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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]


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Rawene, 182 miles from Auckland, is the original native name of the chief settlement on the Hokianga river, which also bears its old European appellation of Herd's Point, after Captain Herd. There is a small mixed population with no important local industry, the place being almost wholly a distributing centre, and there is regular communication with Auckland by steamer. Rawene has a post and telegraph office, court-house, three hotels, a public school, and a weekly mail service.

Rawene Wharf and Township.

Rawene Wharf and Township.

Mr. Hone Heke, who represents the Northern Maori Electorate in the House of Representatives, was born at Kaikohe, in the Auckland province, in 1869, and is a grandnephew of the historic Hone Heke, who sacked the town of Kororareka on the 30th March, 1845. Mr. Heke was educated at St. Stephen's, Auckland, and on completing his studies, engaged for some time in farming pursuits. He acted as Maori interpreter for the Hon. A. J. Cadman at the meeting of natives held at the Bay of Islands some years ago; and held an appointment in the Native Lands Office in Wellington until 1893. This position he resigned some months before the general election of that year to contest the Northern Maori seat in the House of Representatives. He was returned at the head of the poll, and was re-elected in 1896 and 1899. Mr. Heke has always taken an active part in the advancement of native interests, and is busy in and out of sessions attending to the wants of his constituents, and of the Maori race generally. He does not, however, confine himself to native matters only, but takes an intelligent interest in all the leading political questions of the day. Mr. Heke does not avail himself of the interpreter when he addresses the House; he always speaks in the English language, in which he is well versed, and is a most fluent speaker.

Hokianga County, on the opposite coast to Bay of Islands, has an area of 972 square miles and a population of about 1800 Europeans, and about 2000 natives. The capital value of property within the jurisdiction of the Council is £457,000; rate, 2£ 1/2d on the unimproved value. The total revenue with grants is about £1500, and the council meetings are held at Rawene on irregular dates. Members 1900–1901: Mr. W. Carr, chairman, and Messrs C. W. P. Seon, A. S. Andrews, G. Glover, Joseph Vaughan, E. Warnington, H. C. Powell, and B. E. Williams; clerk, treasurer and engineer, E. McLeod.

Councillor Cornelius William Pellatt Seon, who represents Kohukohu Riding in the Hokianga County Council, was first elected to the seat in 1888 and has held it almost continuously since, and acted as chairman for part of the time. Mr. Seon also represents Hokianga as a member of the North Auckland Hospital and Charitable Aid Board. He was for several years a member of the local licensing bench, acting as chairman for three years, and he attended as a delegate the conference to consider the interests of colonial agriculture.

Mr. Alfred Cooke Yarborough, formerly chairman of Hokianga County Council, was born in 1847 at Campsmount, the country seat of Mr. George Cooke Yarborough, J.P., in the County of York. Until fourteen years of age he was at Woodcote School, near Reading, where his greatest friend was the late Commander Marks, R. N., an officer well known in the Colonies. Then he went to Eton, where he spent three years, the late Lord Randolph Churchill being one of his intimate friends, while Lord Rosebery was in the upper classes of the school at the same time, besides others whose names are now distinguished. In 1866 he page 611 went to Lincoln College, Oxford, under the rectorship of the late Dr. Paterson. He attained considerable fame on the river. In 1867 he won sixty-three races out of a possible sixty-eight, and was one of the best oars the University ever had. At Henley and the Metropolitan Regatta he gained both his College and the University Sculls three years in succession. In the University Eight he was one of the winning crew against Cambridge each year he rowed, and in 1869 pulled second in the famous four-oared race against the American team from Yale College. Oxford was coached by the Rev. E. Warre (now headmaster of Eton College) and by Mr. Morrison, also a famous coach. The Yale crew were by no means to be despised, but were no match for the splendid team of Oxonians. In 1871 Mr. Yarborough came out in the ship “Excelsior” to Auckland, and after travelling the Colony for some time, started a flax mill in Hokianga, which like many others of the kind proved an unsuccessful venture. He went into the kauri timber trade in the same district and founded the township of Kohukohu, which bids fair to become an important centre of population. He was elected a member of the Hokianga County Council in 1876 and was for some time chairman or member, taking a warm interest in local politics for twenty years. Mr. Yarborough lives there in a picturesque cottage commanding a pleasant view of the waters of the Hokianga river. He visited England and France in 1887, and again in 1900.

