The Royaliast Haka Party – a distant memory

I was Killick of the Fleet Pool at Kranji W/T circa 1957. Two of the Royalist sparkers were doing a L/Tel course at the time, one of them Bill Ross not sure of the other one. I was nominated as Social Club organizer (I organized the booze ups!!). We had done the Army and Air Force visits a couple of times and I was trying to find some other venue. Bill suggested I get the Royalist Haka Party to come visit, being a “Pom” at that time I had no idea what a Haka Party was but after Bill explained it sounded like a good idea.

He organized the visit via the ship’s Padre (I can’t remember his name, but I am sure you will) A Saturday night was chosen and I applied to the skipper for an extension of canteen hours, he let us stay open 15 extra minutes, wasn’t he big-hearted ? I made up some tickets which entitled the bearer to either a pint of beer or a bottle of Tiger and gave each guy one as they got off the dockyard bus. I still had a lot in a bag which I carried with me. One of the guys, Archie Keepa, A huge man Heavyweight Boxing Champ Far East I believe, decided he was my mate for the night (I had the beer tickets didn’t I?). When the canteen was due to close he asked me for some more tickets so I gave him the whole bag and we drank the canteen dry. There was full sized table tennis table full of Tiger with no room for even one more, the canteen manager was a happy chappy.


This is an image of the 1957 Maori Cultural Party.  Thanks Tony Marsden for the image.  Some names would be good.

The Haka was performed and I seem to remember that I did a solo sod’s opera for them, the bus arrived to take them back to the dockyard and only one seat was taken, Ron Tapuke, he was the only one who did not partake of the amber fluid. We found spare beds for anyone who wanted a kip and some of us spent a long night up to our necks in the swimming pool getting rid of the remainder of the grog.

When I started work at Irirangi in 1960 I was very happy to meet some of that Haka Party and we became lifelong friends. That was one helluva night!!
Dusty Millar

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3 Responses to The Royaliast Haka Party – a distant memory

  1. Owen Stuart says:

    He organized the visit via the ship’s Padre (I can’t remember his name, but I am sure you will)

    Padre Castle?

  2. Tony Marsden says:

    I just found the photo of the Royalist Maori Haka Party still in the scanner from when I entered it on the e-mail to Frank, & looked on the back where I had written a comment. Whilst we (Royalist that is) were in Sydney the All Blacks were to play at the Sydney Cricket Ground (I think) & came down to the ship for a visit. Can remember being one of many Ship’s Company hanging off a tram on the way to & from the football game.

  3. Tony Marsden says:

    Incidentally, on 25th May 1957 the All Blacks played Australia at Sydney MCG. Score: All Blacks 25 Australia 11. Helped on (I’m sure) by the loud chanting from the area where Royalist’s men were standing. ” Black, Black, Black etc”

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