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



Born in Hesse Cassel (Germany), the fair-complexioned, grey-eyed and kindly disposed Carl Sylvius Volkner was sent out to Taranaki as a Lutheran missionary. On account of lack of support from the North German Missionary Society, he joined up with the Church Missionary Society. He laboured at Kohanga (Lower Waikato) from 1851 till 1854; was assistant to Archdeacon Brown at Tauranga from 1855 till 1859; and was in charge of the boys at Waerenga-a-Hika during 1860. In August, 1861, he was sent to Opotiki, where he supervised the erection of the historic church which now bears the name “St. Stephen the Martyr,” but which, originally, was called by the natives “Hiona” (“Zion”). The Volkner Islets, immediately to the north-west of White Island, were named after him.

Rev. Thomas Samuel Grace (born at Liverpool on 16 February, 1815) became the principal of his employer's business when he was 24 years old. In 1844 he offered his services to the Church Missionary Society; in 1848 he was ordained deacon and appointed to the curacy of Tideswell (Derbyshire). He was elevated to the priesthood in 1849, and, on 11 February, 1850, he sailed for Auckland with his wife and two children. He served in Poverty Bay from 1850 till 1853, and then conducted a mission station at Pukawa (Taupo) until early in 1865, when the Hauhaus drove him away. At Opotiki, in 1865, he narrowly escaped the shocking fate which befell Mr. Volkner. He died at Tauranga on 30 April, 1879.

Hirini te Kani (born in 1826) was a son of Rawiri te Eke by his principal wife (Riria). His birthname was Hirini Tuahine, but Te Kani-a-Takirau, just before he died, changed it. Hirini, who was Te Kani's successor, died on 5 July, 1896. A monument in his honour stands on Kaiti Hill.

Colonel James Fraser (born in Nova Scotia in 1841) claimed descent from the Lovats. He gained a commission in the 73rd Highlanders in 1858, and saw service in India. In 1864 he took up land in Hawke's Bay, and became captain of the Hawke's Bay Militia. His conduct of the East Coast campaign in 1865 was brilliant. At the Battle of Omarunui (1866) he cut off the rebels' mounted force which intended to attack Napier from the direction of Petane. He took part in the Ruakituri fight and the Siege of Ngatapa (1868). He was then transferred to Taranaki and, later, to the Bay of Plenty, where he died from fever on 10 March, 1870.

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William Australia Graham (born at Auckland in 1841) spent some years in Poverty Bay as a surveyor and as an intermediary for the natives. Some years later, King Mahuta presented a white mere to him to mark his services as a mediator between natives and Europeans in the Waikato. From 1884 till 1887 he was Mayor of Hamilton. His father (Geo. Graham, M.H.R.) came out to New Zealand as a member of Lieutenant-Governor Hobson's staff in 1840.

Anaru Matete (who introduced the first sheep into Poverty Bay in 1850) assisted in establishing the Poverty Bay mission station in 1840. In 1865 he turned Hauhau, and escaped from Waerenga-a-Hika pa during the surrender negotiations. When Te Kooti and his followers returned from the Chatham Islands in 1868 he joined them. Eventually, he was cut off from his leader at Mangaone, and made his way out to Te Reinga, where he gave himself up and was pardoned.

John Brooking (born at Dartmouth, England, in 1843) migrated to Hawke's Bay with his parents in 1857. He served in the East Coast War (1865), was a sergeant of the original guard sent to the Chatham Islands with the Hauhau prisoners (1866), and fought against the Te Kooti rebels (1868). He then joined the Native Land Department, and was a Native Lands Commissioner when he retired in 1909. He died on 2 September, 1913.

Matthew Hall (born in England in 1840) settled in Gisborne in 1867 and saw active service against the Te Kooti rebels in 1868. His saddlery business was the first to be established in Poverty Bay. In 1873 he took out the first auctioneer's license in the district. He was a foundation member of St. Andrew's Church, first secretary of the A. and P. Association, and a warm supporter of the Turf. His death occurred on 4 July, 1915.