Early History of Hawke’s Bay

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.


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The first general store stood just beside the hotel and was kept by a man named Anderson, who was also the Postmaster. A little later a much larger store was built by a Mr Stone on the Napier Road frontage of the taxi headquarters. This was also the Post Office.

The second hotel stood where the present one is. It was shifted in sections by bullock teams from a site on the Elsthorpe side of the Tuki Tuki river opposite the original Patangata Maori Pa. Any of you who have been to the Patangata Bridge along the Middle Road may have noticed a clump of very old diseased looking gum trees across the river from the zig-zag near Avery’s. That is where the first Exchange Hotel (now McDuff’s) stood. Those gums must be nearly 90 years old. I’m sure you will readily recognise what a feat it was to shift the hotel in fairly large sections over unbridged rivers and the Kaokaoroa hills and dales to its present site, for the Middle Road was only a scratch at that time with no metal on it. Bullocks could not stand metal roads. On the original site and later on it was the hub of the countryside, where the bullockies and the teamsters and general public used to congregate for social intercourse, drinking, gambling and fast life. It was quite common to see some poor beggar from the backstations who had not drawn a cheque for a year or more, ₤50 to ₤100 making up for his long isolation and hard station tucker by getting on the spree, treating all and sundry and going through it in a couple of weeks. When he had none left he would be given bottle of spirits and hunted, a complete wreck for days.

Naturally, when the main highway through Te Aute and Waipawa was constructed the traffic was diverted from the Middle Road, hence the shifting of the hotel to Havelock. It was owned and conducted and genially known as Tommy Reynolds.  His wife put 6d in a glass and kept it on the bar shelf making known that it was for the first person who minded his or her own business. It was never paid in years, though often claimed. Naturally, all and sundry going in the house would enquire after the health of the family or some question or remark. That was not minding their own business, according to her interpretation. She was a grand large-hearted soul and everyone felt better after a few minutes in her company, a typical old-timer. Later on the house was burned down and the present building was shifted from the Napier Road end of the section where Warne’s bakery now stands. The entire main building was skidded along the main road on greasy planks of timber. In those early days I have seen a row of bullock and horse teams reaching from Garry’s smithy, where Bourgeois Store now stands, to McHardy’s hotel. It was great to see bullocks sprawled all over the road, horse teams with nose-bags on, drivers squatting around swapping yarns over lunch and a few beers or cold tea.

On at least two occasions I have seen the area of this peaceful scene quite the opposite. The Races were held on the left side of the Napier Road opposite the Domain in a paddock owned by Peter McHardy. Pakehas and Maoris for scores of miles around made a festival of race days. Much drink was consumed by both and the day generally ended up in a melee between whites and natives. A well setup half-caste named Tom Carter, a general favourite with everyone ordinarily, but when he got drunk was a perfect demon. He would then stir up others in the same condition and egg them on to fight the whites, whom, when under the influence of drink, he seemed to detest. They would surge up and down the middle of the Village using fists, sticks, stones and even hunting crops, indeed there would hardly be a paling left on a front fence. Blood and hair flew in all directions. It was generally looked upon as a good way to outlet pent up feelings.


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On the frontage of the racecourse was a large stable where the late Allan McLean stabled his racehorses and kept a stud second to none in the Southern Hemisphere on the sires side.

The Pacific Hotel in Hastings also stood close to Estaugh and Freneman’s Garage. It was also shifted to its present site in sections. One of the outstanding signs in those days, indeed, I have seen nothing like it since, was a large oil painting or mural of a ship in full sail on a rippling sea, as natural as life and very appropriate to the name “Pacific Hotel”. It was painted by a huge man familiarly known as Billy Swanson, who was quite in demand as a sign writer. No doubt a remittance man banished to the antipodes by some wealthy family through being a prodigal son. There were numbers of these poor unfortunates about in my young days, who, periodically, when their remittance arrived, had a high old time. There were generally two or three staying at the hotels in Havelock. It was remarkable with what regularity certain high class card sharpers turned up about remittance time.

The first Presbyterian Church was built about 1867 or 1868 on the Town Board property, Middle Road and the first Manse just past Lucknow Lodge. Later on a new Manse was built where the Town Board Office now stands. That fine magnolia still there was at the N.E. corner of the house. That tree must be very old. Later on the whole property was sold to me and a new Church and Manse built on the present site. In Scotland there is a quotation or something about a Kirk and a barn but when the Presbyterian Church was built where it is it certainly was a Church and a pub cellar. That fine old gum tree opposite the Public School must be 80 years old.

