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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]


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Pokeno was settled in 1865, soon after the close of the war, by settlers who came out in the ship “Helenslea,” and received ten-acre grants. The first township, which was known as McLean township, was close to the site of the railway station, but the settlement was afterwards re-classified and re-surveyed, and sold as suburban land. It is almost entirely a dairy farming district, and is within the jurisdiction of the Pokeno Road Board. The station is forty miles south of Auckland, and there is a local post office. A public school, a public hall, and an Anglican church, all situated on some of the more elevated parts of the district, are within about a mile of the railway station.

The Pokeno Road Board, established about 1870, has jurisdiction over a district bounded on the north by the Paparata road district, on the south by the Mercer road district, on the east by Mangatangi, and on the west by the Maungatawhiri road district. Members for 1900: Messrs F. W. Pyne, chairman, D. C. Sheffield, P. McIntyre, W. Dean, and J. Keith.

Mr. Francis William Pyne, B.A., who has been Chairman of the Pokeno Road Board since 1895, was born in London in 1866. He was educated at Bromsgrove, and at Worcester College, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1887. He arrived in New Zealand by the s.s. “Coptic,” in 1889, and settled in 1890 in Pokeno, where he purchased a grazing farm of nearly 700 acres in extent. There is a splendid apple and peach orchard of thirty-six acres on the property. Mr. Pyne was married, in 1894, to a daughter of Mr. G. Picken, of Plymouth, England, and has one daughter.

Mr. William Dean, who is a Member of the Pokeno Road Board, on which he has held a seat almost continuously, and has also served on the school committee for many years, was born in 1836 in County Fermanagh, Ireland, which he left when very young, and was brought up as a mechanical engineer in Scotland. Mr. Dean followed his profession until he decided to come to New Zealand. He arrived in Auckland in 1864 by the ship “Helenslea,” and settled at Pokeno, where he found employment from time to
Hanna, photo.Mr. and Mrs. W. Dean.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. and Mrs. W. Dean.

time, on small steamers engaged in the Waikato, Thames, and Auckland trade. Mr. Dean is an excellent farmer, and owns a farm of 350 acres, which he utilises largely for dairy purposes, and he also mills flax, the whole of which is grown on his own property. Mr. Dean has been more or less engaged in this industry since about 1868. His mill is worked by water power, and produces about forty tons of dressed flax per annum. He was married, in 1860, to a daughter of the late Mr. James Welsh, of Lanark, Scotland, and has five daughters and two sons.

Mr. James Keith, who has been a Member of the Pokeno Road Board since 1891, was born at Staxton, near Seaborough, England, in 1858. He arrived in Auckland with his parents in January, 1864, by the ship “Ulcoats,” went into the country, and was for some years in the Remuera district. In 1884 he settled in Maungatawhiri Valley, and holds 100 acres of good alluvial land, which he works as a dairy farm. Mr. Keith was married, in 1882, to a daughter of Mr. J. Biddick, of Kohimarama. Mrs. Keith died in October, 1894, leaving five daughters and one son.

Mr. Peter McIntyre, who has been a Member of the Pokeno Road Board since 1898, was born in Scotland, in 1837, and brought up to agriculture. He came out in the “Helenslea,” in 1864, and received a ten-acre grant. Mr. McIntyre has resided in the Pokeno district since 1868, and has been in business as a general storekeeper and farmer.

Mr. Duncan Campbell Sheffield, who has been for many years a Member of the Pokeno Road Board, and was for several years chairman of the local school committee, was born in Middlesex, England, in 1847. At the age of twenty he arrived in New Zealand by the ship “Ida Zeigler,” and settled in Port Albert, where he was farming for four years. After residing for ten years in the Bombay district, Mr. Sheffield settled in Pokeno in 1881. He was married, in 1870, to a daughter of the late Mr. T. Hazeldean, of Thames, and has four sons and one daughter.

Mr. James McPherson, Secretary and Treasurer of the Pokeno Road Board since 1890, was born in 1849, in Aberdeen, Scotland, where he was educated and brought up to agriculture. In 1864 he arrived in Auckland by the ship “Helenslea,” and acquired sixty acres of freehold land in the Manngatawhiri Valley, which he works as a dairy farm. Mr. McPherson was married, in 1891, to a daughter of Mr. C. Stewart, of Pokeno, and has one daughter.

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Hanna, photo.Mr. J. McPherson.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. J. McPherson.

The Pokeno Railway Station And Post And Telegraph Office has been in existence since 1875. The buildings, which are of wood and iron, contain a ladies' waiting room, a public vestibule, and an office for the postal and railway departments. There is also a goods shed and stationmaster's residence. The whole of the duties of the station are performed by the resident stationmaster.

The Pokeno Public School was established about the year 1870. The original building was burnt down, and the present was erected in 1895. It contains a class room and a porch, and has accommodation for eighty pupils; there are sixty on the roll, the average attendance is fifty-two, and the master in charge is assisted by a pupil teacher. There are fourteen acres of land attached to the school premises, and there is a six-roomed schoolhouse on the property.

