Mr. Josiah Flight,
who was one of Taranaki's pioneer settlers, was born in September, 1800, at Tiverton, England. He was apprenticed to a wine manufacturer, and afterwards started in business on his own account. He came to New Zealand in the barque “Timandra,” which arrived off New Plymouth in February, 1842. In conjunction with his brother-in-law, Mr. Flight took up land at Manauoraka, but was driven off by the natives, and ultimately, owing to Governor Fitzroy's award, had to abandon his holding, which was surrendered to the Maoris with other lands bought for the Plymouth Company. On several occasions Mr. Flight and his family were in imminent danger of their lives at the
hands of the Maoris. In 1852 he was appointed Resident Magistrate, an office which he filled for many years; he was also Sheriff of the Supreme Court and Coroner for the district, and was at one time Collector of Customs. Under the New Plymouth Exchange of Land Act he was a fellow Commissioner with Mr. J Stevenson Smith. In conjunction with his brother-in-law, Mr. Flight introduced the first sheep into Taranaki, and brought out English fruit trees and wild flowers, including primroses and violets. Recognising the evils of intemperance, he worked earnestly in the cause of total abstinence, and in
1864, with the late Rev. J. Whiteley, founded a Total Abstinence Society among the Maoris, and also founded the first Temperance Society among the military in conjunction with the Rev. Mr. Cannel, in March, 1861. Mr. Flight was a charter member of Lodge Egmont, Independent Order of Good Templars in 1873. He took a deep interest in church work, and laid the foundation stone of the first Wesleyan church in Liardet Street, on the 13th of March, 1856, when the Rev. Messrs H. H. Turton, S. Ironsides, and I. Long were the officiating ministers; and on the 1st of January, 1862, he laid the stone of the Primitive Methodist church in Queen Street. He was a member of the Baptist denomination, and it was due to his efforts that a church was erected in Gill Street, in New Plymouth, the foundation stone of which was laid by the Rev. J. Whiteley, on the 11th of March, 1868. Mr. Flight married Miss Devenish, of Dorsetshire, England. He died in March, 1884, leaving a widow and three daughters. Mrs Flight and one of the daughters have since passed away.