Throughout September 2022 we celebrated 100 years of the Shetland Society of Wellington.
Our first event was the unveiling of the mural at Island Bay by the then mayor of Wellington Andy Foster. The weather gods were with us and a good turnout of approximately 100 made up of both of the public and the society attended.
Mark Ormsby began proceedings with a karakia which was of welcome by Peter Glensor who introduced Any Foster, the Mayor, who then officially unveiled the mural and also launched the story map which can be viewed at Story Maps: The Wellington - Shetland Connection or by googling “Shetland Story Map Wellington”. It was produced by Mary Wood and illustrates the many links that Wellington has to Shetland. Mary was to speak at the unveiling/launching but unfortunately was unable to attend the ceremony.
Margaret Tolland, the artist, gave a short talk on the production of the mural and the society owes her a great debt of gratitude for the sensitive manner in which she has been able to portray the links between Shetland and Wellington.
Gibby Inkster sang “Da Sang o da Papa Men” and read the poem “Merchant Seaman” both of which illustrate the thoughts and life of the haaf fishemen and also a merchant seaman as he contemplates that unfortunately Shetland no longer can provide an income for himself and he must spread his wings as generations had done before.
Julia Inkster rounded up the proceedings by playing the Tammie Anderson tune “The Slokit Light” on the fiddle.
Also in attendance were members of the Italian Island Bay Community who had a long and enduring link with the Shetland community of fishermen who were operating out of Island Bay.
The City of Wellington Pipe Band kindly played for us before the ceremony and afterwards led the throng to the Octapus HQ, formally known as the Island Bay Surf Club, for afternoon tea.We are also thankful to the band for providing a piper who played the lament, “The Flowers of the Forest’’ as a memorial to Queen Elizabeth II who had passed away only three days previous to the unveiling.
The Society would like to acknowledge the extremely generous gift made by Lodge Zetland of $2000 towards the cost of producing the mural. Lodge Zetland was originally made up of mainly Shetlanders and had very strong links to the Shetland Society of Wellington in the early days with many being a member of both.