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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]



Kihikihi, in the county of Waipa, is about four miles from the railway station at Te Awamutu. It is a fine agricultural district, devoted to farming, and has a waggon factory amongst its industries. The great chief Rewi resided at Kihikihi after the war, and Orakau, where he and his warriors made their last and most heroic stand against the British forces, is in the locality. The township has hotels, stores, a public school, and a post and telegraph office, with a daily mail service. Kihikihi is on the Puniu river, and is only two miles from the Te Puhi railway station on the main trunk line. It was originally a military settlement, but no appearances of a warlike nature are now in evidence. The site of the township is on rising ground, from which one obtains splendid views of the surrounding country and the central hills and mountains of the North Island. There are a great many fine dairy farms in the neighbourhood, and a well equipped creamery is in operation throughout the season. The district is also well known for its production of good fruit, and a great deal of land is laid down in orchards.

The Kihikihi Town Board was constituted about 1884. Members for 1900; Mr. J. G. Elmsly, chairman, and Messrs J. G. Tristram, W. Thomson, F. R. Moody, and F. Corboy, with Mr. R. Mainwaring as clerk and treasurer. The population of Kihikihi town district was estimated in March, 1900, at 238. There were sixty-one dwellings, ninety-seven ratepayers, and 137 ratable properties. The annual rate is 3/4d in the £, and produces a revenue of about £170.

Mr. John George Elmsly, Chairman of the Kihikihi Town Board, is referred to in another article as a storekeeper and general merchant in Kihikihi.

Mr. Francis Daniel Corboy, who has been a Member of the Kihikihi Town Board since 1897, was born in Kihikihi in 1875. For some time he assisted in the management of the Alpha Hotel, which was founded by his father, the late Mr. W. Corboy. He has been engaged in farming since the hotel changed hands in 1899.

Mr. Francis Rolfe Moody, who has been a Member of the Kihikihi Town Board since 1897, and had served for six years prior to that year, was born in Hampshire, England, in 1857. He arrived in Auckland in 1875, and was for fourteen years gardener to Major Jackson. Mr. Moody has a small nursery of two acres in Kihikihi, and takes a general interest in the progress of the district. He has been a member of the Kihikihi school committee for three years.

Mr. William Thomson, who is a Member of the Kihikihi Town Board and of the local school committee, was born in London in 1836. He arrived in Auckland by the ship “African” in 1859, became one of Major Jackson's Forest Rangers, and served during the Waikato war, during which he took part in the engagements at Paterangi, Irene, and Orakau. For some time he was storekeeping in the Rangiaohia district, and was afterwards on the Thames goldfield, where he had the Grand Junction store, bakery, and hotel. Mr. Thomson removed to Kihikihi to take, on behalf of the Government, charge of the house of the famous chief Rewi Maniopoto, and filled the position for six years. He was married, in 1866, to a native woman, and has five sons and four daughters.

Mr. Rowland Mainwaring, Clerk and Treasurer of the Kihikihi Town Board, was born in 1845 in Cheshire, England. He came to Queensland in 1859, and six years later arrived in Auckland. Mr. Mainwaring has been a settler at Kihikihi since 1884.

The Kihikihi Domain Board consists of the members of the Town Board for the time being. The domain contains forty-two acres of land situated at the north-east side of the township. A portion of the property is leased, but ten acres have been, improved and form the recreation ground, on which there is a grand stand with seating accommodation for 200 persons. Mr. R. Mainwaring is secretary to the board.

The Kihikihi Post And Telegraph Office is connected with the building in which the postmaster, who is a chemist and druggist, has his pharmacy.

Mr. Charles Andrew Ogle, Postmaster and Telegraphist, was born in Lancashire, England, in 1862. In 1883 he came to Auckland by the ship “Scottish Lassie,” and having qualified as a chemist and druggist, he established himself in Kihikihi in 1887. Two years later he was appointed postmaster.

The Kihikihi Public School has two class-rooms with accommodation for over 200 scholars; there are eighty on the roll, and the average attendance is sixty-five.

