CAMPBELL-RAOUL ISLANDS' ASSOCIATION (INC.)
NEWSLETTER NO.12 SEPTEMBER 1971
Association Officers 1970 - 71
Air Vice-Marshall A.H.Marsh C.B.E.
|Richard Lovegrove||John Caskey|
|Ed de Ste Croix||M. Butterton|
|Bob Rae||H. Carter|
|Robin Foubister||H. Hill|
|Tom Taylor||I. Kerr|
|Ian Bailey||C. Taylor|
OF TIMES AND PLACES AND OTHER THINGS:
Although we dispatched a circular to central members concerning the Fourth Annual Film Evening, the general notice appearing in the 11th Newsletter would have been received several days late by other members. For this we apologise, but put on record that fifty people came to see films on the islands of Campbell, Kerguelen and Falkland and the Antarctic Continent. Once again, tales true and tall were told during the supper break.
As we go to press, National Film Unit will release their new colour film 'Once Upon an Island' on the 3rd of September in the four main centres. Unfortunately, I have as yet to locate what cinemas will screen it, but I suspect Wellington viewers might see it at the 'Regent’. If I have this information before mailing, a note will be included along with your Newsletter. It is well worth seeing and members will probably get a further chance to viev1 the 16 mm copy at the Fifth Annual Film Evening next year.
More timely is an additional reminder of the Annual Reunion and AGM for which I requote our Secretary's entry in the last Newsletter: 1971 Annual General Meeting scheduled for Saturday 2nd October, in the Lecture Room, Kelburn Weather Office at 2.00 pm, followed by the Reunion Dinner in the evening. Make your plans now, tickets limited to 1 20 people. Prices $10 for non-financial members and $9 for financial members. (That is for a double ticket, mind you. Single Stags or Island Hermits are allowed to divide by two - in other words, last year's prices have been retained for what may well be the last time.)
And those of you that might have any bright ideas for the committee to chew over concerning changes and presentation of the Vol. 2 Newsletters (No.1 for early December delivery), please send them forward. We want a catchy title and suggest simplicity of form for the front page. I will have a rough draft to present at the AGM for your criticism or approval.
Pete Ingram, President, 1971.
Conducted by the Editor
Tom Taylor (Raoul '47 and ‘50) tells me a tale that surely is a record of sorts. In 1939, he had three brothers-in-law stationed on Raoul Island at the same time: ‘Doc’ Haskell, Harold Godfrey and 'Razz' Harris, all employed full time with Aerodrome Services, an early branch of what is now the Ministry of Works. These 'pioneering' lads, built the hostel and rafted ashore from the schooner ‘Miena’, the mighty D7 that created and then maintained the roads over the years. One wonders if Tom's later choice to migrate to the sunny Kermadecs perhaps came from a little 'relative pressure'.
Major contributor in our column is Don Merton of the Wildlife section, Internal Affairs. He fairly rounds up the 'Rodents on Raoul' in the following article and sheds authoritative light on the subject of European discovery in the Kermadecs:
According to Maori tradition, Raoul Island (Rangitahua) was a staging point for canoes of the "fleet" period migration to New Zealand. It may also have been visited in pre-European times by Cook or Society Islanders (R.Duff, 1968: Journ. Polyn.Soc., 77 : 386-401). It is highly likely then that Polynesian rats or Kiore (Rattus exulans) reached the island during this period as they dld Macauley Island (about 75 miles from Raoul) and most other parts of New Zealand.
On the other hand it seems strange that although rats were reported from Macauley by the first European visitors (in 1788) and the few subsequent landing parties, they were apparently not recorded from Raoul until almost a century after that island's discovery. Moreover, Raoul was visited much more frequently than Macauley and since 1836 had been spasmodically occupied by settlers. The first references to rats being present on Raoul seem to be those of S.P. (Percy) Smith and T.F. Cheeseman following their visit in 1887! Furthermore, it was about this time that the settlers began to complain about the damage that rats were doing to their crops. I have, therefore, suggested (Notornis, 17 : 147-199)
that the Kiore may have been a more recent arrival on Raoul than is generally believed.
