Mr. George Dodson
was born near Malmsbury, in Wiltshire, England, on the 3rd of September, in the year 1821. When a youth he went to Nova Scotia, but owing to the cold climate returned to England. Mr. Dodson then came to New Zealand in the ship “Fifeshire,” the first vessel to arrive in Nelson, and landed on the 1st of February, 1842, with just four shillings and sixpence in his pocket. He joined the New Zealand Company's survey staff with the late Mr. W. Budge, and worked at Nelson, and at Massacre Bay. Then in March, 1844, he was selected by Mr. Tuckett, Chief Surveyor to the New Zealand Company, to accompany him on an expedition to search the coast of the South Island for a site for a new settlement to be named New Edinburgh. Otakau (since corrupted to Otago) was the place chosen for this purpose. Unfortunately, the New Zealand Company got into financial difficulties, with the result that there was a stoppage in the proceedings, and Mr. Tuckett left its service. Mr. Dodson, with one of the surveyors, remained at Otakau, in charge of the Company's materials, but owing to ill-health he soon returned to Nelson for medical advice. He was then engaged in farming, and in 1854, when the Wairau Valley was opened for settlement, he bought land there, and settled in the Spring Creek district, of which he was one of the pioneers. The district was then subject to destructive floods; but Mr. Dodson, as a member of the Marlborough Provincial Council, the River Board, and also as a private settler—did so much to avert trouble from that cause, that it was not long before the farmers were securely protected from loss and anxiety in that connection. As a settler, Mr. Dodson kept abreast of the times by obtaining improved implements as they came into use. He introduced one of the first manual reaping engines, the self-delivery
reapers, one of the first wire binders, string binders, the first double furrow ploughs, and the first traction engine and plant for threshing purposes ever seen in the Wairau. Mr. Dodson was the second colonist to take up farming in the Wairau—first as a dairy farmer, and then as an agriculturist. He was one of the first to advocate the separation of Marlborough from Nelson, and became a member of the Marlborough Provincial Council. Mr. Dodson was chairman of the Spring Creek River Board for twenty-five years, from its inception till the 3rd of January, 1900; a member of the Spring Creek Road Board for five years; a member of the Waste Lands Board for six years, and a Justice of the Peace for eighteen years. He died during the year 1905.