DISTRICT PROFILE - WESTLAND DISTRICT
When the gold seekers arrived on the West Coast they brought many traditions and organisations with them, including Freemasonry. As the population of the Coast swelled, the number of Masonic Lodges increased and more than twenty Lodges have existed at one time or another. The lodges were situated from Karamea in the North to Whataroa in the South and Reefton in the East. Most of the Lodges were associated with mining in one form or another.
The Westland District encompasses the West Coast territorial districts of Buller to the North, Grey, and Westland to the South. There are currently three lodges in the district serving around 90 members. Robert Burns No 50 (Reefton), Advance Mawhera No 61 (Shantytown, Greymouth), and Torea No 121 (Waimangaroa).
Many well known Coasters have been Freemasons, most notably Premier Sir Richard John Seddon. Others include military men such as Samuel Mitchell VC, Rear Admiral Sir Peter Phipps, and Brigadier General Bruce Meldrum. Local body figures such as John Lazar, first Town Clerk of Hokitika and Henry Michel, Mayor of Hokitika have also been active Freemasons.
One of the principles of Freemasonry is charitable work and on the Coast it is no different. Freemasons locally provide support in various ways but a key focus is on health and well being. Initiatives have included a men’s health programme and the provision of defibrillators to the new Grey swimming pool and to Shantytown. Some charitable work though is more personal, such as providing support to families who have children with special needs.
The full list of lodges in the district (and where they meet) are:
|The Robert Burns Lodge No. 50
The Advance Mawhera Lodge No. 61
Lodge Torea No. 121