I agree with Bill Sykes that had rats been introduced from a sailing ship it is likely that one of the European species would have been involved. Nevertheless, I believe that the likelihood of Polynesian rats infesting such ships must have been great: Large numbers of sailing ships - mainly whalers - operated in these waters last Century and visited Polynesian islands to take on fruit and vegetables (which would be logical places for Kiore to stow-away). These vessels also frequented Raoul's Denham bay "ocean post-office" - up to "50 head of sail" being visible at one time - so that the chances of infestation of Raoul by Polynesian rats from such ships seems plausible. Perhaps some day records will be uncovered which will solve this little problem for all time. Be that as it may, the Kiore was the only species of rat found on Raoul by members of the 1908 scientific expedition.
By the way, when I stated that Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) reached Raoul when the "Columbia River" was wrecked on the southern coast in 1921, I was merely quoting J.S. Watson (1961: Proc. Ninth Pac. Cong. 1957, 19 : 15-17) a DSIR biologist whom I’m sure would not have publisheh such a statement if he was not absolutely sure of his facts.
By 1944 when J. H. Sorenson (coastwatcher) was stationed on Raoul, the Norway rat was well established, but Kiore were also present. (These facts too are from Watson’s papers). No further Kiore were positively identified until the visit by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand's expedition in 1965/67 when 9 were collected and these are now in the Dominion Museum, Wellington. Although this expedition found the Norway rat to be by far the most numerous, both species were widespread. This situation is unusual in that the two species do not normally co-exist in the New Zealand region, the more aggressive and destructive European rats being quick to oust the Kiore. Happily the Kiore is still the only species present on Macauley, the only other Kermadec island with rats.
Fortunately the European Ship rat, Black rat or Bush rat ( Rattus rattus), the only other species found in New Zealand, has not reached the Kermadecs (yet?) and it would be a tragedy if it ever did. It is even more destructive than the other species. However, probably the greatest threat to ecology in the Kermadecs is that of rats from Raoul reaching Meyer Island. Because they are so destructive to birdlife rats would quickly and permanently transform that island from one of the world's most fascinating bird islands to 'just another small island'.
Rear-Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteau who named Raoul and the Kermadec group during his visit in 1793 is generally credited with having discovered Raoul. However, entries made in an unpublished journal of the ''Lady Penrhyn's" voyage in 1788 show that the island which D'Entrecasteau named Raoul had been sighted by those on board the "Lady Penrhyn" two days after Curtis and Macauley Islands were discovered and named in 1788. Strangely this incident was not recorded by Lt John Watts in his published account of the voyage.
According to the unpublished account, Capt. Sever, and not Lt Watts, was in command of the "Lady Penrhyn" when on 31 st May 1788 Curtis and Macauley were sighted. On the following day (1st June 1788 - not 1st July 1788 as stated by Percy Smith and transcribed by you in "Newsletter" No.ll), Capt. Sever and party landed on Macauley. Soon after 5pm that day they set sail for "Otaheite" (Tahiti) and at about 5 pm on 2nd June 1788 "discovered land of a very considerable extent to the southward 10 or 12 leagues (30-36 miles) distant, but being to windward of us and at so considerable a distance the Captain thought it most advisable to pursue his course to Otaheite as we were certain of meeting there with plenty of vegetables and pig which we could not tell this land could have afforded us had we spent two or three days in the experiment. Indeed in the present situation of our ship's company not an hour was to be thrown away, as the scurvy now began to make great havoc amongst the sailors, and in spite of medicines is gaining ground daily."
The fact that they managed to pass by Raoul before first seeing it from the north seems rather odd, and I can only suggest that during the night they tacked well to the east or west and that it was after tacking in the opposite direction that the island was sighted. A "gentle breeze", apparently from a southern quarter was blowing and the ship was making about 3 knots at that time.
Don Merton 3/8/71
ON THINGS HOSTORICAL
In the days when we were a little nervous of using too much space within our Newsletters, an article on whaling in the Kermadec Group was heavily abridged, and lost to the reader were the facts and figures of this early industry. I would like to include these paragraphs now to form a companion article to Ian Kerr's ‘Sealers of the Early Years' to be found in Newsletter 5 - for whaling in the Kermadecs has its parallel with sealing in the Sub-Antarctic Islands. Like Ian's article, the sums quoted are the prices paid at the time to these hardy souls of sail and shore station.
