Press Releases week beginning 22 July 2019
Hawaiian Visitors Celebrate Historic Connections to Hastings
On Sunday afternoon (21 July 2019) Hastings welcomed a group of visitors from Hawai'i, nearly 138 years to the day since Kalākaua, the King of the Hawaiian Archipelago, had visited the town in 1881.
The staff and students of the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa visited as part of a Hawaiian Youths Abroad study programme. They are following the footsteps of native students that visited England and Italy during the late 19th century, as part of an educational programme set up by the King. One of those students, Matthew Makalua (1867-1928), lived at Pevensey Road, St Leonards, and trained as a doctor at Kings College London. After qualifying, he married and lived in the town the rest of his life.
The group arrived at the White Rock Hotel to be met by Ann Scott and Marilyn Saklatval, Friends of Hastings Cemetery, and Sarah French, PhD student at Hastings Museum who is researching the collections of the Brassey family. King Kalākaua's friendship with Annie and Thomas Brassey was the reason for his visit to the town whilst on his famous 1881 tour of the world.
As the Hastings Observer reported, the town had turned out for the occasion as he visited the pier, inspected the White Rock Baths, and had lunch with many dignitaries at the Brassey Institute, now Hastings Library. The students retraced these footsteps before making their way to Hastings Museum.
Hastings Museum has several rare and precious pieces of Hawaiian featherwork on display, including a royal feather cloak, known as an 'Ahu'ula. There were owned by the Brassey's who visited Hawaii at Christmas 1876 and enjoyed the New Year celebrations at the Iolani Palace. Kalākaua bestowed upon Annie Brassey the Order of Kapi'olani for her services to Hawaiian culture for her descriptions of his Kingdom in her bestselling travel journal, A Voyage in the Sunbeam.
This was a unique opportunity to welcome the Hawaiian visitors to the museum and hear their thoughts on seeing the objects that they feel a personal connection to. There were several comments on how well preserved the cloak is, whilst one visitor commented that it felt like 'running into someone half way around the world'. They were seen as a 'pilina', or connection between Hastings and Hawaii, an important value in Hawaiian culture.
The group then proceeded to Hastings Cemetery to pay their respects to Matthew Makalua. A beautifully harmonized song of thanks was performed as well as the national anthem. Garlands of flowers (leis) were placed on the grave, along with Hawaiian flags. Water was poured upon the resting place, brought with them from the island of Maui, where Makalua was born.
The students are keeping a travel diary at: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/nhss/current-programs/hawaiian-youths-abroad-program/hya-2019-italy-england/hya-2019-travel-blog
Sharing the Magic
Over the last nine months there's been sprinkling of magic happening every Tuesday in Broomgrove Community Centre. The Play Magic Parent and Toddler Group has been a grand experiment! It involves a life-size wooden Zebicorn, a pinch of play, arts and community development work and a good scoop of partnership working. Parents have added to the mix by capturing the magic in photographs that show learning moments.
Play Hastings/Hastings Borough Council, Radiator Arts and Real Strategies wanted to create a lively learning setting. Professional artists play workers and community staff changed activities and props in response to parent and child ideas, and children's learning needs. Together they created an under-the-sea installation, large and small free canvas work, personalised storytelling. Of course, there was also some: trike-riding, dinosaur play, and regularly singing around a home-made duck pond! All part of the magical potion.
This Tuesday the children's creative works, and parent and child photographs, were exhibited at a 'Share the Magic' Exhibition. The work was also celebrated by bringing the beach to Broomgrove for a Magic Seaside Party.
Andy Batsford, lead councillor for community engagement said:
''What I love about this project is the creativity and bringing new ideas to the children and parents. All have obviously gained much from attending and their enjoyment, creativity and learning comes through in the exhibition."
The project was supported by the above-mentioned partners and with funding from: Lottery, Big Local, and Optivo and Orbit South Housing Associations. They hope that the future will bring more magic. Partners are looking for funds to build on this work. If anyone would like to know more, please contact Sue Lelliott on 07753962659.
Fantastic new focus for Hastings seafront
Construction will start on July 29 for a new water feature funded by Coastal Communities Round four and Hastings and St Leonards Foreshore Charitable Trust.
Sue Beaney, lead councillor for the charity committee at Hastings Borough Council said:
"A long term local eye-sore will be transformed by an interpretation of White Rock and how it originally got its name around 300 years ago.
At the time, the rock was blasted to make way for the new road; the new water feature uses rock, misters and lighting to create a wonderful reminder of "White Rock". There will also be planting to complement its coastal location, also new seating for people to meet, sit and enjoy the space and promenade.
"The Coastal Communities project (round 4) targets the growth of the White Rock and nearby areas into a destination in its own right. This includes business space in Rock House, improving Rock Alley to allow for events, markets and a pocket park. Business training and support, a marketing campaign, and an extension to the free public Wi-Fi network have also been part of the project."
The construction area will be closed during the build, but the promenade will remain open. The Source Park ramp areas will close for two weeks from 5 August, however the shop will remain open during this time.