THE WESTERN BAY MUSEUM

Telephone: +64 07-549-0651      Email: info@westernbaymuseum.nz

Address: 32 Main Road, Katikati, 3129, Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand  

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK
 

Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm

Saturday & Sunday 11am - 3pm

Katikati Rotary Club visit - Colonel Peter Fry Address

Updated: Nov 21, 2018

The museum was very lucky to welcome Katikati Rotary Club this month for a private viewing of our 'Those Who Served' exhibition.  Poetic words from Colonel Peter Fry who was key speaker for the evening. Below is his address to the guests who attended.

Katikati Rotary Commemorative Address  12 November 2018.


"Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen

May I begin by thanking the Katikati Rotary Club, and especially my old friend, Major John Dallimore for inviting me here to speak at this special viewing of the original sketches of the Artist Geoffrey Fuller’s mural ‘Those Who Served.’


I had my first viewing of the mural this afternoon and I am extremely impressed.  I am impressed both by the design and the quality of his work and by the fact that it was embarked upon as late as 1996.  With the exception of the remodeling of the National Memorial in Wellington at Pukeahu this may be the last memorial erected to the memory of our people who served in the two World Wars and I salute the citizens of Katikati for keeping those memories alive and visible to the public.  These are essential elements of our heritage and culture and this is a theme to which I shall return.


I suspect that when the project was mooted there will have been those who may have said – well we have the finished mural, these are only the planning sketches and they are of limited value.  However, I disagree, I would say that the possession and preservation of these works, where every stroke of the charcoal pencil is the product of the artist’s thoughts of his vision, where in every panel he seeks to encapsulate a cameo of that theatre, campaign or action of both the World Wars, this completes his work and they are of very great value indeed.



 To my mind a greater emotion is shown in the sketches, the artist is experimenting and allowing the scene to develop and in places greater detail is present.  He has in large part used familiar images but this does not devalue them.  In each case he has sought to bring life and character to the activity portrayed.  I am particularly drawn to the sketch of the embarkation at Wellington.  This is a scene repeated throughout both World Wars, it is from the Second World War but the uniforms, and the men were not greatly different from the first and there would have been many whose fathers had patiently waited for embarkation on those same wharves twenty years earlier.  From the charcoal drawing on brown paper highlighted in white we can see that the soldiers, rifles in hand, kitbags at their feet are waiting to board, chatting among themselves and to me they are very much alive. Carefully folded in a drawer of old things in a spare room at my home is a worn white canvas kitbag with my father’s name rank and number stenciled on it.  It is torn and stained but the original locking bar is still with it and I cannot bear to throw it away. On both the mural and on in the sketch Geoffrey Fuller has captured those kitbags, they are prominent, the soldier’s special place. The place where his possessions and the treasured memories of home were kept during the years away.  But the artist can show life in the sketches and I see their faces, some solemn and reflective, others chatty and excited, although in my experience that often masks a much deeper apprehension.


