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

Mr. William Heslop

Mr. William Heslop, J.P., Old Colonist, Omaranui, was born at Blackhill, Northumberland, England, in the year 1845, and came to New Zealand with his parents in 1856. His estate is a spot of great historical interest in Hawke's Bay, for on it was fought the battle of Omaranui, the site of which is now marked by a large willow tree. For more than forty years Mr. Heslop has taken an active part in all local movements. He joined the militia in 1864, and the cavalry in 1868, and holds the New Zealand war medal. Te Kooti, the great rebel chief, at one time, under the name of Hiroke, worked for Mr. Heslop's father, in charge of the men employed to drain the Puketapu property, and was well-known to the family. Some time after this Hiroke was tried at Poverty Bay for some page 405 trivial offence, and obtained the nickname of “Te Kooti,” the Maori rendering of “The Court,” or “the man who was tried by the court.” Even after Te Kooti had broken out into open hostility, Mr. Heslop received messages from the redoubtable warrior under the old name of Hiroke. After the massacre of Poverty Bay, in 1868. Mr. Heslop, as a mounted trooper, was sent to the district to assist in the burial of the mutilated bodies of the victims, many of whom had been personally known to him. In April of the following year he took part in the interment of the victims of the Mohaka massacre, as orderly trooper to Major Lambert. Mr. Heslop claims that during his two years of patrol duty he never once missed his drill. Accustomed from boyhood to mix amongst the Maoris, he had little fear of them. He is said to have been the first European to carry the mails between Ressington and Puketapu. Mr. Heslop has always taken a keen interest in politics, and for many years was chairman of Captain (now Sir William) Russell's Omaranui and Puketapu election committees. He has been a member of the Okawa Road Board, chairman of the Puketapu school committee, is a member of the Hawke's Bay Racing Committee. Napier Park Racing Club, and was a promoter of the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Co-operative Association, and the Hawke's Bay and North British Freezing works. Mr. Heslop has exhibited largely at the agricultural shows of the district, thirty silver medals for cattle, horses, and sheep have been gained by his family in Hawke's Bay, including first prizes for a short-horn bull and short-horn cow as far back as 1863, at the first Havelock show. As a judge of sheep at Gisborne, and draught horses at Wanganui, Mr. Heslop has earned a reputation, whilst Mrs. Heslop has carried off a number of dairy prizes. Mr. Heslop married the daughter of Mr. Thomas Waldrom, farmer, of Waipawa, and has three daughters and two sons. His eldest daughter is the wife of Mr. J. S. Bennett, and his eldest son served in the South African war, and gained two medals and clasps.