Mr. Arthur Mant Perry, who holds a D2 certificate, is in charge of Kihikihi Public School. He was born in Torquay, Devonshire, England, in 1864, and was brought up as a veterinary surgeon. After arriving in Auckland in 1884, he entered the service of the Board of Education, and was appointed to a position at Wellesley Street school. He was successively at Newmarket, Tararu, Paparata, Mahurangi Heads, Ararimu and Buckland, before being appointed to Kihikihi in April, 1899.

The Roman Catholic Church at Kihikihi is a neat little building situated in the centre of the township. The late Rev. Father Luck, who was an accomplished wood carver and turner, embellished the interior of the church with work done by his own hands, while he was priest of the parish, which is now in charge of the Rev. Father O'Carroll. Five acres of land are attached to the property, which includes a presbytery adjoining the church, and the grounds have been tastefully page 733 improved by the planting of native trees, the laying down of grass, and the construction of walks. The district, which is worked from Kihikihi as a centre, includes the counties of Waipa, Kawhia, Raglan, West Taupo, and the townships of Huntly and Ngaruawahia.

Kihikihi Church.

Kihikihi Church.

The Rev. Father O'Carroll, whose biography is given on page 227 of this volume—where he is referred to as assistant curate at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Auckland—was appointed to the parish of Kihikihi, in February, 1901, in succession to the Rev. Father Croke.

The Rev. Father William James Croke, who was formerly Parish Priest at Kihikihi, was born in Tipperary, Ireland, in 1873. He was educated at the Ecclesiastical College of Thurles, and was ordained on the 21st of June, 1896. Father Croke came to Auckland in the year of his ordination, and became curate at St. Patrick's Cathedral on the 21st of November of that year.

Rev. Father Francis Augustine Luck, sometime Parish Priest of the Waipa District, and a brother of the late Right Rev. Dr. Luck, Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland, was a native of Kent, and was educated at St. Edmund's College, Hertfordshire, and at Rome. He was ordained in 1869 at Subiaco, near Rome, and came to New Zealand in 1880. Shortly after his arrival in the Colony he was appointed to the Kihikihi cure and during his long residence there endeared himself to the settlers of all classes by his gentle disposition and kindly manner. Father Luck's special hobby was wood turning and carving, in which he took great delight and was wonderfully skilful, his little workshop at the presbytery being quite a model of its kind. He greatly embellished his own churches at Kihikihi and Rangiaohia, and the priest's residence at Hamilton with specimens of his handicraft; and also enriched the appointments of St. Benedict's church in Auckland with a beautiful altar, turned and carved in chaste design entirely by his own hands. It contains no less than twenty-two different kinds of native woods, and was a labour of love that occupied the accomplished priest some years of patient construction. Father Luck died on the 18th of February, 1899.

Wilson, Thomas, Wheelwright and Blacksmith, Kihikihi. This business, which was established by Mr. J. Clarke, was acquired in 1900 by the present proprietor, who had previously worked for seven years in connection with it. Mr. Wilson was born at Parnell, Auckland, in 1868, and learned his trade at Otahuhu and Newmarket. He has served as a member of the local school committee, and was married, in 1894, to a daughter of Mr G. Mackinder, of Kihikihi, and has three daughters.

Mr. and Mrs T. Wilson

Mr. and Mrs T. Wilson

The Kihikihi Creamery (New Zealand Dairy Association, proprietors), Kikikihi. This creamery was erected about 1881. It is built of wood and iron, and the machinery consists of two alpha separators, driven by a four horse-power Tangye engine, and each capable of treating 410 gallons per hour. At the beginning of the season of 1900–1901 there were thirty suppliers, and it was expected that the quantity treated daily would be about 2000 gallons. The cream is sent by road every day to Te Awamutu railway station.

Mr. George Henry Oldham, Manager of Kihikihi Creamery, was born at Maungatoroto in 1871, and was educated at Tuakau. He was for some time engaged in the flax trade, and became manager of the Bombay creamery in 1892. After completing seven seasons at that place, Mr. Oldham was appointed to Kihikihi. He was married, in 1896, to a daughter of Mr. W. Cole, of Mount Eden, Auckland, and has one son.

