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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]


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From Mangaonoho, the last station opened on the Hunterville Railway Line, four miles of mountainous coach road requires to be negotiated, and when Ohingaiti is gained the tourist finds himself on a high table-land, immediately overlooking the Rangitikei River, which cuts its remarkably winding way through the country, at a depth varying from 300 feet. A large viaduct, now in course of construction, will complete the means of railway communication between Ohingaiti and Mangaonoho, the object being to extend the line to Mangaweka, some seven miles further inland from Ohingaiti. The village of Ohingaiti has developed rapidly, its population being 410, as disclosed by the census of 1896; this may, however, decrease to some extent in the near future, when Mangaweka will become the terminus of the line of railway. The local post and telephone office is also a money order and postal note office, and a post-office savings bank, there being a daily mail. In the Electoral District and County of Rangitikei, Ohingaiti is a school district under the Wanganui Education Board. Good accommodation for tourists and travellers is available at the local hostelries and boardinghouses. The land is fairly good for pastoral purposes, and sheepfarmers appear to be doing well. There being abundance of timber, sawmilling is industriously carried on, and with profit.



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Ohingaiti Post and Telephone Office, which is also an office for the issue of money orders, postal notes, and the transaction of savings bank business, is at the store of Messrs. Ellis Bros, and Valder, daily mails being received and despatched. Mr. John Spencer Carver is the officer in charge.

Ohingaiti Police Station, which is situated in Main Street South, was opened in 1893 by Constable O'Leary. The officer in charge of the district at the time of writing (1896) is Constable Black.

Floyd, W. A., Overseer, Railway-works, Utiku, Ohingaiti. Born in the Empire City in 1856, his parents having arrived in Wellington on the 22nd of January, 1841, in the “Slains Castle,” Mr. Floyd went to Rangitikei in 1872, where he worked on a farm, subsequently buying land near Mount View, where he lived for some years. On disposing of this property, Mr. Floyd became a contractor completing several large works for the Rangitikei Highway Board and the Rangitikei County Council, besides some Government contracts, and was eventually appointed overseer on the railway-works of the branch line to Hunterville. Later on he was sub-inspector of works for the Rangitikei County Council, and subsequently Mr. Floyd conducted the Argylo Hotel, Hunterville, and afterwards the Royal Hotel, Ohingaiti, for about eighteen months. As a public man in Hunterville, he was chairman and secretary for several small farm associations, president of the rifle club, organiser of the Foresters' Lodge and Masonic Lodge, member of the domain board and school committee, and one of the first Justices of the Peace in the Paraekaretu District. He is also president of the Rangitikei Liberal Association. Mr. Floyd has been requisitioned at two elections to stand for Parliament, but has declined. On leaving Hunterville he was presented with an illuminated address, numerously signed.

Ohingaiti Public School, which is controlled by a local committee, acting under the Wanganui Education Board, has an average attendance of eighty-five scholars. The building is of the usual design, and affords ample convenience for the purposes intended.

Mr. John Henry Brooks, Headmaster of the Ohingniti School, was born in Holmfirth, Yorkshire, in 1853. Educated at Cleveland College, Darlington, and Wellesley College. Sheffield, he matriculated at London University in 1872. Arriving in New Zealand in 1881, Mr. Brooks had some experience as a farmer, and joined the Wanganui Education Board in 1890 as relieving officer, being subsequently appointed to Ohingaiti. Before leaving England, he was connected with the Volunteer movement, in which he held the rank of Lieutenant. He appears in the illustration in the uniform of his company. Mr. Brooks is married, and has six children.

The Church of England holds services in the Ohingaiti Public School every Sunday, Messrs J. P. Aldridge and C. M. Pedder acting as lay readers. The district is included in the Hunterville Parish, the Rev. J. M. Devenish being the clergyman in charge.

The Presyterian Church, Ohingaiti, is under the pastoral oversight of the Rev. Mr. Griffiths. The building is a neat-little structure, seating about 100.

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The Roman Catholic Church holds monthly services in Ohingaiti, conducted by visiting priests, in Wells and Hentze's Hall.

The Primitive Methodist Church, Ohingaiti, holds two services every Sunday and one every Thursday. Mr. Bourne, of Marton, is the home missionary.