The following is therefore the preamble to chapter 2 of the Kermadec's history to be found in Newsletter 6. The heading for this section is also included, as it was intended as a tribute to the tireless efforts of the late New Zealand historian Robert McNab, who added the title to one of his best known works from which the following has been extracted.
Chapter 2: "THE OLD WHALING DAYS"
Whaling came to the Kermadec Islands in the 1820's, after having been practised in Australasian waters for some thirty years. There was no hurry to move into the northern zone of this whaling area, as the New Zealand eastern seaboard provided abundant migratory whales, good beach areas for 'bay' whaling and anchorage, and ready trading with the native New Zealanders for fresh foods.
The first recorded whaling venture occurred in 1791 off the southern cost of Australia, when the East India Company held all oceanic whaling rights from the Cape of Good Hope, eastwards to the Horn. The only ships therefore permitted to hunt the whale, were the Company's own, or those ships under charter to His Majesty's Service. The development of the penal settlements in New South Wales brought all manner of maritime transports to Australia under such charters, and after discharging cargoes, a little profit at whaling was often sought after. The East India Company's rights came under constant revision and by 1798 were contained northwards of the 15th parallel south of the Equator.
In 1801, it was known that three ships had left New Zealand with full whale oil cargoes for Great Britain and a further six were working the coast. By 1810 the known number of ships had increased to eighteen, but there was no further rise for almost a decade with the occurrence of the British-American War. The big increase in shipping engaged - in this work came in the 1830's. In 1833, forty two were operating out of the Bay of Islands, ninety two by 1836, and approximately one hundred and fifty ships surrounded the coast in 1839. There were five main whale types of which only two were in demand. The black (right) whale measured in length up to sixty feet and its oil sold at some $30 per ton. It was caught 'bay' whaling in small boats wh1le the mammal was engaged in breeding, the carcass being towed to shore for 'cutting in' and ‘tri-ing out'. Baleen from the mouth was in high demand for corsetry at that time and fetched $100 per ton. Sperm whales did not provide so much oil for body bulk, but the pr1ce per ton was double that of the black. They also contained the highly prized spermaceti oil in the 'case' located in the mammal's head, which was used in high quality candle production. These whales had to be hunted well off shore or at sea, and once caught, were secured and flensed alongside the ship. Blubber was then rendered down by heating in tripots on the deck, this causing occasional ship board fires to add to the many other hazards of the trade. The humpback was occasionally caught but proved a fierce fighter and the fin and blue whales were too fast and powerful for the equipment at that tine.
As sperm whaling gained in popularity, the oceanic search for the monster was increased and a single ship might travel as far east as the Chatham Islands, northwards to Tonga and westwards to the Queensland coast. Typical rewards were 50 barrels of whale oil per month, above average, 100, and occasionally as high as 150. Eight barrels went to make up the ton so incomes would generally range from $360 to $720 per month. Normally a cruise would last from one to two years.
And so sperm whaling eventually involved the Kermadecs, and Polack reported in 1837 that 30 ships were visible at one time from L’Esperance Rock in the south of the group of islands. Not many sailors elected to live ashore and no attempt was made to introduce the 'bay' whaling shore establishments that flourished around the New Zealand coastline. The pohutukawa was invaluable for providing firewood for the shipboard processes of rendering down blubber and the warmer climate and sea temperatures at this latitude made the wet work of whaling a lot more pleasant.
(continued in Newsletter 6, page 3)
Also of interest at this time is the visit to Macauley Island by Captain Rhodes of the barque 'Australian' in 1836 (Newsletters: 3/10 and 6/3):
"The surface of the isle is burrowed all over by the birds, and the soil is so loose that a step can scarcely be taken without sinking up to the knees in the burrows. There are a few stunted trees and a little wild parsley and other herbage on the most elevated part, which is the South (?) end, and abounds with goats and pigs. Macauley's Isle (Curtis and Cheeseman Islands) is seen plainly from Green (Macauley) Island, bearing South from it at the distance of 11 or 12 leagues.
