Thursday, April 02, 2015

Bungalow villages

A fad which is just now receiving considerable support from a certain class of people is the formation of what are called 'bungalow villages.' The idea is said to owe its origin to a few ladies who, desirous of living in the country, were prevented from doing so on account of the high rents, and heavy railway fares. Accordingly, a scheme occurred to one of them to erect wooden frame houses (or iron if preferred) in a retired spot, miles away from an ordinary habitation, and it has since been carried out, two or three streets of this description being now in existence about twenty-five miles from Charing Cross. The ground, of course, is either obtained on lease or the freehold bought, and the total expense is said to be considerably under  £20 a year.

Clutha Leader
24 December 1886
Page 3

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Fourth Dimension

Addition to telephone exchange list:— No. 322 Miss Williams, private residence, Hukarere.

In the House last evening Mr Seddon gave notice to move that the resolution with reference to morning sittings be rescinded.

The Hon. A. Pitt's Cigarette Smoking by Youth Prohibition Bill was read a first time in the Legislative Council yesterday.

At the monthly meeting of the H.B. Philosophical Society on Monday evening next the Rev. Herbert Williams, of Gisborne, will deliver a lecture on “The Fourth Dimension."

The Rev. J. Hobbs, of Hastings, writes asking us to state that he has successfully arbitrated between the parties to a breach of promise suit which was set down for hearing at the next sessions of the Supreme Court. The rev. gentleman states that he has acted as a friend to both parties, and that the case will not be heard.

Mr W. Stock having found a great demand for his Golden Grain butter has decided, for the convenience of his many customers, to establish a delivery service on Tuesdays and Fridays. Orders left at the depot in Hastings Street will receive prompt attention.

A private letter received by a Napier resident from a friend residing in Christchurch gives a striking example of the prevalence of influenza in the Cathedral city. The writer states that one of the employees of the Gas Company during the course of his rounds visited three hundred houses one day, and of that number only three of them were immune from the ravages of the grippe.

General cables and telegraphic appear on page two, Transvaal war news and an article re the great Siberian railway on page three, on page six an article by Dr. Koch dealing with the treatment of consumption, and Parliamentary and telegraphic on the seventh.

It is always pleasing to notice any of our local talent being called into requisition in other districts. We have just seen a pen and ink perspective drawing by Mr C. Tilleard Natusch, architect, of Napier, of a country house in the half timber style which is now being erected near Feilding for Mr Godfrey N. Pharazyn. The drawing will be on view at Mr Crerar's, in Hastings street, for a few days.

Daily Telegraph, 
7 September 1901
 Page 4

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Friends of the Maori

For some time past the friends of the Maori have been feeling that it is a pity that the Maori architecture cannot be adapted to the modern buildings which the better class among the aborigines are from time to time putting up. The peculiarity of some designs when adjacent to the picturesque style of the Maori is most marked. In consequence of this, at a meeting of the Te Auti Association, held lately in Gisborne, a committee consisting of Dr Maui Pomare, and Messrs A. T. Ngata, A. Hamilton, and F. de J. Clere, was set up to draw plans of model Maori houses.

Manawatu Standard
13 June 1907
Page 4 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Japanese in Hawaii

