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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]



Hook is in the Makikihi riding of the Waimate county. The population of the district is not strictly defined in the census return of 1901, but may be set down at from one to two hundred, including Hook bush, Hook road, Wellwood road, and other localities. There is a flag railway station which stands thirty-four feet above sea level, and is distant three miles from Studholme, and eleven from Timaru. There are some flaxmills in the district, which is devoted chiefly to sheepfarming and agriculture.

The Hook Public School was established in the eighties. The building is of wood and iron and contains a class room and a porch, with accommodation for fifty children. There are forty-three names on the roll, and the average attendance is thirty-two. A five-roomed residence for the teacher adjoins the school, and the section is planted with well-grown shelter trees.

Miss Emma Hawkes, Teacher in charge of the Hook School, was born in Dunedin and studied at the Normal Training School in that city for two years. Miss Hawkes was in charge at Kapua for two years before taking up her duties at Hook in 1897.


Bowker, James, Farmer, Springwell Farm, Hook. Mr. Bowker is the third son of Mr. Bowker, of Timaru. He was born at Timaru, in 1878, and received his education at the Timaru High School, and subsequently underwent a course of study at Lincoln College. In 1897 he bought his present farm, which he successfully cultivates. The property comprises over 500 acres of good agricultural land, which has yielded forty-seven bushels of wheat per acre, and ninety bushels of oats.

Buckley, Benjamin Alfred, Farmer, Avoca Farm, Hook. Mr. Buckley was born in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1828, and came out to Melbourne in the ship “Broughton Hall,” in 1855. He joined the Victorian police force and became a sergeant, and after serving a few years in that capacity came to New Zealand, where he was appointed sergeant of police in Canterbury under the Provincial Government. In 1866 he was appointed Inspector of Police, and held that position for twenty-two years, when he and other inspectors were retired, the Government of the day considering that the police force was over-officered, and that the exigencies of the colony required retrenchment in the public service. Mr. Buckley then turned his attention to farming. He bought his present farm in 1872, and settled on it in 1892. It was then in its native state, and it has been brought under cultivation with good results. The average yield of wheat is forty bushels per acre. Mr. Buckley has been a member, and also chairman, of the Hook school committee for several years. He is a Freemason, but is at present not attached to any lodge. Mr. Buckley was married, in 1867, to Miss Walsh. page 1056 of Galway, Ireland, and they have a family of five sons and four daughters.

Burnett, David, Farmer, Upper Hook. Mr. Burnett was born in Sutherlandshire, Scotland, in 1836, and was brought up to pastoral pursuits. In 1862 he came out in the ship “Echunga,” and landed at Timaru. He went to the Mackenzie Country, and worked for the late Mr. John Hay for three years, and for a similar period he was engaged in shepherding at Orari. Then he went to Bluecliffs and worked for the late Mr. John Hayhurst. He afterwards managed a station in Shag Valley for Colonel Kitchener, father of Lord Kitchener, and subsequently leased 7000 acres in the same locality, There he remained three years, but was unsuccessful and lost all his money. He then had a varied career till 1896, when he took up his present farm. Mr. Burnett was married in the Old Country to Miss Barbara Gunn, a sister of Mr. Gordon Gunn. They have no family. Their vicissitudes have not changed their genial dispositions, for they are an ideally happy pair.

Mr and Mrs. D. Burnett.

Mr and Mrs. D. Burnett.

Davis, John, Farmer “The Triangle,” Hook; postal address, Hunter. Mr. Davis was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1850. He was brought up to country life, Came to Timaru by the ship “Peeress,” and has since been a South Canterbury settler. For a few years prior to 1894 he found employment in the Waimate district, and then he leased a farm at Waitaki. Seven years' later he took The Triangle property, which is 549 acres in extent, on a seven years' lease. Mr. Davis served as a member of the Waitaki water-race committee for a time, under the Waimate County Council. He was for some time a member of the Waimate Lodge of Oddfellows. Mr. Davis was married in December, 1870, to a daughter of Mr. Samuel Morgan, of Timaru, and has seven, sons and two daughters.

