Karori Historical Society

Celebrating 50 years since our founding.


Our Next Meeting

Our next Meeting will be held on Tuesday 5 September 2023 at St Ninian’s, Newcombe Crescent, Karori at 7.30 pm. 

Members and friends welcome 

Katherine Mansfield's Europe

Please join us to hear Redmer Yska talk about his more recent book, Katherine Mansfield’s Europe, Station to Station. 

Part travelogue, part literary biography, part detective story and part ghost story, Redmer pursues the traces of Mansfield’s restless journeying in Europe, seeking out the places where she lived, worked and – a century ago this year died. Along the way, he meets a cast of present-day Mansfield devotees who help shape his understanding of the impressions Mansfield left on their territories and how she is formally (and informally) commemorated in Europe. 

Redmer Yska is an award-winning writer and historian based in Wellington. He has published books on a range of subjects, including New Zealand youth culture, Dutch New Zealanders (like himself) a biography of Wellington City and a history of the tabloid newspaper, NZ Truth. This is Yska’s second book about Katherine Mansfield. His first, A Strange Beautiful Excitement: Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington was long listed for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Supper will be served after the meeting 

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 5 September


Past Meetings

June 2023 - AGM 

The following officers were elected at the AGM: President, Adrian Humphris 

Vice-President, No nominations were received and an appointment was held over 

Secretary, Chris Rabey

Treasurer, Liz Newport

Committee members:

The four current members were re-elected: Peter Anderson, Jo Elworthy, Kristin Gibson, and Richard Bentley. No new members joined the Committee. 

A large thanks was given to Huyền Thu, who stood down from the role of treasurer, for all her support and commitment over the past three years. A vote of thanks was also given to Liz for stepping into the Treasurer’s role.

 March 2023

Our last meeting was held on Tuesday 7 March 2023 at St Ninian’s, Newcombe Crescent, Karori at 7.30 pm.

At our March meeting we had a presentation from Liana MacDonald (Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Koata), He Taonga te Wareware: Remembering and Forgetting NZ's Difficult History. The senior lecturer, Sociology in the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, Liana provided background to the Aotearoa New Zealand's histories curriculum, before discussing her postdoctoral work for this national project.

It was a thought-provoking evening with her presentation ending with a broader discussion with those present about the changes being made to the New Zealand history curriculum, and how we engage with, remember and commemorate our past.

December 2022

Our end of year meeting was held on Tuesday 6 December 2022 at St Ninian’s, Newcombe Crescent, Karori at 7.30 pm.

Dr John Martin spoke about his new book "Empire City" about Wellington from the first encounter between Māori and the New Zealand Company in Te Whanganui-a-Tara in 1839, to it becoming the Empire City by the 1870s.

See https://teherengawakapress.co.nz/empire-city-wellington-becomes-the-capital-of-new-zealand/ 

Dr. John E. Martin has researched and written about New Zealand history for forty years. Before becoming parliamentary historian he worked in the Historical Branch of the Department of
Internal Affairs and taught in universities. His publications include rural and labour history, the history of science and engineering, and social and political history.

September 2022

Meeting was not held due to illness amongst committee members.

June 2022

The Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 14 June 2022 at St Ninian’s, Newcombe Crescent, Karori at 7.30 pm. 


1 Welcome

2 Apologies 

3 Confirmation of last year’s AGM report 

4 President’s annual report 

5 Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet 

6 Election of officers: President, Vice President, Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer 

7 Election of Committee We need new Committee members! If you are keen to help run the Society and plan future activities and events, please contact the President Adrian Humphris: adrianinka02@gmail.com or leave a message on 973 2612. 

8 General Business 

9 Speaker – Adrian Humphris, Treasures from the City Archives  

Treasures from the City Archives. 

The Committee decided early in the year to postpone our March meeting, not wanting to put any of our members at risk. While there are still cases out in the community, with numbers declining we have decided to proceed with our AGM. We will however keep the following presentation low key, although we are hoping to resume ‘normal’ service with a guest speaker in our September meeting. For the AGM, President Adrian Humphris will share a selection of images from the Council Archives, both from the December trip as well as other records so we can see and reminisce how Karori has changed over time. For example, Committee member Chris Rabey has been reading through early Council minute books as part of his research into Brooklyn, and recently came across a reference to the original Karori Pool being completed by contractors Christian & Nielsen (NZ) in November 1936. The pool remained in use for many years before an indoor pool was built in 2001 . 

