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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

North Wairarapa County Council

North Wairarapa County Council.

The Wairarapa North County Council, which was formed in 1876 under the Counties Act of that year, is a local governing body whose district covers an area of 1,013,760 acres. The southern boundary of the county extends from the Waingawa River to its confluence with the Ruamahunga River, and thence across to Kaiwhata on the east coast. The northern line extends from Waimata on the east coast to the summit of the Puketoi Range, whence it follows the Tararua Range, which divides the district from Manawatu county. The number of ratepayers in the county is 1319, whose properties number 2814, the gross rateable value being £2,180,327. There are six ridings in the district, viz., Masterton, Alfredton, Eketahuna, Castlepoint, Wainuioru and Akiteo, the rates being differential, averaging 5/8 of 1d. in the £. At the census of 1896 the population of the county was 7135. One hundred and sixty-four miles of made and formed roads have been constructed, at a total cost of £106,600. On the 31st of March, 1896, the assets of the county amounted to £4601, the liabilities on loan account being £37,845, and on general account £2168, the annual expenditure being over £11,500. Of the county's loans, three originally granted under the Roads and Bridges Construction Act have been converted under the Government Loans to Local Bodies Act. The councillors (1896) are: Messrs. F. Von Reden, Eketahuna (chairman); W. H. Beetham, Masterton; J. Stuckey, Opaki; C. E. Cockburn-Hood, Glendonald; D. Guild, Blairlogie; R. Maunsell and J. Groves, Tenui; E. Smith, Tawataia; and F. A. Sheath, Aohanga; the officials being Messrs. C. E. Bremner (engineer), D. McLachlan (assistant engineer), F. S. Moore (country clerk), and F. Wheeler (assistant clerk).

Councillor Frederick Von Reden, J.P., who has acted as chairman of the Wairarapa North County Council since his election in November, 1893, up to the time of writing, was born in 1853 in Hanover, and educated at the University College of Berlin. Entering the First Royal Brandenburg Dragoons, No. 2, Mr. Von Reden fought right through the Franco-Prussian War page 943 for which services he received the iron and silver crosses as well as the war medal. In 1877 the subject of this sketch came to the colonies, per s.s. “Wampoa” to Melbourne, from whence he crossed the Tasman Sea to Wellington. After spending a year in Nelson, and three years in the Rangitikei district in pastoral pursuits, Mr. Von Reden purchased the property known as “Annadene” at Eketahuna—600 acres in extent—where he is engaged in sheepfarming, the estate carrying 1200 sheep. Since settling in the district he has taken a lively interest in local governing bodies, having been returned to the Council in 1887 for Alfredton riding, and subsequently for Eketahuna riding, which he now represents. Mr. Von Reden, who was the first president of the New Zealand Counties Association, is a member of the Masterton Agricnltural and Pastoral Society. As a member of the Masonic brotherhood he is attached to Eketahuna Lodge, No. 92, N.Z.C. Mr. Von Reden was married in 1882 to a daughter of Mr. James Leech, of Motueka, settler, but has no family.

Councillor F. Von Reden.

Councillor F. Von Reden.

Councillor William Henry Beetham, J.P., for many years chairman of the Wairarapa North County Council, in which he still retains a seat, was born in 1837 in Yorkshire. He is a son of the late Mr. William Beetham, of the Hutt, and was educated in Beverley in his native county. Arriving in Wellington in 1855, per ship “William and Jane,” Mr. Beetham was one of the early settlers in the Wairarapa district. He is a member of the firm of Williams and Beetham—his partners being his brother, Mr. H. H. Beetham, and Mr. T. C. Williams—who own the well-known estates named Brancepeth and Annedale, and other properties. Mr. W. H. Beetham has always taken a keen interest in local governing bodies. Besides his long service in the Wairarapa North County Council, he was for some years chairman of the Councillor William Henry Beetham Masterton Road Board. In relation to agricultural and pastoral associations, Mr. Beetham is a member of the committee of the Wairarapa Society, and fills the important office of president of the Masterton Association. In 1880 the subject of this notice was married to a French lady—the daughter of M. Frere, of Piccardie.

