Putting the record straight

By John Maslin

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HISTORIC: Inside the Savage Club formerly the Wanganui Public Museum.
HISTORIC: Inside the Savage Club formerly the Wanganui Public Museum.

A former "rangatira" of the now defunct Wanganui Savage Club said Whanganui River Maori were offered the amo which framed club's hall stage but decided to leave the historic carvings with the club.

A Chronicle story in Saturday's edition said upriver Maori had asked for the amo to be returned in the 1930s and again in the 1980s but were turned down the club.

But Alan Watson, who led the Savage Club in the 1980s, said he met with some iwi at the Drews Ave clubrooms during his term and offered to have the amo returned.

"They said they wanted it for a new marae and we were more than happy for them to take it away but I pointed out that as the carvings had been inside for so long that exposed to the elements they'd soon split," he said.

"They agreed with me and said the amo would be at peace where they were. They gave them a blessing and that's where the matter rested."

Mr Watson said he was keen to explain that the club never refused any approach to have the amo removed during his time at the club.

Last week a group from Tieke Marae, upriver of Pipiriki, received the amo during a ceremony at the hall which has been the venue for the Whanganui Musicians' Club.

The Whanganui Regional Museum had been in discussions with the Savage Club about retrieving memorabilia from the venue which is now owned by the musicians' club.

It is believed the amo washed down the river during a flood in the 1890s and were given to Samuel Drew, whose collection formed the basis of the Wanganui Public Museum.

When the museum moved into a new building in the 1930s and the old building was taken over by the Wanganui Savage Club, the amo remained and were built into a stage at the hall.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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