March 2022

No meeting due to Omicron.

December 2021

We had a couple of groups of our members get the opportunity to visit Wellington City Council Archives. As well as a behind the scenes tour of the premises, there was also a presentation highlighting what the Archives holds, relating specifically to Karori. 

Rather than the usual meeting this quarter we were offered the chance to have a tour of Wellington City Archives. A new online search system has recently been implemented, and along with a project to digitise the archive collection the aim is to let people browse, search, and explore the archives when and where they want. 

Adrian Humphris, Team Leader at Archives demonstrated the new system and talked through the background to it being set up. Adrian then gave a behind the scenes tour of the stacks and attendees got to see some Karori related material from the collection. 

June 2021 - AGM

 The following officers were elected at the AGM:

President: Adrian Humphris was re-elected unopposed

Vice President: No appointment was made, and the position remains unfilled.

Hon Treasurer: Huyen Nguyen was elected unopposed.

Hon Secretary: It was agreed that this position would be shared between Kristin Gibson and Chris Rabey instead of making a formal appointment.

Committee: Jo Elworthy, Kristin Gibson, Peter Anderson, Richard Bentley and Chris Rabey.  

In the first committee meeting of the new Committee held early August, it was agreed that Chris Rabey would fill the position of Hon Secretary; my thanks go to him for offering to take up the role. 

The Society is only ever as strong as its Committee, so we are looking for keen, enthusiastic members who are willing to join the Committee and actively participate in organising events, finding interesting speakers for our meetings, and other ways we can share and capture the history of Karori. If this could be you, please let me know; all offers are welcome! 

Following the AGM our guest speaker was Ross Calman whose topic was “Restoring the mana of a manuscript:

Tamihana Te Rauparaha’s life of Te Rauparaha”

Ross is a descendant of Te Rauparaha and talked to the detailed account of Te Rauparaha’s son Tamihana Te Rauparaha, who compiled the account in 1860. It covered the era before and after the Treaty of Waitangi including the “musket wars” and was written with first-hand knowledge by Te Rauparaha’s son. Although the original document was written in Te Reo, it was translated, edited, and published in book form by Ross and published in 2020. An entertaining presentation giving those present an insight into a well known personality in New Zealand’s history. If you are interested in the book you can find out more on the publishers website, Auckland University Press.


March 2021

 A good number of members attended the March quarterly meeting to hear our President, Adrian Humphris give an illustrated presentation on the history of 24 Hatton street. It encompassed the construction of the house, structural alterations and the history of the many owners who had lived there over the past century. The Yugoslavia Embassy’s tenure and the countries subsequent demise into seven different autonomous states had meant that 24 Hatton street had fallen into disrepair with no apparent ownership structure to attend to its upkeep. A very well-presented overview of one of Karori’s more stately homes, but a home facing an unknown future. At the conclusion at the meeting Adrian was thanked for the research he had undertaken and his presentation on the history of this residence.

See also https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LHaTPuxVT6YO6QSR3mRw77nZm_5cGufF/view?usp=drivesdk 

December 2020

It was time to share a drink and nibble to celebrate Christmas in what has been a long and strange year, and to look forward to 2021. 

At our December meeting Tony Messenger talked about his grandfather Arthur Herbert Messenger, born in New Plymouth in 1877. In 1885 the family moved down to Wellington, living in Cooper Street, Karori. Arthur attended Karori School and later The Terrace School. Sketching and painting was Arthur's love and he was rarely seen without his sketch book in hand. Tony started by describing the family emigrating and arriving in Taranaki, before leading a great recollection of time living in Karori. His talk was illustrated by a number of Arthur’s sketches, as well as images of the family home in Karori. A H also did lots of maritime engravings, some of which we have published in early copies of Stockade.

