IMPROMPTU TALK TOUCHING EARLY HISTORY OF A SMALL PART OF HAWKE’S BAY, CUSTOMS OF OLD TIMERS AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES
I did not expect anything like this. Shall we start at Clive, taking in Havelock, Pukahu and surrounding district, though it might be necessary to touch Napier as we go along.
Clive, then, was surveyed and laid out in 1857 by Mr Tiffen who was a Government Surveyor at the time. The original township was not where it is today but at Waipuheku near the mouth of the Tuki Tuki river. When the present site of Clive was built up it was called West Clive, the earlier site, Old Clive or East Clive. The Ngaruroro River was crossed by ferry and the Tuki Tuki forded at Mathawai when not in flood. It was situated on land occupied by Captain Joey Rhodes, a Sydney trader who trader who first visited Ahuriri about 1837 and you will be surprised to know, even at the early period he found two white men with Maori wives settled at Ahuriri in what is now known as Sturms Gully. One of these men was that fine old botanist, Fred Sturm who established and conducted for many years a noted nursery at Mangateretere. The site is now occupied by the Kirkmanns. The other man was named Edwards, who later became connected with the whaling station between Taurapa and the Kidnappers, where the old try pot still lies.
Havelock was not surveyed until three years later (1860) by the same Mr Tiffen. There is some obscurity as to who owned the land on which it was built at the time. It is well known that it was part of the Karanema Reserve. Karanema was the eldest son of the noted paramount chief called Hapuku. It was from the letter that Donald McLean bought, on behalf of that Government, a large part of Hawke’s Bay. When the finalities were being arranged an area, I think, bounded by the Here Here creek, the present Town Board boundary on the South West, the Karituwhenua or Danvers Creek on the North East and the old Ngaruroro on the North West, extending well back into the hills, probably the whole of the Te Mata block, was set aside as a native reserve and vested in the name of the above son. There is no doubt it was occupied by the late John Chambers, senior, who had taken up a large area hereabouts in the middle 50s. Havelock was intended to be the principal inland town of Hawke’s Bay, hence the junction of so many fine roads in the centre of the township loading to everywhere but, owing to the aversion of the squatters to closer settlement, the town area became so land-locked and so much opposition to the railway line running through their properties was put up that the township was diverted to Hastings. The circumstances of this diversion are so well known that we will leave it that. The original inland railway survey line ran between St Luke’s Church and my house. The history of St Luke’s has been so extensively dealt with during its 75th birthday celebrations that I feel it would be superfluous here.
The first Show was held in Havelock in 1861. The A & P Society originated at a meeting held in the Royal Hotel in Napier in 1851, attended by Captain Rhodes and a few other pioneers, the main object being the importation of sheep from the Old Country. Nothing further was done, however, until three years later when it was revived and the first Show held in Danver’s paddock, probably where the Havelock Post Office now stands, later on at Meeanee, back to Havelock in Tommy Reynold’s hotel paddock and finally to Hastings where it has remained ever since.
The first hotel stood on the Napier Road frontage of the Presbyterian Church grounds and, I think, was built by John Bray. Later it was conducted by Peter McHardy.