Lower and Upper Kokatahi is situated about fifteen miles from Hokitika, on the Kokatahi and Hokitika rivers, and about four miles from Lake Kanieri. It is a farming and grazing district, and is completely surrounded by hills. The settlement has two hotels, a store and a post office, with telephonic communication with Hokitika, and a dairy factory and creamery. The roads are good for cycling, and there is abundance of game in the neighbourhood.
(Charles Philip Norman, proprietor), Kokatahi. This hotel was established about the year 1886, and contains thirteen rooms. It has good accommodation, a moderate tariff, and the best liquors are kept; there is also stabling for six horses in connection with the establishment. Sportsmen find this hotel very convenient.
Mr. Charles Philip Norman
, the proprietor of the Kokatahi Hotel, is also the owner of a freehold farm of 350 acres, and is a large supplier of milk to the local dairy factory. He was born in the year 1839, in the Isle of Jersey, Channel Islands, where he was educated and brought up on a farm. In 1858, Mr. Norman went to Australia, and in 1862 arrived in Otago, where he took part in the Hartley and Riley, Fox's, Arrow and Arthur's Point “rushes.” He was subsequently attracted to the West Coast by the “rush” at Greenstone, and for about thirty years followed goldmining in various parts of the West Coast. In 1886, Mr. Norman bought the property on which stands his hotel, together with his farm. He took a prominent part in connection with the inception of the local dairy factory, of which he has been one of the directors. Mr. Norman is married, and has one son and three daughters.
(John Graham, proprietor), Lower Kokatahi. This hotel was built in the year 1902, and is situated ten miles from Hokitika, at the junction of the roads leading to Koiterangi and Upper Kokatahi. It is a well kept three-storied building, and contains fourteen rooms. There is good accommodation, a moderate tariff, and the best liquors are kept. Good fishing and shooting can be obtained in the neighbourhood. There is a farm of one hundred acres in connection with the establishment, and another of thirty-seven acres is held in the district by Mr. Graham. In the Koiterangi district he also holds 200 acres, and Mrs Graham, 101 acres.
Mr. John Graham
, the Proprietor of the Longford Hotel, was born at Carlisle, England, in the year 1852, and in 1861 landed at the Bluff with his father, by the ship “Robert Henderson.” He removed to the West Coast, settled at Hokitika in 1865, and was brought up on his father's farm. He subsequently bought land
in the Lower Kokatahi district, where he has since resided. For thirteen years Mr. Graham has been a member of the Kokatahi school committee, and has also for some years been on the committee of the Westland Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He married a
daughter of Mr. John Spring, of Christchurch (an old resident of the West Coast), and has two sons and one daughter. Mr. Graham, senior, was one of the first to settle in the Kokatahi district, and still (1905) resides in the district; aged seventy-eight.
Diedrichs, Henry Garrand,
Grazier, Lower Kokatahi. Mr. Diedrichs is said to be the largest run-holder on the West Coast. He possesses between five thousand and six thousand acres of freehold land in the Kokatahi district, and has two runs of 20,000 acres each at South Wanganui. On the freehold estate there is a homestead of 150 acres, on which are situated commodious buildings and fine cattle-yards. The other freehold properties in the immediate neighbourhood consist of blocks of 420 acres, 1000 acres, and 4000 acres respectively, and all the land is more or less improved and sown in English grasses. Mr. Diedrichs is the largest supplier of stock for the local market. One of the original herds of Mr. Diedrichs consisted of Herefords, which were brought from Cheviot, then the property of the Hon. William Robinson. Owing to their hardy nature, cattle of this breed are best suited to the wet climate and rough weather experienced on the West Coast. German by birth, Mr. Diedrichs was born in Holdenburg in 1833, and is a son of the late Garrand Diedrichs, a blacksmith. In his younger days, Mr. Diedrichs learned his father's trade until he reached the age of seventeen, when he went to seek his fortune in America. There he was employed in a store for a few years, but was attracted to Australia by the alluring newspaper accounts of gold in the year 1855. He followed up the various rushes for ten years, and his efforts were very successful at Forest Creek and other fields of note. In 1863, he came to New Zealand, and was present at the opening of the Wakamarina, where fortune still smiled on him for a period of fifteen months. Purchasing a mob of cattle in Nelson, he successfully drove them amid many dangers over the “Old Saddle.” He had to swim them through the Teremakau, and eventually landed twenty-five head at Hokitika. Mr. Diedrichs established
himself in business at Greymouth as a stock-dealer and butcher for two years, and subsequently removed to Ross. Here he was again successful for a period of ten years, when he finally settled on the property he had acquired at Kokatahi. Mr. Diedrichs has ever held aloof from all local politics, and to this he thinks his success is largely due. The Government some time ago entertained a proposal for the purchase of the greater part of Mr. Diedrichs' property, with a view to opening it up for settlement.
Glass, Charles Robert,
Dairy Farmer, Burnside Farm, Kokatahi. Mr. Glass is the holder of a farm of about 360 acres, 200 acres of which is bush, and supplies milk to the Kokotahi dairy factory. He is further referred to as President of the Westland Agricultural and Pastoral Association, Hokitika. Mr. Glass is a Justice of the Peace.
