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

Napier Harbour Board

Napier Harbour Board.

The Napier Harbour Board was incorporated in the year 1875, and its first members were Messrs J. D. Ormond, J. Gibson Kinross, A. Kennedy, J. A. Smith, A. Newman, Joseph Rhodes, J. N. Williams, J. H. Vautier, F. Sutton, H. C. Robjohns, John Chambers, and the Mayor of Napier, ex-officio. Almost immediately after its formation the Board set about improvements in the way of wharfage space, etc., and by 1877 had constructed two piers, and made good progress with the wharyes and landing facilities, at what is known as the Inner Harbour. Now (1906) vessels drawing up to fourteen feet six inches berth at the Inner Harbour, and there is about 2,100 feet of wharfage accommodation. It is in connection with the Breakwater Harbour, however, that the Board's operations have been mainly directed of late years. On the 25th of January, 1887, the first block of the breakwater was laid, and the work is still being steadily carried on. On the 12th of June, 1893, the first vessel, a steamer of 910 tons register, was berthed alongside the breakwater wharf, and took a shipment of circus animals, etc., and this at a time when a heavy sea was running. In October, 1896, the Glasgow wharf was officially opened for traffic, and now the s.s. “Manuka,” a vessel of 4.505 tons register, and other steamers almost as large, are regular traders. The breakwater, which is in the shape of an angle of about 160 degrees, is completed for a distance of 2,542 feet from the point of the Bluff, and the remaining part of the work in progress is marked by buoys. It is constructed of concrete blocks, weighing about thirty tons each, upon a rubble foundation, and is well protected with thirty-ton blocks piled irregularly on the weather side, to act as wave breakers. There are two wharves, one running fore aft the breakwater for 1,200 feet, and the other projecting north eighteen degrees west for 410 feet, from a point one cable's length from the Bluff; the latter being known as the Glasgow wharf. The largest local and inter-colonial steamers, including the Union Steamship Company's and Huddart, Parker and Company's vessels, berth regularly at the Breakwater Harbour wharves. Ocean-going vessels anchor in the roadstead, loading and discharging cargo by means of sailing and steam lighters.

The Board has one large storage shed, 194 by 35 feet, at the Breakwater, near the Bluff, and two small ones at Port Ahuriri, one on the West and the other on the Iron Pot Quay. The harbour, pilotage, port charges, wharfage, and storage fees are based upon a reasonable scale. The signal station, which was formerly at the old barracks, on Barrack or Hospital Hill, is now situated on the highest point of the lighthouse reserve, overlooking the breakwater.

The total liability of the Napier Harbour Board is £500,000, which is provided for by a sinking fund. In 1905 the sum of £5,287 19s 5d was added to the sinking fund, which brought the gross amount, as at 31st December, 1905, up to £66,042 9s 9d.

Shipping business at the harbour has, year by year, steadily progressed. In 1877 the general revenue—exclusive of rates, interest, and Government grants—was £4,386; in 1887, £12,886; in 1897, £19,937; in 1904; £20,989; and in 1905 it had increased to £23,955. The amount of tonnage of vessels inwards in the year 1872 was 52,732; in 1882, 126,632; in 1892, 284,511; and in 1905 it amounted to 730,703 tons. The cargo imports grew from 46,493 tons in 1899, to 80,509 in 1905, and in the same years the cargo exports were respectively 55,475 and 65,162 tons.

The Board's offices are situated in Bridge Street, Port Ahuriri, and consist of a wooden building of six rooms. Members of the Board for 1906 are: Messrs J. Vigor Brown (chairman), J. S. Large, Henry Williams, John Harker, J. C. McVay, Charles Ellison, F. W. Williams, W. K. White, G. M. Morris, G. A. Macdonald, A. E. Jull, A. H. Russell, and the Mayor of Napier (Mr. S. Carnell) ex-officio. Officers of the Board are: Messrs J. P. Kenny (Secretary, Treasurer, Chief Wharfinger and Rate Collector), O. J. W. Lake (Harbour-master and Chief Pilot), E. page 316 Forne (Assistant Pilot), J. Taylor (Foreman of Works), K. Cameron (Chief Clerk), J. P. Fortune (Cargo Delivery Clark), and Captain H. Kraeft (Dredge-master). The Board's Sinking Fund Commissioners are the Hon. J. D. Ormond and Mr. J. Vigor Brown. Bankers, The Bank of Australasia; Solicitors, Messrs Sainsbury, Logan, and Williams.

