Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 2, Issue 6, April 1973
Motueka Place Names
Motueka Place Names
Jubilee Bridge. The name was known and used since 1887 when a new bridge was built to replace one destroyed by flood a year earlier. It is believed the new bridge was named to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the crowning of H.M. Queen Victoria. The bridge spanned the river opposite School Road, Lower Moutere, and was described as a trestle type. In 1903 it was severely damaged and partly rebuilt. In 1945, the bridge was wrecked by a heavy vehicle which struck the side and caused half the structure to fall into the river. Authorities decided to build a new bridge on a new road line which deviated approximately five hundred yards north of School Road. Much flooding was caused by opposing rivers which met where they entered the sea. In the final plan the new Jubilee Bridge (with name shown) spans the same river as formerly which was isolated. The two rivers, known as Moutere River and N.Z. Company's Ditch, are described briefly.
Moutere River rises in the valleys near and beyond Upper Moutere, and large swamps had developed in the central valley. The Moutere River flows on the west side of the main road. Near the sea it had turned in a semi-circle and had been linked with the N.Z. Company's Ditch. On the surveyed road tide water added to the page 33danger at fords and bridges. The river was suitable for small boats for nearly a mile. A loading bank was near the roadline where small vessels floated in several feet of water at high tides. Subseqent repair work on channels and bridge did not overcome the flooding.
N.Z. Company's Ditch is an excavated channel reported to have been formed six feet wide in 1860 decade by manual labour. The name is noted on some early plans and is still in use. The ditch was commenced from the Moutere River, close to the line of hills, and terminated at Harakeke, an estimated distance of six miles. It connected several prominent streams and often carried a very large volume of water. Scouring was extraordinary and huge quantities of debris and shingle were deposited where the rivers met, and into the tidal inlet.
Wildman Road is named after the Wildman family who lived there for more than fifty years. A son, W. A. Wildman (later Captain) commenced his sea-going career on the cutter "Planet" about 1868 when the vessel was in service between Motueka and Nelson. Captain Wildman spent 62 years at sea as master of several steamers of the Anchor Shipping Company and made an exceptional number of journeys through Cook Strait.
Motueka's Present Wharf is the third locality to operate the wharf trade of Motueka and was opened in 1916 with approach road, reclamation and some construction. The port is located on the Moutere River which was dredged to a depth of nine feet. In the same scheme the No. 1 shed, a waiting room, office, shipping agent's office and a post office—Port Motueka—were provided. Other wharf sheds were added some years later. Shipping arrived and departed according to tides and included passenger services to about 1930. Passengers travelled to Collingwood and Nelson, and on direct sailings to Wellington and other ports. The new wharf attracted several industries. The largest building was the wooden cool store built and controlled by the Motueka Cool Storage Pool, a co-operative concern in which fruitgrowers were entitled to storage space. Later it became a limited liability company with the same objects. The building enabled growers to deposit and remove their own produce from cubicles held under refrigerated storage which provided for 40,000 bushel cases. The building was believed to be the largest wooden cool store in the southern hemisphere. In the 1920's when horse-drawn carts and lorries were in their fullest use, traffic congestion was common. The store was in constant use until the Cool Storage Company wound up. Other industries were set up.
M.V. "Wairau," the abandoned vessel on the foreshore was built at Whangaroa in 1899–1900 as the topsail schooner "Ronga" which was a handsome craft. The remains are not handsome. In its final years it was laid up at Wairau Bar and Nelson. Finally she was brought to Motueka under her own power with an escort vessel and beached for repairs which were not completed. "Wairau" terminated its sea service in 1961. "Ronga" might have been restored for a museum.page 34
The Old Wharf as viewed, is the second wharf to be built on the site. The former wharf (built 1853) had extensive use by many small sailing vessels when navigation aids were inadequate. A new wharf built in 1889 was of stone construction and remains in fair condition. At the outer end of the stonework a wooden 'T' structure and buildings were erected (see plate). The wharf continued in use until 1916–1917 when all operations were transferred to the new wharf. The old wharf had served the people for more than sixty years. A narrow trolley track lay along the length of the wharf for cargo purposes. Store sheds and wharfinger's house were established. Across the road were several industrial premises, and a hotel. Larger steamers appeared and passenger services were in operation to Wellington, Hokitika and other ports. Horse-drawn cabs plied between the port and the town, two miles distant. A post office "Motueka Wharf" was established until 1917.
