THE ANNIVERSARY HOLIDAY.
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir,—Although I have always a wholesome fear of being classed by your readers as one of those social pests, a man with a " fad," it seems proper that I should give to those of our citizeus who are already moving in the matter of the anniversary regatta and sports, the information which I have just now received regarding the intention of our responsible governors, as to the existing error in the date of that which to us and to those who como after us, will always be an important event, the foundation of this colony. It will be remembered that last year the Honourable Colonial Secretary promised on behalf of the Government that the question should in the then next session of Parliament "bo referred to a joint committee of both Houses of the Legislature to enquire into and determine."
This has accordingly been done, and on the 11th of September last session the joint committee met, and, after enquiry aud consideration, agreed upon the following report
The Joint Committee appointed to consider and report upon the proper date of the anniversary celebration of the foundation of the colony hare the honour to report that the Committee, having: examined official documents printed in Imperial parliamentary papers of the year 1838 to 1840, find that—(l) Captiiin William Hobsun, bearing Her Majesty's commission as Lieutenant • Governor, arrived at the Bay of Islands on Wedresday, the 29 th January, IS4O ; that on the following day, January 30th, at Kororareka, at a public meeting of residents duly summoned, His Excellency re id Her Majesty's commission, issued under the Great Seal, extending the boundaries of the colony of New South Wales so as to include the islands of New Zealand ; and, having also read his commission as Lieutenant-Governor; made proclamation that his had on that day entered upon his duties, and called upon all Her Majesty's subjects to be aiding and assisting him in the execution thereof. The flag having then received a royal salute from H.M.S. H' raid, the official formality of the foundation of the colony of New Zealand was completed. (2) That the official celebration of this event took place at Auckland on the 29th January, 1842, when the following notification >vas rnada in the New Zealand Gazette, namely : — "Notice,—Saturday, the 29th instant, being the second anniversary of the establishment of the colony, His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to direct that day to be held a general holiday, on which occasion the public offices will be closed. —By His Excellency's command. Willouohby Shortland, Colonial Secretary's Office, Auckland, 27th January, 1842." (3) That, as the 30th January, 1840, being Thursday, and the year leap year, the first anniversary would fall on Saturday and the second on Sunday. It may be assumed, although it is not so staled, that this was the cause of the change of date. In the new-paper—the New Zealand Herald, published at Auckland, bearing date the 29th January, 1842 an advertisement appears of a regatta to be held on that day for canoe and boat races under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor, in celebration of the anniversary of His Excellency's arrival in the colony, ami which is correct in point of date. (4) That lio further official notification of an anniversary holiday is found in the New Zealand Gazette until the year 1547, when the following notification appeared, namely " Colonial Secretary's Office, Auckland, 25th January, 1847. Frid >y, the 29th instant, being tile seventh anniversary of the establishment of the colony, His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor has been pleased to direct that day to be held a general holiday, on which occasion the public offices will be closed. By His Excellency's command.—Andrew Sinclair, Colonial Secretary." The date of the first notification was thus copied apparently without proper consideration, and the error remains unrectifted. That, in the opinion of this committee, it is fitting that the anniversary of the foundation of this colony should be celebrated as a general public holiday, and your committee recommend that, in giving the necessary official notification thereof, the date should be made the 30th January, instead of the 29th as at present, so that it may he in accord with the historical fact —W. B. D. Mantell, Chairman, 11th September! 1894."
The Hon. Dr. Pollen.-It is not necessary that I should add anything to the facts already set our, in the report of the committee, or that I should detaiii the Council by a repetition of what I have said on former occasions on this subject. I shall content myself, therefore, with moving the motion standing in my name.
On September 12 the Legislative Council formally accepted this report, and upon my motion, without dissent, adopted the following resolution
That the anniversary of the foundation of the colony should be celebrated as a general public holiday, and that, in giving the offici 1 notiflca ion thereof, the daw should be the 30th January, instead of the " 29th" as at present, so that it may be in accord with historical feet.
In the House of Representatives the report of the Joint Committee was duly presented, received, and referred to the Government tor consideration The result has beeu obh&iugiy
communicated to me by the Honourable Colonial Secretary in the following letter :— [No. 1077.] Colonial Secretary's Office, Wellington, 26th November, 1894. Sir,—Adverting to the correspondence on the subject of the day on which the anniversary of the foundation of the colony should be held, I have th» honour to inform yon that the Government, after careful consideration of the question, have come to the conclusion that it would not be desirable to interfere with the existing state of affairs.—l have, etc., (.Signed) P. A. Buckley. Hon. D. Pollen, M.L.C., Auckland.
The views or opinions of the Legislative Council, are not, as we all know, held in high estimation by our very Liberal Government, but, as it may be fairly claimed that " the people" have been consulted through their representatives on this occasion, it might have beea expected not unreasonably I think, that the report of a select committee of a House, nominated for a specific purpose by the Prime Minister, would have carried weight. The high priests of the Temple, however, appears to have a private code for ihe interpretation of the expressions of their oracle, and it may be an understanding that when a question is referred " for their consideration" it is intended to be shelved. It is clear now at any rate that the date of an important event in the history of this colony has been officially falsified, and it is equally clear in my opinion that the lieges who may be obliged to take part in the festivities of the next and of succeeding anniversaries must be parties, consciously, to the annual enactment ot a lie. "There are some things," as my Lord Dundreary says, philosophically, " which no fellah can understand." This is certainly one of them. I give it up.—l am, etc., Daniel Poixen. The Whau, November 4, 1894.
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THE ANNIVERSARY HOLIDAY., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXXI, Issue 9688, 7 December 1894
THE ANNIVERSARY HOLIDAY. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXXI, Issue 9688, 7 December 1894
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