Hawke’s Bay Founders recently marked the fortieth anniversary of the formation of their Hawke’s Bay branch with a commemorative luncheon at the Napier Sailing Club. Many members added to the festival mood by arriving in the period dress of their British settler ancestors.
Paddy Bayley, national president, New Zealand Founders Society and Hawke’s Bay branch president, said the Sailing Club venue was most fitting for the occasion as the first of the British settlers to the area, who arrived in 1864, came ashore very near to the sailing club premises.
“Our Founders branch formed in 1979 and since that time we have had just three presidents,” said Paddy Bayley.
“Our special thanks go to immediate past president, Nanette Roberts, who served continually as president for 19 years.”
Mrs Bayley said she was pleased to engage Nannette Roberts to say grace and to participate in cutting the cake.
Mrs Roberts and two other members who participated in the cake ceremony have all been members for 40 years.
Some of the Founders members present at the luncheon were direct descendants of the early British settlers who began arriving at Napier from the mid 1860s.
These Founder ancestors were honoured in a dedicated toast, a special grace and in reciting the Founders pledge.
Bunting which featured the Founders colours of blue and yellow and the names of the first settler ships to New Zealand, adorned the ceiling and each table displayed a model of a settler ship.
The New Zealand Founders Society was formed in 1939 and began with a Wellington branch. Presently there are nine branches of which Hawke’s Bay is the largest with more than 160 members.
The society’s focus is to honour and celebrate the achievements and history of the founding settlers who arrived in New Zealand before 1865 and whose endeavours shaped the young country.
A full programme of branch activities for the present year was announced by Mrs Bayley, which included guest speakers on topics of local historical interest and visits to historic homes.
Hawke’s Bay Founders enjoying the opportunity to dress as their settler ancestors of the mid 1800s.
Welcoming their members: from left, Paddy Bayley, Founders national president, Richard Bayley, Hawke’s Bay secretary and Kathleen La Rooy, Hawke’s Bay branch Vice President
Founders cut the 40th anniversary cake: from left, Paddy Bayley, Founders national president, Joan McKinnon, Judith Yule and Nanette Roberts, immediate past president, Hawke’s Bay Founders.
Diary entries of settlers on their sea journey are read by, from left, Robyn Hewetson, Susan Wylie, Peter Drew and Stephanie Drew.
Posing with the Hawke’s Bay Founders branch 40th anniversary cake are, left, Carolyn Adams, Founders national secretary, and Paddy Bayley, Founders national president.