 September 2020

September Meeting - AGM

As you may be aware with the changes in alert levels throughout this year, our AGM was postponed until our September meeting. The following officers were elected at the AGM: 

President, Adrian Humphris, Vice-President, No nominations were received and an appointment was held over

Secretary, Henry Brittain, Treasurer, Huyền Thu  

Committee members:

 Six outgoing members were re-elected: Peter Anderson, Jo Elworthy and Kristin Gibson, Chris Rabey, Richard Bentley, Geoff Slack. No new members joined the Committee.  

A large thanks was given to Judith Burch and Steve Porter, who stood down from the committee, for all their support and commitment.

Septembers Speaker

Following the AGM Peter Anderson shared some photographs that were recently donated to the Society. 

Show and Tell – The KHS Archives 

One of the objectives the Society has is “The preservation of archival items of historical importance”. This is something we have being doing quietly in the background for many years, but not all members may be aware of what is in our collections, and the resources we have available for research. Having been offered a donation of photographs and other historic documents recently, we thought it would be nice to outline some detail about our research resources (which are publicly available and held in the Karori Library), and share both some of the material we have been donated as well as examples of the research questions we often get. We will also show you the new place you can search online to view earlier editions of Stockade. Old copies were viewable online via our website, however with an upgrade that took place early this year these stopped working L. We have made an arrangement with Wellington City Council Archives for old copies to be accessible via Archives Online; only a couple are online but we are working on reformatting and getting them all there eventually.

March 2020

‘Digging round Wellington’ 

It has been a long time since our last public meeting, when we had Mary O’Keefe talk to us about her work as an archaeologist, and what that can teach us about our history. Mary currently operates a Consultancy named Heritage Solutions but has previously worked for the Department of Conservation and the Historic Places Trust and has specialised in archaeological history especially in the Wellington region. The presentation included detail, supported by illustrations and photographs on the various archaeological investigations that she has been involved in over her 30 years work history, of Wellington sites. She was able to supplement her talk with anecdotal stories about the activities carried out in inner City residences including cottage industry in Newtown. A very well presented delivery which gave an insight into the daily lives of Wellington citizens in the 19th century and was thoroughly enjoyed by those present.

December 2019

On Friday 18 October we launched the updated edition of Karori Streets. It was well attended and an enjoyable event, with brief speeches given by our author, Judith Burch, and the President. The idea to update Karori Streets was first discussed in 2011, so the book was nearly a decade in the works. It speaks of Judith’s energy, persistence and dedication that we got to launch what is really an excellent update to the original, with additional detail and updated with new streets, and illustrated throughout. 
Please join us at our Christmas function, where you can hear Judith tell us more about the work that has gone in to this book, as well as sharing some of the history and stories behind Karori Streets. Copies of Karori Streets will be available to purchase on the night, perfect timing with Christmas fast approaching!

September 2019 

Carey Clements and the Karori RSA
In September we held our meeting at the Karori RSA, and heard from Society member Carey Clements, also a member of the Karori RSA, who has done a lot of research on the RSA. His presentation traversed its history and presence in Karori including those Karori and Makara residents who served in both World Wars.The formation meeting of an RSA in Karori was held in 1923 which resulted in Gordon Allan being appointed as President and who held this position until 1934. The following Presidents were similarly appointed and it was not until 1938 that the first fully elected President, James 
Hanna took office. The present club rooms in Campbell Street were opened on 26 November 1938 and Karori is now the only RSA left in Wellington with its own club rooms.Carey talked through the various Presidents that followed Hanna, their background and what they contributed to the running of the RSA. He also told us about some of the better known Serviceman who live or had lived or else are commemorated in Karori. A very interesting overview of this aspect of Karori’s history and very much appreciated by those present.

