From Serf to Settler – The Story of the Howell Family




It is said that the Bible, the world’s most widely-read book, relies entirely on stories told and re-told down through the ages. Sometimes there are several versions of the same topic, yet we accept the main themes unquestioningly. So, presumptuous as it may seem, I feel this family history will be in good company. As far as I can discover, the Howells were workers – not diarists. Hence there seem to be no records, as such, to help with their story. Frequently I have heard the same tale – with slight variations – so I offer them to be accepted or rejected as the reader pleases.

If only we could turn back the clock, what interesting characters we could meet. Those who have the Howell Table of Descendants will realise the impossibility of writing about everyone in the book. I have tried to include as many of the early folk as possible – with their photographs. Though family groups of some go back many years, I wanted to highlight the striking family resemblances. Of later generations, I have included any of the colourful characters and those who have contributed to our nation’s story in any way. There must be many I have overlooked, and for this I am sorry. But, in the main, I have relied on families to tell me of anyone in this latter group. Maybe modesty prevents some from advancing their claims.

I am grateful to all who have assisted me with stories, interviews, and photographs. Your interest and enthusiasm has spurred me on. If this book meets with as much success as the Family Tree, it will all have been worth doing. To record all the stories I have been told would need an encyclopaedia. If anything in this story hurts any feelings, I assure you that is not my intent. The bygones ARE bygones and with them have passed many lovable characters.

Because I have discovered the family of David Howell’s daughter, Ann, since the Table of Descendants was published, I am including the tables for this, with this history. I am especially grateful to Lesley Glassey for her energetic support, and determined effort to my cause.

Before concluding this foreword, I must apologise for two glaring errors in first copies of Table of Descendants (corrected, I’m happy to say, in later editions). For some reason I named Isaac’s wife as Ellen Christina — she was simply Christina. I also said that William Bentinck was buried at Otaki. He died at Otaki and is buried in Paraparaumu Cemetery. I am sorry for both these mistakes. I know there were others, especially in spelling, but these were mainly due to having been given wrong advice. All the same, I regret the faults and trust that the families concerned will be able to rectify the mistakes without too much trouble. As I have received corrections, I have amended my manuscript for later editions. And, although there might be slight changes, I had tried to keep to much the same order as I had in the Table of Descendants.

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Since it is now almost 150 years since our ancestors left England, it is surely time for reflection. We cannot but marvel at the courage and faith of those pioneers who left homes and loved ones, to travel half way round the world to these little-known islands in the South Seas. In those days, the sea voyage alone would have been enough to discourage even the bravest travellers. Dangers of shipwrecks on poorly-charted reefs and shores, the ever-present peril of fire at sea, battering storms, and hopelessly over-crowded conditions on board must have been constantly on their minds. For women, the task of providing food and caring for young families under what were often appalling conditions, must have been exhausting, especially when the ships passed through the Tropics. Remember, there was no ship’s catering, so all provisions had to be supplied by each family for its own use on the long voyage – no laundry facilities and only a minimum of water for washing, meagre cramped quarters, poor ventilation, no refrigeration and, above all, no privacy.

So, for Ann Howell, with five young children, the eldest barely 10, and heavily pregnant with her sixth child, it must have been an enormous decision to make when she and John left England at the end of 1840.

John was born at Ham, in 1804 and brought up on the large Ham Estate of Hon. A.G. Tollemache. Ham stands on the river Thames and is just outside the outskirts of London.

After marrying Ann at the age of 26, they continued living in one of the cottages while John worked as shepherd and labourer on the Estate, until they were ready to emigrate in 1840. By then they had five children: David (1830), Isaac (1831), Hannah Jane (1833), Elizabeth Rachel (Betsy) (1836), and Helen (Ellen) (1838).

It was through John’s employer the Hon. Algernon Grey Tollemache, that John became interested in emigrating to the new colony then being founded in New Zealand. The Howells were particularly eligible for selection since farm workers were very much in demand and they had the backing of a man not only of considerable repute and standing, but who was one of the New Zealand Company’s chief supporters. Applicants for berths on Emigrant ships were required to produce written recommendation of someone approved by the Company and Tollemache forwarded the Howells‘ names with his own special recommendation in 1840. In December the family received their embarkation orders and were advised that steerage berths were reserved for them on the “Lord William Bentinck”, one of the ships hired by the Company.

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The Company’s depot was at Gravesend, on river Thames, and it was from here that most of the Emigrant ships departed for New Zealand. The “Lord William Bentinck” was a barque of 444 tons, built in 1832 and, after being used for ferrying passengers up and down the Ganges in India, she had been hired and fitted out for her new role as Emigrant ship during 1840.

After receiving their embarkation orders, the Howells travelled to the Depot to be fitted out and quartered while awaiting their departure. At this time John was 37, Ann 29, sons David 10, Isaac 9 and daughters Hannah Jane 7, Betsy 4, and Ellen 2. The ship sailed from Gravesend on 5th January 1841, moved slowly round the southern coast of England, and finally left the shores of Home on 7th January 1841. Seventeen days later, as the ship crossed the Bay of Biscay, Ann gave birth to her third son on 24th January. This child was named William Bentinck Howell after the vessel in which he was born. After an uneventful voyage round the Cape of Good Hope, the ship reached Port Nicholson on 22nd May 1841 – a journey of almost five months.

The following has been recorded of the ship’s arrival : “The periodical stream of arrivals into Port Nicholson brightened the lives of friends, relatives and bystanders on the beach. Anxious eyes were concentrated on the ships as they disgorged their human freight. Tender embraces, fond hand clasps, and endless eager enquiries assailed the newcomers; The latest ship to arrive was the Lord William Bentinck, commanded by Capt. Crow, with 39 married couples, 24 single men, 15 single women, 51 children under 14, and 52 under 7. Five births and nine deaths occurred on the voyage.” The register was signed by Mr Daniel Riddiford, Emigration Agent. Five of the crew deserted the ship on its arrival at Port Nicholson.

Then followed the Emigration Register which included the following names.

HOWELL JOHN – ANN 37 years – 29 years Agricultural labourer
1 boy 7/14
1 boy 1/7
1 girl 7/14
2 girls 1/7

These ages have since been proved incorrect after finding Baptism Records from All Saints Church, Kingston-on-Thames and St. Andrew’s Church, Ham. The correct ages have been given earlier in this chapter. It is interesting to note that 8 of the 9 deaths recorded on the voyage, were of children and infants 3 years or younger.

Anyway, the Howell family, when it reached N.Z., comprised 3 girls and 3 boys.

By the time the ship arrived, the new settlement had shifted to the present site of Wellington as earlier settlers had moved from Petone to Brittania (re-named Wellington) during September 1840.

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The N.Z. Company erected temporary headquarters at Thorndon until permanent homes were found for new arrivals. The Lord William Bentinck lay at anchor off Thorndon, on arrival, and immigrants were taken ashore at Pipitea Point. After being domiciled in the Company’s barracks for the first few weeks, the Howell family then lived in a large tent for upwards of eighteen months, until a house was built for them on Thorndon flats.

John was first employed by the Hon. W.B. Rhodes, on land at Miramar, looking after cattle that Rhodes was importing from Australia. During his employment the family moved to a house at Miramar, near what was later the Miramar Polo Ground. John became qualified to serve as a juror and his name appears on the Jurors‘ Roll Lists for the years 1848, 1849, 1850. Another of his duties was for the N.Z. Company. He used to ride round the lands of settlers to assist and report on their progress as they broke in their farms. Some time before 1848, John ceased his employment with W.B. Rhodes and became stock manager on Glendavar Cattle Farm, owned by Mr James Crawford. Crawford had arrived from Sydney on 4th December 1840 on the cutter “Success”. One of the first overlanders from N.S.W., he reached N.Z. before any of the immigrants and bought in a considerable area of town land as well as Lot 7 of Watts Peninsula (now Mt Crawford) which was joined by the isthmus now known as Miramar. John Howell was now officially recorded in the Government Gazette, Province of Munster (Wellington) February 7th 1848, as a “Stock-keeper” at Glendavar.

Birth registrations record a son, John born to John and Ann on 15th June 1843, but this child must have died early, for on 23rd January 1845 another son, also called John, was born followed on 10th July 1847 by Joseph Donald Howard, who died 17th November the following year.

On 2nd April 1851, while mustering cattle on the hills at the south end of the peninsula, John Snr was thrown from his horse and killed, leaving Ann with a young family, the youngest, John, being 6 years of age.

Thus the Howell family was left fatherless only some nine years after arrival in the colony. By now, David and Isaac who were 20 and 19 years, had left home to go working and, after John’s death, the rest of the family moved to Wadestown.

Some time after this Ann re-married, this time to William Membury who, with wife and family, had travelled out on the same voyage as the Howells. Apparently the Howell family did not approve of Ann’s re-marriage and would have nothing more to do with her. I had wondered why this was until I received the following story about Wm. Membury who, incidentally brought gorse seeds with him from England. A good, keen gardener, he planted out gardens which he “fenced” with gorse, and twice these “fences” were pulled out by irate neighbours.

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When one of his daughters wanted to marry, without his approval, Ann conspired with the girl to help her smuggle out her trousseau – bit by bit – by “wearing” extra clothing and carrying linen piece by piece, each time she left the house. Her perseverance won the day and William surprised everyone by relenting and delivering what still remained in the girl’s hope-chest.

Ann outlived John Howell by only 17 years as she died on 12th June 1868. It is my great regret that, try as I may, I can find no photograph of either John or Ann. But, on the voyage to N.Z., busy as she must have been, Ann found time to work a large crochet cloth depicting a deer. (Strange to say, in 1983 when the families of Stan and Ella Howell held a reunion, John and Mervyn Clarke did some research on family crests, to make a banner. The name Howell is Welsh and means “eminent”, derived from HYWEL, first name of a law-giving Welsh king. And, of the various crests they found – unaware of Ann’s cloth – they finally settled on a deer, with leaf in its mouth, signifying Perseverance).

The cloth, worked by Ann, was until recent years, in the keeping of Rena Mudgway (nee Howell) but has somehow been mislaid. Luckily, in 1964, Cis Tollison had borrowed it and crocheted a replica, as in the photograph. The only difference from the original is the addition of Cis’s initials and date in top right hand corner. The original cloth was slightly damaged so it was not possible to decipher the initial before the Howell name. Not knowing, at that stage, what initial it should be, Cis did the best she could. I was delighted to be able to have it photographed.

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Ham House, Surrey, England, where John Howell worked on the Estate

Ham House Near Richmond, Surrey. 01-940 1950. The house and grounds are the property of the National Trust, and the house is administered by the Victoria & Albert Museum. The grounds are open free of charge throughout the year.

Ham House, Richmond Ham House, dating from I610, is among the finest and least altered examples of Stuart domestic architecture in the country. It was furnished and redecorated in the 1670s in the most up-to-date style of the time by the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale. Almost their entire collection of outstanding late seventeenth-century furniture survives and has recently been rearranged by the Victoria & Albert Museum in the positions for which it was intended. The result is an authentic and very rare illustration of how a great house would have looked 300 years ago. Seventeenth-century garden being restored.

Copy of crochet done by Ann Howell on ship travelling to N.Z.

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I feel that, before proceeding, since the Gilberts were to play such a large role in the Howell saga, their story should be given briefly, at this stage.

James Gilbert, 22 years of age, a tailor of Glasgow, Scotland, with his wife Jane, 24 years, and daughters 5, 3 and 1 year were among the very first settlers to emigrate under the newly- formed N.Z. Company scheme.

They secured a berth on “Bengal Merchant”, fourth emigrant ship to leave Britain and the first to leave Scotland, leaving Glasgow on 31st October 1839. This ship, of 503 tons, was commanded by Capt. J. Hemery and, with 122 souls on board, reached Port Nicholson on 20th February 1840. It is interesting to note that when the Gilberts left Scotland, they did not know whether they were coming to a British colony or not, as the Treaty of Waitangi was signed only shortly before their arrival.

Ward says of the voyage of the ship in his book “Early Wellington” :-

The departure of the Bengal Merchant is regarded as an historical event in Scotland. Shortly before she left, the Lord Provost of Glasgow, with a large party, went on board and addressed the passengers. The Rev. John Macfarlane, the minister to the colonists, began his duties on board, and every Sabbath day the passengers and crew assembled for worship. There were 30 married couples, 23 single men, 16 children under 9, 4 between 9 and 15, and 13 under one year. One birth and one death occurred on the voyage.

Ward continues . . . . ..

The first four ships, Aurora, Oriental, Duke of Roxburgh and Bengal Merchant, with their weary but expectant passengers, arrived at Pit one (Petone) shortly after one another. For those on the “Bengal Merchant”, it had been a tedious voyage of 113 days before they touched at D’Urville Island, on 10th February 1840 after a four- month diet without fresh meat or vegetables.

The arrival of “Bengal Merchant“ increased the population of Pito-one to 600. Most immigrants were housed in hastily- constructed huts, the Company’s barracks or with friends, until housing became available.

The Gilberts later moved to Cloudy Bay, Blenheim, where they had a small farm. A further daughter, Mary Ann, was born to them on 1st July 1844.

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Howell Brothers Isaac, David, William B.

Sarah Jane, John Howell Betsy Bicknell Howell

William Bentinck, Isaac, John

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There are three versions of James Gilbert’s death – none have yet been proved or disproved. One story says he was drowned in the Wairau River, another says that all in a whaleboat were drowned when a whale came up under it and overturned the boat in Cook Strait; the third version, supplied by a Maori man versed in tribal history, was that the Maoris found James and cared for him at Otaki and Kapiti where he re-married a Maori girl. I have had searches made of Drownings and Coroner’s Inquests, and National Archives, without any trace. They suggest this may be because a body was never found. Could story No. 3 be the reason?

In any case, Jane Gilbert, in 1849, married George Foster and had a son, George, and two more daughters. It was this son, George, who married Ann Howell, daughter of David, who lived in Clive. Already the family ties were becoming tangled.

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David Howell 6.2.1830 – 18.7.1891
m Ann Russell at Wellington, St. Pauls 29.7.1852

As I have said in Table of Descendants, records on David have been hard to come by. But thanks to many small coincidences and considerable research and co-operation from Lesley Glassey, we now have the families of at least one of David’s daughters, Ann (Annie as she was known). I know there were other daughters. One, born 18/2/1856 was baptised Elizabeth Rachel at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Wellington. Ann was born 6/3/1857 and Edith 4/8/1878. Both Ann and Edith predeceased their father – of Elizabeth Rachel, I have found no sign. Reta Dassler told me a delightful story about the little daughter Edith, born after Annie had married and left home to live in the South Island. Edith was a pretty wee girl who loved to pick the tiny pink rosebuds in her mother’s garden. Sadly, Edith died as a very young child so all visitors and relatives were given cuttings of “Edith’s little rose” to grow in her memory.

But, back to the younger days of David … As young men, David and Isaac worked in Hutt Valley as labourers helping clear land of virgin bush, but after his father’s death, David married Ann Russell of Wellington and went to work in the Porirua area (now Tawa Flat district), again clearing bush for farmland. In 1854, after a short stint back with Isaac in Hutt Valley, David bought land in 1855 in Porirua area, built a house, and settled for a time as a farmer. In 1857, about the same time as Isaac, he moved north to Hawke’s Bay. My only records of him in the Bay are from Electoral Rolls 1866 to 1877 and 1879-80 which showed he owned a small farm at East Clive. The Directory of these years designates him as Farmer and Carter.