The museum was very lucky to welcome Katikati Rotary Clubthis month for a private viewing of our 'Those Who Served' exhibition.  Poetic words from Col Fry who was key speaker for the evening. Below is his address to the guests. Katikati Rotary Commemorative Address  12 November 2018."Mr. President, Ladies and GentlemenMay I begin by thanking the Katikati Rotary Club, and especially my old friend, Major John Dallimore for inviting me here to speak at this special viewing of the original sketches of the Artist Geoffrey Fuller’s mural ‘Those Who Served.’I had my first viewing of the mural this afternoon and I am extremely impressed.  I am impressed both by the design and the quality of his work and by the fact that it was embarked upon as late as 1996.  With the exception of the remodeling of the National Memorial in Wellington at Pukeahu this may be the last memorial erected to the memory of our people who served in the two World Wars and I salute the citizens of Katikati for keeping those memories alive and visible to the public.  These are essential elements of our heritage and culture and this is a theme to which I shall return.I suspect that when the project was mooted there will have been those who may have said – well we have the finished mural, these are only the planning sketches and they are of limited value.  However, I disagree, I would say that the possession and preservation of these works, where every stroke of the charcoal pencil is the product of the artist’s thoughts of his vision, where in every panel he seeks to encapsulate a cameo of that theatre, campaign or action of both the World Wars, this completes his work and they are of very great value indeed. To my mind a greater emotion is shown in the sketches, the artist is experimenting and allowing the scene to develop and in places greater detail is present.  He has in large part used familiar images but this does not devalue them.  In each case he has sought to bring life and character to the activity portrayed.  I am particularly drawn to the sketch of the embarkation at Wellington.  This is a scene repeated throughout both World Wars, it is from the Second World War but the uniforms, and the men were not greatly different from the first and there would have been many whose fathers had patiently waited for embarkation on those same wharves twenty years earlier.  From the charcoal drawing on brown paper highlighted in white we can see that the soldiers, rifles in hand, kitbags at their feet are waiting to board, chatting among themselves and to me they are very much alive. Carefully folded in a drawer of old things in a spare room at my home is a worn white canvas kitbag with my father’s name rank and number stenciled on it.  It is torn and stained but the original locking bar is still with it and I cannot bear to throw it away. On both the mural and on in the sketch Geoffrey Fuller has captured those kitbags, they are prominent, the soldier’s special place. The place where his possessions and the treasured memories of home were kept during the years away.  But the artist can show life in the sketches and I see their faces, some solemn and reflective, others chatty and excited, although in my experience that often masks a much deeper apprehension.Fuller has gone to great effort to ensure that each of our nation’s major campaigns and each of the services in both World Wars is well represented.  The familiar scenes of Gallipoli and the trenches are present, we see the Western Desert and Italy but he has done great work to show the actions of our navy and air force in some detail and I am delighted to see an image of HMNZS Achilles. If ever we are entitled to feel pride in our sailors soldiers and airmen the story of little Achilles and her sisters taking on the mighty Panzerschiff Graf Spee is in the first rank.I believe that the mural itself and now the conservation of the artist’s sketches are major acts in the preservation of what are essential elements of our nation’s history and culture for while we are properly filled with sorrow at the losses at the horrors which were endured we are also entitled to feel pride at what the men and women of our tiny and distant country achieved.  And to my mind we lessen their sacrifice if we suppress that quiet pride.In his seminal The Silent Division published in 1935 Ormond Burton wrote“If anything is to come to us of New Zealand from the years of bloody ruin, it can only be because we catch something of the marvelous valour and steadfastness and devotion to a high ideal of conduct that led men in however mistaken a cause to keep rendezvous with Death at a hundred disputed barricades.”Had New Zealand not stood beside our friends and allies in defence of the privileges and rights that we now sometimes rather carelessly enjoy, then without doubt the world would now be a very different place.For this reason I applaud all involved in this project.  The preservation of this artwork helps to keep in public view, which means public memory, the exploits and contribution of the men and women of New Zealand to the defence and preservation of the principles that we hold dear.  These things are too easily lost.When I served at Defence Headquarters in Wellington I initiated the appointment of a new official Army Artist.  Chief of the General Staff, Major General Mace grilled me as to why, when I had professional photographers at my disposal we needed an artist.  