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

New Plymouth Harbour Board

New Plymouth Harbour Board.

The New Plymouth Harbour Board consists of nine members, three of whom are nominated by the Government, and the remainder are elected by ratepayers throughout the entire district, which is divided into six wards as follows: New Plymouth borough, Clifton, Stratford, Hawera, Egmont and Taranaki counties, each of which returns one of the members, who are elected once in two years; the Government nominees are appointed by the Governor-in-Council every three years. Members in 1906: Messrs J. Ward, R. Price, and R. W. Hornby (Government nominees), J. B. Connett (New Plymouth borough). N. King (Taranaki county), J. Hine (Clifton county), G. McLean (Hawera county), J. Thomson (Stratford county), E. Maxwell (Egmont county). Mr. J. B. Connett is chairman of the Board, Mr. C. Rennell, secretary; Captain C. E. Hood, harbourmaster, and Mr. J. McMahon, assistant harbourmaster. The original breakwater at Moturoa, New Plymouth, was 1950 feet long; but since 1905 it has been lengthened a further distance of 200 feet. The railway line extends to the end of the wharf, and thence the mail train starts daily in the morning, and returns to connect with steamers leaving for Auckland in the evening. The cargo to and from the steamers is worked directly from and to the trucks. Butter and cheese are among the principal exports. In the year 1894, only 2191 tons of butter and cheese were shipped; but ten years later the total shipment amounted to 6953 tons. The income of the Board for the year ending the 31st of December, 1905, was £10,803. The depth of the water at the wharf varies from thirteen feet, at low water, to twenty-five at high water during spring tides. Steamers of 1000 tons can berth at the wharf. The charges are: Wharfage, 2s per ton; pilotage, 3d per ton, for sailing vessels, and half those rates for steamships; the port charges are: 4d per ton half-yearly. The breakwater, which cost an enormous sum of money, was designed by the well known engineer, Sir John Coode. The loans of the New Plymouth Harbour Board amount to £200,000, against which there is an accumulated sinking fund, which amounts to £54,332, and the revenue on trust accounts for the year ended 31st of December, 1905, was £14,365. The number of vessels that entered the harbour in the year 1894 was 372, with a tonnage of 91,040; ten years later, 476 vessels en-and their tonnage amounted to 228,743. The imports and exports for 1894 amounted to 24,902 tons, and for 1904, 62,940 tons. The sinking fund of the Harbour Board is managed commissioners; namely, Messrs H. page 59 Weston (chairman), J. B. Connett, and R. Cock. The Harbour Board's offices are situated in Brougham Street, New Plymouth.

Mr. Clarence Rennell, Secretary of the New Plymouth Harbour Board, is a native of Surrey, England. He received his education and commercial training in London. In the year 1852, after about three years of seafaring life, he settled in Victoria, and remained there for twelve years, during which he met with varied success on the goldfields. Mr. Rennell arrived in New Plymouth with his family in the year 1866, when he entered into business as a land and commission agent, and soon established a good connection. On the abolition of the provinces, he was appointed Government District Auditor (having previously acted as Provincial Auditor), but resigned the position in 1882 to take that of secretary to the Harbour Board, a position which he still retains. The New Plymouth Investment and Loan Society, which is a flourishing institution, in a great measure owes its origin to Mr. Rennell, who is still secretary and treasurer, and has occupied these positions since the formation of the society—about thirty years ago. Mr. Rennell was also the promoter of the New Plymouth Gas Company, which he was successful in forming, twenty-eight years ago. He has also been agent for the Public Trustee, and agent for three different fire and two life insurance offices. Mr. Rennell has, at different times, been for six years a member of the Borough Council for the West Ward, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand in 1886. He is a widower, and has a family of nine children, two of whom are Australians, and the others New Zealanders.

Captain Charles Ernest Hood has been Harbourmaster of the Port of New Plymouth since the year 1897. Captain Hood was formerly in charge of the well known intercolonial liner, “Anglian.” He married a daughter of Mr. Frederick Moore, of Hobart, in 1884. This lady died in 1903, leaving two sons, and in 1904 Captain Hood married a daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Craig, of Auckland. He is more fully referred to on page 776 of the Wellington volume of this Cyclopedia.