Mutton birds are in such abundance, and so easily procured, having nothing more to do than take them from their burrows or pick them up off the ground - they do not make the least effort to escape - that shiploads might be procured. At 8 pm (Tuesday 20th December 1836) the two boats got alongside the ship, having procured 7 goats, an abundance of birds and eggs and some fish. Hove the ship to for the night. Daylight, calms. At 8 am allowed two other boats to go on shore at Green Island. At 7 pm the boats returned bringing two pigs, a quantity of birds and eggs with some fish. The goats procured at Green Island were miserably poor and the pigs from their fishy flavour, could not be eaten - no doubt caused by their subsisting on the flesh of aquatic birds. No water has seen on the island, although the crew traversed it in every part."
Obviously open to a little botanical and wildlife comment, I would like to hear from members who are a little more scientific and knowledgeable than whaler Rhodes. The island must have been visited a lot earlier than this date as only a 'few stunted trees' remain in existence and introduced stock appears to be established.
RAOUL OF THE EARLY POSTWAR YEARS
by Tom Taylor
"Fakalofa otu, Ua Sicki" - a welcome greeting from a Niue boy on arrival at work.
In 1945 the Ministry of Works, Aerodrome Branch, decided to have Niue Island labour on Raoul Island to assist with the road making and general maintenance. By employing Niue boys, Niue coming under the N.Z. Government for administration and well-being, one could educate them in the European way of life, and should labour be required in New Zealand, the Government would be able to call on them should they be willing and available. So late in 1945 twelve boys were selected to go to Raoul Island - one head boy to be in charge and answer to the Officer in Charge, Raoul Island, six boys for general maintenance, two for mechanical maintenance, two for farming and garden work, one for the European kitchen and one as cook for the Niue party.
They first settled in two man huts on Low Flat where they were until 1950 when the siting was shifted to the west of the radio station, up on higher ground. The boys worked an eight hour day, Monday to Friday and four hours on Saturday. They were very bright and cheerful fellows, always willing to help and learn, and on Sundays they would always dress in their best clothes, rub coconut oil on their hair and go for long walks. During the year that the boys would be staying on Raoul, they would be changed around in their jobs, so that by the time they returned to Niue, all would have a working knowledge of the way of life on Raoul. I grew watermelons one year and they did very well. When the watermelons were small, the Niue boys scratched their names on each melon, unbeknown to me, and when time came to pick them, the boys claimed the melons because of the titles on them: Moki, Uga Uga, Tufa, Josiah, Vulamaka, Fisihitoa, Hirihaki. We had two large shipments of coconuts brought in for them until we were able to grow enough Taro, which took about two years. Large Kapi Biscuits were one of their main food items and they were also great eaters of tinned meat and potatoes. One day's fishing a fortnight was also done, giving the boys a couple of days fresh fish, the rest being either smoked or stored in lemon or orange juice.
I arrived at Raoul Island in December, 1946, on the "New Golden Hind", after a fairly rough ten days from Auckland, and did not leave again until April, 1948. The staff on the island with me was:
|Officer in Charge||Morrie Beveredge|
|Post Office||Lew Sharman|
|Post Office||Lew Hack|
|Post Office||Eric Dinnan|
|Farm Manager||Tom Taylor|
and the 12 Niue boys.
The Post Office lads were telegraphists by rights, but they doubled in the duties of meteorological observers, completing surface observations every three hours.
While I was on Raoul, one hundred acres of land was broken in and put down in grass. Potatoes were grown for the first time (Katadins, Chippawas) and a very good crop dug. It was very easy to grow vegetables, but the main trouble was keeping the rats away. Wire netting was necessary; it had to be set at least one foot in the ground and sprayed with tar. I left Raoul after fifteen months and was very sorry to do so, and went off to England for two years. But I was back as relieving farmer from August through to November of 1950, having travelled up from Auckland in one and a half days on H.M.S. St Austell Bay. The staff that Vince Almao (relieving cook) and myself met this time were:-
|Officer in Charge||John Wagg|
|Post Office||Tom Scott|
|Post Office||Clive Williams|
|Post Office||Vic Morgan|
|Farm Manager||Bill Byrne|
The latter two being the lads we relieved so they could take a break back in New Zealand after eighteen months continuous service. This was a very happy return visit, only it was too short. We left for New Zealand in the top-sailed schooner “Huia” on the 8th November, arriving seven days later in Auckland, Raoul Island has very fond memories for me.