When he died on 18/7/1891, of Bright’s Disease, his death certificate said he was survived by two daughters – no mention of his wife, yet his will, made and signed, incredible though it seems, on the day he died, leaves everything to Ann. Both David and Ann are buried at Havelock North, though, here again, their grave is unmarked. I am simply going by the press report in H.B. Herald of 20/7/1891 that the funeral would leave his residence for Havelock Cemetery (where sexton showed me a double plot bought by David). Of Ann I can find no mention except that on and off through the years between 1890 and 1898, entries in the Clive school admission register show that she often fostered children for several years at a time.

This is the last Will and Testament of me David Howell of Clive, in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, Settler. I give, devise and bequeath all my real and personal estate of every description unto my wife Ann Howell.
And I appoint my said wife Ann Howell, and William Dickinson, Butcher, of Clive, executor and executrix of this my Will, and revoke all previous Wills by me at any time heretofore made.
In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand this Eighteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-one.

David Howell

Signed by the said David Howell the testator in our presence, who in his presence and in the presence of each other at the same time subscribe our names as witnesses

Edward Bissell, Teacher, Clive
Wilfrid Leyland, Settler, Clive

This is the paper writing marked A referred to in the annexed affidavit of Ann Howell sworn before me this Eighth day of December 1891 and I certify that the same was produced and shown to the said Ann Howell at the time of her swearing the said affidavit.

[illegible – possibly Duncan Grey]

A Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand

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Before starting on this stage, I must admit to much “mental juggling” to decide on which order would be most appropriate. The descendants of John and Ann intermarried so often, it is hard to know how to keep some kind of sequence. As I have said, Ann Howell (Annie) daughter of David and Ann, married George Foster in Napier on 10/9/1875, George then being 28 years of age and Annie 18 years of age. According to Otago Daily Times 16/7/1931, in an obituary for George Foster (who was, incidentally, one of the first white children born in N.Z.), the couple lived in Oamaru for some years before moving to Burke’s Pass. Little is known of their life there but Meta Gwynne recalls how Annie used to arrange all her preserves in rows round the hob, to prevent the glass shattering as contents froze during the bitterly cold winters. The births of Ann’s five children Edith, Georgina, Elizabeth Maud, Ellen Isabella and George, are all recorded in Kitty Somerville’s birthday book, so she obviously kept in touch with them.

Sad to say, Ann died on 29th July 1887 at the age of 29 years. The cause of death given was “diseased liver and congestion of lungs”. Her eldest daughter Edith and son George were sent to their grandparents at Clive, where they stayed until Edith was 18 years old and she returned to Ruapuna in South Island. Here she helped look after her sisters as well as her step-brothers. Her father had, by now, re-married to Jane Webster, moved from Burke’s Pass to Timaru and then to Ruapuna where he was Head Shepherd for the late Mr J. Ba1lantyne. Later, George took up land of his own. There were seven sons and three daughters of the second family, making George’s family fifteen in all.


Now for a brief run-down of Ann’s descendants. George, the only son, was, according to his death certificate, an engine driver. Born on 4th July 1884 he was just three years old when his mother died, and was sent, with his sister, to live with his grandparents in Clive. He never married and he died in Waimate Hospital after a motorcycle accident on 15th February 1914, aged 30 years. Of the sisters, Edith, who married George Argylle, has been easiest to research. Her three daughters Sarah Ellen (Nell), Emily Christina (Chris or Christina) and Cora Florence (Cora) married three brothers Andrew, George and David Samuel Glassey. Just to further complicate matters, they all lived in the same street.

Christine, the eldest, was a strong-willed, sometimes domineering person and as, at one time, Mayoress while George held Mayoralty office, she was a well-known public figure. George was awarded MBE for services to the community and I have no doubt he was ably supported in his offices, by Christine. Their son Dick, whom many of our North Island

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relatives remember, is a pilot. Boyd, a Presbyterian minister, is part time prison chaplain at Rolleston – a colleague of Deidre Prince (nee Cornor)’s husband Don Prince. Lesley Familton, a teacher is very involved in Church Youth work, while her husband, Alex, is the vet on TV’s Pets’ Corner.

Second sister, Cora, was a schoolteacher – very sympathetic in nature and the one to whom all her nieces and nephews turned for advice with problems. She loved children, taught remedial reading and remained teaching until she retired at 60. Cora’s son, Lyndsay David, was awarded Queen’s Honours for naval services. Adrienne is wife of Lyttelton Postmaster. Lois, whose husband is Superintendent of Parks and Reserves in Ashburton, and Diane, a nurse, are willing Church helpers, friends at Court, and take after their mother with their loving forgiving natures.

Nell, the third sister of the trio, never of very robust health, lived a quiet, placid life. It is Nell’s daughter-in-law, Lesley Glassey who has helped me find the names of the Foster clan, and we were happy to meet Lesley, Graham and family last year. Deanna was recently invested with Grand Prior Badge for St. John’s Ambulance Cadet, a very high honour.

Another daughter of Ann and George was Georgina Foster who married William Annett. Of their family of three girls and four boys, Bill and Charlie were farmers, while Don and David were engineers. Dave went into partnership with Les Darling, an old school friend, as Annett & Darling, a very large engineering firm in Timaru. Beginning business after WWII the business has been built up steadily until they are now exporting machinery – particularly wool scours – to all parts of the world.

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Ann and George Foster

Children of Ann and George Foster
L. to R. Nell, Georgina, Edith, William and Maud

Foster Family L. to R. Annie Reid, William Foster, Edith Argyle

Front: Georgina Annett, Maud Painter

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William and Georgina Annett and family
Back: Wm. Annett Jnr. Front: Charles, Ellen, Gordon, Gertrude, Georgina

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ANN HOWELL (daughter of David) married GEORGE FOSTER
Edith Foster b. 24/8/1880 m. George Argylle
Emily Christina Argylle m George Glassey
Cora Florence m. David Samuel Glassey
George Argylle Glassey (Dick) m Betty Schwartfeger
William Boyd Glassey m. Wynn Gladys Benton
Noreen Edith m. Raymond Lord
Christina Lesley m. Alexander S. Familton
Mary Eleanor m. Barry Geo. Bruce
Alan Robert m. Brenda M. Buttery
Malcolm Foster m. Kathleen M. Moore
Lindsay David m. Muriel Adamson
Adrienne M. m. John S. Kelso
Lois Helen m. Peter S. Thompson
Dianne Marie m. Arthur Nicholas
Peter Argylle
Kenneth Geo. m. Jan
Shona Christina
Margaret Leanne
Christopher Boyd m. Vicki
Mary Wynn m Petalo Sargato
Michael David
Philip John
Ruth Ngatai
Raymond Bruce m. Kathy House
Barbara Dianne Lord
Mark A. Familton
Vivienne R. Familton
Helen S. Familton
Tracey M. Bruce
Catherine A. Bruce
Campbell Geo. Bruce
Kerry May Glassey
Paul Andrew Glassey
Shane Foster Glassey
Cherie Kathleen Glassey
Shelley Jan Glassey
Jocelyn M. Kelso
Alistair J. Kelso
Dianne G. Kelso
Denis G. Kelso
Mervyn D. Kelso
Nathan P. Thompson
Averil Helen Thompson
Jane Michelle Nicholas
Jeremy Robert Nicholas
Emily Ruth Nicholas
Nassardin George
Nadyn Boyd
Stephen Philip
Jeremy House
Warren House
Melanie Jane Lord

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Edith Foster m. Geo. Argylle (contd.)
William George Foster killed 1914 aged 30 yrs N/M
Georgina Foster m. William Annett
Sarah Ellen Argylle m. Andrew Glassey
William Annett m. Mildred Black
Gertrude Annett (Girlie) m. Joseph A. Glassey
Ellen Annett (Tiny) m. 1. Peter Cooper
m. 2. Peter Hillary
Georgina Annett (Jean) m. Cyril Palmer
Susan Ann Glassey m. Peter F. Ellis
Graham Foster Glassey m. Lesley Ann Jones
John Stuart Glassey m. Heather E. Hampton
Edith Isobel Glassey m. Gordon Swann
Elizabeth Glassey m. David L. Lange
Betty Annett m. Trevor Jackson
Aileen Glassey m. Ivan Harper
Thelma Cooper m. Cedric Dunstall
Mervyn Palmer m. Isobell
Wendy Patricia Ellis m. Adrian P. Shortley
Michael Ellis m. Vicki Davidson
Barry John Ellis m. Leanne Fitzwilliam
Katherine Joy Ellis
Deanna Christine Glassey
Grant Norman Glassey
Fiona Leigh Glassey
Scott John Glassey
Nicola Jane Glassey
Margaret Ellen Swann
Maree Ann Lange
Matthew David Lange
Graeme Cedric Dunstall m. Janet K. Bostock
Robin Frances Dunstall m. Christopher John Pound
David Palmer
Richard Palmer
Jennifer Shortley
Jody Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Emily Esther
Esther Caron
Graeme Edward
Alistair Eric

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Georgina Foster m. William Annett (contd.)
Elizabeth Maud Foster m. John Painter
Charles Annett m. Florence Richards
Donald Annett (Gordon) m. Daphne Loach
David Annett m. Sylvia Tonkin
Reginald Foster Painter (killed aged 28)
Annie Painter m. Duncan Robertson
William Annett m. Margaret
Alan Annett m. Nancy
Nancy Annett m. Neville Galletly
James Annett m. Elaine
Joyce Annett m. Donald Binney
Ken Annett m. Kathy
Lorraine Annett m. Roger South
Fay Annett m. Leslie Edgeler
George Robertson
Struan Robertson
Margaret Robertson m. Yeatman
Alberta Robertson m. ?
Dorothy Robertson m. Graham Carter
Janice Robertson
Lynley ) twins
Lester )
Malcolm Binney
Nicola Binney
Andrew Binney
James Binney
Phillipa Binney
Donna Annett
Kerri Annett
David Annett
Gina Annett
Catherine South
Karl Edgeler
Lynda Edgeler
Steven Edgeler

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Elizabeth Maud Foster m. John Painter (contd.)
Ellen Isabella (Nellie) Foster m. Angus Reid
Ivan Thos. Painter m. Ethel M. Graham
Dorothy May Painter m. Lawrence Rutledge
Jean Painter m. Arthur Gilbert
R.J. Painter (killed in WWI)
Graham Ivan Painter m. Helen M. Coleman
Brian John Painter m. Antonia Ryk
Leonie Ann Painter m. 1. Tony Ellen
m. 2. Barry Udstrom
Christine Lois Painter m. Wayne Grigg
Beverley Rutledge m. B. Wright
Doreen Gilbert m. John Clark
Jean Gilbert m. Earle Bartlett
Arthur Gilbert m. Jan
Dawn Gilbert m. Ross Bell
Pat Gilbert m. Ray Poulson
Wayne Gilbert m. Patricia
Iain Daniel Painter
Mark Ivan Painter
Sharon Mary Painter
Carl Painter
Brent Painter
Darren Painter
Leanne Painter
Tina Ellen
Cindy Jean Udstrom
Angela Grigg
Nigel Grigg
Christine Clark
Gary Clark
Phillip Clark
Suzanne Bartlett
Donald Bartlett
Nigel Bartlett
Tiffany Gilbert
Michael Gilbert
Tony Bell
Tania Bell
Dale Clark

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Isaac, born 16th October 1831, was second son of John and Ann, baptised at All Saints Church, Kingston-on-Thames on 13th November 1831. So he was just 9 when they left England. Imagine the feelings – the release of pent-up emotions – for a lad of 9 years, when, after being cooped up on a ship for five months, he was let loose on Petone beach with family and friends. The children were wild with excitement – a new land, new scenery, promise of a new way of life. In later life, Isaac was wont to recall that day – youngsters delirious with joy, racing madly round on the beach, and his own bewilderment at his mother who sat cradling her young baby and weeping softly to herself. It was equally bewildering to the circle of Maori families who had gathered in the background to watch the arrival of yet another “canoe” with its white- skinned complement.

Before his father’s death, Isaac, with David had gone out to Hutt Valley, then being broken in from virgin bush to farmland. Working as labourer clearing the land, and then farming, presumably it was here he met his future wife Christina Jones (nee Gilbert).

Stories are recorded of Isaac driving a mob of sheep and cattle right round the coast from Wellington to Turakina, and a later mob to Hawke’s Bay where he and Christina settled. He is recorded on the Electoral Rolls of 1879/80 as farmer at Woodthorpe (Okawa Block) and in N.Z. directory 1893 to 1895 as still farming there. Probably it is because of this time at Woodthorpe, that Miriam McGregor wrote in her book “Early Stations of Hawke’s Bay” that “the Lowrys brought out three Cumberland families to work on the Okawa Station – the Bicknells, the Hughes’s and the Howells.” Since the Howells arrived in 1841, Bicknells in 1842 and Lowrys in 1846, we see how inaccurate stories handed down over several generations can be.

Some time later Isaac and Christina and family moved to Rissington where their cottage stood at the foot of the cutting. It was here that Christina died in 1898 at the early age of 63. After her death, Isaac was a very lonely old man who took to roving round to stay with various members of his large family, from Gisborne to Paraparaumu. Jess Bignell recalls him arriving with all his belongings in a sack slung over his shoulder. Quietly he would work round, getting gardens in order, filling wood boxes and attending to odd jobs before moving off again. A grove of willows growing opposite Mt. Cameron gates beyond Puketapu, still stand as a reminder that Isaac Howell passed that way.

A tall man, quiet and gentle, and with a love of children that was returned by the children who knew him, he was more serious than his brother William Bentinck, preferring to be

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a background worker rather than a leader in the limelight. Meta Gwynne has a vivid memory of Isaac seated on a wheelbarrow, eating a cucumber like an apple! This was a horrifying custom in days when cucumbers were deemed to be poisonous unless peeled and scraped. It is these human little insights which, I hope, give colour to my stories.

Isaac is buried in Puketapu Cemetery.

Christina Gilbert – Jones – Howell : a child bride. Of all the folk I have researched, Christina Gilbert, Isaac’s wife, is the one who evokes my greatest compassion. At a time when the legal age for marriage, for girls, was 12 years Christina had no time for childhood before she married William Jones in 1848. She was then 13 years old. Her son William James Jones was born when she was just 15 years of age. But this marriage was not to last for long. Jones and Christina separated – some say George Nye took her away because she was unhappy. But William Jones moved to the West Coast of the South Island, and according to a Nelson paper, he was killed at Nelson Creek (near Greymouth) on 9th September 1871. The report reads : “Fatal Accident at Greymouth. William Jones, a miner, was killed by falling from a flume 150 feet high.“ Burial records at Greymouth Cemetery record his burial there – aged 30 years.

Christina went to live with George Nye, a carpenter, boat- builder, grape-grower and maker of ropes from N.Z. flax, in the Foxton area. They had two daughters — Elizabeth (Lizzie) Nye, born 1853 and Nancy Ellen Nye, born 20th May 1858 who died aged 6 weeks. For some reason, Christina left Nye about this time; Lizzie was brought up by an aunt, while Christina returned to Wellington area where she met up with Isaac Howell whose brother, William Bentinck married Christina’s sister Mary Anne Gilbert in 1864. I have not found anything about the years before Isaac and Christina moved to Hawkes Bay to live but in St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Wellington, the baptism register records the following names:

Born 3.2.1860 Ellen, daughter of Christina and Isaac Howell (Wellington labourer)

Born 30.6.1861 Christina Jane (Kitty) daughter of Christina and Isaac Howell (Wellington labourer)

Born 8.9.1863 John (Jack) son of Christina and Isaac Howell (Wellington labourer)

Over the years their family grew until they had four sons and four daughters while a ninth child died at birth.

Reta Dassler recalls her mother, Isabella Williams (nee Howell) telling of Christina’s great skill as a dressmaker. With fashions calling for whalebone supports in frocks, Christina ingeniously devised “bones” for her garments by using strips of supplejack covered with soft cloth. The making that went into those frocks was both elegant and considerable. This skill has been handed down to many of Christina’s descendants.

