The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
The Township Of Katikati is situated within the county and on the bay of Tauranga. It is connected by rail with Paeroa, which has communication by rail with the town of Thames. Fruit—growing, market gardening and farming are the chief industries of the Katikati district, which is the scene of one of Mr. Vesey Stewart's special settlements.
Mr. George Vesey Stewart, J.P., was born at Brighton, England, in October, 1832, and is the eldest surviving son of the late Captain Mervyn Stewart, D.L., of Martray, County Tyrone, Ireland, and grandson of the Right Hon. Sir John Stewart, Bart., P.C., and M.P. for Tyrone. He graduated at Trinity College, Dublin. Mr. Stewart is the founder of the five “Stewart Special Settlements,” at Katikati, Te Puke and at Tauranga, and arrived at Auckland in September, 1875, with the first party of the Katikati settlers in the ships “Carisbrook Castle” and “Dover Castle,” which had been specially chartered for the purpose, and brought from London to Belfast for embarkation of his North of Ireland party. Mr. Stewart resides at “Martray,” Katikati, where he has a freehold farm of over 500 acres. On the 9th of May, 1876, he was elected chairman of the first road board and school committee at Katikati, and, excepting occasional absences from the colony, he has held both positions uninterruptedly, and up to the present time, since his first election. Mr. Stewart was elected first Mayor of Tauranga when that town was constituted a borough. He was also for some years chairman of the Tauranga County Council, and he still is a member of that body, to which he was elected at the time of the adoption of the Counties Act. Mr. Stewart is a Justice of the Peace for County Tyrone, Ireland, and for the colony of New Zealand, and married Margaret Miller, daughter of Rowley Miller, D.L., County Derry, by whom he has five sons and three daughters, all living, with the exception of his second son, George Vesey, who was drowned when fishing off the Katikati Heads.
Gray, William John, Builder, Flourmiller and Contractor, Katikati. Mr. Gray is a native of Belfast, where he was born in 1850, and served his time in a large building yard in the Old Country. He came to the Colony in 1875, per ship “Yalumba,” and went to reside at Ngaruawahia for some years. About twenty-three years ago he settled at Katikati and was engaged in constructing the bridges on the road to Waihi. As an energetic business man it would be hard to find his equal, either as builder, contractor or flourmiller. He became a member of the Tauranga County Council in 1897 and has shown himself an energetic councillor. Mr. Gray promoted the Katikati Public Library, which is an excellent one for so small a place, and is secretary of the local Orange lodge, of which he was one of the founders. He was married in Ireland and has four daughters and three sons.
Mr. W. J. Gray.
The Talisman Hotel (Alfred Shephered, proprietor), Katikati, is one of the most comfortable and commodious on the Coast.
Mr. Alfred Shepherd, Proprietor of the Talisman Hotel, who is a well known mining authority, is a native of Yorkshire, where he was born in 1847. He arrived in the Colony in 1868 and went to the West Coast diggings, where he did well, and then took a trip to England. On his return to New Zealand he went to the Thames goldfields, and was mining till 1880, when he acquired a store and hotel at Waitekauri, which he conducted for about two years and then bought the Tramway Hotel, at Karangahake, where he resided for thirteen years. Mr. Shepherd was one of the original holders of the celebrated Talisman Mine, and the equally well-known Woodstock property. He holds extensive mining interests in the various fields, including the Roderick Dhu claim at Karangahake, and he has had large experiences as a manager of several mining companies. Mr. Shepherd is generally acknowledged to be as good an authority on mining matters as can be met with. He has conducted the Talisman hotel since 1896.
Smith, Fred, Farmer, Katikati. Mr. Smith was born at Wanganui in 1860. On leaving school he engaged in farming, which he carried on with considerable success until 1872, when he went to Whangarei with his parents, and purchased a considerable tract of land, which he prosperously farmed until 1886. At that time the now celebrated Waihi mine began to receive a great amount of public attention, and also the whole of the Upper Thames district, as a rich goldfield, and Mr. Smith left farming, and started prospecting in the Waihi district. He was the lucky discoverer of several reefs, which have since been developed by English capital, and now pay regular dividends. He also speculated in various mining shares, and his speculations turned out most successfully. Mr. Smith was one of the discoverers of the Golden Cross Waitekauri gold mine, but has since sold his interest to the present company. During the years he was on the goldfields, Mr. Smith was engaged in large contracts, in which he was invariably successful. However, in 1900, he determined to settle down again to the quiet life of farming, and purchased his present fine property of about 800 acres at Katikati. His land is the pick of the block, secured for special settlement by Mr. George Vesey page 930 Stewart in 1876, but previous to its purchase by Mr. Smith, it had, through want of cultivation, reverted to its original wild state. But, knowing the fertility of the land, Mr. Smith energetically set to work to re-erect the broken and decayed fences, and to cultivate the rich volcanic soil, which, when broken up, grows the most luxuriant grass. Although at present (1901) Mr. Smith has only been in possession of his property a short time, a large area has already been cultivated, and is now supporting numbers of fine fat cattle. The property has a large water frontage on the Katikati inner harbour, and is within sixteen miles, by a good road, of the rising town of Waihi, where there is an excellent market for all produce and stock. Mr. Smith is a Freemason, also a member of the Oddfellows' Lodge (Manchester Unity) at Wanganui. He is married, and has one son and two daughters.