The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
Mr John Harding
Mr John Harding, who was a well-known settler in Hawke's Bay, resided in the Waipukurau district for fully thirty years. He owned “Mount Vernon,” one of the finest estates in the North Island. It consists of 15,000 acre of first-class land, carrying 25,000 pure-bred Romney-Marsh sheep, and about 300 head of pure shorthorn Durham cattle. The homestead is beautifully situated within easy distance of Waipukurau, built of brick, and is a handsome residence. There is a splendid woolshed with a complete shearing plant. About twenty persons are employed, some of whom had been with Mr. Harding for twenty-five years. A good deal of cropping is carried on with the latest improved agricultural machinery. Nearly 500 bales of wool are shipped every year, the brand “J.H.” over “Mt. Vernon,” being well-known in the leading wool markets. Mr. Harding was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England, and was brought up to the trade of a turner. He arrived in New Zealand in the year 1842, and landed in Wellington by the ship “Burmah.” For some time he worked at his trade in that town, and was afterwards in business as an ironmonger. He removed to Waipukurau in 1867, and was one of the first settlers to take up land in the district. Mr. Harding was a strict prohibitionist; he formed the first temperance society in New Zealand, in Wellington, as far back as 1842, and worked hard for the cause. He had been connected with various local bodies, and was on the licensing bench for some time. He was married, and had seven sons and five daughters. His grandson, Mr. Warden Harding, manages the estate. Mr. Harding died on the 25th of June, 1899.