Topic: George Vesey Stewart: Farewell Address (2 July 1919)

Topic type:

The year before his death, the 'Father of Katikati,' George Vesey Stewart, made his Farewell Address from his home at Martray. Original documents courtesy of Ellen McCormack and Tauranga City Libraries, transcription by Debbie McCauley (2013).

Looking strange? See an archived version here

Dear Katikati Friends,

In submitting the present, which will perhaps be my last report, after 44 years of active service, I propose to enter upon several matters outside our little parochial interests, but affecting those of our district, through the various local bodies with which, through your continued confidence, I am connected.


A metalled main road is the first important step; to secure the settlement of the country, and commencing at the boundary of the Ohinemuri County on the Waihi Plains to the Tuapiro River, the following reference must be accepted as most satisfactory. The railway construction Department have made two deviation roads, and three others are in course of construction; the grade reflects the greatest credit on the engineer, while the metalling work leaves nothing to be desired. After three years’ fruitless correspondence with Wellington on the subject of timber royalties which I considered were due to our riding, the Hon. W. H. Herries kindly arranged a conference at Katikati, held on 10th June, 1918, which was attended by the Hon. Messrs. Herries and Guthrie, the Auckland Commissioner of Crown Lands, and other Government officers, with the result that an out-and-out grant of £500 has been placed on the Estimates for our main road to Katikati; a portion of this vote has been expended upon a deviation road from Ohinemuri County boundary to meet one of the deviation roads made by the Railway Department to which I have referred. This road will be metalled by raising the boulders from the existing road; the balance required can be obtained from a quarry in the immediate vicinity. We now reach the top of what is termed the “long hill." After some correspondence with the Hon. Sir Wm. Fraser, a grant of £100 was made by him on a report forwarded by Mr. Hannah, which has been expended in repairs by metalling, and brings us to the head of the Gorge with a good level run to the vicinity of Athenree; the Gorge being well supplied with quarries, and in their neighbourhood two additional deviation roads are under construction by the Department, which when completed will make a surprising improvement of the Katikati side of Athenree. We have further secured by deed a valuable bluestone quarry, affording an unlimited supply of metal. In this review we now reach the second deviation road to be constructed by the County Council, by funds derived from the Hon. Guthrie’s £500 grant, and brings us to the school close to the Tuapiro bridge, which was prove to be a most decided improvement on the existing road passing over swamp, with sharp bends and a bad grade. The new road will be perfectly level and straight, while it may be noted that the adjoining Tuapiro River is well supplied with metal. These references represent about nine to ten out of about a total of nineteen miles of main road through our riding, which by deviations made, and those authorised, will transform the existing road at a small cost to our riding, due to the engineering demands of the Railway Construction Department. From the Tuapiro to Katikati township a vast amount of metalling work has been done, but some intervening sections must be forthwith metalled. The same remark applied to the remaining portion of the road to the riding boundary at the Aongatete bridge, which is at present being metalled, but the following extract from a letter received by me from Sir William Fraser dated 2nd May, 1919, gives the official report on this portion of the road:

"The Council was also promised  £305 (£ for £) for the Katikati portion of the road, plans and specifications for expenditure of £512 on metalling the Katikati Riding portion have recently been approved of by the resident road engineer, and an authority for £256 (£ for £) is being issued in respect thereto as part of the £305. The question of providing further money for Katikati Riding section has been noted for further consideration by the Minister when he is compiling the Public Works Estimates, as promised in his letter of 17th ultimo."

I have entered thus on these seven deviation roads for the following reason. During the course of the war, in fact during its most critical position, some of my best Katikati friends advocated a loan of £6000 from outside quarters to complete the entire metalling of the main road through the riding. I strongly opposed the proposal on several grounds, viz. - that at that juncture we were passing through the most critical stage of the war, that the loan would have to be obtained from the Public Trustee at 61/2 per cent., including sinking fund; that Sir William Fraser had distinctly informed us that no subsidies would be granted during the war; that labour at the time was almost unprocurable; that we should recollect that we were engaged in a war shaking the very foundations of the Empire; that every available man independent of class should be engaged either at the front or at some essential industry; and, finally, that it was cruel selfishness not to reserve every description of work and available funds for our boys on their return after the close of the war. In fact, we had at the time £250 on deposit receipt with an unexpended balance of some £130 additional, placed to a separate account at the bank out of the last loan, simply due to the fact that applications for tenders met with no response at anything approaching a reasonable estimate, however the following figures will show the relative position of the two proposals, I am further quite aware that some of my friends advocating what I described in the "Bay of Plenty Times" as the "insane £6000 loan," intentionally declined to record their votes in my favour at the last Harbour Board election, but would not give me a black ball, and for this negative support I feel grateful, as providing undeniable proof of personal regard.

At the time that the controversy existed between my friends and myself, several items since secured were only correctly anticipated by me, but, in the full belief that they would be ultimately secured. But I have always strongly advocated the policy, that the Government, following the example of the United States of America and of the Dominion of Canada, should nationalise all arterial main roads, placing County Councils in the position of extended Road Boards assisted by local advisory committees, such as Te Puna, Waimapu, and in the true interests of settlement they will find plenty of work to do in looking after the district, and other roads not being arterial roads, inasmuch as settlement increases the charge of by-roads will be proportionately increased, and further, the State is in a better position to supply labour-saving appliances, but I regret to say I could only secure two supporters to the proposal in the County Council, in Councillors Lockhead and Vercoe.


Extensive repairs have been made on the Church Road, on the one leading to our cemetery, and some others for which applications were made, but the present position is anything but satisfactory, and has caused me a considerable amount of anxious consideration. There is a regrettable absence of public interest taken in our Road Board elections, which however, may be accepted as confidence by the ratepayers, but the matter pressing on my mind is a suitable successor to Mr. John Wilson as road overseer, who, after a long period of honest, faithful service, has been prostated for some time by failing health. His remuneration and that of his predecessor, the late Mr. James Boyd, was 10 per cent on all expenditure certified by him; all work is done by contract, the total amount is but small, and does not entail much loss of time. I therefore appeal to Katikati ratepayers, and ask them can be not find in Katikati one suitable man possessed of public spirit and gifted with intelligence to undertake the job. Our total revenue from rates, independent of subsidies, is only about  £200 per annum, and this rate is not struck annually, but if we deduct the clerk's salary, a standing salary for road overseer, whether work is done or otherwise, with other office expenses, the most economical course to adopt would be to merge the Road Board District into that of the county, and following the example of Te Puna, Waimapu and Maketu, to appoint an advisory committee working in conjunction with the County Council, whereby the office and road overseer's expenses would be abolished; and I attach herewith for the consideration of the ratepayers Appendix (1), giving the instructions by Mr. H. A. Sharp on the mode of procedure, but this matter rests solely with the decision of the ratepayers.

In placing the matter before them and expressing my personal opinion in our united interests, I must confess I should for some reasons regret to see the Road Board abolished, though far from being satisfied with the existing state of affairs in many matters, the Board, however, gives us a "locus standi" impressed with an incident which occurred many years ago. The Hon. A. J. Cadman was Minister in the Seddon Government, I sent him a resolution adopted at a public meeting applying for a grant of £100, which he officially refused, but he informed me that if I sent the application through the Road Board, as emanating from a representative body, he would grant it; needless to state, his terms were promptly complied with, and on this principle, and especially during the last quarter of a century, thousands of pounds have been secured from the Government by grants, subsidies and timber royalties which we handed over to the County Council with the result, that the Katikati Riding, the smallest in the county, has the largest amount of metalled main road therein. I am still willing, so long as I retain your confidence, and my health and strength permit, to carry on the correspondence as hitherto, and do my best to promote our common interests, and now I leave the matter in the hands of the ratepayers.


