Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka

Bye-bye Big Tree – #142

Big Tree – it’s an advertisement for benzine. You can only just make out the words on the roof of the wharf shed. They were on the other side too for a few years. This “new” Government wharf  opened in 1927. Several years later Lord Bledisloe, Governor General from 1930 to 35, visited Russell. Bledisloe is remembered for gifting the Waitangi National Trust land, and the Bledisloe Cup, to the nation. He was also known for giving voice to his social conscience – at his own instigation, his salary was reduced by 30 per cent to match cuts in public servants’ salaries during the depression. He promoted  his personal views too, successfully persuading newspapers to print full, unedited coverage of his speeches. According to museum records, while in Russell, he suggested to local authorities and the Harbour Board that the Big Tree advertising spoilt the aspect of such a historic place. It was painted out at once. Simple as that.