Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 1, June 1964
THE REV. L.M. ROGERS, M.A.
President of the Paeroa & District Historical Society and Past-President of the Whakatane Hist. Society, comes to us with a wealth of experience gleaned from a wide field. As a student for the Presbyterian Ministry he attended Otago University and Theological Hall, Dunedin, but his work has taken him over the length and breadth of N.Z. – beyond the usual Church activities. He has taken a special interest in the Maori people, converses in their languages and is an authority on many phases of N.Z. History.
Rev. Rogers came to Paeroa last year on this retirement after 10 years' service as the first Principal of Te Wananga-A-Rangi Theological Hall, the Presbyterian Maori College at Whakatane. He was particularly suited to the task of inaugurating the College because of his academic ability, pastoral experience and long association with the Maori Missions Committee. Thus he brought to the task his sound scholarship matured as a parish minister and disciplined by his 12 years as editor of "The Outlook". We are indeed fortunate to have his assistance in the establishing of our Historical Groups and launching our Journal.
The very word "Journal" must have a familiar ring to him, for he edited the "Henry Williams Journals" and has contributed to many others.
MR. W.T. HAMMOND
95 years old, Historian, was born at Thames in April 1869, and has spent over 90 years of his life in the district. As a lad he attended the primary schools Waio-Karaka and Kauaeranga Boys, and then the Thames High School (1884-1885). In 1886 he commenced as Pupil Teacher at Parawai and then taught for three years at the Waio-Karaka School, later holding the following positions:
Charge Dairy Flat and Horse-shoe Bush half time schools (1890-1893)
Thames South School (1914-1921)
Thames Central (1921-1932)
For some years Superintendent Thames Manual and Technical School.
He was an active member old Thames Rowing Club (1894-1900)
Secretary Thames Volunteer Fire Brigade for 31 years (1895-1925)
Secretary Thames Rugby Union (1899-1906)
Member Thames Bowling Club (many years)
Member Thames Club (1905-1935)
In 1924 Dr. Peter Buck proposed Mr. Hammond as a member of the Polynesian Society of which he is still a member. He has all his life taken a keen interest in the History of the ancient Maori and has been a collector of stone artefacts of the old time Maori. In his youth he journeyed widely, including to Tarawera just after the famous eruption of 1886.
His knowledge of local History is unsurpassed, as is his generosity in sharing his findings and his beautifully hand-written manuscripts. He still does a great deal of writing; copes with mail that would daunt most people and with a continuous stream of visitors who call to see him at his home at Thornton's Bay, Thames Coast.
MR. A.M. ISDALE, B.A.
Secretary of the Thames-Hauraki Historical Society; Curator of Thames Mineralogical Museum and sometime Secretary of the Hawkes Bay Centennial Historical Committee; was born and educated in Hawkes Bay; attended Christchurch Teachers Training College and Canterbury University, later completing his degree in Wellington. He taught for some years, meanwhile delving into N.Z. History. In 1938 he took a position in the Parliamentary Library and there indexed "Immigrant Ships". In 1943 he bought property in the Thames District and had both a Herb Nursery and a Duplicating Business, but his ruling interest in History and Research led to his being appointed Curator of the Thames Museum, a position in which his wife wholeheartedly shares.
Since 1959, Mr. Isdale has been Accountant for South Pacific Mines, but this is as much a field job as an office one and there is very little of the Coromandel Peninsula which he does not know intimately both physically and historically. The following are some of his Publications:
1935 "Rivers of Hawkes Bay" is Material for the Study of Disasters (Quarterly, Geneva)
1937 History of Napier Hospital, and Hawkes Bay Hospital Board
1938 History of Hastings Hospital
1939 Co-Editor Centennial History of Hawkes Bay
1950 Hotels of Old Thames
1952 Coromandel History Sidelights
Also - - Thames Gold Mines and Outline History of Thames
MR. JAMES KINSELLA
One of the ten children of Mathew and Rachael Comptson Kinsella who were among the first settlers at Waitekauri; has spent the whole of his life in the district. His story is one of hard work tempered by an alert outlook, a good memory and an historical sense. When his mother was left a widow with six children still of school age, she and the older members of the family shouldered the big responsibilities of farm and business. They worked hard and played hard sport being an outstanding feature of Waitekauri. The eldest son was killed in France but Jim was not accepted for Military Service. After the family business was sold he worked for a time with the firm of Robertson & Company of Waikino, followed by 38 years at the Victoria Battery in various responsible positions.
