Due to Covid restrictions in May 2020, the annual Mystery Trip organized by Branch Secretary Richard Bayley, was postponed until May this year. These trips are very popular and we had a full 57 seater coach.
To quote a member: “Anticipation mounted as we set off from Havelock North, we really had no idea what was in store”.
A commentary on historic places of interest was given by Branch President Paddy Bayley.
We travelled north from Napier, past the Hawke’s Bay Airport noting the historic icons -The Beacons. These Beacons were the first light towers in New Zealand to be constructed from reinforced concrete, and were built by the Ferro Concrete Company from Australia. They were erected in what was then part of the Inner Harbour in 1907 by the Napier Harbour Board. They were to serve as leading lights guiding shipping into the Port through the channel at the south end of Pania Reef. The Beacons were taken out of service in December 1975. Now they badly need restoration. However, it has been estimated that rebuilding and repairs may cost around $200,000.
Our first stop was the Lemmon Trust Museum, on a hill in Esk Valley. Previously this museum was on the family farm at Puketitiri, many of our members had visited it there. Access proved quite difficult for senior members so we were indebted to our Coach driver Jan and Nimmon & Sons for loaning us a minibus to take some of our members who could not walk the distance. What a “hidden gem” this Museum is. Beautifully set out with items from the Lemmon family displayed in small alcoves. Vintage cars made an impressive sight down the centre of this huge building.
Then it was on to the historic “Puketapu”, for lunch. This hotel was established in 1885 by Mr Frederick Thomas Bradley. Its initial establishment contained twenty bedrooms, two parlours and a dining room. It has been the hub of this small country community since it was built.
Final visit was to the Napier Operatic Society in Coronation Street, Ahuriri, Napier.
The earliest known theatre company in Napier was the Napier Theatre Co., which in 1883, along with the Napier Musical Society and the Napier Amateur Drama Club combined to create the Theatre Royal. The Theatre Royal made its debut with the musical Trial by Jury, and out of this the Napier Operatic Society was born.
Established in 1887, this Society is the second oldest-existing theatrical society in New Zealand, is nationally renowned for its critically acclaimed professional-quality productions. Volunteers showed our members around the Theatre, explaining “what goes on behind backstage”. Our Branch committee ladies provided afternoon tea before we boarded the coach to return home. A most enjoyable day!
1 The Beacons (Image sourced from Hawke's Bay Today)
2 Lemmon Trust Museum Access
3 Vintage Car display
4 Lemmon Trust Museum Display
5 Lemmon Trust Museum Display
6 “The Puketapu” lunch venue
7 Napier Operatic Society Tabard Theatre