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Friday
Mar062015

John William Hall Memorial Reserve

Every now and then, a matter that excites the interest of those who are determined to adhere to standards of accuracy that would do crerdit to the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary comes to the fore.

Such is the case with recent interest displayed in the accuracy of the description on what is said to be New Zealand's first arboratum, up a valley in Parawai. Someone, who wishes to remain unnamed, pointed out in a recent email to Ken Clark - a Trustee for the William Hall Memorial  Reserve that the correct name is John William Hall Memorial Reserve, and that it remained thus until morphing into the more simple, but less accurate version, probably around the Millenium.

Now these issues can at times cause major upset and angst around the traps, with sides being taken, and impregnable positions established - always good for a small town like this, because it takes peoples minds off what others may consider to be more important issues.

But no, not on this occasion - there appears general agreement amongst all concerned - including Rodney Poulgrain - John Wiliam Hall's great-great-grandson, that the error simply occurred inadvertently, and that steps should be taken immediately to restore the singularity and dignity of the original name. And who could disagree in the circumstances. 

With any luck, the Council, and those who advise it will accept the fact and immediately take steps to restore the original and full name to signage and all other records that may have slipped into the mistake - accepting that is likely to be aggravation with the Placenames Authority, and other elements in the bureaucracy. In view of the general agreement amongst the august group who have knowledge of this matter, it would be extremely unwise for any voices to be raised seeking continuation of the erroneous status quo.

But do not underestimate the potential for such to occur - after all, it is something for certain otherwise challenged members to get their teeth into that is of comparatively minor importance, and even understandable - always good for some last ditch action.  Such is politics as we know it!

I look forward to a paper coming before Council in due course outlining the matter and suggesting rapid action towards resolving same.

For those who are interested - here is an extract from the Brief Profile of John William Hall:

"Mr Hall was born in 1830, in Leicestershire, England, where he was educated and apprenticed to his profession. He arrived in Auckland by the ship "Egmont" in 1858, and engaged in farming at Otahuhu until the opening of the Thames goldfield, when he established his business. According to the Cyclopedia of New Zealand (1902) - Mr Hall had always taken a great interest in the botany and flora of New Zealand and in the cultivation of indigenous trees and fems.

 

As see in the above "Brief Profile ", Mr Hall took a great interest  in  the  botany  and  flora  of  New  Zealand. He planted three  acres  ofland  at Parawai  (southern  end of Thames) and grew many species of indigenous trees.

Species seen in this reserve today include-Kauri, Puriri, Kahikatea, Totara, Halls Totara, Miro, Tanekaha, Rimu, Re"Yvarewa, Karaka, Matai and Pohutukawa. It is noted also that there are several introduced  species-Sydney  Blue Gum, Redwood,  English  Oak, Lawson  Cypress and Norfolk Pine.

It is believed that he was possibly the first in New Zealand to undertake experimental taxonomy, having discovered a type of Totara previously unknown, that exists in New Zealand (podocarpus halli), his name being attached to  the specied by Thomas  Kirk  in  1889."

(Ed. Note - From 1872 until at least 1906, the records show that John William Hall was in business as a chemist either on the Karaka St. intersection, or on Pollen St. between Mary & Pahau) 

 

 


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