Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The pristine and the collapsed at Waikumete

Charles Oliver Bond Davis, Maori interpreter, writer and land purchase agent for the NZ Government, certainly left his mark on this country. An encycolpedia entry, reference in the Journal of the Polynesian Society (regarding the establishment of a printing press and stores for Thames and Poverty Bay Maori), deeds  and land sales records.

One one side of his memorial pillar is English text.

On another, Te Reo.  The other two sides are blank.

There's also this example of time's unkind collapses.

David D Roberts died in 1907. His widow must have loved him dearly, to place not only a pillar of brown marbleof his grave, but an inlaid portrait of her dearly departed.

Just sad, though, how things just fall away.


  1. Wow, that's so cool! My great, great ..... Great grandfather was Capt William Young who married Elizabeth Davis who was C.O.B Davis' sister! I didn't know his grave was still around! I think its interesting that the grave stone says he came to NZ in 1830, as everything else I've been able to find points to them coming over on the Tranmere in 1827... They lived up at Hokianga.
    Thanks for posting!

    1. Wow you know more of our tupuna that I do. I am Donna Waipouri-Baxter, Maria Rudolph, Maraea Hunia, Walter Hunia,..........Cpt William Young

  2. You're welcome! I'm surprised to have seen a reaction so quickly. If you'd like higher res photos of his gravestone (free!), just flick me an email. The address is in the profile.

  3. Oh that is a great result Lisa! :-) so satisfying when someone comes back to you about a photos isn't it!

    I LOVEEEEE Waikumete :-)

    That is sooo tragic re David Roberts headstone :( I just love that grave ceramic..what a fabulous photo.


  4. Yes Sandy, I felt so sorry for Mr Roberts. At least we can see what he looked like in life, though, with that great ceramic.

    Waikumete is certainly addictive. Come the autumn, armed with water and sandwiches, hopefully I'll head out there again.

  5. Fabulous photos, just sorry to see these wonderful creations to memories of a life fall into disrepair like this.

  6. Sadly, my grandfather was buried in a section of Waikumete in an umarked grave around 1960, quite estranged from the family. Although we lived quite close - less than five minute's drive, we never knew where it was, nor was it suggested we find out - much less visit. Certainly I used to walk the cemetery often as a teenager and I don't know why it never occurred to me at the time since I have always been interested in heritage, ah giddy youth. I have only just realised that I have done so much work on other people's lives and families, but have never really focussed on my own! Next time I am in New Zealand, I shall make and effort to redress the situation and pay my respects...

  7. Have you checked the Waikumete Cemetery database for his name and location? If you track down his block/plot number, I could try sending you a map of where he his.

  8. Found it! Amazing.

  9. Waikumete Cemetery map. This shows the blocks. Next time I'm in the central library, I'll look up the records books there. They're based on burial records.

  10. Thanks so much. Now I can see it I remember my mother sort of waving airily at it as we passed in the car. still, we never went in to look. Strangely she was always the one that knew all of this stuff about the other side of the family, whereas my father's side had so little interest that we don't even know what the surname was before it was unceremoniously castrated and cast off somewhere between Russia, Scotland, and New Zealand. A good day in which I also found a photo of my two aunts as schoolgirls in 1942. I think I met one, not sure about the other...

  11. Surnames passing through Britain (and America) tend to undergo metamorphosis. Officially, one of my grandfathers was Jewish (unofficially, Mum's father was an Irish policeman). In terms of my Jewish grandfather, the surname I have to go on is Smith ...(sigh)

  12. Yes I saw it in a documentary once, it was the done thing to shorten, anglicise or just change to quite common Anglo names that were easier to pronounce. Having learned a great deal more about my own family history in the last two yeasr since my initial comments I've discovered that the name shortening thing was likely a family story and did not actually happen.

    We often used to go to this part of the cemetery in my teens and take a picnic. It was just as unkempt and derelict then as it is now.