A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WAITOHI LODGE No. 111
(Formerly No. 2036 E.C.)


In the 'Marlborough Press' of May 24th, 1883. appeared the following advertisement - Master Masons are respectfully invited to attend a meeting at Mr A. Fisk's office, Wellington Street, on Monday evening, the 28th instant at7.30pm. To take into consideration the advisability of forming a Masonic Lodge in Picton. (Signed) Thos. Younger, P.M.

At the preliminary meeting, attended by 4 Brethren, a resolution: "That it is desirable to form a Masonic Lodge in Picton to be called the Marlborough Lodge under the English Constitution", was carried. An interesting point about this resolution is that it is the one and only time the name "Marlborough" is mentioned. Neither do the minutes reveal how it came about this name was dropped and Waitohi substituted. It was also decided that the lodge meet monthly on the Monday nearest the full moon,.

A further meeting was held on June 4, when a further 2 were present and again on June 16th. At the latter meeting it was decided to forward a petition to the M ,W. the Grand Master (H. R.H. the Prince of Wales) through Lodge Reunion E.C.

The next meeting, held at the St. George Hotel, did not take place until July 16.1884, just over a year later. when authority was given for the purchase of furniture, jewels etc., up to a total value of 40 pounds.

The Charter having arrived from England the lodge was formally dedicated and consecrated as Waitohi Lodge No.2036 E.C. on September 15th, 1884. One joining member and six candidates were proposed at this meeting.

The next few years were uneventful there being a steady influx of candidates, a number coming from Cullensville (Havelock) where there was much gold mining activity.

The lodge had since its formation been meeting at the George Hotel. In 1888 the section on which the present lodge room stands was purchased at an auction.

    Plans for a building were approved on July 20th, 1888 and a contract let to a local building firm. The building was completed in good time and formerly consecrated on February 1st. 1889.

About this time correspondence was being received regarding the proposal to form a New Zealand Grand Lodge and many long discussions, recorded rather fully, took place on the subject. Opinion was divided on the merits of the proposal and it was decided to adopt a 'wait and see" attitude meanwhile. At one stage after the formation of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand letters from the Grand Secretary of that body were received couched in very strong terms alleging that the lodge had agreed to join the new Constitution. This the Lodge equally stoutly denied stating that the representative who had attended a meeting of delegates, had no authority to commit the lodge having been asked only to gain information. However, matters were eventually smoothed over and following discussions a resolution was unanimously carried on October 4th, 1897, that the lodge join the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.

On December 22nd, 1897. the lodge was formally constituted under the Grand Lodge of New Zealand

For some years the lodge had been financially embarrassed by the failure of members to pay their dues and the minutes in the early part of the century record many motions expressing concern at this. The position became so bad that there was a purge of the membership and no less than thirteen members were struck off in one night. To square its debts the lodge borrowed 100 pounds in 1906 and from then on the position improved.

In October, 1927, the section next door to the lodge room was acquired for 100 pound but no use was ever made of it other than making it available to members during the depression for growing vegetables, and it was eventually sold for 90 pound when funds were required for building the new lodge room.

In June 1934, it was felt something should be done to mark the lodge's Golden Jubilee and it was decided, to erect a new lodge room. The foundation stone was laid on February 16th, 1935. Good progress was made and it was officially opened on April 13th, 1935. The lodge was fortunate in receiving a number of handsome gifts in refurnishing the room. The canopy above the Master's chair was transferred from the old building and the paintings on the walls of the old building cut out, framed and hung behind the chairs of the Master, Wardens and Secretary in the new lodge room. The seating incidentally in the body of the room was obtained from railway carriages and the seating in the East from railway buses. The pedestal used for the presentation of Working Tools was made from timber taken from the old Building.

The Waitohi Lodge has remained in good heart, with membership remaining in the 80s. Work has continued on the lodge rooms over the years with the building being plastered on the outside and the refectory area completely renovated. The appearance of the interior of the Lodge Room has been kept very much as it was which makes it a very interesting room indeed.


The Masters Chair

The Masters Chair

   The SW Chair         The JW Chair
The Senior Wardens Chair                      The Junior Wardens Chair
 
 
The Treasyrer and Secretary
The Treasurer & Secretary
 
 
RANDOM NOTES 1884 1984

April 1887: Wor. Bro. Fletcher (Wairau) presented lodge with Rough and Perfect Ashlars.

May 1889: Meeting abandoned through inability of those attending to gain admission to the hall, "the key having inadvertently been forgotten".

August 1889: Jewel made of Mahakipawa nugget presented to Wor. Bro. Fisk.

December 1889: A first and second degree worked the same night. (Several instances are recorded of two full ceremonies being conducted when more than one candidtate.)

July 1890: Bro. Howard read a copy of the proposed new ritual he had compiled.

February 1891: lodge warned by the Grand Lodge of New Zealand of "an unworthy brother who was going about soliciting assistance under false colours".

February 1898: (First meeting after changing to New Zealand Constitution.) The Master announced that the Grand Lodge of England had given recognition to the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.

April 1898: Letter received from Grand Lodge of England acknowledging receipt of notice of transfer of allegiance and of warrant, and promising to recommend that the original Charter be returned to the lodge.

