|Ara Lodge History|
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We are pleased to bring you an address by W. Bro. W.H.V. Taine given in 1952 to the brethren of the Ara Lodge #1 in which he provides an excellent history of several of the prominent founders and the establishment of our august Lodge.
Address given to the Ara Lodge, No. 1., at the Masonic Temple, Auckland, New Zealand, on Wednesday, 10th September 1952.
Four Brethren and Four Chapters in the History of Lodge Ara
By W. Bro. W.H.V. Taine
W.M. AND BRETHREN: As you have been advised, my address deals with Four Brethren and Four Chapters in this Lodge’s history, which now covers a period of 110 years. The brethren and the chapters are –
Bro. Sir Frederick Whittaker and the Foundation of the Lodge,
Bro. Major Henry de Burgh Adams and the Military Brethren,
Bro. Alexander Stuart Russell and the division of the Lodge, and
Bro. Oliver Nicholson and his Installation meeting.
Bro. Sir Frederick Whittaker was probably the most personally distinguished man ever connected with the Lodge. He was born and trained in law in England, and arrived at Kororareka or Russell, then the capital of New Zealand, in 1840. When Captain Hobson transferred the capital to Auckland in 1841, Whittaker came here, too, and it may be suggested that as an independent professional man, he was one of the Governor’s trusted advisers. The Government would need legal assistance and it may have been at Hobson’s instigation that he came to New Zealand in the first place. Whittaker was a shrewd, far-sighted man, the leading lawyer in early Auckland, and for most of his life a prominent statesman.
He was in turn a judge, at the age of 30, Speaker of the Legislative Council, and twice premier of New Zealand.
Apart from what I shall now refer to, nothing is known of his earlier career as a Freemason, but in 1877, he was installed in the Choral Hall, Auckland, as the first Provincial Grand Master, North Island, of the Scottish Constitution.
Now, as to the foundation of the Ara Lodge – the first instance of Masonic Labour in New Zealand of which there is authentic record – was here in Auckland - in July 1841, at the laying of the Foundation Stone of the first St. Paul’s Church. It was a very pretty church, built brick faced with Auckland stone, seating 600 people, and it stood in Emily Place at the top of Shortland Street.
By advertisement, the brethren of the town were summoned to assist, and the newspaper of the day recorded that “the gentlemen in Auckland who were Freemasons appeared, with the decorations and insignia of their Order”; among these were the founders of the Ara Lodge.