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Time capsule unveils Council-Clapperton links

The Clapperton family’s connection with Council goes back more than 80 years and at least three generations.

The shared history came to light after a tiny time capsule was found earlier this month, inside the newly moved Havelock North Cricket Pavilion.

Ernest Harding, a builder working on the refurbishment of the pavilion after it was moved from the northern end of the Havelock North Village Green to its new site on the Te Mata Rd side, found a tobacco tin lodged inside a kitchen wall. Inside the Mitchell’s Prize Crop Tobacco tin was tucked a small piece of tongue and groove timber inscribed, in pencil, with the names: Arthur Clapperton; J A Gardner; D Joll; A Lindsay: Builders and Contractors, and the date: 1/9/38.

The story was published in Hawke’s Bay Today and on Hastings District Council’s website, and that prompted Arthur Clapperton’s son Don to come forward with photos, and a list of family members who had worked for Council over the intervening years.

Don’s dad, better known as Sam, worked as a Council builder (then the Hastings Borough Council) for 19 years. Don does not remember the actual pavilion job, but does remember the other builders named on the piece of wood, and their families. “Alec Lindsay – we knew him well; and the Joll family; a really big Havelock North family.”

Don was one of 16 siblings: nine boys and seven girls. Three of the boys went on to work for Council (Lindsay, Percy and Frank Clapperton), as did one of the sisters (Diane), and the husbands of three of the sisters (Bunny Taylor, Bob Le Compte and Bruce Craft).

In the next generation, Percy’s son David worked a holiday job painting for Council, and another niece, Lynette Sangster, was a receptionist.

The line does not stop there though; there are still Clappertons working for Council – Lindsay’s son Nigel Clapperton is Council’s senior landfill operator. He has been with Council for more than 40 years, at the landfill since 2000 after 20-plus years in the roading division. His cousin Lynne Cox (Lindsay’s niece) also works for council as a business support officer, and she believes there could well have been more family names on the Council staff list over the decades.

Nigel Clapperton said he had “just ticked over 40 years”. Longevity was in the genes: HIs father before him was a mechanic who worked for Council for 40-ish years. He remembered his grandad Sam. “But I was only very little. It’s pretty amazing that we go back that far with Council.”

“It’s been a good job; I really have enjoyed every minute of it,” said Nigel.

After starting with Council when he was “pretty young”, he had seen many changes, including the names by which Council went. “It must be good though; I’m still here.”


4 October 2017

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