I explained to the general that photographs were excellent and accurate records but they lacked soul and that in the decades to come it would be our artwork that was rated as national treasure.  The general told me to proceed and to my surprise each of the professional artists to whom I wrote enthusiastically asked for the post they knew the value to posterity of art, and they sought to take up the mantle of the great Peter McIntyre. I think we see some of that same enthusiasm in these works and without doubt these are a significant legacy to our national treasure.I believe that when the people of a democratic and liberal nation look at their armed forces they are seeing themselves in a mirror.  We have no military class, no Prussian Junkers or Samurai, our wars have been fought by citizen soldiers with a small professional cadre of regulars.  Everyone’s uncle father grandfather brother or cousin was involved.  Post 1945 Compulsory Military Training and later National Service ensured that almost every family had an association with and exposure to the New Zealand military and service to our country.  That has changed now.  The services have grown ever more technically capable but their numbers have shrunk alarmingly and it seems to me that they have somehow withdrawn a little from us.  The drill halls have gone from country towns and the naval launches manned by enthusiastic reservists are no longer to be found in our larger harbours.   Where once every family had relatives on a farm somewhere so to every family had some who was in, or had been in the armed forces.The preservation and display of this artwork goes some distance to redressing that loss and it keeps our history more closely to the forefront of national pride. Such things as these unique works of art are the hold fasts of our national history, heritage and culture and if we do not protect them then perhaps others may not regard them, and our stories to be of value and they will be lost. Would it have been better if the world had not had to fight these wars, of course but it happened, history cannot be denied, New Zealand played an honourable role in both wars and we are entitled to mitigate our sorrow with a quiet pride at what was achieved. I see this artwork in much the same way.  These are our hold fasts, the benchmarks of our history that silently record the achievements of our people and upon which we can look with pride and which we must protect for future generations and against a time when the connections and the personal memories that we now enjoy may not be present.I have spoken of the pride that I feel we are entitled to feel, not a rejoicing in the so called glory of war for no one who has seen it and possesses a smattering of humanity can call it glorious, but it can be terribly exciting – and I use terrible in the formal meaning of that word.  I would like to recount a personal experience that fills me with pride in our people.  It is a contemporary incident but I think that you will see the same thread running through the actions and relationships of our servicemen and women throughout our history.Attack on the IDP camp  Dili Timor LesteEarlier I said that when the citizens of a democratic and liberal nation look at their armed forces they see themselves in a mirror.  All the good, all our failings and all our national virtues are reflected there, or they should be because the people we see in that mirror are our sons and daughters.  They learn from us; the military is the servant of the people and it falls to us to ensure that our institutions, our political structures and the national loyalties they are guided by and answerable to, are of the highest order and integrity.There is no thought of glorying war, there no sense of that in the images that are so carefully preserved here.  There are no flags flying or bayonets fixed among the patient men waiting on the wharf in Wellington and to me these images are entirely commensurate with a feeling of deep and quiet pride in the achievements of our forebears.  With the commemoration of the First World War behind us you now have a resource carefully identified, preserved ready and for the commemoration of the second great conflict of the Twentieth Century.  You have preserved a unique set of hold fasts to hand on to the next generation and their commemoration of that later war. Today, in a time of increasing uncertainty and danger we continue to ask our young men and women to go into the dark places of the world on our behalf to do dangerous and difficult things.  They deserve our wholehearted support for, as I have said, it is my belief that, when we look into the mirror that is our armed forces it is ourselves that we see there.Again I congratulate all concerned with this worthy project and I thank you for listening to me."'Those Who Served' exhibition is open 7 days a week 10am-4pm, come and witness these poignant pastel charcoal sketches of WW1 and WW2.uller has gone to great effort to ensure that each of our nation’s major campaigns and each of the services in both World Wars is well represented.  The familiar scenes of Gallipoli and the trenches are present, we see the Western Desert and Italy but he has done great work to show the actions of our navy and air force in some detail and I am delighted to see an image of HMNZS Achilles. If ever we are entitled to feel pride in our sailors soldiers and airmen the story of little Achilles and her sisters taking on the mighty Panzerschiff Graf Spee is in the first rank.