Mr. Ernest Mcleod, Clerk, Treasurer, and Inspector, Hokianga County Council, is a son of Mr. James McLeod of Rawene, and was born in Auckland in 1866. He was educated at the Auckland College and Grammar School, and on removing to Rawene became a contractor, and was elected a member of the Hokianga County Council in 1893. In the following year he was appointed to his present position. He is secretary to the Oddfellows' lodge, a member of the floral association, and a steward of the Wesleyan circuit.

Mr. E. MacLeod.

Mr. E. MacLeod.

Mr. George Gardiner Menzies, Inspector of County Roads in the counties of Mongonui, Hokianga, Marsden, and Bay of Islands, has his head-quarters at Rawene, in the county of Hokianga. Mr. Menzies was born at Bannockburn, Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1845, and came to New Zealand by the “Evening Star” in 1858, landing at Auckland. Shortly after his arrival he visited an uncle who owned a property called “Blink Bonnie” at Papakura, after which he was for a time engaged in various enterprises in Auckland, finally apprenticing himself to the building trade, which he followed until 1877. Ultimately, Mr. Menzies entered the Government service and later received the appointment of county engineer in Hokianga and Government surveyor. His duties are to lay out roads and generally supervise works in the district over which he is inspector. He is married to a daughter of Mr. Frear, of Auckland, and has six sons.

Hokianga Pilot Service (pilot-master, George Martin), Hokianga.

Mr. George Martin, Pilot-master of Hokianga, entered upon his duties in 1886. He was for some time previously signalman under Captain Seon, then pilot, on whose death, Mr. Martin succeeded to the position.

Mr. John Martin, sometime of Omapere, Old Colonist, was the first pilot stationed at Hokianga, and was appointed by Governor Fitzroy in 1845. He was born in 1800 and for some years was chief officer of the “Mermaid,” which vessel came to Hokianga in 1826. Taking up his residence in that district, the late Mr. Martin established himself as a pilot and experienced great difficulty in erecting a flagstaff on South Head owing to the troublesome natives. He was a man of ready courage and with a high sense of duty, which he faithfully fulfilled during his thirty years of active as pilot. His death was due to rheumatism hastened by apoplexy. Mr. Martin was a member of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Ireland, No. 266, and in 1826 was transferred to the Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia. His son, Mr. George Martin, is pilot master at Hokianga.

The Rawene Post Office, which is the chief distributing and transmitting office in Hokianga, was opened in 1875. It is five miles from Kohukohu and Omanaia post offices, respectively. Mails arrive weekly on Tuesday at nine p.m. and are despatched at midnight on Wednesday. The postmaster's private quarters adjoin the offices and form a pleasant residence.

Mr. Thomas Lumsden Millar, Postmaster at Rawene, who opened the offices in 1875, was born in Leith, Scotland, in 1850, received his education at Aberdeen and came to New Zealand per ship “Carabou” in 1864. He spent several years on the West Coast diggings and joined the telegraph department in 1873, being stationed at Greymouth for some time, then at Hokitika and [gap — reason: illegible] Bealey. Mr. Millar is also the registrar of births, deaths, and marriages.