On the 17th August, 1914, the Road Board passed the following resolution: - "That this Board strongly urges on the Hon. Minister for Public Works to extend the road through Woodlands to Waimata." It was duly forwarded to Sir William Fraser, and I have much pleasure in stating that after considerable correspondence the road has been surveyed from Woodlands to Waimata, and the private road through Woodlands property has been acquired by the Government, but to reach the Woodlands boundary it is indispensable to form a short road starting on the Katikati side of the Tahawai bridge to meet it. I have had a good deal of correspondence on this matter, and as the road has also been recently surveyed, I feel confident that we may rely upon its early formation by the District Road Engineer, who has already completed some other roads in our district in a highly satisfactory manner.

But I consider this work will prove to be one of the most important additions to the Katikati settlement. It provides an alternate road to Waihi having a far better grade than the present one, to which as a road, I do not attach much importance, as our railway communication may be expected at an early date, but the vital result lies in the fact that it opens up a vast area of Crown land for settlement hitherto inaccessible. As a start in this direction, some 3000 acres have been recently surveyed into 400-acre sections for returned soldiers, and we must hope that this too initial work will be continued. Sir Wm. Fraser estimates the total cost of the road formation to Waimata, independent of metalling, at £4900. I have offered to find him £5000 or more if required, provided the Government make arrangements with me for sale of land under the strictest conditions of close settlements, upon the same lines that have proved to be so successful at Katikati and Te Puke, but made under far more difficult conditions at that time exacting. In my present proposal I suggested that one-half should be reserved for emigrants from Great Britain with capital, the other half should be reserved for returned soldiers, the combined party to draw the order of selection by ballot as previously adopted. I have pressed this matter on the Ministers interested but so far without success, which I much regret, as I consider it is the duty of every intelligent and capable man to do his "little bit" in opening up the idle lands of the Crown, thereby increasing our exports, revenue, and general prosperity, and assist in meeting our financial obligations due to the war.


The national highway for transit of stock between the Waikato and the East Coast districts, starting from our Tauranga main road near the Waitekohe bridge, has been the subject of much correspondence for some years with the Government and the Piako County Council, the Tauranga County section to the boundary at the summit of the range having been kept in a state of repair fit for motor car traffic, while the Piako County's portion was often unsafe even for stock. I moved in our Tauranga Council a proposal made by the Piako Council, which received the unanimous support of the Tauranga Council, requesting the Government to appoint a Commission to assess the respective contributions - under at least a  £ for £ subsidy from Government - by the counties of Tauranga, Piako, Waikato and Ohinemuri. The Piako County Council, however, finally adopted a less ambitious proposal, under which a reliable contractor undertook to keep their side of the track for stock driving in a safe state of repair for three years.

Referring to the stock paddock: this matter originated some years ago, with the Road Board, but due to the war was not pressed further than survey and allocation of ten acres for the purpose free of cost. Moreover, advantage was taken of the Hon. Guthrie's visit to Katikati in June, 1918, when arrangements were subsequently finally completed, and at the June meeting of the Tauranga County Council, specifications were ordered on my motion to be prepared on behalf of the Commissioner for Crown Lands, by his request, and tenders to be called in the local papers for clearing and burning, the work of grassing and fencing to follow.


This ideal recreation and camping ground, containing some 125 acres, situated at the Katikati Heads - the northern entrance from the ocean to Tauranga Harbour - has for some years been placed under the jurisdiction of the Katikati Road Board. The entire area has been enclosed by a sheep-proof fence, a roa[?]et a cost of over £150 surveyed by Mr. D. McArthur, made for the benefit of our Waihi Borough friends; a stone jetty has been constructed at our Miniature Anzac Bay, inside the harbour, while above the jetty, reached by concrete steps, surrounded by the lovely Christmas trees, a shelter house with a large brick chimney has been erected for the accommodation of picnic parties.

Anzac Bay is truly a lovely spot, sheltered from the ocean by the precipitous heads secures safety from sharks, and the danger from surf-bathing upon the open beach, as suggested by Mr. Donaldson, Mayor of Waihi, a death by drowning having occurred last year, while Anzac Bay from the land side is reached by a very gradual shelving beach, on which I have seen hundreds of children gamboling in the water with the most perfect security. The Waihi Borough Council, by arrangement with the Road Board, have given us an annual subsidy of £25, due on the 1st of December of each year; in return for which we grant free camping rights and free grazing for campers' horses. I regret, however, to state that the present Mayor of Waihi, without notice of motion at the Borough Council meeting held in January, reduced the amount to £15. We do not, however, proposed to take legal proceedings for the recovery of the balance, as during the war we have been husbanding our finances. A Government subside of £100 - the largest subsidy, I believe, granted to any domain in the Dominion - has been replaced for two succeeding years on the Parliamentary Estimates by my request, and will be expended upon improvements to the Domain before the next summer holiday season commences. I very much regret the action of Mr. Donaldson, the Mayor of Waihi; but two wrongs do not make one right - the people of Waihi will receive a hearty welcome at the Heads as campers or visitors. Our ranger is a Waihi resident, and, like his predecessors, has been instructed to ascertain suggestions by the Waihi people for the improvement of the Domain, which will be duly considered by the Board. But in local bodies, as with the Government of the country, the policy emanates from the chairman. Mr. Donaldson is a respected tradesman and an active supporter of his Church. He is, I believe, holding the office of Mayor for the third or fourth year, and should therefore be familiar with the financial position of the borough. But no man is infallible; we are all liable to make mistakes; in fact, as our American cousins say, "He who never makes a mistake, never makes anything," and I consider he is guilty of a grave error of judgement in taking proceedings under the Public Works Act to obtain, by compulsory purchase, 170 acres from Mrs. Shaw upon an open beach and 30 acres from myself, as a 200-acre recreation and pleasure ground, which will probably run into £100 per acres, as the starting-point, while the Waihi people have the Katikati Heads at their free disposal so easily accessible over an admirable hard beach. I was further under the impression that every sensible man and local body would support the goldmining industry, yet so solicitous is Mr. Donaldson for what he considers my person interests that the Waihi Borough Council have lodged an objection against an application made by Mr. Dixon for mining on my property, which resulted in an adjournment at the Warden's Court. But the ratepayers of Waihi, among whom are included some Katikati people, will have to give their consent to the land gamble, and may I refer them to the following extract from the "Waihi Daily Telegraph," dated Friday, June 13th, 1919, giving a report of the Mayor's address upon his annual financial statement. He is reported to have said - "and was very sorry to find that his investigations had forced him to the conclusion that the borough stood to lose at the present rate of expenditure £4000 during the current year. The only department that was worked without loss was the gas-works."

In the face of this highly satisfactory state of financial affairs, the Mayor is proceeding with his compulsory land gamble, involving thousands of pounds in the purchase, and as much more additional to make it suitable for the purpose for which the purchase is ostensibly advocated. But no amount of money will provide an open beach such natural advantages as given by the Katikati Domain. At the risk, therefore, of being the "candid friend" referred to by Oliver Goldsmith, I may remind Mr. Donaldson of the advice given by the immortal Shakespeare: "Let the shoemaker stick to his last."