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She was, too, often called upon to act as midwife and nurse especially in country areas where doctors were hard to reach in times of emergency.

As I have moved round and met descendants of this family I have been struck by the caring closeness of the various “clans”. Since travelling in those early days could not have been easy, nevertheless there was considerable exchanging of cousins during holidays. Kitty Somerville’s birthday book shows that letter-writing must have been an important part of their lives. She certainly recorded each baby as it arrived.

Christina died of apoplexia (stroke) on 9th September 1898 at Rissington at the age of 63. She is buried with Isaac at Puketapu Cemetery.


Though Christina’s first son, William James Jones was not a Howell, his story is linked with family and I feel it should be included. He came up to Hawke’s Bay to work in Puketapu area. There he married Elizabeth Ann Hughes, a grand daughter of Joseph Bicknell who reached N.Z. in 1842. This marriage was shortlived as Elizabeth died in childbirth in 1875, leaving behind her a son William Stanley Jones. It was natural that Elizabeth’s young sister Edith Harriet Hughes should take over caring for the little newly born babe. Natural, too, that W.J.J. should want to marry Edith but in those days N.Z. law prohibited a man from marrying his sister-in-law. So the couple travelled to Sydney to be married in 1878, Edith being 15 years of age. This marriage too, ended all too soon as Edith died aged 27 years. It was her son, Edward Sydney Jones who later married Esther Bicknell, youngest daughter of Betsy Bicknell (nee Howell).

Again, since so many of the family remember Lizzie Nye, I feel such a colourful character should be included. Again, too, one must feel great pity for Lizzie. In a letter to Wellington Public Library (Schofield Papers) at the time of Napier Centennial in March 1940, Lizzie told of her father, George Nye’s story and then, towards the end of the letter she said, “I lost my mother when I was eighteen months old. When I was 11, in 1864, my aunt, then a widow, adopted me and I lived with her until she died in 1883.” Lizzie’s house was 5 Craven Street, very close to the Napier Railway Station. Because of this, it was apparently a great place for family travellers to call for a cuppa between trains. Jean Magnussen (nee Howell) used to stay with Lizzie and was impressed by Lizzie’s frugality. Sixpennyworth of cat’s meat made a delicious stew for the pair of them. Gwen Coombes (nee Butcher) recalled the day when, left to her own devices while adults chatted, she accidentally let Lizzie’s pet frog escape from its jar. Scared of the consequences, she popped the cover back, shoved the jar out of sight, and in due course, proceeded on the train journey to Wairoa. It was with some trepidation she faced Lizzie on the return visit, but all was well! The frog was back in its jar.

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Isaac Howell

Christina Howell

Charlie and Clara Howell on their wedding day

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Lizzie obviously inherited Christina’s skill as a dressmaker and her services were much sought after – especially for the beautifully embroidered wedding gowns and veils that she created. Though her house was small, Lizzie had a wonderful collection of shells from all over the world. These she displayed to advantage. She was both well-educated and well-read. At 87 years of age, Lizzie had the honour of being the oldest pioneer present at a function organised by Centennial Committee in Napier (1940). After her death at 89, she was buried at Park Island Cemetery near Napier.


To find the story of John (Jack) son of Isaac and Christina, I went to his daughter Rea, a lively octogenarian who lives opposite Napier Airport. Rea’s parents, Jack and Sarah Ann (nee Johnson) farmed in the Wairoa area, first at Tiniroto. But times were difficult, shipping of meat was still in the early stages, and not always very successful, so Jack and Sarah moved to Ruakituri and later to Tawhara Road where they had a small dairy farm. There were three children. In 1899, Jack died as a young child as the result of being kicked by a horse. Ben, who died of a heart attack in 1946, was an engineer at Thames, working with locomotives. Being too young for enlistment in 1914, Ben put his age up and joined the Forces. Badly wounded in France, he was repatriated to England, where he met and married Laurie Vines who was in a concert party entertaining troops. Laurie invited Ben and his cousin, William James Taylor (of Wm. Bentinck family) home and the result was that William married Laurie’s sister, Ruby Vines. After the war Ben and Laurie returned to N.Z. and set up a garage at Manaia. Their little daughter died of diphtheria but their son Peter, is well known as a successful Chartered Accountant both in Hastings and now, in Auckland. Peter’s three children, Gregory, Prue and David are all working towards professional degrees. Of Rea’s family, both Brian and Joyce have enjoyed farm life while Delys is an office executive in Napier.

David, Isaac’s son, married Annie Anderson and they had eleven daughters and one son. Their life too, was spent on farms, first at Tiniroto where Dave was manager, then at Ruakituri Station, and later on Adeane’s Estate at Takapau. Irene married Sid Cornor, grandson of William Bentinck and his dairy farm at Paraparaumu supplied milk for Wellington town supply. The girls married and lived in various parts of North Island, while Isaac Claude, the only son, worked on the Hospital Farm at Gisborne, until his retirement when he became Sexton at Gisborne Cemetery. His son, Basil, is involved in microwave link-ups of all the TV translators in the South Island.

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Eldest in Isaac and Christina’s family, I now know, was Ellen born 3rd February 1860. She married Thomas Clunie who had arrived in N.Z. with his mother on the ship “Nelson” on 11th November 1863. Ellen and Thomas went to manage the Hunter Brown Estate at Opouiti, north of Wairoa and had eight children – two sons and six daughters. Since the children rode horses to attend Frasertown school, small wonder that all the girls became very proficient horsewomen. In fact, they shocked the “locals” by being the first to wear divided skirts and to sit astride the horse instead of the usual lady-like side-saddle. Here again, tragedy struck early, for Ellen was widowed at 36 years of age when Thomas was killed. It is not certain whether he had a seizure, fell from his horse and drowned while crossing the river at mustering time, or else his horse threw him and he drowned as a result. Unable to carry on with the farm herself, Ellen moved into Wairoa where she set up a boarding house, near the bridge. At the same time she established herself as a dressmaker of some repute. Her younger son Garioch was still only 2½ years old and since Ellen was such a busy person coping with all her chores, Garry’s sisters had a large hand in his rearing. When Ella started her first job, she bought Garry a new suit, dressed him up, and proudly despatched him to Sunday School.


Christina Jane – Kitty – Aunt Kitty. What a wonderful woman she must have been. Known by every branch of the family that I have contacted and beloved by all who knew her. A tall woman, deep voiced, regal of stature; she was a real matriarch and a very special Granny. Her birthday book is an amazing record of family births. And Peter Butcher assures me she never forgot a birthday. After Kitty married John Somerville they first lived on the out-station at Haupouri, beyond Clifton but later they moved in to the “square” house – one of the houses still in use, standing opposite the woolshed at Clifton Station, near Cape Kidnappers.

On one occasion, when the Gordon family of “Clifton” went to England, Kitty and John moved in as caretakers of “the big house” and this held wonderful memories for the family. Long before Christmas, Kitty would make a huge iced cake and several Christmas puddings, well-laced with silver coins. Christmas Day was Gran’s Day! None of the family ever missed the gathering round her table. Once she decided to have a Father Christmas but Peter and his brother, after one look, disappeared out the window without recognising their Uncle Chum recently returned from overseas. One of Kitty’s treasured possessions was a barrel-organ (hurdy gurdy) so, for a fancy dress costume, she outfitted Peter as an organ-grinder and his brother Jack as a monkey. The pair had a wonderful evening playing for pennies.

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Ellen (Howell) Clunie and Thomas Clunie

Family of Garry and Doris (Cornor) Clunie

Back: Mac, Gordon, Ian, Malcolm, Colin

Front: Nancy, Garry, Dorrie, Joyce, Ella

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John Somerville

Christina Jane Somerville (nee Kitty Howell)

Olive and Mabel Somervi11e

Ella (nee Clunie) and Stan Howell with Beryl and Harry

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John Somerville was a man, small in size but BIG on words. His word was law! A hard worker himself, he expected his workers to toil hard too. Son of an Auckland family, John loathed city life and he was never happier than when he was a shepherd working his sheep. As a drover in early days on the Taupo road, John’s small size was a definite advantage. Beside those old roads, there were many “underrunners“ where sheep would become stuck. Johnnie would be lowered down on a rope, over the side of the road, to pull the sheep back to safety.

As caretaker of Clifton, he proudly drove Mr Gordon’s gig with a wonderful black horse, Thunderbolt, in harness. One day, hoping to beat an oncoming thunderstorm, John whipped up Thunderbolt, who needed no second bidding. Away they flew – and away flew Peter Butcher’s hat. But no amount of yelling could persuade Johnnie to stop and retrieve it.

Christina died in 1942 and both she and John are buried in Havelock North cemetery. Of their family most took to farming after spending much of their early life on Clifton Station. Peter Butcher was a well-known figure with the H.B. County Council before his retirement to Havelock North.


Robina Maude Clunie, known as Been, married John G. Scrimgeour and, after the untimely death of her father, Thomas Clunie, they took over the management of the Hunter Brown Estate at Opouiti for a while. But John was neither stockman nor manager and it was soon apparent that they could no longer remain in the position so they moved to Matawhero where they became church caretakers. Before long, John left the family to fend for themselves and, in spite of failing health, Robina struggled along trying to provide for their seven children. One of these, Horace William, died at 10 months. After Been’s death at 49 years from cancer, the family looked after one another. Jess married Fred Bignell when she was still very young and she took over the role of mother for her younger brothers and sisters, while rearing a family of thirteen of her own.

Jess and Fred lived just out of Gisborne and many of the family still live in that area. At eighty eight years, Jess is now a frail little lady, but up until a few years ago, her mind was clear and she had many a tale to tell. How I wish I had started on this project years ago, so I could have had the benefit of the memories of these older folk.

Without a doubt, I am sure that of the entire number of Howell descendants, the one – most likely the ONLY one – to be known to this day, from North Cape to the Bluff, is Colin Graham Scrimgeour – Uncle Scrim.

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Caricature – The Flying Padre [xx] by Minhinnick

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A wedding day picture of Elwyn and Valerie Saville, who are missing in the Dragonfly aircraft lost since Monday, February 12, on a flight from Christchurch to Milford. They were married in Gisborne on December 4. Mr. Saville (20) is from Corronbong, New South Wales, and his 22-year-old bride (nee Bignell) comes from Waipaoa, near Gisbome.

Valerie was daughter of Jess and Fred Bignell

Five Generations – Jess Bignell (Scrimgeour), Joyce McGarva (Bignell), Deborah Edwards (McGarva), Fred McGarva and baby Angela Edwards

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Arthur Gunnell and Annie (nee Clunie)

The Frasertown Store

Gordon Stuart, Gwen Beckett (nee Garwood) and Edna Stuart (nee Garwood)

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William Clunie, son of Tom and Ellen

Nell Clunie (nee Howell) and Annie Mclean (nee Howell) with Norman and baby Herbert Clunie

Stan and Ella Howell with Horace, Beryl, Garry and Harry

Robt. and Eileen (nee Garwood) Crarer

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Born on 30th January 1903 at Wairoa, Scrim, with his family, knew the hardships of life in a home where all had to pull their weight. As an 11 year old he knew the despair of watching his mother, separated from her husband whose financial contributions to the family’s upkeep were few and far between, struggle to provide for her children on a small leased property. A struggle made even more desperate as she fought against the cancer which eventually took her life. The sight of her pain and disfigurement after surgery determined him, at first, to become a Doctor. So, like many another pupil at that time, he left school in the fourth standard and, being a tall lad, though not yet twelve, he started work at Gisborne Freezing Works. In the next eight years, though well-versed in gambling and its associated “skills” he was introduced to the works of Tolstoy and, in some mysterious way, though religion had never previously been any part of his life, Scrim found himself transformed from freezing worker to Methodist minister. His years as the “Man in the Street” at the Friendly Road Radio Station, had listeners in thousands of N.Z. homes glued to their sets. His philosophy “You go to your church, I’ll go to mine; but let’s go along together”, has taken many years to show signs of much progress towards greater tolerance and closer church unity.

The ensuing years have been well documented by pens far more able than mine. Of Scrim’s battle to institute commercial radio stations, his appointment as controller of N.Z. Commercial Broadcasting Service 1936 to 1943 and, after the death of his friend Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage, his constant campaign against P.M. Peter Fraser, to improve conditions in broadcasting. His eventual “railroading” into the Armed Forces removed him from the public eye. The same public which continued, through thick and thin, to either love or hate the man. Scrim’s love of social justice would not let him be forgotten.

In 1959 he spent a year in China with status of Foreign Specialist. He was there to advance Chinese technicians in the technological progress of TV after Russian experts were withdrawn. This was a year of momentous importance to Scrim who had never been ashamed of being a sentimental idealist. On one of two later visits to China, he was decorated by Chou En Lai. The TV network he had helped to set up was a great success.

Scrim returned from Australia to live in N.Z. in 1968 with yet another idea developing in his mind. In a land where grass thrives, why could our laboratories not convert it into protein to help feed the hungry world beyond our shores? Hopefully, in years to come, scientists will develop this idea successfully.

In his early days one of Scrim’s great loves had been flying – he was the first Air Force Padre – hence the Minhinnick cartoon of the Flying Padre. As Captain of the Auckland Aero Club he had acted, on one occasion, as co-pilot for Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith in the famous “Southern Cross” and this was the last plane Scrim flew, on a flight from Australia to Mangere.

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Earlier that week a doctor had refused to pass him on health grounds. Today Scrim and his wife Pam live in retirement at Laingholm, Auckland where Scrim’s pacemaker ticks away steadily and gives them time to enjoy the glorious view from their home.


Christina Macdonald Clunie (Tina) married Dan Garwood and they lived at Frasertown, where their son Clem and three daughters Eileen, Edna and Gwen were born. Tina died in 1922 when Gwen was only 11 years of age. But Dan survived her by many years. Sad to say, I can find little about Tina though Dan is well-remembered. Well-known in the Frasertown area as a drover of bullock teams, and one who loved his pint or two, it was as well he had a good faithful horse which would bring him home safely, after his sessions. Several nieces recall that he had a large prickly pear growing by his door. Visitors were encouraged to “sign the visitors‘ book” by etching their names on the sappy leaves with one of the treacherous-looking spines. By the time of their next visit the name would have become clearly outlined – a growing record of earlier calls. Eileen married Robert Crarer and they farmed just out of Wairoa. The grove of hazelnuts and mulberries which they planted, still line the highway north to Gisborne on their old farm.

Edna and Gordon Stuart lived in Wairoa while Gwen and Arnie Beckett were well-known as storekeepers for they took over the Frasertown store from Annie Gunnell after WWII. Tina and Dan’s son, Clem, left N.Z. for WWI, married an English girl and they lived in France where Clem died.


One of the many marriages between cousins was that of William Clunie and Ellen Christine (Nell) daughter of William Bentinck. Bill farmed at Paraparaumu on the W.B.H. Estate. He and Nell had 6 sons (one, Macdonald, died young) and one daughter, now Mrs Mary Warren who lives in Auckland. Tom farmed in the Whangarei area and died in 1978.

Bill was helping build a house for his son Tom, in May 1939 and after collecting a bag of cement and while hurrying back to the site, his car hit a carriage of the passing Limited Express. Bill was killed – just one year after Nell had died. Both are buried in Paraparaumu Cemetery.