Loyal Awarua Lodge, No. 7246, I.O.O.F., M.U., Wanganui District. Meetings are held fortnightly. The officers for 1896 were:—N.G., Mr. G. Thurgood; V.G., Mr. S. Wanton, jun.; secretary, Mr. A. T. Coates; treasurer, Mr. J. S. Carver, P.G.

Court Activity, No. 7924, A.O.F. Meetings are held monthly at the Club Hotel. The officers for 1896 were:—Chief Banger, Mr. J. Lambert; sub-chief ranger, Mr. J. Cumin; treasurer, Mr. J. Hicks; secretary, Mr. Summers.

Davenport, Harold D., L.R.C.S. (Ireland, 1885), Physician and Surgeon, Main Street North, Ohingaiti. Mr. Davenport is a native of Derbystire, and qualified in 1885.

Ind-Carver, Robert William, J.P., Chemist and Druggist, Ohingaiti. This business was established in 1893 by the present proprietor, who in 1856 began to learn his business with Messrs. C. and F. Barraud, the first chemists of Welfington. Subsequently he was in business in Napier on his own account, and dispensing for Dr. Grace, and afterwards he acted as assistant to Mr. John Allen, in Wellington. A son of the Rev. R. Robert William Ind-Carver Carver, who for thirty years laboured first in the Wesleyan, and afterwards in the Church of England mission under Bishop Spencer, the subject of this sketch was born at Malnattam, near Madras, India, in 1838. After his father's deeply-lamented death, he went to England with his widowed mother, and was educated at the Manchester Grammar School and “All Saints,” Margaret Street, London. He came to New Zealand in 1853 as a cadet, and has had considerable experience of country life, having at one time managed the Tuki Tuki Sheep-station, Hawkes Bay, for Mr. Henry St. Hill, then Resident Magistrate of Wellington. In musical matters Mr. Ind-Carver has been prominent as organist of St. John's, Wellington, for three years, and as a music-teacher there and in the Wairarapa. While living in Napier as chemist, in 1866 he took part as a militiaman in the Omarumn engagement against the Hau Haus, for which service he holds a war medal, and after, in 1868–69 as a volunteer, was in active service at Poverty Bay and Mohaka massacres. Mrs. Carver is a daughter of Mr. Thomas Nicholas, builder, of Wellington.

Crump, William, Builder, Onslow Street, Ohingaiti. Established in 1892. Mr. Crump is also carrying on the business of cabinetimaking and undertaking. Born in Lyttleton in 1869, and educated at Oxford. Canterbury, the subject of this notice left school at the age of fourteen, and was apprenticed to Mr. John Brown, builder, Oxford; during the five years he gained a thorough knowledge of every branch of his trade. As soon as he had completed his apprenticeship, he started in business for himself in the North Island as a builder, and has successfully executed many large and important contracts in Woodville, Feilding, Dannevirke, Palmerston, and Wanganui. In 1888 he thought he would try him luck in Australia as work became somewhat slack in New Zealand, and for five years engaged in business in Newcastle, New South Wales, but finding that the heat had an injurious effect upon his health, he resolved to return to New Zealand, and finally settled in Ohingaiti. Here, again, success has attended his business. Mr. Crump is now adding sash and door-making to his general business, and is putting in a plant for that purpose. In 1888 he was married to Miss Lee, of Hunterville, and now has five children.

Connon, Thomas, Aerated Water Manufacturer, Ohinguiti Cordial Factory, Main Street. Ohingaiti. This factory is well found in every respect, and supplies a large district with cordials and non-intoxicating drinks. Mr. Connon, who hails from Aberdeen, where he was educated at the local grammar school and at King's College, became one of the chartered accountants of Scotland in 1864. He settled in the colonies owing to heavy losses, caused by the failure of a well-known institution in his native land. In local politics Mr. Connon takes great interest, having for some years filled the position of chairman of the school committee.

