Wednesday, September 06, 2006
New Zealand Wind Vane 1904
The New Caledonia, a posh New Zealand Hotel in 1904, displayed what may have been the first surfboard wind vane . The locals nicknamed the hotel the "Hawaiian Board House" after the wind vane, which can be seen, on the right, in the enlarged portion of the picture. The surfboard measured over 18 feet, but most probably was never actually used for surfing before being installed as the hotel's signature wind vane. The hotel was famous for its Sunday brunch in the Captain Cook room, an elegant dining room named in honor of the European discoverer of New Caledonia and Hawaii.
The primary fare of the restaurant was a piece of salt beef between two slices of toasted bread , or as they became known, sandwiches, since, as you will recall, Captain Cook's patron and superior officer was John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, which is why Hawaii was originally named the Sandwich Islands .
Although not clearly visible in this photograph, the upper side or top of the surfboard had a mother of pearl inlay in the design of the flag of New Zealand. It is thought that the 'Hawaiian ocean wave riding board' was originally going to be placed in the restaurant since the top side, as installed on the top of a tall pole, was only visible to airplanes, of which there were none in New Zealand in 1904. The underside also had a mother of pearl inlay of the family crest of the Earl of Sandwich, whose descendants are alive and well today.