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No. 26 (March 1959)
– 14 –


At a historic ceremony held in the Te Kao Hall last October, electricity was switched on for the first time after many years of waiting.

Mr Rikihana Etana, Chairman of Te Aupouri Trust Board, presided and welcomed the visitors: Mr Riddell, Chairman, Members and Executive Officers of the Bay of Islands Electric Power Board, Mr J. A. McKain, District Officer, Maori Affairs Department, Whangarei, and his Deputy, Mr H. F. Waetford.

Two elders of the tribe, Messrs Karena Wiki and Pako Heka, also added their welcome and their remarks were ably interpreted by Mr H. R. Hadfield, Welfare Officer, Kaitaia.

Speakers dwelt on the efforts made to obtain electricity over the years, originally started off by the late Judge Acheson and his successors including Judge Prichard.

Mr Riddell, Chairman of the Bay of Islands Electric Power Board, explained why it had taken so long to bring power to Te Kao but the link-up had at long last been achieved as a result of the recent extensive Land Development throughout the area by the Maori Affairs Department.

Mr McKain, District Officer, mentioned that large investments by the Tai Tokerau and Te Aupouri Maori Trust Boards in the Bay of Islands Power Board construction loans had undoubtedly spurred matters along and he expressed the hope that many of the younger people who had left the district would now be persuaded to return to their homes and farm lands now enjoying the benefits of electricity.

Mr Dan Simeon (Te Ngapuhi), foreman in charge of the construction gang then gave instructions by the radio telephone for the high tension switches to be closed to liven the line.

Mr Riddell then escorted Mr and Mrs A. H. Watt, who for many years taught the children of Te Kao, to the main switch in the hall and the lights were switched on.

A great cheer went up from those present and the women burst into a beautiful hymn of thanks. A prayer by Mr Hadfield concluded the ceremony.

Everybody adjourned to the dining hall where a truly marvellous meal was served by the women of Te Kao.


In order to foster the teaching of the Maori language, the Minister of Education, the Hon. P. O. S. Skoglund, has established a committee to advise the Department of Education on how the language should be taught in schools. It will also study the problem of providing suitable textbooks for use in post-primary schools, make recommendations on the content and form of such textbooks and assist in assembling and preparing for publication Maori literature for use in the schools.

Dr K. J. Sheen, senior inspector of post-primary schools, Wellington, is chairman; the members are: Mr H. R. Waititi, St Stephen's College, Bombay, Auckland; Mr S. M. Mead, head-teacher at Waimarama Maori School, Hawkes Bay; Dr B. G. Biggs, lecturer in Maori Studies, Auckland University; Mrs E. B. Ranapia, Correspondence School, Wellington, and Mr W. T. Ngata, secretary of the Maori Purposes Fund Board, Wellington.