Norman Clunie married his cousin, Belle Harvey from Wairoa, and was a very hard worker; but like many Returned Servicemen, Norm found it hard to settle down. He worked on the railway, on fencing, and farm labouring and died in 1977. Herb met up with one, Dick Connor, in the Army and after the war they joined forces, bought a farm in North Auckland where they milked cows and yearly built up their herd – and yearly added to the cowshed to accommodate the extra animals. Stories about these two and their baching techniques are hilarious. How they had one good wash-up of working sox (sic) every now and then. Resulting sox (sic),

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Veteran Of Community and Country Passes

Mr Garioch Thomas (Garry) Clunie who died on February 19 at his home in Rimu Road, Raumati Beach, after a short illness, won the respect of his fellows for his integrity of purpose and his contribution to the district in local body and community affairs and sport.

Mr Clunie was an ardent supporter of monetary reform and was a foundation member and later Dominion vice-president of the Social Credit Political League. His interest in monetary reform stemmed from a meeting with the world founder of the social credit system, Major Douglas, in 1928.

Mr Clunie helped found the New Zealand Social Credit Association, which was subsequently replaced by the Social Credit Political League.

In three General Election campaigns from 1954 to 1960. Mr Clunie stood as the Otaki candidate for the league. and wrote a small book “What is Social Credit?”, a clear and lucid explanation of the system he wholeheartedly believed in.


Mr Clunie came to Paraparaumu in 1910 after military service in the First World War, which included the Gallipoli campaign. He married Miss Doris Cornor and took up land in a small soldiers’ settlement. During the depression he did road construction work and this was the beginning of a long association with the Hutt County Council.

In 1930 he was appointed County Overseer and held this position for 25 years. From 1957 when it was first constituted he was a member of the Paraparaumu County Town Committee. The committee’s bid for a low interest $3,000,000 loan for Paraparaumu’s water supply may have stemmed from a motion Mr Clunie tabled urging the committee to seek an interest-free loan in line with his belief that the power to control the nation’s money should be in the hands of the people.


Mr Clunie was a foundation member of the Paraparaumu branch of the R.S.A. and the Paraparaumu Beautifying Society. He was a keen sportsman and was a life member of the Paraparaumu Rugby Club and the Paraparaumu Athletic Club.

In his later years Mr Clunie was patron of the Athletic Club but in his youth he was one of the club’s keenest trackmen. He ran in the club’s first gala meeting on New Year’s Day, 1920, and had many trophies to prove his prowess.

Mr Clunie was one of the first to advocate building a multi-purpose gymnasium on the Domain and in 1968 the Kapiti Festival Directorate was formed, charged with the job of raising money to build the Kapiti Sports Complex.

Mr and Mrs Clunie celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1969.

Mr Clunie. who was 76, is survived by his wife, three daughters, five sons, 26 grand-children and five great-grand children.

Mr G. T. (Garry) Clunie who died on February 19 after a short illness. People from all walks of life gathered at his home in Rimu Road for the funeral service and to pay tribute to a man who had contributed greatly to his community and to his country in many spheres.

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Family of Stan and Ella (Clunie) Howell Harry, Beryl, Horace, Betty, Gilbert

Alexander Clunie Howell (Alex) son of Stan and Ella

Garioch Lenham son of Stan and Ella

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hanging on fences, looked for all the world like a host of rabbit skins out to dry. Surely the yarn of making their butter in the washing machine, was a leg-pull! Their farming techniques were the most unorthodox. Late night! Too tired to milk! Turn the calves in with the cows for a while! And so the stories go. Work was not their long suit so they changed from dairy cows to dry stock. Money makers they certainly were and they started buying up houses in Auckland, for re-sale, thus becoming real property tycoons. Herb married Dick’s sister and they moved to a flat at Surfers’ Paradise where Herb died in 1978.

Dave returned to N.Z. after 4 years as prisoner of war, broken in health and spirit. He became a real “loner” and lived miles from Whangarei. No paper, no radio, no TV, no drink; he felt he had enough troubles without hearing of anyone else’s. He died in 1983.


What a great old fellow Thomas Garioch Clunie (Garry) was! Always interested in family, he would, on his holidays, endeavour to drop in on as many nieces and nephews as possible, just to see how all were faring. In 1919 Garry married Doris Cornor, a grand daughter of William Bentinck, and they reared a family to be proud of — five sons and three daughters. His obituary, which follows, records his contributions to the district’s progress. Since Garry’s death in 1971 Aunt Dorrie has lived most of the time in her sunny flat at Nancy’s home in Paraparaumu; or else she stays with Ella who is now the well-beloved matron of Masonic Village in Levin. It was wonderful to be able to attend Aunt Dorrie’s 90th birthday in January 1985 – especially as she is so much the centre of her family. She is a fund of information about days gone by, for her memory is quite clear about early times and the older generations. Two years ago she flew to Australia to meet her great grandchildren. The family are scattered – Joyce at Kaitaia, Malcolm at Hastings, Ian at Taupo, Gordon, who unfortunately was killed in an accident at Glenbrook steel works in 1984, was at that time living in Auckland, Colin is in Wellington and Mac leads a very busy life in Paraparaumu where he was a former councillor and is now PRO officer. One of Mac’s sons, Malcolm has some interesting tales to tell of time he spent as maintenance officer of machinery at Campbell Island weather station.


Ella Isabel Clunie married Stanley William James Howell, son of John (Johnnie) and Sarah Jane. Ella grew up in a happy home at Opouiti and Wairoa but Stan, after his mother left her young family, was dependent on relatives for the early years of his life. He spent much of his youth with the Bicknells at Puketapu. After their marriage in 1907, Stan and Ella worked as married couple at Ruapapa (Wairoa area) where their eldest son, Harry Rua, was born. They moved to Patoka and later Rissington, where Ella took over the duties of telephone exchange and Post Office – in addition to managing a boarding half-way house for travellers

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on the Napier to Puketitiri run. Stan, as road-metalling contractor, was often away for weeks at a time, so the rearing of the family of seven was in Ella’s hands. Many calls were made on her, too, as midwife in times of emergency. Being an excellent horsewoman, she would saddle up and ride to the patients. An ardent worker for Red Cross, Ella was too, a foundation member of the first Womens’ Institute in New Zealand (founded by Miss Jerome Spencer O.B.E. in 1921 at “Omatua“ Rissington.) When her daughter Betty left school and while waiting to go nursing, she was, during the war years, the youngest telephonist to be sworn in in N.Z. After 30 years as Postmistress, Ella and Stan retired to Wairoa where Stan died in 1953 and Ella in 1966. Both are buried at Wairoa. Since this is “OUR” clan – the family I know best, it has been easier to find family details.

Harry’s son, Russell, as a top-dressing pilot, has spent about 4½ years on Guadalcanal, almost entirely on a rice farm – originally a huge market garden begun by the U.S. Army during WWII; it was later bought by an Australian Company for rice production and now owned by Solomon Is. The rice is sown, sprayed, and fertilised by air – each crop requiring eleven or more different applications during its growth cycle, so Russ was kept very busy. Oil palms on adjacent land were also aerial sprayed. Russ and Kath have now retired to the peace and quiet of Keri Keri.

Richard Wells, a swimmer of National standard who has rep- resented N.Z. at many overseas competitions, was N.Z. Triathlon champion in 1984. Brenton Callaghan is another who “dares to be different”. His pursuits have been hang-gliding and parachuting – in both of which he has excelled. After working for some years as computer programmer and operator at Auckland University College, he is now computer programmer for a firm in New Jersey, U.S.A.

Robin Clarke is genial “Mine Host“ at Arkness Hotel, Rosehill- on-Lairg, Scotland. (Isn’t that a lovely name?) Local laird owns the pub and to it come salmon fishermen in the fishing season. As diesel engineer and driver Alex Howell has spent several years in New Britain where he works for an American logging company. Max Adams is well-known in South Auckland area as Farm Management Consultant and Registered Rural Valuer.

As I read through accounts of accomplishments of various family members, I realise I always seem to have been singing the praises of the males in the family. But the womenfolk have been well to the fore in all their activities as well – the unsung heroines – so many have embraced the nursing and teaching professions as well as the countless homemakers who are experts in so many fields. Now that the younger, enterprising generations are beginning to spread their wings, I’m sure there will be experts in every field of endeavour for future years.

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Annie Gilbert Clunie was a well-known and well-loved personality in the Frasertown area. Married, first to Arthur Steed, and after his death, to Arthur Gunnell, Annie for many years ran the Frasertown store as well as rearing her family of nine. As Nell recalls, in a settlement such as Frasertown, the whole district was like one big extended family with the store at its hub. Arthur John Steed, Annie’s eldest son was an accountant in Hastings and Wellington and was one of the Building Society group instrumental in the erection of the first housing settlement at Wainuiomata. He retired to Tauranga where he died. Doris Brathwaite, a keen floral artist, was well known in Invercargill and surroundings as a spinner of some repute. Her son, Ronald, works for Comalco in Brisbane, while John is a mining engineer at present involved in gold dredging operations at the Skippers. He has worked on projects varying from glassworks in Northland to oil rigs in the South. Arthur Steed’s son, Len, has two chemists’ shops in Devon, England as well as interests in a large sporting complex. Rosalie’s husband, Terry Comer, is head of Social Welfare in Christchurch. Nell and Jock Stevenson are well-known throughout the Bay. Nell has been a staunch “backer” for Jock in all his undertakings – P.R.O. in Napier, organiser for countless appeals, activities, Exhibitions and Shows. The list is endless. No less well-known in Napier is Nell’s son, Gavin Menzies. He is Chief Traffic Officer in Napier. In Auckland, Don Gunnell is a town planner.


Amy Howell Harvey (nee Clunie) was another with a wide smile and a big heart. I well remember my first meeting with her. Gil had warned me and sure enough, her first words were, “Come and have a cup of tea”. Hospitality was her second name! Married to Albert Harvey in Wairoa, Amy had four sons and two daughters – all tall, smiling, handsome folks. Hard work was no stranger to Amy, for as well as her family, she catered for several boarders, especially Post and Telegraph department workers who remember her fondly.

Life in the Harvey houshold (sic) was happy and fun-filled. Joyce McGarva (nee Bignell) one of eight girls born first into the Bignell family, remembers her dread of being sent to Harvey’s for holidays. Unused to teasing boys, she was terrified when the big Harvey lads thought nothing of turning the hose on her, or pushing her in the river, as she stepped out in her best holiday clothes.

Sadly, Amy died suddenly while her sons were overseas – Peter in the Islands, Tom in the Middle East and Buster in P.O.W. camp. Belle’s was a happy, familiar face in Ostler’s [Osler’s] bakery shop until she married Norm Clunie on his return from WWII and they went to live in Northland. Margaret (Biddy) still lives in Whangarei and Peter has retired to Orewa – the only

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Gold Medallist in Canoeing at Los Angeles Olympics Grant Bramwell — son of Pam McAneney

Harveys – Peter, Buster, Amy, Bert, Tom

McAneney family – Back: Gladys, Ray, Dulcie, Walter, Dora (Bobbie), Ron. Jean

Front: Alex, Fred, Shirley, Jeannie (Jinny) Fred (Mac)

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The David Howell family – David was Isaac and Christina’s son

Back: Millie, Christine, Claude, Irene, Ellen

Front: Dora, Nancy, Annie (nee Anderson), Mary, Ida, Jean

Daughters of Christina and Isaac Howell

Walter Williams & Isabella Howell

Peter Jackson & Georgina Howell

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two of the family left. As teacher, Headmaster and sporting enthusiast, Tom was well-loved and he played an important part in community life. Professional swimming coach, Rugby trainer and Ross Shield convenor-selector, executive member of Marching Association, Taradale R.S.A., Taradale Improvement Society, National R.S.A. and National Patriotic Welfare Committee – the list was endless. He was awarded Coronation Medal in 1953 and twenty years later Rotary presented him with an award for meritorious service for his involvement in youth and patriotic work. His death was a great loss to the community. His son, John has followed in Tom’s footsteps and is a valued member in this district. A willing helper, leader and organiser in School, Church, sport or civic affairs, John with his wife Muriel, must never have an idle moment. He is at present Headmaster of Haumoana School where his first assistant is Ailsa Slui, daughter of Tom Clunie.


Jeannie Alma Clunie, who married Fred McAneny and lived in Gisborne was a kind hearted loving benefactor. As well as raising a wonderfully caring close-knit family of five sons and five daughters, Jinny (as she was known) found plenty of time for others, delivering meals-on-wheels being just one of her pleasures. Her door was ever open and the welcome warm. Yet her life was not without its moments of great sadness. Son Walter was killed in an accident on an oil-drilling rig in very early days, daughter Alma died young. Alex was killed on active service with N.Z. Army in WWII and Ron died under tragic circumstances in Auckland.

Dulcie and Ron Brice were well-known for many years as managers of hotels in various parts of N.Z. until they retired to life as grape-growers just out of Gisborne. Fred (Mac) is a friend to all – as butcher, meat inspector, and sporting enthusiast – everyone loves Mac. His pride in his grandson, Grant Bramwell, Gold Medal canoeist at Los Angeles Olympics, can be imagined. In fact, I think the whole family basked in reflected glory as we watched those thrilling races.

Water sports have been a very prominent part of Bramwell family – Grant involved in life-saving, swimming and canoeing as well as being Iron-man in life-saving. Scott, his brother is also a prominent swimmer and life-saver and their team performs with great success in National Competitions. Gladys Thompson’s son, Gary, was also well-known in life-saving and Rugby. As an automotive engineer, he was involved in designing the first Sea Rescue boat and trailer, while in his engineering training days, he won title of top Automotive Apprentice. Peter Veen had great success as cyclist in his early days – as did his brother Ron. But, after obtaining his degree at Massey University, cycling was forsaken for a very interesting life. Peter is now in U.S.A. with Abbott Laboratories. He is manager of Nutritional Manufacturing and Technology, in charge of making baby and medical foods, with world-wide distribution.

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With headquarters in Chicago, Peter is mostly involved in Europe, U.K. and Ireland, South Africa and South America. In this $800 million business, with his high qualifications, he travels constantly and extensively, having lived in Canada, Barbados and U.S.A.


Two of Isaac’s younger daughters were Isabella, who married Walter Williams and Georgina who married first Peter (Abe) Jackson and then Peter MacDonald. These two girls must have been very close because their lives followed such a similar pattern. As each girl married, they wore the same frock, veil, and head dress and endeavoured to have as near as possible identical bouquets. Hence their wedding photos presented a puzzle for some time, until Isabella’s daughter, Lottie, explained it to me.

When Belle and Walter went on to a farm block at Whetakura, Walter drove his first flock of sheep down from Rissington and followed them on foot. Georgina (Jinny) and Abe Jackson took on a farm of about 300 acres next to it. But when Abe died about two years later, the farm was first managed, for a short time,by Charlie and Clara Howell, and then Walter Williams bought the block to add to his own holdings. By the time Walter had died he had settled his sons Ross, Cliff and Vernon on farms of their own at Te Uri, Tikokino and “Hutiwai” Wanganui. Their descendants still farm in these localities.

Lottie and Albert Nicholson also farmed in this area. I must say, here, what a joy it was to us to meet Lottie not long before she died in 1984. A tiny, frail lady, mother of eleven, she had the most happy, delightful, laughing voice and, despite her frailty and 85 years, life was still one big giggle. Her daughter Val, told me she scanned the Births, Marriages and Deaths column of the “Dominion” every day – without the aid of glasses – in case there was any family “news”. Another of Lottie’s daughters, Rena, with husband Guy Thomson, farms at Waitohue in the very far north. For two of their girls, Sheryl and Claire, farming is their choice after overseas travel; Kerryn, a teacher, is in U.S.A. ski-ing and waitressing at a ski resort at Mt. Cafe, while Vivienne is a nurse. Sadly, their only son Geoff was killed early in 1985.

Another of Belle and Walter’s daughters was Reta who married Arch Dassler. Robbed of his sight almost completely in an accident shortly after their marriage in 1929, with Reta’s help and encouragement, Arch took on dairy farming and stuck to this for 25 years. They now live in retirement at Kamo, Whangarei.

