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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Mr. Benjamin Wells

Mr. Benjamin Wells was one of the pioneer colonists of Taranaki, and for many years was connected with its educational and other public institutions. He was born in the year 1824, at Woolwich, England, and was a nephew of the late Mr. James Wells, of the London Stock Exchange. He came to New Zealand in 1849 in the barque “Cornwall,” and landed in New Plymouth. Mr. Wells took up land in Taranaki, but he and his family were driven into the town at the time of the Maori rising, and his wife and children were among the refugees who were sent to Nelson. After serving as a militiaman for some time, he rejoined his family, who returned with him when a truce had been declared. For a short time Mr. Wells acted as schoolmaster in Nelson, but had again to take up arms. In 1864 he visited England, but returned two years later. In the year 1874 he became editor of the Taranaki News, and held the position until his death. Mr. Wells was chairman of the Taranaki Education Board, and held office as a School Commissioner and member of the Harbour Board. He was a lay preacher in the Presbyterian church, but also frequently conducted services in the back blocks for other denominations. He married a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Hawkins, of Good Easter, near Chelmsford, England; and at his death, in 1881, left three sons and two daughters. Mr. Wells wrote a History of Taranaki, which is of the greatest value to students of the country's colonisation.