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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Tai Tapu

Tai Tapu.

Tai Tapu, in the county of Selwyn, has a population of about 300 persons. It is on the Halswell river, and at the foot of the Port Lyttelton Hills, and within about four miles of Lake Ellesmere. The land in the district is noted for its fertility, and grows fine crops of all kinds of farm produce. The swamp lands especially yield wonderful crops of potatoes. Well kept farms and handsome residences testify to the prosperity of the settlers. The roads are particularly good for cyclists, and a run from Halswell, past Lansdowne, to Little River, or to Governor's Bay, via Gebbie's Valley, proves a pleasant trip. A coach runs several times during the day, and connects with the Christchurch tram, a short distance from Halswell. The township of Tai Tapu was originally named Hepworth by Messrs R. H. Rhodes and W. B. Rhodes when first surveyed and laid out in building sites under their instructions, and sold by auction in Christchurch on the 4th of February, 1875. It now consists of two general stores with bakehouse; a post and telegraph office, with a telephone to Christchurch; two churches—Church of England and Wesleyan—the latter with the more numerous congregation; a public school, with an average attendance of seventy-eight scholars; a public library; a cooperative dairy factory with a creamery at Greenpark; a butcher's shambles; a forge or farrier's shop, where most of the horses for miles around are shod and treated; and, lastly, a hotel, with a fair business. As yet there is no town hall, which is much needed. Subscriptions were once canvassed for it, but for some reason the effort fell through, although Mr. Robert Heaton Rhodes, whose fine country seat stands at the foot of the Peninsula Hills a mile and a half from the township, offered £100 towards the building. The Halswell river takes its serpentine sluggish course through the district, and was named by the Maoris Tai Tapu, which means sacred or solemn water. Picnic parties from town frequently visit the neighbourhood, as the drive from Christchurch, twelve miles, is considered picturesque and pleasant. Rabbit Island, named Waihora Park, four miles south, near Lake Ellesmere, is a favourite resort for sports and picnics, and is reached by rail on the way to Little River. The dairy factory at Tai Tapu has 205 shareholders, and it is now (1903) in the fifteenth year of its existence.

Forbes, Robert A., Contractor, Tai Tapu. Mr. Forbes was born of Scottish parents at Birmingham, England, in 1842. He was educated at the public schools in his native land, and at the age of thirteen, on his father's death, accompanied his mother and sister to Victoria. In 1856 he removed to Tasmania, where he was apprenticed to the building trade, on the advice of his brother-in-law, the late Captain Reid, Staff-Officer of Imperial Pensioners. Mr. Forbes came to New Zealand in 1864, and at Intercargill page 670 he erected a store which still (1903) stands, on another site. He was one of a party of seventy settlers and others, who left in the brig “Australia” for the Wakamarina goldfields, but, encountering a heavy gale, the vessel sprang a leak, and was driven on to the beach at Akaroa. Mr. Forbes then engaged with the late Mr. R. H. Rhodes to cut timber in the Ahuriri bush and erect a house at Gebbie's Valley. After that he went to Hokitika, where he was successfully employed for six months on contracts in building. On returning to Christchurch, he was soon engaged in large and remunerative contracts in the Little River district, for the Education Board and the settlers. In 1872 he settled at Tai Tapu, where for fifteen years he carried on the business of a general storekeeper, in conjunction with that of an auctioneer. He still carries on large operations in connection with the building of private houses, bridges, etc. Mr. Forbes was a member and for some time chairman of the Little River Road Board, and took an active part in having Tai Tapu formed into a separate road district. From the first he has been continuously a member of the Tai Tapu Road Board, and occasionally its chairman. He was instrumental in getting the Tai Tapu school on its present site, and was chairman of the committee when the vote was struck for new buildings. Mr. Forbes also took an energetic part in the institution of the public library. Although, through early training, a member of the Presbyterian Church, he has attached himself to the Wesleyan Church, and has for years been an active worker in its cause. Mr. Forbes was one of the first promoters and directors of the Tai Tapu Dairying Company, and was at one time its chairman. He is chairman of the Waihora Domain Board, and is a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, For the greater part of his life he has been a total abstainer from the use of alcoholic drinks. Mr. Forbes was married, in 1866, to Miss C. Munro, of Ross-shire, Scotland, and of a family of thirteen children, six sons and six daughters are now living.

