Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Major Reginald Newton Biggs, prior to the East Coast War (1865), managed “Mingaroa” station in the Rangitikei district for Major Trafford. The homestead is described in Early Rangitikei (Sir J. G. Wilson) as a “bachelors' establishment, with a Maori housekeeper,” and Trafford's companions—Reginald Biggs and Sam Deighton—are referred to as “two congenial souls.” Wilson also states: “There was a tradition that Biggs was a very plucky fellow and would swim the river no matter how much page 274 water was in it.” Dr. Tuke held that Biggs was one of the best shots he had ever seen. Mrs. Biggs (née Emily Maria Dudley, of Broom, Canterbury) was a noted horsewoman.
Captain James Wilson (born at Belvedere, Kent, in 1836) took part in the engagement at Omarunui (Hawke's Bay) in 1866. He married a daughter of T. Lowry, of Okawa, and, in conjunction with his father-in-law, took up a lease of “Maraetaha” (Poverty Bay).
James George (Jimmy) Wilson (the only survivor of the Wilson family on the occasion of the Poverty Bay Massacre) was born in Hawke's Bay in 1861. He became a noted rifle shot and was one of New Zealand's representatives at Bisley in 1902. His death occurred at Rangiora in May, 1942.
James David Mackey (father of Benjamin Mackey, who was slain by the rebels at Opou in December, 1868) was born at North Shields in 1800. Starting life as a coal-pit boy, he drifted into the Navy and was present at the Battle of Navarino in 1827. In 1840 he took up his residence at Muriwai and became a whaler. Afterwards, for some years, he operated a boat ferry on the Turanganui River. He died in October, 1884. Ra Mackey (a son) was prominent in the coastal trade as a master mariner.
Richard Poulgrain (born in 1818) settled in Poverty Bay in 1840, engaging as a pit-sawyer. In the 1860's he built, on the upper reaches of the Taruheru River, the small schooner Maid of Turanga, which was, for many years, in the Islands trade. He died on 15 October, 1897. His brother George, who had been at the Bendigo gold diggings, settled at Matawhero in 1855, but with his family moved to Auckland just prior to the Massacre. Only his son George returned to the district. He died on 29 November, 1937.
Frederick Green Skipworth (born at Rothwell, England, in 1837) landed at Wellington in 1855. He fought at Waerenga-a-Hika in 1865 and against the Te Kooti rebels in 1868. At the time of the Massacre he was clerk and interpreter to Major Biggs, O.C. He died on 25 January, 1902.