On Sunday, May 7, a ceremony was held in Cornwall Park to mark the coronation of King Charles III.
The celebration comprised planting a Kahikatea tree and installing a plaque to preserve the memory of this historic occasion for generations to come.
To read Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst’s address on the day please see below.
Tēnā koutou katoa
Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou
We proudly gather here today at this special park to commemorate the coronation of the seventh sovereign monarch of the Realm of New Zealand – Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
The District of Hastings joins together with all of Aotearoa New Zealand, The United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth, to mark this special occasion.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi The Treaty of Waitangi symbolises the partnership our realm holds with the monarchy, signed between the Sovereign Māori Nation and Governor Hobson on behalf of Queen Victoria on the 6th February 1840 at Waitangi.
For the past 150 years, the Citizens of Hastings have recognised and celebrated significant Royal Occasions.
The first royal fervour for Hastings came in 1897, with the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee. Hastings was decorated for the occasion and a large haangi was held at Mākirikiri Pā in the CBD, where a whole bullock was prepared for the feast. A Royal Oak was planted in Queen’s Square which once carried the name Victoria Square; and a lake was formed from the remnant Mākirikiri stream at the race course, called Jubilee Lake.
The hallmarks of the Victorian age survive today on a very rare Post Box that stands outside the Civic Administration Building on Lyndon Road. It is a fire engine red, cast iron relic that carries the VR cypher of Queen Victoria.
Following the death of Queen Victoria, a request for a royal tour was realised in June 1901 with a visit to New Zealand by the Their Royal Highnesses Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, later known as King George V and Queen Mary. Although the royal tour did not visit Hastings, many Hastings citizens travelled to Wellington to see the Duke and Duchess, where they were hosted by Premier Richard Seddon and The Hon. Henare Tōmoana, who was a Member of the Legislative Council.
In honour of the royal tour in 1901, J N Williams park, which was donated to the town of Hastings, was renamed Cornwall Park, where we are today.
1902 saw the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, which was commemorated with the planting of a Royal Oak at Duart House in Havelock North. In Hastings, celebrations were held at the race course, where there were patriotic speeches, sports and fireworks with music from the Hastings Town Band. A special kapa haka group was formed for the occasion and was given the name “The Duke of York’s Own” Māori Dance Troupe. Two large waka were floated on the Jubilee Lake and poi dances, waiata, and haka were performed in front of the grand stand.
A special Coronation Medal was struck to mark the occasion and was issued to many Hastings people in recognition of their work amongst the community and service to the monarchy.
King George V and Queen Mary were crowned in 1911 which coincided with opening of the King’s Theatre on Karamū Road South, behind which was planted a Royal Oak to commemorate the coronation. This Royal Oak still stands in the middle of Civic Square.
A Coronation Skating Rink was opened, and here in Cornwall Park the Coronation Fountain was built as a lasting memory of King George V and his visit to New Zealand as Duke of Cornwall and York. This fountain remains a favourite spot for many young families, whose children climb the Lions Rampant to pose for photographs as we have all done in our lives.
The Silver Jubilee for King George V was commemorated in the change of name from Beatson’s Park to Windsor Park in 1935.
The Royal Coat of Arms for King George V is emblazoned on the splayed corner of the former Post Office building on the corner of Russell and Queen Streets, and his Royal Cypher remains above the entrances. The coat of arms is supported by a lion representing England and a unicorn representing Scotland.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth celebrated their coronation in 1937 and Hastings held commemorations at Nelson Park, with the coronation day of Wednesday 12th May being deemed a national holiday. Wet weather put a dampener on the lead-up to the celebrations and the street bunting was reported to have looked very sad carrying the weight of the water, however the sun came out on the day and a successful Coronation Cup race took place at the race course. A commemorative tree planting took place again with a row of memorial trees along Hastings Street.
Hastings also commemorated with a very different focus on 12th May 1937, which was in the form of the “Anderson Coronation Triplets’” Mary, Rose, and Elizabeth Anderson of Kahurānaki. There was great interest in the triplets for much of their life with the media following their early years with the headlines always referring to the coronation triplets. Hastings followed the story of the Coronation Triplets all through their life, celebrating their milestone birthdays as a city.
The coronation of our most memorable sovereign Queen Elizabeth II was quickly followed by a Royal Tour in which Her Late Majesty and His Royal Highness Prince Philip visited Hastings in 1954.
Special coronation honours were bestowed to mark the occasion and our own Havelock North local Henry Piet Van Asch was made a Member of British Empire for services to civil aviation, especially in connection with aerial survey and mapping.
Her Late Majesties coronation is our only living memory of this sacred ceremony, and many families still hold coronation memorabilia in their display cabinets.
The Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II was commemorated in 2013 with the planting of a Royal Oak in Queen’s Square alongside the memorial tree for Queen Victoria.
So that brings us to today and the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
The coronation is the start of a new era – the Third Caroleen Era.
Again we commemorate this historic event with the planting of a tree, however this time we depart from the tradition of a Royal Oak and we turn to our own native Kahikatea, the tree that built the township of Hastings from 1873, milled from the Pakiaka bush where Te Ara Kahikatea now is at Mangateretere.
This year we acknowledge the 150th anniversary of the founding of Hastings, and over that 150 years we have commemorated the coronation of seven sovereigns. The names and associations of our Kings and Queens have been etched into the built fabric of our district, and indeed even rooted into the whenua.
The Kahikatea is the tallest tree to stand in the forest of Tāne, it is our native version of the Royal Oak, the tall and solid white pine. The Kahikatea is a symbol of whanaungatanga; relationships and partnership within te ao Māori. The kahikatea is known for its unique root structure, which does not grow primarily underground like many trees. Instead, the roots spread across the forest floor to connect and intermingle with the roots of other kahikatea, making it one of the strongest and most resilient trees in the forest
The proverbs associated with the Kahikatea are appropriate for King Charles III and his own personal interests in charity, philanthropy, the natural environment, and his devotion to duty and service to others.
The whakatauki proverb is:
Kia uru kahikatea ki tū
Success through unity of purpose
God Save the King
Nō reira Tēnā koutou
Tēna tatou katoa
8 May 2023
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