Southern Division
District Grand Masters Comments for June & July


 June and July were reasonably quiet and the District Grand Master even had time to spend three weeks in United States of America and Canada and see how others live. The Caledonian Lodge had their Installation on the 4th June and V W Bro Alex Solomon went back into the chair. This lodge has picked itself up and is starting to initiate new members and the future is starting to look bright.
We had a visit from the Grand Master on the 9th June when he Rededicated the Timaru Lodge Rooms and it was pleasing to see a good turn out of Brethren and wives/partners at this function.
The Worshipful  Master of The Mackenzie Lodge advises that that lodge is holding their one hundred and twenty fifth celebrations in May next year and any ex members of the lodge are welcome to attend. Any members who want more information should contact the Assistant Secretary W Bro J Elston on





VWBro P W Smith; District Grand Master with the Worshipful Master of The Mackenzie Lodge; WBro Richard Fraser.


The Mackenzie Lodge rooms at 44 Gall Street, Fairlie.    


District Grand Masters Comments
We are starting a new programme of showcasing a senior Brother of our District and this month it is the turn of R W Bro Alex Thomson a Past Provincial Grand Master and active member of Harmony Lodge No 325.
Alex Thomson was born in Eyemouth, an East Coast fishing village in Scotland, on 12 May 1928. He served an apprenticeship
as a marine and general engineer. After earlier years in the boy scouts, Alex joined the air training corps and learned to play the
bagpipes, playing in the Eyemouth A.T.C. Pipe Band. He was also a police messenger during the war. At 18 years of age he was
conscripted into the King’s Own Scottish Borderers for two-and-a-half years and served in Palestine 1946-48.
On demob from the army he met his future wife, Daphne, who had recently arrived to teach at the local high school. In 1950,
they became engaged and decided to emigrate to New Zealand. About this time Alex became interested in freemasonry and
Daphne was very supportive. Some of his older friends were members of the local masonic lodge and they were eager to have
Alex initiated before he set off for New Zealand. Two weeks before sailing Alex was initiated. It was not easy for married people
to get an early passage so they sailed to New Zealand in April 1951 and got married after they arrived. They already had jobs
awaiting them in Christchurch where Daphne taught at a high school and Alex was employed as a marine and general engineer.
Alex had two interests that he wished to continue: freemasonry and piping, and he was well supported by Daphne in both of
these. He joined Robert Burns Lodge No 139 and the Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band while Daphne joined the ladies
groups. In 1952 the Ashburton Pipe Band gained promotion into Grade 1 and at that time the pipe major decided to retire. Alex
was invited to travel to Ashburton to tutor the band and in 1953 Daphne and Alex moved to Ashburton where he became pipe
major. The band had already been busy getting them a house and jobs. The band also had some freemasons in its ranks so Alex
joined Harmony Lodge No 325.
In 1956, their first son, Malcolm, was born. Also at that time Alex had befriended some of the technical teaching staff at the
school where Daphne had taught and he discovered that he had the necessary qualifications to apply to go teaching. In 1957,
Alex entered the secondary division at Auckland Teachers’ College for a one-year post-graduate course and on its completion he
was accepted for a position in Christchurch in 1958. Also in 1958 son number two, Ian, was born in Ashburton because Daphne
wanted to return for the same maternity treatment as she had received two years earlier.
In 1951, Daphne and Alex had promised their parents that they would return in two years’ time. So much for promises and, after
14 years in New Zealand, they started planning for their long-overdue return to the UK but just for a working holiday. Alex was
granted a year’s leave-of-absence and they sailed from Auckland in December 1965. Daphne and Alex spent much of their time
in teaching positions but their main object was to stay with family and share the boys with their four grandparents.
However, prior to their departure for the UK Alex had successfully applied for a senior position at Ashburton College including
the leave-of-absence, so when the family returned to Christchurch in January 1967 everything was all-go for a return to
Ashburton. Malcolm and Ian were well into school life by this time having experienced three different schools in the UK so
Daphne decided to return to fulltime teaching. Around 1975 Ashburton College’s school roll climbed to 1630 students and the
senior staffing changed from a principal, deputy principal and senior mistress to principal, associate principal and two deputy
principals. The deputy principal decided to retire and Daphne who was the senior mistress was appointed as one of the deputy
principal and Alex became the second deputy principal. They enjoyed being in these positions for 12 years until they decided to
retire in May 1988. It was unusual to have a husband and wife team at this level in a school but, fortunately, there were never
any problems. Malcolm was an architectural draughtsman and he decided to become a school teacher. Following a year at
Christchurch Teachers’ College he arrived on Ashburton College staff so there was still a Thomson.
Daphne and Alex enjoyed 9 good years of retirement when they travelled extensively overseas. The tenth year saw a decline in
Daphne’s health and, sadly, she died in October 1998. By this time both sons were living in Australia. Malcolm teaches in
Melbourne while Ian is self-employed as an antique furniture restorer. There are five Thomson grandchildren. The eldest
granddaughter is a graduate landscape architect from Lincoln University, two are at TAFE’s in Sydney, and in Melbourne one is
at high school and another in the final year at primary school.
Alex sees his Australian family from time-to-time. His eldest granddaughter works in Ashburton and lives round the corner with
her partner. Unfortunately the two youngest grandchildren never knew their Thomson grandmother but the four Australian
grandchildren and their parents were here to help celebrate Alex’s 90th birthday.