Tai Tapu Dairy Factory. This factory was established in 1889. It is housed in a substantial building of brick and iron, and the motive power consists of a Tangye engine with a boiler by Scott Bros., of Christchurch. Four of Burmstey and Wyner's separators put 4500 gallons of milk through daily during the height of the season. The milk is supplied from within a radius of four miles, and the cows are grade Shorthorns. There is a cool chamber with a Hill's No. 5 freezer in the factory, which was built by the farmers on the co-operative system.

Mr. James Johnston, Manager, was born at Kirknewtown, within ten miles of Edinburgh, in 1838, and emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1845. His father was appointed in 1849 to come to Lyttelton with twenty carpenters, to erect the buildings needed for the accommodation of the Canterbury pilgrims, who arrived in due course. Young Johnston landed in Lyttelton on the 7th of January, 1850, and then accompanied his father to Christchurch when his father removed thither to build the old land office. The son took to farming and dairying, and subsequently removed to Otago, where he organised the Taieri and Peninsula factories, which he worked in succession for a few years. Mr. Johnston then settled in Tinwald, where he opened the local dairy factory, and worked it for two years, when he was appointed to his present position. Mr. Johnston was married, in 1864, to Miss Blackie, daughter of Captain Blackie, and has two sons and three daughters.

Tai Tapu Hotel (John McKenzie, preprietor), Tai Tapu. This hotel was established in 1858, and is situated twelve miles from Christchurch on the road to Little River. The house contains sixteen rooms, ten of which are well furnished bedrooms; there are also four comfortable sitting-rooms and a large, well-ventilated dining-room, capable of seating sixty persons. Country settlers, commercial travellers, tourists, and sportsmen who visit Lake Ellesmere, all patronise the hotel, and special provision is made for sportsmen. The eight-stall stables, four loose boxes, and the secure paddocks adjoining the hotel, are most convenient to travellers. A coach leaves the hotel daily for Christchurch, and returns the same evening.

Mr. John McKenzie, Proprietor, was born in 1852, in the Orkney Islands, and came to New Zealand, in the ship “St. Lawrence,” in 1874. He took a lease of the hotel in 1883, and was married during the same year to Miss Beath. Mr. and Mrs McKenzie have two sons and one daughter.