June 2019 Meeting - AGM

The following officers were elected at the AGM:
President, Adrian Humphris
Vice-President, No nominations were received and an appointment was held over
Secretary, Henry Brittain
Treasurer, No nominations were received and an appointment was held over
Committee members:
Eight outgoing members were re-elected, Judith Burch, Peter Anderson, Jo Elworthy and Kristin 
Gibson, Steve Porter, Chris Rabey, Richard Bentley, Geoff Slack.
A large thanks was given to John Harper, who stood down after fourteen years on the committee, the last three as Vice-President. John always ensured our quarterly meetings ran smoothly, and with his broad knowledge of Karori always contributed to debate and discussion. His knowledge and support will be missed, and we wish him well.
June Speaker
Our speaker in June was Peter Cooke, an expert on Military History within New Zealand who gave a presentation on the history of Wrights Hill. He canvassed the early history of the fortress and how thought had been given to its presence in the mid 1930’s and after the outbreak of war, especially with the entry of Japan in late 1941, its construction has proceeded with the installation of two nine inch guns out of the three planned for.An interesting presentation on this aspect of Karori’s history especially as there are still aspects of it today that are open for viewing.

March 2019

Our March meeting started with Adrian welcoming guests and speaking broadly about a number of ideas the Committee have been discussing. This ranged from how we distribute our annual stockade (an overwhelming request to keep it in hard copy format!) to plans to set up a Friends of Karori Cemetery group under the auspices of Karori Historical Society. There was a general positive response to the Friends group being established, and the Committee is currently actively investigating how this would be done and work.
Our guest speaker for the evening was Chris Rabey who has had a life time interest in Wellington shipping activities and Maritime history. Chris titled his presentation “Ships that have Passed Through Cook Straight” and was accompanied by photographs of the many varied vessels that had visited the harbour, or else had only passed through Cook Straight on their ocean voyage. A very interesting presentation of the Wellington shipping scene both past and present, and thoroughly enjoyed by everybody.

December 2018

Our Guest Speaker for December was Barbara Mulligan who is well known for her interest in the history of Karori Cemetery and more latterly, the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and its impact on the citizens of Wellington and those buried in the Karori Cemetery.

From circa 2016, Barbara and a group of volunteers had been researching the history of many of those buried there while at the same time, cleaning up many of the graves and restoring them to a presentable standard. Barbara gave a presentation and overview of the project which had culminated in two open days at the Cemetery in November where displays and memorabilia were on display. She provided a fascinating insight into the history of the Pandemic, its origins and how it was transported to New Zealand and finally its impact on Wellingtonians. It was especially interesting to members given that the final resting place of many of the Pandemic victims was here in Karori. You can still access the project’s really informative website : - https://1918influenzakarori.weebly.com/home.html

September 2018

Christine Grace and the history of Makara / Ohariu
The Society has always had a strong interest in the history of Makara. Every Stockade contains references or articles about Makara. In 1996 we published James Brodie’s ‘Terawhiti and the Goldfields’.
The Society’s new committee thought it a good time to meet with Makara community leaders, to get an update on the development of Makara and to see whether the Society could better help resident’s record and interpret their history. 
22 members braved a dreadful winter’s night to hear Christine Grace speak about the history and life in the Makara and Ohariu Valleys. Christine is Chairperson of the Makara and Ohariu Community Board, and is a third generation Makara resident tracing her family’s farm alongside the lower Makara Stream to the early 1900s. 
Christine spoke of the evolving nature of the region – from the extensive Maori heritage, through the early development and the fishing and dairy farm businesses supplying Wellington, the shift from dairy to sheep and cattle, the military camp and gun emplacements above Opau Bay during the 40’s, the significance of the Post Office’s receiving stations and the village it spawned in the 50’s and 60s, and the increasing number of new residents who like the rural life style but who work in the city. Today Makara and Ohariu has a population of only 850 although it accounts for 60% of the land area of Wellington. She described the school as in a boom phase and reflected on the number of children coming across from Karori to be educated in a rural environment. 
Christine also reflected on the wind farm - which most had opposed - but she said they had come to live with it, and the ongoing contributions of Meridian into the community fund had been extremely useful in tackling numerous community projects. 
A current issue is the erosion problems facing Makara Beach and the track around to Fisherman’s Bay. The damage caused by Cyclone Gita earlier this year was unprecedented and several houses were inundated by the sea for the first time ever. 
There appears to be unfinished business in interpreting family histories and around identifying and listing historic buildings throughout Makara and Ohariu Valley. Some families are into their fifth generation living in the area and the Monk family for example is planning to restore the old church hall into a museum using some of their family’s history. The committee plans further discussions with Christine on ways the Society can assist the Makara and Ohariu communities.

