William Heslop 1845-1930

William Heslop 1845-1930 (85 yrs)

Son of John and Ann Heslop

Mr William Heslop, one of the best known and best loved residents of the Hawke’s Bay district, passed away at his residence in Hastings on Wednesday morning at the age of 85 years, and his death takes form [from] the community a man who had lived to the people’s benefit and with honour to himself. He was a gentleman in the noblest sense of the word, and was held in affection by people of all ages.

He and he [his] family, both as civilians and as soldiers, had a proud record of service to their country and their Empire. William took a prominent part in the militia and cavalry and was awarded the New Zealand War Medal.

Deceased’s three brothers and his father took part in the Maori Wars and his son George fought in the Boer War. His youngest son fought in the Great War and Mr Heslop himself, as an honorary member of Captain Chicken’s Company, and as a volunteer (he had five clasps to his medal) had seen much military service. He came to this country in 1857 when he was twelve years old, and landed with his people at Wellington from the clipper Indian Queen, which the family joined at Liverpool. At a very early age in [he] joined the Government service as a mail carrier, and his task, for which he was paid 25 pounds a year, was to take the mails to and from Napier, Puketapu, Pakowhai, Woodthorpe and Rissington each week.

In 1860 the district was in the throes of the Maori War and camps were built and redoubts formed at Waipawa and Hampden. In 1863 when the war in the Waikato was in progress, Mr Heslop’s father John, took up a contract for cartage of camping gear. The river beds were the roads in those days and the reach Peka Peka (Risssington) the river Tutaekuri and Mangahana [Mangaohane] had to be crossed 14 times, which to get to the old Tunanui station, the

Chart –

Joseph Heslop

Eleanor Nichols

John Heslop
1812 – 1894

Ann Richardson
1815 – Deceased

William Heslop
1845 – Deceased

Mary Ann Waldrom
1847 – 1925

Samuel John Bennett

Elizabeth Jane Heslop
1872 – Deceased

George Whitfield Heslop
1876 – 1951

Ethel Maria Arrow
1882 – 1953

Charles Frederick Messenger

Ida Maude Heslop
1878 – 1947

Harold Alexander Heslop
1890 – 1965

Sarah Agnes M..

river had to be crossed 40 or 50 times. He is said to have been the first European to carry mails between Rissington and Puketapu.

William became a well-known breeder of Shorthorn cattle, and a judge of sheep and draught horses. He was one of the promoters of the HB Farmers Cooperative Association, and the North British Freezing Company. He was a steward and a starter for the Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club, being in his time owner, trainer, president, judes [judge], steward, starter and rider. ​ Mr. Heslop always took a keen interest in rifle-shooting and was recognised as a fine shot, holding his own until quite lately with many of the younger members of the Okawa Rifle Club of which he was created a life member.

He was at various times chairman of Puketapu and Pakowhai School Committees, and also a member of the Okawa Road Board for some years. He acted as steward with the latter Mr W Rich, for cattle, at the first Hawke’s Bay A&P Show, at Havelock North in 1863, and he took part in the Hawke’s Bay shows for many year.

William was married in the Napier Cathedral in 1871 to Mary Ann Waldrom, and in 1921 they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. In April 1925, Mrs Heslop passed away and there was no doubt that her death was a great blow to Mr Heslop, who suffered an illness shortly afterwards and he never really regained his health. Died 25 June 1930.

One of the deceased’s most treasured possessions were birthday gifts received at various times form [from] General Sir Ian Hamilton. It was always a source of pride to him too that the late Governor-General (Sir Charles Fergusson) had visited him at his home, and had come to say goodbye to him on his farewell visit to Hawke’s Bay. He was proud also of what he used jocularly to refer to as his art gallery, which consisted of a large number of photographs of old comrades (notebly Major Gascoyne) and included photographs of Sir Ian Hamilton and Sir Charles Fergusson.

The deceased is survived by two sons, George (King Street, Wairoa), and Harold, and three daughters. Mrs SJ Bennett of Hamilton, Mrs Messenger and Miss Heslop of Hastings. A deep and general sympathy will be felt for them ​ – HB Herald.