Barrett, Charles, Farmer, Tai Tapu. Mr. Barrett was born at Haselbury, within two miles of Crewkerne and nine of Yeovil, in Somersetshire, England, in September, 1829, and was educated at Wimborne Minster, in Dorsetshire. Both his parents having died when he was only eight years old, he was, at the age of fifteen, sent out by his grandfather and uncles in the barque “Unicorn,” to Fremantle, Swan river, where he arrived in August, 1844, and went to join his elder brother, who held a small sheep run, thirty-six miles inland, northeast of Albany. At the end of seven years, the brothers removed to a 30,000-acre run, forty miles farther north-east, in Sandalwood Country, on the Salt river, where kangaroos and aboriginal natives were very numerous, page 671 and there they established a new station. After living there six years they sold the station to three brothers named Moore. Prior to that the Barretts had been joined by other brothers, one of whom kept a general store in Albany, and had the contract to supply the P. and O. Company's steamers from Sydney and Melbourne with meat, vegetables and fruit. This business was sold at the same time as the run, and in Albany the brothers chartered a schooner named “Valentine Helliker,” from Adelaide for Port Cooper, New Zealand. The four brothers, with the elder brother's family, sailed in May for Melbourne with a cargo of wool, which was transhipped on board the merchant ship “Red Jacket,” for England. While they were in Melbourne the schooner was loaded with drays, extra pairs of wheels, building material, farm implements, etc., also four horses, and sailed in July for New Zealand. After a rough passage they sighted Cape Farewell late in the afternoon, and whilst trying to get through Cook Strait the wind and currents drove the vessel on to a sandy beach two miles north of Kapiti Island. As there was a five-oared whaleboat on board, all the passengers were got safely on shore, and also the four horses. Two miles inland they found the Maori mission settlement at Otaki, to which the Maoris, under the advice of Archdeacon Hadfield, carted with their bullock drays luggage and cargo without payment. Two brothers, with their families, went on by road in drays, fifty miles, to Wellington, while the two single brothers remained six weeks at Otaki, to dispose of the bulk of the cargo. After reaching Canterbury the Barretts bought the run called “Reeds,” between Tai Tapu and Lansdowne from Mr. Stuart, manager of the Union Bank. It consisted of 6000 acres leasehold, with 340 acres of freehold. They also bought the corner section off St. Asaph and Madras Streets, Christchurch, from Mr. George Allen, and enlarged and finished “Barrett's Hotel,” in connection with which they conducted a carriers' business in the town and Ferry Road. Mr. John Barrett managed the hotel, while the other brothers lived on the run, though all had a share in the hotel, which was afterwards rebuilt by Mr. Schmidt and named the “New Zealander.” The run, being wet and swampy, was only fit for cattle at first, but after it had been fenced and drained crossbred or Lincoln sheep did well on it. After much working, the land also grew oats up to sixty and seventy bushels per acre, and on one occasion eighty bushels of wheat, and also heavy crops of grass and clover seed. Mr. C. Barrett now owns 200 acres freehold of the original run, and also sixty-three acres near Ladbrooks railway station. He has devoted himself to grain growing and sheep grazing, with some dairying of late years, and sends the milk to the Tai Tapu factory. The improvements consist in a twelve-roomed two-storey dwellinghouse, a granary built to hold 5000 bushels, two stables with four stalls each, trap and buggy sheds, cowshed with bails, garden, orchard and plantation. Mr. Barrett has served on the Tai Tapu school committee, and was for thirteen years clergyman's warden for the Church of England at Tai Tapu. In 1862 he married Miss Amelia Sherratt, youngest daughter of Mr. Thomas Sherratt, one of the first settlers in Albany, King George's Sound, and niece to Mr. John Sherratt, for twenty-eight years Superintendent of Richmond Park, London. Mr. Barrett has a family of six sons and seven daughters surviving.

Mr. C. Barrett.

Mr. C. Barrett.

Cossar, George, Farmer, “Invermay,” Tai Tapu. Mr. Cossar was born in Berwickshire, Scotland, at Greenknowe, which has been for the last 300 years in possession of the Cossars. He was educated at Dunbar, and brought up to commerce, in which he was engaged for four years in Scotland. Mr. Cossar emigrated to Queensland in 1862, in the ship “Flying Cloud,” and came to New Zealand in 1863. He worked for six years with the late Mr. G. Holmes, of Pigeon Bay, and then removed to Duvauchelle. Subsequently he bought land at Duvauchelle Bay, and gradually increased his area to 170 acres. At first the land was covered with bush, but it was gradually cleared and stocked, first with Shorthorn cattle of the milking strain, and he carried on dairying. In time he let the Duvauchelle property to his sons, and purchased “Invermay,” which comprises 264 acres with 100 acres on the lake flat. Mr. Cossar raises fat lambs extensively, as “Invermay” is well adapted for that purpose. In 1887, he went, by the s.s. “Doric,” on a visit to the Old Country, and after a two months' stay he returned by the “Arawa.” Mr. Cossar has been a member of the local school committee for over twenty years, and has been also on the cemetery board for many years. He was married, in 1864, to Miss Turkington, and they have seven sons and four daughters.

Mr. G. Cossar.

Mr. G. Cossar.

Gilmour, William, Farmer, Tai Tapu. Mr. Gilmour is a son of Mr. William Gilmour, an old colonist of Tai Tapu. He learned farming on his father's estate, but now farms a fine property of his own at Tai Tapu. Mr. Gilmour is elsewhere referred to as a lieutenant in the Canterbury Mounted Rifles.

