Piece of city's civic history found

By Mike Barrington

Lost Whangarei mayoral city chains are back where they belong - around the neck of Mayor Morris Cutforth.

And he likes them much more than the old Whangarei Borough Council chains they replaced after Whangarei became a city in 1964.

The city chains were worn by Mayors Ken Haslett (in office from 1968-77), Ted Elliott (1977-83) and Joyce Ryan (1983-89) before being misplaced and Mayor Stan Semenoff took up the former borough chains when he began the first of his four terms in office in 1989.

Mayoral PA Jan Walters found the city chains again about six weeks ago and they were given to jeweller Steve Haywood, who cleaned them, replaced broken enamel and touched up the engraving.

They reappeared in the council chambers for the first time in 23 years when Mr Cutforth wore them at a meeting on Wednesday.

He said they were more comfortable and nicer than the borough chains, made in 1899, which he described as "horrible and clunky".

Along with the city chains, Ms Walters discovered the former Whangarei County Council chairman's chains, made in 1877, and also chains from the Queen's visit in 1952.

They have been given to Mr Haywood, who said he would probably frame them for display in the council chambers.

- Northern Advocate

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