The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
Opotiki Road Board. This board maintains various district roads within the county of Whakatane, and has its offices in Opotiki. The district has a population of 800, and the ratable property is valued at £106,000.
Mr. Hubert Roughton Hogg, Chairman of the Opotiki Road Board, was born in Kent, England, in 1865. After receiving his education, Mr. Hogg entered the office of one of the leading houses in London, but finding commercial life distasteful, he decided to come to the Colonies, and arrived in New Zealand in 1881, per ship “Hermione.” He then went in Opotiki as cadet on Mr. Murray's farm, and three years later purchased the property, which since has been improved considerably, and is now without doubt one of the best farms in the district, 460 acres being under cultivation, chiefly in maize. Besides being a successful maize growers, Mr. Hogg engages in sheep breeding, and runs a flock of 2000 crossbred sheep, the clip from which is worth about £600 per annum. Mr. Hogg has been a member of the Whakatane County Council for nine or ten years, and has been similarly connected with the Opotiki Road Board, of which he is chairman. He is president of the Opotiki Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and has held various offices in the Masonic order. Mr. Hogg is married and has five children.
Mr. Arthur J. Parkinson, formerly a member of the Whakatane County Council, Opotiki road board and school committee, was born in Bristol, England, in 1845. He went to Australia with his parents in 1853, and started life on the goldfields when only ten years old. He enlisted under Colonel Pitt when that officer was recruiting in Australia for this Colony, and came to New Zealand in 1863 with the 1st Waikato Regiment, with which he saw some exciting service during the Maori was in the Waikato and Tauranga districts. In 1866 he retired with the rank of lieutenant in the Bay of Plenty Cavalry, and settled in Opotiki on land granted by the Government. His farm now consists of 550 acres, well stocked with cattle and sheep. Mr. Parkinson holds the New Zealand war medal for his military services. He is married, and has five sons and two daughters.
Mr. A. J. Parkinson.
The Rev. Karl Sylvius Volkner was a native of Hesse Cassel, in Germany. When quite a young man he was sent out by a German Missionary Society to New Zealand, and began his labours among the natives somewhere in the province of Taranaki. Here he was entirely unsupported by the society which sent him out, and underwent great hardship and privations. He was a most devoted missionary, and sincerely loved the natives among whom he lived, but alone, unaided and unordained, he could do little. In or about 1851 he offered himself to the Church Missionary Society, and was appointed as catechist to assist the Rev. Robert Maunsell at Kohanga on the Waikato, near its mouth. He next occupied a similar post under the Rev. Thomas Lanfear, at Kauearanga, on the Waihou (Thames), where, in 1854, he married Miss Lanfear. In 1855 he was removed to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty as assistant to Archdeacon Brown. In all these station he laboured most assiduously and energetically, but it was not till 1860 or thereabouts that he had a station of his own. About that time he was appointed to Opotiki, in the Bay of Plenty, and ordained deacon and afterwards priest by the Bishop of Waiapu. There he resided and laboured till his death which took place on the 2nd of March, 1865, under revolting circumstances. He had been on a visit to Auckland, and was returning home, the bearer of medicines and nourishing food for the sick and fever stricken among his people. On landing he was seized by a gang of fanatic Hauhaus under Kereopa, who had just come to Opotiki on their way through the country; they hanged him a day or two after from a willow tree with circumstance of revolting inhumanity, while his own people, carried away by the infatuation of the fanatics, looked on without an attempt to save him. The Rev. Mr Grace, who happened to be with him at the time, was kept a prisoner, but, aided by a European settler, managed to make his escape on board the man of war “Eclipse,” which had been sent from Auckland on the news of the tragedy. Mr. Volkner's body (the head had been carried off) was buried at Opotiki, and a monument has since been erected to his memory in the Cathedral at Napier.
The late Rev. K. S. Volkner.
The Opotiki Herald is published at Opotiki on Tuesday and Friday evenings, and circulates extensively throughout the county page 947 of Whakatane and in other East Coast districts.