Heinzmann, John, Farmer, Tai Tapu. Mr. Heinzmann was born in Wuttenberg, Germany, in 1858. In the course of time he removed to London, where he entered into business, which he carried on for a few years. In 1876 he came out to New Zealand in the ship “Waimate.” On arriving in the Colony he determined to follow farming, and took up fifty-four acres of land on the Hanover
Mr. And Mrs J. Heinzmann.

Mr. And Mrs J. Heinzmann.

page 672 estate. To his first property he has added two more farms which are devoted chiefly to grain and root crops. Wheat grown on his land yields as much as sixty-five bushels per acre, oats eighty bushels, and he reaps sixteen tons of potatoes and two sacks of clover seed per acre. Mr. Heinzmann keeps Shorthorn cattle for dairy purposes. As a farmer, however, he is chiefly noted on account of his stud of trotting horses. His stud includes “Magenta,” “Little Jim,” “Monte Video,” and “Belladonna,” descended from “Berlin” and other sires. Mr. Heinzmann has been a director of the Tai Tapu Dairy Factory, a member of the school committee, and non-commissioned officer of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, and he takes an active interest in all kinds of sport. He married Miss Gerkin, in 1879, and two daughters born of the marriage survive their mother, who died some years ago. Mr. Heinzmann took as his second wife Miss Viebrock, and by this marriage he has one son and one daughter.

Herrick, J. J., Farmer, “Hill View,” Tai Tapu Mr. Herrick was born at Islington, London, in 1831, and came to New Zealand with his parents, in the ship “Fifeshire,” which landed at Nelson on the 1st of February, 1842. In 1852 Mr. Herrick visited the Australian gold diggings, but returned to Nelson during the following year. He then followed farming until 1863, during which he came to Canterbury, and purchased one hundred acres of land at Tai Tapu in its native state for £3 an acre, and named the place “Meadowbank. The land was all heavy swamp, which was covered with flax, raupo and “nigger-heads,” and to take off the water Mr. Herrick cut a main drain 15 feet by 7 feet to the Halswell. When thus drained the land was stocked with Shorthorn cattle, and when it became dry and firm, it was cropped with the best results. In 1875, Mr. Herrick bought 100 acres at £20 per acre, from the late Mr. R. H. Rhodes, and on this he erected a good dwellinghouse, with substantial outbuildings and a stockyard, second to none in the district, and he also made a garden, and orchard, and plantations. This property is “Hill View,” where he has his home. Mr. Herrick rented an additional 180 acres later on, and all his farms are devoted to grain growing, dairying and fattening sheep for the export trade Mr. Herrick was the first storekeeper at Tai Tapu, and he ran the first coach that carried the first mails to the place. He has been a member of the Springston Road Board for eighteen years, and has been chairman for several years. Mr. Herrick also served on the Lincoln school committee for fifteen years, and was chairman for five years; he held a seat on the Tai Tapu Road Board and school committee for many years, was a director of the dairy factory for eight years, and a director of the New Zealand Farmers' Co-operative Association, Ltd., over ten years. He always takes a deep interest in church matters. Mr. Herrick was married, in 1858, to Miss Hammond, of Nelson, who also landed in Nelson, in 1842, and has eight sons and five daughters, seven of whom are married.

Limbrick, George Lawrence, Farmer and Butcher, “Westerleigh.” Tai Tapu. Mr. Limbrick is a son of Mr. Richard Limbrick, farmer, Gloucestershire, England, and was born in 1855. After arriving in New Zealand, he worked at the butchering business with Mr. Palmer, of Hororata, for a short time, and for eight months later was employed on the Waipara railway. He was then employed for twelve months by Mr. H. B. Lame, butcher, Cashel Street, Christchurch. Mr. Limbrick then removed to Tai Tapu, where he worked with Mr. Judge, who carried on a butcher's shop in connection with his hotel. After being two years in that position, he started an opposition business, but shortly afterwards purchased Mr. Judge's shop. Since then he has carried on a prosperous business, which extends from Tai Tapu to Gebbie's Valley. In addition to his butchery, Mr. Limbrick conducts a large dairying business on a fine farm of 126 acres of freehold land, which he owns in the neighbourhood, as well as a large tract of leasehold. He has for many years been a member of the Tai Tapu school committee. Mr. Limbrick married Miss Noye, and there is a family of two sons and four daughters.

