, which means, in the Maori language, “Hill of Spirits,” is a popular farming area lying at the base of the mountain range of that name in the West Taieri district. It is five miles from Outram, which is nineteen miles by rail from Dunedin. The district is prosperous, like the rest of the Taieri Plain, and is devoted largely to general farming and dairying. The land yields about sixty bushels of wheat and eighty of oats to the acre. There is no township in the district, but it possesses a Presbyterian church, a school, a post office, a dairy factory, and a blacksmith's shop. Trout and perch abound in the Taieri river, where ducks also are plentiful, and there are rabbits in the district. The district road is very good and quite level, and passes through Woodside with its many beautiful scenic attractions, and presperous farms. The gully where Garratt, the notorious bushranger, committed numerous robberies in the early days of the goldfields, is on the Outram-Woodside-Maungatua road.
Lieut. Thomas Henry Blatch
(Unattached Active List, New Zealand Volunteers) resided at Maungatua, and came to the Colony with his parents in the ship “John Wickliffe.” His father was Henry Frederick Blatch, groom and gardener to Captain Cargill, at Esher, and afterwards in Buckinghamshire, and eventually came out to New Zealand, in the same employment. In 1859, Mr. T. H. Blatch joined the police force in Dunedin, then under Mr. St. John Branigan, and retired therefrom at the end of 1863. He was in charge of the Molyneux Ferry police station at the township now known as Balclutha, and was there when the Nokomai “rush” took place. Mr. Blatch, after three weeks' searching, found, caught in a snag in the Molyneux stream, the body of the murdered man Wilson. The murderer Fratson was condemned to death, but afterwards his sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life. Mr. Blatch left the police force at the time of the Hindon “rush,” and went prospecting. He was afterwards storekeeping and
sawmilling, and is now a fruitgrower and beekeeper. Mr. Blatch is the oldest member of the Hand and Heart Lodge of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity. He was one of the champion
shots at the North and South Island competition of 1872, and, like other marksmen, he received an illuminated address of thanks, and congratulation from the Provincial Government for his services at the match. Mr. Blatch was lieutenant in the West Taieri Rifles till 1878, and was in the Dunedin City Guards from 1879 to 1881. He was again in the West Taieri Rifles from 1885 until the corps' disbandment in 1895, when he was placed on the unattached active list. Mr. Blatch is the possessor of the New Zealand long service medal, the medal for the highest score in Otago and Southland in 1873, of the large silver cup presented for competition in 1888 by the West Taieri Rifles, and of two other medals won in his Company; and holds the Imperial Volunteer Officer's long service decoration.
, Farmer, “Red Bank,” Maungatua. Mr. Carruthers is the only remaining pioneer of the three who first settled on the eastern side of the Lee Creek, and was born near Dumfries, Kireudbrightshire, Scotland. He left for New Zealand by the ship “Storm Cloud,” in 1861, and landed at Port Chalmers. Shortly after his arrival he obtained employment with the late Mr. William Nicol, at the Taieri—first, as ploughman; but two months afterwards, owing to the breaking out of the gold diggings, he was engaged in driving a team to Gabriel's Gully—an employment he continued for four years. During the period of his waggoning he bought the farm on which his brother, Mr. James Carruthers, now resides, but afterwards sold his interest in the property to his brother. Mr. Carrnthers subsequently
bought his own present property of 280 acres, on which he erected a handsome elevenroomed house, and up-to-date outbuildings. His land, which is in a high state of cultivation, is devoted to a system of general farming, but chiefly to the fattening of stock, and he annually sells about 120 fat bullocks. The land is noted for its fattening qualities, and produces large yields of wheat and root crops. Mr. Carruthers is a well known breeder of Shorthorn cattle, and has lately added, to his herds some of the Mariakakahi well known pedigree Shorthorn stock. During his long residence in the district, he has taken an active part in local affairs, and was for many years a member of the Outram and Henley Road Boards, and of the Henley River Board, and the Licensing Committee. Mr. Carruthers is unmarried.