April 1951 Initiated: Lodge St Ebbe No 70, Eyemouth, Scotland. Life member.
December 1951 Joined Robert Burns Lodge No 139, Christchurch.
 Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degrees conferred during this time. Steward.
March 1954 Joined Harmony Lodge No 325, Ashburton. Steward.
June 1958 Joined Corinthian Lodge No 321, Christchurch. Steward.
July 1967 Re-Joined Harmony Lodge No 325, Ashburton. Steward and progressed through the Offices.
1973-74 Worshipful Master of Harmony Lodge No 325.
1978 Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies of Canterbury.
1984-86 Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Canterbury.
1990 Junior Grand Warden, Grand Lodge of New Zealand Freemasons.
1993-95) Provincial Grand Master of Provincial Grand Lodge of Canterbury. (42 Lodges)
1995 Responsible for the dissolution of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Canterbury which was
re-named The Canterbury District, Grand Lodge of New Zealand Freemasons.
1995-96 Provincial Grand Master of the Canterbury District, Grand Lodge of New Zealand Freemasons.
 (Still 42 Lodges in the District jurisdiction)
2002-3 Worshipful Master of Harmony Lodge No 325 for 2nd time.
2008-9 Worshipful Master of Harmony Lodge No 325 for 3rd time.
1996-2017 Compiled Harmony Lodge notices in conjunction with the Lodge Secretary.
2000-2017 Established and Convened Harmony Lodge Membership Committee.
The success of this committee was such that in 2004 the Wardens, Deacons, Inner Guard,
Asst DC and 5 Stewards were all Master Masons.
2009 - 2012 Secretary of Harmony Lodge.
2012 Chairman of Harmony Lodge By-laws Committee.
 Re-wrote the By-laws of Harmony Lodge.
1983-92 Member of Canterbury Masonic Charitable Trust
1992-93 Chairman of Canterbury Masonic Charitable Trust.

1993-96 Member of Canterbury Masonic Charitable Trust (Ex-Officio as Prov Grand Master.)
1999 Appointed Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina near New Zealand.
2001 Presented with 50 Years’ Service Badge by MW Bro RJ Duncan PGM
Presented with 50 Years’ Service Certificate from The Grand Lodge of Scotland
2006 - 2012 Trustee of the Ashburton Masonic Centre Charitable Trust.
2010 - Lapsed Appointed Membership Convener of the Midland District No 28.
2011 Presented with 60 Years’ Service Bar by MW Bro RJ Duncan PGM
1966 Mark Degree in Lodge St Ebbe No 70, Eyemouth, Scotland.
1966 Excellent and Royal Arch Degrees in Land of Cakes RAC No 15, Eyemouth, Scotland.
 Joined Side Orders.
1972 Joined Rose & Thistle RAC No 35, Ashburton.
1981-82 First Principal, Rose & Thistle RAC No 35.

1990 Grand Standard Bearer in Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New Zealand.
2006 Presented with 40 years’ Service Jewel.
2018 Presented with 45 years’ Bar.
2018 - Still active in Harmony Lodge, No 325; Rose & Thistle RAC, No 35; and Installations.

Peter Smiths Comments for April/ May

On the 11th April Methven Lodge No 51 had their annual Vacant Chair ceremony where a local Major Bro Ian Lattimore, Royal N Z Infantry Regiment  was the guest speaker. Present were members of the RSA and the public.

On the 19th April Lodge Timaru No 196 had their Installation and Bro Keith Murray was installed into the chair of King Solomon, and became W Bro Keith Murray.