William Heslop, New Zealand Wars veteran


William Heslop, a veteran of the New Zealand Wars, was born at Blackhill, Northumberland, England in 1845. He moved to New Zealand with his parents in 1856, and in November 1863 joined the Hawke’s Bay Militia, which he served with for two years. He then joined Captain Gordon’s Mounted Troop.

It is said that at one time, Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki had worked for William’s father (who was in charge of the workers draining lands at Puketapu) and often sent letters to the Heslop family. After the killing of both Pākehā and Māori by Te Kooti at Matawhero, William was sent to the district to assist in the burial of the dead, many of whom had been personally known to him. In April of the following year he took part in the interment of the Mōhaka massacre as orderly trooper to Major Lambert. William’s estate also had ties to the New Zealand Wars, for on it was fought the battle of Omaranui.

This photograph from April 1918 shows William aged 73. On his chest is the New Zealand War Medal, described as New Zealand’s first local campaign medal. Archives New Zealand holds records of those who claimed the medal, as well as other related papers, in the ‘Māori War Series’: [archway].archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=8661​. Other Militia files relating to the New Zealand Medal can be found in Series 8666: ​ [archway].archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=8666  

Archives Reference: AD37 Box 20/25



MR. WILLIAM HESLOP, ​ J.P., Old Colonist, Omaranui [Omarunui], was born at Blackhill, Northumberland, England, in the year 1845, and came to New Zealand with his parents in 1856. His estate is a spot of great historical interest in Hawke’s Bay, for on it was fought the battle of Omaranui, the site of which is now marked by a large willow tree. For more than forty years Mr. Heslop has taken an active part in all local movements. He joined the militia in 1864, and the cavalry in 1868, and holds the New Zealand war medal. Te Kooti, the great rebel chief, at one time, under the name of Hiroke, worked for Mr. Heslop’s father, in charge of the men employed to drain the Puketapu property, and was well-known to the family. Some time after this Hiroke was tried at Poverty Bay for some trivial offence, and obtained the nickname of “Te Kooti,” the Maori rendering of “The Court,” or “the man who was tried by the court.” Even after Te Kooti had broken out into open hostility, Mr. Heslop

received messages from the redoubtable warrior under the old name of Hiroke. After the massacre of Poverty Bay, in 1868. Mr. Heslop, as a mounted trooper, was sent to the district to assist in the burial of the mutilated bodies of the victims, many of whom had been personally known to him. In April of the following year he took part in the internment of the victims of the Mohaka massacre, as orderly trooper to Major Lambert. Mr. Heslop claims that during his two years of patrol duty he never once missed his drill. Accustomed from boyhood to mix amongst the Maoris, he had little fear of them. He is said to have been the first European to carry the mails between Ressington [Rissington] and Puketapu. Mr. Heslop has always taken a keen interest in politics, and for many years was chairman of Captain (now Sir William) Russell’s Omaranui and Puketapu election committees. He has been a member of the Okawa Road Board, chairman of the Puketapu school committee, is a member of the Hawke’s Bay Racing Committee. Napier Park Racing Club, and was a promoter of the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Co-operative Association, and the Hawke’s Bay and North British Freezing works. Mr. Heslop has exhibited largely at the agricultural shows of the district, thirty silver medals for cattle, horses, and sheep have been gained by his family in Hawke’s Bay, including first prizes for a short-horn bull and short-horn cow as far back as 1863, at the first Havelock show. As a judge of sheep at Gisborne, and draught horses at Wanganui, Mr. Heslop has earned a reputation, whilst Mrs. Heslop has carried off a number of dairy prizes. Mr. Heslop married the daughter of Mr. Thomas Waldrom, farmer, of Waipawa, and has three daughters and two sons. His eldest daughter is the wife of Mr. J. S. Bennett, and his eldest son served in the South African war, and gained two medals and clasps.




NOMINAL RETURN of Officers and Men of the Colonial Forces, who have made application for the New Zealand War Medal for services rendered prior to the 31st December, 1866, and whose claims have been admitted by the Commissioner since the publication of his last Report.