The first private school I remember, about the year 1874, stood a little past Nimon’s Bus headquarters on Middle Road. It was conducted by Mrs Shepherd, wife of the first Scotch resident minister. I was four years then and two older brothers and I used to walk from Pukahu to attend it, not that this was very remarkable for a little later many children tramped from as far away as the Black Bridge, near Paki Paki and Mangateretere. No luxury school buses those times and all sorts of tasks set if late. Later the dwelling and schoolroom combined was shifted further back on the section and an upper storey added. It still stands nearly as good as ever, a valuable tribute to new Zealand kauri timber. I think it now belongs to the Nimon family. There were quite a few houses in that vicinity, but when Hastings came into being they were shifted there, as also were the saddlers, tailors, bootmakers, and other business establishments. As far as I can remember, there seemed to be no road direct to Hastings There was a crossing at the mouth of the Mangarau Stream and a cutting up the opposite bank through Jack Masterson’s for Havelock and if folk from Pukahu and district wanted to go to say, Karamu or Pakowhai, crossed the river behind James Boyle’s residence and cut straight across country. There may have been an odd gate to open and shut but I don’t remember any. My Mother was a splendid linguist (Maori). She spent a number of years up the Waikato when a baby. Her mother died when she was eight weeks old. Her foster mother was a half caste girl married to a white man, who had lost her first baby. She could talk Maori before English, she played and thought in Maori and knew the Maori mind. Naturally, she was all her life a great favourite with them all and she loved them.

Today the fastest cars are not speedy enough for the younger generation. Many of them know no other means of locomotion than cars or railway trains, but in my very young days our carriage was a small cart known as a “Tasmanian” dray yoked to an active draught horse. Four miles an hour was good going for a heavy harness horse or from six to eight for hacks. Well, that is how we got along visiting our friends at Paki Paki, Bridge Pa, Karamu or elsewhere. The country about Waipatu, Tomoana and the sand hills


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on the Mangeteretere side of the old Ngaruroro, was then always called “The Karamu”. These sand hills were a real menace in those early days. They were ever shifting whichever way the wind blew. I have seen the road to Napier from Oswald Nelson’s to the Mangateretere School completely blocked in places, teamsters to get through, would help one by double banking their teams. Looking at the vicinity today, the late arrival would say to his mates that the above statement was “drawing the long bow”. The few old hands who pioneered the improvements know its truth. A rather gruesome sight was the number of human bones and skulls exposed at times. According to some, it was a favourite fighting and burial ground of the Maoris. It was also about the Karamu that the big koreros were mostly held. The whole countryside was then in a very wild state being covered with all sorts of native growth, such as flax, raupo, tutu, manuka, tio tio and fern, with numbers of small lagoons on the lower spots.

Some of you will perhaps be surprised to know that long after the Havelock Hastings Road was constructed, if walking to or from Havelock to Hastings, boots and stockings would have to be taken off to wade through a fair sized lagoon by Ralph Paynter’s orchard and another at the junction of St Andrews Road. In summer they would dry up unless the season was moist. Heretaunga Plains was at that time mostly a morass.

One of my Uncles worked for John Chambers, Senr. at Te Mata. The shearing was on and his job was carting the wool to the spit (Ahuriri). There was a war on between Hapuku on the one side and Tareha and Moananui on the other, over the “Little Bush”, a white pine bush in the swamp opposite the Whakatu freezing works and between the Napier and Clive Grange Roads. He passed right through the scrap without interference beyond a warning … “Now Perei, (Fred) you hurry up! Might you get the spear if you don’t get away quick!  The warriors would regard it as no affair of his, he was a non-combatant. It was purely a matter between the contending chiefs and their followers. The irony of the thing was, he used to say, “How the deuce could he hurry with a team of bullocks hauling a two or three ton load”. As mentioned before, there was a patch of white pine on what is Holden’s property now with two or three sawmills in action later. It was very soft timber and took the borer badly. The house I was born in at Pukahu was weather-boarded with it, but fortunately was lined with kauri. It still stands, though repaired and added to. It had neither doors nor windows in it when I was born. Mr Geo. Bee, the builder, just battened up the openings for the event. A roof was all the pioneers of those early days needed. There is far too much pampering of babies and small children these days with Plunket and Kindergarten ideas. Instead of a dummy, a piece of raw beef was put into the little fist to worry away at and didn’t they love it. Between six and seven every morning, we kiddies had to line up at the cow bails with our little china mugs engraved, … “A present from Grandma” or “for a good child” and such like. The cow-boy would fill each mug straight from the cow. No milk treatment, no pasteurising, but the real “McKay” and that is generally thinking, how the hardly old timers one sees all around started life. Alma was the name of the children’s cow in our family and if “Mater” had been added it would have been quite appropriate for she was indeed a bounteous mother.

