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



A story has been handed down that Read found it advisable, before he settled in Poverty Bay, to make a change in his surname. His birthname was supposed by some people to have been “George Edward Read Bloomfield.” They appear to have overlooked the fact that, if that had been the case, his brother Robert would also have required to drop the surname “Bloomfield.” Captain Bloomfield, who was a relative, was sometimes erroneously referred to as “Captain Thomas Bloomfield Read.”

There was much speculation as to what would be found to be the value of Read's estate. The Poverty Bay Standard, in its obituary notice, stated that three-fourths of the business property in Gisborne had been created with his financial help. His estate was valued for death duties at £130,000. Properties in his estate auctioned in January, 1879, included a number of valuable sections facing Read's Quay and Gladstone Road and others in other important streets, besides allotments on Kaiti and in Mendlesham Township; shares in Ahipakura block; the freeholds of Te Rahui, Ngawaierua, Matawhero B and No. 1, Makauri, Taruheru, “The Willows,” Ahimanawa No. 1, Pohika-ngawaka (with the Ferry Hotel), Taro-o-Paea and Kaipara; and leaseholds in connection with Karaua, Puketapu, Rua-o-Hinatu, Rapanui, Makauri, Taruheru and Matawhero No. 1 blocks. Important clearing sales were held at Makauri, Puketapu and “The Willows.”

Read liberally provided for Noko, who had proved a very suitable wife for him. She was bequeathed a fine dwelling, with ten acres, at “The Willows” (Matawhero), besides a handsome amount in cash. In October, 1879, she remarried, her second husband being Hone White. The ceremony took place at Holy Trinity Church, Gisborne, and, in its report, the Standard, in the free and easy press style of those days, was unkind enough to remark that it wondered what Captain Read would have said if he could have seen his widow “dressed so elegantly in silks and satins.” The main beneficiary was T. E. R. Bloomfield. He at once became a generous patron of the Turf, and, on that account, and as a result of bad investments, he found himself poorer to the extent of £26,000 within only four years. His death occurred in May, 1910. Several page 195 of Read's old hands received a pension of £1 per week for life—the first old-age pensions to be awarded in Poverty Bay.

Read's Quay, one of the principal thoroughfares in Gisborne, alone perpetuates the name of the district's most enterprising pioneer.