Palmerston North Tiki Tour

 

 

by W.S. McCallum

 

 http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4ecad8ed.jpg

 

Palmerston North is less than an hour's drive south-east of Wanganui, and about an hour and a half's drive north of Wellington. 

 

Background info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmerston_North 

 

My mission was to investigate the Manawatu Savage Club, but there are a few other tiki sights to be seen in Palmerston North. 

 

The Square has two imposing carvings, standing over a series of sculptures carved by Maori and Pacific Island sculptors: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3435.jpg

 

And then there is the façade of the Maori Battalion Hall, completed in 1964: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca34f1.jpg

 

Detailed view of the right-hand series of panels: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca352a.jpg

 

And a close-up shot of the carving over the entrance: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3573.jpg

 

The 28th (Maori) Battalion was a unit that fought as part of the 2nd NZ Division in the Mediterranean theatre from 1941 to 1945 (Greece, Crete, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Italy). It fought at the battles of Monte Cassino, Tobruk, and El Alamein, among others. 

 

Unit history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C4%81ori_Battalion 

 

Just down the road a bit and around the corner at 100 Campbell Street is the Manawatu Savage Club: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3760.jpg

 

There is a spacious hall for social events: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca4518.jpg

 

The tiki décor is more low-key than it is in the Wanganui Savage Club, but is there nonetheless: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca4645.jpg

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca467b.jpg

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca46a5.jpg

 

As well as these reminders of the Manawatu Club's reputation for being very musically oriented: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca4589.jpg

 

Of all the Savage Clubs, it is noted for its major focus on music, and continues to stage varied concerts and shows, not only on its own premises, but in public venues in Palmerston North. 

 

The building itself is an old church hall which the club purchased in 1972, although the club itself is now 103 years old: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca39e2.jpg

Grey River Argus, 23 April 1908, Page 3

 

Like its Wanganui counterpart, the Manawatu Club adopted the trappings of Maori culture, and did so from its earliest days. On 11 May 1908, the Manawatu Daily Times reported that, through its protocols and practices, the club wanted to establish ties with the traditions of the local Rangitane Maori. This went to the extent of giving Maori titles to the officers of the club, with the Chief Savage being called the "Toa" (war leader), and concerts were to be referred to as "koreros". 

 

The club's song: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca4142.jpg

 

For ceremonial occasions, members also dressed in Maori costume, as shown in this photo of the Rangatira (President) Cyril Stevens, which dates from 1956: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3db8.jpg

 

Various of the Rangatiras' old cloaks have been preserved: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3e73.jpg

 

Along with other mementos and memorabilia from the club's early days: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3fa4.jpg

 

The club's crest (named "Tane-nui-a-rangi"): 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3d01.jpg

 

The crest was featured in various pennants and posters commemorating the Manawatu club's "raids" on other Savage clubs: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3eed.jpg

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca3f4d.jpg

 

And featured on the blazers worn by club members: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca4071.jpg

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca409e.jpg

 

Like the Wanganui Savage Club, photos of past members and Rangatiras feature prominently: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca432d.jpg

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca43b1.jpg

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca4249.jpg

 

And various of them feature a Maori doll as the club's mascot, which can be seen more clearly below: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca429f.jpg

 

And here is the mascot, still intact today: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca41c4.jpg

 

Also, stored in a back room, is an old sign that used to stand outside a now deceased member's house: 

 

http://tikiroom.com/img/16877x4eca4432.jpg

 

It is fondly remembered as a place where members could repair to after Savage Club meetings for drinking sessions... 

 

The Manawatu Savage Club currently has 85 members and is active, although like the other Savage Clubs, it could do with some younger members in order to provide a new generation to keep things going. 

 

I would like to thank Murray Jamieson, a past President and the current Secretary of the Manawatu Savage Club, for showing me around, and for providing me with a copy of the book "Entertaining the Manawatu: The Manawatu Savage Club's Century of Achievement", by Noel Watts (2009), which I drew on for details of the club's earliest days. 

 

© W.S. McCallum 21 November 2011

 

 

 

 

Home        Writing  Venetic@MySpace

 

Normality Stupidity  Mental Slavery

                                                       

 

 

Web site © Wayne Stuart McCallum 2003-2017