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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



Nothing authentic has been traced that throws any light on the earlier, or subsequent, career of “Yankee” Smith. A number of early colonists named Smith bore the label “Yankee.” One of them was a prominent Wanganui pioneer. Downes (Old Whanganui, p. 217) says this Smith figured in some serious trouble over a section which had been sold by the New Zealand Land Co. A sketch of an hotel which was kept by a “Yankee” Smith is in the Wanganui Museum. The name “Alvah page 185 Smith” was on the petition which prayed that the name of the town should be changed from Petre to Wanganui. It may be only a coincidence, but the forename of the “Yankee” Smith who lived in Poverty Bay is believed to have started with the letter “A.” A “Yankee” Smith was also prominent in connection with the early coaching days in Otago.

James Dunlop (born in Glasgow in 1820) was educated at Glasgow University and then attended the military college at Metz (Germany). He was trained in business by Tennent and Co., wholesale chemists, Glasgow. To the members of this firm he was related on his mother's side. Lady Asquith belonged to this family of Tennents. On his father's side he was descended from Mrs. Dunlop, the friend of the poet Burns. He migrated to New Zealand in 1849 and settled in Poverty Bay in 1850, first at Makaraka and then at Te Arai. His death took place on 21 June, 1901. All but one of his thirteen children survived him, and there were over 100 descendants. Mrs. Emily Dean Pitt, the last member of the family, died at Gisborne in her eighty-first year on 30 April, 1947.

Thomas U'Ren (born in Cornwall in 1812) reached Wellington with his wife and two children (Robert and Gertrude) on 7 February, 1840. He settled at Makaraka in June, 1841, bringing with him a tradition that his forbears had fled from France in Huguenot times. His son Thomas (born on 12 October, 1841; died on 17 October, 1912) was the first white boy—not the first white child—to be born in Poverty Bay. U'Ren senior died on 25 July, 1860. His grave in Makaraka Cemetery might have been the first, for his tombstone bears the earliest date.

Richard John Byrne (born in 1812) came out to Auckland in 1845 with the 58th Regiment. In 1865 he set up in business as a shoemaker at Makaraka, and was afterwards employed by Captain Read. His wife and children, with the exception of the eldest (Thomas), were sent to Napier on the day of the Massacre. He died on 24 September, 1900. A daughter (Mary, the widow of Thomas Finucane) attained her 90th birthday in June, 1949.

Robert Colebrook took charge of Captain Read's drapery department in 1870. Two years later he became the licensee of the Waerenga-a-Hika Hotel, but relinquished the license in 1873. He kept a store there until 1910, when he went to reside in Auckland.

George Guise Mill migrated with his wife from Scotland to Onehunga in 1857. Three years later he moved to Poverty Bay to act as business overseer for Captain Read. He was the first resident of the district to own a camera. During the Hauhau and Te Kooti rebellions he saw active service, and Mrs. Mill assisted to nurse the wounded. On 5 September, 1875, he lost his life by drowning in the Taruheru River. Jimmy Mill, the 1924 All Black, is a grandson.