This Domain, containing some seven or eight acres, occupies a level flat of alluvial land in the centre of the settlement bounded by the Waihi-Katikati main road on one side; it is permanently fenced, surrounded by ornamental and shelter trees, contains a tennis court, football and cricket ground, and dressing sheds for the players. In this Domain our annual Agricultural and Pastoral Association Show is held for farm and local produce, horse jumping, etc., while the exhibits of stock are held on the enclosure on the south of the fence. It has often been remarked by visitors that it provides an ideal showground. For my part I feast my eyes on the scene; in the far distance nestled amongst the trees is our Church of England; adjacent thereto are two stores, an admirably kept hotel, and our wharf and receiving shed. At the immediate [approximate 2 missing lines of text] stands what we used to term in Ulster "the sister Church," for the Presbyterian community. On the other side of the main road boundary of our showgrounds we have the Post and Telegraph Office, Courthouse, and Police Station, with Mr. F. Smith's residence and implement works, our public hall and Board room adjoining. On the boundary of the Domain with the Showground is placed our Public Library and Reading Room, supported by private subscriptions and Government subside. When I look upon this landscape on Show days, crowded with well-dressed men, women and children, a display of motor cars, horses, and every description of stock, my mind wanders back to 45 years ago, when the entire district was a wilderness, and now in a new country, under a glorious climate, we are enjoying all the amenities of civilised life of the Homeland. In connection with our shows, too much credit cannot be given to the Committee of the A. and P. Association for the attention, the hospitality extended to visitors, their endeavour being to make every one feel at home. The Library is commandeered for the day to supply every kind of refreshment, the result of personal subscriptions. A war memorial subscription has been started, now amounting to over £100, and I understand that the subscribers have decided to erect iron entrance gates. This is, however, a matter outside of the Board, and though I have given the movement both my moral and financial support, I cannot but express my regret that the amount was not expended in erection of buildings useful, ornamental, and commemorative to provide, interalia, accommodation for our exhibits at the show, thereby saving the annual expenditure of close to £30 in tent hire, while the subscription would probably have been susbsidised by Government under grants to domains. The Uretara Domain Boards is composed of the chairman of the Katikati Road Board, the chairmen of the Katikati North and South School Committees, the chairman of the Library Committee, the secretary of the Band Committee and the secretary of the Sports Committee, all ex officio, but the successful work of this Board is largely due to the secretary, Mr. W. I. Gray.


The first step to establish a Public Library and Reading Room was taken in 1879, as shown by the following letter from the late Sir George M. O'Rorke, late Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament:-

Jermyn Street, Auckland, 16th May, 1879. My Dear Stewart, - I am glad to see by the newspapers that our enlightened Land Board has not succeeded in putting a complete extinguisher upon you. I wish you success in your crusade against them. [Sir George O'Rorke here refers to the Land Boards' attempt - now the Crown Lands Board - to kill any projected Te Puke special settlement, the late Mr. J. C. Firth having specially gone to Wellington with a protest from the Board against the sale of the land to me, on the grounds that it was unfair to settlers in New Zealand to dispose of land to emigrants with an unsatisfied demand for land from those residing in the colony. I am happy, however, in feeling I conquered the reactionaries, and refer to the present proud position held by Te Puke and surrounding district.] Sir George O'Rorke's letter proceeds:' "But what I am now writing to you about is that, seeing some allusion made to your getting up a Library at Katikati, that I wish to urge you to make immediate application to the Board of Education for a share of the money entrusted to them for distribution among county libraries. The amount at the Board's disposal enables them to give £ for £ in aid of subscriptions or fees. There is no time to be lost, as the Board is on the eve of distributing the money. I think it would be sufficient if you were to ask the Board to reserve £20 or £25 towards your expected subscriptions on an equivalent sum. Look to Public Libraries' Subsidies Act of 1877. Yours sincerely, G. MAURICE O'RORKE.

The Library Committee was then formed by Mr. W. I. Gray, our present County Supervisory, being the moving spirit, who has since the above date up to the present taken a warm interest in the movement. With the consent of the Police Department, closed book shelves were placed in the Courthouse, which were also provided with newspapers as a reading room. The Library was here domiciled till 1913, when Mr. Gray and myself put our heads together, a subscription list was opened, and the present building as already described, aided by a liberal subsidy, was opened officially early in 1914 by the Hons. Massey and Herries. Mr. W. I. Gray is permanent chairman of committee, Miss Hunter, of "Fairlight," Katikati, is librarian; Mrs. N. A. Johnston, treasurer. The library is well supplied with books and newspapers.


This building, standing a few chains from the Post Office, upon a site granted free of cost by Mr. James Lockington, of Katikati, hailing from County Cavan in Ulster, a member of the Number 1 Party, was erected by the members of the L.O.L. No. 30, but when the Lodge was moved to Waihi the executive of the institution, with the consent of the surviving subscribers, handed over the building by deed to the Road Board, to which the Road Board office was attached. The entire building is lighted by acetylene gas.


During the late Mr. Seddon's term of office I made several applications through the Road Board for opening up the country on each side of Thompson's Track, but without success. However, as soon as Mr. Massey succeeded to office, application was made to him to appoint two surveyors for that purpose, and with this object, and previous consent given to me by Mr. Dunnage, C.E., I suggested that gentleman to take charge of the Thompson Track District, as he resided in the immediate neighbourhood, and that Mr. Atkinson, C.E., Government Engineer, who happened to be at Katikati on railway work, should be placed in charge of the work for the northern end of the settlement. The request was granted, some thousands of acres opened up, and every allotment applied for. I have much pleasure in stating that Mr. Atkinson is still employed in Katikati. He has done some very useful work, such as the survey of the road to Waiamta, and minor roads in Te Puna Riding, while Mr. Dunnage has also been fully engaged in similar indispensable employment for opening up the district. But the most effectual method to secure the settlement of our Crown lands is to employ more surveyors, and secondly replace The Auckland Homestead Act upon the Statute Book.


We have 46 subscribers to our telephone department, under the jurisdiction of the Road Board, and after five years of its initiation I often wonder how we were previously able to exist without this adjunct to civilisation. The Department has granted the loan of the telephone to the Road Board free of charge, we pay 30s per annum to the Government Department for connection to the main line, and an annual rate of 25s meets so far the charges for repairs, interest, and sinking fund - total of 12 years to run - on £150, the cost of construction.


While looking after the affairs and interests of the living, the Katikati people are not negligent of those feelings of homage and remembrance to those reposing in God's Acre. I selected and handed over the site in 1879, paying due regard to a perfect system of self-drainage. The trustees are nominated by the Minister for Lands, who has always hitherto supported the appointment recommended by the Board through the chairman. The late Dr. Grinders, at a public entertainment, described "Katikati as an abominably healthy place." Our revenue, therefore, is very small, I am happy to state, from the sale of the plots - 20s each, or 30s for a double one - the expense of keeping the ground clear, and precautions against fire are met by voluntary subscriptions, not less than 5s each, which we recommend when required, at our annual meeting held in February. The present Board consists of myself as chairman, E. H. Gledstanes, C. T. Dunne, M. A. Stewart, T. Rea, K. Morton, and W. I. Gray (our energetic and practical honary secretary).


For many years I have held to the opinion that this district of the country deserved a better reputation than that given to it by the public, and what it required in the first instance was shelter by trees, to be followed by cultivation and fertilisers. However, about six or seven years back a few enterprising spirits took up sections, and my anticipations of the past are being realised as improved sections are being sold at what would have been regarded as fabulous prices, and as a good slice of this country is included within the Road Board District, we have been looking after the main road to Waikino - under the jurisdiction of the Tauranga County Council, and Sir W. Fraser has granted our request for a £ for £ £150 subsidy upon a report furnished by the District Roads Engineer.


The section Waihi-Katikati-Tauranga is progressing slowly, but I do not join with many in placing all the blame on Sir W. Fraser. Many of his critics appear to forget that we are not only emerging from a four-years war, that shipping facilities were completely paralysed, and that steel required for bridges was virtually non-procurable. Sir W. Fraser's reply was to this effect: "Give me the men to work, I will find the money, and proceed with the earthwork over the sections." The Auckland Railways League took up the challenge, with the result that by the assistance of the Waihi Borough Council, and some Maori labour, I was able to secure, through Mr. Paul Pera, a fresh start made about two years ago on the Waihi-Athenree section, which has since been extended towards Katikati. The earthwork has been completed for some miles from Waihi, but the Department has been heavily handicapped by a delay in erection of a street bridge in Waihi, and a bridge over the Ohinemuri River, thereby cutting off their supplies for forward work from their base, involving cartage over our main road. The bridge foundations have, however, been laid, the war is now over, the required bridges will be forthwith erected, and before the close of next year I fully expect that the rails will be laid beyond Athenree in the direction of Katikati. A start has also been made recently at the Tauranga end towards Katikati, the labour having been secured by the action of some energetic citizens and setters, but the Auckland Railways League deserves every support by our local bodies and progressive settlers, and they are getting this support at Katikati to the best of our ability.