June 2018

The theme for our talk at the AGM in June was the Karori Teachers College site. Our guest speaker was Jamie Jacobs, Central Region Director for Heritage New Zealand, who spoke about the architectural significance of the site. As the College had recently been sold and the entire site due for redevelopment, the presentation was very topical.

March 2018

In March Dr George Gibbs presented an entertaining talk about his grandfather George Hudson (1867-1946), a British-born New Zealand award-winning entomologist and astronomer, as well as Karori resident. George Hudson is the publisher of seven books dealing with New Zealand insects, which contain 3,127 painstakingly hand-drawn illustrations. The first book was published when George was just 19 years old, and the longest took 24 years to complete.

After sharing some family history, George Gibbs focused particularly on his grandfather’s time in Karori. George Hudson first moved to Karori in 1881, building a house in Donald Street, where he would 

live the rest of his life. His lettuces were famous on the hilltop, and he often shared the fruits of his garden with neighbours. Being a keen astronomer Hudson built an observatory at the back of  his section, which once again was well used by residents.

He had success with his stargazing, for example being the first person in Zealand to have seen Nova Aquilae in June 1918. Zealand to have seen Nova Aquilae in June 1918. Diaries of his observations are part of the Carter Observatory Collection held by Wellington City Archives. Gordon Hudson worked shift work at the Central Post Office from 1883 until he retired in 1908 aged 51, so he could focus on publishing. Dr Gibbs told us about the many places in and around Wellington and Karori that George Hudson used to visit to capture specimens; places such as Bush Hill, Campbell’s Stream, and the Reservoir (now Zealandia). It is not quite clear where some of these places actually are now, so there was a lively discussion trying to pinpoint some of them. The detail of Gordon Hudson’s insect drawings was exquisite; particularly given he was drawing specimens at the size they appear in his books, rather than much larger and later shrunk down. For its wide systematic coverage as well as its historical and scientific value, the Hudson Collection, now held by Te Papa, is perhaps the best private insect collection ever made in New Zealand.

December 2017

Our December meeting featured a talk by Redmer Yska, who grew up in Karori, and has undertaken extensive research into the life of Katherine Mansfield and recently published the book “A Strange Beautiful Excitement, Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington 1888-1903”. Redmer spoke to his book about the life of Katherine Mansfield’s upbringing in Wellington including the time she spent in Karori. Her childhood memories are recalled especially those of her family and how they fitted into the social fabric of the Capital at that time. One especially exciting find by the author was the discovery of a poem written by the budding Katherine that hitherto had not been seen before.

September 2017

In September we were lucky enough to hear Local History and Rare Books Librarian Gábor Tóth, Wellington City Libraries, present to us on the Western Access Scheme.
For some time in the early 1900’s there had been agitation from residents of the Western suburbs for a more direct route into the City rather than the current route  that traversed the longer way around via Tinakori Road and Molesworth street.In 1920 a survey was undertaken to identify the various options that could alleviate this problem and as a result 17 were identified. The most favoured involved the acquisition of land that had been set aside as Cemetery land. A referendum was held with the intention of raising £19,000. The results went against the Council and some work had commenced at the Tinakori road end, the Council had to look at alternatives.Time elapsed and the next route chosen was a new one that skirted around cemetery land and the unemployed manpower scheme, created during the depression, was used to undertake initial work. Although this work proceeded there was still a problem at the City end where the Government was not prepared to let the new road use Museum Street as part of the route. After some negotiation the Council was able to purchase land immediately adjacent to the northern boundary of the Cemetery and this allowed them to bypass Museum Street. Progress continued and after some issues with land slips that necessitated the building of large retaining walls, the road was completed in late 1939 and then opened for tramway traffic in August 1940. Bowen Street was named after Sir George Ferguson Bowen, New Zealand’s 6th Governor (1868 to 1873) and initially ran from the Lambton Quay gates of Parliament up to the Terrace. When the new road was formed in the late 1930’s it was regarded as an extension of the existing Bowen Street and named accordingly.
June 2017
In June we were lucky to hear Ben Schrader talk about his book 'The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities 1840-1920'. Ben’s presentation took us through the early history of New Zealand and detailed the development of urban areas. He 
discussed how our cities grew the way they did, in what ways did Māori experience and shape cities; and posed questions around the future of our cities and whether they reflect where we have come from.