Views on the Japanese problem in the Hawaiian Islands, differing very greatly from those held by many people on the mainland of the United States, and particularly in California, were expressed by Mr. S. Gray, Town Clerk to the Mount Eden Borough Council, who returned by the Niagara yesterday after a health trip to Honolulu. Mr. Gray compared the advance made in the Hawaiian Islands with that of the British colony of Fiji, and while giving the Americans credit for the commercial progress evident in the northern group said that it was due to the taste introduced with the Spanish mission type of architecture and the introduction of outside capital, much of which was British, that Honolulu in particular had been made be attractive to the visitor. He was of the opinion, however, that the policy of the Americans toward the Japanese was short-sighted as it was on the supply of Japanese labour that the success of the cane-growing industry depended. Out of a total population of approximately 255,000 in all the islands of the territory, 110,000 were Japanese and everywhere he found that the white people of the group had a good word for them. He found that the Japanese were particularly well behaved and in business and as workers they could be depended upon. Sugar planters had assured him that the Japanese were most suited to the strenuous work of cane cutting while the Chinese, of whom there were about 13,000 in the country, filled their part equally well in the weeding of the cane fields so essential to the healthy growth of the cane. It was apparent, said Mr. Gray, that the native Hawaiians, although numbering about 20,000, could not be induced to take any considerable part in the development of their country and in view of the fact that the Japanese, after a few years residence in the islands, gravitated to the lighter forms of employment and engaged largely in business, it was necessary that no very serious restriction should be placed on the immigration of Japanese if the agricultural industries on which the life of the group depended were to enjoy continued prosperity. In this connection Mr. Gray mentioned that the area under sugar was already diminishing as there was difficulty in getting suitable labour and the pressure of opinion on the mainland was making the conditions in the islands such that the inflow of Japanese was being restricted. The white population, said Mr. Gray, was something less than 10 per cent, of the entire population, but he found many British people holding prominent positions in the business and professional life of the community. Many Chinese and Japanese were extremely well-to-do, and in their business relations with the white people inspired confidence to a considerable degree. From his own observations and from information gathered while in the group, Mr. Gray was able to say that prohibition was not being enforced to the extent intended by the Eighteenth Amendment, and sly-grog selling was prevalent. Illicit stills there were in plenty, and many of the Chinese and Japanese had become rich since the introduction of prohibition, not only in traffic in liquor but in the importation and distribution of drugs. The future race mixture in the Hawaiian Islands was the subject of some comment by the visitor who mentioned that the remaining 50,000 people comprised Portuguese, negroes and importations from the countries of Central and South America. Inter-marriage was going on steadily and what type would eventually evolve was very hard to say.

New Zealand Herald,
18 December 1922
Page 8

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Radiant Hall

Given good weather for the builders, Christchurch's new intimate theatre in Kilmore Street, to be known as Radiant Hall, will be opened by the Mayor of Christchurch (the Rev. J. K. Archer) on 16th October or 23rd October. Although designed primarily for the Health Club, the hall is expected to become the centre in Christchurch of the modern expression of drama, music and the arts. The Canterbury Repertory Theatre Society has taken a particular interest in its construction, and the stage, designed by Professor James Shelley, will be among the largest and most up-to-date in the Dominion.


The lighting effects will be the latest. Probably parts of the auditorium will be permanently seated, and part temporarily. Special attention has been given to the acoustic qualities of the hall. There will be a small gallery and two boxes, the whole accommodation being between 700 and 800. The front of the building will be in Spanish mission style in brick and cement. The interior decoration will be finished in ivory and bronze.

Evening Post
 14 September 1929
Page 26

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Traps That Lurk in Bathrooms

"Toreadora" is the arresting title of another unusual article in this week's "New Zealand Woman's Weekly." It is the story of the world's only girl bull-fighter, who tells, in her own words, what it feels like to face a furious animal in the ring. Among articles of special New Zealand interest is an interview with a very modest woman, who lives quietly in Wanganui, but is an artist of international fame. How the Girl Guides' Coronation message to the King is being carried throughout the length and breadth of the Dominion before it is presented to the Governor-General for forwarding to His Majesty is the subject of another page of story and picture. And "Spanish Mission" describes another charming modern New Zealand private home. Film fans will find a new William Powell revealed by a contributor, who tells of the women whom he has helped behind the scenes to success. Clark Gable discourses on his ideals of beauty, and helpful hints are given on how to achieve the desired effects. Sauces are the subject of the cooking page, and the knitting pages offer more attractive designs for the colder weather that is coming. "Traps That Lurk in Bathrooms" is another article in practical vein that should be read by every householder, since almost every household nowadays is electrically equipped, and this article deals with the special care that should be used in bathrooms,  where dampness is liable to cause accidents that would not occur in ordinary circumstances. Readers have the choice of nine free patterns this week, and also the chance of participating in novel competitions, for which £10 in cash prizes is being given every week.