Dawn Eady (nee Dassler) also lives at Kamo and is a public-spirited benefactor in Whangarei while her sister Rose Plunkett breeds pedigree Persian cats. We visited Rose in January and what gorgeous creatures those cats are.

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Albert & Lottie Nicholoson [Nicholson] (Williams) and family

Back: Nolan, Albert, Miriam, Merle, Ted, Lottie with Rena, Ivor. Front: Val, Ngaio (Ashley, Delle and Brendon born later)

Arch and Reta Dassler and family Dawn, Arch, Denzil, Reta (Williams), Rose, June

Family of Cliff and Margaret Williams

Back: Ian Herbert, Lila Williams, Graham Williams, Hamish and Max Wallace, John and Margaret Presling Middle: Peter and Carol Herbert, Margaret, Cliff, Nerida Wallace

Front: Bruce Williams, Jeffery Herbert, Sandra Williams, Ewan Wallace

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The happy smile of an admirer who has just had her hand held by both the Prince and Princess of Wales – while they both talked to her.

The cloud nine royal devotee is 84-year-old Mrs Charlotte Nicholson who in her wheelchair was the first person, cared for by her daughter Mrs Valerie Foulkes, to take up a position for the royal walkabout in Fergusson Drive.

The two women were at the council headquarters steps at 8am and had a two and three quarter hour wait until the royal couple arrived.

But it was worth it.

Mrs Nicholson was the first person greeted after official welcomes were over.

She said Prince Charles didn’t just shake her hand, he held it as he said, “I hope this doesn’t do you any harm. If it does you can blame us“.

The Princess then held her hand and asked Mrs Nicholson if she had had time for breakfast.

Mrs Foulkes said her mother was overwhelmed and delighted – and added to a wonderful day with a sing song and a lunch at the Hapai Club.

She had not told Mrs Nicholson. who lives with her in Whitemans Road. that she had the idea of taking her to see the royal couple until she had made sure the weather would hold.

The household chores were dropped and they were off to Fergusson Drive.

Mrs Nicholson won’t be short of people to tell about her royal adventures – she had 11 children and has 42 grandchildren and 40 great grandchildren.

That’s what provides her with her hobby and, says Mrs Foulkes, her one luxury in life – sending birthday cards to friends and all her relatives.

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Cliff Williams died in Dannevirke while still farming at Te Uri, but Ross has now retired to Havelock North, where his rose garden is a joy to behold. David Williams, son of Vernon, after gaining a Rhodes Scholarship, went on to Oxford University and thence to lecture in law at University in Tanzania. He is now lecturing at Auckland University.


Thomas Gilbert Howell, son of Isaac and Christina married Mary Jane Woodfield. Thomas owned a general carrying business which operated in the Hawkes Bay area. Sadly, Mary Jane died about 1917-18 while her son Bob was away serving in WWI. Though she had a lingering and painful death from cancer, the nurses at Napier Hospital called her their “little breath of heaven“ because of the cheerful acceptance she had, even though only 48 years of age.

Son Harold Gilbertson (Bob) married Helen McFarlane, a London teacher he had met while convalescing from wounds in WWII. Unfortunately, Bob and family lost home and possessions, as well as the family wool-scouring business in the earthquake of 1931. With no available compensation, the family was obliged to fall back on relatives at Raumati, for assistance. Subsequently, Bob’s son, Phil, was conscripted into Army in WWII, later marrying and settling in Christchurch.

The following is testimonial to Phil after his untimely death in 1981 at only 59 years of age : “Philip Andrew Gilbert Howell with his apparently boundless energy, was an active member of Ornithological Society, Royal Society, Astronomical Society, and N.Z. Radio Corps – all in addition to his employment for 22 years, as Senior Technician in Physics Department of University of Canterbury. Consequently he was in great demand as lecturer on these at Workers‘ Educational Association in Christchurch over many years.

A keen bidder and zealous radio amateur, he enjoyed attending radio ham sales, and his collection of radio gear, mostly of an older technology, was of staggering proportions. With early experience in electronics he was in charge of Aeronautical Radio Laboratory at R.N.Z.A.F. Electrical and Wireless School, and later served as communication engineer at National Airways Corporation. With deep interest in gliding and aeronautics, Phil was an ardent “airship buff“ who hoped to see a resurgence of airship development.

As an ornithologist, Phil had few peers in Canterbury and much of his leisure time was spent on his favourite hobby – bird- watching, particularly the wading birds of the wetlands. The Black Stilt project largely owes its existence to Phil’s diligence and ingenuity. At the time of his sudden death, he was laying the foundations of an extremely ambitious project – the creation of a 400 hectare wetland bird habitat in Canterbury, modelled on the world-famous Minsmere Reserve in Suffolk, England.

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The committee has pledged itself to continue developing this fine project as a memorial to Phil. For many years he operated the Canterbury Museum’s planetarium and on Friday nights when weather permitted, he manned the antique Townsend Observatory telescope at the old university site in Christchurch ensuring comprehensive views of the night sky for visitors.

Phil’s brother Guy, was chief air traffic controller at Hong Kong Airport for many years, but now lives in Auckland.

Lyn Rod, daughter of Reg Howell and postmistress at Ohau, gave me their family news. Reg started up the Napier – Wellington Transport Service. Lyn recalls how Reg and his father, Tom Howell instituted the annual Guy Fawkes Night bonfires on Marine Parade, Napier by gathering piles of old tyres and driftwood – a custom carried on until the present.

Reg’s son Bill, travelled to England with his friend Cobber Cain V.C. to serve in R.N.Z.A.F. in WWII. While stationed in Egypt, Bill met his future bride, an English girl, whose family sent out all the required wedding finery for the marriage in Greece, after which Bill and Jean honeymooned in Capri.

Laurence (Laurie) and his wife Gwen, went as missionaries to Papua/New Guinea where Gwen was the first white woman to travel up the Fly River. Unforgettable too, was the occasion of her first shower – in very primitive set-up, to the accompaniment of native giggles and supervised by many pairs of dark eyes glued to the slats of the “shower box”. In those early days in P/NG, one native custom decreed that the newly born babies of women who died in childbirth, must be buried with their mother. Whenever possible, on such occasions Gwen would rescue the baby and foster it – an act which the natives came to respect. Since then Laurie and Gwen “adopted” several native children who came under their care. At the outbreak of WWII Laurie remained in P/NG, acting as spotter against invading enemy planes, while Gwen returned to Australia where she still resides since Laurie’s death.

Doug Howell was a masseur at a private hospital for many years while Eleanor was a nursing sister both before and after her marriage. Cecil was a missionary for a relatively short period but ill-health forced him away from the mission field. He worked for many years for Sanitarium Health Foods in Australia.

Bob Howell – Harold Gilbertson – is buried in the same family plot as his grandparents, Isaac and Christina, at Puketapu.

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Thomas Gilbert Howell

Family of Elinor (Howell) and Joss Newman Anne and Judith

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Mary Woodfield, wife of Thomas Howell

Harold Gilbertson Howell  (son of Thomas) and his wife Helen Mary

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Reg Howell, Bill Howell, Betty (Lynn) Howell and Vern Jacobs

Peter McDonald, Tom and David Howell (sons of Isaac) Annie Howell, Georgina McDonald

Laurence Isaac Howell (son of Thomas Howell)

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Barbara White (nee Howell)

Philip Howell

Family of Harold Gilbertson (Bob) Howell

Guy Howell and Margaret Hobman (nee Howell)

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Since Charlie Howell, son of Isaac and Christina, died while the family were still fairly young, there seem to be few who knew him very well. Family ties became stronger once more when Charlie married Clara Williams, sister of Art Williams, husband of Maude Howell. Clara was a much-loved person. Evelyn, her daughter-in-law remembers her as a thoughtful, tolerant and sympathetic listener.

Early in their married life, Charlie managed the farm at Whetakura, when his sister Georgina’s husband died. But after just a few years there, he and Clara moved to Napier, to Port Ahuriri where, later – before the 1931 earthquake – Clara ran a boarding house called “London House”.

Ross Williams recalls the day while he was staying at Clara’s, when her son George took it into his head to run away and join a circus. He was back home three days later! But many years later, when George wanted to go to sea, Clara invested much of her savings to help him buy the fishing boat he needed. But tragedy struck and George, his two partners, and the fishing boat were lost off the coast of Hawke’s Bay.

Roland was a shy, retiring man who preferred to live alone. Walter joined Caltex Oil Co. and worked for many years in their Masterton branch before moving back to Napier with his wife and family.

Bert’s son, Gilbert Leslie, after gaining his M Sc degree and teaching at Napier Boys’ High School, went to London where he worked as Examiner in the British Patents Office. When he and his wife returned to N.Z. he studied to gain his Diploma of Librarianship and is now in the Medical Library of Wellington Public Hospital.

Charlie, too, is buried with his parents at Puketapu Cemetery.

Roland and George Howell, sons of Charlie and Clara Howell

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To write the story of the Bicknells is, I think, to write the story of Puketapu. With a family of eleven, it is small wonder that, in the picturesque river valley behind Taradale, the marriages of the family eventually embraced many of the local families as well. To go right back, Joseph Bicknell married Elizabeth Pike in England, and in 1842 they emigrated to N.Z. on the ship “Clifton”. With them came their family of John, Mary Anne, Sarah and Elizabeth. (Harriet and William were born later) I have included a partial table of their descendants because I know many of the Howells and Bicknells, of Hawke’s Bay especially, will be interested to learn how the Hughes and Shirley families became involved. I am grateful to Berta Kivi for this information.

On August 20th 1852, Elizabeth Rachel (Betsy) Howell, daughter of John and Ann, married John Bicknell at The Hutt. In 1853, their son Joseph was born at The Hutt and in 1856 Betsy, John and family arrived in Hawke’s Bay to commence farming at Puketapu on property adjoining “Willowbrook”.

After leaving school, Joseph commenced farming with his father. At the same time he assisted him in the carrying business but subsequently sold out this interest to his brother, when Joseph bought “Willowbrook”.

The following is an extract from N.Z. Cyclopaedia – Joseph Bicknell : sheepfarmer, “Willowbrook”, Puketapu, H.B. “Mr Bicknell operates a freehold property of 500 acres of good agricultural and pastoral land, capable of depasturing three sheep to the acre. The farm is well-stocked with a flock of Lincoln/Leicester sheep and upwards of 500 head of cattle, while the lambing averages about 85%. Cropping is carried on to a considerable extent, the flat land being rich in quality and capable of yielding good returns.

Mr Bicknell is a director of the H.B. Farmers’ Co-op Assn., steward of Napier Park Racing Club, chairman of Puketapu branch of Farmers‘ Union, member of A & P Society, trustee of Puketapu cemetery, and member of local school committee. His wife was daughter of Mr James Murray, an old Colonist of Auckland. They had three sons and two daughters. It was these two daughters, Isobel and Marion, who at the time of the 1931 earthquake, had a boarding house in Hastings. Here, various press reporters from “N.Z. Herald” and “Dominion” were billeted and they called themselves the Bicknell Boys Press Agency – Dealers in new and second-hand earthquakes.”

Much has been written of the loads of wool carted out from sheep stations on the Taihape Road. After the days of pack-horses, when about 150 horses were required for each trip, the building of the bridge over Ngaruroro River, in 1882 saw progress to horse-drawn wagons for both passenger and freight

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John Bicknell m. Elizabeth Rachel (Betsy) Howell – see Howell Table of Descendants for this family
Mary Ann Bicknell m. Humphries
Sarah Bicknell m. Percy
Elizabeth Bicknell m. Henry Shirley N/F
William Bicknell
Harriet Bicknell m. 1. Wm. Cable
m. 2. Wm. Hughes
Henry Hughes m. Hannah Matilde Hansen
Alfred Hughes (drowned 6 yrs)
Robert Hughes
Edward Hughes
Elizabeth Ann Hughes (died aged 19 yrs) m. William James Jones
Edith Harriet Hughes m. Wm. James Jones
Eleanor Hughes m. Connelly
Harry (Canty) Hughes m.
Alfred Edward Hughes
Molly (Kemp)
Herbert William Hughes m. Muriel Williams
And others (family of 12)
William Stanley Jones
Edward Sydney Jones m. Esther Bicknell
Geoff N/M

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transport as well as mail. The old road followed the bed of the Tutaekuri River for many miles and many crossings were made – a hazardous venture when rivers were in flood. But, thanks to the skill of the drivers, the coaches had a remarkable record of safe journeys. Passengers wisely muffled themselves against the elements when snow, sleet or flood conditions were possible, or veiled and screened themselves against enveloping dust in the summer.

The firms engaged in transport of wool in early days were Messrs Jones and Sons (descendants of Christine Gilbert Jones), the Bicknell family, and Messrs. Williams and Sinclair (both sons-in-law of John and Betsy Bicknell). Each of these transport firms had several teams on the road and these made Puketapu a busy centre. A wool scouring works on the creek at Mr Joseph Bicknell’s property employed many hands in the busy season.

Puketapu township, in those days, was a bustling, thriving centre, with two-storied store and Post Office, two-storied hotel (with large horse paddock to accommodate wagon teams), a saddlery, a blacksmith’s and a billiard saloon, as well as the wool wash and a flax mill.

Among the teamsters were John, Tom, and Fred Bicknell. A quiet walk between the gravestones in the churchyard at the picturesque church at Puketapu, is like a walk down Memory Lane. So many of the Bicknell family, husbands and wives, have been brought back to be buried alongside Betsy and John Snr.

Eldest of the family of Betsy and John Bicknell, Hannah, married Walter Williams, who for many years was engaged in the transport business operating between Taihape and Napier. He then farmed at Mataroa, Taihape, where their family of seven were born. With this background it is little wonder that their families, in turn, became farmers. Sons of Eunice and Colin Bradley had timber mills at Taihape. The farm at Mataroa was a wonderful place for family – especially children – to spend their holidays.


The Hayes home was, until fairly recent years, a well-known landmark on “the river road” though now there are only the pine trees left standing behind the new home amid the thriving vineyards. In the early days, a young Irishman disembarked from a ship in Napier and headed out, on foot, to seek a job in the country. John Bicknell gave him a lift – and also a job. In later years John was known to have said of this Irishman, Ned Hayes, “He got a lift, got a job, and got one of my daughters!” – for Ned married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bicknell. Lizzie lived a quiet, simple life, ministering to the needs of her family of six sons and three daughters. For many years Ned had the mail run to Patoka.

Amy Hayes married a farmer, Pat Butler from the Waihau area. Their son Jack has been well known in H.B. for many years as one of the stalwarts in the Ernie Rouse Trad Band – with many recordings to their credit.

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Frank’s son, Eddie Hayes is also well known in the Bay. Former organiser-manager for the Greater Hastings Organisation he is now the popular Secretary for the H.B. Agricultural and Pastoral Society. ‘


Second Bicknell daughter, Helen, known as Tot, married John Sinclair. After the carrying partnership with his brother-in-law Walter Williams was dissolved, John farmed in Gisborne and Puketapu before finally settling in the Taihape area in about 1904. Here Margaret Bowden (nee Sinclair) and Eva Wallis (nee Sinclair) were the first Taihape-born twins. John had a carrying business with six-horse wagons that were used mainly for transporting wool to the Napier woolstores and port. Both John and Helen died at Taihape. Their three eldest sons served in WWI while the youngest, Edward (Ted) saw service in WWII.


