Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Before he settled in Gisborne in 1872, Robert Cooper (“The Father of the Oil Industry in Poverty Bay”) was in business in Wellington. He was credited with having assisted Captain Read to obtain a number of native properties. In December, 1872, he supplied him with a bottle of oil taken from a seepage in the Mangatu district. His name in Maori page 340 form—“Papu Kupa”—soon became familiar to the natives, and, wherever he went, he quickly attracted a bodyguard of natives anxious to bargain in respect of their land interests. He died on 3 June, 1894. William Cooper, sheepfarmer, was a brother.