Lester Bros. (Charles Bertram Lester and Robert Ernest Lester), General Storekeepers and Produce Dealers, Rawene, Head establishment at Kohukohu, Bankers, National Bank of New Zealand, Auckland, Messrs Lester Bros, established their business in 1894, and have succeeded in making it one of the best in the district. The premises are well situated immediately opposite the Rawene Wharf, with a well-arranged shop, and an excellent stock of general merchandise. Messrs Lester formerly conducted a grocery business in Pitt Street, Auckland, for five years, after which they established their present business.

Mr. Charles B. Lester, the Managing Partner at Rawene, of the firm of Lester Bros., was born in Auckland in 1867. He is a son of Mr. Robert Lester of Mount Roskill and received his education at Port Albert. Mr. Lester is a member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, and is married to a daughter of Mr. James Flavell, of Waiuku.

The Rev. James Buller, who left England as a missionary of the Wesleyan Church, landed at Hokianga on the 21st of April, 1836, and remained in the district for three years. He was afterwards at Kaipara for fifteen years, at Wellington five years, and at Christchurch six years, and after that he was superintendent minister at the Thames. page 612 Altogether he was for more than forty years engaged in missionary and church work in New Zealand. During that time he was successively president of the Australian and New Zealand Wesleyan Conference. In his work “Forty years in New Zealand” he has a great deal that is interesting to say concerning the characteristics of the Maoris and the labours and the lives of the early missionaries and colonists. Shortly after his first arrival at Hokianga Mr. Buller set himself to master the Maori language. He had neither lexicon nor grammar, but the language had been reduced to writing, and with the aid of some printed translations of church manuals and of some portions of the Bible, and by daily intercourse with the Maoris, he prepared a grammar and vocabulary for his own use, and in that way fitted himself to help in missionary school work. At the end of his first year's residence at Hokianga he made his first attempt to preach in Maori. His sermon aroused much interest amongst his native hearers, who were profusely polite in their appreciation of his efforts to instruct them and open their minds to new ways of looking at life. This encouraged Mr. Buller, and must have been of great value to him at the outset of his long, arduous, yet vigorous, and in the main, successful apostleship. His work is still much more than a memory in the Hokianga and Kaipara districts, and the charm it had for himself, notwithstanding all its dangers and drawbacks, given the attraction of a fine atmosphere to much of his “Forty years in New Zealand. During his later years Mr. Buller lived in retirement in the neighbourhood of Christchurch, where he died on the 6th of November, 1884.

Mr. Alexander Chapman, Old Colonist, Hokianga. Mr. Chapman, who was one of the earliest settlers in Hokianga, was an Englishman by birth. He was born in 1805 and when a boy sailed with Captain Parry (afterwards Sir Edward Parry) in search of the North-West passage. Subsequently, he served several years under Mr. William Yatman, of St. Paul's Dockyards, Deptford, where he received his education and served seven years' apprenticeship. Obtaining a shipwright's certificate. Mr. Chapman came out to Sydney about 1826 with letters of introduction to Mr. Alexander Cunningham, with whom he obtained employment. In 1831 Mr. Chapman came to New Zealand under engagement to Captain McDonnell, who had a contract for supplying spars to the navy. Afterwards he established himself in business in Hokianga as a shipwright and in 1857 took a trip Home in the ship “Signet,” laden with kauri gum and baulk timber for the English market. Combining business with pleasure. Mr. Chapman saw his relatives in various parts, and gained further knowledge of his trade. He returned to New Zealand in 1858 by the ship “Mary Ann” and continued at his trade in the Hokianga district till 1866, when he retired and resided with his only daughter, Mrs. George Martin, at Omapere, till his death, which took place at her residence in 1886.