Councillor Charles Edwin Cockburn-Hood, of Wairarapa North County Council, is the fourth son of the late Mr. Thomas H. Cockburn-Hood, F.G.S., M.R.G.S.D., one of Australia's early settlers, who was the first to take up the Peak Downs run, upon which the town of Rockhampton now stands, and was one of the first members appointed to the New Sonth Wales and Queensland Legislative Councils. He died on the 15th of January, 1889, in Edinburgh, Scotland, after spending some time in Canterbury, New Zealand, where he took a deep interest in fossil remains. He was successful in discovering some splendid specimens of the Plesiosaurns and Ichthyosarus, which were shipped to the British Museum, but were lost in the ship “Matoka.” Mr. Thomas H. Cockburn-Hood was a member of the Philosophical Society, and was the author of several works, notably, “The Cruise of H.M.S. Fawn,” “The Rutherfurds of that Ilk,” “The House of Cockburn,” “Claimant to the Rutherfurd Peerage.” Born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1851, Councillor Cockburn-Hood was educated at Wimbledon, at Knight's Training School, Portmonth, and at Rugby. Settling in the Colony in 1867, after serving as a cadet in Canterbury, he went to the Waikato, and was farming at Cambridge at the time of Sullivan's murder by the Maoris. For some time afterwards Mr. Hood was on Mr. Alfred Cox's station at Hamilton, and in 1876 he settled in the Wairarapa. His station—Glendonald—which is conducted by the firm of Cockburn-Hood and Walker, consists of 8000 acres, carrying 10,000 sheep, and is situated about eighteen miles from Masterton. In page 944
Councillor Charles Edwin Cockburn-Hood

Photo by Mrs. Herrmann.

public bodies the subject of this notice has taken a leading part, as chairman of the Upper Taueru Road Board, representative of the council on the North Wairarapa Benevolent. Society, and as a member of the Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and of the local jockey club. In 1890 Mr. Cockburn-Hood was married to the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Walton, of Christchurch.

Councillor David Guild, who has performed the dutres as a member of the Wairarapa North County Council since 1890, came to New Zealand in 1876, landing at Port Chalmers, and after some time at Lyttelton, where he was engaged in sheepfarming, he settled in the Wairarapa in 1883. As manager of the Te Ore Ore estate for eleven years, and of Blairlogie since 1894, Mr. Guild has been well known in the district. He farms 1000 acres of bush land at Wangaehu, where he runs 2000 sheep and 100 head of cattle. Mr. Guild is a member of the Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association.

Councillor Robert Maunsell, who has been continuously a member of the Wairarapa North County Council since his first election in 1887, is the third son of the late Venerable Archdeacon Maunsell—one of the early missionaries Born in 1840 in Auckland, where he was educated, Mr. Maunsell was brought up to country life, and settled at Tinui in 1861, being joined by his brother, Mr. J. F. Maunsell, under the style of R. and F. Maunsell. After undergoing great hardships in the early days, and by hard work and struggling, the firm has been very successful. Mr. Maunsell for some time held the position of Justice of the Peace, from which he retired some time ago. He has served as a member and as chairman of the Castlepoint Road Board, and is a member of the Wairarapa and Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Societies, and also of the Wellington Club.

Councillor John Groves, who has occupied a seat in the Wairarapa North County Council for six years, is a son of the late Mr. John Groves, of Castlepoint and Tenui, who died in Masterton in 1892. Born in the Isle of Wight in 1844, he arrived when eleven years old in New Zealand with his parents by the only trip of the ship “New Era.” Brought up as a sheepfarmer at Castlepoint, Councillor Groves settled on his run of 2000 acres known as “Bush Grove,” which is all in grass, and carries an average of two-and-a-half sheep to the acre. Mr. Groves breeds Lincoln sheep of a good class, and has some seventy or eighty head of cattle. He was a member of the Castlepoint Road Board for some time. As a Forester he belongs to Court Pioneer, Tenui, in which he has filled all the chairs successively. He is also a member of the Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association. Mr. Groves has been married three times, his family consisting of five sous and four daughters. The present Mrs. Groves was Miss Shires, of Derby.

Councillor Eli Smith, J.P., who was returned to the Wairarapa North County Co meil in October, 1886, has been almest continuously a member of that body since his first election. A native of Warwickshire, England, where he was born in 1847, Mr. Smith, who had been brought up to farming pursuits, arrived in Port Chalmers, per ship “Mongol,” in 1874. After a short time in Wellington he settled at the Upper Hutt, where he was engaged as an overseer in railway coustruction. In 1880 Mr. Smith settled at Tawataia in the Alfredton district, where he was the pioneer settler. He holds 200 acres of land, which carries two-and-a-half sheep per acre. As a member of the late Alfredton Road Board for some years, of the Alfredton Domain Board, and of the Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association, Mr. Smith has used his influence for the benefit of the district. For three years he was chairman of the Board of Reviewers page 945 under the Land and Income Assessment Act, to which position he was appointed by the Governor. Mr. Smith is a widower, and has four sons and four daughters.