Well, there's Tom's little tale of Raoul Island in his day. What memories do you other fellows· have (plus photos). If the yarn takes the same style as Tom's - it rates as an article. But odd facts, amusing incidents and general information (especially notes on bods), will find a home under "Members Comment" column, and very welcome it will be to.
REPORT FROM CAMPBELL ISLAND
Ten months of our year on Campbell Island have now passed and this will be my last report for the Newsletter.
For the people who came to the Island for the first time of which there were eight out of the nine persons, wintering over has been an experience that will be remembered for a long time.
Two of the Met staff here have been to Raoul Island before, but only Bryan George, the cook who stayed over from last year, knew exactly what it was like to spend winter on Campbell.
The weather on the whole over the past ten months has been fairly kind to us. The weather compared to the periods October to July in past years makes interesting comment. The total rainfall for· this period was slightly above average with there being 12 large landslides during February after 1.3 inches fell in three hours. It would appear that landslides of this magnitude had not occurred for many years. The temperature has been above average for the period by 0.4 degrees centigrade. The winter months were above average by a good one degree centigrade up to the present, and there has been an absence of any heavy falls of snow. Of course this could be rectified over the next few weeks, though we hope not. Sunshine has been less than normal, only about two-thirds of our fair share, although March to July presents a total of 13.5 hours above normal. The rest of the year showed a drop of 186 hours.
One feature this year has been the three very active ham radio operators. They have flashed their call signs ZL4JF/A, ZL40L/A ZL40K/A both on voice and morse. Between them they have contacted most countries in the world, and other ham radio operators are keen to contact Campbell Island, as in the international code it is listed as a separate country.
We had our second air drop by R.N.Z.A.F. Orion on 29th June and in almost perfect conditions they parachuted the five containers plus seven free drop containers. The main feature of this airdrop was the pin point accuracy and all units landed within a 50 yard radius of the helicopter pad. The whole drop only took about 40 minutes and within ten minutes of the aircraft's departure the weather had closed in so we consider ourselves extremely lucky to get our mail and supplies.
During the winter months a hut similar to the Sorenson Hut at Bull Rock has been built at North West Bay. The hut is sited just up from Beach Bay which is one of the smaller bays of North West Bay·. The design and all of the work carried out by Neville Brown and Lindsay Barker with assistance from other members of the expedition from time to time. Some of the awkward loads that were tied to pack frames and carted across there had to be seen to be believed. The first course of the journey is up the fence line and with a heavy load, that is quite a haul. After that the journey was fairly easy except for the climb out of Windlass Bay. Work is still progressing on the hut with such refinements a water supply and a front patio. The hut is a very cosy retreat to get away from it all.
Socially our last big event was the mid-winter celebration of the 21st and 22nd June. The mid-winter dinner commenced on the 21st and was yet another masterpiece of culinary art of our cook. The courses were many and varied and toasts were drunk to our companions on expeditions in other remote places and friends and organisations who celebrate mid-winter. On 22nd June six of the party took to the water and enjoyed a mid winter swim. Their remarks were that the water was not all that cold. A pre-recorded tape was made and sent to 4ZA Invercargill, and our request for a programme especially for Campbell Island, was broadcast on the morning of 21st June.
The usual recreational activities of tramping, bird banding and photography have been popular during the winter months. Several bird banding trips have been made to the Mowbray area and over the top of Mt Honey, and several more are planned before the end of September. Items of the Works Programme have been progressed with. The main task was the complete re-laying of the Marsden Matting Road down the hill from the top intersection to just past the power house. Also a sleeper road from the wharf to the power house was lifted and re-layed from the area of Marsden Matting to the reef. With some used drains dug in the vicinity of this road, the whole area dries out better and is considered a vast improvement.. Many other jobs have been completed and July was an exceptionally busy month.