Topsail schooner, "Amelia Sims," (120 ft., 98 tons) at old wharf, Motueka, about 1903. Built in Australia it reached the home port—Kaiapoi—in 1901 and though having an auxiliary screw for berthing purposes sail was its chief means of propulsion. In moderate weather "Amelia Sims" would carry ten or twelve sails and be a worthy sight in deep water.
—Photo by courtesy of Miss Nina Moffatt, Motueka.
The Monument on the roadway opposite the wharf was erected to commemorate the coronation of H.M. King Edward VII, and as a memorial to Trooper Tarrant who died during the Boer War. The structure was fitted with a water trough to serve the dozens of horses which visited the wharf. It was surmounted with a large lamp using kerosene fuel which served as a street light and shipping lead.
The Gables. The large two-storey gabled home situated at the corner of Tudor Street and Thorpe Street, was built in 1860. The ground floor is of cob construction and was used for volunteer Corps headquarters for some years. The upper floor was, and still is, a residence.
S.S. "Janie Seddon." The abandoned hulk of the once-handsome vessel lies on the beach near the Old Wharf. It was the Government steamer in service at Wellington for more than forty years. About 1950 it was purchased by a trawling company domiciled at Motueka. It proved to be not wholly suitable for trawling, and being a steamer was expensive to operate and maintain a head of steam. It was eventually laid up at the wharf and to await a report on motor power, which was not suitable. A few months later it was towed to its present position where its sea service ended in 1956. Attempts were made to cut up the valuable iron plating. They were not completed but should be carried out to dispose of an unwelcome guest.
Fearon Street and Bush were named after the family of Captain Edward Fearon who, from 1844, owned the land and magnicent natural forest which he reserved for the people. Other donations included property for a church, and a valuable library.
Tudor Street was named after Rev. T. L. Tudor who was first vicar of Motueka. He served in the first church built in the town. His Maori pupils were well cared for at the pa during the 1850 period.
Greenwood Street was named after the first medical practitioner who arrived in 1843. He was Doctor John Danforth Greenwood. His first home—Woodlands—built of slab timber was in Tudor Street on the southern side. Land which he donated for a new church was in Greenwood Street opposite the Post Office.
First Anglican Church and Cemetery was situated at the corner of Fearon and Thorpe Street. The site of the church was a few yards from the iron gate in Thorpe Street. The small timber church, St. Thomas', was built in 1848. Some years later it was moved to a new site. The font is made from a section of the mast of "Fifeshire," wrecked at Nelson 27 February, 1842, when leaving port. A number of pioneers are buried in the cemetery allotment.
First Landing Place for settlers and others who travelled direct to Motueka came into common use from 1843. A loading bank and mooring posts were erected near the eastern end of Staples street where it joined a shelterd inlet from the sea. It was known as page 36"Manuka Bush" for ten years until a more substantial wharf was built a mile to the south of it. The new one was known as Motueka Wharf with postal and telephone services. (Refer to "The Old Wharf, page 34.)
Staples Malt House to the north of the town, was built more than a hundred years ago—probably 1853–1856. Much of the brickwork remains. The wooden housing over the stone cellar collapsed about 1957. The shingles on the roof are reported to be the original ones — some of them being in fair condition.
Riwaka Wharf and Shipping: The field trip ended at Riwaka wharf where some early history of shipping in the district is of added interest. The small port served the local community for a hundred years, and included some operations concerned with the initial landings at Astrolabe Roads of the Expedition vessels in October, 1841. Subsequent events are noted briefly.
The landing was effected on or about 4th October, 1841, and it is recorded that Kaiteriteri Cove was visited on 9th October, 1841. A plaque erected near a spring marks the spot where water casks were replenished, and search for land continued.
When the anchors were dropped, no person aboard the vessels had any experience or knowledge of a haven, coastline or land required for the named Nelson Settlement, which disposes of the claim that a pilot was engaged to guide them to it.
A search for land commenced in dense forest at Astrolabe Roads when extremely strenuous journeys were undertaken by Frederick Tuckett, Surveyor, and Samuel Stephens, Assistant, much of it being due to false reports of land by other searchers. The search continued south and undoubtedly included Sandy Bay and other places by the use of the ship's boat where tidal water assisted them far inland.
At Kaiteriteri Cove extensive expeditions were carried out, and a survey commenced. Long journeys were again undertaken by Frederick Tuckett and Samuel Stephens who travelled many miles over several days and returned in an exhausted condition, and with clothing destroyed. Land was not found.
