Bee Family Reunion 1986


May 17th – 18th 1986

[Illustration – St Lukes – Havelock Nth   P.J. Cleland]

The Kowhai Tree

When last I passed the Kowhai tree
On a day in bleak July
Its gnarled trunk and moss-grown limbs
Were bare against the sky.

I say the tree again today,
T’was lovely to behold;
Against the sun’s bright morning ray
A shimmering ball of gold.

Harry Bourke



People will not look forward to posterity who never look back to their ancestors


Fellow members of the Bee Family.

This weekend marks the reunion of the Bee Family. One hundred and forty four years have passed since the first of our forebears, Francis, Anne and daughter Ellen, arrived by the sailing ship “London” at Petone after a long voyage from England. They were followed later by George and Mary with their family on the ship “Rangoon” which arrived at Napier.

It is my pleasure to welcome all those present and to congratulate my hardworking committee in making it possible to hold this reunion for members of the family to get together and mark this milestone of history.

It has been my privilege to head a committee for the past twelve months who have worked steadily towards the reunion function.   My warmest thanks go to our hard working secretary Margaret Wilson, who travelled from Wairoa to attend all our meetings, and has performed her task with great credit. Also special thanks to Roger Bee for the tremendous task of compiling the family trees, and to his wife Wendy, our treasurer. Without these two I doubt if we would ever have got the reunion off the ground.

Thanks also to Ivy Bee for making the reunion cake, Lynn Isles for arranging the display of photos and items of interest, Pam McPhail for arrangements with St Lukes Church, Peter Bourke for our publicity, Mita McRae for flowers and our Master of Ceremonies Buddy Beachem [Beachen]. Thanks also to all those others who have helped in any way as without their support the reunion would not have been possible.

Best wishes to all.

George Bee


Saturday, 17th May 1986

9.00 am   Register at Hastings Racecourse
10.00 am   Morning Tea
12.00 pm   Lunch
1 – 3 pm   Photographs
3.00 pm   Afternoon Tea
6.00 pm   Get together
7 – 8 pm   Dinner and toast etc
8.30 onwards   Cabaret

Sunday, 18th May 1986

10.00 am   Church Service at St Lukes, Havelock North
12.00 pm   Barbeque lunch
1.00 pm   Pageant
3.00 pm   Afternoon tea
3.30 pm   “Auld Lang Syne”


George Bee   Organiser
Wendy Bee   Treasurer and Registration
Roger Bee   Family Tree and liason [liaison] with photographer
Ivy Bee   Reunion cake
Buddy Beachen   Master of Ceremonies
Peter Bourke   Publicity
Bev Pawluk   Momentoes [Mementoes]
Margaret Wilson   Secretary
Lesley Dalton   Assistant Registration
Lyn Isles   Old photos and other items of interest
Pam McPhail   St Lukes Church
Mita McRae   Flowers
Doug Evans and Ian McRae   Furniture

Thanks also to all those who attended meetings and helped in various ways.

Maria   b. N.Z. 1862   m. John McKenzie
Phoebe   b. N.Z. 1858   m. Albert Newman
Frances (Fanny)   b. N.Z. 1855   m. David Ross
Francis (Frank)   b. N.Z. 1846 Drowned
Ellen   b. Eng. 1841   m. Gavin Peacock
Elizabeth   b. N.Z. 1857   m. Chris Brandon
Kate   b. N.Z. 1859   m. Charles Bourke
George   b. N.Z. 1847   m. Ellen Bee
Anne   b. N.Z. 1843   Spinster

Francis   b. Eng. 1820   m. Anne Harris   b. Eng. 1822

George (Buzz)   b. N.Z. 1867   m. Ada Kennedy
Eliza   b. at sea 1863   m. Enoch Hallet [Hallett]
Mary   b. Eng. 1856   m. Harry Liley
Ellen   b. Eng. 1850   m. George Bee
Alice   b. N.Z. 1875   m. Albert [Robert] Warren
Anne   b. Eng. 1859   Spinster
Bessie   b. Eng. 1854   m. John Sutherland
Frank   b. Eng. 1852   m. Mary Sutherland

George   b. Eng. 1824   m. Mary Pottinger   b. Eng. 1830




This Reunion is to celebrate 144 years in New Zealand and we hope that all those present will enjoy themselves and bridge the gaps in our family that have eventuated over the years. We are here to honour our Bee forbears and to learn a little of the hardships they endured by leaving their homeland, England, to make a new life in a new colony.

Francis Bee was born in Nottingham in 1820 and married Annie Harris who came from the same County and was born in 1822.

In January 1842 they, with their small baby Ellen, immigrated to New Zealand and arrived on the “London” on the 1 May 1842.