There is much activity at present with the annual overhaul of the station boat and with luck this should be finished by the end of August leaving September fairly clear to tidy up the camp area and prepare for servicing in October.
Of the two chess matches with Scott Base started in May one has ended with a victory for the boys down south and the other game is still in progress. It is quite nicely poised and we are hoping to secure the series.
With next year's team now appointed, time is steadily running out for the 1970/71 expedition. The leader for Campbell Island for 1971/72 is Vince Sussmilch, who has already experienced a year here as Senior Met. Observer (1967/68). I extend to Vince all the best for his tour of duty.
At present it appears as though he will be less fortunate than we were with ships calling and visitors, but something may turn up. The Royal New Zealand Navy no longer has the "Endeavour", the ship that has made many calls at Campbell Island throughout the years, with three calls during this year. Most of us now look forward to our return to New Zealand.
Neville Brown and Keith Herrick will be staying on for the summer period and they will be joined on the Met. staff by Mark Crompton who left here last March. Good wishes for a very successful tour to the 1971/72 expedition of Campbell Island.
O.I.C. Campbell Island
REPORT FROM RAOUL ISLAND
First yacht for 1971 arrived l0th May. The yacht, ‘Karloo’ from Whangarei, called into Fishing Rock with Mr & Mrs Goodeman on board, but they declined to come ashore and set sail after four hours rest, bound for Tonga.
A farewell ceremony was held on board H.M.N.Z.S. 'Endeavour' on 16th May 1971 as it was to be the last visit to Raoul Island. A press release was sent out and it is detailed below:
'The staff of the Raoul Island weather station, 600 miles north of Auckland, held a ceremony yesterday to express appreciation to the Captain and crew of H.M.N.Z.S. Endeavour. 'Endeavour', on an islands cruise, called in to Raaul. The ship is being returned to the United States Navy soon, and yesterday's visit will likely be her last to the Island under New Zealand Naval Command. The lighthearted ceremony was led by Raoul Island staffers Ron Dahl of Auckland and Ron Craig of Ashburton. Polynesian tribal dress featured in the ceremony, although passage to "Endeavour" through fairly rough seas was by the Weather Station's 14th boat. Speaking from Raoul Island by radio telephone this morning, Craig said that a gun was fired as part of the ceremony, but instead of belching smoke and fire, a flag popped out with “BOOM" written on it. Mr Craig said that the ceremony was held to thank Captain Peter Silk, Commander of "Endeavour", the ship's officers and crew for their trips to the Island since 1962. The visits were a highlight of the stay on the Island by the men, who seldom see other people during their tour of duty. The 9 staff of Raoul Island spend 12 months there maintaining the Weather Station and sending reports back to New Zealand to aid forecasting here. Along with Campbell Island, Raoul is re-supplied by ship annually when new staff take over. 'Endeavour' has played a part in taking men and materials to both islands. 'Endeavour', a tanker, has been the Antarctic supply ship since 1962. But Scott Base will now receive supplies by United States Navy and R.N.Z.A.F. 'Hercules' aircraft.
The Handyman, Bob Huck was repatriated on the 'Endeavour' for a medical examination in New Zealand.
Not to be outdone by increased thermal activity in New Zealand, Raoul Island also got in on the act. Quite a few steam vents appeared around the western side of Green Lake, although seismic activity remained relatively quiet. Twice-weekly trips into the crater commenced on 11th May and continued for several weeks until things quietend. At no stage was there any sign or serious strife in the bowels of the earth.
On 13th June, the yacht ‘Aqualun’, a 43ft, 20 ton sloop arrived at Fishing Rock and tied at the mooring with her stern 12 ft off the rocks. 8 of the crew were entertained ashore at some stage of their 5 day visit. The yacht looks like becoming a regular visitor to Raoul as the skipper, Lee Robertson, runs a charter trip every year up to the islands. 1969/70 islanders will be pleased to know that this crew was much better behaved. Nearly all of the party were able to go out fishing and 3 did trips from Fishing Rock to Boat Cove and vice-versa. While anchored near D1Arcy Point, 3 ‘Aqualun’ crew members were allowed ashore for one hour's shooting; they returned 10 hours later in the dark after being stranded on the top. Strong words were hardly necessary, as they had suffered quite a bit during their jaunt.