[Hawke’s Bay names only transcribed]

Flanagan, John, Private, Napier Militia
Heslop, George, Private, Napier Militia
Heslop, John, Corporal, Waipara Cavalry Volunteers
Helsop, William, Private, Napier Militia
Koch, August, Colour-Sergeant, Napier Rifle Volunteers
O’Dee, Kyran John, Sergeant, Napier Militia
O’Neill, James, Private, Hawke’s Bay Volunteers
Spence, George, Private, Napier Militia
Towsey, William Charles, Private, Napier Volunteers

PUKETAPU STATION, the property of the North British and Hawke’s Bay Freezing Company, Limited, was formerly owned by the late Mr. John Heslop, and worked conjointly with Omaranui station, then owned by Mr. William Heslop. A few years after the death of Mr. Heslop the estates were divided, and purchased by their present owners. Puke-tapu station is situated about eight miles from Napier, and is a fine block of grazing country. It is well improved, and there is a modern dwelling house, up-to-date outbuildings, a wool-shed and men’s quarters. Upwards of 5,000 Lincoln-Leicester and Romney-Marsh cross-breds and 214 head of cattle are depastured. A large acreage of the land is plough-able, and well adapted for yielding good returns in root and other crops.


Comments passed down from family members Anecdotal from Auntie Annie Eleanor Heslop (daughter of John jnr)

When her mother Jane Isabella died in 1873, Annie Wellwood took Annie Eleanor, but then Annie Wellwood died in 1881 when she was just a school girl. Her father (John Jnr) was put in Sacred Heart in Wanganui, even though John was a Mason.

Annie on William, who she described as ‘her favourite man of all times”. He lived at Omaranui in a lovely Olde English type house. He decided to drain the Moteo Swamp and got into financial difficulties. He mortgaged his house then had several bad seasons. His father (old John) came to William’s rescue by mortgaging his own house. Eventually William had to sell out and after paying all debts they ended up in a small house in Hastings and William went wool classing. Old John never got his money back, and also had a few bad seasons. After Old John died there was very little for his boys (who had worked on the property when younger) and they expected more than they got. George told William what he thought of him, then never spoke to him again!

Wife Elizabeth had not known her husband had mortgaged their Puketapu home to help William, she felt John has deceived her and she too never forgave him.(he was already dead at this time) Old John was buried with full Maori honours on the hill behind their old home (which later burned down) and Elizabeth Jane had said she would never lie beside him, so was buried in Puketapu Cemetery.

Annie also said that George was ‘very peppery’. Apparently Heslops had won a lot of cups for their stock and when old John died and Elizabeth got mad about the mortgage she gave the cups to the Ormonds (who had always been runners up). George learned of this and demanded the Ormonds return the cups as the belonged to ​his ​family. They didn’t so he got madder and again demanded them but they refused to hand over. After George died, Auntie Annie went to visit ‘Auntie Flo’ who then had one of the cups on her mantlepiece. The Ormonds had returned them after George died. They wouldn’t give him the satisfaction!

Also ‘Uncle Willie” had employed Te Kooti as a boy and said he was ‘very good boy who only turned out as the white people made him”. He also told her about pulling a rowboat onto Napier beach after noting the Maori lady was having difficulty. Turned out her sick husband was lying in the bottom of th boat and she had rowed from Wairoa!


NEW ZEALAND RIFLE ASSOCIATION PRIZE MEETING, 1891. – William offered his land for the competition.


The Wanganui Chronicle says: – ”We had the pleasure last week of inspecting at Mr Hugh Black’s jewellery establishment a Martini-Henri rifle, which has just been sent over to Napier for presentation to Mr Heslop, who so kindly placed his grounds at the disposal as a range for the late meeting. As Mr Heslop refused to accept any monetary fee for the use of his property, the management of the Association decided to present him with some slight token of their appreciation of his liberality. The stock of the rifle bears a silver shield, with the following inscription: – “Presented to Mr William Heslop by the New Zealand Rifle Association, 1891” The engraving was neatly executed by Mr Black.”

