The Pines 150th Birthday Celebrations.

Recently I had the privilege of being invited to 150th celebration of “The Pines” which is just down the road from my place… and which has the distinction of being Waipawa’s oldest house.

As part of the celebrations there was to be a parade, people were to dress up in colonial style costume, Devonshire teas, and strawberries and cream, homemade lemonade, and horse and cart rides.

It sounded fun and so, after panicking a little over what to wear, and finally having Anna sort me out with something, we were ready to leave…
Before we left home my Aunty Rach came around to take photos of us on the front steps of our house… So here we are… three generations –Mum (Kathleen), me, and my daughter, Anna. All of us had little pieces of Mum’s granny’s things on (which seemed very fitting since Mary Glover Bibby was a great friend of Mrs Dr Todd with two d’s and spent some happy times at The Pines).
Mum and I each had a lace collar (over a hundred years old) and Anna wore Mary Glover Bibby’s Sunday bonnet.

Once the photo taking was over we hurried down at the town hall to be part of the parade.
The first thing I heard when I arrived was the sound of bagpipes on the air, and all around people started to gather all dressed in a kaleidoscope of colours.

The dresses and bonnets of the girls and women were incredible and very authentic looking, and men turned up too dressed in top hats and tails and other period costume – it reminded me of the photo of the opening of the Town Hall taken back in 1910!

At last we were all assembled, the cart pulled by three beautiful Clydesdale horses loaded, and the pipe band came and made their formation in the middle of the road for us to process down the road behind… And we were off…!

As we walked down Kennilworth and Waverly streets following the band people came out of their houses and waved, cameras clicked, and it felt fairly amazing to be part of this historic event..
I wondered, as we walked, if sometime in the future people would look at photos of us parading down the street just like we do now with old photos of Coronation parades, and victory parades after the war…?

We arrived at The Pines. The Pipeband played…

… and lots of people took pictures of each other all dressed up in their old-fashioned splendour (including my family I’m afraid)

…and then settled down to a lovely old fashioned Devonshire tea… complete with gorgeous old china tea cups and silver tea pots. The scones with jam and cream were nice and very quaint – but my favourite was the strawberries with ice cream as it was a really HOT day and wearing long dresses with long sleeves in a 30 degree heat made me understand those old books and movies where women swooned and fainted (more from heat than love in my case).

The Clydesdale horses also were kept busy, taking a constant stream of passengers on a little jaunt around the block and back… and people wandered around the garden enjoying the flowers and trees, and the dovecote was also a popular attraction.

And of course, to remind us of the event we were there to celebrate – the 150 years of the Pines – Rosheen from the Museum got up and told us the story of some of the people who lived in the Pines… (I have included the transcript of her talk below)

But before I leave you with her account I would like to thank Elaine and Terry for the wonderful tea party in their garden.n.
The cottage looked beautiful, your garden was really pretty and full of colour, and the parade and tea party I sure will be remembered for a long time to come…

Thanks for a really fantastic day!


Transcript of the speech of the history of ‘The Pines’

It falls to me to tell you a little about ‘The Pines’ and its previous occupants and what I have found is they have been a remarkable bunch of people. le.

The first occupant was Thomas Henry Fitzgerald who erected the cottage in 1858.
Thomas was an early settler who came to New Zealand from Ireland in 1842.
He opened a general store in Waipawa in 1857 with Mr L.N. du Noyer – presumably a relative as Fitzgerald’s mother was a du Noyer.
He was also a surveyor and civil engineer.

The house came partially assembled (as frames and trusses) from Northland – they came to Napier by barge and then by bullock team to Waipawa. Prefabrication was apparently quite commonplace.

Fitzgerald was active in politics and named as 1st Superintendent for HB 1859-1861.
He had considerable interests in Napier where he owned and operated steam flour mill – bond store – printing press and constructed two hotels.
At his press – 1st HB Herald & Ahuriri Advocate printed September 24th 1857.
His hotels were the Commercial – now the Union at Ahuriri, and the Settlers at the bottom of Shakespeare Road on town side. Early advertisement for his Commercial Hotel asks patrons ‘not to urinate over the verandah as it scares the horses’.
He moved to Napier and then in 1862 to Queensland where he’s remembered as a pioneer of the sugar Cane Industry – founder of Innisfail and for naming the town Te Kowai after our own tree and flower.

Like many entrepreneurs he suffered mixed fortunes in finance and health and died in 1888 aged 64.

The second owner Charles Herman Weber has a number of descendants present here today.
Weber and his two brothers – both became Harley Street Doctors, fled Germany as pacifists – they did not like or agree with the strong military regime of the time.

Like Fitzgerald, Weber was also a civil engineer and surveyor.
He went first to England, then the US (where he worked as a surveyor for the explorer Fremont and was involved in getting the railway through the Rockie Mountains. Then he went to Argentine surveying and was involved in the sandalwood trade before going to Australia.

