Topic: Working Bee at the Katikati Cemetery (1889)

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The Bay of Plenty Times reported this Working Bee at the Katikati Cemetery on 15 April 1889.

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Note: The names in this article have been amended to the full names rather than the initials as per the original newspaper article [Debbie McCauley]. 

WORKING BEE

AT THE KATIKATI CEMETERY.

FROM AN OCCASIONAL CORRESPONDENT.

On Saturday, 6th inst., a working bee of the Katikati settlers was convened, through public notice, by Messrs John Killen, J.P., and Thomas Ferguson. The great majority of the settlers nobly responded to the call, and were well armed with all the implements of husbandry. Among the various works to be performed was trimming the boundary fence, which is a fine hakia hedge. It was feared by the promoters of the scheme that, if a fire occurred through burning fern on the land outside of the cemetery, the hedge might be burnt, and the fern in the enclosure take fire, and together with the grave fences and headstones, all might be destroyed. A strip, about half a chain wide, was cleared round the outside boundary. All available hands then started to pull up the strong ti-tree, and then Mr Preston commenced with his reaping machine and speedily cut all the standing fern. Mr Killen kindly lent his team of horses and plough. Under the skilful management of Mr Rea these ploughed the formation of the roads mapped off on the plan of the cemetery. As soon at this was done, willing hands started forming and rounding up, while others burned off the cut fern.

Amongst those present or represented were the following: John Killen; Bruce Killen; William Shaw; T. Ferguson; E, Rawlings; J. Reynolds; William John Gray; James Boyd; Robert Simms; William Simms; Bernard McDonnell; T. Dalzell; A. C. Love; T. Henry; T. Leech; John Hamilton (Snr); John Hamilton (Jnr); A. Johnston; S. Rea; H. Jenkinson; John McCauley (Jnr); W. Mulgrew; J. Mulgrew; B. Mulgrew; D. Sany; R. Batty; K. Fletcher; W. Busby; H. Tanner; J. Tanner; M. Preston; J. Wilson; J. Foley; William James Katterns; H. Major; John McDonnell; J. Gallagher; C. Dunne and J. Klaus.

Mr Bernard McDonnell and Mr A. C. Love sent a very liberal supply of refreshments, and Mr T. Dalzell gave free luncheon to any who chose to call.

Although some 39 were present or represented, there were many who were conspicuous by their absence, notably political loafers. A great deal of comment and many dry jokes went round as to the cause of their absence. When someone asked when they would meet again to perform similar work it was suggested that the best time to draw out some of the absentees would be to meet the week before an election, and some absent now would be first on the ground, heralding their approach with a basket of strawberries, some sweet potatoes, and the roasted limb of the Arabian Phoenix!

Someone said, “he believed the reason some people took no interest in that day’s proceedings was that when they died they were going to be buried in their own land.” Another said “he was extremely glad to hear it; for, when they could not agree with the living, there might be a possibility that they might quarrel with the dead, and it would be an unseemly thing to hit his neighbour’s nose in the tomb with Major, Atkinson's hob-nailed boot!”

However, laying these remarks aside, it would take one man a few days to tidy up the work commenced on that day and, as some were absent unavoidably, it is to be hoped they will contribute a small sum to defray the expense of paying a man to smooth up the work. Any contributions will be thankfully received by Mr Killen or Mr Ferguson, and duly acknowledged. (Bay Of Plenty Times, 15 April 1889, p. 1)

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