Country: New Zealand
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 12/09/1902
Number issued: 2
Gold medals, to:
4261 Trooper William Charles ARNST (absent - in hospital)
Inscribed with recipient's monogram and: "WELCOME HOME FROM TAI TAPU SEP 12, 02".
Volunteers from earlier contingents received inscribed silver watches.
RETURN OF CAPTAIN AND MRS RHODES.
WELCOMED AT TAI TAPU.
The welcome home at Tai Tapu last night to Captain R. Heaton RHODES, M.H.R., Mrs Rhodes, and returned members of contingents, was a pleasant and successful function. A large marquee bad been erected in the grounds attached to the public school, and here the residents of the district, to the number of about three hundred, sat down to refreshments. The interior of the marquee was tastefully decorated with greenery and palms, and at one end was the motto "Welcome Home". Mr R.A. Forbes presided, and had on his right Captain Rhodes and on his left the Rev. J.J. Mather and Mr H.W. Peryman. During the evening the Tai Tapu Brass Band gave appropriate musical selections.
After the toast of "The King" had been honoured the Chairman proposed, the health of Captain and Mrs Rhodes. He was pleased to see so large a gathering. He only wished that he possessed language in which to fittingly express the pleasure felt by all at Captain and Mrs Rhodes's return. They were indeed proud to know that they had in their midst one who had shown such patriotism and self-sacrifice, and who had foregone many of the pleasures of life and many of the privileges in filling the positions he had been called to. Mrs Rhodes's part was equally noble in giving her sanction to Captain Rhodes's leaving the colony. It was gratifying to the residents of Tai Tapu that whilst absent from the colony Captain and Mrs Rhodes had expressed their love for Tai Tapu. He trusted that they would be long spared to adorn the position that time and circumstances had called them to fill.
The toast was drunk with musical honours.
Captain Rhodes, on rising to respond, was received with hearty applause. He hoped they would pardon him if he could not find suitable words on such an occasion — he had never dreamed of such a welcome as they had given him. The people of Tai Tapu had deservedly and heartily welcomed home the men of the earlier contingents, and they had remained loyal to the last, giving to the later contingents, who had such an easy time in South Africa, as hearty a welcome. The times experienced by the Eighth Contingent were, to all intents and purposes, easy times. They had not suffered in any way, except, perhaps, by the accident. They never had a chance of suffering much by bullets. (Laughter.) Fighting was what they were all looking for — the Eighth was as keen as any other Contingent which left New Zealand's shores. They had not, however, found what they had been looking for, and Mrs Rhodes had said she was glad. He supposed that the parents and sisters of troopers from the district were also thankful. He had had an opportunity of looking at the battlefields of South Africa, and after visiting such places as Colenso and Spionkop, he had realised in some degree what troubles the troops had gone through — all honour to those who had gone there, and had received the greatest honour — they had deserved it. For his own part he was truly glad to be back in New Zealand, and to be with them once more. The warmth of such a welcome as that they had accorded Mrs Rhodes and himself was a pleasure greater than they could have experienced in any other way. To be welcomed in one's own district was an honour to be appreciated as much as any that could be received. He thanked them for their reception, to both Mrs Rhodes and himself. Mrs Rhodes's, when, the Contingent had left, had, perhaps, been the hardest lot to bear — those who left with the Contingent had been looking forward to excitement, whilst Mrs Rhodes had had the anxiety only. They had returned, however, and hoped to remain, and be one with the residents of Tai Tapu in their joys and sorrows. (Applause).
Other toasts honoured were: — "Returned Troopers (proposed by Captain McCartney, responded to by Trooper JONES) and "The Empire" (Rev. H. Williams and Rev. J.J. Mather).
Mr J. Mangels, in asking Captain Rhodes to accept an address and a handsome paper-weight, referred to his (the speaker's) Jong connection with the Rhodes's family, and spoke of his relations with Captain Rhodes's father, of whom he said that he had never worked for a better man and master. He felt proud that the son had followed in the father's footsteps.
Mrs Barrett then presented Mrs Rhodes with an address of welcome and a handsome trinket case.
The address to Captain Rhodes was as follows: — "Tai Tapu, September 12th, 1902. To Captain Rhodes. Dear sir, — We beg to tender you a hearty welcome home, and ask you to accept of our memento as some recognition of your service to this country, and to our district generally. We are proud that one from our midst has shown such patriotism, devotion, and self-sacrifice, and to know from report that your work in South Africa has earned the esteem of those associated with you. We feel sure that the experience gathered in your late position will be of great value to the volunteer service, of which you have been a capable and cheerful officer. That you may be long spared to an extended sphere of influence is the sincere desire of the residents of this district. We are, sir, yours sincerely, John Mangels, J. Hunzman, J. McKenzie, J. Voss, R.A. Forbes, committee".
The address to Mrs Rhodes read as follows: — "Tai Tapu, September 12th, 1902. To Mrs Rhodes. We desire to express to you our thankfulness at the safe return of Captain Rhodes and yourself to your home in the district. We do not forget the courage and self-sacrifice shown by you on the departure of Captain Rhodes for South Africa. We also acknowledge the keen, intelligent interest you have taken in the welfare of this district, and we ask your acceptance of this our token of esteem. That health and happiness may be yours long to enjoy is the desire of yours truly, Mesdames Barrett, Herrick, Mangels, Hunzman, Champion, and Forbes, committee for residents of this district". Both addresses were illuminated and beautifully bound.
In acknowledging the addresses and presentations, Captain Rhodes said they could not say that they had come as a surprise, but they had never expected them.
Presentations were then made to the relatives of Sergeant D. COSSAR and Trooper W. ARNST, who were absent, being in hospital, of gold medals, which bear the inscription: — "Welcome home. From Tai Tapu, September 12th, 1902". Captain McWitney acknowledged the gift on behalf of Sergeant Cossar, and Mr Arnst on behalf of his son.
Mr H.W. Peryman proposed the toast of "The Ladies", which was responded to by Lieutenant Gilmour.
During the evening Mr R. Millen contributed several songs.