Topic: Tauranga City: The memories of Alys Ingrid Wicksteed

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Memories of events in Tauranga City during the life of Alys Ingrid. Abbreviated for the Bay Sun.

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50,000 ACRES ‘CONFISCATED’ - TAURANGA TOWN  HALL Destroyed.

The Town of TAURANGA came into being in 1873. This only happened after 50,000 acres of land was confiscated from the Maori people after the Battles of ‘Gate Pa’ and ‘Te Ranga’. At Gate Pa the British troops were under the Command of General Cameron... hence ‘Cameron Road’.

I was born in Tauranga at Waimarie Nursing Home. Today occupying this building is the Law Firm ‘McKenzie & Elvin’ in Brown Street.

My Grandfather (William Tasman Smith) came to Tauranga in 1934. My Norwegian Father (Kristian Revfeim) married my Pakeha Mother at Tauranga in 1936. My Great Grand Father in law (David Cambie) came to Tauranga as an 18 year old Irish Immigrant to fight in the Maori Wars with promise of Land as payment for his soldier-ing duties. My now present partner’s great French Grandfather (Napoleon Bidois) came to Tauranga and married a Maori Woman.

My life of course has revolved around the ‘happenings’ of Tauranga.  To notify the Tauranga inhabitant’s of the end of the First World War 1918, Three fires were lit. One, on top of the Mount, ( Mount Maunganui), two, at ‘Maungawhare’ the central high spot of Otumoetai and three, on the highest point at Te Puna.

The celebrations of Tauranga becoming a city, commenced from my family home ‘Maungawhare’ in Otumoetai in 1963.

I played the part ‘Nellie Forbush’ the leading Role in ‘South Pacific’.  Tauranga Operatic Society’s 1963 Production contribution to the City’s celebrations.

Coronation year 1953, my Father an electrical engineer, then employed by the Tauranga Borough Council, decorated the Tauranga Town Hall with ‘small lights’ highlighting a crown and the whole building. I have a 1963 photograph. What was left over ‘lights’ he decorated the Norfolkpine tree in Cameron Road near Elizabeth Street for Christmas that year ( by the now Polytechnic building). The lights still appear on that tree at the end of each year.

The Town Hall was a beautiful building. It was built on ‘land’ given generously by the Maori people of Tauranga at the turn of the last Century for use as a Town Centre and a Building for all people to gather together! My heart bleeds that this building was destroyed. There was a lot of controversy at the time of its destruction in 1987. There were sit down groups from Maori and Pakeha.

I consider that compensation for the confiscation of these vital 50,000 acres, which is now the central city area and all of Cameron Road must be considered. Why do I think this? Well the Tauranga City Council confiscated land in Otumoetai from me so I know what it feels like to loose a vital part of your identity.

Tauranga, though a fairly new town/city has a wonderful history and I would be delighted to see other born and bred Tauranga-ites give their history and opinions.     

Alys Ingrid Wicksteed (Revfeim)   

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A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC https://perma.cc/VCB2-2GSF.

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Tauranga City: The memories of Alys Ingrid Wicksteed


City:Tauranga
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Tauranga City: The memories of Alys Ingrid Wicksteed by Alys Ingrid Wicksteed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License