Grazier, Kokatahi. Mr. Karnbach's property embraces 700 acres of fine freehold land, and 12,000 acres of leasehold. The soil is of a heavy nature, and admirably suited for cropping. The freehold is all laid down in English grasses, subdivided and stocked with store cattle. The leasehold property makes a capital cattle run, as it is situated on both sides of the Hokitika river, and on the borders of Canterbury. Mr. Karnbach also has a large tract of country at South Wanganui, of which 740 acres are freehold, and partly improved and stocked. In the same district, he holds under lease from the Government about 18,000 acres of grazing country, for the greater part of a rough mountainous nature, and grazes upon it upwards of 400 head of cattle, and beeween five and six hundred crossbred sheep. Mr. Karnbach was born in Prussia in 1842, and was brought up as a butcher. In 1859, he went by the s.s. “Prince of the Sea” to Victoria, Australia, where he spent four years at quartz reefing and in alluvial
mining at Bendigo, and other leading mining centres. He came to New Zealand in 1863, and followed his trade on the Dunstan, and Hamilton, and other diggings. Mr. Karnbach established himself in 1865 at Ross, and successfully conducted his business for a period of eighteen years, when he removed to his present homestead, which he purchased in the sixties. He
has been treasurer of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association since its inception, and a member of the school committee for many years. He is married, and has two sons and nine daughters.
Farmer, Lower Kokatahi. Mr. Lyes and his sons hold a considerable area of land in the Kokatahi and Koiterangi districts. Mr. Lyes' holding comprises eighty-six acres, on which his homestead is situated, and he has also two other farms, one of 127 acres, and one of 960 acres in the Koiterangi district. His sons hold about 1250 acres. Grazing and dairy farming are carried on. Mr. Lyes was born at Bury St. Ed-Edmunds,
Suffolkshire, England, in the year 1850. He is a son of Mr. Lyes, who has been Inspector of Public Works in the town of Wishbeach, England, for forty-five years. In 1868, he went to America, where he was engaged in farm work for four years. Mr. Lyes then returned to England, and in March, 1872, left for New Zealand by the ship “Agammenon.” The ship had an eventful voyage, including a mutiny, a leak, and an enforced sojourn at Rio Janiero, where the captain and crew were discharged, and the “Agammenon” was laid up for three months for repairs. After leaving Rio Janiero, the ship sprang a leak, and was forced to put in at Capetown, where she was condemned, and the passengers were delayed for ten weeks. Mr. Lyes finally came to New Zealand in the barque “Lyttelton,” and landed at Lyttelton on the 10th of January, 1873, having been ten months and three days on the voyage. He went to the West Coast shortly after his arrival in New Zealand, and settled in the Arnold district for about six years. He also worked for some years in the Kokatahi district, and was for some time mining with fair success in the Kanieri and Rimu districts. In 1889, Mr. Lyes settled in the Kokatahi district, where he has since resided. He is chairman of the local school committee, of which he has been a member for several years, was one of the original directors of the Kokatahi Dairy Factory Company, and has for some time been a member of the committee of the Westland Agricultural and Pastoral Association. Mr. Lyes has also taken part in the work of the Anglican church in his district. He is married, and has five sons and four daughters. One of his sons was a member of the Eighth New Zealand Contingent at the time of the South African Boer war.
McConnon, Walter, Farmer, Lower Kokatahi. Mr. McConnon has a farm of forty acres at the back of the Kokatahi township. He devotes his attention principally to horse breeding and dealing. The racing stallion “Ozioso,”—one of the Le Loup and Traducer strain—is owned by Mr. McConnon, and kept for stud purposes. Mr. McConnon was born in Tasmania in the year 1844, brought up on a farm, and afterwards learned the trade of a builder and cabinetmaker. In 1865 he came to New Zealand, landed in Invercargill, and a year later removed to Hokitika. For nine months, Mr. McConnon was engaged in mining, but subsequently went into business as a builder, with his father and brothers. The firm erected the Presbyterian church, and other buildings in Hokitika. Later, for about fifteen years, Mr. McConnon was in business as a cabinetmaker. About 1896, he took up a farm of 100 acres in the Lower Kokatahi district, but afterwards sold it, and then took up his present holding. For many years Mr. McConnon has been a member of the Westland Racing Club; he is president of the Kokatahi racing committee, and has owned and raced horses on the West Coast. For a number of years he was a member of the committee of the Westland Agricultural and Pastoral Association. Mr. McConnon has been married for many years, and has five daughters.
Farmer, Kokatahi. Mr. Thorn was born in Devonshire, England, and was a pupil of W. F. Quicke, L.C.P., F.R.G.S., King's Lodge College, Exeter. He held a first-class certificate, and is registered in the College of Preceptors, London, for a third-class 1st division certificate.
He followed farming pursuits till he came to New Zealand, by the ship “Durham,” in 1880. Mr. Thorn had intended settling in Canterbury, which he visited, but the rush to Rimu, near Hokitika, having set in, he followed it up, and during his fourteen years of
goldmining experience met with general success. His homestead is the finest in the Kokatahi district. Mr. Thorn is married to a daughter of Mr. Hill, veterinary surgeon, of Chagford, Devonshire, and has three daughters.