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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 1958

Recollections of Earlier Days in Motueka — Part One

page 13

Recollections of Earlier Days in Motueka
Part One

Charles and Hannah Parker with their six children, left Birmingham, England for New Zealand in the ship 'Kelso' in the year 1849, arriving in Motueka in December of that year. They first lived in a house in Greenwood Street called the Hen and Chickens which stood where Mr Jim Eginton's hop garden now is—at the back of Mr Joe Green's home.

The first Parker home was built where the hop kiln on the farm now stands, and Edmund was born in that home on December 10th 1851. The larger home was built by Charles Parker who was an architect and builder by occupation, about the year 1859. Four children were born after Edmund, two boys and two girls.

Charles Parker took part in public affairs; he served on the Motueka Road Board and on School Committees and was a Justice of the Peace. He was twice elected to Parliament, the first time in 1857 when the House then sat in Auckland. At the time Parliament was to assemble, his youngest daughter, a child two years old, became very seriously ill and feeling that he could not leave home at such a time, he resigned his seat to the great displeasure of the leader of the Party, Mr Fox. Some years later he again stood for the district against Sir David Monro and was eventually elected. The Parliamentary term in those days was five years. Charles Parker was defeated at the next election by the late Mr Richard Hursthouse. He also represented the district on the Provincial Council with the late Mr Bernard Macmahon.

The Maoris were very numerous in those early days and Edmund Parker remembers his mother telling him how some of the women would walk into her kitchen and squat on the floor, often getting in the way. She would request them to move but often they would not so she would seize the broom and literally sweep them out. "No like the Pakeha woman" the Maoris would say, "she get the broom and sweep sweep." demonstrating the movement with their arms. Their dead they took out to the Kumeras and buried in the sand at low tide.

The Maoris food consisted principally of potatoes and fish. Of shark they were very fond, and this they dried by erecting posts twelve feet high with a cross bar from which the shark was suspended, and there it hung until properly dried. With a Pah in Staples Street where Tommy Morgan now lives, one opposite Jim King's house in Pah Street and yet another opposite where the Maori Church now is, the white population suffered much from drying shark.

On one occasion when Edmund Parker was a schoolboy, a Maori woman who had been deprived of some land in Takaka, became insane as a result and was confined in the lock-up which stood where the Horticultural Hall now is. The ground up as far as the present church and as far back as the vicarage was crowded with Maoris for a day or two while she was kept there.

At the Pah in Wilkie Street where Mr Alf Hunt now lives, many pigs were kept and they destroyed Charles Parker's crops. He appealed to Dr Greenwood, the Magistrate, for protection, who stated that nothing could be done as the Maoris were too numerous. Charles replied that he would do something and the next time a pig raid occurred, he captured one and shut it in his stye. Samson, a big Maori slave, was sent across to retrieve the pig. Charles told him he could not have it. They were standing near the wood heap so Samson picked up the axe to slay Charles. Hannah Parker standing near rushed page 14to the Maori and, little woman though she was, held his hands until Charles took the axe away. The two men then wrestled, first one on top and then the other, until a neighbour, McDonald, seeing the struggle, went to the aid of Charles and Samson was sent back to the Pah. That night, however, the pig was retaken by its owners.

The ground just beyond his home including the property now owned by him, to the High Street as far as the Post Office was studded by tree stumps. Bush extended from the present Domain in Fearon Street to the Institute and right back to Thorp Street. Clearings were made where Stephens and the Postmaster's houses, Dr Pearless and Miss Bett's houses, the Manse and Motueka Hotel now stand.

The people who lived on the properties in those days were Connells (Stephens), Sutcliffes (Miss Betts), Atkins (G. E. Smith) in an old mud house then an hotel, and John Staples (The Manse—now Vautiers). Somewhat later, the Motueka Hotel which was partly built by Charles Parker, was occupied by Mr Auty. Bush extended from the Hotel right back to Thorp Street as far as the only piece of bush now left on Thorp's property.

Where Manoy's drapery shop now stands, William Gibbin had a general store. Lovells had a house at the back of where Shaw Thompsons now is, and Mr William Taylor's father had his home at the back of where Bridles live. Noden's property is now occupied by Heaths. Harts and Buxtons Buildings. A mud house occupied by Dr Little stood where Hulbert's now is. A cottage was on the corner now owned by Lummis Bros., but Edmund cannot remember the occupants.

Mr Jimmie Rose lived in a cottage at the back of Coppins shop, and the Coppins family then lived in the house occupied by Mr and Mrs Smith. There were no more houses along that side of High Street at that time. Wilkies Store stood on the corner of High and Parker Streets. Next was William Lock's home, now Huffam's. There were no more houses along Western High Street then until John Boyes' home was reached (now Will Coppins). Painters occupied the house later lived in by Mr and Mrs Joesph Thorn. People of the name of Marshall, the late Mr John Delaney's mother and stepfather, lived between Brougham's boarding house and the Swan Hotel. The hotel was then occupied by a man named Harding.