Mr. George Lippiatt, M.A., who holds an A2 certificate, is in charge of the Pokeno Public School. He was born in 1864 at Penge, Surrey, England, and came to New Zealand with his parents in the following year in the ship “Belgravia.” He graduated B.A. at the Auckland University in 1889, and M.A. with honours in science in 1890. Mr. Lippiatt entered the service of the Auckland Board of Education in 1882. He was afterwards for four years science master at the Auckland Grammar School, and was appointed to Pokeno in April, 1898.

St. Mary's Anglican Church, Pokeno, which was erected in 1899, cost, with the land, £1000, and was presented to the district by Mrs. Harriet Johnston. Services had previously been held in Pokeno by visiting clergymen. The church is built of wood and shingle, and has a spire which contains a peal of bells. There are some beautiful stained glass windows in the church. The Rev. H. B. Wingfield, vicar at Pokeno, is in charge of the district.

The Pokeno Presbyterian Church, which will seat 150 persons, is a wooden building, with a shingled roof, and is supplied by the clergyman residing at Pukekohe.

The Pokeno Wesleyan Church, erected in 1881, was removed to its present site in 1897. It has accommodation for 100 people, and is under the charge of the resident minister at Pukekohe.

The Pokeno Public Hall, erected in 1898, cost about £600, and was presented to the district by Mrs Harriet Johnston. It stands on an acre of land, and has accommodation for 180 persons.

Pokeno Creamery, the property of the New Zealand Dairy Association, is situated on the Valley road. The machinery, which consists of two Alpha De Laval separators of 440 and 260 gallons' capacity respectively, is driven by a twelve horse-power portable steam engine. There were twenty-four suppliers in November, 1900, and over 3000 gallons of milk were put through each week.

Mr. Herbert Oldham, Manager of the Pokeno Creamery, was born in 1857 at New Bedford, Nottinghamshire, England. For many years he was engaged in the flax business at Tuakau, as a member of the firm of Oldham and Sons. After a year at Mercer in charge of the company's creamery there he was appointed to Pokeno. Mr. Oldham was married, in 1896, to a daughter of the late Mr. E. Gill, of the Bank of England, in London, and has two sons.

Brown, James, Senior, General Storekeeper, Railway Store, Pokeno. This business has been conducted by the proprietor since 1875. Mr. Brown was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1854, and was brought up to mercantile pursuits near that city. He arrived in Auckland in November, 1870, by the ship “Pride of the Thames,” and after spending several years in Auckland, he settled at Pokeno in March, 1875, when he established
Hanna, photo.Mr. and Mrs. J. Brown.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. and Mrs. J. Brown.

his present business. He has taken an interest in local affairs as secretary and treasurer of the Maungatawhiri Road Board. Mr. Brown was married, in 1872, to the daughter of Mr. Thomas Boyde, late of Auckland, and has five sons and four daughters.
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Clark, James John, Farmer, Pokeno. Mr. Clark, who has been a member of the Pokeno Road Board at different times, and was chairman of the local school committee for several years, was born, in 1838, in Inverness, Scotland. He was educated at Bell's Institute, Inverness, and worked at his calling as a carpenter in Scotland and England for a number of years. Mr. Clark arrived in Auckland by the ship “Chili” in 1866, and followed his trade in Auckland and at Papatoitoi until 1868, when he entered into the flax dressing business. Two years later he settled in the Pokeno district, and purchased the first portion of the fine farm which he now works. His property consists of 350 acres of freehold land, and about thirty or forty cows are milked each season. Mr. Clark's farm is known as “Hillside,” and it has a registered dairy. He has a separator on the estate, and finds an excellent market for his butter in Auckland, but exports the occasional surplus. Mr. Clark has spent a considerable amount of money in draining swamp land. He has on his property a small timber and flaxmill, which is driven by water power. Mr. Clark was married, in 1878, to a daughter of Mr. C. Bathgate, one of the original Pokeno settlers, who came out in 1864 by the ship “Helenslea,” and has seven daughters.

Hanna, photo.Mr. and Mrs J. J. Clark.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. and Mrs J. J. Clark.

Pirrit, William Russell, Farmer, “Frankfield,” Pokeno. Mr. Pirrit, who was born at Coatbridge, near Glasgow, Scotland, in 1848, came to Auckland with his father by the ship “Helenslea,” in 1865. The family settled at Pokeno Hill, and Mr. Pirrit learned the trade of a blacksmith at that place. For about six years Mr. Pirrit was at the Thames, where he was employed as an engine-driver at one of the batteries. He afterwards worked as a heel-tip maker. In 1890 he bought his farm of 140 acres at Henderson in the Pokeno district, and has since then worked on his property. Mr. Pirrit was married, in 1895, to a daughter of the late Mr. W. McCracken, of Glasgow, and has three daughters.

Mr. John Caldwell Mcneish, Old Colonist, served for a number of years as a member of the Pokeno Road Board and Pokeno school committee. He was born in 1842, in West Kilbryde, Ayrshire, Scotland, came to Auckland in 1864 by the ship “Helenslea,” and was one of the original Pokeno settlers. Mr. McNeish was well known as a practical farmer, and as a breeder of Clydesdale and other horses. He was the owner of the entire “Blair Athol,” a heavy draught, and of “Carbineer,” a well known racehorse, and was an authority on sheep, cattle, and horses. Mr. McNeish was married, in 1863, to a daughter of the late Mr. W. Moffatt, of Ayrshire, and at his death, in 1894, left two daughters.