable from other rural townships, Waipū still celebrates its Scottish origins.
John Wilson. 'Scots - 1853–1870: a surge of Scots', 
Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
 updated 13-Jul-12 

In late September of the same year, the committee had engaged the Auckland based stone masonary firm Parkinson & Company after accepting their initial design. The cost of the contract totalled £470, including the excavation for the site and provision of the sand and gravel for the foundation. Land was aquired from the Education Board, after it was decided not to erect the memorial in the corner of the school grounds. The committee had also made several alterations to the original plans submitted under the guidance of renowned engineer Hugh Munro Wilson and well known architect Hugh Cresswell Grierson (1886-1953) (later under the partnership of Grierson, Aimer & Draffin) who had been appointed as honorary architectural advisors for the project. Wilson and Grierson recommended to the committee to replace the proposed concrete steps, and lower base to a material more in keep with the quality of the stone column. The committee decided to use either Pukekararo trachyte (quarried near Waipu), Coromandel granite or Melbourne bluestone. It was also decided to move the monument location to the centre of the public road leading to the church. The Education Board had granted a strip of land, so the road could be widened. A decision was also made to set the date for the unveiling for March 21, 1914.

By early February 1914, the date for the unveiling had been changed to April 10, 1914. The contractors were to start work on the monument by March 1st. The Committee had also decided on the final inscriptions. One to be the motto of the Scottish settlers in Gaelic  and one to be in English on the fron t of the memorial;

" This monument is erected to commemorate the arrival in New Zealand of that noble band of Empire builders, who left the Highlands of Scotland about the beginning of the eighteenth century for Nova Scotia, and migrated thence during the years 1851-60; and who, by their undaunted courage and their steadfast faith in God, did so much to mould the destinies of their adopted homes. Where the path of duty was plain fear had no place; neither danger nor hardships daunted them."
"'But oh! what symbol may avail to tell The kindness, wit, and sense we loved so well. Erected by their descendants."
The remaining faces of the monument were to be inscribed with the names of the emigrant clans, and the vessels in which they arrived. The committee had also confirmed that the memorial was to be located in the centre of the public road leading up to the church.

By April 1914, however bad news had arrived that the monument was not ready for the unveiling as the New Zealand Herald (15 April,1914) reported

Owing to delay in the shipment from England of the plinth and the surmounting lion rampant of the monument to be erected to commemorate the founding of the Settlement, the date of its unveiling which was originally fixed for April 10, has been indefinitely postponed. The bases, upon which will be the  inscriptions, totalling 2800 words, arrived yesterday by the Westmonth. The other sections, will arrive at the end of the month by tho Rimutaka, and will be transhipped direct to Waipu. The contractors Messrs. Parkinson arid Co,, state that by the end of May the column will be erected, and everything in readiness for the ceremony.
 Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19150107-46-3

Finally on December 30, 1914 the settlers of Waipu celebrated the unveiling of their memorial for their Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The Diamond Jubilee celebration of the arrival of the first vessels at Waipu bearing the Nova Scotian pioneers of 1851, and the unveiling of a memorial to the whole of the pioneers from Nova Scotia, which took place at Waipu on December 30, were truly memorable.
Almost 1000 people from all parts of the Dominion were present. The feature of the day was the unveiling of a noble plinth erected to the memory of the brave Nova Scotian pioneers, by their justly-proud descendants. 
The memorial takes the form of a stately granite column surmounted by a beautifully ornate cupola, on the top of which stands the national Scottish Lion rampant. The column is hexagonal in section and the base is composed of two wide slabs forming steps, the upper one of which bears a fine tiled pattern. About midway of the column is a circular scroll on which are carved emblems of Scotland, Canada and New Zealand. Noble in conception, chaste in decoration, and magnificently wrought from the famous Peterhead red Scotch polished granite, the monument worthily commemorate the arrival of the founders of the Nova Scotian community in New Zealand. The first vessels to arrive were the "Margaret" ,and the "Highland Lass,'-' which left Nova Scotia in October, 1851' and reached Waipu after calling at Adelaide. Four other vessels followed at intervals.
The memorial was unveiled by Mr F. Mander M.P., who spoke in suitable terms of the event commemorated. Stirring addresses were also delivered by the Rev. J. L. Pattulli, of the Kauri Presbyterian Church; by the Rev. W. McDonald of the Epsom Presbyterian Church; and by Mr Robert Thompson, of Whangarei. A solemn service was held at the foot of the monument and was conducted in Gaelic by the Rev. W. McDonald, who was assisted by the Rev. J. L. Pattullo. A special choir sang three hymns and a Psalm was sung in Gaelic. An address too, was delivered in Gaelic by the, Rev. W. McDonald. The Rev. J. L. Pattullo, also gave an address, but in English.

New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15805, 31 December 1914, Page 7


Auckland Star, Volume XLIV, Issue 208, 1 September 1913, Page 2
Auckland Star, Volume XLIV, Issue 226, 22 September 1913, Page 2
New Zealand Herald, Volume L, Issue 15421, 2 October 1913, Page 5
New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15530, 11 February 1914, Page 7
New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15583, 15 April 1914, Page 8
New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15805, 31 December 1914, Page 7

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