The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Rongotea, formerly Campbelltown, is a lovely farming centre, some eighteen miles north-east of Foxton, and about six miles from Carnarvon on the Foxton Tramway, and a similar distance west of Palmerston North. It is on the Oroua River, and is a portion of the Oroua Downs Estate. The town itself, with a population of 153 inhabitants, is prettily laid out and well situated, and the roads are capital, the land being chiefly occupied by dairy farmers, who are fairly prosperous. The creamery and butter factory of the town is jointly owned by the suppliers, who manage the concern so well that they are enabled to get three pence per gallon for all the milk they can supply. Rongotea has a post and telephone office, with moneyorder, postal-note, and post-office savings bank, and daily mails, a public State school, and four churches—the English, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and Roman Catholic. The communication from Foxton, Palmerston North, Greatford, Sanson, and Longburn, is by mail coach. There is a fairly good boardinghouse, but no hotel. The products of the district are wool, grain, butter, and cheese. Rongotea is in the County and Electorate of Manawatu.
The Rongotea Public School, which was opened in 1881, has 165 children on the roll. The playground consists of six acres, and is divided into three paddocks. Mr. C. H. Bowater, the headmaster, is assisted by Miss Hill and Mr. Opie.
The Rongotea Dairy Factory was established in 1893, and was acquired by the present Company in 1895. A large quantity of milk is put through the factory, and it is anticipated that the amount treated for the season 1896–97 will be 720,000 gallons, producing 310,000 lbs. of butter. The officers of the Company are:—Factory manager, Mr. Jas. Wood; managing director, Mr. V. C. Ransom; treasurer, Mr. Carl Anderson; secretary, Mr. Samuel Knight. The factory's brand for pat butter is “Makino” and for bulk butter “Milkmaid”. The suppliers number sixty.
Canning, James, General Storekeeper, Postmaster, and Telegraphist, Campbelltown North. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand, Failding. Mr. Canning is a native of Ireland, and came to New Zealand per ship “Martaban,” landing in Auckland. Mr. Canning established the present business in 1886. The premises comprise a wood and iron building of one story, erected on freehold land, which was built for the purposes of the business, and affords about 1500 square feet of floor space. The trade extends to all parts within a radius of ten miles. Mr. Canning is agent for the Standard Insurance Company and various colonial newspapers. He has had considerable commercial experience in the Colony, and while resident in Auckland was for two years in the colonial militia.
Glover, John, Farrier and General Blacksmith, Rongotea. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand, Bulls. Established 1890.
Alderson, Martin, Butcher, Rougotea. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand, Bulls. Established 1885 and conducted by present proprietor since 1894.
Darragh, W., General Storekeeper, Rongotea. Established 1893.
Hickford, A. G., Coach Proprietor, Carrier and Commission Agent, Rongotea. Established 1890.
Ransom, Vincent C., Settler, Rongotea. An early and prominent settler, Mr. Ransom arrived in the district in 1878, at a time when there were no roads. Though the country at that time was covered with dense bush, Mr. Ransom soon made his mark. This land is now cleared, fenced, subdivided, and covered with a thick sward of grasses, and supports a fine herd of dairy cattle. As settlement advanced Mr. Ransom took a prominent part in public affairs, and was chairman of the school committee, the county council, and the cemetery board, and is at present (1896) chairman of the dairy factory. He also took a leading part in securing Prohibition for the district. Born in London in 1852, Mr. Ransom came to the Colony in 1854, in the ship “Cornwall.” Landing at Wellington, he removed to the Hutt, where he was educated. In 1875 he married Miss Knight, of the Lower Hutt, and has six boys and three girls.