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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]



Ngaruawahia (Meeting of the Waters) is situated at the confluence of the Waikato and Waipa rivers. It was the residence of the first Maori King, Potatau, and it contains his grave. For a time Ngaruawahia was the centre of steam traffic on the rivers in connection with the settlements in the Waikato and on the Waipa, but the extension of the railway deprived it of much of its trade. On account of its being near the coal mines it was officially called Newcastle, but the Maori name is still used. The distance from Auckland by rail is seventy-four miles. Ngaruawahia was evacuated by the Maoris in December, 1864, after their defeat at Rangiriri, and immediately occupied by General Cameron as his headquarters for further operations. The country above Ngaruawahia, spreading out in fan shape between the Waipa and Waikato, is known as the Delta. There are two excellent hotels, a bank, four churches, and a public school. There is also a post and telegraph office with a daily mail service. A fine road-and-railway cylinder bridge spans the Waikato river just above the point of its junction with the Waipa. Ngaruawahia is one of the prettiest settlements in the Waikato. A large amount of transhipping business is done in connection with goods consigned to, or received from, the Waingaro district, an extensive country lying round the head of Raglan harbour. On the Waipa river, not far from the township, there is a fine traffic bridge which connects the settlements in Raglan county with Ngaruawahia.

The Ngaruawahia Town Board, which was established about 1884, has jurisdiction over part of the delta formed by the junction of the Waipa and Waikato rivers, on which stands the picturesque township of Ngaruawahia. The main road through the township is maintained by the Waipa County Council, and the side streets by the town board. A bridge has recently been erected over the Waipa river, and by this means Ngaruawahia is connected with the important over-river settlement in Raglan county. The town board took the initiative in getting this bridge built, and the Raglan county contributed fifty per cent, and the Waipa county page 714 and Ngaruawahia Town Board twenty-five per cent, of the cost, exclusive of a pound for pound Government subsidy. In 1899 the town board spent £500 in altering and renovating a public building, which is now used as the offices of the town board and the Raglan County Council, and the hall is available for local public meetings. Members of the Board for 1900: Mr. G. F. Dickeson (chairman), and Messrs E. Fitzpatrick, E. Simmelhag, T. W. Davies, and E. J. Moffitt. The estimated population of the town district in March, 1900, was 300. There were seventy dwellings, and 130 ratepayers, owning 146 ratable properties. A rate of £3/4d in the £ was struck, and the total revenue of the board at the same time from every source, was £346.

Mr. George Frederick Dickeson, Chairman of the Ngaruawahia Town Board, was born in Oxford, England, in 1827. After being at sea and in South Australia, and again in England, he came to Auckland in 1870 by the ship “Sydenham.” He settled in Ngaruawahia in 1875 as manager of the local orewery, of which he afterwards became sole owner.

Mr. Thomas Woodwall Davies, who is a Member of the Ngaruawahia Town Board, is a member of the firm of Friar, Davies and Co., with which he has been connected for some years.

Mr. Edmond Fitzpatrick was one of the first Members of the Ngaruawahia Town Board, on which he has almost continuously held a seat. He is a member of the firm of Friar, Davies and Co., and was one of the earliest storekeepers in Ngaruawahia.

Mr. Edmund John Moffitt, who has been a Member of the Ngaruawahia Town Board since 1891, was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1844, his father being a military officer. Mr. Moffitt arrived in Auckland by the ship “Red Jacket,” in 1860, and has been a resident at Ngaruawahia since 1873. For five years he has held the contract to convey cream and butter to and from the local dairy factory, and he farms about fifty acres of land and milks a number of cows. Mr. Moffitt was married, in 1875, to a daughter of Mr. W. H. Goodwin, of Firewood Creek, and has two sons and two daughters.

Mr. and Mrs E. J. Moffitt and Family.

Mr. and Mrs E. J. Moffitt and Family.

Mr. Emil Simmelhag, who has been a Member of the Ngaruawahia Town Board since 1887, was born in Denmark, in 1842, and arrived at Auckland in 1870. He is well known as the proprietor of the Delta Hotel at Ngaruawahia.

Mr. Thomas Paterson, Secretary and Treasurer of the Ngaruawahia Town Board, was born at Strathaven, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1845, and was brought up to farming. He came out to Wellington in 1870 in the ship “Firth of Clyde.” Soon afterwards Mr. Paterson settled in Auckland, and in 1876 he bought land in the Waikato. He held a position for some time as clerk at a flaxmill, and was for several years subsequently bookkeeper to the Waikato Steam Navigation Company. In 1885 he joined his brothers in Auckland in the firm of Paterson and Co., coach proprietors, and continued in the business till 1893. Since then Mr. Paterson has been settled at Ngaruawahia, and farms about 500 acres of freehold on the side of the river opposite the township. Mr. Paterson has been a member of the Kirikiriroa Road Board since 1898, and is treasurer of the Ngaruawahia Regatta Committee. He was married, in 1873, to a daughter of the late Mr. P. McDonald, of Kawau, and has four sons and three daughters.

