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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]


page 1125


Kairanga Public School, which was opened in 1888, has sixty children on the roll, with an average attendance of fifty. The headmaster is Mr. D. Martin, who is assisted by Miss Reval. A playground of two acres is attached to the school.

The Kairanga Creamery, which is superintended by the New Zealand Farmers' Dairy Union, was established in 1893, and handles over 1000 gallons of milk daily. Mr. William Toomath is manager.

Matheson, Roderick, Farmer, Kairanga. Born in the Isle of Sky, Scotland, in 1830, and educated at the parish school, Mr. Matheson followed farming pursuits in his early days, and in 1852 sailed from Liverpool to Geelong in the ship “Flora.” He proceeded at once to the Victorian Goldfields, where he remained for nine years, and in 1861 crossed the Tasman Sea to join the Otago diggers. Abandoning the diggings he acquired land in the Lake district, but when the rabbits invaded Otago, he sold out and in 1881 removed to the Manawatu district and acquired his present property. A portion of the land has been stumped and cropped with good results. Mr. Matheson has always taken an active part in public affairs, and has rendered the district good service as member of the Road and Drainage Boards, and as chairman of the school committee. In 1867 he married Miss Macdonald, daughter of Mr. Ronald Macdonald, and has seven sons and two daughters.

Photo by Attwood and Co. Mr. Roderick Matheson, Kairanga.

Photo by Attwood and Co.
Mr. Roderick Matheson, Kairanga

Toomath, Edward, Settler (father of Mr. William Toomath, manager of the Kairanga Creamery). Mr. Toomath, who may be regarded as the father of education in New Zealand, was born in 1817. Educated at the Battersea Training Institute, he spent a few years as a soldier, and after teaching for some time in London and Northampton, he was selected by the Society for the promotion of Christian knowledge as the first certificated teacher for New Zealand. Landing in Wellington in 1850 he severed his connection with the Society after two years, and opened private schools in Wellington and Greytown. He was the promoter of the present system of free education, although other hands did the work, and was the first inspector of schools. The Thorndon Normal School (since abolished) was promoted by him, and he was, until the time of his death, a member of the Wellington Education Board. In politics he was a Liberal and sat for some time in one of the early Parliaments. He interested himself in stock-raising, and introduced long-woolled sheep to the Colony, grazing them on the section now occupied by the Wellington Club. A successful speculator, he took an active part in establishing the Wellington tramways and other ventures. Mr. Toomath was twice married. His first wife died of cholera within twenty-four hours of marriage. His second wife, who survives him, was Eliza Jane Battersby, a passenger by the ship “Cornwall,” in 1850. By her he had four sons and four daughters, of whom three sons and two daughters survive. He died in 1885. His third son, Mr. William Toomath, was born at Greytown in 1865. Having passed the sixth standard at a very early age, he completed his education at the Wellington College, where he gained a scholarship. For some years he successfully followed the life of a teacher, but owing to ill-health he was compelled to seek other work. After farming for a time he sold out, and is now manager of a creamery under the New Zealand Farmers' Dairy Union, at Kairanga.

The late Mr. E. Toomath.

The late Mr. E. Toomath.

page 1126

Walker, James, Farmer, “Jimmy's Farm,” No. 1 Line, Kairanga, near Longburn. Born in St. Andrew's, Scotland, in 1838, Mr. Walker came to the Colony as a lad, in the “Arab Bristol,” with his father, the late Mr. James Walker, who was a partner in the firm of Walker and Meech, shipwrights, at Pipitea Point, Wellington. The subject of this sketch was brought up to farming pursuits. Mr. Walker has been prominent in aquatic circles as captain of the “Dolly Varden” in Wellington, winning the inrigger fours for three years, and the champion fours at Wellington and Nelson. On retiring he was presented by his club with a handsome tea and coffee service. For the greater part of the period from 1847 to 1890, Mr. Walker lived at Paremata, Plimmerton and Taupo, where he is well known and respected. He still holds a run of 2550 acres in the district, which is leased to his nephews, the Messrs. Sinclair Bros. Mr. Walker's homestead consists of 600 acres of the best pastoral land in the Longburn district, which he uses exclusively for fattening stock. Mr. Walker's mother, who is still hale and hearty, resides at Pahautanui, and has attained the advanced age of ninety-nine.

Mr. Jas. Walker

Mr. Jas. Walker