Dunn, Henry William, Farmer, Upper Hook. Mr. Dunn was the first white child christened in Wellington by Bishop Selwyn, and in that city he was born in 1840. His father, Mr. Henry William Dunn, came out to Wellington in the ship “Lady Nugent,” in 1840, as a jay reader for the first Church of England in Wellington. He had been educated for the church at Oxford, where he was a schoolmate of Dean Jacobs, of Christchurch. Prior to leaving England, he had bought land from the New Zealand Land Association, but on his arrival in Wellington the Maoris refused to let him have the land he had purchased in that way. He brought out the first horses, cattle, and farming implements to Wellington, and after his arrival he bought fifty acres of land at the Hutt and started a sawmill. However, through the capsizing of a boat, he and thirteen others were drowned during the first year of his residence in the colony; and he left a widow and one son, the subject of this sketch, who was born in a tent in Wellington, where the Union Bank now stands. In 1849, young Dunn came to Lyttelton in the brig “Bee,” and was brought up and educated there. He can remember the execution of two men who were the first to be hanged in Wellington for murder; one was a sailor named Long, and the other was a Maori. In 1854, when he was only fourteen years of age, young Dunn went to work on the farm of Mr. Robert Chapman at the Cust, and he afterwards worked for Mr. Fitzgerald, the first Superintendent of Canterbury. Later on he worked on Mr. Harman's station at Selwyn, and subsequently for Mr. Denne in the same district. He first passed through Waimate in 1858. For a while he worked a ferry boat across the Rakaia river. In 1858 he helped to drive the first mob of cattle from Christchurch to Dunedin. From 1864 to 1867, he was farming at Riccarton, and in 1869 he took over the Plough Inn, in which he remained for six years. He then removed to Waimate, where, after farming for himself for two years, he went into a store, at the time of the bush fire which occurred in 1878. Mr. Dunn then went to Ashburton and engaged in various occupations till 1890, when he returned to Waimate, and bought his present property of 250 acres freehold; he has also 160 acres leasehold. He crops a portion of his land, and has a number of sheep and cattle. Mr. Dunn has been a member of the Order of Foresters. In 1869 he married Mrs Giggs, formerly Miss Dilloway, who was a passenger in the “Charlotte Jane,” one of the first four ships, and he has one daughter and two step-daughters living.

Gunn, David, Farmer, Hayfield Farm, Hook. Mr. Gunn is a son of the late Mr. John Gunn, of Christchurch. He was born in Caithness-shire Scotland, in 1858, and brought out by his parents in the ship “Cashmere” in 1859. His parents settled in Christchurch, where he was educated at the High School, and was afterwards brought up on his father's farm at Templeton. In 1879 he took up his present farm, which consists of 124 acres; and he has another farm of 310 acres, which is used chiefly for grazing. Mr. Gunn is a member of the Waituna school committee, and a member of the Foresters' Court, Waimate, In 1887 he married a daughter of Mr. Donald Gunn of the Hook, and has two sons and three daughters.

Mr. and Mrs D. Gunn.

Mr. and Mrs D. Gunn.

page 1057

Medlicott, Samuel, Farmer “Broad-field,” Hook. Mr. Medlicott was born in Shropshire, England, in 1826. He early gained experience of farming in his native place, and was farming on his own account for about ten years. In 1864 Mr. Medlicott came to Lyttelton, by the ship “William Miles.” He settled at Milford, near Temuka, where he farmed for seven years, when he removed to the Hook district, in which he became one of the first settlers. The flat on which his homestead is situated, was then covered with tussock and native growth. Mr. Medlicott has since increased his property to 430 acres of freehold. In the early days he was a member of the Temuka Road Board, and for a few years served on the Hook school committee. Mr. Medlicott was married, in 1857, to a daughter of the late Mr. James Bill, of Shropshire. His wife died in 1893, leaving five sons and two daughters.

Cox, photo.Mr. S. Medlicott, Senr.

Cox, photo.
Mr. S. Medlicott, Senr.

Merry, John, Farmer, Hook Creek Farm, Hook. This property consists of 335 acres of freehold, most of which is let to tenants. Mr. Merry was born at White-haven, Cumberland, England, in March, 1832, and came out with his parents to Australia, by the ship “Angelina,” in 1844. He was trained as a farmer in Australia, where he had various experiences also on the goldfields. In 1860 Mr. Merry came to New Zealand, and soon afterwards settled at Waitaki, where he was employed in ferry work and farm work. Having settled at the Upper Ferry, close to Hakataramea, he was the first to put a public ferry boat on the river, and for five years had an accommodation house. Subsequently he had bullock and horse teams at work between Waimate and Hakataramea, and was engaged mostly in carrying timber. In 1867 Mr. Merry settled in the Hook district, where he had bought 100 acres of land, which he subsequently increased in area. In the early days he served on the Waimate school committee, and at one time kept a general store and bakery. Mr. Merry was married, in 1858, to a daughter of the late Mr. Robert Smith, of Waimate, and has five sons and six daughters.

Mr. and Mrs John Merry.

Mr. and Mrs John Merry.

Mr J. Merry and his daughter, Mrs Cave.

Mr J. Merry and his daughter, Mrs Cave.