This projected line is outside our district, and while adhering to our policy that no branch lines should be started by Government till after the completion of the East Coast Line, Auckland, Pokeno, Gisborne, this line, however, stands on a different footing, as it is proposed to construct it by private enterprise under a recent Act of Parliament. The distance between the two termini is only 30 miles, its construction will give an enormous impetus in the development of our harbour, and therefore deserved the support of all lovers of progress. I therefore venture to submit to the promoters some suggestions which I trust may be considered worthy of consideration.

Sir Wm. Fraser, as Minister of Public Works, advocated strongly some time back the construction of light railways, but our standard gauge, 3ft. 6in., as compared with the Home gauge is surely light enough to be thus classed. I therefore refer to a report published in the "New Zealand Herald" dated 20th May last, by Mr. John C. MacKay, a recognised authority in the Homeland on the subject. As the report occupies nearly a column, I can only refer to two or three points. Question of Gauge: Mr. MacKay writes at some length on this subject, and recommends a 2ft. 6in. gauge as the very lowest standard. Transhipment Facilities: I regret that space will not allow me to fully reproduce Mr. MacKay's pronouncement on this matter of special against the New Zealand gauge, but his explanation appears to be so simple and practical that I am sending the clipping to Mr. McLean, of Rotorua, the chairman. Mr. Mackay concluded in the following words: "If it is a question of having a light railway or no railway at all, the question of transhipment does not need much consideration." But the third and most important suggestion I desire to submit is that of finance. The New Zealand Government profess to help those who help themselves. On this basis I quote Mr. MacKay's words as applied to the British Government:- "Perhaps a fairer scheme would be that the Government should provide one-half the capital, and the county Councils, or other local authority, the other half, the Government receiving no interest until the county council had drawn its share." This appears to be a fair basis for agreement, while the Government is bound to ultimately purchase the line, as in the case of the Wellington-Manawatu, the terms of purchase having been all settled before construction, but I fear that the promoters of this projected line are not going the right way about it.


This company was formed about fifteen years ago, the first move having been made by Capt. Mervyn I. Stewart, at present residing at Falmouth, England. The output has annually shown a most satisfactory increase, but what we require is "land and yet more land" for settlement. Mr. Edward Earl is chairman, the other directors being:- Messrs, George Alley, E. J. Grey, John Hume, C. Norris, G. F. Putt, and Walter Hume, Mr. C. E. MacMillan, secretary, and Mr. Norman Blomquist, manager. During the financial year ending August, 1918, the company distributed over £18,000 among its shareholders, and I anticipate for the current year this amount will be increased to over £20,000 if we may judge from the steady annual increase that has hitherto been made.


The present Board consists of Messrs. R. King, chairman, G. Quarrie, representing the Matata Riding in the Whakatane County; Messrs, Grant and Lally for Te Puke and Maketu Ridings; Martin and McDowell, representing Rotorua county and town respectively; H. I. G. Green, the Borough of Tauranga; H. Southey and myself the join ridings of Katikati, Te Puna and Waimapu, while Mr. King and Colonel Ward (Tauranga) were nominated by the Government as their representatives. Previous to the last triennial election Colonel Ward and I were the two Government  nominees, but in consequence of a large area of the Hon. W. S. McDonald's electorate having been since included in our extended district, the Minister, as representing the Liberal Party, claimed the right to nominate a member supporting his party - which I consider perfectly reasonable - and on his application the Hon. T. Wilford, Minister of Marine, nominated Mr. King, leaving the nomination of the second member in Mr. Herries' electorate to that Minister, who, I have much pleasure to state, was relieved from being placed in a most invidious position by the fact that an arrangement was made which could not be included in an Act of Parliament by the Parliamentary Committee, that in reducing Tauranga Borough representation from two members to one, the Government nominee should be a resident of that borough, I was in consequence complelled to seek election through the ratepayers, and I shall never forget with feelings of gratitude the action of my Katikati and Aongatete friends especially. On the result of the poll at Katikati, 46 votes were recorded, of which I received 45, with similar results at Aongatete, which placed me at the head of the poll in this most friendly contest between three friends, and though I was not so successful at Tauranga in securing the support of my Waimapu friends I attributed it to influence used against my election by the borough, as during my term of office as chairman I gave on three occasions my casting vote against the increase of the borough representation on the Board, on the grounds that while inviting outside districts to join us, it was a bad policy to swamp the Board with local members. I adopted a similar course upon resolutions moved by my friend Mr. Southey, to add another member to my own district - Katikati, Te Puna and Waimapu, and further stating that the ultimate representations would be revised and settled by the Marine Department through the Parliamentary Committee, and the result proved my anticipations were correct. The Tauranga Borough Council and Chamber of Commerce each sent delegates to Wellington to oppose our Bill for the inclusion of Rotorua and Matata, but their opposition was scouted, the Borough representation was reduced from two members to one, with the recommendation to which I have previously referred. During my three years' term of office as chairman the policy adopted by the Board may be described as "marking time," due to the war, but the foundations were laid for starting active operations at its close, and I may here refer to the following terms:- (1) The settlement with the Tauranga Borough Council for the value of their wharves, which was arrived at by the exercise of common sense on both sides - the value having been fixed by Mr. Dyer S.M., at £6500, and confirmed by Mr Fisher, the Minister of Marine, and we were informed by Mr. Dyer that we couldn't appeal to the Supreme Court if not satisfied with this award. However, after some delay a settlement was concluded under which £4000 was paid in case, raised by 5 per cent debentures through our bankers, the Bank of New Zealand, and £2500 to be expended in the improvement of the harbour on work with the consent of the Borough Council. The terms made with the bank were most satisfactory, and about one-half of the original debt to the bank has been discharged, provided by revenue. (2) The important work of surveying and sounding the entrance to the harbour, the cutter channel, was carried out to a depth of 33 feet at low water at a cost of £700, on a report furnished by Mr. Young, M.I.C.E., for 14 years engineer to the Westport Harbour Board, In connection with this work two large scale diagrams, upon which to record the work of boring and survey of the entrance, were furnished by Mr. Young. (3) At the June meeting of 1916, the offer of the Marine Department to dredge the fairway channel from a point north of the Narrows to the town wharf to a depth of 13 feet at low water was accepted at a cost of £2000, payable out of the £2500 debentures handed to the Borough Council, but in consequence of the Department being unable to provide a suitable dredge, the work had to be given up, and on the following year a claim was made on the Board for £485 6s 2d; against this claim I always protested, but at the June meeting of 1918 it was proposed and seconded by Messrs, Grant and Lally that the amount be paid, provided a voucher be passed for £151 17s 6d, being the value of the silt supplied to the Railway Construction Department, leaving a balance due by the Board of £333 8s 8d. I moved an amendment, which was carried, "That the matter be deferred till next meeting,: and at once started on a person correspondence outside of the Board, with the Hon. Mr. Wilford and the Hon. W. Herries, which, after a duration of three months, resulted in the Department reducing their claim from £333 8s 8d to £133 8s 8d, and for which I received a rather cold official acknowledgement from my borough friends. (4) An endowment Act of Parliament was passed securing further additions to our foreshore and landing reserves, which I discovered had been overlooked in the original Act. (5) The Act passed during my last year of office, including the county and town of Rotorua, and the Matata Riding of the Whakatane County, which I trust may be in the near future the prelude to the inclusion of the Borough of Waihi and the Waitekauri Riding of the Ohinemuri County. I cannot conclude this reference to our Harbour Board without expressing my appreciation of the thoroughly fair and impartial manner in which Mr. King has carried out his duties as chairman since his election to that position in May, 1918.