Auckland Star
8 April 1937
Page 26

Friday, March 27, 2015

A box of scarlet geraniums

As the well-greased hub is to the wheel so is Hastings to a very great area of sunny Hawke's Bay. There is the nostalgia of prosperity in the very air one breathes and smells, that says very clearly: here is no stagnation, no looking back, no vain regrets, but steady enlivening, exhilarating progress, and bright optimism is subtly manifested on every hand. Take a view from any convenient altitude in the widespread town, and one sees long, white, well-made roads, radiating north, south, east, and west, through the prosperous countryside, disappearing into thin white threads through the green velvety farm lands which are producing some of the most vital munitions of war—viz., mutton butter, cheese—for the feeding of our soldiers and the millions of good British folk depending on them, and wool which helps to make our valiant fighters the best clothed of all the belligerents. That, of course, is the dominant need of the present critical time in the history of the Empire, but before the dread ogre War showed its head, the products from the district, ever increasing as larger areas are thrown into cultivation, played an important role in bringing prosperity to New Zealand. Millions of pounds sterling have been garnered from the Hawke's Bay downs, and the circulation of such money far and wide must have had a farther reaching effect on the progress of the Dominion than may at a superficial thought be conceded. In the centre of this veritable garden is Hastings, the bright, busy, bustling, wide-awake town through which streams "the flood of many waters," leaving at least a proportion of its golden sediment in the hands of the business men, shopkeepers, and tradespeople of the town and district.

There is perhaps only one "fly in the amber" in this district, and that is the fact that the progress of settlement, satisfactory as it may be considered as far as Hastings itself is concerned, is retarded by the land being held in such large blocks. There has been a utile cutting up in some parts, but there remains the unalterable fact that there are farms of between 50,000 and 80,000 acres in the district, sacred to sheep that could be brought into profit by closer settlement, land of a quality that would support the population of the district a hundred times over. In the meantime King Wool is the popular god of the district, and while the war is on must be a very affable monarch indeed to have dealings with. The time may come when many broad acres will be comfortably dotted with smiling homes, but that time is not yet. At present as far as the eye can reach the fair domain is dotted, but the dots are sheep graduating toward the shearing-shed and meat works.

Hastings can claim one of the finest municipal theatres in New Zealand. It was erected in 1915-16, and opened in October, 1916, since when it has been in constant use. The council was fortunate in securing the services as architect of Mr. Henry E. White, of Sydney, Wellington, and Auckland, and the result is a theatre that would command attention in any city in the world. It is the first theatre to be designed externally in the Spanish mission style, a smooth, chrome-coloured finish, broken here and there with characteristic windows (each of which holds a box of scarlet geraniums), and overtopped by far-projecting eaves, that are, with the rest of the roof, heavily tiled with red Spanish tiles. The design is at once simple, yet striking, and is nicely in accord with the sunny climate of the place. The interior is as chaste and simple in design as it is efficient for every theatrical purpose. The lines of vision are perfect, the acoustics excellent, the seats comfortable, and the stage is large enough to accommodate the most elaborate productions. There are eight boxes, and seating accommodation for 3400 people. The Municipal Theatre only cost between £15,000 and £16,000, and is the cheapest and best in Australasia. Between lettings to touring companies, the council runs its own picture shows, always reserving Saturday evening as its own special perquisite.

17 December 1917
Page 16

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Clusters of artificial wisteria

"Le Grande Lounge," the artistic and attractive new tea and luncheon rooms, one of the most up-to-date premises of the land in the Dominion, will be opened at 3 o'clock to-morrow afternoon. Situated in the upstairs portion of Everybody's Theatre building, access to the lounge may be gained through the American bar that is being established by the proprietor, Mr C. L. Ferguson, on the ground floor. Patrons may also enter the lounge from the foyer of the theatre. The fitting up of the soda water fountain, which is enclosed within a handsome white marble bar, was being completed this afternoon. Designed on the Spanish Mission style, in keeping with the general architecture of the building, the lounge presents a most attractive garden effect, clusters of artificial wisteria hanging from the trellis work ceiling, while unique and old fashioned pergolas adorn the walls of the lounge with most pleasing effect. The premises were utilised this afternoon for the initial gathering, when a "parcel afternoon" was accorded to Miss Bidell, by Mrs J. L. Davies and Miss Ivy Parker, in view of her approaching wedding to Lieut. Gerrat, of Auckland, a returned soldier wounded at Messines.