October 1898: Lodge tyled at 7.30 p.m. As insufficient numbers were present at 8.00 p.m. a brother was sent round the town to secure the attendance of one other. The lodge was eventually tyled at 9.00 p.m.

April 1899:  It was decided to support R.W. Bro. Griffiths in his efforts to bring about uniformity of working in New Zealand lodges.

March 1900: A purge of the roll was carried out and a number of brethren struck off. Note: The first member to be struck off was a doctor "who discourteously declined to pay off any of his arrears". The dues at that time were 2/6 per month.

May 1900: The meeting lapsed owing to the poor attendance due to the Mafeking celebrations.

May 1901: (and also in 1913 and 1927): Resolutions passed favouring Grand Lodge being permanently located in Wellington.

March 1907: Dispensation received to wear regalia at ball. (tile first time under the New Zealand Constitution although common under 'he EC.).

December 1907: Mortgage on building paid off.

July 1908: Concrete fence along frontage erected at cost of 21/3/9 pounds.

January 1910 An invitation was received and accepted from the Methodist Church Trust for the lodge to take part in the laying of the foundation stone of the new church.

February 1910: Wor. Bro. Redman presented a set of Deacon's Wands.

July 1910: Decided to extend the refectory 30ft. at a cost not exceeding 100 pounds.

September 1910: Lodge room lighted by acetylene gas.

September 1910: It was decided to invite the other lodges in the district to join in the formation of a United Board of Inquiry.

February 1912: extract- 'Minutes of last regulary meeting were read a portion of which was not recorded by the Secretary and that officer was censured by the W. M. for negligence".

January 1912: The other lodges having agreed to Waitohi's proposal the first delegates were elected to the new United Board of Inquiry.

August 1913: The lodge decided to change from appointing the officers to the present method of election.

In 1918: It was decided to set aside 4 pounds from each initiation fee as a building fund. The balance of this fund was used in payment of our present building.

In the '20s there was a regular interchange of visits with Herbert Teagle Lodge (Wellington) but after some years these lapsed. In 1939 visits were arranged between this lodge and Renown of Wellington and have been continued ever since with pleasure and profit to both lodges.

On the formation of Lodge Awatere in 1927 the lodge presented Awatere with the Master's chair.

In 1930 the lodge voted 10 pounds and circularised members to supplement the amount, to assist brethren who had suffered as a result of the Hawkes Bay earthquake. Similar assistance had been given on the occasion of Murchison earthquake.

July 1931: Grand Lodge advised that owing to depleted finances and many calls being made, it reluctantly had to advise that the annuity being paid to the widow of a late brother would be discontinued.

September 1932: Decided to allow unemployed brethren the use of the vacant section during the depression. About this period the depression was really hitting the lodge.

1935: A motion to ban alcoholic liquor in the refectory was soundly defeated.

1936: Decided to waive the Lodge's rights to retain its old customs and to adopt the new ritual.

During the war and for a period after, the lodge regularly sent food parcels to England. The dues of all brethren serving in the armed services were remitted.

In May 1943 it was decided to revert to evening dress for meetings but at the next meeting went back to mufti owing to difficulties in laundering.

January 1953: The thanks of the lodge were extended to Bro. Mervyn Bary for bearing the cost of instaling special lighting and also of having names painted on the Honours Board.

January 1955: Decided that all initiates on attaining the degree of Master Mason be enrolled for one year at the expense of the lodge as Associates of the M. and P.M. Lodge No.130.

January 1957: Ten brethren employed at the freezing works presented the lodge with four gravels made from teak taken from the old sailing vessel "Edwin Fox" which was closely related to the early days of Picton.

Dec.1965:    First Xmas Party for our children was held.

Sept.1966:    First Masonic Ball held in District and huge success.

1970 fBill Wyber presented Lodge with a clockwork Chime. beautifully crafted. on which thereafter the muted sounds of “High Noon" were struck.

1974 Saw the start of many Railway Brethren joining the Craft.

1978: Record year for intake of Candidates. (7)

March 1978: Discussion commenced on ways and means of rebuilding Refectory.

1979: Waitohi Centennial year.

1980: Waitohi Lodge win tender for demolition of old house to raise funds for renovations.

1981: Discussion took place on a motion that Waitohi Lodge change its meeting night from 4th Thursday to 4th Saturday. Secret ballot taken and motion defeated.

1981 Ladies and Wives invited to join us at Installation Suppers and Cabaret. (Took place Installation 1982).

1982 March 1982: Bro. Eric Wilkes presents Lodge with new clock.

1982 Road signs were erected in Picton.

1982: W. Bro. Thorsen presented Floor Plan of Waitohi Lodge to the Master.

1982: W. Bro. Bill Wyber bequeaths to the Lodge $5,000 to be known as the Bill Wyber Trust A/c and the Interest to be used for the benefit of the Lodge Widows and Lodge in general.

1983: Renovations to Refrectory started in September Meetings held as combined meetings with Awatere and Wairau Lodges.

1984: February saw our first meeting back in our Lodge rooms.
Copyright 2007-2008 by George Stables - all rights reserved
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