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No. 40 (September 1962)
– 41 –

Gifts for St. Stephen's

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Mr Wallace Mangu, winner of the dairy section of the Ahuwhenua competition, and his wife, being presented with the Trophy at the Hui Topu last May.

St. Stephen's School, Bombay, received a significant gift recently from a well-known New Plymouth resident. If his gesture encourages others to do likewise, something of real worth could well be added to schools all over the country.

The donor was Mr L. M. Nutt, J.P., who is president of the New Plymouth branch of the Founders' Society and a member of a number of local organisations. For many years he has been a collector of items of Maori craftsmanship in wood and stone and bone. One Sunday recently, he presented a number of items from his collection to the school with the object of interesting the pupils in the craftsmanship of their ancestors. The gifts included weapons, adzes, three large carvings, a shell trumpet, fish hooks, ear pendants, and many other articles.

A Welcoming Haka

The scene was one which many old boys of the school can clearly visualise. A brilliant afternoon in late summer, the school gathered beneath the great clock tower, a party 40 strong stripped to the waist and clad in piupiu and tapeka. Three stand apart ready to challenge the visitors when they advance up the drive beneath the plane trees.

The only new things are the floor mats spread on the closely clipped green lawn, mats that bear an array of treasures of other times and another culture.

After he had been welcomed, and greetings had been exchanged, Mr Nutt explained the reason for his gift. For the past five years, he said, the beautiful and historic Church of St. Mary at New Plymouth had held a Maori-Pakeha weekend.

It had been his and his wife's pleasure to billet pupils from St. Stephens. He had been distressed to learn that the school did not possess any Maori artifacts, ‘those treasures of the past which so vividly display the craftsmanship of your ancestors’, and he felt the school lacked something by their absence.

He was firmly of the opinion that the rising generation must retain a pride in its ancestry, its history and its culture. ‘Extract the best qualities of your traditions, amalgamate those with the best qualities of the pakeha and you will go far.’

The school showed its appreciation in no uncertain way, perhaps the most impressive being the rendering of an action song especially composed for the occasion.