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

Pioneer Hotelkeepers

Pioneer Hotelkeepers

Stapylton Cotton Caulton (born in Lancashire in 1840) migrated to Australia in his youth. In 1863 he became licensee of the Masonic Hotel at Napier. He served with the Hawke's Bay Defence Force at Omarunui (1866) and in Poverty Bay (1868). In 1872 he took up Combermere (Ormond) and joined the Poverty Bay M.R. He was the first licensce of the Masonic Hotel at Gisborne (1874–5). During 1875–6 he represented Poverty Bay on the Auckland Provincial Council. He was licensee of the Albert Hotel at Auckland in 1880, and of the Roseland Hotel at Makaraka in 1883. Then he took up a Waimata property. He page 342 served with the J Battery (1884–6) and Cook County Rifles (1886–9). Returning to Auckland, he conducted, in turn, the Governor Browne, Wharf, Central and St. Heliers Bay Hotels. In 1890 he joined the Irish Rifles at Auckland. He went as a lieutenant with the 7th Contingent to the Boer War, and had an arm shattered during the Battle of Bothasberg. Two of his sons (Alexander and Reginald) became well-known hotelkeepers in Poverty Bay.

Thomas Bell, the first licensee of the hotel at Scott's Crossing (Kaiteratahi) was 14 years old when he arrived in New Zealand in 1853. Before settling in Poverty Bay he lived at Mohaka. In 1877 he took his wife and five children to Samoa, where he made the acquaintance of a Scotsman named Johnstone, who had resided on Sunday Island (Kermadec Group). The Bells found the island uninhabited when they settled there in 1878. Mr. Bell became known as “The Robinson Crusoe of Sunday Island.”

Alexander Blair (born in Argyllshire in 1839) served with the Hawke's Bay Defence Corps at the Siege of Waerenga-a-Hika. Shortly afterwards he settled in Poverty Bay, entering into a storekeeping partnership with John Cadle. In 1871 he built, and became the first licensee of, the Argyll Hotel. He died in February, 1897.

J. R. Scott, who became licensee of the Masonic Hotel in 1885, acted as advance agent for a Maori haka troupe which visited Sydney in 1879. He assisted to promote, and became manager of, the Maori Rugby team which toured the United Kingdom in 1888–9, winning 54 of its 74 matches.

John Maynard (born in London in 1840) went to the Ballarat goldfields and to Gabriel's Gully. After being on active service in Taranaki he settled in Poverty Bay in 1865, and took part in the fighting against the Te Kooti rebels. He conducted the Muriwai Hotel for Captain Read in 1866, and was the first licensee of the Albion Hotel (1868). In 1870 he established a butchery at Ormond, where, in 1875, D. McNair built for him the first stone house erected in Poverty Bay. Subsequently he was in business in Gisborne. He died in February, 1925.

John Alfred Harding (born at Tipperary in 1853) was 14 years old when he landed at Auckland with his parents. He spent 14 years as a surveyor, and, during part of the time, was engaged on the East Coast. Then, for nine years, he kept a store at Waipiro Bay. Moving to Gisborne, he became licensee of the Masonic Hotel. He served on the Borough Council (19 years), Cook County Council, and Harbour Board, and was a Hospital Trustee. His death occurred on 8 May, 1907.

Francis Robert (Frank) Harris (born at Napier in 1858) was a son of Edward Francis Harris and a grandson of Captain J. W. Harris. In 1873 he went to work on Opou station, spending 12 years on that station. He was landlord of the Albion Hotel for 17 years, and, subsequently, of the British Empire Hotel for some years. For several terms he was a member of the Borough Council and the Harbour Board. He died in January, 1931.

Edward Walker (born in 1830) had a store at Opotiki in 1865, when the Hauhau emissaries arrived there from Taranaki. On the evening before the Rev. C. S. Volkner was hanged a young native in his employ attended a Hauhau meeting and, as he was returning home, threw stones on the roof to warn him that the attitude of the native converts towards the Europeans was hostile. He packed up and fled to Whakatane. For some years he kept a store at Waipiro Bay, and then took over an hotel at Port Awanui, proving a cheery and most hospitable landlord. Masters of visiting schooners kept a look-out for the signal which he flew from his flagstaff to indicate the state of the beach. He died at Auckland on 17 September, 1899.

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George Brown Oman (born at Swansea in 1864) came to Poverty Bay with Mr. and Mrs. Haache (his step-parents) in 1874. He took over the Muriwai Hotel in 1898 and then held, in turn, the licences of the following hotels: Waipiro Bay, Whatatutu, Coronation, Wairoa, British Empire, Gisborne and Masonic (Gisborne). He was 38 years in the hotel business. Short periods were served by him on the Borough Council and Hospital Board. He owned several successful racehorses. His death took place on 14 July, 1936.