Alpha Hotel (James Richard Dowers Baker, proprietor), Kihikihi. This old established house, which has recently been renovated, contains twenty-four rooms, a dining room which will seat thirty guests, and a good billiard room.

Mr. James R. D. Baker, the Proprietor, who has conducted the business since May, 1900, was born in 1839, at Deal, Kent, England. He joined the navy in January, 1855, and served in the Crimea. After two years and seven months he left the service of his own desire, at Sheerness, and then took a trip to the West Indies in a merchant barque. In 1858 he arrived in Melbourne, where he joined her Majesty's 40th Regiment. In six weeks he was promoted to the rank of corporal, and five years later became Colour-and-Pay-Sergeant. Mr. Baker served all through the Taranaki and Waikato war in New Zealand, and when his regiment was ordered home, he purchased his discharge and remained in the colony. He resided for two years in Drury, and after being a short time at the Thames he became a warder at Mount Eden Gaol, where he was employed for three years altogether, for most of the time as second overseer. He then joined the water police in Auckland, and was a sergeant for two years. After a short term of service under the Auckland Harbour Board, he was appointed manager of the Devonport Steam Ferry Company, and was well known and respected in that capacity for twenty-six years. At the end of that long period of service, he page 734 settled at Kihikihi. Mr. Baker was married, in 1861, to a daughter of the late Mr. F. Callagher, of Ireland, and has six sons and four daughters.

Alpha Hotel (1897).

Alpha Hotel (1897).

Elmsly, John George, Storekeeper and General Merchant, Kihikihi. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand, Te Awamutu. This popular business man established himself in 1881 in his present premises, which cover a floor space of about 1500 square feet and comprise a large general store, butchery, and baker's shop, all of which are conveniently situated and fitted up. Six hands are employed and as many as twelve horses used in the conduct of the business, which has a wide connection in the district. Mr. Elmsly possesses a fine orchard of three and a half acres adjoining the store stocked with peach, plum, walnut trees, and other fruits. He is a native of Nova Scotia, where he was born in 1854, came to this Colony in 1860 with his parents in the ship “Helen Lewis” and was educated at Otahuhu. After leaving school he was apprenticed to Mr. J. Hall, storekeeper, with whom he remained seven years. Having gained further experience with other leading firms, he commenced a business of his own in Cambridge, but had the ill-luck to be burnt out on St. Patrick's Day, 1876, and lost the savings of seven years, being uninsured. He then went to Opotiki, where he was engaged in various commercial pursuits until establishing himself at Kihikihi, and where he always takes an active interest in the welfare of the district. He has been chairman of the Kihikihi Town Board and School Committee and a member of the Waipa County Council. Mr. Elmsly received his commission as Justice of the Peace by public request in 1889. He is married and has four sons and three daughters.

Mr. J. G. Elmsly and Children.Hanna, photo.

Mr. J. G. Elmsly and Children.
Hanna, photo.

Cockerline, Robert, Farmer, “The Poplars,” Kihikihi. Mr. Cockerline has occupied his present property for thirty-five years. The farm consists of 232 acres all in grass and is devoted chiefly to dairying purposes, about forty-five cows being milked and supplies disposed of at the local creamery. Mr. Cockerline is a native of Yorkshire, England, was born in 1835 and was brought up as a farmer. He came to New Zealand in 1860, landing in Auckland, and shortly afterwards leased 1500 acres at the Bay of Islands. In 1862 he was attracted to the Coromandel goldfields, but after a short stay there joined the 2nd Waikato Regiment, and for his services in the war received a grant of land at Paterangi. At the conclusion of hostilities Mr. Cockerline kept the Alpha hotel at Kihikihi for some years, but took up his permanent residence on the farm in 1865.