When Alice Bicknell and Joshua le Quesne first married, Josh was a “counter-jumper“ in a Napier store, but after living for short periods at Meeanee and Taradale, they headed for Puketapu and a shepherding job. All that remain of their home, today, are the chimney blocks standing guard beside a grand old walnut tree. Later on, the Strachans lived here too. Alice was one of the Bicknell girls who started up a small dairying business, by making butter which they carted to Taradale and sold for sixpence per pound.

Of the le Quesne families, the Wiltons worked on farms – Ethel and Bert in Wairoa area, and Strachans at Puketapu where Bill Strachan was chauffeur for Mrs Northe in her beautiful big Cadillac. The Strachans moved into the le Quesne home when the older folks left. Gordon and Edie Mayo lived in Wairoa where Gordon had a men’s mercery shop, while Eddie le Quesne, after truck driving in Wairoa, came to Taradale to work for the Mission.


Harriet Bicknell, Dit as she was called, married Walter Rayson and though she had no family of her own, Aunt Dit seems to have been a much beloved aunt with very bright personality. Their farm at Clydebank, just out of Wairoa, was another special holiday place, before Dit and Walter shifted down to Puketapu.

Dit’s sister, Harriet [Bertha], married William Thomas and they went north to a farm in Maungaturoto district. After William died, his son George carried on the farm and in turn, George’s daughter Elva and her husband Leslie Hodsall have worked the property. They now have a very successful stud farm, specialising in Murray Grey cattle.

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Until recently, the home of John and Kate Bicknell (nee Sabin) stood at Puketapu, and in front of it, the ivy-clad dairy which evoked many happy memories for my husband, Gil. Since Puketapu is about half way between Rissington and town, and since Gil’s father Stan had spent his childhood here, it was a natural stopping place whenever the family was passing. Gil recalls the delicious mixture of aromas in that little old dairy. Rich cream on milk pans, freshly made butter, jugs of buttermilk for drinking, rosy red apples and mellow golden pears. The demolition of that old dairy seemed like the end of a lovely era. Maude Williams (Howell) as she too, grew up here, used to act as a nursemaid for Elsie (later to become Mrs Tom Whittle) and taught Elsie to ride her pony. Fred Bicknell, a fun-loving humorist, was a pioneer of heavy motor transport. He owned the first Thorneycroft solid-tyred timber truck on the Napier-Puketitiri Road.

The Whittle family is well known in the Puketitiri area as farmers, champion axemen, dog trialists and conservationists. In March 1984, Bill Whittle at 61 years, hit the headlines when, with three others, he completed a walk which started on the Napier foreshore, and took the quartet via steep slopes and gorges of the Kaweka and Kaimanawa Ranges, through the rough country of Tongariro National Park, across the upper reaches of the Wanganui River (with side trip up Mt Egmont) to end at the sea at Cape Egmont on the Taranaki Coast – a 26 day hike. Rob and Eileen Whittle’s homestead “Little Bush“ in Puketitiri is well known to garden lovers. Their rhododendrons and azaleas testify to their love of nature and beauty. Tom, their son, is now making a name for himself breeding kelpie dogs at his Yankalilla Kennels in South Australia.


Tom Bicknell, one of the brothers who brought the “wool-trains” over Gentle Annie from Taihape, never married. But, nevertheless Tom was a faithful suitor. The story goes that Tom wore out two horses and two gig blankets, while courting a girl in Napier. But they quarrelled, parted, and never became reconciled. Ultimately they both died – still unmarried! When the wool wagons stopped rolling, Tom exchanged with life of a teamster for that of a farmer, first at Puketapu and then at Taihape where he died.

Fred Bicknell (Alfred William) son of Betsy and John, also farmed at Taihape after his stint as teamster on the hilly road to Napier. He took up a farm in the State Farm area in 1918 and remained there until his death at the age of 84 years.

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Youngest of the Bicknells was Esther who married Sydney Jones, grandson of Christina Jones (who later married Isaac Howell). The story of Sydney’s birth is told with the story of Christina and Isaac. Sydney first helped his brother in carting wool over Gentle Annie from inland Patea. After his marriage he and Esther farmed on Taihape Road until the years of the Depression of 1930’s when they walked off the land. Sydney then became “caretaker” of the team of Clydesdale horses belonging to the Wanganui City Council. Esther was a quiet, devoted, loving mother, fearful of electrical storms with their thunder and lightning, yet undaunted in the rearing of her family of eleven – with another little girl having died aged 2 years during a ‘flu epidemic.

Fred Jones farmed in Taihape area as does his son Roland and son-in-law Ted Gilbert. Ted, by the way, is a grandson of Ellen (Howell) and Thomas Gilbert.

Bert Jones was a drover in Ngatarawa area and his grandson, Ross Williams is well known with the younger generation as he is the Traffic Officer assigned to local schools. Lila Jones’s husband worked on railway and Lila still lives in Invercargill. Ernie farmed at Takaka before retiring to live in Motueka. Harley, after working on West Coast gold dredges, did a stint at Mt Isa mines in Queensland. On his return to N.Z. he had a sawmill out of Nelson but on retirement moved to Nelson.

Life for Alma and Desmond Hughes must have been very happy. Alma has a wonderful sense of humour and fun. While farming at Waverley, Des had a milk round for 22 years and for 11 of these years he was Mayor of Waverley. He obviously was a jack-of-all-trades. In Alma’s words he was “bootmaker, bookmaker, hairdresser – you name it!” And at one stage he assisted his brother-in-law Harley in the timber mill at Rabbit Island, Nelson.

Ella lives at Feilding and, though twice widowed is a lively fun-loving person. We had a very happy afternoon when she, Alma and Vera came one day. Vera’s husband is a craftsman plumber, gas fitter and drainlayer and, in Vera’s own words, she is “plumber’s mate”.

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Elizabeth Rachel (Betsy) Bicknell (nee Howell) and John Bicknell

Walter and Hannah Williams (Bicknell) and family

Back: Jack, Tom, Winnie, George, Len Front: May, Walter, Eunice, Hannah

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Joseph Bicknell family

Back: Isabella and Marion

Centre: John, Joseph and Isabella

Front: Shirley, Joe

Kate (Sabin) and John Bicknell with Elsie and Fred

Sydney and Esther Jones and family

Back: Bert, Lila, Alfred, Eva, Ernie

Centre: Sydney, Freda, Esther

Front: Harley, Alma (Ella, Grace and Vera were born later)

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Sinclair family

Back: Joe, Bob, Sid, Ted with Helen (Bicknell) and John

Front: Eva, Bill and Margaret

Ivy Strachan (le Quesne) with Ralph and Jack Strachan

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Elizabeth (Lizzie) Hayes nee Bicknell

Hayes family

Mary, Don, Amy, Dora, Ted and Frank

Butler family

Jack, Len, Amy (Hayes) and George

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Fred Bicknell and Walter Williams (on horses)

Tom Bicknell

School Jubilee Reunion

Ernie Jones, Ted Hayes, Alfred Jones, Don Hayes, Joe Bicknell

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Harriet (Bicknell) and Walter Rayson

Bertha (Bicknell) and William Thomas

Edith Mayo (le Quesne) with Bill and Fay

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Before writing of Helen (Ellen), third daughter of John and Ann, I must mention Hannah Jane whose birth on 31st December 1833, and baptism on 9th February 1834, is recorded in the records at St Andrews Church at Ham, in England. Hannah obviously came to New Zealand with her parents as she is counted on the ship’s register. But, try as we may, no further trace of her has been found. One can only assume that she must have died, as a child, before 1857 when registration of deaths became compulsory.

Helen (Ellen) was born on 21st July 1838, and also baptised at St Andrews, Ham, on 12th August 1838. She was the third daughter to accompany her parents to N.Z.

Nothing is known of Ellen’s early days and I have not found anyone with a photo of her. On 11th September 1855, at St. Paul’s Church Wellington, Ellen married Thomas Gilbert – no relation to the Gilbert sisters who had married her brothers Isaac and William Bentinck. Thomas had, at one stage, been the Postman delivering mail to Paraparaumu by walking round the beach. He also was employed, for a time, on Wellington trams when they were horse-drawn.

After their marriage Ellen and Thomas went on to a farm at Pauatahanui. But, as happens so often, somehow a family rift arose because of what Ellen and Thomas felt was an injustice over a land deal. Consequently, they moved up to Stanway, Feilding where Thomas farmed. They and their family had little contact with the rest of the Howells for many years. Three sons and four daughters were born to them, though one, Hannah, died young.

Ellen died on 10th March 1899 at the age of 61 and is buried at Stanway, Feilding. Thomas died 27th September 1906 aged 83 years.

Of the Gilbert family, I do not have much information but I am grateful to Graham Gilbert for what I have. Graham, who until recently owned the Riverside Motor Camp at Taradale, recently had a trip to England. Like Bob and Chris Meek, Graham and Mary were most impressed with their visit to Ham House. Like Bob and Chris too, they wondered how the Howells could bear to leave such lovely countryside. But John was, after all, a mere farm hand, who would, had he stayed in England, have remained a servant all his life. Even though little was known of N.Z., the advertisements and brochures held wonderful promise of a chance to own his own land. John and Ann took their courage in both hands and made a bid for it.

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But, back to the family. Martha Ellen (Mattie) married, first someone called Stewart, and then Dick Robinson, who was a drover in Taihape. Nothing was easy and they lived hard lives.

From Stanway, Feilding, the three Gilbert brothers, Tom, Jack and Ernest bought a block of land, Hiwira – in Taihape – thick standing bush out of which their farm had to be hacked. Their Aunt Nell Morey was their housekeeper in the early days. Eventually, these three men had developed a valuable farm. But then Jack decided he wanted his money out of the farm, so Tom and Ernest were obliged to sell the farm which is now owned by the Duncans.

Tom Gilbert married Rhoda Robinson (Dick’s daughter of his first marriage).

Ernest and Tom again joined forces in partnership and bought the farm at Pukeokahu, known as “Rosehill”. After receiving his share of the money, Jack and family departed for Australia where they still live.

Apparently, like the rest of the clan, the Gilberts have all been wiry, athletic men, keen on rugby and all sports. In the recent St John’s Ambulance award ceremony, Jack Gilbert was decorated for his service over many years. A public-spirited man, Jack has been active, too, in Red Cross, Horse Society and Federated Farmers. Ted, too, has been involved with horse events – especially pony clubs, Horse Society and such, while Toby Kendrick has been an enthusiastic member of Forest and Bird Society for many years.

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Thomas Gilbert, husband of Ellen Howell

L. to R.: Best man: Thomas Gilbert, Groom: Ernest Gilbert, Bride: Maria Kendrick

The daughters of Ellen and Thos. Gilbert: Mattie Robinson, Henrietta Peck, Lizzie Belk

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Just as the Bicknell story was so closely woven with the story of early Puketapu, so I feel, is the story of William Bentinck synonymous with the beginnings of Paraparaumu. Much has been written of the history of the area – especially as it concerned the Howell family – but as dates have proved, much of this information was confused. At an early age, William B. owned property at Pauatahanui. All his farm produce was transported to Wellington markets on William’s back and goods necessary for survival carried back – again on his back.

After marrying Mary Ann Gilbert, Christina’s sister, in 1864 the family moved to “Wharemauku” homestead in Paraparaumu area. At that stage in this area was a small community of Maoris and, at the beach, a whaling station. The beach was the only means of communication – along the firm sand at low tide. Inland travel, except on horseback, was impossible. Since, at first there was no school, the older Howell children had to return to Pauatahanui to complete their schooling while younger members were foundation pupils when an aided school opened in 1889.

William B. realised the value of the land as long as good drainage was provided for swamps and he was instrumental in establishing what is now the Raumati Drainage Board.

The Jubilee Booklet of Paraparaumu School 1889-1949 has provided me with much of this history. It is difficult, in these days of “instant” electricity – to imagine life before all the mod. cons. of today. The candles, often homemade – for illumination long before kerosene lamps appeared. Home-churned butter made from cream skimmed off the large pans of fresh milk, or later by manual separators. Much of the butter was salted down in kegs for later use, or sold on Wellington markets. People were skilled, too, in the art of preserving meat and game in which the coastal plain abounded. The appearance of  [in] 1870’s of a single telegraph line, and in 1886, the opening of the Wellington-Palmerston North railway line, were real red-letter days for the settlers. With the constant urging of William B. and others, the Wellington Education Board’s school was finally opened in 1890 and, with homes being built all round, a thriving township was fast developing.

Farming was already a full-scale industry but in 1889, William B. established a flax mill – a short-lived venture – near the new home “Hillside” which had been built for him on Main South Road. During 1906, William negotiated the sale of “Wharemauku“ to a syndicate and a fresh page was turned in the district’s history.

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It is obvious that William Bentinck and Mary Anne were determined that the settlement should flourish and their energy and hospitality were boundless. With a family of eleven of her own, Mary Anne still helped rear two of her brother-in-law’s children, and all employees were catered for too, at their enormous table – reputed to have seated 28 when necessary. Eric Howell tells me it was later cut in half and each half still provided ample seating for a crowd.

Every year Mary Anne would mix up 15 or 16 Christmas cakes, William would load them up in a wheelbarrow, and ferry them to the baker’s oven for cooking. These were for Mary Anne’s families and friends. Both were garden-lovers and the garden beds, grape-houses and conservatory at “Stoneybank” (a later home) were a joy to all who visited. Though they lived simply, their home was open to all. William was a very keen crib player, with happy, joking disposition, and he loved nothing better than to have all the family round him for a “concert” every Sunday. Everyone was expected to contribute an item. His other love was his faithful horse called Jimmy Neddy on weekdays but James Edward on Sundays.

When the couple celebrated their Golden Wedding, the Otaki Mail of November 6th 1914 in a most interesting report, noted that “it was a memorable assembly, remarkable not only because there were gathered there every direct descendant of this grand old couple, but also because there was assembled a number of the oldest living pioneers of N.Z. – men and women who lived through the strenuous times of the very early days of the Dominion, participating in the many ups and downs, and assisted in no small way to fashion the early history of New Zealand”.

Like Isaac, William was a very lonely old man after Mary Anne died in 1920 at the age of 76. Sadly, after suffering a stroke his nature was changed. He passed away on 26th May 1929 at the age of 88 years.

Both Mary Anne and William Bentinck are buried in a corner of Paraparaumu Cemetery which holds the graves of many of their descendants.


Eldest of the W.B. clan was Martha Mary who married George William Taylor. Meta Gwynne, youngest of their five children, now in her 85th year, lives in Palmerston North and has given me their story. Life in N.Z. at the end of the nineteenth century was no picnic, especially for those on the land. Married in the morning, George and Martha could spare no time for honeymoon, so after the ceremony, it was back to their small holding at Otaki and straight into feeding the calves

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Growing Success

Thirty-four years ago, Mr Wesley Ross-Taylor’s mother threw out his first orchid plant. After three years the plant hadn’t flowered and Mr Ross-Taylor had left home to join the territorials.

But a lack of early success didn’t deter him. Now aged 52 he owns a major orchid-growing business at Poraite and has just won the coveted John Easton Award for the most outstanding contribution to the culture and promotion of orchids in New Zealand.

The annual award will be given to Mr Ross-Taylor at the Hawke’s Bay orchid society’s show in Hastings at the end of the month.

Until December he was a farmer at Otaki. But enthusiasm for the flowers led him to purchase South Pacific orchids at Poraite. He left the farm to his sons and moved north.

It has only been during the past 15 years that he has grown orchids seriously. At first he grew them in a lean-to attached to a shed. By the time he left Otaki he had built two controlled environment houses on his farm.

To Mr Ross-Taylor, orchid growing has “got everything”. “A hobby must have challenge.

There are 26,000 species of orchids in the world. From the ice-caps to the Equator. When you combine the culture of those to all the different facets of the hobby – photography. conservation, field study, cross- breeding – it’s never-ending. It’s a complete challenge.”

