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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]


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The township of Taupiri is situated at the junction of the Waikato river and the Mangawhare creek. Up this creek there is a large bush, whence logs are floated during freshets to the local sawmill. A small mountain close to the settlement has a picturesquely situated Maori burial ground at the top. It is the site of an old Maori pa, and holds the grave of Tawhiao, the Maori king. The Freshfields and Woodlands stations lie on the road, via Hukenui, to Hamilton. In the neighbourhood there is a large kauri gum field, which can be worked only in the summer months. The railway station is seventy-five miles from Auckland on the Waikato line. It is 145 feet above sea level, and is a flag station. The local post office is conducted in one of the railway cottages. There is a hotel close to the station, and there are a few business people in the township. On the other side of the Waikato River there is a small native settlement, where the remains of an old church and mission building, erected in the early days of the colony, are still visible. Many years ago the settlement had splendid groves of peach trees, which have now vanished and given place to thick acacia scrub.

A River Scene.

A River Scene.

Taupiri Post And Telegraph Office. The business of this office is conducted in one of the railway cottages near the station. Six mails are received and despatched daily. There is a telephone service with Huntly, and a private telephone communicates with Woodlands.

Mrs Emily Barker, Postmistress, who has been in charge since 1898, is a native of Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, and was married to the late Mr. John Barker, in 1880. Mr. Barker was killed by a railway accident in January, 1898, and his widow was left with a family of five daughters and three sons.

The Taupiri Public School dates back to 1880. It is erected on four acres and a half of land, is built of wood and iron, and contains two class rooms and a porch. There is accommodation for one hundred scholars, the number on the roll is eighty, and the average attendance sixty-seven. There is a playground, with a covered shelter-shed. Adjoining the school there is a residence of six rooms, and there is a capital tennis court on the property. The headmaster is assisted by two pupil-teachers.

Mr. James Thomas Gostick Cox, Headmaster of the Taupiri School, was born in Auckland in 1870. He was educated in his native city, and served his pupil-teachership at Kingsland. Mr. Cox was placed in charge of two half-time schools in the Whangarei district, where he continued for two years. After being for five years in charge of the Bay of Islands school, he went on the relieving staff, prior to his appointment at Taupiri, in July, 1898. Mr. Cox takes an interest in local pastimes, and is secretary of the local tennis club. He was married in June, 1899, to a daughter of Mr. A. W. Armstrong, of Whangarei, and has two sons.

Taupiri District Cricket Club. Officers for 1900: Mr. T. C. Williams, president; Messrs E. V. Ralph, J. W. Bailey, and R. F. Bollard, vice-presidents; Mr. E. R. Cox, captain; and Mr. Glen, secretary and treasurer.

Gleeson And Sons (Charles Gleeson and Charles Matthew Gleeson), Bakers and Confectioners, Taupiri; principal establishment, Huntly. This branch was established in 1894, and is under the management of the junior partner, Mr. C. M. Gleeson, who has been associated with his father in business since 1888. He was married, in 1898, to a daughter of Mr. W. Miller, of Taupiri.

Taupiri Hotel (Mrs R. E. Lovell, proprietress), Taupiri. This fine hotel, which is close to the railway station, is the only hotel in the district. The late Mr. W. H. N. Lovell, who established it, settled in the district about 1871, and kept a store and accommodation house on the river bank for many years before the hotel was built in 1885. Mrs Lovell, who has managed the hotel since the death of her husband in 1890, is a daughter of the late Mr. A. Ralph, pioneer, and originally owner, of the Huntly coal mines.

Waring, Arthur Henry, Butcher and Farmer, Taupiri. Mr. Waring was born at Aston-on-Clun, Shropshire, England, in 1863, and was educated at Diddlebury, Ludlow, and Stratford-on-Avon, where he was brought up to country pursuits. His father was a cattle dealer and grazier. In October, 1883, Mr. Waring arrived at Port Chalmers by the steamship “British Queen,” and afterwards removed to Auckland, and settled in the Waikato, where he found employment as stockman for the late Hon. James Williamson, at Rukuhia, and was afterwards butcher for about four years on Woodlands station. In 1891 Mr. Waring commenced business as a butcher in Taupiri, where he has a convenient, well-ventilated shop, and a detached residence of eight rooms. He farms 230 acres in the district, is one of the cemetery trustees, and has long served as a member of the local school committee. Mr. Waring is also a churchwarden of the Anglican church. He was married, in 1889, to a daughter of Mr. T. Speake, of the Lea, Shropshire, and has four sons and two daughters.

Mellars, George Frederick. Flaxmiller, Taupiri. Mr. Mellars was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, in 1832. He served for about fifteen years at sea, before arriving in Lyttelton by the ship “Gannonoak” in 1860, when he resigned his position as third mate of that vessel and settled at Woodend, where, and at Oxford, he was for several years engaged in the timber business. At the time of the West Coast “rush,” Mr. Mellars went to Hokitika, where he engaged in goldmining for about six months. In 1868 he went to the Thames, but after a short time he removed to Auckland, and eventually settled at Ohaupo in 1869. For several years afterwards Mr. Mellars engaged in sawmilling, and in 1888 he bought 1000 acres at Taupiri, where he established a sawmill, which he conducted till 1899. Since that time Mr. Mellars has been engaged in the flax business. The machinery of his mill, page 712 which was erected at the end of 1899, is driven by a fourteen horse-power steam engine, and the flax is purchased under contract from the natives. Mr. Mellars was married, in 1863, to a daughter of the late Mr. G. Gibbs, and has seven daughters and five sons.