This Board was originally known as the Bay of Plenty Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, including the counties of Whakatane and Opotiki, Tauranga County and Borough, having its headquarters at Tauranga, but with the growth of the district, Whakatane Town District was given a representative, a coup d'etat resulted. Whakatane and Opotiki joined forces, attended our meeting at Tauranga some years ago, and having secured a majority of one member, moved the headquarters from Tauranga to Whakatane. The prospect of building hospitals at Opotiki and Tauranga was the result, but for some years I endeavoured through resolutions passed by our County Council and Road Board, supported by Mr. Robbins, in the Tauranga Borough Council, for a partition of the district, which, thanks to a report by Dr. Valentine, was finally granted. The first Tauranga Board was composed as follows:- Maketu and Te Puke Ridings, Messrs. J. Ball and C. Lally; Te Puke Town Board, Mr. T. Tees; Tauranga Borough, Messrs Robbins and Green; Waimapu, Te Puna and Katikati Ridings, Messrs. H. Southey, M. Spense and G. Vesey Stewart. Mr Southey was elected chairman. Arrangement was made between the county councillors that with a view to save the ratepayers the costs of a contest, they should arrange - so far as they were concerned - the representative of each riding, and that with a further view of saving travelling expenses - which before the partition of the district were very heavy - the monthly meetings should be held on the same day as they of the County Council. The business at the meetings has been expedited by having been submitted to the local executive committee at Tauranga and Te Puke, while Mr. McCarthy has proved himself to be a splendid secretary. The Tauranga Hospital does the greatest credit to all concerned in its management both inside and outside, with the well-kept flower beds and shrubs, while Miss Mason, the Marton, has proved herself to be most efficient in every department of her responsible position. But I must say a few words in reference to the noble work done by the women of Tauranga in having provided the funds - aided by Government subsidy of 24s in the £ - whereby an annex was erected for reception of patients suffering from contagious diseases, while they are at the time of writing engaged in raising the X-Ray fund, which I understand has already reached £250. Success, therefore, is assured. The commercial travellers' concerts in their labour of love have also been very large contributors to our requirements. A maternity hospital has also been placed at Te Puke. Every credit due to the liberality of the Te Puke people, who originally provided £1000 towards the object, but advantage will be taken of the exceptional skill of Dr. MacFarlane was a surgeon, whereby credit will be afforded to urgent cases.


This district was formed at Mount Stewart on the 11th May, 1876, when I was elected the chairman of a committee of seven, which has by recent legislation been reduced to five, and have occupied that position during my residence in New Zealand. I regret, however, to state that as the result of the first meeting of the Committee, held in April, 1918, I felt bound to resign the position, my reasons for which were given in the following letter addressed to the "Bay of Plenty Times":-

"DENOMINATIONAL EDUCATION." "Sir, - Will you kindly allow me trespass on the hospitality of your columns by publishing the copy of a letter I wrote to the Rev. Mr. Rattray referring to the above subject. I freely admit that I am a firm believer in imparting religious instruction, and especially from the Bible to children; but, with the exception of our large centres, the population is too small and scattered to attempt it by the State, which could not possibly afford the cost; but if any denomination desires to support their own separate schools - either Protestant for Roman Catholic - let them carry out their own good work at their own cost and expense, as any interference with our present system of national education - must lead to jealousy, bitterness and strife. On public grounds I therefore feel most grateful to the New Zealand Educational Institute for having directed the attention of school committees, by their circular, to the matter; and although I regret it should have been turned down by the four members of the Katikati North School Committee, I can unreservedly state that I do not entertain the slightest "arriere pensee" on their action, as no man has any right to judge his fellow men, in matters of this kind, when discharging what they may consider due to the position in which they are placed. - I am, etc., GEO. VESEY STEWART.

The meeting of householders was not representative, only two having turned up, but after waiting for over half an hour, Mr. Rattray kindly left the school, returning in about half an hour with some eight or ten householders he was able to gather up. My resignation was conveyed by letter to the Rev. Mr. Rattray, the secretary, in the following words:- "Under these circumstances, no chairman having the slightest self-respect could continue to occupy the chair when his policy views on such an important subject as denominational education are opposed to those unanimously expressed by the Committee, but which I believe are not held by the great majority of the Katikati people." The Rev. Mr. Rattray is now chairman and treasurer. I forwarded a printed copy of the correspondence intimating my resignation as chairman, to the Hon. T. A. Hanan, Minister of Education, who concluded a very kind letter of appreciation in the following words:- "While it is gratifying to me to know that you are such a staunch supporter of the national system of education, I exceedingly regret that you were compelled to relinquish you association with the Katikati School Committee after serving such a long time as a member of that body, In thanking you for the assistance you have rendered in the cause of education, I hope I will still be able to rely on your support."


A flourishing branch of the P.P.A. has been formed at Katikati. The Rev. C. E. Stewart, pastor of the local Presbyterian flock, having taken a very active part in its formation, has been appointed hon. secretary, my colleague in the County Council - Mr. John Hume - holding the position of president. But as the meetings are held in the evenings, the distance of my residence from the township, and my advanced age, I have been compelled to abstain from attending all night meetings. The Association has, however, always received my strongest moral and financial support, as a defensive society against the aggression of the (Roman) Catholic Federation, who are endeavouring by the introduction of denominational education to capture our present system of education and other Departments of the State, notwithstanding the fact that the members of that religion compose a small minority of our population.


We are now approaching a crisis in our political history, and the question to be decided at the coming election is whether the present coalition Government is to complete the work for which it was formed, or to return to party lines; and in this matter I do respectfully urge the serious consideration of the electors to the action taken by the electors in the Homeland at the recent General Election, with a roll almost doubled by the woman vote, and an extension to virtually manhood suffrage, with a result that Mr. Asquith and the Liberal Party, the Home Rulers, the pacifists and extremists of the Labour Party, represented by Mr. Ramsay MacDonald and his followers, were virtually wiped out. But in New Zealand the same cleavage between political parties does not exist, though in justice to the Massey Party, the members were unanimous on the freehold as opposed to the leasehold tenure, advocated for so many years by the Liberal Governments, and secondly the Massey Party have shown more firmness in support of the democracy when dealing with labour extremists and political anarchists, but otherwise it is a misnomer to describe the two parties as Conservative and Liberal. In the name of common sense, I ask, what have we to conserve? We have no State Church as at Home as a cause of contention. With universal suffrage every man or woman at the age of twenty-one having the right to exercise the franchise, it is our duty to safeguard the democracy against political anarchists, the parasites on honest labour who openly express sympathy with Bolshevists, Sinn Feiners, rebels to the Crown and to Society at large, and here I may ask what is the meaning, what is the interpretation of the word "Democracy"? It is derived, as the majority of my readers are aware, from two Greek words - "demos," the people; and "kratow," to rule. It is therefore, in my opinion, a matter of regret that honest labour as represented by Mr. Veitch, M.P. for Wanganui, should have abstained from joining the Coalition Cabinet. We require a strong united Government. There is too much of this namby-pamby treatment of these gentry by the New Zealand democracy. We require a little of the hustle adopted by the American democracy. Round them up and deport them to Australia, whence they came, or to some other land, following the lines adopted in America when the first batch of 200 was landed in Mexico. These perpetual strikes and "go-slow process" are the main factors in the increased cost of living. The poor dupes are among the sufferers, exclusive of the loss of wages. We have in New Zealand a most liberal system of education, which, when further extended, will prove to them that the interests of capital and labour are inseparably bound together. This will be the ultimate remedy for unwarranted strikes involving loss to the workers, and inflicting hardships ont he general public, as now existing by the shortness of coal, with its many ramifications among our various industrial pursuits. In strongly supporting the present Coalition Government, which may be described as the best men available selected from both sides of the "Ins" and the "Outs," and not as "Liberal" and "Conservative," I claim their support solely on public grounds, as our district has in my opinion, received due support compatible with the exigencies of the war. I have received every courtesy and attention to public requests made to Ministers representing both parties, but on personal grounds I cannot but resent what I regards as an insult by Mr. Massey in having recommended my name to the fifth section of the Order of the British Empire, which I accepted, replying by telegram as requested, in perfect ignorance of the distinction. But as soon as I saw the names of my co-recipients, I wrote officially to His Excellency and Governor-General tendering my resignation; but having been informed that such a course would displease His Excellency, I withdrew it. There is one matter which I trust the electors will not forget at the next election; to obtain a pledge from every Parliamentary candidate to support an amendment of the Land Endowment 1908 Act in the direction of giving the State tenant the option of acquiring the freehold, instead of a sixty leasehold, the proceeds of the sale to be invested in, say, New Zealand Government securities, and the interest applied in carrying out the present intentions of the Act, towards education, old age pensions, and road access to the lands. The result follows, that the unearned increment will fall to the toiler or his children, who have brought the land from the state of wilderness to that of productive cultivation. There are over one million acres in Auckland province and many thousands in Tauranga county retarding settlement under this retrograde Act, the leasehold shibboleth of the so-called Liberal Government. We must further not forget our old and trusted representative, Mr. Herries, who has rendered such valuable service to our district and county.


