The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
Mohaka is a small township situated forty-three miles north-east from Napier, on the main road to Wairoa. There is a weekly mail service and a post and telegraph office, a public school, one hotel, and a store. Near the township there is a large Maori pa, with a resident native clergyman. The surrounding country is nearly all native land. In December, 1868, seven white settlers were massacred at Mohaka by the Maoris, under Te Kooti, and again in April, 1869, an engagement took place in which a large number of Europeans were wounded and killed.
McKinnon, John, Runholder, Arapawanui. This well-known and muchrespected early colonist has had a varied and interesting career, and the story of his life shows how industry and enterprise, tempered by good judgment, must make headway in spite of many difficulties. He was born in the year 1825, in the Island of Lewis-with-Harris, Outer Hebrides, was educated in his native island, and at an early age followed a seafaring life. For twelve years he voyaged round the world, and experienced many hardships, including shipwreck. On the occasion of the wreck of the “Mary Florence,” off the coast of Africa, where seven of the ship's company, including the captain's wife, were drowned, Mr. McKinnon was one of those who were rescued after a period of four months, and taken to Aden. He then joined the service of the East India Company. Later on, he was for two years on a Mississippi river steamer. In 1854 he left Dundee for Melbourne, as mate of the ship “Kossuth,” and came to New Zealand as the mate of the brig “Kirkwood,” with which he severed his connection at Wairoa, to take command of the schooner “Wave,” owned by Messrs Hamlin Brothers. Shortly afterwards he was appointed pilot for the port of Napier, being the first to hold that position, and in that capacity took the first steamer, the p.s. “Wonga-wonga,” into the harbour, and also brought the first English ship to her anchorage in the roadstead. After two years as pilot, Mr. McKinnon had the ferry at Clive for about four years. In 1863 he settled at Arapawanui. His property is situated close to the sea, and contains 5,000 acres, on which 9,000 cross-bred sheep and 100 head of cattle are depastured. In the year 1848 Mr. McKinnon, then a young sailor of twenty-three years, returned to his native isle, and married Miss McIver, of Stornaway, little dreaming that fifty years afterwards he and his bride, at the head of four generations, would be celebrating their golden wedding in New Zealand (then almost unheard of), surrounded by a stalwart family. Of their family of eleven, five sons and four daughters survive, and of these two sons and three daughters are married. Mr. McKinnon was a member of the Napier Harbour Board, and a member of the first County Council of Wairoa.
Tait, James, Settler, Waikare. Mr. Tait's farm consists of 4,000 acres, on which 6,200 cross-bred sheep and 200 head of cattle find good pasturage, besides about fifteen horses. The station was taken up in the “sixties” by the late Mr. James Tait, who was one of the earliest settlers in the district. The subject of this notice was born in the year 1870, and in due course became manager of the estate.