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The Highlanders of Waipu
Chapter XXII - The Waipu Jubilee


February 13, 1903, was a memorable day in the annals of Waipu. It was the Jubilee of the settlement. Fifty years ago a band of intrepid homeseekers landed upon its shores. They had almost circumnavigated the globe in search of a suitable spot upon which to rear their altar. After much wandering and endless disappointments, they decided that here was their Promised Land. Here, indeed, was a new world, a rich soil, and a genial climate. Here they were isolated and could foster their own speech, their own customs, their own institutions without let or hindrance. The land was theirs; no one questioned their rights. Caledonia or the Golden West was no longer home. Time has erased the past, and out of evil had come forth good. A Mighty Hand had guided them, and glory be to Him for all the mercies vouchsafed to them.

The committee charged with the making of preparations had sent out a number of invitations to friends throughout New Zealand. Auckland sent a large contingent in the coastal steamers "Claymore" and " Rob Roy," while Whangarei, Maungaturoto, Matakohe, Paparoa, Maungawai, Rahae, Omaha, and other districts sent their contingents. Telegrams of congratulations camc from Dunedin and elsewhere. In all some 1,500 people had met to join in the celebrations. Pipers, kilts, tartans, and heather were there in abundance. It was a Highland gathering, and these things were essential.

The first part of the pragramme consisted of a short religious service in front of the old church. The audience, being cosmopolitan, the Old Hundredth Psalm was sung in English. Then followed a prayer and an appropriate sermon. Who can enter into the feelings of the original settlers upon this memorable occasion? Most of the adults had crossed the Jordan. How unlike were the services to those they remembered at St. Annís, at Melbourne, and on their arrival at Waipu. Then it was the expressive language of Eden; now they had a doubtful substitute in the Saxon tongue. Then the message was delivered with fire and pathos; now it was tame and commonplace. Ah, well, said they, sotto voce, "daoine ur, rathad ur" (new men, new ways).

After the services the party adjourned to the Waipu Park, where large marquees had been erected, and there they partook of a splendid luncheon provided by the ladies of Waipu. The oldest settlers present were Mrs. Duncan McKenzie (84), widow of the late Captain McKenzie, but now better known as the "Prince," to distinguish him from his brother Murdo who was known as the "Captain"; and Mr. Hector McKenzie (88), both of whom arrived in the "Highland Lass."

The luncheon over, the next part of the ceremony was the laying of the foundation stone of the monument to the old pioneers in Culloden Road facing the church. This is a fine column of red Aberdeen granite, cut hexagonally, about 50 feet high, and surmounted by the Lion Rampant of Scotland. On each of the six faces, near the base, is a model in Muntz metal of each of the six ships that left Cape Breton with the migrants. Underneath each model is her name, with the date of her departure and arrival, and also her Captainís name. On one of the basement panels are the surnames of all the clans who took part in the migration. These are :óAnderson, Buchanan, Campbell, Cameron, Dingwall, Finlayson, Ferguson, Fraser, Gillanders, Gillies, Haswell, Kerr, Kempt, Matheson, Morrison, Munro, McKenzie, McKay, McGregor, Mclnnes, McAuley, McRae, McLeod, McDonald, McLean, McLennan, McNab, Mclssac, McPhee, McBeth, McMillan, McQuarrie, Nicholson, Ross, Stewart, Sutherland, Urquhart, Elmsley. (The monument was finally completed in 1914.)

An important event was the taking of photographs in separate groups of all the surviving pioneers of each ship. These photographs appeared in the "Auckland Illustrated Press," and they form a valuable souvenir for future generations.

In the evening the marquee was converted into a concert hall, when the hearts of the people were cheered with pipe music, Highland dances, Gaelic songs, Scottish songs, speeches, and bonóbons. Mr. A. McKay presided, and Mr. Kenneth Campbell welcomed the visitors. Captain John McKenzie, a son of the pioneer, Captain Duncan McKenzie, read congratulatory telegrams from the Right Hon. the Premier (Richard John Seddon, P.C.), Sir John Logan Campbell (of Auckland), and Mr. Andrew Craig (of Dunedin), Messrs. Norman and Samuel McLeod, Mr. D. H. McKay, and the Rev. R. F. McNicol Speeches were made by Mr. F. Mander, M. H. R. Mr. R. Thompson, and the Rev. W. Gray Dixon, M.A., Minister of St. Davidís, Auckland.

On Sunday, February 15, the Rev. Mr. Gray Dixon preached a most eloquent sermon to a crowded congregation in the old church from the words of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter lxiii, 9-11, where the Prophet refers to Moses and his people being led out of Egypt. The preacher traced the career of Norman McLeod and the movement of the people, first to the West and then to the East. The national characteristics of the people, the venerative qualities of the Celt, their love of home and country, their gifts of imagination, their love of freedom, their attachment to each other, their patriotism and cosmopolitanism, and, above all, their reverence to God and His Church on earth.


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