The first public school was built in Havelock between where the present one stands and the master’s residence. It was a T-shaped building, the T being the schoolroom, the other part, the master’s residence. When the township was laid out half an acre was set aside as a school reserve but who gave it no-one seems to know. The grounds have been extended in my time. The first school-master as far as I know was Mr Reynolds who had been tutor to the Chambers


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family and later married one of the girls. It was he or a Mr Annabell, also married to a Miss Chambers, established the first commercial orchard at Rarapari (Undercliff) where for 1/- you could go and eat as much fruit as you liked but must take none away. I went to this school when about seven years old. Even then there would be about 60 pupils, I think. That remarkable old missionary, William Colenso was my first school inspector.

There is an interesting history attached to Kornohu. Our friends here, Messers Huata and Tomoana will understand it thoroughly. When Colenso arrived to take charge of the Wellington Province there was no particular place provided for him to live in. In the early days it was the ambition of every hapu to have a white man among them whom they called “There Pakeha” and gloat over others who had none, so it would never do to set jealously ablaze by locating such an important man as the Minnihare in any particular chief’s domain, especially owing to the strong competition among them. The quandary was overcome by a half-caste named Thompson who quite appreciated the Maori attitude and who advised “Waitangi” for the missionary’s residence, a wretched, swampy, no-man’s land at the mouth of the Waitangi and Ngaruroro Rivers constantly subject to flooding, pointing out that he could not go to so and so, or so and so, as it might lead to a first class row among them. Thompson was Colenso’s worst enemy later. So wet and cold was the locality that the first horse introduced by Colenso to this part of Hawke’s Bay, very soon floundered, a hoof disease contracted by horses on swampy land, known as swamp flounder. When I first went to the public school, Mr. Colenso was the inspector. I remember quite well when in Standard 2, we were lined up round his desk for an exam in spelling. When it came to my turn I was asked to spell “Village”. V-i-a-l-l-i-a-g-e was my answer. “No, Henry”. (He seemed to know every child’s christian name) “That’s not right, try again. I said “Villiage” and for the third time he gave me a chance to correct it but I could not get away from that “i”. It cost me two marks in spelling. Henry Hill, another enthusiastic botanist and nature lover succeeded him later on.

The low land in and surrounding Havelock used to flood badly in the early days. Before the Mangarau Creek (beside Lucknow Road) was deepened by the first Town Board, it used to overflow badly, in fact, in a very wet season, helped by the Mere Mere, St. Hill and Danvers Creeks, the Village would be surrounded on three sides with water. But of course that was only a trifle compared with an “Old Man flood” in the Bay. I have seen three times in my life, a sheet of water reaching from Mangaroa and Te Mahanga foot-hills to Petane, with only the high parts of the plain out of water. Clive would be almost totally submerged, with only a narrow strip along the Ngaruroro River, the upper story of the former hotel and the bridge clear. It was to these points of safety that the residents made when the water had not reached more than wading depth. It was a common sight at such times, when the water subsided to see the fences hung with drowned sheep and an odd cattle beast hanging half in and half out of the house over the window ledge. Oh, the good old days. It was on account of the threat of the Ngaruroro breaking through a little below where the St. George’s Road enters Pukahu, scouring a course along the low land between the Middle and Te Aute Roads, the low part of Havelock township and re-entering the normal course at the back of Goddard’s old nursery, (Vernon’s, now fruit experimental property) that the diversion bank at Roy’s Hill was built to turn the river into the Waitio Creek at Omahu. Incidentally, if those who planned this diversion could have foreseen the havoc it played by washing away hundreds of acres of farm lands in that vicinity, they would have hesitated.