Councillor Frederick Aloysius Sheath, who is a son of Mr. Isaac B. Sheath, of Christchurch, settler, was born in 1855 at Erdington, near Birmingham, England. Arriving in Lyttelton at the age of six years, per ship “Chrysolite,” Captain McIntyre, he was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch. As a cadet he studied station life for three years on Akiteo Station in the Wairarapa, and subsuquently became manager of the Mataikona estate, the property of the late Hon. J. Johnston, M.L.C., which position he held for six years. After five years experience as a rabbit inspector in Hawkes Bay, and a period during which he engaged in me[gap — reason: illegible]cantile pursuits in conjunction with Mr. Robert Wellwood at Hastings as commission agent and auctioneer, Mr. Sheath, in partnership with Mr. Henry Taylor Hume, leased the Aohanga run of 14,000 acres from the natives. The estate, which they have worked successfully since acquiring the property in 1891, carries 15,000 sheep—mostly crossbreds—during the winter months. Councillor Sheath was elected to the Council, representing Akiteo riding, in July, 1896, vice Councillor Handyside, who had left for England. He was also elected to fill a similar vacancy on the Akiteo Road Board. As a member, Mr. Sheath takes lively interest in the Wairarapa and East Coast Agricultural and Pastoral Association. In 1887 he was married to a daughter of the late Mr. Peter Hume, settler, of Tauanui.

Councillor F. A. Sheath.

Councillor F. A. Sheath.

Mr. Frederic George Moore, Clerk to the Wairarapa North County Council, the second son of the late Rev. L. Moore (retired major, 5th Madras Light Cavalry), was born on the Neilgherry Hills, Madras Presidency, India, on 3rd October, 1843. He was educated at Rossall Hall, Lancachire, England, and arrived in Melbourns February, 1860, and in New Zealand November, 1862. He joined the Native Department under his brother-in-law, Mr. (now Sir John) Gorst, at Te Awamutu; was present when Rewi, with an armed force, took possession of the printing press and removed it to Kihikihi, and was the last European but one to leave the Waikato before the war of 1863. He was on Governor Grey's staff from 1863 to 1866, and accompanied him on his West Coast expedition in the latter year. Mr. Moore was associate to the late Chief Justice, Sir George Arney, 1869–71, when he purchased a share in the Glenburn Station. Disposing of his interest therein in 1878, he took up his residence in Masterton, and received his present appointment in 1883.

Bremner, Charles Edward, Engineer to the Wairarapa North County Council and all road boards within the county save the Eketahuna Road Board, Hall Street. Private residence, Worksop Road. Mr. Bremner is a native of Scotland. He was educated at Glasgow and Helensborough, subsequently in Germany and at Victoria College, Jersey. Prior to 1874, he followed a seafaring life. In the latter year he reached the Colony per ship “St. Leonards.” He at once entered the Government Service, Public Works Department, as cadet and assistant engineer, holding the position till 1878. Having qualified as an engineer, he was appointed to the Masterton Road Board in the latter year, and to the County Council in 1884.

Mr. John Frederick Maunsell, who was a member of the Wairarapa North County Council for many years, is the fourth son of the late Archdeacon Maunsell, of Auckland. Mr. Maunsell was born in 1842 in the northern city, where he Mr. John Frederick Maunsell page 946 was educated. Brought up to sheepfarming in the Wellington provincial district with his brother, Mr. R. Maunsell, he settled at Tinui station, 18,000 acres in extent, which now carries 20,000 crossbred sheep and 700 head of shorthorns. Mr. Maunsell served some years as chairman of the Castlepoint Road Board, and was a Justice of the Peace till handing in his resignation a few years ago. Mr. Maunsell's charming residence, known as “Eridge,” occupies a lovely spot near the Eketahuna Road, Masterton, and commands an extensive view of the Wairarapa Valley from Mauriceville southwards. Immediately in front of the house, which contains twenty rooms, and is lighted by electricity, there is a beautiful lake, which materially adds to the charm of the surroundings. In 1886 Mr. Maunsell was married to a niece of Mr. Henry Beauchamp, of Kensington, and has three sons.

Mr. Edwin Meredith, who for a number of years was a member of the Wairarapa North County Council, is an old and respected settler in the district. Born in 1827 in Tasmania, where he was educated, he came to New Zealand as the guest of the officers of H.M.S. “Bramble” in 1850. Mr. Mersdith's struggles in those early days of settlement were of a somewhat sensational description. As the pioneer pastoralist on the southern bank of the Molyneaux, in Otago, he took up a Crown run of 80,000 acres at “Popatuna,” under Sir George Grey's pastoral regulations. After placing the required number of sheep on the land, and having occupied it for twelve months, he was informed by Mr. Walter Mantell, Commissioner of Crown Lands for Otago, that in consequence of a dispute between the Imperial Government and the Otago Association, his run, being awarded to the Association, was confiscated. This caused great loss to Mr. Meredith, as the authorities declined to recognise any claim for compensation. Acting on the advice of Mr. (now Sir Dillon) Bell, then Commissioner for Crown Lands for Wellington, Mr. Meredith went to Hawkes Bay in 1853, where he made a selection of 2000 acres of Crown land, for which he paid cash. After placing sheep and cattle on the property, and personally going into occupation, he again became the victim of a dispute between the Commissioner and a prior applicant for the land, and for the second time had to walk out without compensation. In 1854 he settled on the south bank of the Whareama River, about thirty miles from Masterton, and became entitled to a fourteen years lease of 15,000 acres of land, but which he has subsequently compelled to purchase in self-defence, as with the introduction of provincial government Sir George Grey's pastoral regulations were ignored. No leases of Crown lands were issued, but were declared open for purchase by selection, the Crown tenants having a pre-emptive right to only eighty acres of their respective runs. In 1879 Mr. Meredith, with the younger portion of his family, removed to the Upper Plain, near Masterton, where he had acquired a small farm, “Llandoff.” He was soon afterwards elected a member of the Masterton Road Board, of which body he was chairman during the period of the large expenditure made under the “Roads and Bridges Construction Act.” Taking a keen interest in the improvement of stock, Mr. Meredith has from time to time been an importer of high-class sheep, cattle, and horses for stud purposes, and took an active part in establishing the Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which institution he was for some time acting president. He married in 1852 a daughter of the late Captain Chalmers, of Tasmania. He has ten surviving children.