Elmsly, Charles J., Farmer, “The Hill,” Kihikihi, Mr. Elmsly is a son of the late Dr. Elmsly, of Otahuhu, and was born in 1867, was educated at the Auckland College and Grammar School, and was afterwards four years in the office of Messrs. Devore and Cooper, solicitors. He was assistant master at St. John's College for two years, but indoor life not suiting him, he decided to follow farming pursuits and in 1892 leased the above property of 454 acres, where he has carried out extensive improvements and made it one of the finest and best-stocked farms in the Waikato. There are as many as sixty dairy cows and a valuable high-class Shorthorn bull purchased from the Woodlands Association. Mr. Elmsly's crops are always excellent, barley, wheat, oats, maize, etc., yielding splendid returns; the agricultural machinery is of the latest type, including a Massey-Harris reaper and binder, with which he does a good deal of work for neighbouring farmers. He was at one time fairly prominent in athletic sports and holds a number of trophies and medals. Mr. Elmsly is married to a daughter of Mr. Hutchinson, of Rangiaohia, and has three sons.

Kay, Andrew, Farmer, Parewere, Kihikihi, Mr. Kay is a native of Perthshire, where he was born in 1841 and learned the grocery business. Coming to New Zealand in 1860 per ship “Phœnix,” he established himself at Drury and had a store at Mercer for about a year before the outbreak of the war. He had a Government contract for the supply of provisions to the troops and whilst engaged in this occupation owned, with his page 735 partner Mr. Young, the first steamer on the Waikato river. At the close of the war Mr. Kay went to the Thames, where he engaged in mining and storekeeping for a number of years. From thence he returned to the Waikato, purchasing a farm at Orakau on which he resided till about five years ago. He then acquired his present property of 100 acres on which he resides and also a run of 2000 acres in the King Country, upon which some members of his family are doing well. Mr. Kay was a member of the first road board formed in Waikato and for a long time was chairman of the Kihikihi Town Board and School Committee. He married a daughter of Captain Runciman, and has eight sons and seven daughters.

Mr. William Corboy, Old Colonist, sometime of Kihikihi, was born in County Tipperary. Ireland, in 1837. He was brought up to farming in the Old Country, and came to Auckland in 1867, when he settled in the Kihikihi district. With his brother he became proprietor of the Alpha Hotel in Kihikihi, and conducted the business till his death in 1882. The hotel was conducted by his widow till 1899. Mr. Corboy was married to a daughter of Mr. P. Donovan, of Rosscarbery, County Cork, Ireland, and left three sons and one daughter.

Mr. M. Dalton Dinneen, Old Colonist, was born in Ireland in 1834, joined the Army in 1852 and served through the Indian Mutiny with the 81st and 70th Foot, was present at several engagements in the North-west of India and for his services received the Indian Mutiny and North-west Frontier medals and clasps. Mr. Dinneen came to New Zealand with the 70th Regt. in 1861 and served throughout the Waikato and Taranaki wars as sergeant. In 1868 he joined the Armed Constabulary with the rank of sergeant-major and remained in the force until it was disbanded and settled in Kihikihi in 1887. Mr. Dinneen has the New Zealand war medal as well as the long service and good conduct medals. His homestead occupies twenty-six acres, but his farm at Ohaupo consists of about 200 acres mainly under cultivation. He is married to a daughter of Mr. James Given (a descendant of the Castle Stewart family—originally a noble French family named La Vie, who left their country owing to religious persecution, and settled in Ireland) and has three daughters and two sons. One of his daughters studied at the Auckland University College, having won a scholarship at the Kihikihi public school, and his other children have also given promise of scholastic distinction. Mr. Dinneen was elected to the Kihikihi Road Board in 1890, and is highly respected in the district.

Mr. James Quick Tristram is a native of Taunton, Somerset, where he was born in 1835. He joined the band of the 40th Regt. and remained in the army till 1865, when he left the service at Otahuhu at the conclusion of the Waikato war. Mr. Tristram holds the New Zealand medal, having been present at most of the engagements in Waikato and Taranaki. He was in Major Von Tempsky's Forest Rangers for a while and after the termination of the war was connected with the Te Awamutu Cavalry for eighteen years, for which he received the long service medal. Mr. Tristram saw many stirring incidents during the war and can relate lively experiences of those times. He settled many years ago at Te Awamutu, afterwards moving to Kihikihi, where he made himself very useful in local affairs and was for some time chairman of the Kihikihi Road Board. Mr. Tristram is married and has three sons and two daughters.