Commercial and Family Hotel (W. H. Wells and J. P. Hentze, proprietors), Main Street, Ohingaiti. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. This hostelry, which is patronised by most of the commercial men visiting the township, has twenty-one bedrooms, five parlours, and a large dining-hall which will seat fifty people. Good stables are attached to the house, and there is also a very comfortable hall, provided with stage and accessories, suitable for theatrical performances. The proprietors have had considerable experience in catering and hotel-management, and the requirements of travellers are carefully studied by them. Both partners were formerly in business in Marton, where Mr. Hentze established the page 1295 Broadway Bakery, which was subsequently carried on by Mr. Wells. The latter, who hails from Brighton, Sussex, arrived in Wellington, per ship “Howrah,” in 1874. He had partly learned his business with his father before leaving, and completed his term in the Colony. For some time he was employed by the late Mr. G. Laing, of Wellington, taking the place vacated by the late Mr. G. Towersey, when the latter left to enter into business on his own account. After this, for some ten years Mr. Wells was foreman baker in Sydney and other parts of New South Wales. He is a “master mason,” a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters, and also a member of the Royal Foresters of Australia.

Royal Hotel (John Coyle, proprietor), Main and Onslow Streets, Ohingaiti. This hotel, which has recently been completely renovated, possesses fourteen large, well-ventilated bedrooms, seven sitting-rooms, and a fine dining-room with chairs for thirty guests. There are twelve loose-boxes, which afford ample accommodation for horses, and vehicles are on hand for hire on the shortest, notice. Mr. Coyle is a native of Auckland, and was brought up to the business. Early in life he entered the police force, and continued for twenty-three years in the service, the last sixteen years of the term having been spent in the Rangitikei District. Mr. Coyle has acted for many years as handicapper for local racing clubs, and is said to be one of the best in the Colony. He retired in favour of Mr. Henry, the professional handicapper, but still acts for the Rangitikei Hunt Club, and for the second day's races at Feilding. Mr. Coyle is very popular as a host, as well as in his personal relations.

Clab Hotel (J. Curran, proprietor), Main Street, Ohingaiti. Established 1893.

Ellis Bros. and Valder (F. J. and W. A. Ellis and Hy. Valder), Storekeepers, Ohingaiti. Head Office, Hunterville; Black and white photograph of the premises of Ellis Bros. and Valder branches, Taihape and Moawhango. The Ohingaiti branch is under the management of Mr. F. J. Ellis, who has had many years' experience in connection with country business.

Buckley, George, Baker, Main Street, Ohingaiti. Established, 1891.

Laing, J. M., Draper, Ohingaiti.

Holt, Peter, Tailor, Ohingaiti.

Riddiway, J., Hairdresser, Ohingaiti.

Makohine Accommodation-house (Mrs. Hefferman, proprietress), Ohingaiti.

Sigley, Frank, Blacksmith and Wheelwright, Main Street, Ohingaiti. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Established 1892.

Mills, Samuel, Saddler, Ohingaiti.

Martin, Siman, Batcher, Main Street, Ohingaiti. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand, Established 1893.

Ellis, William, Farmer, Waterfalls, Ohingaiti. Born at Gipping, near Strome, Suffolk, Mr. Ellis spent his youthful days in farming, and came out in 1859, per ship “Mary Ann,” to Lyttelton. For ten years he carried on a dairy farm at Akaroa and Little Akaroa, but sold out and removed to the Canterbury Plains. Soon afterwards he was appointed manager of Mr. Travers station at Amuri, where he remained four years, then returning to Christchurch to manage an auctioneering business. Subsequently he became manager of Mr. Reess's farm, on leaving which Mr. Ellis William Ellis settled on the Waimate Plains, finally taking up his present property in 1886. The land was then dense bush, but is now in a highly improved state. Mr. Ellis first stocked his place with dairy cattle, milking as many as twenty-eight cows daily. A fine stream running through the property was utilised as a motive-power for driving separator, churn, etc. However, in consequence of the low price of butter, the distance from a market, and the fact that outside labour had to be employed, operations in this particular direction have been suspended, the power now being used in driving chaff-cutting and sawing machinery.

Hammond, W., Sheepfarmer, Pouwhakarua, Ohingaiti. The son of a very old identity, who landed in Wellington in 1841, by the “George Fife,” M. Hammond was born in Kaiwarra, and was educated at the Wellington Grammar School. Brought up to farming pursuits, he is interested with his brother, Mr. H. V. Hammond, in York Farm, near Marton. The Ohingaiti property consists of 1200 acres, which is all felled and grassed, and carries three sheep to the acre, besides 150 head of cattle. Mr. Hammond takes an interest in out-door sport, and is particularly fond of racing.