Poverty Bay Herald
20 September 1917,
 Page 4
Papers Past

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Houses for the people

Although the acuteness in the shortage of houses is somewhat less now than it was year or two ago, the urgency of the housing question is still a matter for the serious attention of both Government and municipal authorities, and shows no real disposition to quit troubling. In fact, the failure which has in reality attended the State scheme for solving the housing problem leaves the door wide open for suggestions promising a solution which is sound financially and practicable in form. Under such circumstances the opinions of an architect who has had experience in an official capacity with the State housing scheme in England and in the erecting of cottages under the Irish Labourers' Cottage Act should be interesting.

Mr. John Mitchell, who was formerly of the firm of Mitchell and Watt, for many years architects to the Auckland Education Board, recently returned to the Dominion after being absent for eleven years in Great Britain, and since his return he has been taking observations and making inquiries into the question of housing.


In the course of an interview on the  subject this morning, Mr. Mitchell  remarked surprise and pleasure at the splendid evidences of the progress that Auckland has made in the past eleven years. The notable improvement in the roading of the city., the replacement of old by new buildings in the main streets, and the introduction of the Canadian and Californian bungalow style of domestic architecture, were matters upon which he made special comment. “ After being away from Auckland for so long I appreciate more than ever the natural beauties that endow Auckland City," he said. "The people of Auckland should be very proud.of their habitation and correspondingly jealous of it—doing nothing to mar these beautiful natural features, and leaving nothing undone to enhance them."


Coming io the scientific, artistic, and economic  laying out of building sites, and the areas considered "sufficient when intensively cultivated," Mr. Mitchell remarks that it is interesting to note the trend of building operations and the corresponding values of land for dwelling sites. Takapuna. for instance, recently required  1/4 acre as a minimum, Otahuhu requires 1/6 acre, while Mount Albert is satisfied with 1/8 acre. The English Housing Act makes provision for 1-1/2 acre "as being so much better than that which formerly prevailed."


"So far as Auckland -City is concerned," he said, I should be failing in my duty if I did not point out the dire need for great improvement in the housing conditions, in the backyards, and in the approaches to the houses in many parts of the city proper—not very many thousand yards from the Town Hall itself, in fact. Such conditions are common to all cities, old and new, but modern health ideals make the abolition of such conditions imperative. The matter is one requiring wisdom, vision, patience, and a spirit of sacrifice. It is, to a considerable extent, a real workers' question, as affecting artisans' dwellings x convenient to the artisans' work. "When I asked questions on the state of neglect, one property owner vigorously disclaimed responsibility, owing to the utter disregard of care and interest on the part of the tenants, and their defiant attitude. Tenants on the other hand exclaim ‘How on earth can we be expected to keep such places decent, clean, and tidy?' That is one aspect of the housing question, and not only so, with  one most intimately affecting the I health of this great city."


"Another matter that caused me surprise and disappointment on my return is the number of houses erected and still being erected in wool, particularly in view of the need for conserving every stick of timber in the country for proper timber purposes. I cannot help asking if the people of New Zealand properly understand or appreciate the full measure of loss and the actual calamity that they are allowing to overtake them by the wrongful use, the waste, and the exportation of any kind of timber from this, their country. There is an unreasoned prejudice in the minds of some against the use of concrete, due partly through lack of knowledge and partly to obstructionist ideas which discourage enterprise and the bringing forward of  samples of modern aesthetic concrete construction. And then again, the timber of the new buildings is very different from that in most of the older kauri built dwellings. I wonder what will be the state of some, at any rate, of the modern Californian and Canadian bungalows upon which so much money has been lavished, in a few years' time. They are very pretty and are  calculated to satisfy a natural craving for the ornate, but with the use of so much inferior timber—even pinus insignis has been freely substituted in framing—what will be the result, say, in twenty years' time. Wooden house blocks will hardly last that time, and the main fabric of these structures will give serious trouble within 25 years." The economic wisdom displayed in roofing material was also questioned by Mr Mitchell, who remarked that charmingly as the red roofs of Auckland fitted in with their surroundings, mere red oxide would not long conceal damaged or defective galvanizing. Slates, tiles of burned clay, or cement and sand would have been far preferable, and the difference in cost could have been well saved out of labour and materials spent on questionable exterior embellishments.


