Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Mark Von Dadelszen - Reginald Gardiner

Reginald Gardiner

Mr. Gardiner was a man whose friendship was highly valued by many of the older generation in Hawke's Bay. Although he never entered directly into the public life of the province, he was one of those thoughtful leaders whose influence was felt in many intangible ways in the shaping of the life of a growing community.
In mind and character he stood apart from personal and public controversy, but he held firmly to those principles that rest upon honesty, selflessness, kindness and goodwill. He was a philosopher with a deep religious sense, and sought always to draw people together to serve in the advancement of community life, and to find a solution to difficulties and conflicts, in a spirit of generosity and readiness to understand opposing viewpoints.
 He was the son of the Rev. A.W. Gardiner, a Church of England clergyman. He was born in Orange, New South Wales, but spent most of his childhood in England. Early in the century he came to New Zealand with his stepmother, and the family lived at Taradale. As a youth he joined the staff of the then newly-formed firm of Williams and Kettle Ltd. Later he worked as a partner of the late Mr. Frank Williams on a sheep station at Waipare, East Coast.
Subsequently, he returned to England where he met his future wife, a daughter of Mr. J.G. Scott, head of a Canadian railway company. After some years in Canada, as secretary to his father-in-law, he came to England with Mrs. Gardiner and their infant son.
The Gardiners lived in Stadacona which after this death was sold. It was bought by George Nelson and later given back to the community and was renamed Keirunga Gardens as we know it.
He established a commission import business in Hastings and made his home in Havelock North.
The Havelock Work was an arts and spirituality movement in the small town of Havelock North, New Zealand, begun in 1907 by Reginald and Ruth Gardiner and Harold Large, and embraced by the whole town. It culminated in the founding of the Smaragdum Thalasses temple, better known as the Whare Ra, the longest-standing temple of the Stella Matutina magical order.
In 1908 a meeting of over 100 people was held to discuss cultural affairs in nearby Frimley, with Reginald Gardner as one of the main speakers, resulting in the commencement of the "Havelock Work". The first meetings in 1908 were attended by only half a dozen to a dozen people and consisted of readings from Shakespeare and Dickens in a church schoolroom. From this developed social afternoons and Wednesday night talent shows, then carving and drama classes, flower and fruit shows and arts and crafts exhibitions. A Morris dancing side was formed by school children, the first in the country.
A series of elaborate festivals were held. In 1911 the Old English Village Fete was held, opening with a procession of over 100 men, women and children in medieval costume and carrying banners. "King Arthur" and his court presided over Morris and folk dances, tourneys and playlets, and there were stalls selling refreshments and crafts. In 1912 an even more elaborate Shakespearean Pageant was held, opening with a grand procession including "Queen Elizabeth" and her court and retinue, as well as "Shakespeare" and his group of players. Entertainments included teas and games, sixteenth century songs and dances, music by the Hastings Town Band and other concerts, a production of Much Ado About Nothing, scenes from Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice, and Shakespearean games. That weekend a ball was held in Shakespearean costume.
A magazine called The Forerunner was produced, with its first issue in 1909-03-01. It contained numerous spiritually-inclined and often Theosophically-inspired articles. The first issue stated "We all seek expression for the ideals that well up from time to time from the deeps of our eternal self". Describing the festivities, an article in one issue stated that "they aimed at cultivating a feeling for what is beautiful and true"; "behind the outward manifestation of things lay the ideal"; and "it is by the 'power of harmony and the deep power of joy that we see into the life of things'"
The three prime organizers of the Work, the Gardiners and Harold Large, believed that eastern methods of spiritual training such as Theosophy were unsuitable for westerners, but also felt that the Church had lost the esoteric teachings of Jesus and his disciples. They were determined to undergo rigorous training and initiation to merit learning those hidden teachings. These three were the prime organizers of many of the town's public events, and also meditated together on a daily basis, in which they were soon joined by Miss M. M. McLean and Reginald's sister, Miss Rose Gardiner. Reginald Gardiner considered the Havelock Work to be a cultural society "built around this silent power station". The meditation group grew, and began to incorporate simple ritual, calling itself the Society of the Southern Cross
In 1910 he took a leading part in the formation of the company that established the H.B. Tribune. He became the company's first chairman of directors, an office he held until his death, a period of forty-eight years. By his wise counsels and high faith he was a source of strength to this newspaper during many troublous years, eventually seeing it merged with the H.B. Herald and securely established as one of the leading provincial newspapers of New Zealand.

In Havelock North, Mr. Gardiner's name is honoured for his interest in promoting the educational, artistic and musical life of the Village.
Before the First 'World War he was a leading member of a group that organized a Shakespearian pageant that was a colourful part of Havelock's early history. The activities of this group resulted in the building of the Village Hall in which, about that time, several eminent musicians gave concerts. He was also responsible for the production of a high-grade magazine, 'The Forerunner', a model of literary endeavour and the printing craft.
Mr. Gardiner was among those who promoted the trust that established Woodford House in Havelock North. This now famous school had been founded in Hastings by Miss Hodge, and upon its transfer to Havelock became one of New Zealand's leading educational institutions. Mr. Gardiner was the first secretary of the board of trustees.
Another institution in the founding of which Mr. Gardiner had a leading part was Royston Hospital. He was the first secretary of the company set up to ensure the continuance and advancement of this hospital, which is now administered as a trust and is rendering notable service to the district.
For many years Mr. Gardiner was a lay reader of the Anglican Church, and he was also a synods man. In his younger days he was a member of the Napier rifle volunteers.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mark Von Dadelszen - Reginald Gardiner his Grandfather

Reginald Gardiner  The information below has been provided by Mark.
A historian has described the influence of Reginald Gardiner on Havelock North over the last century: “The whole shape of village life in the twentieth century was profoundly affected from before the First World War by Reginald Gardiner – the deep-thinking, enthusiastic, community minded villager – and his immediate circle of friends. Their legacy far transcends their organisation, the Havelock Work, creating the community spirit that appeared later in such forms as the Keirunga Gardens Society.”Reginald Gardiner’s grandson, Mark von Dadelszen, presents some historical reflections on his grandparents’ life and the influence of the Havelock Work.
The next Landmarks History talk will be on Tuesday 12 June at 5.30pm, upstairs at the Hastings Library. Mark von Dadelszen will speak about his grandfather, Reginald Gardiner. The information below has been provided by Mark.