On Sunday 21st August sixty-six Members attended our Branch annual “Members Meeting” held at the Taradale Anglican Church hall. Branch President, Paddy Bayley presented two new members with their membership certificates and badges.
The format for these meetings is well established from previous years. Branch Vice President, Kath La Rooy introduced the four members who spoke for approximately 10 minutes on their family history. It was not surprising to hear fruit orchards featured often in family stories here in Hawke’s Bay.
We were delighted to highlight young history talent, again this year. Definitely a first for our members to witness was “a step into the modern era in public speaking”, when two teenage members, Florence & Christian Porcer enthralled everyone by speaking very confidently on their family history using notes on their mobile phone. Their father, uncle and aunt, also members of our branch, were there to support them.
Members were amazed to hear from one speaker about her ancestor Mary Jane Bennett. She once “manned” Pencarrow, New Zealand's first permanent lighthouse. Mary remains the only woman to have been a lighthouse keeper in New Zealand, taking on the role at Pencarrow from her husband George following his death in 1855. He drowned when he was washed overboard on a boat trip across the harbour.
Her eventful life at this remote and exposed place is commemorated on a story-board at the lighthouse. Pencarrow's classic cast iron tower, made in England, was erected on Pencarrow Head at the entrance to Wellington Harbour in 1859.
Connections between Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay was highlighted once again, with the mention of Hood Aerodrome located in Masterton. This aerodrome was named after George Hood, a pioneer Masterton aviator who died trying to make the first Trans-Tasman crossing in 1928. George Hood was an ancestor of Florence and Christian Porcer. Branch President, Paddy knows this aerodrome well. Before moving to Hastings she used to live on a farm on Manaia Road in Masterton where Hood aerodrome is situated.
Photo 1: Branch President, Paddy Bayley with John and Judy Bark, following presentation of their membership certificates
Photo 2 Branch Vice President, Kath La Rooy with Christian & Florence Porcer
Photo 3 Members preparing to read NZ Founders Creed at conclusion of the afternoon