Lodge Koranga No 197 held their ANZAC service on the 24th April and this well organised meeting had a good attendance where W Bro R G McMeeking gave an account of his father and uncles duties during the war.

Erewhon Lodge No 200 held their Installation on the 3rd May and Bro Jeffrey Sostinto took over control of that lodge,and on the 9th May Bro Leo Mario was installed as Master of the Methven Lodge No 51, the fourth Master in the Mid-Canterbury region of Fillipino descent.




Peter Smiths Comments for March

Our Southern Division Conference was held at Methven on the week-end of 2nd 3rd and 4th March and once again was very successful, around one hundred Brethren attending, one lodge had ten Brethren attend which was good.The future of this conference is uncertain but hopefully we will meet yearly in some form.

On the 15th February Timaru Lodge No 196 initiated Mr Phillip Lamb and at the same meeting RW Bro Rob Angelo Divisional Grand Master presented WBro Bruce McDuff with his Roll of Honour.

The Midland District Lodge of Research had their Installation on the 12th March and WBro Jeff Elston went into the chair.Lodge St Augustine No 99 Waimate has been busy initiating new members and the following photo shows some of them.

L-R Bro John Carskit, Bro Rafael Carnable, Bro Elvis Magoyop, Bro Ronall Bautista, WBro Ted Butler, WBro Jeff Elston, Bro Peter Cajes, Bro Aldwin Bulosan, Bro Vinneri Largo 

Lodge Arowhenua No 473 has been doing the same and the following photo shows some of those Brethren.


L-R Bro Nilo Pombo [SW], Bro Cryzlti Ocon [Asst DC], Bro Ivan Danar [Candidate], WBro Ariel Ocon [WM], Bro Manny Taroy [JD]. A 1st Degree ceremony for Bro Danar on Monday 23rd March 2018.

Peter Smiths Comments for February

I hope that you have all survived the last months heat and as I write this the days are getting cooler. 

On the 10th January,the Methven Lodge held the only meeting in the District when they combined with St Augustine Lodge
No 99 and The United Forces Lodge No 245 and initiated Mr Stephen Houston. At the same meeting the Divisional Grand Master; R W Bro Rob Angelo presented Bro Jock McCrory with his sixty year Service Badge.

At the same meeting, R W Bro Angelo presented V W Bro Ray Gudex and V W Bro David Darling,with Certificates of Merit for the work they have done and are doing for the District.


On the 17th February 2018, R W Bro Richard Taylor will be installed as District Grand Master, South Island, New Zealand, Grand Lodge of England at the Timaru Masonic Complex, commencing at 2.00pm and I'm sure that you join me in wishing him all the best in his term of office.

On the 15th February, Lodge Timaru No 196, will be initiating; Mr Phillip Lamb and at the same meeting; R W Bro Rob Angelo, Divisional Grand Master, will be presenting W Bro Bruce McDuff with his Roll of Honour badge. Would brethren please support  W Bro McDuff on this special occasion.


Peter Smiths Comments for January

Brethren I hope you have had a relaxing festive season and are recharged and ready for what 2018 has to throw at you.

It was pleasing to see a good gathering of Senior Brethren and Widows at the Ashburton Almoners Christmas Party on the 26th November.


A week later Timaru held their party and although there were numerous other outings on that date there was still a good turn-out.



we were invited to the Oamaru Almoners Christmas Party and four of us went when Anna and Duncan McLaghlan gave a report on their daughter Charlees progress since her operation.It is going to be a long slow journey for Charlee but already there has been a marked improvement. John Ruddick is in constant contact with the family and I am sure their needs are being met.

Just a reminder that the registrations for the Divisional Conference close on 16th February so if you are intending to go to this event now is the time to register

Peter Smith's Comments for November

We are nearly into November and before we know it Christmas will be here.

Three Installations in November. On the 7th November Bro Roel Rojas goes into the Chair at Harmony Lodge in Ashburton and on the 9th of November WBro Richard Fraser takes charge at the MacKenzie Lodge at Fairlie. On the 15th of November WBro Merv Green is installed in the Thistle Lodge in Ashburton. It would be good to see the Lodge full at these Installations.

The Midland Masonic Choir is giving a concert at the Savage Club Hall on the 11th of November when the students from the Southern end of the District will receive their Musical Scholarships. An entertaining night well worth attending.

We were privileged to receive a visit from the Grand Master who attended the St Augustine Lodge meeting in Waimate and witnessed a second degree and presented WBro Ray Bennett with his sixty year bar. The Grand Master had the assistance of three Fellowcrafts and one Entered Apprentice in making the presentation. A very moving and nice ceremony.

