The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
Mr. John Close
Mr. John Close, one of the old colonists of Napier, was born in Yorkshire, England, in the year 1839. He worked on his father's farm as a boy, and at the age of thirteen went to London, and found employment with a provision merchant, with whom he remained for five years. He afterwards removed to Liverpool, and was employed in a large provision establishment. Mr. Close came to New Zealand in the ship “Persia,” and, after a voyage of seventeen weeks, landed at Auckland, in the year 1860. He was first employed at clearing scrub in the Domain and suburbs of Auckland, and afterwards in farm work in the district. In 1862 Mr. Close entered the service of the commissariat contractors department of the Imperial Forces (under General Cameron), in the Waikato district, during the Waikato disturbance, and endured much hardship with the troops at the front. He left Waikato early in 1863, and settled in Napier, where he was employed in a store for some time. In 1865, in conjunction with the late Mr. J. W. Neal, he purchased a general storekeeper's business. The firm was successful from the outset, and subsequently established a wholesale store, soap and candle works, and a flax and timber mill. Mr. Close has taken keen interest in volunteering and rifle shooting. In 1863 he was one of the founders of the Napier Rifle Volunteers, and ten years later was in command of the corps. He was president of the Napier Park Racing Club from its inception (in 1886) to 1992, and was one of the promoters of the Napier Gas Company, of which he has been chairman of directors for twenty-six years. Mr. Close has been Identified with the progress of Hawke's Bay for the greater part of his life, and in Napier has been intimately associated with all local organisations for the welfare of the town and district. In 1896, owing to indifferent health, he retired from active business life.
Mr. J. Close.