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

Merchants, Warehousemen, Etc

page 390

Merchants, Warehousemen, Etc.

The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, Limited, established its branch office in Napier early in the “eighties,” with Mr. Ramsay Sime as its first manager. The premises occupied are situated in Hastings Street, and consist of a substantial two-storeyed brick and plaster building, which is one of the first brick buildings erected in Napier. There are also large grain and general produce stores belonging to the company at Port Ahuriri. The Napier branch is the head office for the province, and there is also a sub-agency at Dannevirke. General stock sales are held in all parts of Hawke's Bay, and the company deals in wool, skins, general produce, seeds, grain, etc., also in the purchase and sale of land. Large quantities of general supplies for country clients are imported.

Mr. David Arthur Baxter, manager at Napier for the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, Limited, is of Scotch parentage, and was born in London, England, in October, 1861. He was educated at the Madras Academy, Cupar, Fifeshire, Scotland, and afterwards joined the staff of a local bank. Three years later he became a junior clerk in the London office of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, Limited, and after ten years' service came to New Zealand in December, 1890, and entered the Auckland office of the firm. He was subsequently transferred to the Wellington office as accountant, and four years later was removed in the same capacity to Napier, where, in 1900, he became manager. Mr. Baxter was for four years a member of the Hawke's Bay Harbour Board, as representative of the Chamber of Commerce, of which he has been a member for some years, and was formerly president; he was president of the Hawke's Bay Employers' Association, was one of the promoters and first chairman of the Hawke's Bay Woollen Manufacturing Company, Limited, was chairman of the Hawke's Bay Stock Agents and Wool Brokers' Association, is a steward of the Napier Park Racing Club, member of the Hawke's Bay Racing Club, member of the committee of the Agricultural and Pastoral Society, vice-president of the Napier Club, and was president of the Bluff Hill Bowling Club. As a Freemason Mr. Baxter holds the office of Senior Warden of Lodge Scinde, No. 5, N.Z.C.

Ross and Glendining, Wholesale Warehousemen, Emerson Street, Napier. Telephone, 236; P.O. Box, 116. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales. This is a branch of the well-known firm of Ross and Glending, whose head-quarters are at Dunedin, and which business is referred to in the Otago volume of the Cyclopedia. The firm has been represented in Napier ever since the business was established, and on the closing of Messrs McArthur and Company's Napier branch, Messrs Ross and Glending secured the business of the departing firm, which they have greatly increased. Business is conducted in a fine three-storeyed brick building, erected in 1897, with a frontage to Emerson Street of forty feet, by a depth of 130 feet. It is fitted with all conveniences, including a hydraulic lift, which is said to be the first of its kind in Napier. The branch is under the management of Mr. R. A. Wilson.

Mr. Robert Aikenhead Wilson, manager of the Napier branch of Messrs Ross and Glendining, was born in Kirkealdy, Fifeshire, Scotland, in the year 1857, and is a son of Captain A. Wilson, of Kirkcaldy. He was educated in London, and afterwards entered the warehouse of Messrs Welch, Margetson, and Company. After a short experience there, he was transferred to Messrs Cook, Son and Company, of St. Paul's Churchyard. In 1876 Mr. Wilson decided to come to New Zealand, and left London in the ill-fated ship “Strathmore,” which was wrecked on the Crozet Islands. Between forty and fifty persons were drowned in endeavouring to get ashore, but about fifty effected a landing on one of those desolate islands. One passenger managed to save Mr. Wilson's mother—the only lady who survived. The weather for the first part of the time was very severe, but after seven months of terrible privations, with nothing but sea-birds and a grassy weed for sustenance, forty-four survivors were rescued by an American whaler, and taken to Ceylon. Five of those who escaped drowning died on the island. Mr. Wilson and his fellow-survivors will ever remember their existence on the inhospitable Crozets. They were brought to Melbourne by a P. and O. steamer. Mr. Wilson then came to New Zealand, and landed in Dunedin. He was for a few months with the New Zealand Hardware Company, and was afterwards with Messrs Ross and Glendining for about five years. He subsequently went to England, and on his return to New Zealand, started in business for himself in Hawke's Bay. About five years later he became manager of Messrs McArthur and Company's Napier branch, and after filling that post for eight years was appointed to his present position. Mr. Wilson is one of the managing committee of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, and has been a member of the Napier Borough Council. He married the daughter of Mr. William Green, of London, England, in the year 1880, and has four sons.

