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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. William Laird

Mr. William Laird, Assistant-Super-intending Engineer in the Northern Steamship Company's Office, was born in Scotland in 1841. At an early age his parents removed to New York, where he served an apprenticeship as engineer at the works of Messrs C. H. Delamaker and Co. Early in the sixties, his family (having succeeded to a large estate left by an uncle, Mr. Robert Fife, an old New Zealand settler) removed to Wellington. Shortly after his arrival, Mr. Laird joined the New Zealand Steam Navigation Company, as engineer, and remained in its employment several years, when he left to take charge of a large property he had purchased from the Waikato natives. Then the Thames goldfields broke out, and finding life there more congenial to his tastes than farming, he sold out his estate in the Waikato, and settled at the Thames, where for many years he was a prominent figure, and had charge of the largest crushing plant there at that time. About 1872 he settled in Auckland, and became engineer on the s.s. “Rowena,” practically the nucleus of the Northern Company's fine fleet, and, with the exception of two years spent on the “Waikato, Mr. Laird has been in the company's employment ever since, a total period of twenty-five years. In fact, Mr. Laird may be said to have the record as a marine engineer on the New Zealand coast, as he joined the New Zealand Steam Navigation Company in 1863. For a time he held the position of chief engineer on the “Wakatere,” and he is now Assistant-Superintending Engineer for the Northern Steamship Company.

Mr. W. Laird.

Mr. W. Laird.