Mr. J. Vigor Brown, Chairman of the Napier Harbour Board, is a Scotchman by birth, and was educated at the Church of England Grammar School, Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Brown was afterwards apprenticed to Messrs Sargood, King and Sargood, in Melbourne, now (1906) the well-known firm of Sargood, Son and Ewen. He came to New Zealand in the year 1875, and was engaged by Messrs A. P. Stewart and Co., of Wellington, for whom he travelled for two years. In 1877 he accepted the appointment of manager of Messrs Archibald Clark and Sons' Napier branch, which position he held for twenty years, and much of that firm's success was due to his energy and' tact. In May, 1898 Mr. Brown resigned his position with Messrs Clark and Sons to undertake the management of the extensive business of Messrs Neal and Close. He is also managing director of the White Swan Brewery Company, and of the firm of J. Vigor Brown and Co., and is local agent for the United and Phoenix Fire Insurance Companies. Mr. Brown was first elected to the Napier Harbour Board in 1898, and has also served as a member of the Borough Council, and was a member of the council of the Free Trade Association. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Napier Boys' and Girls' High Schools, is chairman of the Cemetery Trustees, was for three years president of the Napier Chamber of Commerce, is president of the Caledonian Society, a director of the Napier Park Recreation Company, chairman of the Napier Land, Building and Investment Society, and a director of the Napier Gas Company. He is also commodore of the Napier Sailing Club, and vice-president and treasurer of the Napier Park Racing Club.

The S.S. “Manuka” (4,000 Tons) Lying at Glasgow Wharf.

The S.S. “Manuka” (4,000 Tons) Lying at Glasgow Wharf.

Mr. Samuel Carnell, who is a member of the Napier Harbour Board, ex-officio, is referred to as Mayor of Napier.

Mr. Charles Ellison, who has occupied a seat on the Napier Harbour Board for about five years, is a native of Yorkshire, England, and came to New Zealand with his parents at an early age. Mr. Ellison is a partner in the firm of Messrs Ellison and Duncan.

Mr. John Harker, who is a member of the Napier Harbour Board, was born in England, in the year 1839, and was brought up as a flourimiller. He came to New Zealand in the ship “African” in 1862, and landed in Auckland, where he joined the Militia, page 317 and served in the Waikato war. Mr. Harker then went to the Hokitika gold-diggings, and, twelve months later, returned to Auckland, where he carried on general contracting work. In 1877 he removed to Hawke's Bay, and settled in Waipawa, where for many years he conducted a successful business as a building contractor.

Mr. Albert Edward Jull, a member of the Napier Harbour Board, was born in Canada, on the 6th of December, 1864, and came to New Zealand with his parents in 1877. He arrived in Waipawa in 1881, for some years was engaged in store-keeping, and subsequently established himself in the brewing industry. Mr. lull is chairman of the Waipawa County Council, was elected president of the New Zealand Counties Association in 1901, was for some years chairman of the Waipawa Town Board and of the District Hospital Board, and in 1894 was president of the New Zealand Fire Brigades' Association. He is an enthusiastic Oddfellow, is a P.P.G.M. of the Hawke's Bay district, and in 1906 represented the district at the biennial conference held at Nelson.

Mr. James Stanstreet Large, who is a member of the Napier Harbour Board, is a well-known and highly-respected resident of Hawke's Bay. He was born and educated in Manchester, England, where he learned the cabinet-making trade, came to New Zealand in 1862 by the ship “Commodore Perry,” and landed in Dunedin. Shortly afterwards he continued his journey to Napier, where he established himself in business. In the year 1867 he took Mr. Townley into partnership, and started a branch at Gisborne. The business assumed extensive proportions, and became one of the largest in Hawke's Bay. In 1885 the partnership was dissolved. Mr. Large retaining the principal Napier business, and Mr. Townley the Gisborne branch. In 1896 Mr. Large retired from business. He was for some years an active and useful member of the Napier Borough Council, was a member of the Napier School Committee for some time, and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1863 he married a daughter of Mr. James Ferguson, of Manchester, England, and has two daughters and one son.

Mr. John C. McVay is one of the members of the Napier Harbour Board, and is more fully referred to as a former Mayor of Napier.

Mr. Andrew Hamilton Russell, who is a member of the Napier Harbour Board, is further referred to as captain of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles.

Mr. Henry Williams, J.P., Member of the Napier Harbour Board, was born at Bath, Somerset, England, in the year 1848, and is a son of the late Mr. Isaac Williams. He was educated in his native city, where he was afterwards apprenticed to various branches of the hardware trade. In 1862 he came to New Zealand by the ship “Arabella,” and landed in Welington, in which port the ship was soon afterwards partially destroyed by fire. Napier was, in those days, a small but rapidly-extending town, and the branch of Mr. Williams' business mostly in demand was that of tin-smithing and plumbing. From the first he did well, and in a few years found himself in possesing of one of the finest and most complete hardware establishments in the province. Besides the splendid ironmongery warehouse in Napier, there is a branch at Hastings, whilst the American Coach Factory and the Vulcan Foundry, Napier, are further developments of the same business. Mr. Williams has taken an active part, for several years, in all public movements, was a member of the Borough Council for some years,
Napier Lighthouse.

Napier Lighthouse.

page 318 twice represented the ratepayers of Napier on the Harbour Board, and is now a Government nominee. For a considerable period he was visiting justice to the gaol, and he has been a member of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board almost from its inception. Mr. Williams' house and grounds, “Ashridge,” Taradale, are among the finest in the district.

Mr. William Kinross White, who is a member of the Napier Harbour Board as a representative of the Wairoa County Council, is a well known Napier merchant and manager of public companies. He was born in Glassgow, Scotland, and is a son of Mr. Joseph White, of that city. He was educated at the Glasgow University, and after a twelve months' pleasure trip on the Continent of Europe, and a few years' experience of the West India trade, sailed for Melbourne, en route for Napier, in the steamship “Lusitania,” in the year 1879. On his arrival in Napier he was appointed to a responsible position in the mercantile firm of Kinross and Company, which he held until 1886, when he established himself in business on his own account. Mr. White is manager of the North British end New Zealand Investment Company, Limited, and of the North British and Hawke's Bay Freezing Company, Limited, both of which he himself promoted. He is attorney for the London and Lancashire Insurance Company, and agent for the United Marine Insurance Company, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and for J. and E. Hall, Limited, manufacturers of refrigerating and ice-making machinery; besides representing many other important enterprises. In 1887 he married a daughter of the late Dr. Moore, of Christchurch, one of the earliest Canterbury settlers, and has three sons.

Mr. Frederic Wanklyn Williams, a member of the Napier Harbour Board, is referred to as an ex-Mayor of Napier.

Guilliard, photo. A Heavy Sea: Napier Breakwater

Guilliard, photo.
A Heavy Sea: Napier Breakwater

Mr. John Patrick Kenny, Secretary and Treasurer of the Napier Harbour Board, joined the Harbour Board's staff as office boy on the 2nd of November, 1885, and fourteen years later, in April, 1899, was appointed to succeed Mr. J. T. Carr, C.E., as secretary and treasurer. He was born at Battersea, Surrey, England, in August, 1871, and is the only surviving son of Mr. Lawrence J. Kenny, now (1906) ganger for the Napier Harbour Board. Mr. Kenny came to New Zealand at twelve years of age, by the ship “Rangitikei,” and transhipped from Auckland to Napier in the s.s. “Southern Cross.” He was educated up to the time of leaving England at the Brothers' School, Battersea, and after his arrival at Napier entered the commercial academy kept by his uncle, the late Mr. John A. Rearden, at Coote Road, Napier. Upon the death of his uncle, Mr. Kenny completed his education at the Brothers' School at Napier. Mr. Kenny is fond of sport, and for years has been patron of the Ahuriri Football Club, the premier club of the province.

Bunting, photo.Mr. J. P. Kenny.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. J. P. Kenny.

Captain Henry Kraeft, Dredge-master at Napier, and formerly Harbour-master and Pilot, is a native of Prussia, and was brought up to a seafaring life from a very early age. He came to New Zealand in the year 1857, made various trips to Melbourne, and sailed for the Chatham Islands in the brig “Adelaide,” commanded by Captain Weatherhall, when she was wrecked. The shipwrecked crew returned to Wellington by the schooner “Esther,” page 319 and he joined the “Wangia,” a well-known steamer on the coastal trade. In 1860 he entered the pilot service at Napier, was made assistant pilot in 1864, and ten years later was appointed harbour master. During his long service he was instrumental in saving a number of valuable lives, including Captain Setton, of the ship “Pleiades,” and two of the crew, who were rescued through the heroic exertions of Captain Kraeft and his men, a heavy gale blowing at the time, accompanied by a tremendous sea. For his gallantry on that occasion a beautiful clock, with a suitably-inscribed gold plate was presented to him by Captain Setton's friends. On many other occasions he has been the means of saving life, often at the risk of his own. During his long connection with Napier he has won the respect and esteem of all classes, both in public and private life. Captain Kraeft is a Freemason, and an Oddfellow of long standing.

Guilliard, photo. Napier Harbour From Breakwater: S.S, “Manuka” at Glasgow Wharf.

Guilliard, photo.
Napier Harbour From Breakwater: S.S, “Manuka” at Glasgow Wharf.