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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]



Okaramio is situated in the Kaituna Valley, on the main road between Blenheim and Havelock, and is about eleven miles from Blenheim. The country was at one time covered with dense forest, and sawmilling was the first industry that attracted Europeans. As the timber was exhausted, farming gradually took the place of sawmilling, and Okaramio is now a prosperous dairying and sheep and cattle district. It embraces a large area of fertile valley land, as well as a considerable amount of hilly country, and is suitable for varied farming. A creamery has recently (1905) been erected in the district. The township has an hotel, a general store, a hall, a public school, saleyards, and a post, telegraph, and telephone office. There is a daily mail coach from Blenheim and Havelock, and a tri-weekly service from Nelson. Okaramio is a favourite resort for holiday makers, and there is game in the neighbourhood.

The Okaramio Public School stands on a section of about an acre close to the district post office, and has pleasant surroundings. It is a wooden building, and possesses two class rooms with accommodation for 120 pupils. The school possesses a piano, and there is also a school residence. The inspector's report is very satisfactory, and the pupils who pass the sixth standard are prepared for the Civil Service examination. The number on the roll is fifty-two, and the average attendance is forty-nine.

Mr. James Cartwright , Headmaster of the Okaramio public school, is the eldest son of Mr. Robert Cartwright, of Pleasant Point. South Canterbury. He was born on the 24th of May, 1879, and educated in South Canterbury, where for two years he was first assistant master at the Pleasant Point public school. In the year 1902, Mr. Cartwright accepted an appointment under the Hawke's Bay Education Board, as headmaster of the Elsthorpe school. Three years later, he resigned in order to take up his present position. While Mr. Cartwright was in South Canterbury and Hawke's Bay he was a member of various athletic clubs. In South Canterbury he held several championships for putting the shot, tossing the caber, throwing the hammer, and for jumping and running; and in Hawke's Bay he was appointed judge of physical drill to the Public Schools Amateur Athletic Association. Mr. Cartwright was for three years a member of the Temuka Infantry Volunteers. He is now (1905) instructor in military drill to the Kaituna Rifle Club, and has been recommended for the position of captain of the volunteer cadet corps of Okaramio and Canvastown. Mr. Cartwright married Miss Brooks, of Timaru, in January, 1903.

The Okaramio Creamery of of the Marlborough Dairy Company is situated about a mile to the south of page 421 the township. It was established in September, 1902, and is a small wooden building of three rooms on a concrete foundation. The separator room, which is the main department, contains a Kinsella whey can, a milk vat, a Sabroe pasteuriser, an Alpha Laval separator (capable of dealing with 440 gallons per hour), a Babcock testing machine of twenty-four bottles, and other modern appliances; the engine-room has a four-horse power Tangye stationary boiler, and a six horse-power engine made by Messrs Luke and Co., of Wellington. The season extends over about nine months in the year, and during that time an average of about 800 gallons of milk is daily dealt with. There are at present (1905) about twenty suppliers to the creamery. The cream is sent to the Company's butter factory at Spring Creek, where it is churned into butter and exported.

Mr. Norman Wright , who was appointed Manager of the Okaramio Creamery in September, 1903, was born on the 4th of July, 1881, in Dunedin, and is the third son of the Rev. Duncan Wright. He was educated at various public schools, and was trained as a mechanical engineer in the firms of Messrs Sparrow and Company, and Messrs Stephenson and Poole, of Dunedin. Mr. Wright is a certificated engine-driver, and is continuing the study of engineering under the direction of the American School of Correspondence. He is a member of the committee of the Kaituna Defence Rifle Club.

The Okaramio Hotel is situated on the main road midway between Blenheim and Havelock, and has been established for many years. The original building was burned down about three years ago, and was immediately rebuilt. It is of one storey in wood, contains about eighteen rooms, and presents a good appearance. The accommodation includes a large dining room, commercial and sitting rooms, and a kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms; the bar is stocked with the best of liquors and cordials; the kitchen and dining-room are carefully managed, and a good table is kept. The bedrooms are airy and scrupulously clean, and the bath-room is provided with both hot and cold water. The post and telegraph office is situated in a small detached building close by; and a large paddock of forty acres surrounding the house, affords excellent paddocking for sheep, cattle, and horses. A public hall and saleyards are situated near the hotel, and belong to the proprietress.

Mrs Teresa Briggs, who acquired the Okaramio hotel in the year 1902, has proved herself a capable woman of business, and the present prosperity of the house is due to her management. She was born in Ireland, and arrived in New Zealand in 1878, at an early age. Some years afterwards she married Mr. P. Briggs, a boot merchant, in Wellington. In 1891, however, her husband died, and Mrs Briggs, after carrying on the business herself for a couple of years, retired and lived at Vogeltown, until she took possession of the Okaramio Hotel.