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Personally, I fear that the diversion of the Tutaekuri to the Waitangi might be a greater mistake. In my early boyhood, one could walk across the shallow crossing, where the new bridge now stands, with the water-tight boots on in the summertime without getting wet-footed. It was so narrow in places that an active adult could jump it with ease. There was no bridge then. A fine Scotchman named Peter Ramsey who was Kendrick Hill’s right-hand man, lived in a cottage at the Fernhill end of the bridge and, if I am not mistaken, it still stands there. When we were kiddies, three of us often rode bare-back on one horse from Pukahu to Havelock to play around with his children.

The first pink-eyed white rabbits I ever saw were imported and liberated on top of Fernhill proper by K. Hill. But they were “Tapu”, no stranger was allowed near them, so precious were they to the owner, but youngsters with a thirst for knowledge are hard to beat. After some reconnoitring and the coast reported clear, we would dodge up through the fern and enjoy fondling them, so quiet were they. Six of them only. I think it must have been nothing short of an unquenchable longing to surround themselves with memories of the “Homeland” that made the early English and Scottish people import rabbits, deer and other pests such as blackberry, gorse, etc., never dreaming that in this congenial climate they would increase to such an extent that it would cost millions annually to keep them in check.

Between about Roach’s corner and Omahu there were only three houses that I can remember, on farms occupied by a family named Durham. David Joll and Kendrick Hill on the left-hand and away back on the flat to the right, JN Williams and the Russell’s. On the Havelock side of the Makirikiri Creek there were none at all. A little later Thomas Tanner build a cottage, still there, near the old hop kiln. A Mr Sheet built one, still there, I think next door to Wright Stevenson’s building on Heretaunga Street East and one of Meinitzhagen and Moore’s (Waimarama) head man named Sutherland built and his family lived across the swamp at the back of the Municipal Library. The Makirikiri Creek was crossed by a small bridge close to the Municipal buildings. The kiddies used to go there to catch eels and bathe with the Maori children and Sutherlands on Saturdays and holidays. There was a small Pah on its bank not far from the junction of Warren and Heretaunga Streets.

In those early days there used to be tremendous movements of Maoris up and down the country. It was a common sight to see hundreds of them on the move to social gatherings, tangis and koreros. Every year there would be a great fishing festival movement to Te Awanga at the particular time of the year when fish were most plentiful in the Bay. There they would spend about three months feasting and catching a winter supply of fish. Naturally they had their own method of curing their catches, which simply consisted of stretching lines of dressed flax or wire for hundreds of yards, hanging the fish on them and letting the sun do the rest. The full meaning of Kai Pirau (putrid food) could be realised half a mile away. Various methods of transport for the occasion were adopted, the most popular being the largest drays they could find with very often the smallest horses yoked to them. If any of you have been to Tonga, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands, you would have seen the same thing there. My visit brought me right back to Pukahu and Havelock when I was a boy. In a dray about half as long as this room, towed by a puny little nag, its ribs sticking through its skin, home-made harness of coconut fibre, filled to the brim and running over with happy Islanders, crawling along at snail’s pace. Time no object … Here you would see big Maori men, with fine round girth and good potatoes lined, riding ponies only fit for children and making them get along in great style. If you suggested a bigger horse they would laugh and tell you “No, no, if the big fellow ride the big


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horse and he fall off he might break his leg, the arm, he fall off the small one, he get up alright, the horse he run away”. Another bright idea was to tighten up the cheek straps of the bridle until the poor brute’s mouth was drawn half way up to its ears. This, with the help of a switch struck from time to time between the ears, made them prance along in fine style. Kanui Pai. (Very flash). Others would be in bullock drays, whilst many of the younger fry would be alternatively riding two to four on one horse and walking in turns, all as happy as the day was long and making a real picnic of the outing.