Hanna, photo.Mr. and Mrs G. F. Mellars.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. and Mrs G. F. Mellars.

Bailey And Bollard (John William Bailey and Richard Francis Bollard), Sawmillers, Taupiri Mills, Taupiri. These mills were established in 1898, and were purchased by Messrs Bailey and Bollard in the following year. There is a complete sawmilling plant, which is driven by an eighty horse-power steam engine, and a new mill was erected early in 1901. The weekly output of the mill amounts to about 75,000 feet of timber, which is chiefly sent to Auckland, though some is exported to Australia. There is also a large local consumption.

Mr. J. W. Bailey was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England, in 1863, and was educated in his native place. He was brought up as an engineer, and came to Auckland in the ship “Kaikoura” in 1885. After being engaged in battery work at the Thames for some time, he became interested in sawmilling as an employee of the firm of Leyland, O'Brien and Co., with whom he continued for seven years. During that time he became a partner in the firm, and subsequently joined Mr. Bollard in the present business. Mr. Bailey was married, in 1888, to the eldest daughter of Mr. John Bollard, M.H.R., and has four sons.

“Freshfield” (Mr. E. B. Cox, manager) is the property of Mr. T. C. Williams, and consists of 11,000 odd acres of freehold land. The whole is ring-fenced, and divided into convenient subdivisions, nearly 3000 acres being in grass. Over 4000 sheep and about 600 head of cattle are now on the property, and it is estimated that by a judicious expenditure of capital the carrying capacity of the place will be more than doubled in a few years.

Mr. Edmund Blachford Cox, who is the eldest surviving son of Mr. A. Cox, of Christchurch, was born in 1853 in New South Wales. He was educated at the Dunedin High School and at Nelson College, and was brought up to country life in Canterbury. Mr. Cox has supervised the whole of the improvements of the Freshfield estate, having been sent to take charge of the property in January, 1887, for the first proprietor, Mr. Ernest Gray, of Canterbury. He has continued as manager since Mr. Williams became proprietor. Mr. Cox holds office as chairman of the Taupiri school committee and domain board, and is also one of the cemetery trustees. His services are in request as a judge of stock, and he has acted in that capacity at various shows. Mr. Cox is vice-president of the Taupiri Agricultural and Pastoral Society. He was married, in 1877, to a daughter of the late Mr. R. Wilkin, of Christchurch, and has five sons and three daughters.

Hanna, photo.Mr. E. B. Cox.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. E. B. Cox.

Taylor William, Farmer, Steam Threshing and Chaff Cutting Machine Proprietor, “Elvers Green,” Taupiri. Mr. Taylor was born in Warwickshire, England, in 1843, and was educated at Coventry, where he was brought up to a country life by his father, who was a large farmer. In 1874 he came to Auckland, and settled in Taupiri, where he purchased the first portion of the 279 acres of land now held by him. Mr. Taylor brought out farming implements with him to the colony, and has several times since then imported machines, the last being a large traction engine, at a cost of £800. He has all sorts of agricultural implements, and with the assistance of his sons he undertakes a large number of contracts. Mr. Taylor has served on the local school committee for a number of years. He was married, in 1864, to a daughter of the late Mr. W. Shannon, of Walsall, Staffordshire, and has three sons and three daughters.

Hanna, photo.Mr. W. Taylor.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. W. Taylor.

Woodlands Estate (John Gordon, manager) belongs to the New Zealand Land Association, and is a splendid property of about 88,000 acres. It is a portion of the lands confiscated by the Crown at the conclusion of the Maori war in 1864. A considerable proportion of the confiscated land was granted for services rendered to military settlers, and other areas were sold at comparatively low prices for special settlement, but there still remained in the Waikato-Piako delta, an extensive area of swamp, with occasional islands of dry land. This property was purchased in 1872 by an association of capitalists, at 5s per acre, subject to conditions as to the construction of about twenty-five miles of road, towards the cost of which the Government was to contribute out of the purchase money a sum not exceeding one half-crown per acre. The work of reclamation then commenced, and may fairly rank as one of the largest and most serious connected with pioneer settlement in New Zealand. The country to be dealt with covered an area of twenty miles by ten, and most of it was swamp of unknown depth and quality. The property has been well known throughout the colony as the Piako swamp. Many drains were constructed across the property in various directions, some of them measuring 12 feet at the top, 6 feet at the bottom, and 10 feet in depth. Notwithstanding the immense sums of money thus expended in main and branch drains, about 60,000 acres of the estate may still be considered a swamp. It is estimated that years will pass before this swamp becomes dry land, which will then require the action of sun and wind for some years to make it fertile. So far, about 28,000 acres have been reclaimed, and page 713 on this area about 40,000 sheep, 3000 head of cattle, and 160 horses are depastured. Splendid mutton and beef and large quantities of wool are sent away as the produce of the estate every year.

The Homestead, Woodlands.

The Homestead, Woodlands.

Mr. John Gordon, Manager of the Woodlands Estate, is referred to in another article as chairman of the Kirikiriroa Road Board.