McGovern And Hardie (Michael McGovern and William Johnston Hardie), Holm Farm, Hook. This property consists of 650 acres of freehold land, and the firm also owns 250 acres of freehold at Seafield, and works 300 acres of an educational reserve lying between Hook and Makikihi and the beach. Messrs McGovern and Hardie also own thirty-two acres at the Hook station.

Mr. Michael McGovern, one of the partners in the firm of McGovern and Hardie, was born in Leitrim, Ireland, and came out to Victoria in 1860 by the steamship “Great Britain.” In 1863 he visited Otago, but eighteen months afterwards returned to Australia, and came back to New Zealand in 1867. In the same year he and his partner met, and they established the present firm in 1868.

Mr. William Johnston Hardie is referred to in another article as a member of the Waimate County Council.

Rattray, Alexander, Farmer, “Link-wood,” Hook. Mr. Rattray was born in 1844, at Bush of Crathie, on the banks of the Dee, on the estate of Invereauld, Aberdeen-shire, Scotland. His father, who was a tenant of Bush, was appointed in 1848 gamekeeper and deer-stalker on Glenfiddoch, Banffshire, to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, and held the position for over thirty years. After leaving school young Rattray returned to his uncle, the late Mr. Donald McHardy, sheepfarmer, Glengairn, where he received careful training in agricultural and pastoral pursuits. He was afterwards in the employment of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon and the Duke of Cambridge, and was, later on, engaged as foreman to the late Mr. Charles Anderson Farland, one of the best farmers on the estate, and often had the honour of carrying off the premium for the best kept farm. Mr. Rattray subsequently started sheep and cattle dealing, at which he was fairly successful. On the 11th of December, 1869, he sailed from Glasgow in the ship “Jessie page 1058 Readman,” long afterwards wrecked at the Chatham Islands, and landed at Port Chalmers on the 12th of March, 1870. On his arrival Mr. Rattray engaged as shepherd to the late Mr. James Allan, of Hophill, Taieri, and was subsequently contracting in the Oamaru district. In 1874 he moved to Waimate, and purchased the first part of his present property, which has been gradually increased to over 800 acres, and is one of the most compact estates in the county, and without one acre of waste ground. It is divided into twenty-one paddocks, with substantial, well-kept fences, and is systematically worked. Good crops of grain, roots, and grass are grown, and a large number of sheep are annually fattened for the export trade. Mr. Rattray has a good class of Clydesdale horses, selected with care from every part of the island. He is a cordial supporter of ploughing matches, and of the Caledonian Society, and his services as a judge at both are often in request. The dwellinghouse at “Linkwood” is a fine, new commodious building, with all the latest improvements, and commands an excellent view of the Hook Valley. Mr. Rattray re-visited his native land in 1886, when he went by way of Australia, where he joined the Royal Mail Steamship “Orient” and passed through the Red Sea on his journey. During his stay in Scotland he visited the principal parts of the Highlands, including Shetland and Orkney, and was twice through Balmoral Castle, where he had many friends and relations. The trip occupied seven months in all, and Mr. Rattray returned via the Cape in the s.s. “Ionic.” Mr. Rattray was married, in 1876, to Miss Watt, and they have had twelve daughters and two sons.

Mr. A. Rattray.

Mr. A. Rattray.

Ruddenklau, Henry, Farmer, Hohenfeldt farm, Upper Hook. Mr. Ruddenklau was born in Rangiora in 1861, and is the eldest son of the late Mr. Ruddenklau, of Cust, where he was brought up to agriculture on his father's farm. Mr. Ruddenklau afterwards worked with his brothers on the Cust Downs. In 1884, he went to Rangitata Island to manage a farm there, the property of his uncle, and in 1887 took up 1250 acres, chiefly native country, at the Upper Hook. This property has all been cleared and cultivated. The average yield of wheat is from twenty-five to thirty bushels per acre, and of oats, from thirty to fifty bushels. Mr. Ruddenklau is a member of the Waimate Lodge of Freemasons, of the Waimate Agricultural Society, and of the Waimate Racing Club. In 1889 he married a daughter of Mr. Frank Slee, of West-port, and they have three sons and two daughters.

Strathnoon” (John Miller, proprietor), Hook. This property consists of 356 acres of freehold land, which is in a high state of cultivation. Mr. Miller was born in Scotland, in 1833, and came out to Queensland in 1857. By trade he is a stonemason, and he followed that occupation in Queensland, and afterwards in New Zealand. For some time he resided at Otepopo, and afterwards at Kakanui in North Otago. In 1874 Mr Miller took up 550 acres of land, close to Four Peaks station, Geraldine, where he farmed for some time. He afterwards settled in the Hook district, where he had bought 200 acres of his present property, which he named “Strathnoon,” after Captain Macpherson's cottage in Geraldine. Mr. Miller has served as a member of the Waimate Road Board, and of the Waimate County Council, and has otherwise taken considerable interest in local matters.