I remember an occasion when some of Te Whitia Hau Haus made a visit to Paki Paki. Some Maoris brought the news to Mother so that she might go up and see the apostles of the new religion. Of course the horse had to be yoked to the family carriage and off we went, arriving in time to see them dancing around the pole and singing, “A Orara” and so on. The curious thing about this religious sect was that a lot of the ceremonies were conducted in ‘pidgin’ English. We were delighted, watching them caper round the pole till, every little while, one or more would drop from exhaustion when his place would be immediately taken by a fresh one, all the time getting more and more frenzied. Before long the Paki Paki chief, I think his name was Enoka, walked past were we were sitting and said, “Pane, you better get out of this quick”. She only laughed at him and told him in his own language that she was not afraid of a lot of porangi (mad) Hau Haus. In a few minutes he paced along again and said “These people, must not let them see me talking to you. Now you get away quick before there is trouble! You can hear what they are saying, ‘Kaitere Haere’, before they carry out the threat.” She went quick. The object of the visit was, of course, to work up the Maoris throughout the land to oust the Pakeha.

Another incident in which the remarkable good nature and generosity of the Maori people is displayed … One of my Mother’s brothers kept the first and only hotel at the junction of Te Aute and Mutiny Roads, where his eldest son was born. Among the Maoris this was looked upon as a great event, the first white boy born in the Pah [Pa] (really just outside the Pah) must be well provided for. Enoka called a tribal meeting and it was decided that the boy must have something that would not lower the tribal Mana. It was decided to give him 1,000 acres of land just across the swamp opposite Tanner’s [?] line kiln. The deed was legally drawn and witnessed by five leading men and handed over but he was not to get possession until he was 21. What followed will give you an idea of the casualness of the “Old Timers”. More and more gold was being found in the Buller Gorge and the boy’s father, who had already been to Sacramento, Bendigo, Ballarat and Collingwood, with his veins full of “gold fever” threw up his hotel and flax mills and off to the diggings. Phoo! What did 1,000 acres matter when you could pick up gold by the bucketful. And so no more was bothered about the land for 25 years, when the gold had nearly run out. The young man came up to claim his property but met with scant courtesy by the later generation. He engaged a special lawyer in such matters, spent his life’s savings in court cases, all to no avail. He had left it too long. Willie Douglas had acquired it meantime and that ended it.

Wherever my Mother went, she got a great welcome from the Maoris. Many small presents were exchanged and much good-natured banter indulged in. Her favourite wahines were at the Willow and Bridge Pahs [Pas], where a special welcome with much waving and heremais always awaited. I think it was largely owing to the fact that whenever any of them were sick she would take along her homeopathic medicine chest and doctor them. Her Maori talk was the very best Waikato speech and they used to enjoy listening to her. “Eh Pane, but you have a sweet tongue,” they would tell her. It may be as well to mention that the “WillowPah” was situated on the bank of the old Ngauroro River about half way between Awanui Bridge and


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the turn-off of the Maraekakaho Road in to Hastings. It was a favourite picnic place in early times. One rather startling incident happened when a large party were returning from the fishing grounds to the inland Pahs [Pas]. Many of them had over-indulged at the Havelock Hotel, including a half-caste. We were at the front gate watching them go by and exchanging pleasantries when this chap, with several other young bloods in the same condition as himself, came along and began hurling all sorts of insults, urging them to “eat her eyes”. (Mother’s). They started war dances and generally worked themselves up till they were frenzied to do anything, eventually rushing the gate but hesitating when Mother began invoking the gods to pour curses on their “Upokos” (heads) and gradually backing with we children behind her to the house and using all the fearsome threats known to the Maoris if they dared to put a hand on her. When the front door was reached and the children inside, she popped in, slamming and locking the door. Fortunately, when they were about to break in the door, some of the chiefs came along and made them desist, expressing the deepest concern and promising that the culprits would be severely punished when sober. It was intensely humiliating when this half-caste and several others were brought along two days later to face Pane and hear from her what punishment she would like them to have. Needless to say, they were well lectured in their own tongue and warned never to touch the “Waipiro” again. Goodness knows what would have happened if those chiefs had not arrived, for they were threatening to burn the house down with us inside. Our men folk were all away on their various duties at the time. Only those who came in contact with primitive natives can realise the diabolical effect liquor had on them. Can you understand how a man named Chrystall, could stand up at a licensing meeting in the King Country and advocate better drinking facilities for Maoris, especially the women, who he thought should be provided with special drinking apartments. He must know the evil effect it has on one of the finest races in the world.

