After so much community preparation and voluntary work, our exciting 175 highlight community events are now here.

Last weekend we had a public visit to St Johns Theological College in Meadowbank where the first Fencible families were welcomed to New Zealand in October 1847, about two weeks before they arrived at Waipaparoa/Howick Beach.

It was a remarkable experience as we toured two of the historic buildings still standing, the 1846 kitchen (now Waitoa Room) and 1847 chapel, that were newly-built when the Fencible families were welcomed.

Rev Dr Richard Waugh and wife Jane Waugh (above) at St Johns Theological College. Richard and Jane were seminarians at St John’s and the chapel is where Richard proposed.

Our many volunteers are gearing up for the highlight 175 events over these coming days including the anniversary luncheon, community picnic event, commemorative plaque unveiling and civic service. It has been a mammoth task by so many committed local citizens, organisations and businesses; all supported by our 175 committee and trust and by the Howick Local Board.

The multi-cultural dimension of the 175 anniversary is a special delight, with many events organised by our 175 ambassadors, including by Chinese and Indian communities.

Adele White [Howick Local Board] recently commented about the “amazing integration of cultures at recent 175 events”.

The 175 anniversary is about us remembering the early settler migrants and paying tribute to all they contributed laying the foundations for Howick and much of our east Auckland community we know today. With most of us choosing to come and live here in more recent years, we can all join in this celebration of what it means to be a healthy and diverse community today.

Do visit our website to see the events calendar, read the many community stories, find Ngai Tai information and see a list of our supportive sponsors. The commemoration picnic at Waipaparoa/Howick Beach on Saturday, November 12 is a “must attend” major community event, along with the unveiling of the Fencible families’ plaque at Fencible Walk, and civic service at All Saints. The service can include a visit to the cherished 1847 church, built for the first Fencible families. See you there!

By Rev Dr Richard Waugh