The Ngaruawahia Railway Station And Post Office, which was opened in August, 1877, stands in the centre of the settlement. The building is of wood, and contains a ladies' waiting room, a public waiting room, the stationmaster's office, and the post office, with twenty-four private boxes. The station has a large asphalt passenger platform, goods shed, lamp and luggage rooms, and eight trains pass daily through it.

Mr. Henry Ernest Burr, Stationmaster and Postmaster at Ngaruawahia, was born in 1860 at Foxton. In 1878 he became a cadet at the Foxton railway station, and was appointed stationmaster at Marton in 1883. Two years later he was removed to Halcombe, and in the following year to Waverley, where he continued for about nine years. After a year at Frankton Junction, Mr. Burr was appointed to Ngaruawahia in 1898.

Holy Trinity Church, Ngaruawahia, is of some historic interest. It was built during the time of the war with the natives, in the years 1864–65, by the soldiers of the 12th Regiment, and the plans were drawn out by Private Shepherd of the Royal Engineers. The timber was all hand-sawn, and the carved work in the interior shows evidence of great care and patience. Unfortunately, white pine was the timber used, its properties not being so well known in those early days, and consequently the building is not in such a good state of preservation as one would wish. The tower had to be removed a short time since, and has been replaced by a substantial porch. Around the church are the graves of many of the soldiers who helped in its erection, and also laid down their lives for Queen and country.

The Rev. Harry Mason , Vicar of Ngaruawahia and Huntly, resides in Huntly, where a new vicarage has lately been built for the parish. He was born in Staffordshire, England, in 1868, and is the son of Mr. J. Mason, of Newcastle. Mr. Mason came to New Zealand in 1894, was made a deacon in 1897, and ordained priest in the following year. He is an amateur surgeon, and his assistance was frequently required in the Okato district, in Taranaki, where he was in charge before being appointed to Ngaruawahia and Huntly in the latter part of the year 1900. Mr. Mason was married, in 1894, to a daughter of Mr. William Squire, of East Finchley, London, and niece of Sir Hugh Owen, K.C.B.

The Rev. Augustus McInnes Bradbury, formerly Vicar of Ngaruawahia and Huntly, who is the fifth son of Mr. Edward John Bradbury, of Bradbury, Greatorex and Co., Aldermanbury, E.C., London, was born in London in 1864. He was educated privately, and also at St. John's College, Southend. In consequence of ill-health Mr. Bradbury left London in 1884, by the ship “Soukir,” for Dunedin, where he engaged in studying the fine arts, and eventually underwent a course of training to qualify him for holy orders. In 1891, he was ordained deacon at St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral, Wellington, by Bishop Hadfield, then Primate of New Zealand, and was appointed assistant curate to the vicar of St. Mark's, Wellington. In 1893, he was ordained priest at Napier Cathedral, by the Right Rev. Dr. Stuart, late Bishop of Waiapu, and then took charge of St. Augustine's, Napier, where he remained until 1895, when he was selected as locum tenens at Tauranga. In October of the same year he was installed as vicar of Ngaruawahia and Huntly.

Hanna, photo.Rev. A. M. Bradbury.

Hanna, photo.
Rev. A. M. Bradbury.

page 715

The Ngaruawahia Regatta was established in 1896, largely in consequence of the efforts of Mr. T. U. Wells, then headmaster of the public school. The first regatta was held on St. Patrick's Day, 1897, and it was so successful that it has been continued each year since. That held in 1900 was attended by 8000 people, and the total receipts amounted to £416, including £170 handed over by the Railway Department. The course is on the Waikato river, and the races finish in the Waipa, about 200 yards from its confluence with the Waikato. The events include the ordinary rowing races and native canoe races, which are specially attractive. Officers for 1900: Mr. F. W. Lang, M.H.R., president; Messrs E. Fitzpatrick, A. Morris, E. Simmelhag, P. Guthrie, S. Wilson, T. Paterson, and J. Smith, vice-presidents; Mr. T. Paterson, treasurer, and Mr. M. N. Skelton, secretary.

Bridge over Waipa River at Ngaruawahia.A. B. Wright, Engineer.

Bridge over Waipa River at Ngaruawahia.
A. B. Wright, Engineer.

The Ngaruawahia Central Dairy Factory is a well equipped establishment, and thoroughly up-to-date with its appliances. Mr. A. Morris is manager.

Mr. Arthur Morris, Manager of the Ngaruawahia Central Dairy Factory, was born in the Isle of Wight. He came to this Colony with his parents in 1879, and was educated in Canterbury. Mr. Morris gained his experience in the management of dairy factories at Chew Chong's Jubilee Dairy Factory, Eltham, Taranaki, then under the management of his brother, Mr. Sydney Morris. He then became manager of the Mangatoki Factory, and was appointed by Messrs Reynolds and Co. to take charge of their butter factories at Tauranga, Inglewood, and Ngaruawahia. He received his present appointment in 1893. The position he now holds proves his business capabilities. Mr. Morris takes an active interest in public matters and is a member of several local institutions.

Mr. and Mrs A. Morris.

Mr. and Mrs A. Morris.