Our Mother did not like us going out at night. We would play bagatelle, cards and the more music or singing, the better. Every Saturday night was ‘open house’. The young people from all around would come along, the furniture shifted out of the large dining room, the linoleum rolled up and all sorts of indoor games and dancing indulged in until 11.45 pm when all hands had to get busy putting everything back in order, for under no consideration must the Sabbath be breached. Most of the old settlers had the greatest respect for Sunday. No boots must be cleaned, no firewood cut and in winter when the stock were hand-fed, the feed was put in a closed paddock and the gate reopened on Sunday morning. Of course, cows had to be milked and calves and pigs fed and the sooner we get back to those old beliefs, the sooner we will have peace in this troubled world, is my firm belief. During the week, other settlers would take a turn of “open house”, so that generally speaking, a very happy and simple life was lived. On holidays the folk around would join up in picnicking at Willow Pah [Pa], the Tuki Tuki or Te Awanga. (I can never understand why a township was laid out here. It was purely and simple swamp). The womenfolk seemed to get a special enjoyment out of it though it meant a great deal of extra work but healthy competition among them to provide the best hamper, more than compensated for that.

I remember my father (who died when I was eight years old as the result of being gored by a bullock) taking his family to see the train when the railway line was opened to Hastings. We were allowed the special treat of sitting in a carriage as it


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stood at the station for a few minutes, a never-to-be-forgotten experience. At the time, in winter you needed jackboots to reach the station.

When speaking of the races, I omitted to mention that the steeplechases were held up the Middle Road on Gilpin’s farm. The jumps at Aintree are only toys compared with the gorse-fences those magnificent old-time horses had to climb and Betcher’s Brook an apology for the water jump, which was a well stock-puddled bog, around an artesian well, about 15 to 20 feet across, screened on the approach side by a hurdle of manuka about 4 feet high. No horse in the wide world could clear it and only an odd one did not come to grief in the middle of it. You can imagine what horse and rider looked like when only some of them reached the winning post – much to the enjoyment and satisfaction of those noted Irish horse lovers, Thos. Gilpin, HP and Harry Donnelly, Glazebrook and others.

In answer to a question – Te Awanga was a favourite fishing ground with the Maoris. They kept two large whale boats and two or three large canoes permanently housed close to the beach in raupo sheds. These sheds would provide sleeping quarters for most of them. Others just erected temporary quarters with manuka and raupo. The whale boats were used especially for Black Reef line fishing, where fish were so plentiful and in such variety that as many as three or more fish could be hauled aboard at every catch. The canoes would be used for hauling and netting Maori fashion. There was in early days a fine mussel bed close to the camp. It is there still but only a remnant of former days.

Incidentally, it may be of interest to mention that about the year 1891 I met and spent an hour or two in the company of the notorious “Hau Hau Te Kooti” at Eskdale. He was on his way from Taupo to Tangoio in a nice buggie drawn by a well-matched pair of horses driven by a young coachman accompanied by a highly educated Maori secretary, who after consultation with him transacted all his business, having to take careful note in a pocket book of all that took place. The English spoken by this young man would make many a Pakeha ashamed to answer him – and Te Kooti himself – no-one who was not aware of his vile deeds would ever dream that this benign, unassuming old butcher of humanity, dressed immaculately from head to foot in black, with tidy full beard, could be other than some high church dignitary minus the choker. It was only when a white man approached him closely that you found him closely guarded by his escort and a large retinue of followers. I got the impression he must have been suffering under a great sense of injustice when he committed such dastardly deeds.

As about 90% of the foregoing is from memorable experience, I hope it will help to confirm some of the things you already know. Just to make clear my statement that the “Karanemu” boundary on the S.W. was, I thought, the Here Here Stream, it might be as well to mention that the above stream and the Mangarau joined close to Frank Redpath’s and entered the Ngaruroro close to the present mouth of the present mouth of the latter stream. The present courses were made to drain the water off more quickly by converting them into straight courses instead of winding about the flat in a serpentine course causing flooding. It is therefore probable that the boundary followed the “Mangarau” in a line from the top of the Te Mata Range until it joined up with the Here Here.

By JH Joll – 1950.