A foot-trail linked Kaiteriteri Cove with a Maori pa at the mouth of Riwaka River and a palisaded one at the top of the hill above it. It is assumed the hill was climbed to gain a wide outlook over the land and shoreline.
The pa was reported to be a small group of huts, and is attributed to Captain Wakefield's notes. It was his duty to verify the existence of land and harbour when reported to him. During his sojourn at Astrolabe Roads, it is beyond doubt that Captain Arthur Wakefield was on shore for long periods and at many places.
The Riwaka and Motueka Rivers were navigable by the ship's boat for probably three miles. The areas would be searched, and it is certain the valleys were explored many miles from the Cove or the shore. While the search proceeded, the vessels remained at page 37anchor in Astrolabe Roads for four weeks and the head of Blind Bay was not visited.
A change in the search plan took place when Captain Wakefield sent James Cross (a Deal Pilot he had enrolled for the Expedition) in the ship's boat to search on the eastern side of the bay. From an early report on the incident, it is clear that the reputed pilot—F. G. Moore—was not on board the boat.
In a day or two James Cross located the haven and observed that the land surrounding it was more suitable and more extensive for settlement. (Tentative date 25th October, 1841).
On reporting back to Captain Wakefield, an immediate decision was made to establish the Nelson Settlement at the location of the haven. In the confused conditions which had existed, the integrity and resourcefulness of the surveyors—Frederick Tuckett and Samuel Stephens—were justly rewarded by that decision.
Kaiteriteri Cove was vacated immediately. The ships were prepared for the journey to the eastern shore where they arrived 1st to 5th November, 1841.
The surveyors began the tedious task of planning and survey of Nelson Settlement on land which was totally inadequate to provide for all commitments. The land near Riwaka and Motueka rivers was included in the survey plans. The first survey party, in charge of Samuel Stephens, landed at the mouth of the Riwaka river at the site of the Maori pa they had observed several months earlier. At that point, the first base line was established for the Riwaka Survey, also the first housing built, and the first jetty or wharf for handling of stores and produce. The date of arrival was May 2nd, 1842.
From these extraordinary events evolved the trade, ships and wharves over a century of service to the people of the district. Brief information is added to show the nature and value of the service.
Riwaka has had five serviceable wharves—one at the monument on north side; two at Green Tree Point; two on the present location on the south side of the channel. Approximate years of establishment were 1842, 1853, 1870, 1895 and 1956 when the concrete wall was built, mostly by residents.
Up to 1905, Riwaka Road Board controlled the wharf under administration of Waimea County. Cargo was handled by owners and a group of standby workers. Wharfage rates at 9d. per ton and 9d. per bale were threequarters of the charge at Motueka.
From 1905, Riwaka wharf was included in the Motueka Harbour Board District under the Motueka Harbour Board Act where boundaries and conditions of maintenance were set out.
Wharfage rates remained until 1916 when the general tonnage rate was raised from 9d. to 1/- by a new by-law which included shipping dues at one penny per ton on registered tonnage of vessels coming to the wharf.
Vessels recorded at Riwaka (after 1900) included the following: S.S. "Lady Barkly"—43 tons; S.S. "Elsie"—20 tons; S.S. "Koi"—53 page 38tons. Sailing vessels: "Result", "Gannet", "Venture", "Vindex", "Asa", "Transit", "Lily", "Planet", "Old Jack", "Maid of Italy", "Orakei". Wharfage dues on these vessels were approximately 1/- per visit. From 1915 the auxiliary ketch "Pearl Kasper," 53 tons—later fitted with a heavier engine—took most of the trade by providing more reliable service during 23 years serving Riwaka.
The cutter "Planet" was built in 1859 (Auckland), and last recorded visit to Riwaka was 1903. The S.S. "Lady Barkly" was a regular trader, and with the "Planet" conducted an exceptional shuttle service with the main terminal at Nelson between 1870 and 1910.
The cutter "Maid of Italy" (14 tons) was sailed from Auckland and recorded in local waters 1875–6. Recorded at Riwaka September 1924 as having been in service for fifty years.
The small ships provided seamen with exceptional knowledge of the sea.
* Described by the author to co-members Nelson Historical Society on a field trip. For seventeen years Mr. Murray was Secretary, Motueka Harbour Board, until he retired in 1966. All items are within Motueka Harbour Board District formed in 1905 and, excluding streets, within the harbour limits.