Barbara Harvey, whom I meet through events put on by Friends of Waikumete Cemetery, told me of a wonderful find she made at Huapai: a white (yes, the buff colour here is just the colour of the paper Barbara very kindly scanned the invitation onto, then sent it to me in the mail) invitation, delicate and oh so old (1896) to a wedding which occurred between Ethel Margaret Redwood and Harry Ashby.
When she told me about it -- and that she had found the following news item about the wedding festivities in Papers Past, I'd thought the ceremonies had been held in Karaka, South Auckland, and that the Thames Star (24 July 1896) simply picked it up as news.
But I suspect that the Ashbys were a Karaka Creek family, living in the vicinity of Thames. William Ashby is reported to have died at his son Harry's home in Karaka Creek, October 1910, to be buried at Shortland. (also Thames Star).A pretty wedding took place yesterday afternoon, when Miss Ethel Redwood, second daughter of Mr John Redwood of the Karaka, was united in the holy bonds of matrimony to Mr Harry Ashby, eldest son of Mr Wm. Ashby, of Bella street. The marriage took place at the residence of the bride's parents, the Rev. J. Mackenzie, M.A., officiating. The bride was given away by her father, and looked charming in a pretty cream costume, with silk and lace trimming; and orange blossoms. She also carried a beautiful bouquet made by Miss Ashby. Of the bridesmaids, Miss Grace Redwood and Miss Ethel Ashby looked excellent in maroon serge dresses with white silk sashes ; Miss Jessie Hutchison in cream cashmere and pale pink trimming ; and Miss Ethel Morris pale blue cashmere with blue, trimmed with ribbon. Mr Wm. Ashby officiated as groomsman. After the ceremony the bridal party sat down to a splendid wedding breakfast prepared by Mrs Redwood, mother of the bride. The presents were both numerous and valuable, showing the esteem in which the young couple were held. In the evening a party in celebration of the marriage was held in the Protestant Alliance Hall, about 50 couples being present. Mr A. Billing provided the refreshments to perfection. Songs and dances were indulged in, the dance music being supplied by J. Donnelly (violin) and R. Eastings (piano). Dancing was continued into the early hours, Mr Jas. Dare officiating as M.C.
How the invitation ended up all the way in Huapai is anyone's guess. Thank you, Barbara, for letting me share your wonderful find with the readers!
Update 28 April 2011: Info from Lew Redwood (see below also) re the Redwood-Bray connection.