Other notes – Early Settlement – During the early “fifties” other pioneers were also making for the interior, the route chosen being that up the bed of the Tuki Tuki river, for some years the main inlet for stores and the main outlet for wool or other produce, much of which was rafted, the rafts being sometimes drawn by horses and sometimes propelled by man-power. Considerable interest was taken in the first sale of Havelock North sections about 1856, for it was thought at the time that Havelock would become the principal inland commercial town in Hawke’s Bay. That is why the six roads which join at the centre of the Borough lead in all directions. Sections were sold on both sides of Te Mata, Napier, Te Aute and Middle Roads, provision being made for the present Domain sites and one or two other reserves, including half an acre of the present school grounds. However, the site of the main townships was changed to Hastings because the large land-owners of those days did not want close settlement at Havelock North. Also, many property owners did not wish to have the proposed Napier-Wellington railway line running through their properties. The suggested line was to have run close by where St. Luke’s Church now stands.

Commercial Buildings – The present hotel site was bought by Mr A Russell (Uncle of General Sir Andrew Russell) while the site of the present rest-house and store beyond it was first owned by Mr W Colenso. The other store site (now Treacher’s Shop) including the memorial site was bought by Mr J McKinnon. The purchasers of the sections between McKinnon’s and the Domain were Bishop Abraham, AH Russell and J Bray. Mr Bray, who was a builder, later erected and managed the first hotel on the Napier road frontage of the Presbyterian Church grounds. This was later taken over by a Mr McHardy. This Post Office corner was bought by Mr HP Stark, while the corner of Middle and Joll Roads was purchased by Mr LA Smith who controlled a small business there which was later taken over by one, Schultz.  All the sections were the same size (½ acre) being the area of the school reserve also.

The first general store in Havelock North was built next to Bray’s hotel on the land between the Domain and the village centre. The store was run by Mr Anderson, who was also the Postmaster. It was he who planted the fine gum trees growing behind the Manse. Later, a larger store was built by Mr Stone on the Napier Road frontage of the present Taxi headquarters. The second hotel was established were the present one stands. This hotel “The Exchange” was first built on the Elsthorpe side of the Tuki Tuki River as you reach the Patangata Bridge, along Middle Road. The site is easily recognized by a clump of 90 year old, rather diseased gum trees across the river from the Zig-Zag near Avery’s. The building of the Te Aute – Waipawa Highway diverted traffic from Middle Road, so the Exchange Hotel was moved in sections, over unbridged rivers, by bullock teams. When the “Exchange” was burnt down the present hotel building was moved from the Napier Road end of the section on which Warne’s Bakery now stands. The hotel building was skidded along on greasy planks. Later, the Pacific Hotel was built on Estaugh and Horner’s section. This hotel was afterwards moved in sections to the corner of Market Street and Heretaunga Street in Hastings.

The first Police Station in Havelock North was founded in 1889. It was built in Te Aute Road where Mrs Farquharson’s house now stands. After this it was moved to Napier Road where Beaumonts live and later it was moved to Hastings Road where it now stands. A mounted policeman was in charge at first and he was followed by Mr Heffernan who was Constable for 17 years. When he left there was a gap for a number of years and a Mr Dunn acted as a policeman for a number of years. He went about with a hawthorn branch and on Sundays, when the Salvation Army came out to Havelock some naughty boys would throw bad eggs.


Duart came into existence about 1880. It was built by Allan McLean, known in the district as Tuki McLean. He was a Scot who had come to New Zealand from the island of Cull off the coast of Scotland. He had a farm across the Tuki Tuki River and when he retired bought 40 acres of the bare Havelock hills.

He had married Hannah, the eldest daughter of Mr John Chambers and had eight children and it was partly for their education that he had moved nearer Hastings.

He wanted as grand a house as possible so completed it with a little tower. It was built of heart of totara, floated down the Esk river and of heart Kauri brought by ship from Auckland and rafted from the ship out in the Bay. The studs are 6 x 2 inch heart Kauri and the mock corner stones outside are solid totara. The floor boards have forged flathead nails no longer used in building and in the dining room is panelled in kauri. The grey slates on the roof came from Scotland. During the 1931 earthquake three chimneys came down but the house remained intact.

Tuki McLean lived in a certain style, kept a carriage with two horses and a coachman, also several riding horses. The stables at first were near the bottom of Duart Road although there was no road then, the drive to the house beginning approximately along where Campbell Street is now.

