The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Stoke is one of the most charming little spots in the country. It was named by Mr. William Songer (one of the earliest settlers), after his birthplace, Stoke, near Nayland, Suffolk, England. For an extensive, unbroken, and easily accessible view of Blind Bay, the position is unrivalled. The principal products are agricultural, hops being amongst them. Stoke has two churches, namely, Anglican and Wesleyan; an hotel, a blacksmith's shop, a general store, a public hall and a railway station. It is the site of St. Mary's Orphanage, to which boys are sent from all parts of New Zealand. The Nelson abattoirs are also at Stoke.
The Stoke Post Office and Telephone Station is at the public school. Mails are received and despatched daily. The telephone is largely used and has fully justified the expenditure connected with it. From ninety to one hundred messages are sent and received quarterly, which is considered good for a small village so near Nelson, and nullifies the predictions of those who maintained that it would not be used once a month.
Stoke Public School is situated four miles from Nelson, and the same distance from the borough of Richmond. It is built upon an acre of land, and there are two buildings of one room each, with accommodation for 200 scholars. There are seventy-two names on the roll, and Mr. B. H. Wilmot is the headmaster. Children come from a radius of two miles, and of late years the attendance has been steadily increasing. The business of the local post office and telephone station is conducted at the school, and Miss Naylor is postmistress.
Mr. John Naylor , formerly Headmaster of the Stoke Public School, began teaching in New Zealand in 1877. In December, 1881, he went to the scene of the native trouble at Parihaka; afterwards he took charge, first of the Kaikora North school, and then of the Meanee school, in the Hawke's Bay district. In 1886, he returned to Stoke and was re-appointed headmaster of the local school, from which he retired in 1905. Mr. Naylor was born near Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1846. He was educated under the English Government system, and was teaching for eight years in large London schools. He came to New Zealand in 1874 in the ship “Chili,” and acted as schoolmaster on the outward voyage. After his arrival he lived for two years at Karamea, where he was engaged on a survey party and also as Government storekeeper. Mr. Naylor was the first to organise at Stoke a drum and fife and string band which in its day was a noted institution. In cricketing he has been an enthusiast, and for five years he was a representative cricketer for the Nelson province. Mr. Naylor possesses a D1 certificate.
Mr. J. Naylor.
Marsden, James Wilfred, Sheepfarmer, “Isel,” Stoke. Mr. Marsden's property consists of 400 acres with a frontage of about 53 chains to the Waimea Road, and is capable of grazing two sheep and a quarter to the acre. The estate is stocked with three breeds of sheep, namely, English Leicester, Romney Marsh, and Shropshire Downs, all pure bred. The Downs are the oldest Shropshire stock in New Zealand, and the originals were imported by Mr. Sellon in 1862. The Leicesters are from the flock of Mr. P. Threlkeld, of Inglewood, Canterbury, and the Romney Marsh from the flocks of Mr. Allen, of the Wairarapa. In addition to his sheep, Mr. Marsden grazes fifty head of cattle. The land is nearly all ploughable, and it yields splendid crops of barley, wheat and turnips. Mr. Marsden's homestead is complete in every respect; and the outbuildings, stables, granary, sheep dip and yards are spacious and modern in style. Mr. Marsden was born at Nelson on the 23rd of March, 1844, and was one of the first scholars at Nelson College. With the exception of periodical visits to Australia and to different parts of New Zealand, Mr. Marsden has spent most of his life at Stoke. He takes great interest in the Nelson Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which he was president in 1896.
Mr. J. W. Marsden.
Mr. Edmund Buxton , who was the founder of the firm of E. Buxton and Co., merchants, Nelson, arrived in Nelson in 1851, having landed at Lyttelton in the ship “Castle Eden,” which had on board as one of its passengers Bishop Jackson. Mr. Buxton, though of a Derbyshire family, was born in Lancashire, England, in 1805, and had led the life of an independent gentleman for many years before coming out to New Zealand. Upon arriving in the Colony, he purchased a sheep run of 30,000 acres in Canterbury, but did not personally settle in that district, as, though he came out in one of the Canterbury Association's ships, he went, after a little delay, to Nelson; whence he subsequently sailed on a visit to the Old Country. Upon returning to the Colony, in 1855, he founded the business of E. Buxton and Co., which was managed for two years page 123 by Mr. Daniel Moore; then Mr. Buxton supervised the business till 1867, when the late Mr. Buckeridge was admitted into partnership, and had charge till his death by drowning. Although Mr. Buxton took no active part in the business, he retained a large interest in the firm. In 1881, the business was disposed of to Mr. F. Hamilton, formerly of the West Coast, permission being given to retain the name of E. Buxton and Co. Mr. Buxton died in November, 1882. Although he had business relations with the city of Nelson, his most intimate and pleasurable connection was with Stoke, where he took an interest in all matters affecting the district, and was universally respected by all who knew him. He left a family of five.
Mr. Charles James Rayner , of Stoke, was born in 1838 at Gloucester, England, where his father for many years held the responsible position of Collector of Inland Revenue. He came to New Zealand in 1864, and landed at Lyttelton. After a short stay in Christchurch, he settled at Temuka, of which he was one of the pioneers; he resided there for twenty-five years, and there, as at Timaru, he still has considerable interests. Mr. Rayner served on the old school board, and was one of the honorary secretaries of “the South Canterbury Protection League,” which resulted in the formation of “the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works,” which was an important body in its day. He was also one of the first Temuka Park Commissioners and honorary secretary of the same; and tree planting and land improvement generally being pursuits in which he is very enthusiastic, he devoted considerable time and attention to the duties of those offices. Though often pressed to go more into public affairs and accept various positions, his inclinations did not lead that way. In church matters he always took an active interest, and was churchwarden for many years. In 1893 he removed to Stoke, where he leads a quiet life, the only public position he holds being that of a member of the Diocesan Synod of Nelson.
Mr. C. J. Rayner.
Mr. Arthur Tregea , St. Ann's Ville, Stoke, was born in Nelson, in 1859, and is a son of the late Mr. John B. Tregea, who for many years conducted the Commercial Hotel, in Nelson. Mr. Tregea received his education at the state school, Nelson, and afterwards assisted his father in the management of the hotel. For a short time he was in business for himself as a draper, but on the death of his father returned to the Commercial Hotel, which he conducted successfully up till 1893, when he retired and settled in Nelson. Late in 1902, Mr. page 124 Tregea bought his present residence, a fine property of twenty-five acres, at Stoke, where he has since resided. He also owns a freehold farm of 400 acres at Sherry, known as “Precious Metal Farm.” which is at present managed by his son. The grazing of sheep and cattle is the main industry; of the former there are about 350 Romney Marsh and English Leicester crossbreds, and the latter are crossbreds of a Shorthorn type. The markets for the stock are Reefton and Westport. Mr. Tregea is a member of Lodge Victory, English Constitution; the Loyal Nelson Lodge of Oddfellows, and the Maitai Lodge of Druids. He married a daughter of Mr. James MeKenzie, of Collingwood, in 1882, and has a family of three sons and three daughters.
Mr. A. Tregea.