Friday, November 25, 2022

Our Treasures: Tales from Parihaka and Manaia in newest exhibition

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Postcard of Parihaka trig (L-R) Mr Noton, F. Mogford, Lewis James, V. Dudding (Exhibit 1966.74.6)

We’ve lately opened a brand new exhibition in our Mim Ringer Gallery.

I undertook analysis and talked to many people to uncover tales referring to Parihaka and Manaia. When writing textual content to accompany an exhibition, you need to say sufficient to gauge curiosity, however not overwhelm. There’s a lot to take a look at and soak up at a museum and also you need to keep away from “museum fatigue” by overloading guests with data. This text offers a possibility to offer an prolonged account of an entertaining story referring to Parihaka.

Within the early Thirties, Mr G. Stuart masterminded the primary ascent of Parihaka in a motor automotive, predating a minimize street. He chosen an ordinary mannequin, four-cylinder, 9 hp Singer automotive (9 hp equates to a 3rd of the ability of at this time’s ride-on mowers). No modifications have been made, solely the physique was eliminated to lighten the load.

Photograph of Parihaka by Frederick George Radcliffe 1863-1923 (Exhibit 1968.58.176)
{Photograph} of Parihaka by Frederick George Radcliffe 1863-1923 (Exhibit 1968.58.176)

On this enterprise, Stuart was supported by two mechanics from Wyllie’s Storage, a reporter, and a photographer. Stuart drove the automotive by rugged bush, avoiding holes from gum digging previous the place potential, whereas the remainder of the social gathering adopted on foot. Stuart needed to deal with thickets of tea tree, steep inclines, and the disparate trials of clay-rich and sandy soils.

The social gathering have been profitable of their ascent, however a gully hindered their arrival to the true summit, the place the trig stood. This enterprise was an promoting stunt to attest to Singer’s energy, reliability, and clearance. Stuart was the supervisor of Campbell Motors on Rathbone Avenue, a automotive dealership that offered Singer vehicles.

Though not a Singer, this is a car from the 1920/30s and is a similar build to the one G. Stuart drove up Parihaka (Exhibit 1998/7/17)
Although not a Singer, this can be a automotive from the 1920/30s and is an identical construct to the one G. Stuart drove up Parihaka (Exhibit 1998/7/17)

It ought to be famous that Stuart didn’t try this stunt on a whim – it appears he was in coaching. Stuart had beforehand participated in “reliability trials”. These trials have been instigated to check a automobile’s potential in troublesome terrains, inclines, and different difficult conditions in order that the general public might make knowledgeable purchases.

These trials additionally aimed to alleviate fears of motorcars and to persuade the general public of their security and reliability. These occasions occurred all around the world. One of many first occasions in New Zealand was the North Island Motor Reliability Contest 1906, which started in Auckland and completed in Wellington. Stuart entered a reliability trial on 23 Might 1931 in a 7.8 hp Singer. This occasion was run by the Auckland Car Affiliation. Stuart might have considered this trial as coaching for the final word take a look at – the ascent of Parihaka.

The Singer catchphrase was “Singer for Certainty” and its profitable climb up Parihaka is a testomony to this. In case you have extra details about G. Stuart or this occasion, please e-mail

Ashleigh McLarin

Exhibitions Curator

Whangārei Museum

Kiwi North

Advertisement for Campbell Motors and Wyllie’s Garage, Rathbone Street, Whangārei. Northern Advocate,  December 21, 1934,
Commercial for Campbell Motors and Wyllie’s Storage, Rathbone Avenue, Whangārei. Northern Advocate, December 21, 1934,

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