In Australia Charles married Ellen Drewe and had three children, two of which died in infancy. He was approached to come to New Zealand and thus arrived with Ellen and the surviving child in 1860.

It would seem more than coincidence that he purchased ‘The Pines’ –fraternity of civil engineers and surveyors must have been small in those days so it is possible that Fitzgerald and Weber might have been acquainted – and indeed their lives connected frequently over the years.

Weber had the distinction of being the parents of the first white child born in Waipawa – Albert Fremont Weber was born October 24th 1861.
His work as a surveyor was well recognized and highly thought of. His original maps still being used, and survey pegs found still in place as recently as twenty years ago.

Again, like Fitzgerald, Weber was persuaded to go to Napier and was appointed Provincial Engineer and Chief Surveyor for Hawkes Bay and was the first Harbour Board Engineer.

On his move to Napier Charles purchased Fitzgerald’s flour mill and other concerns and so the link continued.

Sadly in 1886 Charles disappeared on a private surveying job close to Woodville – despite a search party being mounted, his body was not recovered for nearly three years. It was then found a mere two chain from the road and it was thought he died of a heart attack. The settlement of Weber in Southern Hawkes Bay is named after him.

The third owner was Doctor Alexander Todd who was an Irish man- and probably more is known about him. There are many tales of his excesses and wielding his walking stick abound. That self same stick is here in attendance today.
It is not commonly known that Doctor Todd arrived here unintentionally.

Soon after graduating (Edinburgh) he set off around the world as Superintendent Surgeon on the ‘Rangoon’ which was making its first direct voyage from England to Napier. It is hard to imagine now, with high speed international travel, how it was back then… The Rangoon left London 26th November 1863 and did not arrive in Napier until 23rd July1864 – an eight month marathon. During time the vessel collided with an American brig and sustained damage and it was also struck with extreme weather – gales, heavy seas and hailstorms for almost all of the voyage. At one stage everything on deck was washed away, the helmsman crushed by the wheel and killed. The Captain was apparently drunk all the time (one reference kindly says the captain was ‘laid up’)
The crew revolted and Todd had to assume command.

With difficulty the Rangoon reached Napier – its upper works severely damaged and unable to proceed further so the passengers and crew landed and were discharged.
Within a short time the Governor General, Sir George Grey, and other notables called on Todd and the outcome was that Todd abandoned his world tour and decided to settle in New Zealand.
Dr Todd purchased the practice of Dr. Venn of Waipawa (who was retuning to England) and at the same time appointed both medical charge of natives of Hawkes Bay by Native Commissioner, and though influence of Sir Donald McLean and Honorable JD Ormond as surgeon to Imperial Troops stationed in Waipawa.
With withdrawal of Imperial Forces he was appointed Medical Officer of Colonial Defense Forces and on their transfer he became Brigade Surgeon of East Coast Volunteers. He obtained a commission as Major and later Lieutenant-Colonel

Like previous occupants of the Pines Dr Todd also invested in business and land and was a partner in the Union Brewery and Aerated Water Company, and he had land in Waipawa, Kaikora (Otane), Woodville and Western Australia.
He died still in residence at the Pines in 1914 aged 74.

Dr Todd married Annie Mary Arrow, a daughter of Henry Arrow and sister of Lissie who married William Rathbone.
Mrs Doctor Todd (with two d’s), as she insisted on being called, is described in family reminiscences as “bossy” and “a martinet”. But despite these epithets was regarded as a stalwart of the community.

Mrs Doctor Todd with two d’s was involved in the temperance movement and after her husband’s death refused to renew the lease of the Union Brewery which was situated on her land. As a result of this the brewery had to be pulled down (so you can see that Mrs Todd was not a woman to be toyed with).
Hearsay has it that Mrs Todd also confiscated Dr Todd’s walking stick to prevent him from crossing the road to the brewery.

Dr Alexander Todd and Annie Mary had three daughters – Olive, Ida and Kathleen, and a son, Alexander Todd junior
Mrs Doctor Todd with two d’s died in 1927 predeceased by her daughter Ida who died in 1926.

Pigeons and doves are synonymous with the Pines. Originally some of these trees around you now were planted to shelter the pigeon loft and stables.
Dr Todd took pigeons with him when attending rural patients so he could send messages back to his wife, or he would leave a bird with a patient so that they could get a message to him. One of the original dovecotes was removed from the Pines to Waikoko Gardens at the Hastings Showgrounds in 1968.

Over the years the Pines has been home to a number of tenants and suffered gradual decline.

Fortunately it was purchased in the late 1980’s by George Wood and lovingly restored.
Anna Natusch further developed the gardens during her occupancy.

Terry and Elaine McKenzie, who like the first three owners, have come from another country to make Waipawa their home, have spent the last ten years ensuring the pines look hale and hearty. Here’s to 150 years and long may the cottage survive.
Congratulations to you both on your valuable contribution to a most valuable and important piece of Waipawa’s Heritage.
Thank you.