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

Death Causes Shock to the Community

Death Causes Shock to the Community

It came as a great shock to all classes to learn, on 23 February, 1878, that Read had passed away. He had been in the township in the morning, and, after engaging in a very heated argument with a resident, had returned home. His attentive wife, Noko, found him bathing his head with water which he had drawn from page 194 a well. Shortly afterwards he expired. Dr. H. Pollen gave a certificate that death had been due to fatty degeneration of the heart. The verdict at the inquest was: “Died by the visitation of God, and not by any violent means whatsoever to the knowledge of the said jurors.” Read was buried in the family plot at “Riverslea” (Opou). The cortege was the largest that had been seen in the district. “Snip” was taken to the funeral.

To-day the burial ground is sadly in need of attention. Some of the iron railings have become displaced, and the top section of the tombstone is broken off. Only the inscription relating to Read's own death is legible. It is in simple form and reads:

In Memory of
Capt. George Edward Read
One of the Earliest and Most Useful
Settlers of the District
Who died suddenly at his residence
near Gisborne
February 23, 1878.