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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. Henry Hirst

Mr. Henry Hirst, Old Colonist, has been associated with road board matters in his district for more than twenty years. It was in great part owing to his exertions that the Mount Roskill bridge was widened and repaired at a cost of nearly £1000. At his own expense he took a trip to Wellington and placed the whole matter before the Hon. Mr. Cadman, with satisfactory results. All the improvements of the Mount Eden district, gas supply and drainage, were carried out during Mr. Hirst's term on the road board, of which he was chairman for many years. He was born in Lancashire, England, in 1825, is a son of the late Mr. S. Hirst, and is for the greater part a self-taught man. Mr. Hirst was employed at the cotton mills in Radiham and Burnley up to the time of his coming to New Zealand by the ship “William Watson,” from which he landed at Auckland in February, 1859. Mr. Hirst followed the trade of a carpenter for a time, and also successfully carried on the business of a dairyman for a few years. At the time of the disturbances with the Maoris, Mr. Hirst served in the Militia for a year or two. During the years of depression he removed to the Thames, and was there employed in carpentering, whilst his two sons were engaged in battery work. Mr. Hirst afterwards returned to Auckland, and purchased a house and property at Mount Roskill, where he now lives in retirement. Mr. Hirst is a prominent working member of the Wesleyan Church, and his parents were both similarly engaged for very many years. As a life long total abstainer, Mr. Hirst has done a great deal to benefit the cause of temperance. He was one of the original members in Manchester of the Whole Total Abstinence Society when Sir Wilfred Lawson was its treasurer. Mr. Hirst was for a time chairman of the Auckland Licensing Committee, on which he represented Karangahape ward, and he also was a member of the old Mount Eden licensing committee, and of the school committee, for many years. He belongs to the order of Rechabites, and has been associated with the Wesleyan Sunday school. Mr. Hirst's only daughter is married to the Rev. John Nixon, and he has two sons; one of whom is farming at Te Aroha, and the other is head engineer at the Mount Morgan mine, Queensland. Both the sons are, like their father, staunch teetotallers.