, Farmer, Maungatua. Mr. Heenan left his father's home at North-East Valley when he was only in his teens, and followed his brothers over to Australia, to which he worked his passage to Sydney in a small schooner for pay at the rate of one shilling per month. After reaching Sydney, he made his way to Melbourne, where he arrived with only sixpence in his pocket. In Melbourne he lost the mate who had accompanied him from Sydney, and underwent various adventures. One night he slept in a stable, the owner of which gave him food in the morning, and on enquiring into his identity, asked him if he were a Maori, and in what part of the world New Zealand lay. Fortunately, young Heenan had his brothers' address in his possession, and with the aid of the friendly stable-owner and a policeman, he reached his brothers, and joined them in mining at Bendigo. In about ten months they made £600 between them, and his brother William left for New Zealand with the money, to invest it there on their joint behalf. Mr. D. Heenan then became a team owner for three years, and when the Tuapeka “rush” occurred, he brought horses over to New Zealand. Some of the horses cost him £150, and he lost one on the way over. When carting goods to the Tuapeka and Dunstan diggings, he obtained as much as £100 per ton freight, but the work was beset with many difficulties. For instance, he was once snowed up on Lammerlaw, lost one of his best horses in connection with the incident, and had to return to Outram for horse feed. Oats then cost him is per pound. Mr. Heenan afterwards built and conducted the British Hotel in Dunedin, but sold out, and settled at Maungatua where he has freehold and leasehold land, and follows pastoral pursuits. Forsome time Mr. Heenan was a member of the road board, and licensing and school committees, and claims to have given Whare Flat its name of Blueskin. After his return to New Zealand, Mr. Heenan found that the mate whom he had lost in Melbourne had come back to New Zealand, and had died and been buried at Warepa, in the Molyneux district.
, Farmer, Maungatua. Mr. Heenan remained with his parents at North East Valley off and on till 1867, when he settled at Maungutua. His first farm was of eighty acres, since increased to 1200, on which he grows crops and grazos stock. When he first came to the district, there was no road, but merely a track in places; oftener none. Once when sledging a plough over the Taieri river, with the aid of bullocks, the plough was swept away, and, as the river was in flood, Mr. Heenan himself was only saved
by hanging on to the bullocks' chains. The night was frosty, and home was nine miles distant, and the episode was therefore one of the kind that tasked the spirit and endurance of early settlers. The plough was afterwards recovered by Mr. Donald Borrie. Mr. Heenan thinks that sufficient credit has not been given to Captain Cook for his foresight in landing pigs in New Zealand, and holds that many early settlers owed much to the flesh of wild pigs as an article of diet, and were truly thankful for it. Mr. Heenan has ten sons and four daughters.
Mr. William Heenan
, sometime of Hollybrook Farm, Maungatua, was one of the vigorous pioneer settlers of Otago. After remaining three years in the North East Valley with his parents, he started contracting in company with Mr. Donald Reid, and remained at that calling for two years. He then left New Zealand and went to the Bendigo diggings in Victoria, whence he returned to New Zealand and bought land and settled down on the Taieri Plain. When in the employment of Mr. Lee he was the first to use horses in the plough on the plains. Mr. Heenan was the first to erect a cheese factory at Maungatua, and carried it on till his death on the 17th of September, 1892. For many years he was a member of the road board and school committee. The property which he had acquired is named Hollybrook farm. It consists of about 1000 acres, and crops are raised and stock reared upon it. When originally taken up it was in its wild state, all swamp, flax and tussock land, but it is now under cultivation, and yields an average of fifty bushels of wheat,
and sixty bushels of oats to the acre. The farm is replete with all the appliances necessary to advanced agriculture, and carries, on
an average, 500 crossbred sheep. When Mr. Heenan died he left a widow, five sons and five daughters.