Mr. Charles Gillander, Engineer to the New Zealand Dairy Association, was born in Canada in 1848. When very young he came to New Zealand, and was educated in the Auckland provincial district. He qualified as an engineer in Auckland, and after engaging in general work for a number of years, was appointed to his present position in 1884. Mr. Gillander has practically erected the whole of the Association's plant throughout the district. He was married, in 1877, to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Fraser, of Auckland, and has five sons and three daughters.

Botteley, photo.Mr. and Mrs C. Gillander.

Botteley, photo.
Mr. and Mrs C. Gillander.

Mr. Adolphus James Park, Engineer to the New Zealand Dairy Association, was born at Hamilton in 1867. He was educated in Auckland, and served as an engineer, and became a marine engineer in 1888. For a time he was employed on the big dredge in Auckland, and afterwards on river steamers plying on the Waikato. He was subsequently employed for four years by Mr. G. F. Mellars, and later by the New Zealand Kauri Timber Company, and at Smythe's Mills, Waitakerei, and at Mount Eden station. Mr. Park was for two years employed at Ralph's Coal Mines. Huntly, and then joined the New Zealand page 716 Dairy Association. He was married, in 1890, to the daughter of Mr. J. Karl, Ohaupo, and has two sons and three daughters.

Delta Hotel (Emil Simmelhag, proprietor), Ngaruawahia. This hotel was originally established about 1864. In November, 1899, the house was destroyed by fire, and the new building was opened in June, 1900. It has two stories, a verandah and balcony, and contains thirty-two rooms. Mr. Simmelhag, the proprietor, is referred to in another article as a member of the Ngaruawahia Town Board.

Vant, William, Wheelwright, Coach Builder and Undertaker, Ngaruawahia. This business was established by the proprietor in 1878. The premises, which consist of wheelwright's and blacksmith's shops, are erected on freehold land centrally situated in the township. Mr. Vant was born in 1846 in Kent, England, where he was brought up as a wheelwright. He came to Auckland in the ship “Alumbagh” in 1875, and shortly afterwards removed to the Waikato, where he was for some time engaged in building work, prior to establishing his present business. He has served as a member of the school committee, is an old Oddfellow of the English Order, and held office as G.M. at the time of his leaving the Old Land. Mr. Vant was married, in 1866, to a daughter of the late Mr. S. Mumery, of Kent. This lady died in January, 1879, leaving three daughters and one son, and in 1900 Mr. Vant contracted a second marriage with a daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Cope, of Cheapside, London.

Hanna, photo.Mr. W. Vant.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. W. Vant.

Paddy, William James, Blacksmith, Ngaruawahia. This business was established in 1883 by Mr. J. Paddy, father of the present proprietor, who has conducted it since 1897. The premises are erected on the Government railway reserve. Mr. Paddy was born in 1868, in Queensland, and was educated in Auckland, where he arrived in 1874 with his parents. He learned the business with his father. Mr. Paddy is a member of the Ngaruawahia school committee. He was married, in 1894, to a daughter of Mr. G. Hall, of Pukete, and has two sons.

Graves, George William, Butcher, Ngaruawahia. Mr. Graves was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1857, landed at Nelson from the ship “Camperdown” in 1876, and, after living at Palmerston North six years, he removed to Te Aroha, and in 1886 commenced business as a butcher, in partnership with Mr. H. Baskeville, at Waiorongomai. In 1891 Mr. Graves removed to Ngaruawahia, where he engaged in butchering. Five years later he discontinued the butchery business, and engaged in farming, but restarted in 1900. Mr. Graves has served as a member of the local school committee. He was married, in 1888, to a daughter of Mr. Dawson, of Whatawhata, and has four daughters and two sons.

Friar, Davies and Co., Storekeepers, Merchants, etc., Ngaruawahia. Branches at Huntly and Te Awamutu. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. This firm's fine business was established in Ngaruawahia by Mr. Fitzpatrick in 1866, and enjoys one of the most extensive commercial connections in the Waikato. Very full stocks of every description of merchandise are always kept at the different stores. The Ngaruawahia establishment is under the management of Messrs Fitzpatrick and Davies, and the Huntly branch is superintended by Mr. M. Friar.

Mr. P. McDonald, sometime of Kawau, died on the 4th of March, 1879, and was born in Scotland in the year 1800. He arrived in New Zealand by the ship “Jane Gifford” in 1862, and was engaged for a number of years in copper mining on the Great Barrier Island. In 1866 Mr. McDonald instituted Caledonian games in Auckland. During the last seven years of his life he was a schoolmaster on the island of Kawau, and was a favourite companion of the late Sir George Grey.

Mr. Richard Rathborne, J.P., resides at “Ballymore,” where he has 253 acres of land. Mr. Rathborne was born at Ballymore, County Galway, Ireland, in 1830, and was educated in Wexford. He served thirty-five years in the Civil Service, and was for some time in the General Post Office, London. In 1880 he retired on a pension, and came to Auckland in the ship “Lady Jocelyn.” Soon after settling in the Ngaruawahia district, Mr. Rathborne was placed on the Commission of the Peace. He was married in 1857, to a daughter of the late Capt. Davy, of South Wales, and has two sons and six daughters.