The talk was a taster of his book, which reveals how our urban origins have shaped the people we are today. If you are interested in finding out more, or missed the talk, check out http://bwb.co.nz/books/big-smoke
March 2017
Our speaker in March was Mary McEwen, who told us about her father in law, Jock McEwen,
‘If you want to have a good life, you do it helping other people.’    Jock McEwen 

Jock McEwen was a administrator, historian, linguist, composer and master carver, also remembered as a well-known figure in the Māori world and the wider Pacific for over half a century.
December 2016
Our speaker in December was Gordon Tait, a long term Karori resident whose presentation was titled “Karori Cemetery Field Guide and Tour. Gordon had prepared a number of handouts which he referred to during his talk.  
The main handout covered the general layout of the Cemetery, the different types of graves, i.e. Monumental, Lawn, Wall (niche) and the War Cemetery. 
Another interesting handout was a field guide to gravestone symbols and their meaning plus another being a series of 8 photographs taken around Karori designed to test general knowledge as to whether people could recognise their location.
A well-researched and presented delivery, the handouts being especially useful as an aid for those just walking through or exploring the cemetery grounds.
At the conclusion of his presentation Gordon was thanked by Jo Elworthy and given a book voucher in appreciation.
You can access Gordon’s handouts via our Facebook page
September 2016
For our September meeting we had a tour of the Wellington City Council’s Archives, based at 28 Barker Street near to the Basin Reserve. 
City Archives is a treasure trove of information documenting the history and development of Wellington. Primarily holding records of the Wellington City Council and its predecessor organisations (including Karori Borough Council), the Archives also hold the records of the 
Union Steamship Company on behalf of Museum Wellington, as well as a small collection of community archives.After a talk by the president outlining the work Archives does, what records they hold and how the collection can be accessed and researched, 
members got to browse selected items from the collection and go on a tour throughout the premises.
The Archives are located at 28 Barker Street, which is off Cambridge Terrace by the Basin Reserve. 
You can find out more via the Council website: http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/archives
June 2016
Barbara Mulligan and David Cuthbert gave an insightful presentation on ‘ghost’ branch railway lines across New Zealand. This was linked to the book they published, New Zealand Rail Trails, which explores the long forgotten railway branch lines, some of which date back to the 1870s. 
The speakers covered both a history of the growth then decline of the rail network, as well as an overview of their journey across New Zealand to discover and document the lines.

March 2016
Our speaker in March was Glenn Reddiex, author and Karori resident who spoke about his recent book “Just to Let You Know I Am Still Alive – Postcards from New Zealanders during the First World War”
The book is dedicated to World War One postcards mostly sent back to New Zealand by Servicemen serving stationed in Egypt, Gallipoli, France, Belgium and England. It is richly illustrated showing not just the illustration on the front, but the message written on the back, mostly to family and relatives. It presented a fascinating glimpse into an ordinary soldier’s life and daily routine without the horror of war as this was excluded by censors.
His website is www.postcard.org.nz to find out more online about Glenn.

December 2015
We had a good turnout for our December talk, which saw Dr Chris Pugsley, an expert on New Zealand Military history, present a fascinating account of “New Zealand’s Experience at Gallipoli” Dr Pugsley canvassed the Gallipoli campaign from the outset of WWI in 1914 and the lead up to the NZ Expeditionary Force setting out for Europe and while in Egypt, its diversion to the Turkish front in conjunction with Australian and other British Forces. He spoke of the battles NZ troops engaged in, the loss of life and the general conditions that the soldiers were forced to suffer. A frequent visitor to the Gallipoli Peninsula, Dr Pugsley was able to supplement his oral presentation with many maps and photographs extracted from the numerous books he has written about the NZEF in WWI. A most interesting presentation given in the centennial year of the Gallipoli Campaign.