Mr Ross-Taylor has served on the New Zealand Orchid Council and spent three years as president, a term which ended in May.

He is also a past president of the Gold Coast Orchid Society.

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for Martha. And the work started that day continued on and on. Often George went off to work in the rough bush leaving Martha Mary alone to ensure that all the farm chores were completed – as well as her household chores. Home was simple. All cooking was done outside in a camp oven and it needed a sharp eye, after the family started arriving, to keep crawling infants out of the hot ashes.. George farmed mainly fat cattle. Because of a debt someone owed him, he was forced to don a butcher’s apron and tote a delivery basket in order to recoup his loss. The fat cattle farming continued until after the war and the farm was divided. Several of the Ross Taylor families still live in the same area and farm “Lyndhurst”. Two or three years ago Wesley Ross Taylor bought the South Pacific Orchid Houses near Napier, and a visit to his establishment is a delightful experience. His expertise in growing and marketing orchids is fascinating.


After Martha Mary came Isabel Jane who married Samuel Cornor. After their marriage, Sam milked on a share basis for William Bentinck, his father-in-law, at “Hillside”. Their herd comprised as many as 50 cows, the milk being separated by a steam-driven “Sharples” separator.

When, after the establishment of the railway, and the township of Paraparaumu was expanding, the building of houses went on apace. No sawmill had been erected. So some materials arrived by rail while timber was pit-sawn locally. Sam Cornor had a horse-powered pugmill alongside the school grounds. The bricks were fired in a primitive kiln consisting of a hole in the bank, stacked with bricks, and surrounded by firewood.

It was Sam Cornor who was entrusted with the well-being of William B’s brown horse Jimmy Neddy, after the older man gave up riding him. Sam built a loft over the cowshed – ostensibly for the storage of hay. But, with hay cleared back, this space made a wonderful dancing floor and many a function was held there. Dorrie Clunie (nee Cornor) remembers being carried up the ladder to watch the revelry.


Eldest son of Wm. Bentinck’s family was William James who married Millicent Hollis, sister of Elsie Hollis who married Jack (Te Horo Jack) Howell, son of Johnnie. (See how complicated things are?)

W.J., Skipper or Bill as he was variously known was councillor, JP, one time chairman of school committee, as well as farmer. Luckily he had sons who would cope with the farming to free him for his other interests. (Milk from their farm was sold to private vendors in Wellington).

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Paraparaumu Jubilee Booklet describes W.J. as “a man of Falstaffian appearance and possessing the same wit as that worthy character. A big man, of generous proportions, he used to act as Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneer, and he kept the ‘rally’ going at high pressure from beginning to end.”

As local county councillor for many years, and with little respect for red tape or policy, he dealt with every situation with prompt despatch. As owner of the first seaside “residence” at Paraparaumu Beach – and a boat – his frequent visits to Kapiti Island meant he often lost all sense of time and anyone who accompanied him on the trip might be lucky to reach home by early morning.

“A man of great resource, no situation was too much for him. Once, when returning from Kapiti in boat overloaded with fish and passengers, and no spare freeboard, water started spouting up when the drain plug suddenly popped out. Bill, always bare- footed on these trips, immediately plugged the hole with his toe until the plug was retrieved. W.J.’s geniality was known far and wide. So too, was his continued unpunctuality. On the days when he regularly travelled by train to Wellington for Council meetings, the engine drivers would give an extra warning blast on the whistle as the train passed Domain crossing.” The Jubilee Booklet continues – “Living near the railway, he would appear – moving with as much speed as his generous proportions would allow, clad in trousers and shirt, carrying jacket and waistcoat over one arm, grasping in other hand, his collar, tie and Gladstone bag. As he proceeded to the station the train crew adjusted their departure to his arrival.”

And, while Skipper attended to all his “official” duties and invited countless visitors to their home, Millie and family ensured home and farm chores were done. As homemaker and cook, Millie won many prizes at local shows. So, too, did her famous aspidistra, year after year, until it was suggested perhaps she might withdraw from competition and give someone else a chance at the prize!


When “Chum”, William James II (Howell) was killed in an explosion on a boat in Picton Sounds, at the age of 81, the eulogy at his funeral was given by Rev. Keith Elliott V.C. of Wellington. The following excerpts from his address, I feel, tell Chum’s story vividly.

“Chum was a real character and very much part of the scene that was Paraparaumu in the 1920’s which were, in themselves rough days and tough days. They were not tea-party or childrens’ birthday party days. It was a case of survival of the fittest.”

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Describing the fishing bach on Kapiti, where Keith Elliot’s father, Chum, and others used to stay, the address continued: “The old stone slab whare was not exactly a palace. You could scarcely discern anything in the whare, for smoke. But after a while, you could pick a camp oven with a certain smell which was a combination of rotten stew and rotten socks which were hanging over the fire to dry. There was gear everywhere, but with great imagination, you could make out there were three bunks for sleeping purposes. It was a complete shambles. But, of course, fishing was not only a way of life – it was a means of survival in those dark days. This was Chum’s joy. As he lived – so he died – going fishing.

All fishermen are great storytellers. Chum was no exception. One of Chum’s yarns was about Jack Freeman – Yack Freeman, as he called himself, for he had no roof to his mouth. One day, while fishing together, the boat started to drift on to the rocks, so Chum yelled to his mate, “Chuck over the anchor, Jack!”
“No hope, no hope,” Jack yelled back.
“Chuck over the anchor,“ again called Chum, so Jack picked up the anchor and cast it into the sea. But of course, no rope!

Chum, at one stage, farmed with his younger brother, Riwai, in Paraparaumu. On a recent drive round Paraparaumu and Raumati, I was impressed by the number of streets and roads named after family members – Howell Road, Maclean Street, Clunie Avenue, Hollis, Margaret, Victor and Allen Roads, Sweetman Avenue, Riwai Street, Chum’s Road – and there was also to my astonishment – Sharda Grove – named after Chum’s racehorse.

Time and again Riwai’s name has been mentioned to me. As one who travelled extensively in N.Z., was interested in family relationships, and took time to visit them wherever and whenever possible, he must have been quite an authority on the clan. It is sad he did not manage to record all he knew before his death. Riwai’s daughter, Nina is married to Barry Hadfield and a descendant of Octavius Hadfield, another very early settler in Paraparaumu area. Barry and Nina live on main road north of town and it is part of their property which is now being developed to make the exciting Lindale complex. To quote from the brochure: “The concept of Lindale is simply to display, as broadly as possible, the fruits of N.Z.’s earth and all the products that emanate therefrom. We envisage the provision of a highly attractive demonstrative and educational facility that will be of interest to both local visitors and overseas tourists. It will also provide an excellent opportunity for urban children to gain close contact with and knowledge about, farm animals.” The complex will contain animal centre to show, indoors, N.Z.’s sheep and cattle breeds, a small but fully-operational cheese factory, shop, tea rooms, show-ring etc. with many other attractions planned as the development progresses. Being so close to Wellington and on State Highway I this is a wonderfully far-sighted project.

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Several years ago Barry was Mayor of Paraparaumu and I’m sure Nina made a very gracious, capable Mayoress to assist him in his duties.

It was Eric, W.J.’s son, who told me much of their family’s story. He, too, who again mentioned the famous “long table“ to seat 28. Even halved, he said, it still provided for a handsome number of diners.

Eldest of W.J.’s family was Doug – The Marker – who went to WWII [I?]at the age of 17 years. The atrocious conditions in France, in those days, has been well documented; one year the troops experienced the coldest winter France had had for 50 years. Doug was invalided to England where he worked in a hospital before returning to N.Z. in very poor health and, like so many returned servicemen, very unsettled. After marrying Helen Grieve, Doug had a billiard room in Paraparaumu – hence his nickname – The Marker. He also had a fruit and vegetable round. Helen now lives with their daughter Iris McFadyen in Hastings. Until a couple of years ago, Iris was a well-known and much-beloved Infant teacher in Hastings area. Iris has the most fascinating “work-room-Studio” I have ever seen. Typewriter, sewing machine, weaving looms, spinning wheel, hanks of raffia, bundles of cane, bags of fleece wool, racks of embroidery threads – a veritable “Ali Baba’s cave” – and she is expert in the use of them all. We can vouch too, for the first class home-made chocolates she makes. As President of the local Orchid Society, Iris grows dozens of beautiful varieties as well. Never a dull, or spare, moment for Iris.

Our afternoon with Eric and Jessie was delightful. Their Auckland home – in spite of their 80 plus years – is spick and span, with garden to match. What a raconteur! After leaving Paraparaumu in 1932, he moved to Palmerston North, and Tauranga, eventually settling as a carrier in Auckland, before buying a farm at Waiapu where he spent 10 years before returning to Auckland. His son, Ben, still farms in Waiapu area.


The next two sisters, Phoebe Gilbert Howell and Annie Elizabeth Howell, married the Maclean brothers Malcolm and Robert Gow respectively and their lives followed fairly similar patterns. First Maclean in the district was Malcolm, who saw the coast while on droving trips from Hawke’s Bay to Wairarapa. After marrying the Howell sisters, Malcolm and Rob farmed more than 600 acres on Kapiti Island in the 1890’s. When this was converted to a bird sanctuary in 1901, the brothers bought more property on the mainland, as well as leasing some blocks of Maori land. Hence, they owned most of Paraparaumu Beach at this time. Wharemauku, William B’s property was bought in 1906, sub-divided, and roads built. Raumati Road had already been formed when the railway first went through – to carry rails and equipment from boats at Pukerua Bay. Later several dairy farmers worked these farm blocks – the Fortunes, Clunies, Hands to name a few.

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In an interview with “Post” a few years before her death at 83 years, Phoebe said she had shared in the pioneering experience and had a full, lively recollection of the day-to-day events in the lives of the settlers. One point especially worthy of mention was that there was no emphasis on the hardships of their early experiences. Life was taken as it came. It may have been hard : but it was happy. That outlook was outlined in Phoebe‘s own words to the “Post” reporter who asked about their early life on Wellington’s west coast and, especially on Kapiti Island. Phoebe and Annie, married to the two Scottish farming brothers, Malcolm and Robin, were the only residents of the pakeha-owned part of the island. Asked if it was not lonely, her reply was, “Lonely? On Kapiti? Certainly not! There was always plenty to do. Besides, we had a good boat and whenever possible I was out with the men.” She mentioned, too, her love of the birds. Of course, this was a time when there was no radio, no electric light or power, and no motor boats to facilitate fast and certain trips to the mainland. The Kapiti crossing, with sail and oars, might be long and dangerous. With rough seas and unfavourable winds, a crossing might be deferred for up to a fortnight, at times. On Kapiti there was no butcher or baker, no tradesmen or artisans and certainly no shops. The little community had to be self- contained, self-sufficient and self-reliant. Doubtless there was always plenty to do. But it was never lonely. Needless to say, everything depended upon the strength and spirit of the people themselves.

It is to Jean Dobson, Phoebe’s granddaughter – wife, mother, teacher and genealogist that I am most indebted for the assistance she has given me so freely.

Herbert Christie, who married Christina Gilbert Maclean, daughter of Phoebe and Malcolm, farming on land south of Levin, partly as hobby and partly of necessity, tried his hand at building and adapting his own farm machinery. During the Depression years and later, WWII, this was often a necessity. One of his early inventions was the forerunner of modern fertiliser spinner, mounted on the back of a “half-truck“. In the 1920’s, in an effort to fence-in a bad tempered bull, Bert decided to electrify the fence using a magneto. Though this was not very successful, the idea persisted in his mind, until finally, after inspiration from an article in Popular Mechanics, using a coil from Model T Ford, Bert built his first unit. In the ensuing years, Bert persisted, improving models all the time, and was later joined by his son, Robin. Premises were built in Levin, sales were initiated across the Tasman, and Speedrite electric fence manufacturers were ready to develop and move ahead with new products. Christina and Bert Christie celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1985.

Back in 1928 a photograph shows Doug Sweetman, the milkman, delivering milk as his horse and cart moves alongside – well patronised by the local children up with the milk cans. In 1985, while camped at Paraparaumu Camp we were delighted to see, when the milkman called, it was John Sweetman – not in horse and cart, of course! What a grand record for the Sweetman family.

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Sons Rod and David White, of Molly (nee Maclean) and Allan White of Nelson, both represented N.Z. in skiing in the early days of this sport, and while both were training for dental professions. Rod and his father have both scaled Mount Cook. Molly related a delightful childhood memory. Wm. Bentinck and Mary Ann were among pioneers involved in fund-raising to build St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Paraparaumu. Many outdoor fairs and sale of work affairs were held. As a wee girl, Molly was bewildered as to how “Sailor Work“ could possibly assist a church!

Of the Robert Gow descendants, most seemed to have settled to farm in the Te Horo area where, until recently, Grahame Walker had established his well-known Golden Coast Chicken business. This has now been sold and Grahame has become a deer farmer instead.

Lynn Hans has, for many years, been the very popular Head Teacher at Otaki Health Camp school.

When his father Robert Gow and uncle Malcolm died, Gilbert Maclean took over the Paraparaumu farm “Te Roto” while his brother Grahame managed the sheep farm at Levin. On Grahame’s death, a manager was appointed until after WWII when it was sold to Government for re-hab. soldiers. Part of the Te Roto farm, which was Maori lease land, was taken by Americans during the war for Paraparaumu Airport. Te Roto was sold in 1967 as the motorway is planned to go through it. Ann and Don Zipf live in Queensland where Anne’s younger daughter is an Australian Rep player in the Australian Deaf Netball and American Basketball teams.


John David (Jack) son of Wm. B. was also an inventor of sorts. His work, as dairy farmer in Waitotara Valley, led him to invent an early milking machine – a “stripper” — for extracting the last possible drop of milk from the cows. For a time, J.D. as he was known, ran a garage in Foxton and later the Central Hotel in Otaki. He and his wife, Ellen (nee Russell) had no family.

Georgina May Howell, in those early days, must have been something of a radical. Married to Harry Edwin Heffer, she and her husband were both ardent motor cyclists. Photos of them, with their machines, show that both motor cycles and sidecars were beautifully made – the sidecars of elegant wickerwork and appear to have been very comfortable. Dorrie Clunie says she loved to ride in the sidecars with them. No doubt the speed would have been very decorous. Henry Heffer, as the local blacksmith in those days of horses and carts, must have had a thriving business. Sir William Perry, reminiscing in Jubilee booklet 1889-1964 recalled, “We had a horizontal beam, on which one of the boys, Harry Heffer used to amaze us all, by doing what he called “the muscle-grinder”.

The story of Ellen Christina (Nell) Howell and William Clunie has already been told with the history of Isaac and Christina.

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Francis Laurence (Frank) and Leonard Isaac Howell, were brothers who worked together. To begin, they farmed on adjoining land up Valley Road behind Paraparaumu. Later they established a butcher’s shop in the main street of the township and, with horse and cart, Len delivered meat to the now thriving community. There will be many of our younger generations who have never seen a butcher’s cart – or a milkman’s cart as in the photographs.

As a finger-lickin’ devotee of Colonel Sanders‘ chicken, I was thrilled one day to see Colonel Sanders himself, approaching our door. But, no! He introduced himself as Stewart Howell, with his wife Jean, and it was good to meet them. The likeness is amazing. Stewart and Jean started farming where the Paraparaumu Golf course is now – on a dairy farm. As their family of eleven sons and three daughters were arriving, they moved about, spending 6 years in Dargaville, where Stewart was school bus driver. They have now retired to live at Foxton Beach. Two of their sons, Neville and Craig saw service in the war in Vietnam while Wayne spent 6 months in Antarctica.


