In the Galactic Museum of the distant future …. The last thousand years will be seen by visitors as evidence of some quaint remote culture: totem poles and clocks, ivories and pots, credit cards and bronzes.  –Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Oxford Professor of Modern History

In this issue

  • Feedback on John Robinson’s talk in July
  • The upcoming August session – Wendy Huston on the History of Seven Oaks / Midlands — Tuesday 25 August
  • Thomas Cromwell
  • Confirmed sessions for the remainder of 2020

Thanks to our July speaker: John Robinson

Fifty-five people packed out the Kapiti Uniting Church meeting room to hear historian John Robinson speak about the Musket Wars. This disastrous period in Maori history lasted from around 1800 to 1840 and over 600 battles were fought in inter-tribal conflict which probably cost more than 40,000 lives. The Treaty of Waitangi eventually brought this catastrophic era to a close, and the colonization that followed brought major benefits for the Maori population. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the session.

The August speaker – Wendy Huston

  • Tuesday 25 August at 7.30pm
  • Kapiti Uniting Church, 10 Weka Road, Raumati Beach
  • Gold coin koha. Thanks. 
  • A light supper will be served following the talk.

Wendy Huston, CEO of the Kapiti Retirement Trust, will be covering the history of Seven Oaks/Midlands — a key component of the flourishing retirement village industry on the Coast. 

The Kapiti Retirement Trust was formed in 1957 by a group of local residents. There was a perceived need for local accommodation for the elderly and a survey carried out by members of the local Rotary Club confirmed this.  

Marire Home north-west of the airport, was the original rest home, which was administered by the Trust. It has since closed, however today the Trust runs the large Sevenoaks – Midlands Gardens Retirement Village.

Thomas Cromwell: legendary civil servant

Tuesday 28 July was the 480th anniversary of Thomas Cromwell’s death. He was one of the greatest public servants ever to serve an English monarch. Hilary Mantel has brought him and the Tudor age he lived in, vividly to life, in possibly the most incredible trilogy ever written. Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies won the author Booker prizes and The Mirror and the Light is highly likely to net her an unprecedented third. She is on the recently announced 2020 Booker “long list”.

This eagerly awaited climax has been eight years in the making and you can see why. At 883 pages it has been a mammoth undertaking but once again Hilary Mantel has produced a work of impressive scholarship, incredible complexity and breath-taking brilliance. 

Many historians are dismissive of those who pen historical novels and indulge in poetic licence along the way, however, Hilary Mantel has won great respect from academics for her pain-staking research and meticulous attention to detail. She prefaces each of her books with a long list of characters – covering six pages in The Mirror and the Light – and this provides a vital source of reference for the reader to consult. A few of these are “invented characters” – servants and commoners – who help provide continuity in the story.

This climax in the story of Henry VIII and his talented Secretary, Vice Regent of the Church and Lord Privy Seal, starts in 1536 with the death of the king’s second wife Anne Boleyn. She is executed for adultery with a single swing of the sword by a French executioner who threatens to put up his prices if Henry needs him again. 

(For more see this post)

Speakers and topics for the rest of 2020

  • September 22 – Anthony Dreaver on the former Otaki Health Camp and its historical buildings.
  • October 27 – Hari Jackson on his Kapiti heritage.
  • November 17 – Bruce Taylor will speak on “A History of the Wellington to Manawatu Railway with particular reference to the impact on Kapiti, 1870s to the present.”
  • December 15 – David Hadfield on a topic related to his Kapiti heritage.

Suggestions for topics and speakers are always very welcome.

The on-going organisation for 2020

We are continuing on the same basis as in 2019 with monthly speakers on a Tuesday evening. A gold coin koha at these sessions covers our expenses. So there are no subscriptions and no need for an AGM. 

If you are on the mailing list you are a member. 

Roger Childs and John Robinson

Coordinators of the Kapiti Historical Society