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HEMPELMAN MEMORIAL

HISTORICAL CEREMONY AT PERAKI • ' ■ Commemoration of Canterbury's First White Settler The whale try pot which stands or the boulder foundation on Peraki beach is a fitting memorial to George Hempelman/ sea captain and whaler who was the first white settler in Canterbury. The fine bay and expansive beach, handy to the whale fishing grounds must have attracted Hempelman, for in their journey north the whales passed close to the bay, and still do, and it was not far for the boats to bring them ashore to try them down for oil. A pai'ty of about sixty gathered on the beach to commemorate Hempelman on Tuesday and stood on the historical ground where the memorial now stands and which over a hundred years ago, 1835 and 1837-44 must •have been a scene of great activity in its original surroundings. The gathering included representatives of the Banks Peninsula local bodies and representatives of the oldest Banks Peninsula families, whose parents have developed the district in the last hundred years. Looking at some of the older : men and women;, whose memories could go back to the days when native bush still clothed our hills, the scene was more than a mere formal ceremony. It was for those who could remember back, a romantic memory of the past, which embraced the hardships and trials of early colonisation and of those men and women who have passed away, but the memory of whom still lingers. This is the spirit which will make our centennial celebrations at Akaroa so attractive, not only for members of old families of the district, but also for all those who participate in the celebrations and who will be eager to hear the story of the past. The Memorial The memorial was subscribed to by the Wairewa and Akaroa Counties and the Akaroa Boi'ough and bears the following inscription: "Erected to commemorate the centenary of the first white settler in Canterbury, New Zealand, Captain George Hempelman, who established a whaling station at Peraki in 1835." Mr Frank Coop , chairman of the Wairewa County, in whose district the memorial stands, was the first speaker. He congratulated Mr F. Davis, Mayor of Akaroa in being mainly responsible for having the memorial erected and said it was a fitting monument . to the first white settler of Canterbury. He called on Mr W. H. Montgomery, his deputy chairman, who was well versed in the history of Peraki to give a description of Hempieman's first settlement. Early Days of Peraki In giving a word picture of Peraki Mr Montgomery said anyone reading the Perkki Log, which had been kept by Hempleman, showed that he was a sailor, interested in the weather, and a whaler, interested in whale oil for there were many references to both these subjects in the Log. He asked those present to try and picture the scene on the spot where they stood as it was a hundred, years ago. There were two boat houses on one side of the bay, a store house, the Captain's house and the whale pots and furnaces kept going by wood from the bush, stood along the beach protected by a hedge of raupo. The forty men living at the whale station were often short of food. The "Log" recorded the opening of barrels of bread, beef and peas, but the men suffered from scurvy and could not get vegetables grom the Maoris as they were warring with Te Rauparaha and the Ngai Tahus were in a very unsettled state. The nearest store was in Akaroa and the men got wild pigs and pigeons from the bush to supplement their rations. It was decorded that when Captain Stanley of H.M.S., Britomart visited the Peraki" station after going to Akaroa he found the German flag above Hempelman's house. This he ordered to be hauled down and in its stead the • Union Jack was hoisted. The "Tales • of Banks Peninsula", H. C. Jacobson, recorded visits of the Ngai Tahu tribe. Among the chiefs was ."Bloody Jack" who killed the boy "Jacky" on the beach.: However, there were many friendly Maoris among the tribe who worked at the station and who came round in their canoes ,rem Harbour," (Littieißiver) It. could be said these- first settlers at Peraki Bay were decent sailofmen and the people of today should be thankful for their pipneering work,

