Tawa’s vol­un­teers recog­nised

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS -

Well-known mu­sic col­lec­tor Leon Cle­ments died last week, aged 89.

The Pukerua Bay man made na­tional news in 2000 when he and wife Yvonne sold their unique col­lec­tion of mu­sic para­pher­na­lia to Porirua’s Pataka Mu­seum for more than $400,000.

Darcy Ni­cholas was the coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager of cul­tural ser­vices in 2000 and said at the time that it was the only col­lec­tion of its kind in New Zealand.

More than $250,000 was spent on a new wing in the mu­seum to house the col­lec­tion.

The col­lec­tion was gath­ered by Cle­ments over 35 years and con­tained over 400 items, in­clud­ing me­chan­i­cal reed or­gans, juke boxes, gramo­phones, phono­graphs, mu­si­cal boxes and records dat­ing back to the 1880s.

Sheet mu­sic from le­gends like Perry Como and Gene Pit­ney and a carved walnut or­gan owned by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter John Sed­don were among the items.

Porirua’s mayor in 2000, Jenny Brash, said at the time the coun­cil made the pur­chase to en­sure it re­mained in­tact and in Porirua.

The deal cre­ated some con­tro­versy be­cause the de­ci­sion was made be­hind closed doors, catch­ing Porirua res­i­dents by sur­prise.

‘‘It would have been an im­mense loss to the city if the col­lec­tion had been split up or sold to over­seas in­ter­ests,’’ she said.

‘‘Mr Cle­ments has been ex­ceed­ingly gen­er­ous in al­low­ing the city to buy his col­lec­tion for an amount sig­nif­i­cantly be­low its mar­ket value.’’

Cle­ments, who was a farmer be­fore re­tir­ing, had his col­lec­tion open to the pub­lic year-round in Pukerua Bay, be­fore the de­ci­sion to sell to the coun­cil.

Be­tween 2004 and 2009, he de­cided to re­fill his home-made mu­seum, scour­ing an­tique shops, hunt­ing down items lent to rel­a­tives and restor­ing dozens of his re­main­ing in­stru­ments.

As re­ported by The Do­min­ion Post in March 2009, tour groups be­gan re­turn­ing to the orig­i­nal Melody Farm – a four-al­cove wing in the Cle­ments’ home – which was filled with record play­ers, ac­cor­dions, ra­dios and dozens of other mu­si­cal items.

One room housed eight pi­anolas and at least 2000 rolls of mu­sic.

‘‘Peo­ple of my age get so much plea­sure and re­lax­ation in be­ing able to sing the mu­sic we grew up with,’’ he told The Do­min­ion Post.

His wife Yvonne re­marked at the time that she thought she had re­tired when the col­lec­tion was sold to the coun­cil, but she had to start bak­ing treats for vis­i­tors to their home again.

Leon Cle­ments died on June 14. The com­mu­nity’s un­sung he­roes were recog­nised at the Tawa Com­mu­nity Civic Awards re­cently.

Hosted ev­ery two years by the Tawa Com­mu­nity Board, the awards are to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion to those serv­ing as vol­un­teers, whether it be in a school, church, sports club, or com­mu­nity group.

This year mayor Celia WadeBrown pre­sented 43 in­di­vid­u­als and groups with awards.

The Arts and Cul­ture cat­e­gory was won by teacher Mur­ray Cameron who helps en­sure the bi­en­nial Tawa Schools and Com­mu­nity Fes­ti­val is a suc­cess.

The Tawa-Lin­den Plun­ket Com­mit­tee was a joint win­ner in the Ed­u­ca­tion or Child and Youth De­vel­op­ment cat­e­gory for its hard work to re­place its old build­ing with a new fa­cil­ity that has brought all of its ser­vices un­der one roof.

Bar­bara Scott-Hill was the other win­ner be­cause of the five years she has spent as the Hamp­ton Hill School vol­un­teer li­brar­ian.

The Heath and Well­be­ing cat­e­gory was won by the The Red­wood Club, which helps pro­vides sup­port for the el­derly.

The Her­itage and En­vi­ron­ment cat­e­gory was won by Bruce Mur­ray, the driv­ing force be­hind the Tawa His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Cricket Welling­ton direc­tor Rob­bie Kerr won the Sport and Leisure award for work with the Tawa In­ter­me­di­ate and Col­lege girls’ teams.


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