Daily Telegraph​   ISSUE 7471, 16 SEPTEMBER 1895

Big Wedding of Daughter Ida Maud

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TDN19050114.2.10?end_date=1906-12-31&page=2&phras e=2&query=john+heslop&start_date=1905-01-01&type=ARTICLE

Mr. W. Heslop occupied the chair at the annual general meeting of the Wharerangi Polo Club, held at the Masonic Hotel on Saturday. Correspondence was read from the secretary of the New Zealand Polo Association re raising standard height of ponies from 14 hands to 14.2. The secretary was instructed to write opposing the proposition. A hearty vote of thanks was recorded on the minutes to Mr W Heslop for allowing the club the use of a ground last season. The club’s new ground at the Napier Park is coming on well, and will be ready for play in about a month. The following officers were elected for the ensuing season: – President, Mr John Bennett; vice-presidents, Messrs W. Heslop, Hutchinson, and J. O. M’Vay; captain, Mr S. J. Bennett; hon secretary and treasurer, Mr O. H. Cato; committee, Messrs O. D. Kennedy, Stanley Bennett, O. Bennett, W. I Peacock, W. Hutchinson, and W. D. Miller.



NAPIER, to-day.

Reports from Puketapu show that the residents there suffered severely by the flood. Mr Harry Gardiner lost his house, containing four rooms, and all the furniture. Mr Smales’ house was washed off its blocks, and four feet of silt remains inside. The water was right up to the roof. Mr Hayes had three feet of water indoors, and all the furniture was swept out. The house of Mr Morriss, of Woodthorpe, was completely wrecked, and most of the furniture has gone. The family had to cross the hills to get to Okawa, as there was no place of refuge between those two localities, the family being accommodated at Okawa Homestead. The roads at Puketapu are all blocked, making vehicular traffic impossible for a time. There has never been so much water before in that place within the memory of the oldest settlers. The Tutaekuri broke its bank at Pakowhai, and again at Mr Heslop senior’s, where hundreds of acres there are covered with from two to five feet of silt. Mr J. Hallett’s wool-shed was considerably damaged, and fourteen bales of wool disappeared. The paddock of Mr J. Heslop has been covered with totara logs. Mr Langley Shaw got through from inland after a journey which occupied three days. He reports that the roads in that district are completely washed away. Birch Bros. are heavy losers. Wool stored in a whare 15ft. above the ordinary flood level was carried away.


A private letter to Mr J. Heslop conveys the unwelcome intelligence that in respect of one property, that of the Heslop Estate, Omarami [Omarunui], Hawke’s Bay, the losses instead of being 900 sheep and 20 cattle as stated in the public prints, amounts to no less than 1500 sheep and 300 cattle. It is worthy of remark that the disaster in this case was due to the Tutikuri [ Tutaekuri ] breaking over at Motea [Moteo], a thing never before known within the memory of man. The same letter records that Nelson’s lost 11,000 fat sheep.

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  • Ethel Maria Arrow
  • O Bennett
  • Samuel John Bennett
  • Hugh Black
  • O H Cato
  • Governor-General Sr Charles Fergusson
  • Private John Flanagan
  • Harry Gardiner
  • Major Gascoyne
  • J Hallett
  • General Sir Ian Hamilton
  • Ann Heslop, nee Richardson
  • Annie Eleanor Heslop
  • Eleanor Heslop, nee Nichol
  • Elizabeth Jane Heslop
  • George Whitfield Heslop
  • Harold Alexander Heslop
  • Ida Maude Heslop
  • John Heslop
  • Joseph Heslop
  • Mary Ann Heslop, nee Waldrom
  • Sarah Agnes Heslop
  • William Heslop
  • W Hutchinson
  • C D Kennedy
  • Colour-Sergeant August Koch
  • Major Lambert
  • J O McVay
  • Charles Frederick Messenger
  • W D Miller
  • Sergeant Kyran John O'Dee
  • Private James O'Neill
  • W I Peacock
  • W Rich
  • Captain William Russell
  • Langley Shaw
  • Private George Spence
  • Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki
  • Private William Charles Towsey
  • Thomas Waldrom
  • Annie Wellwood

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