Herbert Allan (H.A. or Bert) Howell had a reputation as a hard worker, and M. Groves, writing in Jubilee Booklet 1889-1964 had the following to say: “If anyone ever unveils anything to anyone at Raumati, it should be to Mr & Mrs Bert Howell – they WERE Raumati”. They had a small farm about where main shopping area is today. If anyone arrived by train, Bert met them with his brake. Groceries, meat, mail, passengers – everything was brought, by Bert, to the village. All knew exactly when he would come and would be waiting at the shed when he clattered up. If anyone wanted a fowl – Josephine would prepare it – even cook it if necessary.

Rates were about five pounds. No shops, no conveniences, no electricity, no neighbours. If anyone wanted a job done Mr Buckley or Bert Howell would do it. There were no restrictions. No permits were required. As cars arrived in the district, people driving along the beach often became stuck in the creek so Bert would harness up his horse team as a towing “vehicle”. It was a great day when Bert and Josephine opened their first little shop and Post Office in 1927 or 1928.

Bert’s “ferry service” continued when he bought a Ford truck with solid tyres. Eric Howell recalled one day when Bert, in this doorless truck, while transporting a load of groceries across the railway lines, collided with a train. With a loud bang! Bert was ejected through the open doorway, groceries were scattered and everyone expected with [the] worst. However, Bert gathered himself and his produce together and, after two weeks in bed, with shock, was once again ready to resume his carrying role.

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He died of a heart attack in 1941 and Josephine, also of heart attack in 1959. When some of their property was subdivided this is where the roads Margaret, Victor and Allan were named for his family.

Last born son of William Bentinck and Mary Anne Howell was Sidney Wilfred who died aged 2 years and 8 months.

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William Bentinck and Mary Ann Howell

Golden Wedding of Wm. B. and Mary

Back: Frank, Will, Jack, Len 3rd: Isobel, Wm. B., Mary, Martha

2nd: Phoebe, Annie, Georgina

Front: Bert, Nell

Family of George and Martha Mary Taylor about 1926

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William James Howell

Millicent Howell (Hollis)

William Howell (Chum)

Riwai and Ann Howell

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Malcolm and Phoebe Gilbert Maclean (Howell)

Robert Gow and Annie Elizabeth Maclean (Howell)

Gilbert Maclean son of Robt. and Annie

Nan and Charles Walker and family Bill, Doug, Bob, Nan, Mary, Anne, Douglas, Charles, Joan, Joe, Graham

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John David and Ellen Howell

Herbert Allan (Bert) and Josephine Howell

Cornor family Lol Cornor, Win Meek, Ted and Queenie Hands, Irene and Sid Cornor, Doris and Garry Clunie

Front: Isobel and Samuel Cornor with Esma Cornor

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Frank and Margaret (Maggie) Howell and family

Len Howell with his butcher’s cart, about 1906. Meat to supply the Howell Bros. shop, was from the family farm “Wharemauku”

G.H. Howell Collection Kapiti Public Library HP 1942

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Motor Cycling in Paraparaumu Harry and Georgina Heffer, Mr Vaughan and children, Mrs Vaughan

G.H. Howell Collection Alexander Turnbull Library Wellington N.Z. 71053

The Sweetman milk delivery cart about 1928. The horse, Ginger, and Doug Sweetman delivered to Paraparaumu beach area daily, gathering children along the way, for joy rides.

C.E. Evans Collection Kapiti Public Library Wellington N.Z. H.P. 1973

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John (Johnnie) was one of the three sons born to John and Ann after they had settled in N.Z. – though the other two, one John and the other Donald, both died in infancy. Johnnie would have been only 6 years old when his father was killed in 1851. Brought up in the Wellington area, he worked for a while with Isaac and David and when they moved north to Hawke’s Bay, John followed. Unfortunately, the marriage of Johnnie and Sarah Jane Shirley was not a happy one. (Sarah Jane was a relative of John Bicknell, who had married Johnnie Howell’s sister, Betsy!) Both Johnnie and Sarah had had previous unhappy romances, so perhaps this is why their marriage did not work out. Incidentally, on the marriage certificate of John and Sarah Jane, one of her witnesses was Sarah Howell, Clive; yet I have never been able to identify this person. The only Sarah Howell of those days, was Rea’s mother but Rea assures me her mother never lived in Clive. I wonder if she was another daughter of David’s!

Sarah left her husband and young family and, initially, the Maoris living nearby, saw to the comfort and feeding of the youngsters, until the family was split up as various relatives took up their care.

The two eldest, Ernest and Albert, seem to have joined the large family of Wm. Bentinck, Jack (Te Horo Jack as he became known) went to relatives, the Monk family at Te Horo, while Stan and Maude lived at Puketapu with John and Kate Bicknell.

Eventually, Johnnie went farming with Ernest, Albert, Jack and Stan, at Te Waka in the Te Pohue area north of Napier. But bitterly cold weather, heavy snow, sheep stealing, and low meat prices cost them dearly and they eventually walked off the farm. Johnnie, Ernest and Albert went to Wairoa and took up a block of land at the back of Painga Stream, behind Ohuka in the Waikaremoana area. They became first of any pioneers in the area. Ernest and Albert became known as Howell Bros. and claimed that for two years they lived on wild pork which abounded in the area where they were clearing heavy stands of native timber.

In the Boer War, Ernest had two horses shot from under him and when WWI broke out, again in the Mounteds, he saw service in Turkey. Here he contracted dysentery and was invalided home to N.Z. In 1915, Ernest married Gladys Wilton in a double wedding – Gladys’s brother Bert Wilton marrying Ethel Le Quesne, granddaughter of Betsy and John Bicknell! Edie Mayo recalls the ceremony well as it had to be at 8 am to enable the bridal couples to catch the train to Wellington for their honeymoons. But Ernest’s health was poor and he died just after WWII. His only son was killed during that conflict and his daughter June is a resident inmate at Pukeora Hospital in Waipukurau.

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Albert married Alice Bury, in Wairoa in 1915, and since their homestead was 15 miles in from Omahanui, their two children Peggy and Jim took Correspondence Schooling. A day – maybe once a month – in town (Wairoa) meant horseback for 15 miles to catch a coach. Pack horses were used to carry any gear. Johnnie, on leaving Te Waka, had bought a buggy and a fine pair of “greys” so this was transport on occasions, too, the stream having to be forded twice. All wool – blade shorn – was packed out over the hills, on horses, then pressed into half bales which were coached to Wairoa where scows picked up cargoes for the Napier Woolstores. Installation of telephone on the farm was a real red-letter day.

It was on one of the day trips to Wairoa that Johnnie died at the age of 83 years. After riding a high-spirited mare out to catch the Service Car, Johnnie felt unwell so sent the rest of the party on while he rested. On their return, there was Johnnie – exactly where they had left him, and where he had died in his sleep. (Jim Howell, son of Albert, recalls that this was the day that Kingsford Smith became the first to fly across the Tasman Sea on 11th September 1928). Johnnie is buried in Wairoa.

He, like Isaac, had been a lonely old man, moving round on visits to his families and always especially welcomed by the grandchildren for he never arrived without some small gift for them – sweets, cricket bat, football or such. He had a great sense of humour and though his schooling had been minimal, he wrote in a beautiful copper-plate hand.


Jack Howell (Te Horo Jack), born at Hakowhai, grew up with his relatives, the Monks, and had early memories of wild cattle hunting on Raumati Beach. As a young man, he drove a nine-horse team over Gentle Annie from Taihape. After marrying Elsie Hollis (whose sister was married to William James Howell, son of Wm. Bentinck), Jack joined up with his father and brothers on the block at Te Waka. When they came off the farm, he and Elsie, with a child each in front of them, on their horses, rode over the gorge to Henley to a farm job and thence to Rissington. Here Jack worked on farms as well as carting and carrying. Jack was another who had a faithful ‘homing’ horse, Rata. On the long, hot drive back out to Rissington, after a trip to town, if Jack dozed off on the way, Rata would plod on patiently. But, once he reached the top of Rissington cutting, Rata would always stop and wait for the brakes to be applied, before he descended the steep road. Jack’s last job was helping provide the access roads to put in the power lines between Waikaremoana and Gisborne. Both Jack and Elsie are buried in the picturesque cemetery at Rissington.

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Jack and Elsie’s descendants have become well scattered round N.Z. Alan Anderson, secretary-manager of Manurewa R.S.A. is doing a splendid job as Chairman of Auckland District R.S.A. Youth Council – an organisation responsible for youth activities of 24 associations in the Auckland district, as well as youth exchange programmes under the auspices of Auckland district R.S.A.’s. Alan is also a Justice of the Peace.

John, Fred’s son, a cricketer of no mean standing, is National Director of coaching in cricket – appointed by N.Z. Cricket Council. He works from Christchurch and has a five-year contract.

Warren Galloway, after obtaining a degree in N.Z. left here 24 years ago, for Canada, to work for the world-famous de [Du] Pont Corporation. Warren is now Patent Attorney for the Company in Ontario.

An interesting anecdote comes to mind of Fred Howell’s dog, Storm. After the disastrous flood of 1924, when the Rissington bridge was demolished, the settlement was cut in half. The flooded river remained too high and wide for ropes to be thrown across. So Fred, on the opposite bank from his unfed dogs, hit on a plan. A rope was tied to Storm and this strong-swimming dog – a rough haired white huntaway – soon carried the rope across. This was followed by wire cable and before long a cage was constructed, to facilitate crossing until a temporary bridge was erected.

Stanley William James Howell (Stan) brought up by John and Kate Bicknell at Puketapu married Isaac’s granddaughter Ella Clunie and their family’s story has already been told in chapters of Isaac’s clan.


Maude, only daughter of Johnnie and Sarah, lived first with Alice Le Quesne (nee Bicknell) and then with John and Kate Bicknell. In her early days she went to Wairoa to her brothers, before going as housemaid to Rev. Oliver Dean. In exchange for housework, scrubbing verandahs and acting as nursemaid for their children, Maude was given painting lessons. She showed great promise if only there had been money to advance her painting skills. On one occasion she rode a pony, via the beach, to Ardkeen, Wairoa to visit her brothers. All her worldly possessions – mainly her painting gear – was carried in a biscuit tin in front of her. Throughout her life, as money for gifts was not always available, Maude would paint pictures and many friends and relatives still possess these today. While working at “Omatua”, Rissington, Maude met and married Art Williams whose sister, Clara, was married to Charlie Howell. Subsequently Maude ran the Post Office and accommodation house, on Hutchinson property until Art bought his first traction engine. Old Mr H. would have “none of these beastly contraptions” on his property and gave Art one month’s notice. So they went to live in Isaac’s old home at foot of Rissington cutting, until Art built their

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John Howell and his daughter Maude

Sarah Howell, wife of John Howell

Albert and Ernest Howell, sons of John and Sarah

Five Generations

Joan Hamlin (Tollison), Dorothy (Hamlin) Cis Tollison (Williams) Te Aroha Joan, Maud Williams (Howell)

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Alice (Bury) and Albert Howell with Jim and Peggy

Jack and Elsie (Hollis) Howell

Maude (Howell) and Arthur (Art) Williams

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Fred Howell with Storm

Jim Howell (son of Albert) and Herb Clunie

Maude Williams (Howell) and grandchildren: Peter, Margaret, David, Shirley Williams, Doug, Joan, Trevor, Beryl Tollison

Jack Howell family
Ivy, Ray, Eva, Fred, Zeta

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home, still standing, at the back of Rissington store.

Lester Masters, in “Tales of the Mails” recalls a hair-raising episode about the Napier-Puketitiri coach. At very busy times, two coaches would be run. On this occasion, seated on the box seat of the front coach beside the driver, was a man with a set of bagpipes. In the second coach was a nervous young mother with her babe in arms. After visiting several hotels en route, driver and male passengers had reached the singing stage, when someone prevailed on the piper to join the “celebrations”. At the first wheeze and crack of the whip, the terrified horses took off at breakneck speed. They raced up and down hills, in and out of hairpin bends with gay abandon until a leading horse went over the side, upsetting coach and all. Second coach jerked to a halt, disgorging passengers very unceremoniously. Among these was the indignant young mother – Maude Williams – who made it quite plain that she would prefer to finish the journey from “Ferndale” to Rissington, on foot, rather than be party to such a riotous outfit!

Life was not easy for Maude, with two children, when Art went off to WWI. On his return, severely affected by gas, Art drew a farm block at “Mangahoho”, Rissington and, after many years as a very successful farmer there, they moved to a smaller and more easily managed farm in Irongate Road, Hastings – the area now known as Flaxmere residential area.

Their son Ernie and Kath retired to Hastings after Ernie had spent his working life on N.Z. Railways. One of their sons, David has a chemist’s shop in Melbourne, so over the years, they have had several trips to visit him.

After farming in Patoka district, Maude’s daughter Clarice (Cis) and Alf Tollison have retired to Westshore, Napier, where Alf has a beautiful garden and grows magnificent orchids. It is to Cis that I am indebted for the photo of the copy of Ann Howell’s lovely crochet cloth.

Before I conclude, it has been suggested that I should give a brief outline of our own family. Gil and I met and married while I was sole charge teaching in Rissington area and during WWII while Gil was serving the 12 years Naval Service for which he had signed on in 1936. After the Battle of River Plate, Gil was transferred from “Achilles” to “Leander” and so was to play his part, also, in Battle of the Coral Sea.

After his discharge in 1948, by which time we had two small sons, Gil did a rehab. Farm Training scheme but, while awaiting a “draw” in ballots, we found ourselves with farm job, but no house to live in, so circumstances forced us to re-think our future; Gil returned to his trade as engineer and we settled back in Clive – “the land of my fathers”. Here we remain. Life has been busy and wonderful.

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Of our sons – Jim, after gaining his degree, married Alison Godinagh, joined Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Diplomatic Corps, and theirs has been a very interesting life. Living in Saigon, Bangkok, Lima, Kuala Lumpur, and now The Hague has given their family a real insight into how “the other half” lives. Their children, Greg and Karen, have become seasoned travellers as the family have made the most of every chance to explore their localities thoroughly. And, as Secretary for the late Mr Joe Walding when he was Minister of Overseas Trade a few years ago, Jim had a further opportunity of seeing various corners of the world.

Mike, having trained as a teacher, met and married Janet Rush while both were teaching at Ohakune. After building a home in Nelson, Mike was for several years Art Master at Nelson Intermediate – as well as working in many facets of the community life. Three years ago they built “their” home – a home with a view – at The Bluffs, Tasman; a home well known to travellers on Nelson-Motueka Road. With their three children, Marama, Clayson and Lisa in Guides, Brownies, Cubs, ballet, rugby – and Mike and Janet deeply involved in all these activities as well as their teaching commitments – and golf – they have never a dull moment. My thanks go to Mike for the cover picture.

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This has been quite an exercise – but of intense interest. As I read through I am aware that I have, unwittingly, seemed to mention the stories of our men predominantly. The Howell women have played an equally important part in their communities, but, since so many have been nurses, teachers, and, above all, home-makers, for fear of missing someone out, I have only mentioned those in a few cases. Behind every successful man is a good woman – be she mother or wife – and our Howell women were no exceptions.

Furthermore, since there must be scarcely one Howell home that did not send members to serve in some capacity in one war or another, and since I have no complete list of all our Servicemen and women, those I have mentioned have not been singled out especially. We are proud of them all.

As I glance over the huge pile of information and photos that people have lent me, I realise I have enough information for volumes – it has been hard to decide what must needs be omitted – the photographs especially.

In conclusion, my greatest thanks must go to Gil, without whose support I could not have completed this book. Every mile we have travelled, every letter posted, every visitor welcomed has been a great joy to us both.

Thank you, one and all.

Gil (James Gilbert) and Joan Howell

Original digital file


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  • Joan Howell

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