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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]


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Waipapakauri is a remote gumfield station in the county of Mongonui. The gum industry of the district is carried on chiefly under the energetic direction of Mr. Joseph Evans, who employs a large number of men and has large gum sheds and general stores at various places throughout the county.

The Traveller's Rest Hotel (Joseph Evans, proprietor), Waipapakauri, was established in 1890 by Mr. Evans, and is a two-storey wooden building containing seventeen rooms. There are twelve bedrooms, two parlours (one a private parlour), large dining-room, and a billiard-room fitted up with a first-class table by Alcock. The dining-table can comfortably seat thirty-five people and the bedrooms are lofty and nicely furnished, the domestic management being conducted by Mrs. Evans assisted by her daughter. The house is well patronised by commercial travellers generally and adjacent settlers, as well as being the favorite stopping-place for gum diggers.

Traveller's Rest Hotel, Waipapakauri.

Traveller's Rest Hotel, Waipapakauri.

Evans, Joseph, Hotelkeeper, Gum Buyer, General Merchant and Storekeeper, and Landed Proprietor, Waipapakauri. Branches at Awanui, Hohoura, Tekao, and Waiharara. Mr. Evans' store is the central distributing depot for the various outlying districts within a radius of fifty miles. Mr. Evans deals very largely in kauri gum, and generally has large stocks on hand waiting to be sorted and shipped to Auckland. When out buying he often rides fifty or sixty miles a day; his principle is invariably to pay in cash (usually gold) immediately on delivery of his purchase, and so heavy are some of his transactions, taken in the aggregate, that he has earned the name of the “Gum King.” He has erected at the head station at Waipapakauri, two large stores, or gum sheds as they are called locally, for storing and classification. Gum is bought at prices ranging from six shillings to 100s. per cwt., sugar gum being the lowest grade, followed by block, good, brown, ordinary, white, re-scraped white—bright amber-coloured—and, finally, dial gum, which is only obtained in small quantities. The fields extend from the east to the west coasts, on which there are about 500 Austrians at the present time, the largest number of them being at Tekao. Mr. Evans ships fortnightly to Auckland, his shipments occasionally amounting in value to over £1100, the well-known firm of Messrs. L. D. Nathan and Co. being his agents, and to whom he attributes much of his success. Mr. Evans' monthly freight charges range from £70 to £95, and as an illustration of the extent of his purchases, from the end of February to the end of May, 1897, his disbursements were £7000, and he often makes advances on gum to the diggers, without interest. His head gum-classer is Mr. James Beasley. The gum when purchased from the diggers is collected by means of Mr. Evans' bullock drays, for which he has sixty working bullocks. With regard to the question of the Austrians on the gum-fields, Mr. Evans says that ground will not be worked out for very many years, and he believes in the Austrians, as he finds them strictly honest, sober, and upright in all their dealings. They have never been known to defraud the storekeeper, and as a rule live fairly well; he has had as many as 500 working for him and their transactions have always been perfectly satisfactory. On the whole they dig good gum and work in gangs of from three to six. He estimates that there are about 500 Austrians, 200 other Europeans, and 300 natives digging in and around the country from shore to shore. There has been a recent rush to Waiharara, where the gum is expected to hold out for at least twenty years. Some few years ago, Mr. Evans was successful in petitioning the Government to have the land at Hohoura opened up, the result being that at the present time there is a prosperous little settlement there, the settlers having nice houses pleasantly situated, and as a rule are hard-working and industrious, many of them with considerable property. Mr. Evans has a freehold of about 6000 acres at Tekao and employs a number of diggers there. The branch store at Hohoura is about the same size as the one at Waipapakauri, and the amount of gum purchased ranges from £400 to £500 monthly. The adjacent land is suitable for farming, if it were only cut up, but the settlers seem more inclined to stock it with cattle and sheep than turn to agriculture. Mr. Evans has recently bought a fine property there, and has also purchased about 6000 acres from Mr. Cousins, of Auckland. The branch business at Waiharara has been making great strides for the time it has been in existence. On that field, which is Crown land, the gum is of an excellent quality and very plentiful, and the diggers are mostly Europeans, with a sprinkling of natives and Austrians. The 6000 acres bought from Mr. Cousins lies between Hohoura and the coast; a great deal of it is flat, good cropping country, about one-third of the property being really good land yielding as much as fifty bushels of maize to the acre, besides fine crops of oats. Mr. Evans has about 150 head of cattle on the run, page 602
1.—Mr. J. Evans. 2.—Mrs. J. Evans. 3.—Miss Evans. 4.—Mr. F. O. Evans. 5.—Mr. J. Evans and Wife. 6.—Mr. E. A. Evans. 7.—Mr. J. A. Evans. 8.—Mr. W. Evans.