The Masterton Town Lands Trust, referred to in the foregoing general description of Masterton, is a body of members elected by the adult residents of both sexes of that borough. The business of the Trust is to receive rents from ground lessees, and interest on investments, and to use the funds so received for the purposes of education and other public benefits. The funds are in excellent condition. The credit balances of the various accounts on the 1st of April, 1895, amounted to £835 15s. 8d., and on the 31st of March, 1896, to £1186 7s. 11d. notwithstanding that during the year £585 8s. 5d. had been expended in furtherance of the ends of the Trust. This sum included grants as follow: Masterton School, £63; Fernridge School, £25; St. Patrick's School, £20; Masterton Park, for the grandstand account. £100; public library, £100; and the Museum, £10 17s. 6d. With the assistance of this handsome donation, which is set down as “two years, final,” the library loan of £150 was paid off. On the scholarship account two sums of £10 each were paid. The excess of assets over liabilities, exclusive of the very valuable real estate, is set down at £1121 14s. 5d. There are upwards of fifty properties in the hands of the Trust, and many of them are bringing in upwards of £50 per year rental. Masterton is to be congratulated upon its possession of so much valuable property vested in a board whose objects are so worthy, and controlled indirectly by the community, with no distinction as between male and female, rich and poor. Masterton technical classes, founded in 1896, under the auspices of the Trust Lands Trust, are accomplishing useful work. The teachers are: General instruction, Mr. R. K. Jackson; drawing, Mr. Turner; agricultural chemistry, Mr. Dolan; bookkeeping, Mr. W. Simms; Shorthand (Pitman's), Mr. O. Pragnell and (Lightline) Mr. Wright, of Wellington. The classes meet in the drill hall.

The Masterton Road Board is the succeeding local body which replaced the old Highway Board, constituted under the Highways Act of 1871. The southern boundary is coterminus with the Wairarapa North County boundary, the western adjoins the county of Manawatu, the northern borders on the Mauriceville and Upper Taueru road districts, and the eastern the Whareama outlying districts. The total rateable value of the district is £676,590, the rates for 1895–6 being three-eighths of a penny in the pound in subdivision one and three, and five-sixteenths of a penny in the pound in subdivision two. The ordinary revenue for the year was £1032 and the special revenue £730. There are 117 1/2 miles of formed and partly metalled roads in the district. Of the loans, which amount to £18,070, ten have been converted under the Government Loans to Local Bodies Act, under which some fifteen or sixteen loans have been obtained. The members of the Board (1896) are: Messrs. D. J. Cameron, Te Ore Ore (cnairman), D. McKenzie and W. J. Welch, Masterton; and W. Harris and J. Stuckey, Opaki. The whole of the work of the Board is performed by the officers of the Wairarapa Nortn County Council.

The Masterton Public Park —twenty-eight acres in extent—was vested in eight trustees in 1877, and of these gentlemen Mr. A. W. Renall is the only one who still acts. The park has been well planted with shelter and ornamental trees, which have grown well and now afford capital shade. A large oval has been laid out where sports can be conveniently held, and the grandstand has accommodation for about 300 people. The trustees (1896) are: Messrs. A. W. Benall, J. C. Boddington, A. R. Bunny, J. L. Murray, W. C. Cargill, F. G. Moore, C. E. Bremner, and E. Feist; Mr. W. Sellar being the secretary. A movement is on foot to bring about an amalgamation of the trustees with the Trust Lands Trustees, who are in a better position to improve this fine domain.

page 947

The North Wairarapa Rifle Club, which was formed in 1892 by Major Donald, has forty members. The officers (1896) are: Messrs. W. H. Beetham (president), W. J. Welch (captain), and J. Williams (secretary and treasurer). The Club has been very successful in competitions, having been only twice defeated.