Monday, August 26, 2013

Te Haahi Ratana: HIstory of the Ratana Church of New Zealand

During my research assisting the Kaipara District Council on a voluntary basis, one of the buildings listed on the Kaipara District Plan Heritage Schedule was a Ratana church. Information is at current scant on the particular building in question, however, during my research I came across the official website of the Ratana Church of New Zealand. They have an extensive, very comprehensively researched history section which is a very important and valuable heritage information base in the terms of Maori culture and history. I beleive it's most important to recognise and acknowledge all parts of our cultural history. You can access the website and page here

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Countdown Supermarket Warkworth (2012)

All buildings no matter how recent or old have a history behind them. The Warkworth Countdown Supermarket is a recent addition to the townscape. Completed in late 2012, the building was designed by architectural firm ASC Architects in 2011 for the Countdown chain. The firm notes on their website that one of the challenges in the design of the new building was centred around the need for the design to reflect the intimate small scale character of Warkworth township, and at the same time fit a large scale construction  into the townscape. The solution was for a small scale retail building placed in front of the larger supermarket structure, that assisted in obscuring the service entrances. The building is recessed on two street frontages.

Construction of the new building was announced by Progressive Enterprises in 2010 in a media release to the public. Working drawings were made a available while consultation with the residents of Warkworth was sought.
"The store was designed to be empathetic with the Warkworth town centre.  It will provide under croft parking, include additional specialty retail shops, and enhance pedestrian traffic by "connecting" the supermarket and town centre"
Media Release Progressive Enterprises Ltd
Retrieved 21 August 2013

Construction began in October of 2011. Progressive Enterprises contracted the construction project out to Aspec Construction, a company with operations in both Auckland and Wellington.

Warkworth Countdown 
Image credit Progressive Enterprises Ltd

The new Warkworth Countdown Store was officially opened on 17 October 2012, by Auckland Councillor Penny Webster.

In May of 2013 the building was included in the NZ Finest Developments as an awards submission finalist in the RCG Retail Property category where it gained a merit.
The awards submission describes the 4000 square metre Countdown Warkworth supermarket and ancillary retail development as "a challenging and contentious project . . . fraught with significant planning, legal, trade competition and site specific hurdles".
The result was a high quality urban design outcome.
Constructed in concrete, zinc and glass, the Warkworth Countdown is a premium bulk retail development and a "game changing" proposition in sensitive central business district environments, the submission says.
The building challenges the traditional way in which supermarket and bulk retail developments are built, through use of a retail sleeve and modulation to allow it to fit in its environment.
"Land Mark buildings up for awards"
Rodney Times 30 May 2013
Retrieved 21 August 2013


Friday, August 2, 2013

The Kjer Murder 1909 (Dargaville)

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19091007-12-3

On the morning of Wednesday September 29th 1909, a man named George Allwood awoke in his bed and told his wife 'he had to go and defend himself'. Known locally as "Rocky" George was then aged at 60 years old, and only a week before, been released from the Auckland Lunatic Hospital. Allwood had been complaining of hearing 'voices in his head,' and had been committed for treatment. He returned home to his residence in Dargaville, and it appears he seemed to be stable. Until, that fateful morning, when he rose out of his bed took up a cane blade, and left his home to go across the street to enter the home of Phoebe Sydney Kjer, then aged 42 years.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19091007-12-4

According to witnesses, Allwood  had chased Mrs Kjer out of her home,still in her night dress out onto the street where he struck her down with the cane blade. Mrs Kjer died at the scene from her injuries. Allwood was arrested and was brought before the Coroner's court. According the New Zealand Herald (30 September 1909) Allwood had nothing to say, when he was asked if he wanted to cross-examine any of the witnesses to the crime. He had a previous history of being a well known identity around Dargaville, and had been appointed a night watchman by local Dargaville businesses during the previous two years. In April of 1908, Allwood showed signs of mental illness, and was later committed for treatment at the mental hospital.

Prisoner is a tall, powerfully-built man, weighing 15 stone, and is 60 years of age. He is an old identity on the Wairoa, having worked for years in bushes, and is commonly known as Rocky. Two years ago he was appointed night watchman by Dargaville business firms, end was regarded as a most trustworthy man. In April last he developed signs of insanity, and frequently stated that he heard voices which it was imperative he should obey. As his malady increased medical advice was obtained, and his removal to the Mental Hospital was ordered. On that occasion some eight men were required to overpower him. He was, as before stated, discharged from Avondale last week, and returned to his home.
New Zealand Herald 30 September 1909

According to the police, Allwood initally resisted arrest. Upon realising the constables intended on entering his home, he opened the door and gave himself up peacefully for arrest. The police noted Allwood did not need to be handcuffed. The medical evidence provided evidence of the injuries. Mrs Kjer had three wounds inflicted from the force of the cane blade. One blow had subsequently resulted in her neck being broken. Allwood was considered fit for trial and was remanded into custody to face a charge of murder in the Supreme Court. Phoebe Sydney Kjer, the victim was laid to rest after a service held at the Anglican Church in Dargaville on 1 October 1909. George Allwood never made it to trial. Held in custody at the Auckland Lunatic Asylum, Allwood died from heart failure after an illness lasting several days on 23 November 1909. We can only assume that George Allwood was also laid to rest in the cemetery at Dargaville.

New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 14179, 30 September 1909, Page 5
New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 14179, 30 September 1909, Page 5
New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 1418, 2 October 1909, Page 7
New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 14227, 25 November 1909, Page 5