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


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The Settlement Of Omata is on the New Plymouth-Opunake road, and the mail coach passes through it. The surrounding country is undulating, and is devoted to dairy farming. Omata is situated four miles to the south — west of New Plymouth, and almost due north of Mount Egmont. It forms part of the Paritutu survey district of the Taranaki land district, and is in the Omata riding of the county of Taranaki. The village has a post office, and churches of the Primitive Methodist and Anglican bodies are supplied by visiting clergymen and lav preachers from New Plymouth. Omata was one of the settlements, which, at the time of the Maori war, were devastated by the natives, and from which the settlers were driven to New Plymouth for shelter.

Rawlings, John, Farmer Omata. Mr. Rawlings was born in the year 1832, in London, England, where his father was an architect and builder. He was educated at East Islington Commercial School, and articled to the profession of an architect. However, close confinement was distasteful to him, and he ran away to sea in a South Sea whaler. In 1854 he came to New Zealand, as a steward of the ship “Lady Ebrington,” and left her to start farming in Nelson, where he also carried on business as a timber merchant. Sixteen years later he sold out, and went to Wanganui, where for six years he was proprietor of the St. John's Hotel, and afterwards engaged
The Late Mr. Lewis C. Noble.

The Late Mr. Lewis C. Noble.

in sheepfarming at Woodlands, Wanganui, for about ten years. He then removed to New Plymouth, and soon after began farming at Omata. In 1856, Mr. Rawlings married a daughter of Mr. Robert Boddington, of Nelson, and their only daughter was married to the late Mr. Lewis Cameron Noble, who was an officer in the Union Steamship Company, and who saved the life of the late Governor Sir William Jervois, at Onehunga. Mr. Noble was presented with a splendid binocular as a memento of the incident, and it is in Mrs Noble's possession at Omata. Mr. Noble lost his life when on a trip to Australia in a timber vessel, which foundered with all hands. Like her mother, Mrs Noble has an only daughter, and the three generations live at the homestead in Omata. Several years ago Mr. Rawlings took a trip to the Old Country, but after an absence of nearly forty years found everything so changed that he was glad to get back to New Zealand.