Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 13, May 1970


1970 opened momentously for your Editor but her alarm on New Years Day was turned to gratitude by the people who called and by the warm messages received. She sincerely thanks you for your Congratulations and is deeply aware that the "Royal Honour" is shared by you. Together we can regard it as something for Ohinemuri. Thanks also to those who originally (and secretly!) nominated me - the P.T.A. of Paeroa College, our Historical Societies, and the Waihi Art Centre and Museum Assoc. Also I am grateful to the Service Organizations which helped me in some tangible form - the Paeroa Rotary Club, the College P.T.A., the Lions Club and the Karangahake Community. Hence, Friday 13th March, became a lucky day!

My visit to Wellington was a wonderful experience. During the rehearsal before the official function I had the pleasure of meeting a few old friends and Mrs. Will, B.E.M., the laudable 90 year old Mother of Mrs. Brown at Waihi Beach. I also met Queen Ariki Nui Te Ata i rangikaahu, who was to receive the first and highest honour, regally dignified in her elegant flax cloak with a huia feather in her hair.

Prior to the evening Investiture the Town Hall was crowded with invited guests and the recipients stood in arranged rows along one side awaiting the arrival of Her Majesty. When the Queen was escorted to the stage she stood in front of a magnificent bank of banana palms, colourful begonias and other rare flowers in the centre of which a fountain formed the "Prince of Wales Feathers". Wearing a sparkling tiara and a lace gown embroidered with multi-coloured jewel threads she looked a queen indeed. All were impressed by her natural beauty and dignity. Over 100 people were invested within an hour so conversation was necessarily brief but the warm smile and handshake remain memorable.

After the ceremony our various friends "retrieved" us for private hospitality and I would like you to know that I was with Ohinemuri kin - and that you were well remembered. Olie Dare, O.B.E., whom I taught at Karangahake nearly 50 years ago, and who is now Assistant Secretary to the Minister of Internal Affairs, had arranged a Party for me at his lovely Khandallah home. Leaving cars at the foot of a hill we walked up through a "bush track" lit by candles - reminiscent of miners' lanterns - to be received by Joan and Olie who "crowned" our day. Among many friends were Grace Morran and Audrey Borrie (Paeroa) who had flown down to stay with Annette and Charles Littlejohn, L.L.M. (born in Mackaytown, but now second Clerk assistant in the House of Representatives).

Space forbids more detail now but our historical work will remain incomplete until we record the stories of men such as these of whom we are justly proud. It must be mentioned too that at another Royal function at Government House Gold Awards for outstanding qualities in citizenship were presented by the Duke of Edinborough to 50 girls and 91 boys among whom were 3 from this district - Timothy Morgan (Waihi); Mark Hanan (Hikutaia); and Edward Tye (Ngatea). We shall hear more of them but meanwhile extend our warmest congratulations to these outstanding young men.