Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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

Westland County Council

page break

Westland County Council.

The Westland County Council , which was constituted in the year 1876, under the Counties Act, has a district which covers an area of 1,293,797 acres, and is the largest county in the colony. The county is bounded on the north by the Teremakau river, on the sorth by the Awarua river, on the east by the Southern Alps, and on the west by the ocean. The number of ratepayers in the county is 4500, and the rateable value is £168,477. Crown lands are valued at £511,397. The boroughs of Hokitika, Kumara, and Ross are not included in the county valuations. There are three ridings, Kanieri, Arahura and Southern; the rate is 11/2d in the pound on the capital value, and the annual revenue amounts to £4,200. There are about 740 miles of formed roads and tracks in the county, and the main road, which runs from the Teremakau river on the north, to Waiho in the south, is well metalled. Owing to the narrowness of the county, and the Southern Alps forming the watershed, and causing precipitousness in the land, the Council is occasionally at considerable expense in repairing damages; owing to the flood of the year 1904, a special expenditure of £1000 was incurred in this way. There are a number of important bridges in the county of Westland; and tenders were invited in 1905 for rebuilding some of them. Over the Arahura river there are two bridges, a lower and an upper bridge. There is a large bridge over the Kanieri river, on the main south road; one, over the Kokatahi, was opened in 1903, and there is a bridge of about 100 feet in length over the Totara river. In the year 1903 the fine bridge over the Teremakau river was washed away. In 1905 the Council obtained a loan of £4,788, under the Loans to Local Bodies Act, to pay off the overdraft. Several small cemeteries in the country districts are under the control of the Council. The offices of the Council are in one of the oldest Government buildings on the West Coast. It was originally erected as the Provincial Treasury, is of wood and iron, adjoins the Supreme Court, and contains four rooms. Members for the year 1905: Messrs A. Cumming, T. J. McGuigan, H. A. Bancke, and A. Clifton, Kanieri riding; T. W. Duff, J. F. Byrne, and T. McGrath, Arahura riding; and J. Grimmond, and S. J. Ferguson, South Westland riding. Mr. T. W. Duff is chairman, and Mr. D. J. Evans, county clerk.

Mr. Thomas William Duff , J.P., is chairman (1905) of the Westland County Council, and one of the representatives for Arahura riding. He was born on Banks' Peninsula in the year 1865, and has spent most of his life on the West Coast. Mr. Duff is well-known as a bootmaker at Stafford.

Mr. James Francis Byrne , J.P., has been a member of the Westland County Council for the Arahura riding since the year 1887, and has on two occasions been chairman. He was born in 1832, in Kilkenny, Ireland, where he was educated, went to Australia in 1852, and landed in Melbourne. In 1866, he removed to New Zealand and settled in Hokitika.

Mr. Herman Augustus Bancke is a member of the Westland. County Council, for the Kanieri rid-riding. He was born in 1852, in Wellington, and is a son of one of the early missionaries. Till 1881, he spent the greater portion of his life in the Chatham Islands, but in that year he became associated with Westland, and engaged in mining. In 1904, on the report of the discovery of gold at Wilberforce, Mr. Bancke was asked by the County Council to report as to the best means of access to the field, with which he was so greatly impressed, that he gave up other mining ventures to take up a claim in the district. Mr. Bancke has been a member of the County Council since 1893.

Mr. Andrew Cumming was chairman of the Westland County Council for nine years, and has been a member for over twenty years. He was one of the first members elected to the Borough Council of Hokitika. As an energetic member of the County Council, Mr. Cumming has left no stone unturned to promote the interests of the district. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the year 1841, and was educated at the Cumnock school. Mr. Cumming began life as a grocer's boy in Glasgow, and was afterwards for about ten years in the tea trade. He came to New Zealand in 1862, and landed in Otago by the ship “City of Dunedin.” The gold fever was then at its height, and Mr. Cumming was appointed gold buyer for the Bank of Otago at its Hindon branch. He afterwards took charge of a business for two years for Messrs
Mr. A. Cumming.

Mr. A. Cumming.

Eastgate and Company. In 1865 Mr. Cumming removed to Hokitika, and established himself in business in Revell Street. He, however, sold out four years later, and took up some land in the Kokatahi district. Mr. Cumming was for some time chairman of the Westland Licensing Committee. He married a daughter of Mr. Gavin Millar, of Airdrie, Scotland, and has eight daughters and two sons.
Mr. Arthur Clifton is a member of the Westland County Council for Kanieri riding. He was born in the year 1858 in Warwickshire, England, where, after leaving school, he followed farming work for some time, and was afterwards employed at lime-burning and quarrying. He subsequently came to New Zealand, and was farming at Ashburton, Canterbury, for about one year and six months. Mr. Clifton then removed to the West Coast, where, till the outbreak of the Rimu “rush,” he was employed at various occupations. Since page 492 that time he has been mining. He is a member of the Westland Licensing
Mr. A. Clifton.

Mr. A. Clifton.

Committee, and of the Westland Hospital Board.

Mr. Samuel George Ferguson , J.P., is a member of the Westland County Council for the South Westland riding. He was born in the year 1848, in County Derry, Ireland, where he was educated, and brought up on his father's farm. In 1873, Mr. Ferguson came to New Zealand, and went to the West Coast, where he joined his brothers, who had settled there previously. He entered into partnership with them, and later on, bought his present holdings at Ferguson's. Mr. Ferguson was also engaged in mining for a short time, and has a wide knowledge of South Westland. He is married, and has one daughter, who is married to Mr. Paul Renton, of Hokitika. Mr. Ferguson is further referred to as a farmer and runholder at Ferguson's, and as the local postmaster.

Mr. S. G. Ferguson. Ring, photo.

Mr. S. G. Ferguson. Ring, photo.

Mr. Joseph Grimmond is a member of the Westland County Council for the Southern riding, and is further referred to as a former member of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Thomas McGrath , who is a member of the Westland County Council for the Arabura riding, is well-known on the West Coast as a sawmiller, mine owner, and business man at Dillmanstown.

Mr. Thomas Joseph McGuigan is a member of the Westland County Council for Kanieri riding. He was born in Victoria, Australia, in the year 1874, and is a son of Mr. Owen McGuigan, proprietor of the Hokitika-Kanieri tramway. Mr. McGuigan came to New Zealand with his parents in 1875, was afterwards brought up to a commercial life in Melbourne, Australia, and, later on, was a Customs officer in West Australia. He then returned to New Zealand, and entered into partnership with his father.

Mr. David John Evans was appointed Clerk and Treasurer of the Westland County Council in the year 1891. He is also secretary of the Hokitika Horticultural and Poultry Society, and secretary and treasurer of the Westland Racing Club.


Mr. John Staines , who was a member of the Westland County Council for many years, was born at Rutherglen in 1863, and arrived at Kanieri with his parents when quite young. He has grown up with the place, and has witnessed its golden prosperity and subsequent decline. At the time Mr. Staines joined the Council the revenue of the county was about £14,000 a year, but now it is less than a third of that amount. He was a hardworking member, and was always ready to forward the interests of the district he represented. Mr. Staines has been a member of the Westland Education Board since the year 1892. He is one of the school commissioners of Westland, a member of the Charitable Aid Board, president of the Mining Association, and vice-president of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He is also an attached member of the Masonic Order. Mr. Staines took an energetic part in promoting
Mr. J. Staines.

Mr. J. Staines.

the erection of the butter factory at Kokatahi. He married a daughter of Mr. W. Stevenson, and has three sons and three daughters.