Mr. James Mcleod, Old Colonist, was born in Elgin, Morayshire, in 1816, served his apprenticeship to the engineering trade, was for two years with Messrs. Moseley, Son and Field, Lambeth, London, and came to New Zealand per ship “Westminster,” landing at Auckland in 1813. After trying various occupations he began business on his own account in 1846 and gave the name “Vulean Lane” to the street where his shop once stood. In 1860, he sold out, and was employed in the erection of sawmills at Cabbage and Kennedy's Bays, and a flour-mill at Upper Thames. He next undertook the contract for keeping the Auckland roads in repair and for two years had a stone-crushing machine at Mt. Eden. Then followed employment in different localities and Mr. McLeod ultimately started business as a blacksmith at Russell, and in 1876 at Kohukohu, removing to Rawene two years later. Mr. McLeod has always assisted in public matters; in the Old Country in 1852 he sided with the Chartists in the interest of the workers. He was one of the first trustees of the Independent Order of Oddfellows and is said to be the third oldest member of that body in New Zealand. Mr. McLeod's son is referred to as clerk of the Hokianga County Council.

Mr. J. McLeod.

Mr. J. McLeod.

Mr. Frederick Edward Maning, sometime Native Land Court Judge, New Zealand, was the eldest son of Frederick Maning, of Dublin, Ireland, and was born in that city on the 5th of July, 1812. His father, attracted by the free grants of land to settlers in Van Dieman's Land, emigrated with his family to that colony, and arrived at Hobart in the ship “Ardent” on the 24th of May, 1824. Young Maning, being of an adventurous spirit, went to New Zealand in 1833, when twenty-one years of age. New Zealand was not then a British colony, but Mr. Maning acquired land from the Ngapuhi tribe at Hokianga, and took up his residence among the natives at Onoke, and rapidly acquired a thorough acquaintance with the laws and customs of the Maoris. The exceptional knowledge thus acquired led subsequently to his being appointed a Judge of the Native Land Court, in which capacity he served for many years. He had lived among the natives and looked upon himself as a Pakeha Maori, by which name he was generally known, and which he used as his pen-name when he published his celebrated book “Old New Zealand,”


page 613 which is a classic in its way, on account of its literary piquancy and the unique value of its author's insight into Maori character, and knowledge of Maori life and customs. There is nothing equal to “Old New Zealand” in this connection in existence. This book was republished in London in 1876, with a preface by the Earl of Pembroke, who was himself an enlightened observer of the Maoris and of other native races in the South Pacific. Lord Pembroke's own book, “Roots,” reproduces with true sympathetic insight much of the haunting charm of the early colonial days and of the romance that then appertained to peaceful social intercourse between the better kind of settlers and the Maoris. “Old New Zealand” has passed through various editions. It and “The War in the North”—also by Judge Maning—were reprinted in one volume in September, 1900, in Macmillan's Colonial Library. “The War in the North” gives an account of the first Maori insurrection, under Heke, and of its suppression by the Imperial forces. The story is told from the Maori point of view, and is of real value as a historical document on that side of the subject. Judge Maning married a Maori woman. He rendered considerable service to the English in the Heke war in 1845, and later in the war of 1861; which he was well able to do from his great influence with the Ngapuhi tribe, the most powerful and advanced tribe in New Zealand, and of which he was a naturalised member. Judge Maning died in July, 1883, in England, whither he had gone for special medical treatment, and his remains were sent out to New Zealand for burial. The following epitaph, written by his friend, Dr. John Logan Campbell, is inscribed on his tombstone in the Church of England cemetery, Symonds Street, Auckland: “In memory of Frederick Edward Maning, known to colonial fame as the author of ‘Old New Zealand.’ He came to this land in his youth; he lived in it to the verge of old age. In New Zealand's first native war he served his country well in the field; in later life as a Judge of her Land Court, he did the State good service on the Bench. When full of years, yet full of strength, stricken with a painful malady, he sought relief in the Mother Country, where he died on the 25th of July, 1883; aged seventy-two years. His last words were: ‘Let me be buried in the land I love so well.’ Here, therefore, loving friends interred him in his last resting place, in the land of his adoption, and have raised this memorial to one of New Zealand's earliest colonists and most faithful sons.”
Rawene, Hokianga.

Rawene, Hokianga.