1.—Mr. J. Evans.
2.—Mrs. J. Evans.
3.—Miss Evans.
4.—Mr. F. O. Evans.
5.—Mr. J. Evans and Wife.
6.—Mr. E. A. Evans.
7.—Mr. J. A. Evans.
8.—Mr. W. Evans.

page 603 mostly used for breeding purposes, young steers being forwarded annually to the sales at Oruru. Mount Camel, which forms part of his run, is a fine picturesque mountain, formerly owned by Messrs Subritzky Bros. During Mr. Evans' occasional absence from the head branch at Waipapakauri, the business is managed by his son, Mr. George Evans, who resides on his freehold property of 170 acres, a beautiful farm bearing the reputation of being the best in the district. The Hohoura branch is in charge of the second son, Mr. William Evans, assisted by Mr. Walter Evans who superintends the carting of gum and delivery of stores over the fields. The Waiharara branch is under the control of Mr. Oscar Evans, Mr. Joseph Evans was born in Stockport, Lancashire, in 1833, and is a son of the late Mr. Robert Evans, who was in the employ of the great contractor Mr. Brassey, father of Lord Brassey, and was principally engaged in the construction of side-walls and arches of tunnels. The subject of this sketch was self-taught and spent most of his early life in Staffordshire as an ironworker, chiefly at Hauley for Earl Granville, and for Lord Ward at South Staffordshire, including three years at Brown and Frear's scarp furnace at the later place. In 1865 he came to New Zealand in the “Andrew Jackson,” bringing with him two daughters and one son; he left one son at home, but sent for him six years later. He landed in Auckland, where he remained for two months, then went on to Mongonui, where he started work in the kauri bush for Messrs. Drury and Fletcher, and where now are nothing but gumfields. After being there for about eighteen months, he was burnt out and removed to Mangatete, where he took up his forty-acre grant, as he had emigrated under that system. He was at Mangatete until 1885, during that time contracting for the county council and road board. By degrees Mr. Evans increased his holding until when he left the district he had 100 acres of freehold land, the whole of which was cleared, laid down in grass, and mostly under cultivation. He has recently further purchased 260 acres of freehold property, which has the making of a nice place; the land is slightly undulating, much of it being very suitable for cropping and fruit-growing. The property at Waipapakauri was taken up in 1885 and the hotel acquired about 1890. Mr. Evans declares that, although he is well and favourably known throughout the north, he has not yet reached the top of the tree, and as he is an energetic man and never happier than when hard at work, he is steadily and successfully building up his fortunes. Mr. Evans is a member of the Mongonui County Council to which he was first elected in 1888, having been re-elected on every occasion since, for Awanui Riding. He has, through the agency of Mr. Houston, M. H. R., succeeded in obtaining a Government grant for the road from Hohoura to the west coast. When he first came to Waipapakauri there was no road to Awanui; now there is one bridged, drained, and well-constructed. Mr. Evans is married to a daughter of the late Mr. John Cox, of Staffordshire, and has reared a family of seven sons and five daughters, all the former being employed at the various branches of the business. Four of the daughters are married, and reside in the district; namely, Mrs. Thomas Berghan at the Settler's Hotel. Mongonui, Mrs. Nicholas Maria, of Oruru valley, Mrs. Robert Williams at Oruru, and Mrs. White at Victoria Valley.
The Lighthouse, Cape Maria Van Dieman.

The Lighthouse, Cape Maria Van Dieman.