The West End Hall is being re-opened on the 3rd of November and it will be good for the Timaru brethren to have their Lodge Rooms handed back to them. A lot of work still needs to be done - but it's heading in the right direction.

Don't forget to stay safe - and always "Speak Up".

District Grand Masters comments Midland District

It is nearly October and time for daylight saving which means we get an extra hours work into the day.

On the 24th September at the Ashburton College Auditorium the Midland Masonic Choir along with the St Josephs School Choir and the Ashburton M S A  entertained us with an enjoyable concert. The organisers were able to hand to the Life Education Trust a cheque  for three thousand seven hundred dollars and music scholarships were handed out to Megan Calder from Opihi College, Jack Bubb from Ashburton College, Dylan Taylor from Mt Hutt College, Logan Keggenhoff from Geraldine High School and Megan Hay from Mackenzie College. We thank the Midland Charitable Trust and the Sophia Street Car Park Trust for once again supporting this concert. A concert for the pupils from the Southern end of the District will be held in November at Timaru and I urge you to attend.

We are to receive a visit from the Grandmaster at the St Augustine Lodge on the 11th October and it would be good to see a full house for this visit. The Lodge will be doing a second degree and the Grandmaster will be presenting a sixty year badge to W Bro Ray Bennett, a well known Freemason from this district.
Hopefully in the next two months the West End Hall will be completed and the Timaru Lodges will be able to return home.

Peter Smith
District Grand Master

Latest News from Peter Smith, District Grand Master

We are around the corner and nearly into spring so in another fortnight or so we will not need to go to the Pacific Islands for a holiday as it will be warm enough here. 

Some dates to mark on your calender:  

On the 13th September the Divisional Grand Master will re-dedicate the portico at the Methven Lodge Rooms. This Portico came from the Lodge Malvern No 230 at Coalgate who received it from Clutha Lodge No 14 so it has been around a bit. It has been erected in the Methven Lodge and looks very good. 

On the 18th September Bro Ariel Ocon will be installed as Master of Arowhenua Lodge No 473 at Winchester so it would be good to see a full house.  

On the 24th September at 2pm  the Midland Masonic Choir will put on a concert at the Ashburton College Auditorium when Musical Scholarships will be presented to Pupils from  Mt Hutt College, Methven, Ashburton College, Geraldine High School, Opihi College Temuka  and Mackenzie College Fairlie. I ask that you attend this concert and support the choir and the pupils receiving the Scholarships. A concert for the pupils of the Southern end of the district will be held in November. 

On the 7th August I accompanied John Poland and Lars Hansen to the West End Kindergarten when Lars Hansen presented a cheque to the Kindergarten for  $1426 from the Freemasons Charity through the Caledonian Lodge so that they could replace  some aged play ground equipment. In October we hope to receive the Grandmaster at the St Augustine Lodge, we are busy organising this now and will keep you posted. 

In the meantime keep warm and do not forget to cancel those tickets to the Pacific Islands.

Peter Smith

Berry Mitchell, Concert Organiser for the Midland Masonic Choie until his retirement last year after 25 years of service!



July News from the Midland District Southern Division

I hope you are all managing to stay warm as we journey through Winter. We have had two Lodges have to cancel their meetings because of snow (so much for global warming) and as I write this many parts of the Eastern South Island are under a State of Emergency due to flooding.

On Sunday 9th July about twenty freemasons gathered at St Johns Ambulance Temuka where W Bro John Lynch Master of Lodge Arowhenua No 473 and V W Bro John Kinvig Past District Grand Master presented a cheque for $7420 from the Brethren of the Midland district to the Association. This Money will be used to purchase new equipment for training staff.

On Saturday 24th June twenty freemasons meet in Ashburton for a Seminar run by the Southern Division. The Divisional Lecturer V W Bro Graeme Martin led a discussion on Education of new Brethren, Expectations about the work for new members and enhancing membership of your lodge. W Bro Graeme Wakelin the Charity Officer led a discussion on fraternity of the mason and W Bro Geoff Cain spoke of efficient lodge meetings/good information/talent. We then had a discussion on strengths and weaknesses of our District.

Our next Installation is at Waimate on 9th August when W Bro Arthur Mahan is installed as Master of St Augustine No 99 and it would be good to see a good turn out at this Installation.

In the meantime keep warm.

Peter Smith
District Grand Master.