Yacht 'Hawaiki’ arrived on 14th June, a 47 ft ketch, sister ship to ‘Oripa’ and the Wellington Racer ‘Arapawa’, on her maiden voyage to Tonga. ‘Hawaiki’ brought the third woman to our fair shores since November and although oranges were offered as barter for her, the skipper thought two cases were not really enough and there was no time to pick more. Mrs Carram told us about her twin daughters wanting to come up on the voyage and she was immediately promised as many oranges as we had containers for. 'Hawaiki' sailed for Tonga on 15th June and 4 of her 5 crew had been entertained ashore.
Yacht 'Rosina', a 33ft sloop and a New Zealand competitor in the Noumea Yacht Race, arrived on 15th June and left on 18th June, The skipper Peter Luxmoore is no stranger to Raoul, having been here about 5 times in a number of yachts. 'Rosina' was rather short of food and we were able to help out. In exchange she took mail and 16 mm films back to New Zealand for us.
Yacht 'Hanii', a 28ft sloop on her maiden voyage arrived on 16th June. She had a crew of 3 and was bound for Rarotonga where the owner was to start work on the new airport. They departed on 18th June after taking a couple of us out for a sail. For two days there were 3 yachts anchored at the Rock and income for pilots fees, slipway and mooring charges, water etc. swelled the Raoul Island coffers considerably.
Mid-winter's day was celebrated on Raoul Island with a swim in the sea.
Three Korean fishing boats arrived on 24th June and rafted up just off the flagpole. 10 came ashore for a meal.
Bob Huck returned to the Island on 26th June as a temporary crew member on the tuna Boat, "Espirito Santo". 10 of her crew of 12 were entertained ashore.
John Weir, farmer is staying on for another year on the island, as are Bob Taylor, (Snr Met.), and Ian Lavin, (Met.). "Bisley 22 Shoot" was held on 16th July and Bob Huck won the gold hand-made cup which he will hold until October before donating it to the Island. A hangi was held to honour our last birthday for this expedition on 31st July . John Weir was the man of the moment and the hangi was held in the ram Paddock."
O.I.C.Raoul Island 20/8/71
Crusoes of Sunday Island
by Elsie K. Morton (published by Bell for REEDS, 1957.)
Sooner, rather than later, this factual tale of pioneering endeavour was bound to come up for review. Because of the relatively recent publishing date of the book and the serialised articles that subsequently appeared in the 'N.Z.Herald', the story is well known to a lot of New Zealanders.
The frustrations suffered by Raoul Island’s settlers over a full century from the backfiring of the island's agricultural potential, were most prolonged with the Bell family - some thirty years of rickety domestic economy that landed them back at 'square one' by the time the Government steamer "Tutanekai" repatriated them to New Zealand on the 6th April, 1911.
Thomas Bell, one time sailor, gold miner, soldier, mill owner, publican and farmer was not devoid of business sense, and by conscripting the labour of a family numbering twelve, stood a better than even chance of winning through. His contacts in Auckland were good and the co-operation from the last of the American whaling captains was fortunate. His only opposition was earthquake, drought, cyclone, theft, rodents and general misfortune, faithfully recorded by the late Elsie K. Morton until her book takes on an air of gloom from which there is little relief.
Commencing on a note which would interest the average adult reader, she quickly drifts to a style approved for Forms I and II, as the tapestry of events is woven around her two teenage 'heroines', Hettie and Bess Bell. It is hard to know who the book is aimed at - the publisher's presentation is adult but the contents force it back to the children's section of the library. To the authoress's credit, she sandwiches the 189 pages with 24 excellent photographs which are well worth the browsing and an adequate map at the front should keep the reader geographically orientated.
For a journalist and writer of renown, E.K.M. seems to have missed the mark in what could have been a fine contribution to the expanding shelves of written New Zealand history. The book did, however, divert the interest of one great man. Walt Disney saw the story as a box office winner just prior to his death.
