A Royal Occasion
Most of us looking back over past events usually have one or two memories that conjure up vivid scenes. The first day at school, the first ride on a bicycle, the first kiss…….
One of my clear recollections is of the Queen and Prince Philip’s visit to New Zealand in 1953, and is centered in Athletic Park where I now live. The event was the children’s welcome to the royal pair. It was organized by the Wellington Education Board, for the local primary school pupils – thirty thousand of them. Imagine them filling the ground.
How were the children to sound as one? We talked around this problem at the dinner table, and finally my father worked out the solution which worked like magic.
He approached six brass bands and conductors and divided the children into six blocks.
For many of those who sang that day, this event remains crystal clear.
On the great day, which was in fact the first combined rehearsal, the band conductors could not see my father’s beat adequately. The usual Kiwi no. 8 fencing wire solution was found – a New Zealand Anchor Butter box, located under the grand stand on which he stood. It was enough, though slightly shaky, for clear vision for all.
Judith beside her father’s bust
which stands in the
Wellington Town Hall.
New Zealand History online – Nga Korero aipurangi o Aotearoa,
has a short video and some photo of the occassion.