Gallipoli - Landing at Anzac Cove


I believe that the mural itself and now the conservation of the artist’s sketches are major acts in the preservation of what are essential elements of our nation’s history and culture for while we are properly filled with sorrow at the losses at the horrors which were endured we are also entitled to feel pride at what the men and women of our tiny and distant country achieved.  And to my mind we lessen their sacrifice if we suppress that quiet pride.


In his seminal The Silent Division published in 1935 Ormond Burton wrote

“If anything is to come to us of New Zealand from the years of bloody ruin, it can only be because we catch something of the marvelous valour and steadfastness and devotion to a high ideal of conduct that led men in however mistaken a cause to keep rendezvous with Death at a hundred disputed barricades.”


Had New Zealand not stood beside our friends and allies in defence of the privileges and rights that we now sometimes rather carelessly enjoy, then without doubt the world would now be a very different place.


For this reason I applaud all involved in this project.  The preservation of this artwork helps to keep in public view, which means public memory, the exploits and contribution of the men and women of New Zealand to the defence and preservation of the principles that we hold dear.  These things are too easily lost.


When I served at Defence Headquarters in Wellington I initiated the appointment of a new official Army Artist.  Chief of the General Staff, Major General Mace grilled me as to why, when I had professional photographers at my disposal we needed an artist.  I explained to the general that photographs were excellent and accurate records but they lacked soul and that in the decades to come it would be our artwork that was rated as national treasure.  The general told me to proceed and to my surprise each of the professional artists to whom I wrote enthusiastically asked for the post they knew the value to posterity of art, and they sought to take up the mantle of the great Peter McIntyre. I think we see some of that same enthusiasm in these works and without doubt these are a significant legacy to our national treasure.


I believe that when the people of a democratic and liberal nation look at their armed forces they are seeing themselves in a mirror.  We have no military class, no Prussian Junkers or Samurai, our wars have been fought by citizen soldiers with a small professional cadre of regulars.  Everyone’s uncle father grandfather brother or cousin was involved.  Post 1945 Compulsory Military Training and later National Service ensured that almost every family had an association with and exposure to the New Zealand military and service to our country.  That has changed now.  The services have grown ever more technically capable but their numbers have shrunk alarmingly and it seems to me that they have somehow withdrawn a little from us.  The drill halls have gone from country towns and the naval launches manned by enthusiastic reservists are no longer to be found in our larger harbours.   Where once every family had relatives on a farm somewhere so to every family had some who was in, or had been in the armed forces.


The preservation and display of this artwork goes some distance to redressing that loss and it keeps our history more closely to the forefront of national pride. Such things as these unique works of art are the hold fasts of our national history, heritage and culture and if we do not protect them then perhaps others may not regard them, and our stories to be of value and they will be lost. Would it have been better if the world had not had to fight these wars, of course but it happened, history cannot be denied, New Zealand played an honourable role in both wars and we are entitled to mitigate our sorrow with a quiet pride at what was achieved. 


I see this artwork in much the same way.  These are our hold fasts, the benchmarks of our history that silently record the achievements of our people and upon which we can look with pride and which we must protect for future generations and against a time when the connections and the personal memories that we now enjoy may not be present.


I have spoken of the pride that I feel we are entitled to feel, not a rejoicing in the so called glory of war for no one who has seen it and possesses a smattering of humanity can call it glorious, but it can be terribly exciting – and I use terrible in the formal meaning of that word.  I would like to recount a personal experience that fills me with pride in our people.  It is a contemporary incident but I think that you will see the same thread running through the actions and relationships of our servicemen and women throughout our history.


Attack on the IDP camp  Dili Timor Leste

Earlier I said that when the citizens of a democratic and liberal nation look at their armed forces they see themselves in a mirror.  All the good, all our failings and all our national virtues are reflected there, or they should be because the people we see in that mirror are our sons and daughters.  They learn from us; the military is the servant of the people and it falls to us to ensure that our institutions, our political structures and the national loyalties they are guided by and answerable to, are of the highest order and integrity.


There is no thought of glorying war, there no sense of that in the images that are so carefully preserved here.  There are no flags flying or bayonets fixed among the patient men waiting on the wharf in Wellington and to me these images are entirely commensurate with a feeling of deep and quiet pride in the achievements of our forebears.  With the commemoration of the First World War behind us you now have a resource carefully identified, preserved ready and for the commemoration of the second great conflict of the Twentieth Century.  You have preserved a unique set of hold fasts to hand on to the next generation and their commemoration of that later war. 


Today, in a time of increasing uncertainty and danger we continue to ask our young men and women to go into the dark places of the world on our behalf to do dangerous and difficult things.  They deserve our wholehearted support for, as I have said, it is my belief that, when we look into the mirror that is our armed forces it is ourselves that we see there.


Again I congratulate all concerned with this worthy project and I thank you for listening to me."




'Those Who Served' exhibition is open 7 days a week 10am-4pm, come and witness these poignant pastel charcoal sketches of WW1 and WW2.