Best wishes to Charlie Taylor, one of our Association Honorary Members, who had a sojourn in hospital at Rotorua recently. Charlie was, for many years, adviser to the Civil Aviation and Air Departments on the running of the farm on Raoul.
Tokoroa should figure prominently in this column once again. The town came to life on 6th August on the occasion of Ian Johnson's wedding. Hackers from the islands and the ice were gathered from all over New Zealand. Ian's amateur radio activities using the call-signs ZL1ABZ, ZL4JF and ZL5AA were reflected in the numerous telegrams received from abroad.
To those members who have lingered in Tokoroa in the past, your "half-way house" has moved. George and Hera Poppleton have moved from 39 Park Avenue, and their new address is now: 5 Tieke Place, Tokoroa. Telephone number is unchanged - still 8582.
Release date for the National Film Unit movie on Raoul filmed last year, is 3rd September. The name - "Once Upon An Island". Watch for it at the cinema theatres.
The Campbell and Raoul Islands' Administration Section, Ministry of Transport, has advised of the following appointments to the 1971/72 Expedition Teams:-
|Leader||E. F. McGregor||V. W. Sussmilch|
|Technician (Tech)||T. H. Earl||H. N. C. Money|
|Technician (Elec)||B. R. J. Plummer|
|Ionosphere Observer||D. W. Clark|
|Mechanic||C. D. Wellington||W. R. Clark|
|Farmer||J. H. M. Weir #|
|Maintenace Officer||W. F. Whitley|
|Cook||R. Urwin||L. B. Mexted|
|Snr Met Observer||R. J. Taylor #||M. B. Crompton|
|Met Observer||I. J. Lavin #||J. M. Wilkinson|
|Met Observer||R. W. Kennedy||D. G. Rowell|
|Met Observer||N. W. Brown *|
|Met Observer||K. F. Herrick *|
# Second consecutive term on Raoul
* For 1971/72 summer only on Campbell
It is interesting to note that there will be four "old hands" on Raoul next year - John Weir, Bob Taylor, Ian Lavin and Bob Kennedy.
A visit was made to Association members at Mangere Airport during August.
It is hoped that we will be able to print short articles on the Expedition appointees in the next edition of the Newsletter.
Hal Conway, owner-skipper of the American yacht “Maiawa" which visited Raoul Island in April 1969, is now operating a successful leather goods business at 48 Victoria St West, Auckland. Any expeditioners who have met Hal, may care to drop in and visit him when passing through Auckland.
Bryan Leeves, a devoted Raoul Island fisherman in 1958/59 1961/62, 1962/63 and now with the "Caterpillar" distributors in Melbourne, Australia, made a brief trip to New Zealand in August.
Bill Whitley has decided that the Christchurch climate is too dry for bee-keeping, so he has moved to South Westland where the annual rainfall climbs to around 270 inches. Bill also advised that he was on his way up the West Coast to attend the July Film Evening but had gear-box troubles, however he hopes to make the Reunion. By the way, does anybody else experience gear-box problems with their Vauxhall cars ?
The 1965/66 CAMPBELL ISLAND Team:
Rear, Left to Right: Peter Shone (Met), Doug Leigh (Ion), Peter Hughes (DSIR),
John Squibb (Met), Dave Paull (Met), Gordon Surrey (Chef), David Shone (Met),
Allan Guard (Mech). Front, Left to Right: Rorr; Craig (Met), Don Night ingale (OIC),
Dale Carron (Ion), Warwick Fegusson (Tele Tech).
Ex-Islanders at Ed's Masterton, Wedding, 20th Feb., 1971:
Left to right: Pete Ingram (R62,C64), Warwick Fegusson (C65,66), Colin Capper (C54, R56,58),
Dave Leslie (R62,64), Graham Smith (R54,55, C59), Fred Buitenkamp (R65,69),
Ed de Ste Croix (C61,65, R68), Charlie Grbic (R68,69), Richard Lovegrove (R63,64,69),
and Ian Johnson (C59,62, R63,64).