Hodgson, William, Farmer, Okaramio. Mr. Hodgson was born on the 2nd of January, 1860, at Spring Grove, Nelson, and is the second son of Mr. William Hodgson, who is a well known farmer there. He was educated at the Spring Grove public school, afterwards gained some experience of farming and flaxmilling in his native place, and then spent some
Macey, photo.Mr. W. Hodgson.

Macey, photo.
Mr. W. Hodgson.

years on large sheep stations in North Canterbury and Marlborough. In 1885 Mr. Hodgson became general farm assistant to Mr. William Kennington, Okaramio, and three years later went to the Mahakipawa diggings. After being on the goldfields for two years, during which he met with considerable success, he settled down to farming on his own account. Mr. Hodgson's farm consists of over 300 acres, and he keeps sheep, and carries on dairying and cropping. He is chairman of the local school committee, of which he has been a member for fourteen years. In 1890, Mr. Hodgson married Miss Swafford, and has one son and three daughters.
Inman, Charles, Settler, Okaramio. Mr. Inman was born in Middlesex, England, in the year 1836. He was educated privately, and entered the Royal Exchange Insurance office, but not caring for indoor life, he decided to come to New Zealand, and landed in Nelson in 1855. After his
Mr. C. Inman.

Mr. C. Inman.

arrival, he went to work on the farm of Dr. Greenwood, at Motueka, where he stayed for two years obtaining experience. He then decided to settle at Okaramio, but went back to England on a visit. When he returned, he brought a portable iron house with him, on the assumption that sawmills might not then be established in the Marlborough district.

Johnston, John, Farmer, Okarimio. Mr. Johnston was born at Belfast, Ireland, in 1854, and came to the colony in the ship “Caledonia,” in the year 1881, landing at Lyttelton. He was carpenter for the New Zealand Shipping Company, and also worked for Mr. Langdon, Christchurch. Mr. Johnston spent sixteen years on the sheep runs in the Awatere district, and worked on Blairich, Starborough, and Richmond Brook stations. He takes a keen interest in sporting matters.

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Kennington, William, Farmer, Okaramio. Mr. Kennington, who is a conspicuous figure amongst the prominent settlers of Marlborough, was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1836, and landed in Melbourne in 1858. A few months later, he came over to New Zealand, and resided in Auckland for about twelve months. He then tried his fortune in Hawke's Bay, but finally removed to Marlborough in 1860, and settled at Kaituna, where he has one of the best farms in the district. It consists of about 1400 acres, and grazes 2500 crossbred sheep, and 100 head of cattle. The land has a large frontage to the main coach road between Nelson and Blenheim, and is suitable for agricultural purposes. Mr. Kennington has been a member of the Marlborough County Council, and is one the Committee of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He was also for a considerable time a member of the Kaituna school committee. Mr. Kennington was married, in 1865, and has a family of six sons and three daughters.

Long Gully Run , Okaramio, consists of nearly 1800 acres of rugged hill country. There are about 370 acres of freehold, part of which is good agricultural valley country, and the rest is held on Crown lease. It was first taken up by the late Mr. Gibson, and was taken over by its present proprietor about eighteen years ago. Dairy farming is carried on and 900 sheep are depastured. Mr. Leslie is one of the largest suppliers of milk to the local factory.

Mr. John Leslie , the Proprietor of Long Gully Run, was born in County
Mr. and Mrs W. Kennington and Children.

Mr. and Mrs W. Kennington and Children.

Leitrim, in Connaught, Ireland, in the year 1852, and came to New Zealand in the ship “Carnatic” in January, 1875. For several years he was employed in general contracting, and then took up land on the north bank of the Wairau river, where he farmed
Maccy, photo.Mr. J. Leslie.

Maccy, photo.
Mr. J. Leslie.

for about twelve years. In the year 1887, he acquired the Long Gully run, which he has since successfully conducted. Mr. Leslie was for several years a member of the local school committee. He married Miss Blick, the daughter of an early settler of Spring Creek, in the year 1878, and has, surviving, six sons and six daughters.

Mortimer, James, Farmer, Kaituna, near Okaramio. Mr. Mortimer was born in the year 1846 in Nelson, and is a son of Mr. John Mortimer, of Nelson. He was educated at his native place, at ten years of age went to the Wairau, where he was engaged in general farm work. Later on, Mr. Mortimer farmed on his own account at Renwicktown, and at Bartlet's Creek, where he remained for ten years. He subsequently acquired his present farm, which consists of nearly 370 acres of freehold and leasehold property. It is devoted to sheep grazing, and carries an average of about one sheep to the acre. Mr. Mortimer is a member of the Okaramio Rifle Club, and has also served on other local bodies. He is married, and has four sons and eight daughters.

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Macey, photo.Mr. J. Mortimer.

Macey, photo.
Mr. J. Mortimer.