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

East Coast Seat

East Coast Seat.

The East Coast seat was held by:

  • William Kelly, a supporter of the Fox Government (February, 1871, till December, 1875). Polling: Kelly, 138; Mackay, 64; Skeet, 52.

  • George Edward Read (January, 1876, till August, 1876).

This was the most sensational electoral contest ever held in the East Coast districts. Result: Read, 215; G. B. Morris, 206; W. Kelly, 185; Maihi, 9. On polling day mysterious pieces of cardboard were distributed in Gisborne, and the hotel bars were crowded by recipients desirous of testing their genuineness as legal tender. These p.n.'s ranged in value from 2/6 to 10/-. Morris petitioned to have Read unseated on the ground that the result had been influenced by unlawful acts of treating and by other acts of bribery and corruption. A Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry found that some of Read's election agents had overstepped the mark, but that it had not been proved that any breach of the law had been committed with his approval. By resolution the House of Representatives decided that Read should forfeit the seat to Morris. This was the last occasion upon which an inquiry into an election was entrusted to a Parliamentary Committee. The election, it was reported, cost Read £2,000 and Morris £700. Several cases alleging breaches of the electoral laws were brought against alleged agents of the principal candidates.

Alan McDonald settled in Poverty Bay in 1871. In association with Percival Barker, senior, he held interests in the Whataupoko and Kaiti runs. He then took over Turihaua and Puatai. In 1885 he was elected mayor of Gisborne. He was an outstanding athlete. Financial worries led to a breakdown in 1887, and he paid a visit to the United Kingdom. Upon his return in 1892 he went on to Otago, and then to Australia. A report from Melbourne (Poverty Bay Herald, 5/9/1893) stated that he left his luggage at an hotel there and, as he did not return, the police held an inquiry, but without avail.

Samuel Locke (born in Norfolk in 1836) became Provincial Surveyor for Hawke's Bay in 1862, and, shortly afterwards, Lands Purchase Officer for Hawke's Bay and Poverty Bay. Upon his recommendation the sale of firearms to the natives of Poverty Bay and the East Coast was made illegal in 1864. He and his father-in-law (Joseph Rhodes, of Napier) leased Paremata (Tolaga Bay) in 1868. He was magistrate for the East Coast districts in 1869. During 1870–1 he acted for the Crown in connection with the purchase of the Seventy Mile Bush (400,000 acres). In 1874 he was associated with W. F. Hargreaves in Waikohu run, and, in 1878, he acquired portion of Makauri. He took a keen interest in the promotion of education among both races. His death occurred in Auckland in April, 1890.

Andrew Graham (born at East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, in 1843) arrived at Napier in 1864. He was on active service in Hawke's Bay and Poverty Bay. In 1873 he opened a branch of the Napier firm of Kinross and Graham at Gisborne. The firm lost heavily when the City of Glasgow Bank failed. He was the first chairman of Gisborne Harbour Board. On account of his stand in favour of tenders being called at Home for the harbour works, advocates of the day labour system burnt effigies of himself and two other prominent residents who shared his views. He also served as chairman of the Hospital Board and of Cook County Council. He died in April, 1926.

Alexander Creighton Arthur (born in England) took up the Tokomaru Bay run in 1874, “The Willows” (Matawhero) in 1878, and the Whatatutu run in 1880. With his brother Frank he went to Western Australia and invested profitably in the Juliet gold mine. He then spent some years as a sharebroker in Johannesburg, and returned to England in 1896.