It is reported, however, that a new political party is in course of formation which may be described as the Utopian or "Please Everybody" Party, but probably composed of disappointed office applicants or hunters for participation of the loaves and fishes of office, possessing an elastic political conscience, reminding me of the old refrain, "A merciful Providence fashioned him hollow, In order the better his principles swallow." I fear that I have trespassed on the patience of my readers who may venture to wade through this address, mainly referring to local matters, and to the prosperity of Katikati and Te Puke settlements, due not to me personally, further than the inception of the idea in transplanting settlers from the Homeland on the fruitful shores of the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, carried out successfully in the face of obstruction by the New Zealand Governments of the past. But in these days - a matter of ancient history - the government of the country was in the hands of the Continuous Ministry, manipulating the affairs of the Bank of New Zealand. The interests of the clique lay in the Waikao districts, and this accounts for the fact that the Bay of Plenty had been neglected for so many years. But, as I have already stated, matters are now completely changed since the date when the late Mr. Seddon and Sir J. Ward, at an all night sitting of Parliament, passed through its three stages in both Houses an Act that saved the Bank of New Zealand from closing its doors, a work of real statesmanship which will forever remain to their credit, as proved by the proud position at present held by the Bank of New Zealand in the banking world. But to return to the subject of obstruction by the Government, in 1874, when I came to New Zealand at my own expense as a prospector, with credentials from the late Dr. Featherston, Agent-General in London, in order to satisfy myself before emigrating with my countrymen from Ulster, the Provincial Council was then sitting in Auckland, and Mr. Vogel, at that time Premier, sent a telegram to my late friend, the Hon. W. Kelly, stating he had every reason to believe that I was an adventurer, and the Council should not give me the Katikati land for which I applied. But I ascertained from an official source that Mr. Vogel had arranged to give the ten thousand acres at a nominal price to a member of the clique. However, an agreement was made with the Government, I returned to Ireland, wrote a couple of letters in the "Belfast News Letter," which is in Ulster, the "New Zealand Herald," of Auckland province, and without writing a pamphlet. On the following May, in 1875, two ships, the "Dover Castle" and "Carisbrooke Castle," were brought from London to Belfast and filled by my emigrants for New Zealand. When this agreement was under negotiation I applied for 20,000 acres, but was given 10,000 acres, with the promise that if I was successful the other 10,000 would be given on the same terms. In 1877 Mr. J. Hill, Crown Lands Ranger, forwarded a splendid report in detail, showing the number of houses erected, acreage of cultivation, with chains of fencing. The report was printed in the Parliamentary Blue Book forwarded through the late D. A. Tole with a highly flattering endorsing report, and I applied for the 10,000 acres promised, but was refused on the ground that land had risen in value. However, on proceeding to Wellington, I compromised the matter by undertaking to pay a deposit of £5000 or 10s per acre, on the 1st of January 1878. My number 2 party left Belfast by the "Lady Jocelyn," the largest passenger ship in the port of London, accompanied by an overflow ship, the "Halcione." But before Shaw, Savill & Co. consented to send the "Lady Jocelyn" to Belfast for embarkation, I had to give an undertaking to provide a specified number of first and second and third class passengers, or else forfeit £500; the result was an overflow additional ship. But I find from one of my pamphlets that I chartered the following ten special ships for my emigrants from Shaw, Savill on the dates stated below:-

  • 1875 - "Dover Castle" and "Carisbrooke Castle," from Belfast in May.
  • 1878 - "Lady Jocelyn" and "Halcione," from Belfast in May.
  • 1880 - "Lady Jocelyn" and "Oxford" to Tauranga direct with first batch of Te Puke settlers.
  • 1881 - "May Queen" to Tauranga direct.
  • 1883 - "Northumberland."
  • 1884 - "Northumberland" and "Lady Jocelyn."

I remained in London July, 1883 till September 1888, with my office in Shaw, Savill's Buildings, at a special reduction of £100 per annum for rent, and as the days for sailing ships had passed, was engaged in forwarding emigrants weekly by steams of Shaw, Savill, the New Zealand Shipping Co., and P. & O. and Orient lines. The London and North Western Railway Company gave me a free first-class pass over all their own lines, and those with which they were connected. I was thus able to go to Edinburgh to lecture on New Zealand, for the mere cost of my sleeping berth. By means of lectures, issue of eight or nine pamphlets, and the "Year Book of New Zealand" (over 900 pages), published in 1885, I was able to supply New Zealand with over 500 families independent of single men and women. During this visit to London I formed a London Board of the Tauranga-Rotorua Railway, with a personal friend, the Right Hon. Cecil Raikes, chairman and Postmaster-General in Lord Salisbury's Government. The debenture capital was underwritten, the contractor (Mr. McCandlish) and his family reached Tauranga, waiting my cable to start the work. But the undertaking was killed by the unfortunate action of the Tauranga local directors, the details of which have been published in the "Bay of Plenty Times." I also took advantage when in London of the "Crofter" agitation, and after some interviews with the Marquis of Lothian, Secretary of State for Scotland, he gave me an introduction to Mr. Goschen, subsequently Lord Goschen, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and ultimately secured a conditional promise from him that the Imperial Government would guarantee a New Zealand Government Crofter Loan for on million (£1,000,000) at 2⅞ per cent, including sinking funds, to carry out the New Zealand Government Act for settlement of crofters at Waipawa Bay, in Otago Province, which was passed at the instigation and by the work of my dear old friend, the late Hon. James MacAndrew, with whom, and Sir Harry Atkinson, the Prime Minister, I was in close correspondence on the subject. But the following hitherto unpublished letter from Sir Harry explains the position:-

Premier's Office, Wellington, N.Z., 8th February, 1888. "My Dear Sir, - I have your private letter of the 27th of December as well as the official one of the 22nd of that month, in continuation of the previous one, to which I had to send an unfavourable reply." [This reply was sent by the cable word "Dog," suggested by me if unfavourable, but if favourable the word "Love." This letter closed about two years' correspondence, and I have since ascertained that the colony of British Columbia secured the £1,000,000 loan guaranteed by the Imperial Government, and the crofter emigrants, on the terms suggested by me to the Secretary of State for Scotland.] "I regret very much after all the time you have spent, and the trouble you have taken, it should be quite out of the power of the Government to have helped you; Parliament is to blame fro when we proposed a vote for Emigration, it was promptly struck out, and we had very great difficulty indeed to get sufficient voted to cover existing liabilities. It does seem very hard that we should stand quietly by and see such desirable emigrants diverted from our shores, but I do hope that the efforts you have made will not be lost, and their good fruit in the future when we have means for the purpose at disposal. Kindest regards. - Yours very sincerely, "H. A. ATKINSON."