Coming to his experience of the English State Housing scheme, Mr. Mitchell remarked: "It was a splendid conception as a part endeavour to make England's land fit for heroes to live in," but so far it has not done so. The scheme contemplated the spending of some -500,000,000 on housing, and a vast organisation was built up to carry it out - committees, scientists, engineers, architects, experts, inspectors, commissioners, clerical staffs, etc., galore. Much useful and valuable work has been done in investigating old conditions and formulating basic principles upon which to determine future action and avoid the congestion and follies of the past. The money was to be found by the Government and held available for the municipal authorities to spend, subject to a maximum contribution of a penny in the pound on the rates. Suggestive plans and specifications were issued, special forms of construction were investigated supplies of building material and appliances were controlled and held available. Commissioners and their armies of officials were appointed for the various regions into which the country was mapped out, city engineers and surveyors were entrusted with extended functions, architects were sometimes fully employed, and other instances coldly and ungraciously ignored in favour of the bureaucratic method of procedure. These vast proposals naturally led to a correspondingly vast preparation by vested interests in land, building materials, and requirements of every description for cornering purposes. The builders and employers affected formed a close federation for joint action and mutual benefit, and then in the nature of things every form of labour took action to conserve its interests. Strikes, disputes, emulations, and wranglings led to widespread delays, obstruction, and waste. Altruistic cooperation did not manifest itself in action. The Premier of England, well nigh exhausted physically and mentally by war service and international adjustments, could not give any attention to mere domestic concerns, but he saw the state and drift of things, and wisely cried 'Halt!' And that is the position to-day, and rightly so in view of how matters were going."


''Many experiments in housing have been made, good, bad, and indifferent. But on the whole, owing to the lack of altruistic endeavour, or co-operation on the part of some or all of those engaged in the activities, the result must be considered singularly disappointing to the nation. That applies not only to the volume of work done, but to the manner and kind of work actually performed, seeing that the whole proposition and the machinery for its attainment, had behind it the power and influence of the State. The high cost of land, materials, equipment, and labour so curtailed and restricted the architects' work that the buildings actually finished are disappointing in design, and utterly fail to satisfy practical needs, or to touch the fringe of erecting houses at an economic rental. The houses may be built 12 to the acre. Bungalows are sparingly resorted to, groups of two, four, or more, in a terrace, being mostly in vogue, not because they are desired or fully approved, but, because they are imposed by the exigencies of cost and custom. The designs in most cases show two storeys (8ft ceiling to floor). They are in the majority of cases severely plain, rectangular erections with hipped roofs, and rectangular openings for windows. In short they are in most instances suggestive of alms houses. Nor are  the construction and constructive details of these State houses at all up to the standard the nation has a right to expect. In reply to questions the humiliated and discouraged  architects say 'But what can we do in the face of all the rules, regulations, inspectors, trusts, profiteering, labour troubles and general vexations?' 'In short,' added Mr. Mitchell, 'the whole thing has been made impracticable by the greed, selfishness, laziness, stupidity, and general cussedness, and a great nationalised movement for housing betterment becomes a dismal fiasco.'


Blame is certainly not confined to labour, as some would have us believe. But Labour problems are made to loom so big now in the affairs of nations that the immediate reactions upon industrial endeavour are most serious. Before any relief can be given, trusts, cornerings, profiteering in land and all raw materials, must be made impossible by moral conviction, followed by legal enactment. It would appear that wages must drop or a much larger volume of  work performed for present wages before the economic problem can be even approached for solution.

Mr. Mitchell explained that his official duties carried him into close touch with the effects of the various influences of destruction and construction, and he was able to see where New Zealand could gain some useful lessons from  the Mother Land in how not to do things. "My experience convinced me," he said, "that until such time as the nation fits itself by earnest study and endeavour, to carry out scientifically so relatively simple a matter as housing, the Government must ca' canny and individuals get a more on."

Auckland Star,
17 December 1921,
Page 5

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The sturdy middle ages

Our Spanish Mission Furniture Will give you a room showing a decided atmosphere of refinement, being a genuine revival in historic memory of the sturdy middle ages.

The Press, Christchurch,  
6 November 1915 
Page 17