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

Rai Valley

Rai Valley.

Rai Valley , which extends from the Pelorus Bridge to the top of the Rai Saddle, a distance of about eight miles, is intersected by the Blenheim-Nelson coach route, and the centre of the district is situated about thirteen and a-half miles west from Havelock. The valley is bounded on both sides by mountainous ranges, and is watered by the Rai river, a good sized stream, well stocked with tr[gap — reason: illegible]ut. The hills and a considerable portion of the valley are still (1905) under bush; but the work of clearing is going on, and every year there is an extensive addition to the area laid down in grass. There are three sawmills at work in the valley and a fourth—the Blackball mill, of Havelock—draws its timber supplies from the district. The settled population is as yet sparse but cattle farming, dairying and also sheepfarming, are carried on to a small extent. There is a public school an excellent accommodation house, and two post offices in the district, and the Blenheim-Nelson coach provides a tri-weckly mail service.

The Rai Falls Accommodation House , in the the Rai Valley is situated about half way on the coach route between Blenheim and Nelson. It was first opened as a boarding-house in the year 1896, by Mrs Luxton, and was taken over by its present lessee in 1899. The house possesses many advantages as a summer resort, as the surrounding country page 419 has some beautiful scenery; besides, there is excellent fishing in the neighbourhood, and there is also abundance of game of various kinds. Then the place is convenient, and easy of access. The Blenheim-Nelson mail coach passes each way on alternate days, and stops at the house for tuncheon. The Half-Way House is a wooden building, and contains fifteen rooms, including a large dining-room. An excellent table is kept, and the accommodation is good. There is a freehold farm of thirty acres in connection with the establishment, and the business of the Rai Falls post office and telephone office is conducted on the premises.

Mr. Septimus Eyes , Lessee of the Rai Falls Accommodation House, was born in the Awatere, in April, 1859, and is the youngest son of Mr. William Henry Eyes, who is further referred to as a former Superintendent of Marlborough. He was educated at
Mr. S. Eyes.

Mr. S. Eyes.

the Blenheim Berough School, afterwards learned the drapery business, and worked for many years at his trade in Blenheim, Wellington, and Picton. Later on, Mr. Eyes gave up the business, and was, for a short time, engaged in various employments before he became the proprietor of the Rai Falls Accommodation House. Mr. Eves is married, and has two sons and three daughters.

Nees and McLean (F. W. C. Nees and P. McLean), Sawmillers, Rai Valley. This firm was established in the year 1887 under the title of Messrs Thomson and Nees, and since 1894, when Mr. P. McLean bought an interest, it has been known under the present style. For several years Messrs Nees and McLean's sawmill was situated at Okaramio, where timber was cut from a large area of virgin country. In 1899, the mill was removed to its present position in the Rai Valley, where timber rights are held over nearly 600 acres. It contains two eight horse portable boilers, and gives constant employment to eight men. The daily output is about 2,500 feet and consists chiefly of matai, rimu and white pine, which is sent on waggons to Blenheim, where it finds a ready market.

Mr. Frederick William Charles Nees , Senior Partner of the firm of Messrs Nees and McLean, is one of the oldest and most experienced sawmillers in the province, and has devoted almost the whole of his life to the industry. He was born on the 22nd of August, 1860, at Creswick's Creck, Victoria, Australia. Mr. Nees came to New Zealand with his parents at an early age, and was educated at public schools in Christchurch, where his father carried on business as a sawmiller and contractor. He afterwards assisted his father for about five years, subsequently worked for two years at Messrs Greenfield and Stuart's sash and door factory in Wellington, and then went to Kaituna, under engagement to the sawmilling firm of Messrs Newman Brothers. Mr. Nees subsequently went to Kaikoura to manage the Hapuka sawmill, and two years later returned to the district to erect and conduct a mill for the late Mr. John Hornby. He then, in conjunction with Mr. Thomson established a sawmill at Okaramio, and eight years later, on the withdrawal of Mr. Thomson from the firm, he was joined by his present partner. Mr. Peter McLean. Mr. Nees is a member and judge of the Marlborough Agricnltural and Pastoral Association. He was the founder of the wood-chopping and sawing competitions held in connection with the annual shows, and is a member of the Picton Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and of the Pelorus Road Board. Mr. Nees is married, and has four sons and four daughters.

Mr. Peter McLean , of the firm of Messrs Nees and McLean, was born in Marlborough province, on the Avondale station, in the Waihopai Valley where his father was for many years head shephered. He was educated in the district, and was afterwards for many years, engaged at flaxmilling, bushfelling, post-splitting, and prospecting. In the early days, Mr. McLean, in company with his father, prospected unsuccessfully on some of the very spots that afterwards became famous for their rich gold deposits. Early in the eighties, however, he turned his attention to sawmilling, worked for some years with Messrs
Macey, photo. Mr. P. McLean.

Macey, photo. Mr. P. McLean.

Newman Brothers, in the Kaituna, and subsequently with Mr. John Hornby, and in the year 1894 joined Mr. Nees in partnership. Mr. McLean was for about six years a member of the Okaramio school committee. He has been twice married, and has seven sons and two daughters. Two of his sons served with the Third and Fifth New Zealand Contingents in the late South African war.
Robertson Brothers, Limited , Sawmillers, Rai Valley. The Rai Valley sawmill was established in June, 1902, by Messrs Robertson Bros., sash and door manufacturers, of Hardy Street, Nelson, for the purpose of supplying timber to their factory. The mill is an up-to-date one, and covers, altogether, an area of about four acres. It has a large stationary multitubular boiler of twenty-five horse-power, and a twenty-horse-power engine. The plant is capable of dealing with 8000 feet of timber per day. Rights are held over 800 acres of bush, consisting chiefly of rimu, and the timber when prepared, is taken by waggon to Nelson. The establishment has accommodation of a kind not usually found in connection page 420
Log Hauler of Messrs Robertson Brothers.

Log Hauler of Messrs Robertson Brothers.

with a sawmill; namely, a well-built washhouse and bathroom, with steam and water laid on from the mill boiler, which boils the clothes, heats the bath, and also gives an unlimited supply of hot water for all purposes at the manager's house. The mill, which is managed by Mr A. J. Hewetson, formerly of Upper Moutere, is the means of distributing £1200 a year in wages.
Forrest, Robert, Farmer, Riversdale Farm, Rai Valley. Mr. Forrest
Tyree, photo. Mr. R. Forrest.

Tyree, photo. Mr. R. Forrest.

was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, in the year 1842, and was educated at the parish school in the village of Carluke. He found employment in general work till 1860, when he came to New Zealand. Mr. Forrest was then employed on the Lindis station in Otago for eight months, when he joined the rush to Gabriel's Gully. Subsequently, he spent a short period in Invercargill, and in 1864 he removed to the Rai Valley. For the first thirty years of his residence there, Mr. Forrest was engaged in sawmilling, and then he took up his present farm. This consists of 1150 acres of excellent grazing country, and is at present (1905) stocked with about 800 sheep and 140 head of cattle. Mr. Forrest was for two years a member of the Pelorus Road Board, was the original correspondent of the local aided school, and was subsequently for many years a member of the public school committee. He has one son and five daughters.