Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In George’s town

Today I went into the Auckland CBD. I hoped to take some photos of the newly reopened Aotea Square. Unfortunately, the weather was a little uneven today, so I decided to go back and shoot my photos and video on a reliably sunny day.

However, there’s one photo I wanted to share, anyway, mostly so I can also share some New Zealand history.

The photo at right is looking over the shoulder of the statue of George Eden, the first Earl of Auckland (aka Lord Auckland) and the patron of the first Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson.

Lord Auckland was First Lord of the Admiralty (a position later held by Winston Churchill), first under Prime Minister Charles Grey, Second Earl Grey (after whom the tea blend is named), and then William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne. It was in this capacity that Lord Auckland gave Hobson a commission in December 1834. Later, Lord Auckland went on to become British Governor of India (1836-42), where the statue originally came from.

Hobson named his new capital of the colony of New Zealand “Auckland” after his patron. Similarly, Mount Eden, Auckland’s highest volcanic cone at 196 metres (643 feet), and Eden Park (the home of rugby) are both named after Lord Auckland.

Hobson had a rough time as Governor, especially because of political opposition. He suffered a stroke on March 1, 1840, not even a month after overseeing the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. He recovered and was sworn in as Governor on May 3, 1841 (prior to that, he was Lieutenant-Governor under Governor George Gipps of the colony of New South Wales).

Hobson suffered a second stroke on September 10, 1842 and died, aged 49—after only some 16 months as Governor. He is buried in Auckland.

Lord Auckland died January 1, 1849, aged 64. He never married. The Earldom expired with Lord Auckland’s death, but the barony passed on to his younger brother, Robert.

This statue was one of several of Lord Auckland in India, and the Bengal Government donated this one for the city’s centennial in 1971. The unveiling was apparently at the centre of the centenary celebration. Why Auckland was technically founded in 1871—more than 30 years after Hobson founded it—is a story in itself, and one for another day.

In this shot, Lord Auckland is looking across Aotea Square. The kids in the background are skateboarding, and no, they’re not supposed to be doing that.

I’ll have more stories and photos of Auckland once the weather improves.

Unrelated: Today's date, since we write our dates from smallest to largest—day, month, year—is 20-10-2010. I still like dates with patterns in them, after all.

No comments: