The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
Waitotara is a farming centre on the banks of the Waitotara river, thirty feet above the level of the sea. It is 170 miles north-west by rail from Wellington, and eighty-two miles from New Plymouth. Waitotara forms part of the Waverley riding of the County of Patea. There is a local post office and telephone bureau, and mails are received and despatched three times a day. A resident constable is in charge of the local police station, and his district extends for forty miles up the river. There are five native pas in the vicinity of Waitotara, namely, Ihipuki, Kaipo, Nukumaru, Papatupu, and Pakuraki, also several Maori kaiangas, and the Weraroa redoubt, where a great fight took place at the time of the Maori war. There are two hotels, and a public school (under the care of a master and one assistant) with an average attendance of fifty-five. The population of Waitotara and vicinity at the census of 1906 was 159.
Waitotara Hotel (G. Mc-Arthur, proprietor), Main Street, Waitotara. This hotel was established in the early “sixties,” and a portion of the original building still forms part of the hostelry. In the year 1902, however, it was partly rebuilt, and considerably enlarged. The building is of wood and iron, and contains twenty rooms, including ten bedrooms, four sitting rooms, a commercial room, and a cheerful dining room, which has accommodation for twenty people. At the rear of the hotel there are convenient stables, containing six stalls and eight loose boxes.
Mr George McArthur, proprietor of the Waitotara Hotel, was brought up in New Zealand, and was educated at Te Aro and under Mr Holmes, of Ghuznee Street, Wellington. He was trained for commercial life, and was for two years and a half in business as a tobacconist in Lambton Quay, before taking over his present business. Mr McArthur takes a keen interest in football and all out-door sports. In 1892 he married a daughter of Mr Henry Sergeant, of Wellington, and has two daughters.
Clark, John Joseph, Butcher and Baker, Kaipo Street, Waitotara. This well-known business was established by Mr. Thomas Clark, father of the present proprietor, about the year 1879, and has been conducted by the latter since 1899. The premises now occupied were erected in 1892, and consist of a two-storeyed wood and iron building, which contains a large shop, an office, and a small goods room; the first floor being used as a private residence. The bakehouse is situated at the rear, and is in charge of an expert tradesman. Both meat and bread are delivered over a radius of ten miles from the township. Mr Clark was born in the year 1878, in Westland, and was brought up to his present business under his father. In 1904 he married a daughter of Mr J. Bradley, farmer, of Momahaki.
Coombe, James, Sheep-farmer, Waitotara. Mr Coombe's property consists of 1,450 acres, of which 500 acres are level, and carries 3,000 sheep and 200 head of mixed cattle. He is the son of Mr James Coombe, of Marton, a well-known breeder of draught horses. He owns the well-known hunter, “The Duchess,” winner of fifty-four championship prizes: gold and silver medals at Hawke's Bay, the Carterton silver cup, Palmerston North cup for three successive years, and gold and silver medals at Wanganui, Hawera, and Marton. Mr Coombe acts as judge at the principal competitions in New Zealand for light horse jumping. He was born at Marton in the year 1879, and brought up to farming pursuits under his father. In 1904 he bought a farm at Gisborne, but sold the property in 1906, and settled in Waitotara. Mr Coombe is an active member of the Manawatu and West Coast Agricultural and Pastoral Association; he also acts as starter in the Wanganui Jockey Club, and several other meetings on the West Coast.
Mr. J. Coombe.