Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 5, May 1966

Her Majesty the Queen, in the New Year's Honours list for 1966, made the award of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) to three people of whom this district has reason to be justly proud. They are Mr. T. W. Hammond of Thorton's Bay, Thames, Mrs. R. D. Eastwood of Te Aroha and Mr. A.O. Dare now of Christchurch.

Mr. T. W. Hammond

Surrounded by books, papers and photographs with a bearing on Maori history and culture, a 97 year old man sits by a window of his home reading, or answering correspondence in beautiful handwriting on the subject he has studied for 80 years. Thomas William Hammond born and raised in Thames still takes an active interest in his environment, as well as being a traveller in this district's past. A teacher and an historian he is an acknowledged authority on Maori and local history.

His first schooling which began in 1873 when he was four, was at the Karaka School, a small private institution. In 1877 when public schools were opened he transferred to Kauaeranga, and in 1884 earned a Scholarship to the Thames High School. When the School of Mines was established at Thames in 1885 he was one of the first students to enroll and studied there at night and during holidays.

Mr. Hammond's teaching career began in 1886 when he was appointed a pupil teacher at the old Parawai School at a salary of £30 a year. Later he was assigned to Hikurangi and Otonga East half-time schools, teaching six days a week, and riding on horseback between them. After several other appointments he became first assistant at the Kauaeranga Boys School where he remained until it closed in 1914, then being transferred to Thames Central from which he retired in 1932 after teaching for 46 years.

As a teacher he influenced his pupils to study Maori culture, and still corresponds with many of them, as well as with a wide circle of people to whom he has been an inspiration. He maintains that his first real meeting with the Maoris was about 1876 when his father and two other men were building a house for Te Hira, a famous Chief in Ohinemuri, and interest was deepened in 1886 when he and a friend took a walking trip to Rotorua, spending 3 weeks in the area after the Tarawera Eruption had destroyed the famous Pink and White Terraces. This remarkable trip was followed by many others, and in 1902 Captain Gilbert Mair (a famous name in Maori history) invited him to see a large collection of Maori artifacts which led to his own collections, many specimens being inscribed to him by Maoris and grateful students.

Mr. Hammond has always been of great practical assistance to many organisations. For instance, for over 30 years he was the secretary of the Thames Volunteer Fire Brigade and at 97 is the oldest living holder of the United Association "Gold Star" award for 25 years voluntary service.

In 1925 when a member of the Thames Club, Dr Peter Buck proposed him as a member of the Polynesian Society and he has continued this association ever since. His accumulated material and his willingness to assist have earned him respect from enthologists [ethnologists? – E], historians and other scholars.

After his retirement Mr. and Mrs. Hammond moved to their present home at Thornton's Bay and enjoy their weekly excursions with Miss Eva Hammond who has a business nearby. One son is a solicitor in Dargaville and another, who followed in his fathers footsteps has travelled overseas and is now living in Auckland.

The Historical Associations that he has served so well, and the citizens of the area in which Mr. Hammond taught for so long, all unite in congratulating him on the rightful recognition of a long life-time of unremitting and specialised service to the community which is so proud of him.

Mrs. R.D. Eastwood

A fourth generation New Zealander and well known in this district as well as in a much wider field, Mrs. Eastwood was one of the five N.Z. women awarded the M.B.E. this year. It is a recognition richly deserved for her outstanding community service.

Born in Waiuku, Mrs. Eastwood came to Te Aroha with her parents Mr. and Mrs. Walter Smith, and has resided in the district ever since. After attending Te Aroha Primary School and Hamilton High School, she qualified as a Teacher at the Auckland Training College, later serving at local schools and at Palmerston North.

Mrs. Eastwood has always been interested in the welfare of people, having taken an active part in many organisations, but in particular the W.D.F.F. for which she has been an office bearer over many years, including those as Provincial President, Vice President, President, Housekeeping Secretary, Advisory Member, & Dominion Councillor. She became Dominion President in 1957, visited branches and Provincials extensively, conducted three large Dominion Annual Conferences and was leader of the Women of the World held in Edinburgh in 1959. Later as International Officer she was a member on the N.Z. delegation to the A.C.W.W. in Melbourne.

Over the years Mrs. Eastwood has been associated with the work of the N.Z. Fed. Country Girls Clubs, the Pan Pacific and South East Asia Womens Association, National Council of Women, Red Cross, Patriotic Committees, Corso and Country Women's Co-ordinating Committee at present.

As a Justice of the Peace, Mrs. Eastwood helps many folk with their problems. She takes a special interest in crippled and intellectually handicapped children and is on the Education Committee of the Thames Valley National Council. She is President of the Methodist Women's Fellowship, and is a player of the Pipe Organ.

Mr. A.O. Dare, O.B.E.

will always be "Olie" to those who knew him as a boy at Karangahake or at Paeroa and Waihi High Schools where he was an outstanding scholar. He took his Accountants Professional mainly at Auckland University and for 16 years was with the Navy Dept. including 4½ years as a Lieutenant when Port Radar Officer in Calcutta. Later he was an Inspector for the State Services Commission, in 1954 went to Rarotonga as Secretary to the Govt., in 1956 was Resident Commissioner at Niue, in 1959 Assistant Secretary for Dept. of Island. Territories at Wellington, and in 1961 became Red. Commissioner at Rarotonga, With the introduction of self-government to the Cook Islands in 1965 he became High Commissioner before returning to N.Z. to take a position with the State Services Commission in Christchurch.

Mr. Dare feels that he was fortunate to see the period of greatest economic development in the Cook Islands. There is no doubt that his great services there deserved the recognition accorded them, for he was held in high regard both by the Islanders and by the distinguished guests who stayed with him and his wife over the years. These included Lord and Lady Cobham and family, Sir Bernard Fergusson and people from all parts of the world as well as Mr. & Mrs. Holyoake and many members of the N.Z. Cabinet, sometimes a large party staying for several days.

Nevertheless Mr. & Mrs. Dare are glad to return to N.Z. and see more of their two children Rosemary and John, as well as close relatives. Mr. Dare (Senior) a Master Miner, lived in Mackaytown till fairly recently but being in his 80's is now with his daughter near Opotiki. His other son is a well known Auckland Headmaster. Olie mentions that Jack Morgan from Waitekauri, who has been the Chief Judge of the Land Court in Rarotonga for some years also received the O.B.E. in the last New Year Honours.