The correspondence including my suggestions for settlement of the crofter question, two letters to the "Times," letters from Hon. J. MacAndrew, leading articles from the Unionist papers in London, a letter among other from the great Duke of Argyle - a statesman, and supporting my suggestion - were all printed for me for private circulation, but they would fill two issues of the Bay of Plenty Times." I however, forward the following letter received from the Hon. J. MacAndrew, so far back as 1886, in the early stage of these protracted negotiations:'

MacAndrew's Bay, Dunedin, New Zealand, 28th November, 1886. My Dear Mr. Vesey Stewart, - I received your kind letter of the 9th September, also sundry newspapers re crofters, for which I have to thank you very much. You have done good service, which I trust may have the desired effect; if so, not only New Zealand but the crofters themselves and their descendants will have good cause to have you in everlasting remembrance. I believe had the thing been worked as it should have been by our Government, the Imperial authorities would have come to the front, and there would now be going on a considerable exodus of crofters towards our shores. I am convinced that the movement only requires a fair start to become a great success. I only wish I could have gone home in the character of a Royal Commissioner, especially appointed in this business. I may say that the Government did sent me of their own accord a Commission under the Great Seal, with authority to draw four guineas a day travelling allowance for nine months. I did not care, however, going at the public expense. I sincerely wish we had half a dozen men of your stamp in the House; New Zealand would not then remain a comparative wilderness, and we should hear nothing about the unemployed. It is pitiable to see a country with such resources kept back as it is, through sheer political incapacity, and the worst of it is that the political organisation of the colony has got into such a false groove that there is no saying how long this incapacity may remain in the ascendant. I hope we may soon meet and talk over these matters. Yours very sincerely, J. MACANDREW.

I must now return to New Zealand and to the formation of No. 3 Special Settlement, Te Puke. I succeeded, after a hard fight in Parliament, in securing the introduction of clauses in the Land Act Amendment, 1879, empowering the Government to set aside land for special settlers, and after spending four months in Wellington I finally secured an agreement with the Government for 16,000 acres, but they left me off a little easier, and only required a deposit of £3000. Te Puke has in one sense proved a greater success than even Katikati, with its 20,000 acres contained in No. 1 of No. 3 Special Settlement, but as I stated in my pamphlet, when form it, "Plant the tree of settlement in Te Puke, and its growth will extend over the entire face of the country." My anticipations of 39 years ago have been more than full realised.


The prosperity of any district must be judged by the value given for the land in the open market by the public. The prices have been steadily advancing for some years, but within the last twelve months farms have been sold at rates far in excess of what my most sanguine anticipations could have led me to expect. One farm of 140 acres was sold at £40 per acre, and the purchaser, a settler from Palmerston North, openly declares that he has secured a bargain, having sold his former property at £80 per acre, and he feels confident as a practical farmer that the productive capacity of his Katikati property, acre for acre, is fully equal to that of the one he sold. This farm was originally granted free of cost to a member of the No. 1 party. a 20-acre section was sold for the sum of £1000, but I should be guilty of misleading if I omitted consideration of the value of the home erected thereon. However, several properties have been sold of late for £25 and £45, and one at £50 per acre. Katikati has been thereby turned inside out, if I may used the expression, so far as our settlers are concerned. The remnant of our Katikati family view the departure of many with feelings of deep regret, but can truly say, in the words of Shakespeare, "Welcome the present, speed the parting guests." Katikati, however, possesses many special attractions. It is a level plateau about 20 miles in length, bounded on the one side by Tauranga Harbour; on the west it is sheltered by forest-clad hills, of which, to my personal knowledge, a good proportion is auriferous, is admirably adapted for fruit-growing, and especially oranges and lemons, of which, with several other settlers, I am a grower, for which a ready market is provided at Waihi - a far better market tan Auckland, when the charges for freight are considered. In summer time the sea breeze starts at about 9 a.m., the wind veering to the west in the evening, contributing to the salubrity of the district, while we enjoy a perfect immunity from every kind of cattle disease. I recollect some 30 years ago, when lambs suffering from what was termed the lamb disease, completely recovered after a short sojourn at Katikati. In Waihi we have a better market at our doors than at Auckland, while the interesting but impartial report of our last Agricultural and Pastoral Association Show, published by the enterprising proprietor of the "Bay of Plenty Times," and herewith published as an appendix, provides incontestable proof of the variety of our sources of production. We enjoy all the amenities of civilisation, including those of religion and education, by a happy, hospitable community, and my only regret lives in the fact that, due to successive New Zealand Governments, I have been compelled to spend a life of comparative forced idleness on my farm, and thereby debarred from extending the work of special settlement inaugurated in 1874, and closed in 1888, in which I first entered from a love for adventure, and actuated by an honest desire to better the condition of my fellow man, in which I feel, from my personal knowledge, I have in many cases succeeded in effecting. But I do feel thankful that I have lived to see the results of my enterprise, that I have done good service to my adopted country, that every promise published in my pamphlets 45 years ago has been carried out, and that now in the closing days of my life, I retain the esteem and confidence of our community, as proved by the results of elections at our local bodies.

My earnest hope and belief is that the present prosperity of Katikati and her people will continue to even a far greater degree by the final completion of the Waihi-Tauranga section of the East Coast Trunk Line Railway, running as surveyed and partly completed through the centre of the entire length of the settlement.

Yours very sincerely, GEORGE VESEY STEWART. Martray, July 2nd, 1919.


It will be noted that this address is dated 2nd July, to which fact I should not have referred had it not been for my reference therein to the "political outlook," which is now completely changed by Sir Joseph Ward's political coup d'etat in breaking up the party truce.

Members of the New Zealand democracy who, like myself, take a thoughtful interest in political matters, will, I am satisfied, view this move with much regret. The rupture was, further, made on the eve of the meeting of Parliament, involving the appointment of several Ministers of the Crown quite unprepared for their work thus suddenly cast upon them; such action appears to be inconsistent with the British love of fair play. However, Sir Joseph Ward has earned the distinction that in the hope of placing his little party in power, he along, among all the leaders of political parties during the late war, has not followed the course adopted by Mr. Lloyd George in the Homeland, by the Federal and State former Labour Governments of Australia, by the Governments of Canada and South Africa. However, the democracy of New Zealand will be shortly summoned to record their votes and I feel satisfied that as the result of Sir Joseph Ward's action and that innate love of British fair play, many a doubtful vote will be cast in support of the Reform Party's candidate.

In expressing my further regret of the action taken by Sir Joseph Ward and his party in breaking up the Coalition Government, I desire to refer them to a leading article in the weekly edition of the "Times" dated London, 11th July last, under the heading of "The Prime Minister's Statement," in which that influential organ of British public opinion gives extracts of Mr. Lloyd George's speech in Parliament. He says: "Let us think together, act together, and work together. Let us not imperial what we have done and all its fair promises for the future by demobilising too soon the spirit which won the war, and the spirit which alone can bring the accomplishment of our dearest wishes and of our loftiest ideals."

These are the views expressed by a statesman who has selected the leading members of his Government from the ranks of his former political opponents, and present a bright contrast to the present position of New Zealand political party squabbles.

G.V.S. 9th October, 1919. 


3rd March, 1919. G. V. Stewart, Esq., Chairman, Kati Kati Road Board, Kati Kati. Dear Sir, Merging of Road Board. Referring to yours of 27th February.

1. The first step to merge a Road Board is for the Board to present a petition to the County Council signed by a majority of the ratepayers of the district. The property of the petitioners must be one-half of the rateable property in the district. The petition must be published in the district one month before presentation. (See Counties Act, 1908, Section 31.). The signatures to petition have to be verified as in Section 5 of Counties Act.

2. As to telephones and £150 borrowed from Miss Macmillan. We are not quite clear as to how this has been borrowed; if borrowed un The County Telephone Lines Act and Local Bodies' Loans Act, all liabilities of the Road Board are taken over by the county, and the special rate struck as security is collected by the county. This is provided for in Local Bodies' Loans Act. We cannot at present see in what other way the money can have been legally borrowed by the Board.

As to current liabilities, the provisions of Section 33 of The Counties Act should be carefully noted. Clause 31 says the county may make the order merging the Road Board. Clause 33 says that if the petition contains a prayer that the Council may levy a separate rate within such road district to provide for outstanding liabilities the Council shall make the order merging.

Probably the Board has no liabilities other than the special loan of Miss Macmillan, so Section 33 would not affect it.

Section 34, Counties Act, is also worth considering in regard to petition.

3. Hall. - This would pass to the county with other assets.

4 and 5. - Domain Boards. - The Governor-in-Council can reappoint Boards.

Yours faithfully, H. A. SHARP.