September 2015
Oliver Sutherland presented a talk on ‘Ivan Sutherland (1897-1952): academic and social activist'. The talk outlined in fascinating detail the range of activities Ivan took on or was involved in, from attacking the rise of the eugenics movement, campaigning for public radio and helping to launch the Wellington Film Society. Together with friend and colleague Professor Philip Robertson, he was a patron of the controversial Wellington-based English artist Christopher Perkins. His commitment to social psychology drew him into the world of Ngati Porou where Sir Apirana Ngata became a second mentor and lifelong friend. In his 1935 publications The Maori Situation Sutherland denounced pakeha ‘racialism’ and affirmed his commitment to a bicultural New Zealand and to Ngata’s vision for the economic, cultural and social development of Maori.

June 2015 Meeting - AGM
The following officers were elected at the AGM:
President, Adrian Humphris
Vice-President, Jan Heynes
Secretary, Henry Brittain
Treasurer, Valerie Carter

Committee members:
Peter Anderson
Jo Elworthy
Elizabeth Bradford
Michael Foster
John Harper
Margery Renwick
Wendy Lynch

One committee member resigned, Jeni Bryant, and we had a new committee member elected, Wendy Lynch. We welcome Wendy and pass on thanks to Jeni for her time on committee.

We had a number of speakers in June, all with the theme of war-related stories. Kay Klitscher spoke about white poppies and white feathers. Peter Anderson told us about three of his relatives who served in both World Wars, with accompanying memorabilia including a photograph of his grandfather’s war service scroll, a carved tokotoko (walking stick), a carved smoking pipe and a bugle. Bob Cameron gave a power point presentation about the WWI letters written by Leslie Gower, which Bob recovered from a suitcase at a Dunbar Sloane auction. Bob was then responsible for locating some of Leslie’s relatives.

March 2015
Adrian Humphris and Geoff Mew, authors of Built Wellington - Raupo to Art Deco gave a very interesting power point presentation about their latest book. It is a very comprehensive history featuring some of the most prominent architects in Wellington and their buildings together with illustrations of these.

December 2014
Vincent O’Malley gave a very interesting and comprehensive talk about ‘the upsurge of interest in the New Zealand wars’ particularly relating to the Waikato region. The Waikato war was important as it was a turning point in the development of NZ and lead to the capital shifting to Wellington, and the introduction of Julius Vogel’s schemes. But until recently these wars have been sanitised and attention has been on commemorating WWI. However, Vincent considered that there is now a more even handed effort to acknowledge what took place.
Vincent’s talk created a considerable amount of discussion amongst members.

September 2014
Dr Rodney Grapes talked on ‘The 1848 earthquakes and the destruction of Wellington’ He described a cluster of earthquakes that occurred in Wellington between 16 and 26 October 1848. Some of these were quite severe, probably bigger than the later 1855 quakes, and caused considerable damage. The Lt Governor of the day, Eyre, undertook a survey of the damage and then sent a report back to England outlining the events. This created some apprehension amongst intending immigrants but with no long term effect. The earthquakes were not just confined to Wellington but also to the top of the South Island where damage was recorded as far south as Kaikoura. Judge Chapman wrote about the earthquakes in his journals which also give an interesting record of life in the 1840’s.

June 2014
Priscilla Williams, former diplomat and current president of the Bolton Street Cemetery, gave a very interesting and informative talk about the history of the cemetery, referring in particular to the role which the late Margaret Alington had played in ensuring the preservation and documentation of the tombstones, writing a history of the cemetery – Unquiet Earth – and the establishment of the Friends of the Bolton Street Cemetery.

March 2014
Judy Siers gave a very lively and interesting presentation about the work she has done preparing for the publication of her forthcoming book called Arrivals: Six Wellington Stories.
Judy was a Wellington City Councilor for a number of years in the 1990s and became the Council’s advocate for Wellington heritage and history. She was also a member of the Onslow Historical Society and its president for a number of years. She has been a member of the Historic Places Trust since the 1960s and a member of the committee.

December 2013
What a great meeting we had in December. We thank all our loyal members and friends who came to hear our speaker and to celebrate our 40th birthday. How lucky we were to have Norma McCallum and her husband with us. As the Society’s first president Norma has a special place in our history and we were very pleased her husband was able to persuade her to come for a mystery drive. She was also thrilled to receive her life membership certificate and to help in cutting our celebratory cake.

