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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]



Mr. Job Vile, Ex-Mayor of Pahiatua, was born in 1845 at North Curry, Sommersetshire, England. He is the son of Mr. John Vile; one of the oldest residents in the district, both parents being alive and hearty, and living in-quiet retirement in the township of Pahiatua. In 1856 Mr. Vile, senior, brought his family to this Colony. Prior to that time the subject of this sketch had some six-years tuition in one of the London board schools, and though only eleven years of age, he must have made good progress, as his school days en led on leaving the Old Country. The trip to New Zealand was made in the ship “Anne Wilson,” and occupied 121 days. On arrival in Wellington, Mr. Vile first settled in the Hutt, but the flood of 1858 decided him to leave that district, and he removed to Carterton, or, as it was then known, the “Three-mile Bush.” After a residence in this place of some two years, Mr. Vile and his son were employed on the Huangaroa Station, near what is now called Martinborough. The station and the surrounding lands page 1022 were at that time owned by Messrs. Smith and Revans, who sold it to the Hon. Mr. Waterhouse, who in turn sold it to the late Hon. John Martin. The station still remains, and is occupied by one of the sons of the late owner, but, as is well known, the land on which the township of Martinborough stands was long age cut up and sold. After a short time on the Huangaroa Station, Mr. Vile purchased land near Purupuru, not far from the township of Carterton, which, with the assistance of his sons, he farmed for some fifteen years. It was at this time (in 1872) that Mr. Job Vile struck out for himself, Masterton being the scene of his operations. In a year's time he had got on well enough to undertake the carrying trade on the Wellington-Wairarapa coach line, and in this business he continued, gradually shortening his distances as the railway was extended, and at the present time his ground is confined to twenty-seven miles between Eketahuna and Woodville. For the past four years Mr. Vile has carried the mails between Pahiatua and Woodville, and his contract has still two years to run. It is expected that this contract will be the last, it being anticipated that the train connection between Eketahuna and Woodville will be completed by that time. For the two years 1893–95 Mr. Vile ran a line of coaches from Hawera to New Plymouth, via Manaia, Opunake, and Parihaka. This, perhaps, is the longest run of coaches running in the Colony. The distance between these two centres, Hawera and New Plymouth, being nearly one hundred miles. By train it is, of course, much shorter, as that line goes across country, whereas the coach line runs round the coast, the two lines completing the circle around Mount Egmont. This run of nearly one hundred miles is accomplished every day, and requires a very large and expensive plant. A few months back this plant, with all contracts for mails, etc., was sold by Mr. Vile to Mrs. Andrew Young, a name well-known in connection with coaches for the past half-century. Mr. Vile occupied the mayoral chair for two terms, being first elected to the office in 1892. It was at this time the borough of Pahiatua was formed, Mr. Vile being the prime mover in its inauguration and proclamation. The honour of first occupancy of the mayoral chair was contested, but Mr. Vile was returned by a majority of exactly fifty per cent, of the votes polled by his opponent, the ratepayers thus emphatically shewing their appreciation of his services in this direction. Mr. Vile was also first chairman of the Pahiatua County Council, a position which he occupied for two years (1888–90). For the three following years he continued as a hardworking member of the Council. Mr. Vile is certainly one of the fathers of Pahiatua. Indeed, his whole life has been devoted to the interests of the Wairarapa and surrounding district. He was a member of the first council of the borough of Masterton, and took an active part in the formation of that borough in 1876, was one of the first to make application to Mr. Ballance, as Minister of Lands in the Stout-Vogel Government, under the special settlement regulations, and was, with others, successful in founding the Masterton-Mangahao block, which is now one of the most progressive settlements in the Colony. The Parkville special settlement was also established through the untiring efforts of Mr. Vile, and he occupied the post of secretary as long as it was necessary for anyone to fill that office—in fact, he is still connected with it in that way. In 1867 Mr. Vile was married to Miss Ellen Rayner, of the Hutt, and their children number a dozen, of whom eleven are sons, and one, the youngest, a daughter, exclusive of two daughters and one son who are dead. The eldest son is away farming, the second is editor of the Wairarapa Star, the third is in business in Pahiatua, and the fourth has for the past two years had charge of the Taranaki coach line, the remaining seven sons being either at school or in situations in the district. Mr. Vile's father and mother celebrated the jubilee of their wedding in 1894, which was attended by the four Mr. Job Vile generations. For the past quarter of a century Mr. Vile has been a faithful temperance advocate, and is at the present time “chief ruler” of the Pahiatua Rechabite Lodge. Probably there is no name that is better known, and whose possessor is more widely respected throughout the whole of the Pahiatua and Wairarapa counties than that of Mr. Job Vile.

Mr. G. Harold Smith, who was Mayor of Pahiatua for the year 1893–4, is the son of Mr. John Valentine Smith, of Masterton. He was educated at Nelson College and Wellington College, and studied for his profession privately, passing his examination under Sir George Grey's Law Practitioners Act, when only nineteen years of age. He was admitted in 1888. Mr. Harold Smith is very popular in the district, and was elected to the mayoral chair without having previously served as a councillor. As a cricketer and especially as a footballer, Mr. Smith has been prominent, having captained the Wairarapa and Taranaki representative football teams. For two or three years he was a representative of Wellington in the interprovincial football matches. Mr. Smith is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and takes more than a passing interest in all matters of a public and semi-public nature.