John Barton opened the meeting with some interesting thoughts and quotes. He cited Shakespeare by Bill Bryson which made it clear that pandemics are not new. In the 1500s and 1600s many towns and cities in the UK were in lockdown with the city gates in London closed at 4pm. Even theatres and brothels were closed, so isolation was not a new thing. John closed with an interesting saying that he found during lockdown time, “Don’t join the circus unless you can ride two horses at the same time”.


Adrian Humphris (above) gave us a presentation on the history of Karori. Adrian is President of the Karori Historical Society, Team Leader for Wellington City Archives, and a prominent writer on the history of our capital city. He gave us an outline of the role and achievements of the Karori Historical Society over many years since its formation in 1973. Adrian took over the Presidency of the Society from Judith Burch who wrote the History of Karori and its people some years ago. He said their priorities were to promote and share the history of Karori with its citizens and to support historical projects and to advance research and the study of people and places associated with Karori.


Like many organisations with older members, Adrian said the challenge was finding younger people interested in their history and to engage them in projects that they would like to advance. In response to members on the future of such activities Adrian agreed that they wanted to engage more with schools and to get out and about more in addition to their meetings with speakers. He pointed to the success of recent publications about Karori which has provided a great platform for people to learn more about Karori’s history, Judith Burch’s publication and update of the book on Karori Streets history first produced by Will Chapman and Kitty Wood, with updates last year by Judith.


He pointed to activities being undertaken by the Friends of the Karori Cemetery, the second largest cemetery in New Zealand, the growth of interest in Wrights Hill and its military history, and gaining the support of Rotary and other community leadership groups to enhance support for new initiatives and to bring in wider community support and appreciation for our suburb and its place in the history of Wellington.