Mr. Stewart Bates, J.P., Proprietor and Editor of the “Opotiki Herald,” was born in the North of Ireland, in 1846. At an early age, Mr. Bates showed great inclination for literary work, and was corresponding with papers when but a boy. He came to this Colony, per ship “Queen Bee,” in 1868, and landed at Auckland. For some time Mr. Bates was on the Thames goldfields, and afterwards started a large flax mill in the Waikato, and employed as many as thirty hands. He went to Opotiki in 1871, and carried on a successful storekeeping business for nine years. In 1882 he bought the “Opotiki Herald,” and has greatly improved the paper and increased its circulation. Mr. Bates has taken an active part in local matters, and has been a member of the county council, the road board and the school committee. He is a member of the Domain Board, and is coroner for the district. Mr. Bates is one of the founders, and a Past Master of the Masonic Lodge, Opotiki, and has always been willing to assist in anything bearing on the welfare of the district.
Mr. S. Bates.
Elliott, Henry Edward, Solicitor, Main Street, Opotiki. Private residence, Huntress Creek Road. Mr. Elliott was born at the Bluff in 1864, and went to Opotiki with his parents in 1874. On leaving school he was appointed to the Telegraph Department at Napier, and shortly afterwards was removed to the Auckland office, but deciding to study for the law, he left the service and was articled for five years to Mr. A. E. Whittaker, solicitor, of Auckland. Passing the necessary law examinations, he returned to Opotiki in 1889 and commenced practice. Mr. Elliott is clerk of the Whakatane County Council and Opotiki Town Board. He is a Freemason of many years' standing and P.M. of Lodge Opotiki, of which he has been secretary for a number of years.
Mr. and Mrs H. E. Elliott.
Abbot, R. T., General Storekeeper, Merchant, etc., Opotiki. Agent for the Northern Steamship Company, South British Insurance Company, Kauri Timber Company, and for Messrs Buckland and Sons, auctioneers. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Established in 1885. Mr. Abbot conducts one of the leading businesses in the district, in very extensive premises, which include large stores for produce and grain, a timber yard, etc. Ten men are employed and a large stock of goods of all kinds is kept. Mr. Abbot is a native of Dundee, Scotland, and left that city at the age of nineteen, when he entered the employment of the Inman Steamship Company of New York, and visited most of the large cities of the Union in the interests of his employers. In 1872 he went to Canada, visiting Toronto and Winnipeg with the intention of settling there, but finding the winters too serve, he decided to try New Zealand, and finally established himself in business with Mr. James White at Opotiki. For many years Mr. Abbot has taken a lively interest in all matters affecting the welfare of the district, and he devotes a great deal of attention to local politics. Mr. Abbot was chairman of the Whakatane County Council for a number of years. He is also a Mason, and was initiated in Lodge Dundee, No. 47. He was one of the founders of the local lodge, Opotiki No. 1930, E.C., in which he has held office on various occasions.
Mr. R. T. Abbot.
Geary, James Francis, Storekeeper, Opotiki. Mr. Geary was born in Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland, in 1862, and learned his trade as a shoemaker with his father. In 1877, Mr. Geary decided to try his fortune in the United States, where he remained for over six years, when he returned to his native land. Coming to New Zealand in 1885, he settled in Opotiki, where he has remained ever since. Mr. Geary is a member of the Opotiki Cemetery Trust Board and Opotiki Town Board, and takes a lively interest in all local affairs.
Mr. J. F. Geary.
Mr. J. Appleton.
Mr. Thomas Black was a well-known settler in Opotiki, and had been in New Zealand for over fifty years. He was born in the Old Country, resided in Australia for some years prior to coming to New Zealand, and settled in the Bay of Islands for a considerable time. His home being broken up at the time of the war, he came to Auckland with his wife and family and settled on the coast. Being the owners of several vessels, he and his four sons, Robert, William, Thomas and Sanderson, carried on a considerable coasting trade. Some years before his death, Mr. Black settled on land at Otara with his sons, William and Sanderson. He always took an active part in local affairs, especially in educational and church matters. On his death at the age of eighty-three, his sons carried on the farm, and on the death of Mr. William Black, some years ago, Mr. Sanderson Black took the management of the whole estate for the benefit of his brother's widow and children. The late Messrs Black, father and son, were sterling colonists and hard-working, intelligent members of the community.
The late Mr. T. Black, Senr., and Mr. T. Wyatt.
