The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Wai-Iti , which in Maori means “small river,” is the name of a small township in the county of Waimea, twenty miles south-west by rail from Nelson. The main road from Nelson to Reefton passes through the township. Timber cutting and hop growing are carried on in the district, and also the industry of obtaining bark for tanning purposes. Wai-iti has a public school, and a branch of the Church of Christ.
Wai-Iti School . This school was opened about the year 1870, when Mr. Smith, who is now inspector of schools in the Marlborough district, was its headmaster. The scholars on the roll number 115, and the attendance is generally very good, except in the hoppicking season, which is a time of sore trial to the various schoolmasters in the Nelson province, owing to so many scholars being unable to be present in the early part of the year. This school has during the last fifteen years, under the supervision of Mr. Edridge, made very great progress, the average attendance rising from under forty to nearly one hundred.
Mr. Edward Edridge is a native of Gloucestershire, England, where he received his education. After holding the position of pupil teacher, and, later on, that of assistant master in the schools of his native place, Mr. Edridge decided to come to New Zealand, and landed at Nelson in the year 1875. He has served under Education Boards in various parts of the colony, including those of Westland and Wellington. As headmaster of the Wai-iti school, to which he was appointed first in 1884, and again, five years later, he is universally liked by the scholars, and is encouraged in his work by the majority of the settlers in the district. Mr. Edridge is a Freemason, and a member of the Forest Lodge in the Wakefield district, and has passed through the chairs of the Order.
Mr. E. Edridge.
Bright, Thomas, Farmer, “Copsdale,” Wai-iti. Mr. Bright has 725 acres, on which 600 well-bred Romney Marsh sheep are depastured. The land is fair grazing country, and some of it yields good crops of potatoes, turnips, and other roots. A reserve of sixty acres of virgin bush has been set aside for purposes of beauty and shelter. Considerable improvements have been made since the property was acquired in 1887, when the place would carry only 170 sheep, but Mr. Bright determined that it should, in time, carry one thousand. Mr. Bright was born at Picton in 1861, and received his education at the Nelson Catholic school. Before taking up his present holding in 1887, Mr. Bright worked at the Wairau, and in several parts of the North Island.
Mr. T. Bright's Residence.
Mr. Robert Stewart was born in County Down, Ireland, on the 10th of April, 1835, and was brought up to farming. On the 18th of September, 1856, he landed in Melbourne, by the ship “Morning Light,” which carried 662 passengers. He went to the diggings and worked at Ballarat, Chinaman's Flat, Carisbrook, Ararat, and Pleasant Creek. After arriving in New Zealand, he spent three years on the Otago goldfields, and also visited the West Coast, whence he went to the Wangapeka “rush.” Mr. Stewart followed the diggings for twenty-five years, and settled at Gordon Downs in 1880 page 141 as owner of the Gordon Downs Accommodation House. He now (1905) lives in retirement at Wai-iti.
Mr. R. Stewart.