Macartney, Robert, Farmer, Tai Tapu. Mr. Macartney has for several years taken a prominent part in the local affairs of his district. He is now and has been for three years chairman of the Tai Tapu school committee, and is an active member of various debating societies in the neighbourhood. Mr. Macartney was educated under Mr. Speight, a well-known and successful teacher, at Tai Tapu. He married a daughter of Mr. Greig, builder and contractor, Christchurch. Mr. Macartney is referred to elsewhere as captain of the B Company of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles.

Macartney, Thomas, Farmer, Rose Villa, Tai Tapu. Mr. Macartney was born in County Antrim, near Belfast, Ireland, and was brought up to farming. He arrived in Lyttelton in 1862, by the ship “Zealandia.” After working for about twelve months with Mr. Hudson, he took up a farm in its native state at Broadfields, and carried it on for about five years. He then disposed of his interest at Broadfields, and purchased his present fine estate at Tai Tapu, where he now has an area of 520 acres of rich, fertile land, on which he conducts a thorough system of mixed farming. Mr. Macartney has always taken a prominent part in the affairs of his district, and has never grudged time or trouble devoted to the advancement of Tai Tapu. page 673 For many years, he has been an energetic member of the Tai Tapu Road Board, of which he has been chairman for six years. He was one of the founders of the Tai Tapu Dairy Company, of which he is a director. During the earlier period of his residence in New Zealand, Mr. Macartney was largely engaged in contracting and road making, but owing to the extent of his farming operations, he retired from those pursuits. Mr. Macartney married Miss Sutherland, who died on the 6th November, 1900, leaving a family of five sons and two daughters. His eldest son is Captain Macartney of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, and his eldest daughter, Miss Diana E. Macartney, married Mr. Charles Crooks, of Killinchy, son of a very old resident of Tai Tapu.

Morgan, Lumley, Farmer, “Parkgwyn,” Tai Tapu. Mr. Morgan was born in Wales in 1835, and followed farming during his earlier [gap — reason: illegible]. He left the Old Country for Australia, in the ship “Chariot of Fame,” and worked on the goldfields for two years. In 1861 he came to New Zealand, and after being in Otago he visited the West Coast goldfields, where he was very successful. He afterwards settled in Canterbury, where he took up the first sixty acres of his land in 1862. It was then all in its native state, and consisted of heavy swamp covered with flax and raupo. The improvements on Mr. Morgan's property included a two-storey dwellinghouse, with the necessary outbuildings, which are all clean and well kept; and the farm itself is well cultivated and subdivided into conveniently sized paddocks. Mr. Morgan has served on the local school committee. He was married, in 1870, to Miss Humphreys, and has two sons and one daughter.

Otahuna Estate, Tai Tapu. This is the property of Mr. R. H. Rhodes, M.H.R for Ellesmere. It comprises 5000 acres, was purchased in 1894, and is devoted chiefly to the rearing and fattening of sheep, of which large numbers are annually available for the export trade. The favourite breeds are English Leicesters and Shropshire Downs. A small herd of Jersey cattle is kept in the home paddocks, the originals of which were purchased from Mr. A. A. McMaster, of Oamaru, who imported them from Victoria. A still more distinguished herd consists in seven head of red Polled cattle recently imported by Mr. Rhodes. These aristocrats were bred by Lord Amherst and Mr. Coleman, the breeder of the famous red Polled steer of 1889. Lord Amherst and Mr. Coleman are amongst the largest prize-takers in England. The draught horses at “Otanuna” are a fine lot of animals, and were selected for their aptitude for hillside ploughing. The hunters on the estate included “Dragoon,” by “Chainshot,” and “Black Night,” by “Fusilier.” Mr. Rhodes has made many improvements on the property. The dwellinghouse is built on a knoll at the head of the valley, overlooking the Canterbury Plains, and commanding a fine view of the Southern Alps, and it will soon be well sheltered by a young, healthy and thriving plantation of well-selected trees. There are stables, a cowshed, and other outbuildings of the best kind at “Otahuna,” and these as well as the dwellinghouse are lighted with electric light. The garden, orchard, and all the plantations are young but healthy-looking, and in a few years the drive up the avenue and by an artificial lake will be most charming. The proprietor is reclaiming the swamp land on the property, and from what has been planted with potatoes he has obtained returns which have yielded £40 per acre.