On the other side of Whakarewa Street lived Jean Francois, at the back of the Misses Jordan's home. Dr Greenwood lived on the site of the house now occupied by Mrs Taylor, editor of 'Motueka Star', and William Chant had a bakers shop this side of that house. Mr Charlie Green's father had a house the other side and it was later occupied by Mr and Mrs George Boyce. The next house was where William Taylor now lives and was occupied by Charles Alley, a bricklayer.

Along High Street North on the corner of High and Parker Streets stood a two storied house occupied by Rev. Bagshaw and later by the Rumbald family. Further along Staples Street where Mr George Robinson lives or near there lived a Mr Davidson who sailed a boat across the bay to Nelson.

Along Thorp Street lived Mr and Mrs Stephen Eginton and next to them the Gillett family.

The Fearon family lived in Northwood, a house burned down seven years ago, on the property now occupied by Mr Mac Inglis in Fearon Street. The street was not then opened. On the Thorp Estate in Thorp Street toward the Old Wharf Road stood the house Sandridge among beautful trees and in which the Thorp family then lived.

Where Mrs Jim Eginton now is but in another house, lived the Homan family and next was the Neale family. The Gables was built for and occupied by Lieut. Pocock. Opposite was a small house in which lived the Smith family, three sons of which lived there until recent years.

In Greenwood Street was the Hen and Chickens, and the School House, a building on the site of the present old School House, in which lived Mr Wilson, the then schoolmaster. On the site now occupied by Dr Green but in another house, lived a Mr Jones and family. The house was later occupied by his daughter, Mrs Leslie and her husband and family of page 15daughters. The next house was occupied by Mr Alexander Legrand Campbell and was next to Miss Darkins' Nursing Home. It was afterwards lived in by Dr Johansen and his family. The house was burned down years ago.

The old Anglican Vicarage is 64 years old and built by Charles Parker when Edmund was thirteen years old.

Dr Greenwood built a house in Tudor Street about five chains down from Mr Charlie Green's home.

Parker Street. Where Edmund Parker's workshop now stands was a house built by a Mr Smith and later occupied by the Haines family. Edmund and family lived in it for some months 41 years ago until his present home was built. Next was the Parker homestead and opposite that was a house in which lived Mr McDonald, uncle of the late Mrs Gilbert whose husband was Postmaster in Motueka for many years. Later it became the home of Mr and Mrs Henry Mason. In the house, or perhaps in a former house, where Fred Goodman now lives, lived Mr and Mrs Samuel Cook. Opposite on the site of the house now occupied by Mr Fred Hall and Mr Lunn lived a Mr Jaspar.

Wilkie Street. Near where Mr Charlie Boyes's hop kiln stands, was a house in which lived Mr Jimmie Rose.

Atkins Street. Mr and Mrs Thomas Atkins, grandparents or Mr Bob Atkins, lived in a house on the property where Mrs Holyoake now is. Mr William Boyce and family lived in a house on the property now owned by his grandson, Mr Joe Boyce. Opposite lived Mr William Eginton, a brother of Mr Stephen Eginton. The place is owned now by Mr Jack McGlashen.

Where the present old Methodist Parsonage now stands was built the first Wesleyan Parsonage occupied then by a Mr Andrews, a local preacher, who afterwards built a house opposite where Jim King lives.

Poole Street was opened from High Street to Wilkie Street when Edmund was a boy and continued right through when he was 18 or 19. The land now occupied by Mr Harold Goodman and the Courthouse and the land beyond was owned by Maoris and their chief named Rewai. For a long time he refused to allow a road (Poole Street East) to be put through. One day Mr Auty got him into the Hotel, filled him up with beer and argued with him until Rewai seized an axe and chopped the fence down to enable a road to be made. On the site now occupied by Mr Arch McGlashen lived the then schoolmaster, Mr Litchfield, and "a fair devil" he was too. Mr and Mrs Simpson, Mr Michael Simpson's parents, lived where Mr and Mrs Topp (the latter a great granddaughter) now live.

Pah Street. A Maori Pah occupied the corner of Pah and Grey Streets. The house now owned by Mr and Mrs George Sinclair was built for Mr and Mrs Tom Boyes 70 or 72 years ago. Mr Michael Simpson's house and Mr McGlashen's were built later. On the present school ground just at the back of the Post Office Hotel was a house belonging to Mr and Mrs Hogan. When it was built is not remembered. Whakarewa Street was not opened until some years later.

Queen Victoria Street. Adjoining Howard's Estate, now the aerodrome, was Shipley's house opposite Green Lane. The late Mrs Knyvett's house (Howard Estate) is one of the old houses.

King Edward Street. Lunn's house was where Mr Arthur Lunn lives but not the same house. Limmer's house was where the Mayor, Mr Rubert York, lives but also not the same house.

College Street. Austin's house was next to where Mr and Mrs L. Cowin live and opposite was Penny's. A Maori Mission Anglican College was built on the site where the Whakarewa Orphanage now stands.

The first Methodist Church was built in the old Cemetery along Pah Street.

Old Wharf Road. No houses were built there in the early days.