Julia Millen was a very lively speaker and brought to life the story of Sergeant Bruce Crowley DCM, a New Zealand prisoner of war in Greece and Germany who escaped from captivity. She has written a book about him (North to the Apricots) and members were able to purchase copies. Bruce’s son Grant was also present and he was able to fill in some gaps about Bruce as a father and to show some family photographs.

September 2013
Tricia Laing spoke about ‘Karori Bees and Beekeepers’: where they are located in Karori and the importance of backyard beekeeping. She showed photos of her hives, and discussed the life cycle of bees and some of the challenges bees and beekeepers face in Karori.

June 2013
Susan Price spoke about the childhood of her father Hugh Price who had had a difficult childhood in Masterton because of mobility problems and unsympathetic school teachers. She based her talk around the book she had written ‘A Mind of his Own’  and illustrated it with  photos from the book. Hugh became a well know publisher in Wellington in his adult life.

March 2013
Joanna Newman from the Mt Victoria Historical Society gave an illustrated talk about aspects of Mt Victoria's history and its importance to Wellington. The main focus of the talk was on the Basin Reserve Heritage and the values of this iconic area of Wellington.

December 2012
Trevor Morley was a very entertaining speaker and as well as giving an excellent account of policing in Wellington in the early 1900's. He also brought along some of his collection of artefacts, including old Police truncheons. His account of the events leading up to Constable Dudding's murder reminded us of the changes which have taken place in policing. We also heard that it was due to Trevor's persistance that policemen who had been murdered in the course of duty were recognised by the police force.

September 2012
Our speaker was Lydia Wevers, the title of her talk was 'Sensation Novels and Colonial Readers' - about reading in the nineteenth century in relation to her book Reading on the Farm.
Professor Wevers is Director of the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand. She is a distinguished post graduate researcher and writer with a long list of published work on New Zealand and Australian literature; several of the books have focused on early New Zealand travel writing and writers.

June 2012
Our speaker was John Harper, committee member and Emeritus Professor of Applied Mathematics, Victoria University of Wellington. His topic was Transits of Venus As there will be a transit of Venus the day after the meeting and there will be no more over the next 100 years, John's talk is very appropriate. It will emphasise matters of historical interest rather than astronomical technicalities and cover questions such as: What are they? When do they occur? Why are they important enough for expeditions to be sent to observe them? Why did Karori's most eminent historian ask the speaker about them? What does one see? How was New Zealand affected?

March 2012
Our speaker was Vicki Treadwell, British High Commissioner spoke to us about her diplomatic career. This was a fascinating and entertaining account from a highly experienced diplomat.

Dec 2011
Our speaker Richard Nanson gave a very interesting and informative talk about his own career, over 50 years and something about the history of the garden at Homewood. Richard was head of the WCC's Parks & Recreation section from 1967-92. He was made a Fellow of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture in 1970 and became a member of the Order of New Zealand in 2011 for services to horticulture. Following his talk we enjoyed refreshments in the reception room at Homewood.

Sept 2011
Our speaker was Jenny Jones, who spoke about her book "No Simple Passage", the story of her great-grandparents journey to New Zealand on the London in 1842.

June 2011
Our speaker was Joseph Romanos, editor of the Wellingtonian and Karori resident. Joseph gave an interesting, informative and witty talk aboout his involvement with the publication of books, about sport and the triumphs and disasters that inevitably occur.

March 2011
Our guest speaker was Janice Shramka (Karori West Normal School Principal), she spoke about her use of the Woolf Fisher Fellowship for overseas study travel. She visited schools in Canada and the United Kingdom and attended a course at Harvard entitled "Leadership: An Evolving Vision".

December 2010
Guest Speakers: there were two speakers, Adrian Humphris and Geoff Mew, joint editors of the book “Ring Around the City” which outlines the growth of Kilbirnie and Kelburn in the early part of the 20th century.
Adrian’s address focused on how the transport system, especially tramcars, opened up the city and suburbs, while Geoff concentrated on the style of homes that were built during this period. Both speakers complimented their presentation with power point photographs.