Dawson, Thomas, “Stirling Farm,” Opotiki. This vigorous and well-known colonist is a native of Stirling, Scotland, where he was born in 1829. After completing his education he was engaged by a Scotch Fishery Company to look after salmon fisheries in the Solway Firth and other places, and remained in its service for five years. Being smitten with the gold-fever, he sailed in 1851, by the ship “Marco Polo,” for Victoria, and went to Bendigo, where, as digger, teamaster, and prospector, he had a rough and varied experience. In 1860, after being six months in New South Wales, he left for British Columbia, and was at the Sierra Nevada diggings. After two years in that almost Arctic region, Mr. Dawson returned to the Colonies, and was at various fields in Otago, but was chiefly engaged as a teamaster between Dunedin and Dunstan, and Lake Wakatipu and Invercargill, when the later place was but a small township. On the outbreak of the Waikato war he enlisted in No. 9 Company 3rd Waikato Regiment, and was present at the famous Gate Pa as orderly to the interpreter, Mr. Baker, and had, perhaps, one of the best views of that historic engagement. On the conclusion of the war he received a Government land grant, on which he settled in 1867, and has resided there ever since. Mr. Dawson has taken an active part in public affairs, and was a member of the first Road Board until 1896, when he finally retired. He was a member of the Whakatane County Council for three years and also a member of the local school committee. He is an enthusiast in acclimatization, having been president of the local society from its formation, and the district has to thank him for the introduction of imported fish and birds.
Mr. Edward Percy Dumergue, who was in business as an auctioneer and commission agent at Opotiki, was born in London in 1858 and educated at Rugby. His father, who was a captain in the British army, intended him for the navy, but owing to an unfortunate accident, by which he lost the sight of an eye, he was compelled to abandon that career. He came to New Zealand about twenty years ago, and resided in the Bay of Islands for some time, but afterwards purchased a farm at Opotiki, and lived on it for several years. He then established himself in business as an auctioneer and commission agent, and had built up a rapidly improving connection at the time of his death, which occurred in March, 1895. He was chairman of the county council for one term, and for several years acted as secretary and treasurer of that body. He took a prominent part in all public matters and was foremost in every scheme for the advancement of the district. He married in 1887 a daughter of Mr. William Tackaberry, of County Wexford, and left a son and a daughter to mourn his death. Both in public and private life the late Mr. Dumergue was extremely popular, and his early death was deeply regretted by his numerous friends.
The late Mr. E. P. Dumergue.
Gow, James Burnham, Farmer, Opotiki. Mr. Gow is a son of the Rev. J. Gow, and was born in Scotland in 1862. He came to this colony at an early age with his parents, and was educated in Dunedin. Mr. Gow was for eighteen months in the Civil Service, but resigned his position to commence farming. He went in 1878 to Opotiki, where he has a property of 400 acres suitable for mixed farming. Besides this he has another farm of 1200 acres at Waiotahi, and his time is fully occupied with the two places. Mr. Gow was connected with the old Whakatane County Council for some years, was a member of the Opotiki Road Board for two years, and is now (1901) a member of the Opotiki Dairy Company, and has always been foremost in local matters. Mr. Gow is a teetotaller and is vice-president of the local temperance society.
Mr. J. B. Gow.
Hedley, Anthony, Farmer, Opotiki. Mr. Hedley's farm contains 170 acres, on which he has a beautiful homestead. He is a native of Yorkshire, where he was born in 1850, and came to the Colony in 1880, by the Orient line. After spending some time in the South Island, and on a farm further down the coast, he purchased his present property about sixteen years ago. Mr. Hedley was a member of the Whakatane County Council and Opotik Highway Board for several years, but, owing to an accident he has not latterly been able to devote much time to public affairs.