Mr. George Miller, Manager of “Strathnoon,” Hook, was born in Brisbane, Queensland, on the 22nd of June, 1860, and when seven years of age he accompanied his father, Mr. John Miller, to New Zealand. He went to school at Otepopo, and afterwards at Kakanui. From the first he engaged in country pursuits, and has had the management of “Strathnoon” since 1888. Previously to that year, Mr. Miller was for some time in business in Oamaru with his brother, under the style of J. and G. Miller, grain and produce merchants. Since residing in the Hook district he has served for a number of years on the local school committee, and for a dozen years as a member of the Waitaki licensing bench. He has also served for a number of years on the Waimate Caledonian Society, of which he was at one time president. Mr. Miller has held various offices in connection with the Waimate Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and was elected president in 1902. He intended to contest the Waimate seat at the general election of 1902, but withdrew his candidature in favour of the sitting member. Mr. Miller is well known as a considerable dealer in sheep. He was married on the 20th of September, 1893, to a niece of Messrs W. and G. Newlands, late of Kakanui, and now of South Canterbury, and has two sons and two daughters.

Steffens, Henry, Farmer, “Lidgold,” Hook. Mr. Steffens was born in 1865 at Woodend, North Canterbury. He was brought up to agricultural and pastoral life. and worked with his father at Bennett's till 1892. In that year he bought his property in the Hook district. It was then partly improved, and has since been brought to a high state of cultivation. Mr. Steffens has served for some time as a member of the Hook school committee, of which he has been chairman since 1900. He is a member of the Waimate Agricultural and Pastoral Association. Mr. Steffens was married, in 1900, to a daughter of Mr. A. Davis, of Cranford Farm, Redcliff, and has one daughter.

Old Colonists.

Mr. Robert Bell, sometime of Manymore Farm, Hook, was born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1847, and came to New Zealand in the ship “Star of England” in 1864. After a successful time on the goldfields Mr. Bell went to Temuka, where he was engaged cropping for eight years. He then went to Makikihi, and was engaged in the construction of the main line of railway, and was present when the Otago and Canterbury sections met and were joined on the Waitaki Plains. Mr. Bell bought 200 acres of Government land at the Hook, and started farming. His area was afterwards increased to 450 acres of freehold, and 820 acres of leasehold. When he first settled in the district no roads had been formed in it or trees planted, and the country was so rough that it was a great feat to go to Makikihi in one day. Mr. Bell kept about 2000 sheep, and his wheat crops averaged thirty bushels per acre. In 1897 he took a trip Home to visit his native place, and was present at the Jubilee celebrations in London. In 1879, he married Miss McKay, of Sutherlandshire, Scotland, who was a child passenger in the ship “Strathallan,” which came out in 1859, and they had five sons and two daughters. Mr. Bell died on the 13th of February, 1903.

Mr. Gordon Gunn, sometime of Upper Hook, was born in 1840, in Caithnessshire, Scotland, and was early trained to pastoral pursuits. He came out in the ship “Royal Stuart” in 1861. For a year he worked on Mr. John Deans' station on the Malvern Hills, and then went to Lake Coleridge, where he was engaged in shepherding for about eighteen months. He then went to the Mackenzie Country with Messrs Dark Brothers, with whom he remained for two years. After this he went droving, and in that capacity travelled over the whole of Canterbury and Otago. He sometimes had to paddle across the Waitaki and other rivers in an open box, and make his horse swim behind. About 1879 he went to the Upper Hook and took up his farm, Gordon Bush, which he cleared, and used chiefly for grazing purposes. Mr. Gunn died in the year 1900.

Mr. Thomas Smith, sometime of Alford Farm, Hook, was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1836, and was a passenger in the “Dover Castle,” which arrived page 1059 in Melbourne in 1860. After a short experience of goldmining and farming in Victoria, he came to New Zealand in 1862, and went to the Otago goldfields. After remaining there a year he went to Cheviot, and worked for Mr. Robinson for nine years, during which he was engaged in erecting wire fences. Then he removed to Makikihi, and had charge of a threshing mill. In 1873 he bought 192 acres of Government land at the Hook, where he afterwards owned 455 acres of freehold. Mr. Smith was a devoted angler, and his early experience in the Old Country in that pastime stood him in good stead in New Zealand, as he had catches of thirty and forty fish at various times. He was a member of the Wainono Drainage Board, Waimate Acclimatisation Society, Waimate Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and the Waimate Caledonian Society. Mr. Smith was married to Miss Patton, of Perthshire, in 1880, and had two sons and two daughters. He died in 1902.

The late Mr. T. Smith and Mrs Smith.

The late Mr. T. Smith and Mrs Smith.