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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]



Waikawa is the name of a river, a township, and a harbour. The settlement is in the Toetoes riding page 1083 of the county of Southland, and in the electoral district of Mataura. At the census of 1901, the township had a population of forty-four, and there were twenty-six persons at Waikawa Beach, and seventy-two at Waikawa Valley. The public school at Waikawa had an average attendance of thirty and that of Quarry Hills and Waikawa Valley, of twenty-four. In the early days large quantities of timber were sawn in the district and shipped from the harbour. The bay is available in all weathers, and the estuary is navigable for small vessels for some distance. Waikawa is a place of much beauty, as the harbour is a fine sheet of water, about four miles by three, and surrounded by low, wooded hills that are rich in foliage right to the water's edge. It is a retreat to which hard-worked business men from the city might go with assurance in search of change and rest. Fish and wild fowl abound in the district, and gold has been found in the streams and on the beach. There are also small seams of coal in the district. In the early days there was a considerable amount of trade at the port, but the railway now carries what was formerly brought and sent away by the schooners and small steamers. The Waikawa river empties itself into the harbour. Sawmilling is still carried on to some extent in the district, which has an accommodation house, a store, a blacksmith's shop, and a post office. In the very early days Waikawa was a whaling station. One of the neighbouring bays is known as Curio Bay, on account of the many varieties of petrified wood, uncommon shells, and the number of starfish found at or near it. The Presbyterian church has a resident Home Missionary, who holds services in the district. About fourteen miles along the beach, in a westerly direction, from Haldane river, lies the settlement of Otara and Waipapa Point, where there is a lighthouse, which was built in consequence of the steamer “Tararua” having been wrecked there on the 29th of April, 1881, when 130 persons lost their lives.

The Waikawa Post Office is conducted at the store of Mr Henry Templeton, and mails are despatched to and from Fortrose three times a week.

Mr. Henry Templeton , who acts as Postmaster at Waikawa, carries on a general storekeeping business, and holds the local agency for the New Zealand Insurance Company. He also owns a cattle run of 1,900 acres at Fortrose. Mr Templeton was born in 1853, in Glasgow, Scotland, and came to New Zealand in 1864, by the ship “Paria.” He worked on the Edendale and Isla stations, and then went to the diggings at the head of Lake Wakatipu where he spent two years. After this he learned carpentering, and worked at his trade at Tapanui until 1875, when he removed to Otaraia, and carried on farming and storekeeping combined for about nine years. Mr Templeton afterwards opened a store at Fortrose, which he conducted for ten years, and during that time he bought his Fortrose property. He then spent a year at Thornhill before settling at Waikawa. Mr Templeton was at one time prominent in hammer-throwing and weight-putting contests, in which he has taken first prizes at Invercargill; and he was a member of the Otaraia Road Board, and of the Fortrose and Waikawa school committees. He married the eldest daughter of Mr John Moir, farmer, Otara, and has two sons. Mrs Templeton was born at Waikouaiti, New Zealand.

Gerstenkorn, photoMr. And Mrs H. Templeton.

Gerstenkorn, photo
Mr. And Mrs H. Templeton.