Bell, Ship's

A brass ship's bell which is hinged onto a supporting stand.
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This bell was noticed by former Taranaki Museum director Rigby Allen in a shop window during the Opunake Centenary celebrations in 1965. After inquiries, he found the bell belonged to Rahotū woman Ann Weaver. The bell was apparently hanging on the wall of an outbuilding when her husband bought the property from a Mr J. Pownell, around 1921. Pownell told her the bell came from the remains of the Harriet, which was wrecked off Manihi Road, between Oaonui and Rahotū in 1834. The wreck led to the first armed conflict between Māori and Pakeha in Taranaki. Mrs Weaver had painted the bell to prevent rusting and it was used to summon members of the Weaver family to meals. Taranaki Museum staff removed the paint prior to display in about 1965, but traces are still visible on the bell's clapper. For more information on the history of museums in New Plymouth see the section 'Beautiful in the Extreme: Ōrangi-Tuapeka and Waimate Pā ' pp.74-77. 
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