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A very enjoyable New Year's Day was spent by some 36 seamen, under the auspices of the Church of England Men's Society Missions to Seamen.
The men, chiefly from the Shaw-Savill Co.'s S.S. Mamari, gathered at the telegraph office at 10 a.m., when a start by tram was made for Bethune's Gully, Normanby, where the grounds were kindly lent for the occasion by the manager of the Mount Cargill Timber Syndicate.
While the billy was being boiled for lunch a cricket match was indulged in, and after lunch pipes and tobacco were handed out. After a quiet smoke a small sports programme was carried out, and prizes of tobacco, ditty bags, etc., were presented to the winners. The party returned to town at 5 p.m., causing some interest by their singing and the display of the mission's ''Flying Angel'' flag.
Tea was served out at the mission rooms at St. Matthew's Schoolroom, a short service being conducted in the church beforehand by the hon. chaplain, Canon Curzon-Siggers.
A short ''sing-song'' was held after tea, and then one of the seamen, on behalf of the rest, thanked the workers for the enjoyable outing, and three cheers were given for the mission. Workers and seamen then went to Hayward's Pictures for the evening, seats having been very kindly reserved for all in the front of the house by the management. This was the first picnic run by the Missions to Seamen here, following the custom on holidays in other ports.
• The Palmerston Citizens Brass Band gave an open air concert on Saturday evening to a large audience of the townsfolk and country people. The music is evidently appreciated, as the town is visited by a larger number of people since the concerts were started. Included in the programme were the marches ''Knight of the Garter'' (Burns), ''The Musketeer'' (Partello), ''Shoulder to Shoulder'' (Southwell), ''Gems of Scotland'' (Rimmer), and the waltz ''Blue Danube'' (Strauss). The band visited Dunback on Sunday week and played a sacred programme, which was much appreciated. Programmes were also played on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
• The temporary freedom of a leopard belonging to Barton's Circus caused some excitement at Wellington on Tuesday afternoon (states a Press Association telegram). An attendant was cleaning out the animal's cage, and to facilitate the work put the feline into a cage occupied by some baboons. The parties did not agree, however, and very soon the big cat had devoured a couple of the apes.
The attendant made desperate efforts to replace the leopard, which was now thoroughly aroused by the taste of blood, but failed, and the animal pulled free from his chain and got his liberty. At this moment ''Tackles'', one of the circus staff, came on the scene, sized up the position, and grappled with the leopard, at the same time calling wildly for help. This was soon at hand, and the animal was reduced by much cudgelling to a semi-conscious state and put back into its compartment.
''Tackles' '' plucky act no doubt averted a serious, possibly a fatal, outcome of the adventure. He escaped with some deep flesh wounds on the throat and body.
- ODT, 3.1.1913.