Mr. Richard Henry Matthews,
J.P., Postmaster, Kaitaia, was born in Kaitaia in 1835, and is a son of the late Rew. Joseph Matthews, who came to New Zealand in the early thirties and was therefore one of the oldest settlers of the district. Mr. Matthews was appointed superintendent of native schools in the northern districts by Sir George Grey in 1864. These schools, after the plan of the Irish hedge-schools, were opened in all the principal native settlements from Mongonui northwards, under Maori teachers, but were closed five years later for lack of attendance. After having worked amongst the Maores for a few years he bought 1400 acres of land and engaged in farming. For a long time Mr. Matthews did fairly well, but desirous of too rapidly accumulating a fortune, he started a flax-mill, a venture which proved a failure and he suffered considerable loss. Being, however, a man of ready resource and having had some mechanical experience, he took to building very successfully and put up most of the Government structures in the district. In 1870 Mr. Matthews, with many others stricken with gold-fever, went to the Thames where he remained for about two years. On his return to Kaitaia he again became interested in the production of flax, but with no better results. He was appointed in 1869 by the Superintendent of Auckland, a member of the board of health
for the port of Mongonui. For some years he was president of the Mongonui Agricultural and Pastoral Association, member of the Kaitaia Road Board and Mongonui County Council; as postmaster he performs the duties of the post office, telephone, savings bank, and money order branches, is registrar for births, deaths, and marriages, and collector of sheep rates, property, land, and income taxes. Mr. Matthews is a past-master in Masonry and has acted as grand steward of the Grand Lodge of New Zea-land. He is married to a daughter of the Rev. C. B. L. Dunn (who came to New Zealand in 1860), and has five sons.