Mr. Robert King, Old Colonist, of Opotiki, came to Opotiki in 1866, and remained there till the year of his death, 1893, when the district lost one of its most prominent residents. Mr. King was a native of Kilninver, Argyleshire, Scotland, and in his early manhood he acted as a schoolmaster in his native glens, long before school boards, school committees or schoolhouses under State control became recognised as requisite accessories in the education of the young. In his time the custom was for the teacher to go from one farm house to another, making a circuit, as it were, within a certain area, and primitive as the system was, it resulted in large numbers of young people being well educated. In the early fifties Mr. King emigrated to Victoria, and followed gold digging with varied success for some years, first in Australia and afterwards in New Zealand. While in Melbourne in 1863 Mr. King joined the First Waikato Militia. The First Waikatos were stationed for some time at Tauranga and Maketu, but some of them afterwards went to Opotiki, where the Maoris had murdered the Rev. Karl Volkner. When the native disturbance was subdued, the militia were disbanded, and Mr. King, in common with the other members of the force, received a grant of land, and settled in the district, where he entered into business. Mr. King filled almost every position of trust and responsibility in which his fellow settlers could place him, and when he retired from business, he devoted his ample leisure ungrudgingly to the interest of the public. He was chairman of the County Council for a term of thirteen years, and also occupied a seat on almost every local body in the place. About a quarter of a century ago he was deputed to proceed to Wellington for the purpose of bringing the requirements of the district before the Government, and as a result of his visit the Otara bridge was erected. On that occasion Mr. King urged upon the authorities the advisableness of changing the name of the county from Whakatane to Opotiki, which has been done, but only concurrently with the division of the county. Mr. King was on one occasion presented with a requisition, bearing the signature of almost every elector in the district, asking him to stand for Parliament, but for various reasons he declined the honour. As a Freemason his services as Installing Master were frequently in demand, and the brethren of his lodge presented him with a Past Master's jewel and with his portrait. Mr. King was a Justice of the Peace, and also coroner for the district for many years. He was an ardent supporter of the Presbyterian church, and showed a whole-hearted thoroughness in connection with all matters in which he took an interest. Mr. King died at Auckland on the 5th of September, 1893, deeply regretted, and was buried in the Purewa cemetery, Auckland.
The late Mr. R. King.
Lewis, Thomas Morgan, Farmer, “Pen-otara,” Opotiki. Mr. Lewis was born at Lanvaches, Monmouthshire, South Wales, in 1847, and brought up to farming. He came to New Zealand in 1870, per ship “Asterope,” and after a year in Wanganui, established himself as a maltster in Ngaruawahia. After remaining there four years, he removed to Opotiki, where he purchased his present property of 426 acres, where he carries on general farming operations. He has been a member of the local Road Board intermittently since his arrival in the place. Mr. Lewis takes considerable interest in acclimatization. He is vice-president of the local society, and has on his own property a fine trout-hatchery, from which the various streams in the district are being gradually stocked. He is active in all local matters and movements for the benefit of the district. Mr. Lewis is prosecuting a series of experiments with grasses with a view to ascertaining the best suited for permanent pasture on the hills adjacent to Opotiki. Before leaving Wales Mr. Lewis married the eldest daughter of Mr. William Williams, of Clytha, Monmouthshire, and has three sons and three daughters.
Mr. T. M. Lewis.
Thomson, Charles, “Hikutaia Farm,” Opotiki. This gentleman's property contains 500 acres of ploughable land, on which he carries on general farming and dairying. The place was the site of one of the earliest mission station, and afterwards fell into the hands of the Hon. W. Kelly, from whom it was purchased over twenty years ago by Mr. Campbell Thomson, the well-known stock inspector of Gisborne. It has been managed by his son, Mr. Charles Thomson, for a number of years. The homestead is beautifully situated and commands a magnificent view of the surrounding country.
White, James, Opotiki. Mr. White is a native of Whakatane, and was born in 1850. After leaving school, Mr. White served his apprenticeship to Mr. George Geddis, boat-builder, North Shore, Auckland. In 1869, he took charge of a coasting steamer for his uncle, and twelve months later joined his brother, Mr. William White, in boat-building at Mercury Bay. Mr. White afterwards commenced boat-building at Whakatane, and of a number of fine vessels built by him, one of the best was for the Hon. William Kelly, M.L.C. In 1872, he removed to Opotiki, and after three years at contracting, began storekeeping in partnership with Mr. Abbot. Mr. White takes great interest in all matters affecting the welfare page 950 of his district; he is a member of the Opotiki Domain Board, and for some years he has been on the licensing committee. He holds the Royal Humane Society's silver medal and certificate for saving life, and has on several occasions shewn gallantry in successfully rescuing persons from drowning. In athletics Mr. White has been well-known from boyhood, and has won many rowing races n Auckland and on Lake Takapuna. He is a general favourite throughout the Bay of Plenty.