District Grand Master Comments for June

May saw two Installations with W Bro Mark Aguila being re-installed as Master of Lodge Erewhon and W Bro Peter Rusbatch taking over the leadership of the Methven Lodge and by the time you read this V W Bro Alex Solomon will be re-installed as Master of The Caledonian Lodge.

It was very humbling to be able to state that the lodges of Mid-South Canterbury and North Otago as well as two English Constitution Lodges were able to raise four thousand dollars ($4000) for the Charlee McLachlan appeal which with the Freemasons Charity contribution will help with her
rehab and the many trips to Dunedin Hospital.  As her mother Anna said in an E-mail to one of our members:-

“We can not thank the Freemasons enough for what you have done for Charlee.  I cried a great deal when I opened the E-mail and sent a photo of it to Duncan straight  away as he was with Charlee in hospital when it arrived.  We do not know how to thank the members as we were completely lost for words on how much you all managed to give”. 

Thank You Brethren, have a good month and keep warm.

District Grand Master Updates for May

It was pleasing to see The Mackenzie Lodge have a stand once again at their local show in a prime position where the public could see them and having Brethren from throughout the Island come and make themselves known. It can only do good for the organisation.

Next month May we have two Installations, the first is at Ashburton on the 4th May when W Bro Mark Aguila is re-installed at Lodge Erewhon No 200 and then the next week on the 10th May.

W Bro Peter Rusbatch takes charge of the Methven Lodge No 51. It would be great to have a good turnout at these Installations.

On the 12th April Methven Lodge No 51 held a Vacant Chair ceremony which was well attended and a report on this well attended meeting was on the last issue of the carousel updates.

District Grand Master Comments for April

The Divisional Conference is over for another year and it is good to hear how some progressive Lodges are attracting members. One of the best conferences I have attended, good popular topics discussed in a cheerful and good masonic way.

Our next installation is at the Waimate Lodge Rooms on the 20th April when Mr James Annear RH is reinstalled for Lodge Timaru No 196. Jim is a popular member of our Organisation and an inspiration to all of us. At ninety years of age and one of our elder Masters in the country he can still at a couple of days notice do any of the charges in the three degrees including the Tracing Boards. He is a person that keeps his brain very active and has no worries about those problems that some older people have like loss of memory. It would be great to see a good turnout of Brethren at this Installation.

It is also good to see the Lodges supporting the appeal for Charlee McLachlan, thank you for that.

Have a good month.

Peter Smith

Raising Money for Charlee McLachlan
                  Charlee (right) pictured with twin sister, Jorja

To those lodges that were waiting to hear from me re the collection for the four year old twin Charlee Mclachlan from Duntroon in Nth Otago who has to raise $120000 to travel to America for an operation for cerebal paisy I can advise that Lodge Kurow has given us the OK to proceed.  I understand that the girls Grandfather was a Past Master of Lodge St  Augustine No 99 in the 1980s and the girls mother spent a fair bit of time in Mid-Canterbury.

Lodge Kurow has approached the other Lodges in Nth Otago and between them and the lodges in the Midland District hopefully we may make a difference to this young girls life.

The Sophia Street Car Park Trust has already made a generous donation of one thousand dollars to set this appeal going, and any donation will be thankfully received.

Peter Smith District GM's month's Comments.
Peter Smith

We are at the stage with our websiten where everything is staring to happen and George Currie has the whip out and it is starting to hurt.

December was tken up with quite a few Christmas functions for our widows and older brethren and it was good to see good numbers at these functions.

January was reasonably quiet Lodge wise, but Methven, Waimate who normally meet on the same night and cannot visit each other joinwd forces with the United Forces Lodge from Christchurch, a former 2nd Wed night Lodge and worked a second degree, with the usual large turn out for a January meeting, (69 present).

February brought with it a busy month with most Lodges working degrees and it is gratifying to see a good number of nominations coming through.

This month of March we install Robin Gourdie into the chair at the Midland Lodge of Research #436 at Winchester Lodge rooms and it would be good to see good numbers there.

Later this month we have the Southern Divisional Conference at the Methven Resort Hotel in Methven, and after a slow start numbers are starting to pick up, and looks like it will be very worthwhile.

The Hall next to the Lodge rooms in Timaru is about to get the roof on after thw disasterous fire 10 months ago, and it will be good when we can get back into our Lodge rooms again, it can't come soon enough.

Brethren this web page is for you and the more material we get to put on it the betterit will be.  You will either make or break it, so any thoughts, opinions or anything else will be gratefully received.

Have a great month.

Peter Smith

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