There do not seem to be many records of him. Evidently he did not bother about county or village affairs as his name does not appear but so many early records were lost in the earthquake that this may not be so. From various stories one gets the picture of a rather severe gentleman in his family. He read prayers every morning and no excuse accepted for absence; when Nigel, one of the sons, climbed the half finished spire of the Presbyterian Church he received a beating from the builder, another from the schoolmaster and to complete the job thoroughly, a beating from his father. (Later Nigel was killed in the first World War and Nigel Street, below Duart garden, is named after him) The boys, after some boyish peccadillo, rather than face


Page 2

their father, retired to the roof where they lived for a day or two, hauling up supplies arranged for them by a sympathetic member of the family, until father’s wrath cooled.

When Tuki McLean died his widow and Walter, the youngest, set to work to plant the garden – something she had never been allowed to do, Mr McLean not approving of gardens near the house.

By this time all except a few acres of the estate had been sold over the years. The brick garage was built and about 1910 occupied for a short time by Tourist Motors before the firm went to Hastings.

About 1914 Duart was rented by St George’s School, owned by Mr and Mrs B Crompton-Smith. It made the setting for a charming preparatory school for boys and girls. The girl boarders inhabited the big rooms upstairs and one room downstairs with a few beds on the side verandah. The boys lived at Keirunga in the chalet, looked after by Mr and Mrs C Tanner (whose property it then was) and coming daily to school across the paddocks.

The garage made a pleasant schoolhouse with two large rooms and a small one. In hot weather lessons were often outside under the oak tree opposite, which had been planted to mark the accession of Edward VII and is still there.

The loft of the stable that had once housed the carriage and horses was a good place to play in during wet weather. In after years the stable was used for a long time for Scout headquarters. It has only recently been demolished when clearing fotr a new section by the road.

Soon the brick garage was too small and a large hall was moved from Hastings and added at the side of the house near the old kitchen (now part of the flat). This made two more schoolrooms with a sliding wall between, opened when larger space was needed and small dormitories and staffrooms upstairs.

Many of the day children rode to school on ponies. At the back of the garage-school was a gully which was kept as the


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pony paddock. The gardener was a Russian, reputed to have escaped from the Bolsheviks, one of whose duties it was to saddle the ponies for the ride home in the afternoon. Up and down the hill he would go and just when the ponies had been driven to the gate, back they would dash to the bottom of the paddock. Finally, his patience exhausted, the air would be filled with loud threats (fortunately in Russian!) until someone came to help him. Afterwards a little corral was built, making the job easier.

About 1920 the school closed. The extra wing was removed and the house became a boarding house for a few years, several people having permanent homes there.

In 1926 Mr R Greenwood, renting the property from Mrs J Chambers who had owned it since Mrs McLean died, brought his family to live there, afterwards buying it.

The whole property was surrounded on three sides by tall trees but a big gale in 1936 blew down 30 gums and macrocarpas. The bare gully that was the horse paddock is now a patch of bush, planted as seedlings from the mountains by Michael and Rosemary Greenwood, also a number of self-sown plums.

The house itself now stands looking as much as it did originally but the surroundings are different. No mounting block at the front door, no bare grassy hills all round but beautiful [no further pages]

Original digital file

MastersRG563_EarlyHistory.pdf

Subjects

People

  • Bishop Abraham
  • George Bee
  • James Boyle
  • John Bray
  • Tom Carter
  • Mrs J Chambers
  • John Chambers
  • W Colenso
  • B Crompton-Smith
  • Harry Donnelly
  • Thomas Gilpin
  • Michael Greenwood
  • R Greenwood
  • Rosemary Greenwood
  • Kendrick Hill
  • David Joll
  • J H Joll
  • Peter McHardy
  • J McKinnon
  • Allan (Tuki) McLean
  • Donald McLean
  • Hannah McLean, nee Chambers
  • Nigel McLean
  • Oswald Nelson
  • Ralph Paynter
  • Peter Ramsey
  • Frank Redpath
  • Tommy Reynolds
  • Captain Joey Rhodes
  • A H Russell
  • Mrs Shepherd
  • L A Smith
  • H P Stark
  • Fred Sturm
  • Mr and Mrs C Tanner
  • Thomas Tanner
  • J N Williams

Date published

1950

Format of the original

Typed document

Creator / Author

  • Henry Joll

Accession number

523/524/46054

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