Showing posts from December, 2022

Setting-up Auckland’s Jewish Community

“David Nathan had decided that if the powers-to-be determined that the new capital was to be on the shores of the Waitemata Harbour then he would follow.”   David Nathan was one of the first Jews to move to the shores of the Waitematā Harbour, where in 1841, Captain William Hobson announced the new capital of New Zealand was to be built. A census from the same year had him as one of two Jews in Auckland in 1841, Jews being 1.4% of the town’s population.  As the new capital grew, so did its Jewish population, and in 1842, after the arrival of the large Keesing family, it rose to 15Jews (dropping to 0.48% overall), large enough for public worship.  Auckland's Jewish community began to form a shared community identity, looking to fulfil their common spiritual needs and requirements in the physical space of the colony. By evaluating what Auckland’s Jewish community viewed as vital steps to set up their new community, we can see what a minority community in Auckland viewed as important.

Jack Diamond's huts

John (Jack) Thomas Diamond often visited the beaches on the west coast of Tāmaki Makaurau as a youngster. There he spent time with his friends Tom, Bill, Bryan and Fred in the 1920s. Jack mentions in his manuscript 'Piha - the first visits' : “…we always slept in one of the many mill shacks that were scattered throughout Bethells, Anawhata, Piha and Karekare areas.”  As an adult, Jack joined the Auckland Tramping Club. On 1 November 1933, he was once again in his element, staying in various huts along the rugged west coast of Auckland.  Shacks and huts During the early 1900s, scattered around the west coast of Auckland, simple buildings were built for use as homesteads for Māori and pākehā families, timber mill workers and relief workers employed during the Depression to make the roads. Image: Albert Percy Godber. Mill bunkhouse above the Glen Esk Falls, 1916. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-04A-00119. The image above shows a group of people, including a visiting