For a while they lived in huts and tents on the Petone Beach but eventually they shifted to Thorndon where Francis started a Bakery. He had brought with him mill stones and intended to set up a flour mill but a flood washed these mill stones out to sea. Later he bought the Nelson Inn and around about this time he took a voyage to Australia to try his luck at goldmining. Annie, by this time, had four children – Ellen, Annie, Frank and George – and she was left in charge of the Nelson Inn in Francis’s absence. Francis did not make a fortune at the gold fields but Annie did quite well at the Inn and it was shortly after Francis’ return that he decided to take up a sheep run on the Coast of Hawke’s Bay. He drove the sheep up after arranging for a lease of the Waipuka Block from the Maoris. Annie and the children arrived on the “Sallopian” in January 1853. Five more children were born while they lived in very primitive conditions on the Waipuka run these being, Frances (Fanny), Kate, Elizabeth, Phoebe and Maria. Unfortunately Frank, a lad of about thirteen, was drowned at Ocean Beach when he was washed out to sea while crossing a stream in flood.

In about 1863 the family shifted to Havelock North and shortly after this in July 1864, the other branch of the Bee family arrived in the “Rangoon” from England. George Bee was born in Nottingham in 1829 [HBKB – previous chart states 1924] and his wife Mary also came from there. They brought with them six children, these being Ellen, Frank, Bessie, Mary, Ann and little Eliza who was born at sea. This family took up residence at Havelock North and lived there for many years. George was a builder and was much in demand in the growing village. He built St Luke’s Church, the school and many other buildings. Two other children were born to them, these being George (Buzz) and Alice.

At the time of the Land Wars, Francis and his son George were members of the Militia. George fought at the Battle of Omaranui [Omarunui] out of Napier.

Francis and Annie and their children, except Ellen who by this time married Gavin Peacock, shifted around about this time. The unrest in the country and the threat of the Hau haus made land values drop and Francis took the opportunity to buy land and increase his block of sheep. The[y] first settled at Mangahararu [Maungahararu] and later leased Mohaka Station and Springhill Station. Later still George purchased Putorino and Kakariki Stations.

The family was at Mohaka at the time of Te Kooti’s raid but unlike some other settlers in the District, they did not sell up and shift to safer quarters but stuck it out. George who was a lad in his teens at this time, was often camped in the back country and it is said that he always slept with his pistol nearby in case of an attack by the Hau haus.

When peace between Maori and Pakeha eventually came in 1873, George married his cousin Ellen (Nelly) Bee with whom he had fallen in love when he first met her on arrival from England. This couple set up home at Springhall [Springhill] Station where ten of their eleven children were born. The eleventh (Chris) was born at Pakowhai in 1897.

Francis and Annie shifted to Poverty Bay and lived until their deaths in 1902 and 1920 and are buried at the Patutahi Cemetery. Two of their daughters remained in Poverty Bay – Phoebe who married Albert Newman and Maria who married Jim McKenzie – and many of their descendants are still in the area.

Frances (Fanny) married Dave Ross and took up land at Willow Flat, Kate married George Bourke and took up land called “The Island” in the Kaiwkas [Kaiwakas]. Elizabeth married Chris Brandon and they farmed firstly in Putere. Anne did not marry but took the roll [role] of the indispensable Aunt and daughter firstly looking after the children of her nephew, Hutt Peacock when his wife died and later looking after her Mother and Father for many years, until the youngest of the family, Maria, took over. This “Looking after and caring for trait” seems to crop up time and time again in the Bee family and it was taken for granted that those who needed caring for would be cared for be [by] some member of the family.

George and Mary spent the remainder of their lives at Havelock North and are buried at the Havelock North Cemetery.

Many of their descendants live around Hawke’s Bay, their family married as follows:

Ellen:   Married her cousin George Bee as previously stated.
Frank:   Married Mary Sutherland
Bessie:   Married John Sutherland
Mary:   Married Harry Liley
Annie:   Remained single and was known as Little Aunt Annie to differentiate from her cousin who was known as Big Aunt Annie.
Eliza:   Married Enoch Hallet [Hallett]
George (Buzz):   Married Ada Kennedy
Alice:   Married Robert Warren

We can be justly proud of our forbears who were very early pioneers of New Zealand and worked and toiled against great odds to make a better life for their descendants, so many of whom are gathered here today.

Margaret Wilson

Photo caption –   Hori Bee and Tip.


Toastmaster   Buddy Beachen
Loyal Toast   Jim Balfour
Foundation Members of the Family in N.Z.   Brian Bee
Absent Friends   Barnie Peacock
Grace   Rev. John Malcolm


Ocean Beach where Francis and Annie first settled in Hawkes Bay.

Havelock North Cemetery where George, Mary and many other relatives are buried.

Hastings Cemetery where George and Nellie are buried.

Site of the Battle of Omaranui [Omarunui].

St Lukes Church, Havelock North, built by George Bee.

Shearers quarters at “Oakleigh”, Pakowhai. (Now Woodbank Orchard).

Printed by: Desco Copy, 59 Tennyson St, Napier Phone 58524

Original digital file


Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).


Commercial Use

Please contact us for information about using this material commercially.


[Note from Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank – family members have said that there are several errors/inaccuracies in this booklet]


Format of the original


Date published



Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.