I ; I Mr R. Gilbert's father met Hempelman in Akaroa in 1835 and his two brothers and sisters were born at Peraki. They were pleased to have him there that day to unveil the memorial to Captain Hempelman. Mr C. B. Thacker, Akaroa County chairman, who was the next speaker asked Mr E. Hay to speak on behalf of the - Akaroa County. The Origin of "Tumbledown" Mr E. Hay said he was pleased >Mr Bob. Gilbert and Mr- John Pettifgrew, two very old* Peninsula residents, were with them that day.; Mr Gilbert's father .landed ht i-Bliiff ; .in 11834 or 1835 and came up the coast j an a Maori canoe, tHe was a sailor on a Boston whaler.'and the Captain ■of this whaler was a very cruel man. He protected a boy against the Captain's wrath and deserted the ship ! with the boy. Mr -Gilbert had married Maori.princess of the' Ngai Tahu tribe and had worked at the .'whaling station' for Some time. Another well known character at the Peraki station was' Billy Simpson.- The; story was told how Billy 'Simpson was seftt'to a bay south of Peraki for., a> keg- of rum. Carrying the::keg.'up the hill was arduous"'work aridsSimpson. broached the keg and had a drink. Repetitions ofvthis' method" of assisting* him to get l the - keg : to ' Perkki resulted' in the keg. rolling down the* steep slope to be broken on the beach below. This was the origin -of* the name "Tumbledown Bay". A Descendant- bf ! Hempelman's Mr F. : R.: E.' Davis, .Mayor of Akaroa, spoke of the great spirit of such men as Hempelman who carried out the first settlement in ■ He considered the Maoris deserved every crdit for the way they had met and helped the early settlers in most cases. Referring • to» Hempelman, Mr Davis said he had just received a letter from Frederick A. Hempelman, of Mar ton Junction, North Islandfl Mr Hempelman was a grand nephew of Captain Hempelman and expressed regret at not being present at the unveiling ceremony. He said he felt sure the local bodies would unveil a •monument which would be a fitting tribute to the courage and determination of not only Captain Hempelman, but also to all those earliest white settlers who blazed the trail- for us more Zealandera. Mr Hempelman formerly a school teacher at Kaiapoi. Maori 1 Race Representative Mr Tobi Robinson spoke on behalf of the Maoris and said he had great pleasure in representing the Little River and Akaroa Maoris at such a function. He admitted that though a grandson of James Robinson Clough, a member of Hempelman's whaling party, that he knew little of him. Marking a Century of Settlement Archdeacon A. J. Petrie joined with the other speakers in expressing the importance of unveiling the memorial to settlers of a hundred years ago. The sturdy independence of British] French and Maoris of a hundred years ago he said was the characteristic they could today look back upon and admire. He hoped that same grit and character would be carried on for the next hundred years. They were making history and the memorial they were unveiling was symbolic of the sturdiness of those first early settlers. It would be a fine thing if they could think one of those present would be present at the bi-century. It was quite possible and he hoped it would be so. ? THE MEMORIAL UNVEILED Mr R. Gilbert, aged 93 years, then performed the unveiling ceremony and three cheers were given for the King and British Empire, followed by three cheers for -Mr Gilbjert, a fine example of the early settlement of Banks Peninsula. Three cheers were also given for Commander S. Hall, owner of Peraki, and Mrs Hall. I Some Interesting Documents 1 ] Some interesting documents con- I nected with Hempelman's whaling < station were exhibited by Mr L. J. 1 Vangioni of Akaroa. These were pay ; sheets for the men who acknowledged payment, not with unemployment or other stamps but-with a daub or red or blue sealing wax and signed their names. The shipping notes of whaleoil from Peraki for the ships conveying the barrels and whale bone to Sydney were also shown and all were brown with age, but wonderfully well preserved. At Peraki Homestead The party then were invited to the Peraki Homestead by Commander and Mrs Hall and were hospitably entertained to afternoon tea, . All signed their names, as a record of the historical, gathering.

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Bibliographic details

HEMPELMAN MEMORIAL, Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXIII, Issue 6522, 31 March 1939

Word Count
1,467

HEMPELMAN MEMORIAL Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXIII, Issue 6522, 31 March 1939

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