Mr. Robert Heaton Rhodes, Proprietor of the Otahuna Estate, is referred to elsewhere as the member for Ellesmere in the House of Representatives, and also as captain of the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry.

Osborne, James, Midway Farm. Tai Tapu. Mr. Osborne was born in 1829, at Road, Somersetshire, England, and since his youth, he has followed farming. Accompanied by his two brothers, Mr. Job Osborne, of Doyleston, and the late Mr. George Osborne of Timaru, he came to New Zealand by the
Mr. J. Osborne and Family.

Mr. J. Osborne and Family.

Standish and Preece, photo.First House Built of Sods, on Mr. J. Osborne's Property.

Standish and Preece, photo.
First House Built of Sods, on Mr. J. Osborne's Property.

page 674 ship “Cresswell” in 1859. For some years he was engaged in bush cutting at Hoon Hay, and worked with Mr. Jacob Barnett, of Tai Tapu. Then he was for four years in the employment of the late Mr. R. H. Rhodes, as cheeseamaker at Oriri. Mr. Osborne first started farming on his own account on a farm leased from the late Mr. Rhodes, and there of two years and a half he carried on dairying. He then purchased his present farm of 141 acres in its native state. This he has improved by drainage and burning the rough swamp growths, and a handsome villa now replaces the whare in which Mr. Osborne lived during his early struggles. In 1881 he bought from the late Mr. John Grigg, of Longbeach, 305 acres of swamp land, in its wild state, and now has two dwellinghouses on it, and two married sons living on the land. In 1885 Mr. Osborne's son, with Mrs Job Osborne, of Doyleston, sailed for England, to bring out Mr. Osborne's mother, who was then eighty-two years of age. Mrs Osborne lived six years after coming to New Zealand. She died at Mr. Osborne's Midway Farm. Tai Tapu, in February, 1891, and was buried in the Lincoln cemetery.

Ridder, Frederick Henry, Farmer, Tai Tapu. Mr. Ridder was born in Hanover. Germany, in 1850, and came to New Zealand with his father by the ship “Blue Jacket.” For the first seven years after his arrival he was engaged in bush cutting on the Port Hills, and at other work. In 1877 Mr. Ridder started farming on about fifty-three acres of rich and fertile swamp land at Tai · Tapu, where he has successfully carried on general farming and dairying. He also works a leasehold farm of eighty acres. Mr. Ridder is a breeder of a superior class of draught and trotting horses, and owns a fine herd of dairy Shorthorns, crossed with the Jersey—a cross which he considers one of the best for quantity and quality of milk. He has been a member of the Tai Tapu school committee, and is a member of the Ellesmere and Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Associations, and of the Metropolitan Trotting Club. Mr. Ridder, who is at present lance-corporal in the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, has always taken a great interest in volunteering and shooting. He held the Challenge Belt for three successive years in the competitions of his corps, and won several first prizes in shooting competitions, held by the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, and at Rangiora rifle matches. Mr. Ridder married a daughter of the late Mr. John Gherkin, and old settler in the district, and has a family of three daughters and one son

Mr. F. H. Ridder, Holder of Canterbury Mounted Rifles Challenge Belt for Three Years.

Mr. F. H. Ridder,
Holder of Canterbury Mounted Rifles Challenge Belt for Three Years.