Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Kiwi's welcome for the Fab 4!

The Beatles were set to land in Wellington at 4:30 in the afternoon.  Fans started to show up at the airport as early as 7:15 that morning.   7000 fans showed up to welcome the Beatles to New Zealand and they were given a traditional welcome.   Six Maoris of the Te Pataka were waiting by the plane to present the boys tikis and pois to each Beatle.   The custom of the Maori's is to rub noses with visitors while touching foreheads.   They do this to symbolize that they are welcome to the land and are to consider themselves to be one of the people and to belong.   Each of the Beatle received this welcome and a lot of photos were snapped.   Ringo got the most attention because he is the one known for having a big nose.   The head of the group, Nancy Manunui got the honor of rubbing noses with Ringo.

Ringo Starr being greeted with the hongi, Wellington, June 1964
Photographer: Morrie Hill
Reference number: 1/4-071854-F
Black and white original negative
Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library.

They then got into a tiny truck and rode along the fence line and waves to the screaming fans.   They then were transferred into a car and sped off to the hotel.

The Beatles got to the Hotel St. George without any issues and the fans didn't even realize that the Fab 4 had arrived. until they appeared on the balcony.   After about five minutes of waving, two boys climbed up the fire escape from the hotel verandah and were stopped by the police.  However, one of the boys was able to shake Paul's hand!

Here is a first hand account of what was going on:
"I couldn't even try to get close to them but my friend did.  He actually spoke to one of them.  He went right up to the car and said, 'Hello there lad,' to Ringo and he said 'hello' back.  Then they were hustled inside.  My friend came back--he had lost his shoe, but he was a happy man."  Barney Richards

The Beatles on the balcony of the Hotel St George, Wellington, [ca 20 Jun 1964]
Photographer: Morrie Hill
Reference number: 1/4-071852-F
Black and white original negative
Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library.

Here is another interesting first-hand account
"I managed to secure a Spanish guitar for Paul McCartney on a Sunday, which was no mean feat.  I got the manager of Beggs music Store in Wellington to open up his shop and get one out for him.  He wanted to work on a composition, but I'm sorry to say I can't remember which song.  In return for that I was allowed to get a great deal of exclusive interview material.  I hung around in the Beatles suite with all the Beatles all the time they were in Wellington.  They were very easy to be with." - Pete Sinclair

Information came from:
The Beatles Downunder (book) by Glenn a. Baker (1982)
The Beatles in New Zealand by Bruce Renwick (1999)
"Fab! Said New Zealand, It's Them!" by Chris Bourke for the New Zealand Listener June 23, 1984

No comments:

Post a Comment