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No. 49 (November 1964)
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PEOPLE AND PLACES

auditions for the maori cast of the New Zealand Opera Company's forthcoming production of ‘Porgy and Bess’, held throughout the country, produced a very high standard of candidates from whom to select the 35 singers needed.

The photograph above was taken during the auditions at Rotorua. Mr John Thompson, at the piano, is the resident producer of the N.Z. Opera Company, and Mr Ulric Williams, on the far left, is general manager. Among those who came along to listen was Mr Ernie Leonard, Rotorua's public relations officer (third from left).

In the opera the part of Porgy is to be taken by Inia te Wiata, and the part of Sportin' Life will probably be taken by Howard Morrison.

back in june 1961, a hand grenade with the pin out landed by accident in a neighbouring instruction bay in Burnham Military Camp. It hit a wall, bounced on to the chest of Sergeant L. T. Williams (see photo right), and then on to a table.

With an unknown number of seconds separating them from almost certain death. Sergeant Williams swung to the two soldiers he was instructing, tackled them to the floor towards the doorway, and landed himself on top of them.

A moment later the grenade exploded.

Sergeant Williams who is from Masterton, still has a few pieces of it in his body, but

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his injuries were not serious, and two months later he left for Malaya with the 1st Battalion.

In the last Queen's Birthday Honours, Sergeant Williams received the award of the British Empire Medal (Military Division). Before he was formally invested with his award by the Governor-General, Sir Bernard Fergusson, Sgt. Williams was feeling somewhat apprehensive—‘But His Excellency said a few words that meant a lot to me,’ he said. ‘He spoke in Maori to say, “my heart swells for you”.’

fifteen-year-old Donald Uatuku (see photo above), a pupil at Wairoa College, recently won the New Zealand Junior Light Welterweight title in this year's junior amateur championships.

Donald is the son of Mr Waewae Uatuku and Mrs Mapihi Uatuku of Te Reinga Pa, near Wairoa. His boxing coaches are Mr Mokomoko and Mr S. Duncan.

This photograph of him was sent in by a neighbour, Mrs M. A. Wright, who says, ‘I well remember the day when one of the lads from the school slipped and fell fifty feet over the Te Reinga falls. That boy owes his life to Donald. Nobody else would have known where to run. Nobody else could have shot out his foot at just the right spot so that the drowning boy could grasp it and be hauled ashore. Donald knew the exact spot and he did the only thing that could have saved his mate. And did he boast? Not a bit. It was all in a day's march to Donald.’

every tuesday evening Pakeha adults in Gisborne spend two hours practising action songs. poi dances and stick games (some of them are shown performing in the photo above, right). Mrs Maka Jones of Gisborne tutors the classes in collaboration with Mr Koro Dewes, a lecturer in the Extension Department, University of Auckland. From March to August of this year, the first class consisted of 19 adult students. Enthusiasm was such that when a second course was instituted from August to November, 40 people enrolled.

Additional activities of the classes have been the making of headbands and bodices, the acquisition of piupiu, the entertainment of parents at a social evening at Mangapapa School, participation in Gisborne's annual Maori cultural competitions and close collaboration with the Savage Club.

Mr Jones' services have also been keenly sought by the children of Mangapapa Primary School and students at Gisborne Boys' and Girls' High Schools.

At the University of Auckland, classes in Maori culture are in their second year. Last year Mrs Taku Trotman and her assistant Mrs Jean Wikiriwhi pioneered adult education classes in this most popular activity. Designed for those with little or no knowledge of Maori culture, the set of twenty lessons aims at teaching four action songs, three poi dances and two stick games. Teachers generally, specialist teachers, social workers and housewives have been the most enthusiastic students. In Auckland this year, so many people have enrolled that the tutor Mrs Pare Irwin has had to cope with two large classes on the same night.

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John Saunders photo

four-hundred people attended the tangi at Te Kao last September of the late Mrs Bertha Frances Watt, who was aged 100.

Mrs Watt, a Pakeha, taught at Te Kao school with her husband for 20 years. After they retired they stayed on at Te Kao, advising and helping the Maori people of the district, who regarded Mrs Watt as an elder of the Aopouri tribe and affectionately called her ‘our mother’.

In the photograph above, taken at a func-

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Daily Telegraph photo

tion held earlier this year to mark her 100th birthday, Mrs Watt is shown with two lifelong friends, Mrs Kata Wihi and Mrs M. Matau.

the first christian service held in New Zealand was conducted by the Rev. Samuel Marsden on Christmas Day 1814. To mark the 150th anniversary of this event, the Rev. Canon R. H. Rangiihu, vicar of Wairoa, together with Mrs Rangiihu (see photo above), has gone to England on exchange with the Rev. E. R. Marsden, great-grandson of the Rev. Samuel Marsden.

Mr Marsden is coming to New Zealand to take part in anniversary celebrations here.

On 20 December, Canon Rangiihu will preach in Westminster Abbey, and he and his wife will spend Christmas at Pendeen, Cornwall, the parish of which the Rev. E. R. Marsden is vicar.

During their stay, Canon Rangiihu will present to Queen Elizabeth, as a token of the harmony between Maori and Pakeha, an historic mere which for many generations has been in the possession of the Maori people of Wairoa.

the first maori dancer to compete in a world amateur ballroom dancing championship, Mr Joe King, with Mrs King (see photo left) recently represented New Zealand at the world championships in Sydney.

Mr King comes from Panguru, and he and his wife now live at Christchurch. They have a long list of dancing successes behind them, including almost all the New Zealand titles.

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New Zealand Herald photo

a six-girl gymnastic team from Whirinaki, Northland (shown above with their teachers, Mr and Mrs Pyester) won first place in their section of this year's Auckland schools gymnastic competitions. Their performance was described by experts as being fantastic, in view of their school's small size (there were only nine girls in the eligible age group for their section).

Outside school hours the girls worked hard preparing for the contest, and the trip to Auckland—the first one they had made—was their reward.

at hamilton's recent highly successful Maori Cultural Festival, the Waihirere group (see photo below) won the £150 first prize with their senior party and third prize with their juniors. Second place went to the Gisborne High School junior party, and the Ohau, Taheke and St Faith's teams, all from Rotorua, won fourth, fifth and sixth prizes. A special prize went to the Te Rau Aroha primary group from Auckland. The Festival was organised by the Ngati Hamutana Club and Hamilton Jaycees, and was sponsored by Waikato Breweries.

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Waikato Times photo