Mr. and Mrs. Kinsella have lived in the same house in Waikino for 48 years and both house and garden are models of meticulous care, with a feeling of both past and present. A wonderful old Waitekauri clock that has told both time and date for a lifetime looks with no astonishment on a modern Television set made by Pye. Born here were two children, the elder destined to become the Hon. A.E. Kinsella M.A., our present Minister for Education and the younger, Mrs. Shirley West of Te Atatu.
MR. W.C. KENNEDY, M.B.E., J.P.
Now in this 90th year and living at Te Aroha, was born at Thames in 1874. His father worked for Robson Bros. who had one of the first stores in Paeroa, before the family moved to Waitawheta. In 1894 he began contracting for the Ohinemuri County Council, the Waihi Gold Mining Company, the Kauri Timber Company and other local authorities. He mostly did road construction work and bridge building later entering into partnership with the late Mr. W.F. Taylor of Paeroa. After 1900 he took up 400 acres of standing bush as Waitawheta and this is now owned by his son Roy. He has also farmed in other parts of the district and has devoted many years to local body service.
Mr. Kennedy was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1922 and was a member of the Thames Hospital Board for 42 years. Being Chairman from 1950 to 1959. He has served on many other boards and councils and received a Coronation Medal for services rendered. Blessed with an excellent memory, Mr. Kennedy has always been interested in local History and has been responsible for the recording of facts and names long since forgotten by others. We are most grateful to him.
The late MR. BEN GWILLIAM
Has been sadly missed since his death in Paeroa in 1962, at the age of 89 years, a few weeks after writing several Historical Articles. Arriving in Waihi from Lower Hutt in 1894, he worked in the mines there for about three years before going on to Whangamata. Later he and his family spent about 8 years in Karangahake and 7 years in the Waitekauri district. In both places Mr. Gwilliam held responsible mining and battery positions, taking an active part in Community life and Church work, sometimes raising funds and always ready to conduct a choir for any denomination.
During the first World War when mining was at a low ebb in Karangahake, Mr. Gwilliam moved to Paeroa and opened up as an auctioneer in Hughenden Street. Five years later he bought a farm at Netherton where he established a Fresian herd. In his later days he retired to Paeroa and continued to take an interest in local affairs. He was a Borough Councillor for 6 years, a J.P. for 40 years, a life member of the St John Ambulance Brigade and a member of the Masonic Lodge. He was remarkably well informed, an able speaker and a true Christian.
MR. DAVID HASZARD
Vice President, W.A.C.M.A. – born in Waihi, member of a pioneer Waihi family, many of whom were early surveyors. After attending Waihi High School he spent five years at the Waihi School of Mines, a wonderful institution to which many sons of the Goldfields owe a great debt. He was employed by the Martha Company at Waikino in the 30's and later appointed Metallurgist in charge of the Gold-treatment Plant in Fiji. War intervened and he served as Air Force Pilot – Canada and U.K. (1942-1946). In 1946 and 1947 he was again with the Martha Company at Waikino as Assayer and from 1948-1961 with Akrad Radio Corpn. Since then he has been Metallurgist for South Pacific Mines (NPL) at their Waikino Plant.
Since its inception Mr. Haszard has worked hard for the Waihi Museum and capably took charge of the Mineral specimens; leading a very keen Geology Group. He has been appointed Hon. Director of the Museum Section. It was owing to his enthusiasm that the Mines Department last year made a grant of £100 towards the Museum.
(Printed by E. Barron 1 Willoughby St. for Paeroa and District Historical Society and W.A.C.M.A.)