The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Rai Valley , which extends from the Pelorus Bridge to the top of the Rai Saddle, a distance of about eight miles, is intersected by the Blenheim-Nelson coach route, and the centre of the district is situated about thirteen and a-half miles west from Havelock. The valley is bounded on both sides by mountainous ranges, and is watered by the Rai river, a good sized stream, well stocked with tr[gap — reason: illegible]ut. The hills and a considerable portion of the valley are still (1905) under bush; but the work of clearing is going on, and every year there is an extensive addition to the area laid down in grass. There are three sawmills at work in the valley and a fourth—the Blackball mill, of Havelock—draws its timber supplies from the district. The settled population is as yet sparse but cattle farming, dairying and also sheepfarming, are carried on to a small extent. There is a public school an excellent accommodation house, and two post offices in the district, and the Blenheim-Nelson coach provides a tri-weckly mail service.
The Rai Falls Accommodation House , in the the Rai Valley is situated about half way on the coach route between Blenheim and Nelson. It was first opened as a boarding-house in the year 1896, by Mrs Luxton, and was taken over by its present lessee in 1899. The house possesses many advantages as a summer resort, as the surrounding country page 419 has some beautiful scenery; besides, there is excellent fishing in the neighbourhood, and there is also abundance of game of various kinds. Then the place is convenient, and easy of access. The Blenheim-Nelson mail coach passes each way on alternate days, and stops at the house for tuncheon. The Half-Way House is a wooden building, and contains fifteen rooms, including a large dining-room. An excellent table is kept, and the accommodation is good. There is a freehold farm of thirty acres in connection with the establishment, and the business of the Rai Falls post office and telephone office is conducted on the premises.
Mr. S. Eyes.
Nees and McLean (F. W. C. Nees and P. McLean), Sawmillers, Rai Valley. This firm was established in the year 1887 under the title of Messrs Thomson and Nees, and since 1894, when Mr. P. McLean bought an interest, it has been known under the present style. For several years Messrs Nees and McLean's sawmill was situated at Okaramio, where timber was cut from a large area of virgin country. In 1899, the mill was removed to its present position in the Rai Valley, where timber rights are held over nearly 600 acres. It contains two eight horse portable boilers, and gives constant employment to eight men. The daily output is about 2,500 feet and consists chiefly of matai, rimu and white pine, which is sent on waggons to Blenheim, where it finds a ready market.
Mr. Frederick William Charles Nees , Senior Partner of the firm of Messrs Nees and McLean, is one of the oldest and most experienced sawmillers in the province, and has devoted almost the whole of his life to the industry. He was born on the 22nd of August, 1860, at Creswick's Creck, Victoria, Australia. Mr. Nees came to New Zealand with his parents at an early age, and was educated at public schools in Christchurch, where his father carried on business as a sawmiller and contractor. He afterwards assisted his father for about five years, subsequently worked for two years at Messrs Greenfield and Stuart's sash and door factory in Wellington, and then went to Kaituna, under engagement to the sawmilling firm of Messrs Newman Brothers. Mr. Nees subsequently went to Kaikoura to manage the Hapuka sawmill, and two years later returned to the district to erect and conduct a mill for the late Mr. John Hornby. He then, in conjunction with Mr. Thomson established a sawmill at Okaramio, and eight years later, on the withdrawal of Mr. Thomson from the firm, he was joined by his present partner. Mr. Peter McLean. Mr. Nees is a member and judge of the Marlborough Agricnltural and Pastoral Association. He was the founder of the wood-chopping and sawing competitions held in connection with the annual shows, and is a member of the Picton Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and of the Pelorus Road Board. Mr. Nees is married, and has four sons and four daughters.
Macey, photo. Mr. P. McLean.
Tyree, photo. Mr. R. Forrest.