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

Mr. Charles Douglas Whitcombe

Mr. Charles Douglas Whitcombe was the eldest son of the late Captain D. T. Whitcombe, K.S.G., and a grandson of the late Sir Samuel Whitcombe, K.C.B. He was born on the 7th of September, 1836, at Rochester, Kent, England, and was educated at Plymouth, and at St. Brieuc, Brittany, France. At seventeen years of age Mr. Whitcombe entered the audit department in Somerset House, London, where he continued for eight years. In 1861 he joined the force of General Garibaldi in Italy, and rose to the rank of sergeant. Owing to ill-health, however, he returned to his father in France. In 1864 Mr. Whitcombe came to New Zealand, and was for many years secretary to the Taranaki Provincial Council, Commissioner page 125 of Crown Lands and Sheriff. Later, he was private secretary to Sir George Grey, and for five years was secretary to the Auckland Society of Arts. At one time he represented the New Zealand Herald, on a trip to Tonga and the Islands, and prepared a special report for publication. Mr. Whitcombe afterwards became sub-editor of the “Bell” newspaper in Auckland. He was subsequently for seven years foreign secretary to the King of Tonga. In July, 1897. Mr. Whitcombe returned to New Plymouth, but in March 1900, went back to Tonga, whence he removed to Rotuma, where he remained till May, 1901. On the death of his son-in-law, Mr. Leefe, he went to Levuka, and became assistant editor of the “Polynesian Gazette.” In May, 1902, he finally returned to Taranaki. At the time of the Maori war Mr. Whitcombe was a military settler, who took up land at Lep-perton, and was among the first to volunteer to bring in the bodies at the time of the Whiteley murder. He was a good linguist, spoke several languages, and was for some time tutor to King George Tubou II. of Tonga, in Auckland. Mr. Whitcombe married a daughter of the late Mr. Benjamin Wells, of New Plymouth, in November, 1871, and was survived by his wife, two daughters, and five sons.