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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]

Waimea County Council

Waimea County Council.

The county of Waimea comprises about 1160 square miles, and consists of a series of hills and valleys. There is good agricultural land on the Waimea Plains, where most of the farming in the county is carried on. The hills are utilised chiefly as sheep runs, and the largest run in the county has an area of about 10,000 acres. Hops are extensively cultivated, and the industry is a source of much revenue to the district; and fruit growing is carried on in the Riwaka and Motueka districts. The Waimea settlement is one of the oldest in New Zealand, and the county is noted for its good roads, which are much prized by cyclists. The 1,300 miles of formed roads maintained by the County Council, include 300 miles of main roads. Since 1895 the Council has been steadily engaged in the re-construction of bridges and established roads. The county is well watered, and the main streams are the Motueka and the Waimea.

The Waimea County Council meets at the office in Nelson on the first Thursday after the first Wednesday in every month Its members for 1905 are: Mr. George Macmahon, chairman; and Councillors H. Everett, Philip Best, John D. Beuke, William N. Franklyn, William Gill, and J. L. Rollet. Mr. S. Blomfield is the county clerk and collector, and Mr. J. G. Littlejohn, the county engineer, Waimea County has an area of 1,162,000 acres; a population of 7,833; 1,750 ratepayers; 1,700 rateable properties; and there is a general rate of ¾d in the £., and a hospital and charitable aid rate of 1–7d in the £. The assets amount to £3,000, and the liabilities to £3,166.

Mr. George Macmahon , who was elected in 1896 to the Waimea County Council, as representative of the Motupiko district, is now the Council's chairman. He had previously stood against Captain Forsyth at a by-election, but was defeated; but in 1896, when he again contested the seat against Captain Forsyth, and also Mr. Palmer, he was returned by a large majority. Mr. Macmahon has taken an intelligent interest in the affairs of the council during his tenure of office, and has actively supported measures for opening up the back country, forming new roads, etc. He was born at Riwaka in 1853, and was brought up to farming. Mr. Macmahon has displayed great interest in local and colonial politics, and is a member of the school committee and president of the Athletic Association of Motupiko. He is married to a daughter of the late Mr. Isaac Mason Hill, of Nelson, and has one son and two daughters.

Councillor William Norris Franklyn, who was elected to represent the Wai-iti riding on the Waimea County Council in December, 1900, is also a member of the Education Board, and one of the College Governors. He is elsewhere referrred to as a member of the Nelson Harbour Board.

Councillor Horatio Everett, who was elected to represent the Motueka riding on the Waimea County Council in August, 1902, is also a member of the Charitable Aid Board and the Motueka Wharf Board.

Councillor William Gill, who has represented the Whangamoa riding on the Waimea County Council, since November, 1902, is also chairman of the Wakapuaka Road Board and a member of the school committee. He was born in 1862 at Wakapuaka, and is the son of an old colonist, his father having arrived in Nelson in 1842 by the ship “Mary Ann.” Mr. Gill has always engaged in farming, and at present holds 380 acres of freehold land which he devotes to dairying. He was married, in 1886, to a daughter of Mr. John Withers, and has a family of five sons and four daughters.

Councillor Philip Best, J.P., who is a member of the Waimea County Council, has also held office as chairman of the Council. He is further referred to as a member of the Nelson Harbour Board.

Councillor Joseph Leonard Rollet, who is a member of the Waimea County Council, is referred to in another article as the proprietor of “Villa Farm,” at Sherry.

Mr. Sydney Blomfield , who was appointed Clerk and Collector to the Waimea County Council in 1893, was born in the East of England, in 1868, and came out to New Zealand in 1883. He subsequently re-visited the Old Country, but returned to New Zealand in 1891.

Mr. James Gordon Littlejohn , Engineer to the Waimea County Council, was born in 1869, in Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and came out to New Zealand in 1881. He was educated at Wellington College, entered the Government service as a surveyor, and was for fourteen years stationed in the Wairarapa district before being appointed to his present position at Nelson in July, 1901.

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Mr. George Henry Kidson was a member of the Waimea County Council, and represented the Wangapeka riding for nine years. He was first elected in 1893, and was returned unopposed on the second last occasion; and on the last occasion on which he stood, in 1899, he got in by a good majority; but refused to be nominated in 1902. He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1899. Mr. Kidson was instrumental in having the Tadmor river bridged. He was born at Nelson in 1851, and was storekeeping in the Motueka and Tadmor Valleys for sixteen years. Mr. Kidson was formerly a member of the Motueka Valley road board, and was also on the Charitable Aid Board.

Ex-Councillors. Mr. G. H. Kidson.

Mr. G. H. Kidson.

Mr. William Wastney served on the Waimea County Council for two terms, and during a portion of that time, held office as chairman. He was a member of the old Provincial Council, and has served on road boards, the Education Board, and been chairman of the Suburban North School Committee. He twice contested the Waimea district seat in the House of Representatives, but was defeated on both occasions; the first time by Mr. A. J. Richmond, and the second by Mr. Joseph Shepherd. Mr. Wastney was born in 1831, at Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, and came out to Nelson in 1842 by the ship “Lloyds,” accompanied by his mother. His father was one of the early pioneers, and had come out with Captain Wakefield, and helped to found the settlement. As a boy, Mr. William Wastney helped to make roads and took his share of the rough work necessary for the success of a new settlement. He afterwards joined his father in the building trade, and subsequently removed with the family to Wakapuaka, where they bought land, and started farming. On the death of his father, Mr. Wastney took charge of the farm, which he managed successfully for many years. In 1900, however, he retired from active life, and bought a property at the Port, Nelson, where he has since resided, Mr. Wastney has been twice married; first, in 1855, to Mrs. Fowler, formerly Miss Edwards, who died in 1884, leaving five daughters and three sons, one of whom was accidentally killed; and in 1885, he married a daughter of Mr. B. Macmahon, of Riwaka. One daughter has been born of this union.

Tyree, photo. Mr. W. Wastney.

Tyree, photo.
Mr. W. Wastney.

Tyree, photo. Mrs. W. Wastney.

Tyree, photo.
Mrs. W. Wastney.

Mr. Henry Alexander Tarrant , formerly Engineer to the Waimea County Council, Lower Moutere, was born in Middlesex, England, in 1832. After being educated at a private academy, he engaged in farming for a short time, and came to Nelson by the ship “Agra,” in 1852. For five years, he was employed by the Survey Department in laying out roads. As county engineer for Waimea, Mr. Tarrant superintended the construction of many of the roads in the district, besides building the Riwaka bridge and a number of smaller bridges. Mr. Tarrant was a member of the Nelson Provincial Council for six years, and held a seat when the provinces were abolished. For twelve years he sat on the Nelson Education Board, and was chairman for the last three years, but is not now a member. He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1872. Mrs Tarrant, born in 1838, is a daughter of the late Mr. John Saxon who died in 1900, aged ninety-seven years. Mr. and Mrs Tarrant have ten children, six sons and four daughters. Their third son went to the Transvaal as a member of the first New Zealand contingent, and died at Pretoria. Mr. Tarrant is now a commission agent, and has an office at Motueka.