Sargood, Son and Ewen, Warehousemen, Herschel Street, Napier (Mr. Robert Bishop, manager). The premises of this firm occupy part of the large brick and concrete building opposite the Masonic Hotel.

Mr. Robert Bishop, Manager of Messrs Sargood, Son and Ewen's Napier branch, was born in London, England, and was brought up to page 391 commercial pursuits, having been employed in one of the large London warehouses for a number of years. He came to New Zealand in 1874, by the “Haleione,” and landed in Wellington; and was with Messrs A. P. Stuart, Harcourt and Company, then Sargood, Son and Ewen, the original business of A. P. Stewart having changed successively to the latter firm. Mr. Bishop was a well-known traveller for over eighteen years, representing these firms in various parts of New Zealand, and in 1893 received his present appointment. He has been a Freemason for many years. He is married, and has eight children.

Williams and Kettle, Limited, General Merchants and Importers, Stock and Station Agents, etc., Browning Street, Napier. Branches, Port Ahuriri, Hastings, Waipawa, Dannevirke, and Gisborne. Telephones, head office, 100; produce department, 195; Port Ahuriri, 24; and goods department, 142; Hastings, 212; private telephones of managing directors. Mr. F. W. Williams, 116; and Mr. N. Kettle, 117. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Directors: Sir W. R. Russell, Messrs J. H. Coleman, L. H. McHardy, William Nelson, A. S. G. Carlyon, J. B. Chambers, F. W. Williams, and N. Kettle, the two latter gentlemen being managing directors. A glance at the directorate of this company is sufficient evidence that Messrs Williams and Kettle, Limited, is one of the most popular mercantile corporations in the colony. The nature of the business is varied, and the field of operations world-wide. Whilst fulfilling all the essentials of the “middleman,” the profits arising from export and import transactions are very largely distributed amongst the producers, who also play an important part in the control of the business. So popular is the company that its operations have extended into the domain of finance, and many of the large runholders of the province use it as a banking institution. Advances are made on stock, wool on the sheep's back, and other produce, absentee and other estates are supervised and managed. Messrs Williams and Kettle Limited are export agents for Messrs Nelson Brothers, Limited. The business was established in the year 1880 by Mr. F. W. Williams, who some three or four years later, was joined by Mr. N. Kettle, and when the company was formed in 1891 these gentlemen were jointly appointed managing directors.

Mr. Frederic Wanklyn Williams, one of the Managing Directors of Messrs Williams and Kettle, Limited, is referred to at length as an ex-mayor of Napier.

Mr. Nathaniel Kettle, one of the Managing Directors of Messrs Williams and Kettle, Limited, is a son of the late Mr. Charles Henry Kettle, who was chief surveyor for the New Zealand Company, and who surveyed the site of Dunedin, and discovered the Wairarapa Plains in the year 1839. Mr. Kettle was born in Dunedin in 1854, educated at the High School and other local schools, and in 1869 entered the office of Messrs G. G. Russell and Company, wool and general merchants. Eight years later he removed to Napier to fill the position of manager of the Hawke's Bay business of Messrs Murray, Common, and Company (now Murray, Roberts and Company), general merchants, stock and station agents. Mr. Kettle resigned this position in 1884, to join Mr. Williams in the business which has since attained such large proportions. Though Mr. Kettle has closely applied himself to the firm's business, he has found time to devote to public duties. He has been chairman of the Napier Chamber of Commerce, with which he has been connected since its inception, and he was one of the promoters of the Free Association of Employees and Workmen of Hawke's Bay. In the year 1880 he married the daughter of Major Von Tempsky, and has two sons and two daughters.