Advance Mawhera No 61 is going through a period with a record number of Service awards being presented to some of our older Brethren. It all started last December when I had the privilege to travel to Christchurch and present W Bro Ralph Dickson with his 60 year Service Pin and Badge. Bro Ralph was initiated into the Mawhera Lodge No 65 in Greymouth. My wife and I were warmly welcomed into Ralph's home and he had arranged for 2 Lodge friends and their wives to be present, Bro's Brian Palmer and Howard Thompson from the Lodge of Progress No 22. After the "Formal Part", we were all able to enjoy a social hour and give a catch-up on what was happening on the West Coast.
Then, at our March regular meeting, we welcomed W Bro Jack Becker along with 2 Sons and a Grand Son for the presentation by Div Grand Master, Rob Angelo, of his 70 year Service Pin and Bar. We believe that this is the first time that a 70 year award has been made on the West Coast. Bro. John (Jack) was initiated into the Waro Lodge in Blackball. W Bro. Tom Fielding who has served over 65 years spoke about their growing up together in the Grey Valley and the love that Jack had for Motorcycles. R W Bro. Rob, also a keen Bikie then followed up with his comments on Bikes prior to formally recognising the significance of the event. Other members also spoke of their association with Jack over the many years that he was an active member.
The evening then continued with a supper and a chance for one and all to share a word with Jack.
This then leads us to the present. W Bro. Maurie Pulman is due to be presented with his 50 year Jewel in April.
Maurie was a regular attender of our Lodge until quite recently when health issue hindered his ability to attend. He was Initiated in Lodge Ross, 339, in South Westland, an area famous for the amount of Gold recovered and still being successfully mined. It is believed that Maurie is probably the last WW 2 Veteran, Lodge member on the Coast.
A small function is being arranged so that some of his old Lodge friends can attend and he can be presented with his Jewel.
This brings us up to the near future. Bro Len Boaz who was another initiated in the Waro Lodge in the "famous" town of Blackball, nearly 60 years ago. He is due in May for a 60 year Pin and Bar. Bro. Len now lives in Dargaville in North Auckland and I have arranged for the District GM from Northland to Present the Pin and Bar to him on our Behalf.
I guess that it is inevitable that we get a significant number of higher service awards as the the first Lodge was chartered on the West Coast back in 1866 and in total, it is believed there were at one time or another, 27 Lodges on the West Coast.
We are now down to 3 of the New Zealand Constitution and 2 English. We therefore look forward to a few more milestone's over the coming years.
As District Grand Master, it is always rewarding to meet those Brethren who been in the Lodge for such a long time and while many are now "inactive", to recognise the contribution they had to their Lodges in their younger years.
Norman Young, Dist Grand Master Westland No 24"
On a wet drizzly Sunday afternoon 30 plus West Coast Lodge members and families gathered at the Charleston Underground Adventures Cafe at Charleston, (about 15 minutes south of Westport), as guests of WBro Ray Maroney to take a trip on the company's bush train and walk in the surrounding bush land. Although wet underfoot this didn't deter the hearty souls of the West Coast Lodges exploring this part of their beautiful back yard.
We left Charleston in convoy and traveled into the bush clad hills behind to find the Train and Station. At this stage there is a change of footwear from shoes to gumboots and grab the jacket and umbrella.
Then its all aboard the Train and after a few health and safety messages and a history lesson plus a joke or two from WBro Ray, we're off along the track amongst the glistening bush following the Nile river with its high and stunning rock formations to which everyone was in awe. We stop along the way for more history on the area.
At the end of the line we all disembarked for a twenty minute bush walk and, after crossing a swing bridge on to the start of the underground caving system that Ray regularly guides people through. We left the exploration of this system to the younger members to experience in their own time. At one point along the way, one of our Masons wives had a close encounter with a wild goat who nearly crashed into her as he make his way to the safety of the bush clad hills above. It was then all back onto the train and back to the Station for the trip back. Then into the cars, and back to the Cafe for a cuppa and a sandwich.
This was one amazing trip. The scenery here with the high cliffs, caves and the beautiful Nile River are a must visit for anyone travelling through the Buller area. This was one of the many activities that are being arranged on the Coast to bring our Masonic Brotherhood together and to enjoy the Fellowship of our members from the five Lodges here, along with our Wives, Partners and families.
Special thanks to WBro Ray Maroney and his Company for the trip and his hospitality.
Click here to see the other photos taken on the day.
Membership activities are still active in our region. Currently we have two candidates about to complete their Third Degrees so membership is looking positive. On a sadder note, at the recent Lodge Torea meeting, they had to report the deaths of three members. Two were aged and not active but one was much younger and only initiated about 18 months ago.
We have been quite active socially of late. Lodge Torea in conjunction with the Phoenix Lodge EC organised a trip to the historic town and area of Charlston where our group were taken on a train ride through the bush to the Nile river, (no Crocs), and then allowed to visit caves etc in the area before the train ride back finishing with afternoon tea at the Underworld Adventure Ltd cafe. Some 30 odd members and partners attended on a day that was less than ideal, but feed back suggests was very successful. We are now already planning the next outing.
A week later, we had the second of our District meetings organised since I took over the reins as District GM. This was held in Reefton and was attended by most of the Senior members of the Coast Lodges as well as a good number of other Lodge members. We also had the priveledge of welcoming R W Bro Rob Angelo to the meeting. Various topics were discussed and I was very pleased with the contribution that all present made to the meeting. After tea at a local Hotel, we all then then attended the Robert Burns Monthly meeting.
Coming up, we have a couple of Long service Jewels to present which is always pleasing, we will carry out the two third degrees and we are currently planning for a "Speaking About Freemasonry" Seminar to be presented by Graeme Martin, Grand lecturer for the Southern Division.
District GM Westland No 24