Officers - Patron , Mr. Geo. Vesey Stewart; President, Mr. K. Morton; Vice-Presidents, Messrs. W. J. Gray, W. Hume, M. P. Welsh, E. Earl, N. Blomquist; Life Members, Messrs. R. Badger, W. J. Gray, S. Hunt and M. P. Welsh; Committee, Messrs. K. Morton, W. Hume, C. T. Dunne, F. Smith, J. Woolford, E. Earl, G. Dunton, G. F. Pritt, J. Martinsen, F. Boyes, N. Blomquist, T. Mulgrew, E. F. Walford, J. McCutchan, W. Andrews, J. H. Lockington, H. E. Eskrigge, Rev. Rattray, Joe Tanner, C. A. Hille, C. H. Yeo, W. C. Lockington, Bert Johnson; Ladies' Committee, Mesdames N. A. Johnston, T. Henry, J. Hume, W. Hume, K. Morton, H. E. Eskrigge, T. Rea, C. T. Dunne, Hille, F. Smith, W. Lockington, N. A. Blomquist, W. Rattray, W. Taylor, F. Boyes, W. Katterns, Yeo, Arscott; Misses Hunter, Pritt and M. Hunter; Auditor, Mr. C. E. Macmillan; Treasurer, Mr. R. Frodsham; Secretary, Mr. A. Rogers. Stewards - Light Horses, Messrs, W. Andrews, G. Clark and G. Henry; Leaping Matches, Messrs. J. Martinsen and W. C. Lockington. Cattle, Messrs J. H. Lockington, E. F. Walford, W. Turner, F. Boyes, R. Turner, J. Barraclough, and J. Crawford; Sheep, Messrs. W. H. Dunnage and C. A. Hille; Guessing Competition, Messrs. C. F. Wigley and Joe Tanner; Pigs, Messrs G. T. Leech and W. Price; Poultry, Messrs. A. Mountier and R. Lindermann; Produce, etc. Messrs, E. Earl, J. Woolford, F. Hopkins, and J. Middlebrook; Flowers, Mrs. N. A. Johnston, Misses Hunter, M. Hunter, S. Frodsham and Mr. Airey; Industrial and Children's Classes, Rev. Rattray, Mesdames F. Smith and W. Taylor, and Misses Pritt, Dunne and Lockington. Judges - Light Horses, Mr. T. Hinton, Eureka; Draught Horses, Mr. W. Newall, Tamahere; Dairy Cattle, Mr. W. J. Hall, Matatoki; Store Cattle, Mr. T. Tanner, Tauranga; Industrial Section, Mr. Mathieson, Waihi; Produce, Mr. A. W. Carmichael, Tauranga; Fancy Work, Mrs. A. Brown, Tauranga.

Glorious weather prevailed for the seventh agricultural show of the Katikati Agricultural and Pastoral Association, which was held in the Uretara Domain on Wednesday last. The attendance was a record for Katikati, a large number of visitors journeying by car from Tauranga, Waihi and Thames districts. Katikati's reputation for hospitality was again well maintained, and the kind of consideration extended to visitors made the day a particularly pleasant outing. Visitors commented on the verdant appearance of the district and the steady improvement noticeable in nearly all holdings. The fixture continues to grow in popularity, and when the railway is in running order the show should rise still further in public estimation and be the means for attracting many more holiday-makers. The display of horses and cattle was distinctly good, and the condition of the exhibits furnished proof that the pastures of Katikati are equally capable with other parts of the Dominion in maintaining stock in splendid condition, and incidentally in contributing their share to the primary industries. Graziers in outside districts always show a keen desire to secure Katikati stock, because the latter thrive well. The young cattle yarded at the show made a creditable collection, and many of them should be heard of again in the showyard. The short-hors were well represented, Mr. K. Morton's entries being the most numerous. Amongst other exhibitors in this section were Messrs, Devenish, Meares, G. Dunton, J. Lockington, C. H. Yeo and M. A. Stewart. The Jersey pens contained many pedigree animals, showing that dairymen are prepared to pay high prices in order to improve the standard of their herds. Messrs Walford and E. Earl yarded some typical highly-bred Holsteins, while Mr. J. H. Lockington swept the board in the Ayrshire section. Sheep did not make a strong showing, but Mr. Hille sent in good ewes and lambs from his Aongatete property. When more of the idle Crown Lands are brought into a productive state sheep-farming should become a profitable branch of farming in Katikati, as the district is eminently suited for sheep raising. The light horse division comprised animals that would be class enough for much larger shows. Mr. Sam Darragh was the principal winner, and he possesses a pair or horses that come in for the very favourable notice of the public. Mr. E. Hofman's Firebine is a nice hack, and should pick up more prizes at future exhibitions. Mr. Maurice Crimmins exhibited a classy mare in Moneymoon, a nice chestnut descendant of St. Amans, that should go on winning. Mr. Joe Jordan, know to showgoers as the owner of The Saint, Flying Scud, Cyclone and other good horses, was amongst the riders, and came in for a hearty reception from his friends. The ponies were a useful lot, and amongst the riders Masters Frank Crimmins (Waihi), J. Kimber (Tauranga), Mark and Jim Hume (Katikati), handled their mounts in a very capable manner. The draughts were more numerous than last year, and the collection formed a good working lot. In this section the championship was carried off by a shapely animal owned by Mr. Stewart Rae. the leaving matches as usual were responsible for keen rivalry amongst horsemen, and provided interesting contests. The honours were carried off by horses owned by Messrs. S. Darragh and M. Crimmins, both of whom handled their mounts well. The class for lady's hunter was won by Mr. Crimmins' horse, which was ridden by Miss Morton, while Mr. J. A. Jordan, of Dunedin, also steered a winner over the obstacles. The jumping was of a high standard, and came in for favourable commendation of the judge, Mr. Hinton.

The horticultural exhibits were indicative of the suitability of the district for the raising of fruit and root crops. The collection of vegetable displayed by Mr. N. Blomquist was exceptionally good, and would take beating anywhere. The green maize grown on Mr. Eskrigge's farm was a wonderful production. It was splendidly cobbed, and the stalks were 18ft. in length. No room to talk of poor land after that. Mr. H. J. Bickers, the Tauranga horticulturist, was among the exhibitors, and won prizes with Maori Chief and Late Rose potatoes, also two prizes in the classes for onions, all being fine specimens.

The executive officers and stewards all worked hard, and attended to their allotted duties with commendable zeal. A meed of praise is due to the secretary, Mr. Arthur Rogers, who had been a busy man for many days prior to the show, and had everything in such order as to ensure the smooth running of all departments. He was materially assisted by Mr. N. A. Blomquist. One enduring regret was that amongst the earnest worders are no longer to be found the late Messrs. Robert Arscott and Samuel Dickey, both of whom recently passed to the "undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveller returns." Both were genial, true-hearted men whom to know was to admire, and their passing leaves a blank which will indeed be hard to fill.

Amongst former enthusiastic workers were Messrs, M. P. Welsh and W. Bell, both of whom, especially the former, had in previous years rendered splendid service for the Association. Mr. Welsh was present as a visitor, while Mr. Bell has left the district. It is pleasing to be able to note, however, that Mr. Yeo, who bought Mr. Welsh's property, was a prominent stock exhibitor and worker on Wednesday, while Mr. Hille, who secured Mr. Bell's farm, also rendered valuable assistance.

The Tauranga Municipal Brass Band, under Bandmaster Robertson, was present and rendered a musical programme, which was much appreciated.


An excellent luncheon was served by the Ladies' Committee in a large marquee erected on the western side of the Domain. The catering was admirable and the serving everything that could be desired, and the whole arrangement reflected the greatest of credit on the ladies, who were so ably led by Mrs, N. A. Johnston.

After lunch the President, Mr. K. Morton, proposed the toast of the King, which was duly honoured. He then proposed the toast of the Judges.

Mr. T. Hinton, of Eureka (judge in the light horse classes), said it gave him great pleasure to be present, and he had to congratulate the Association not only on the growth of the show, but also on the progress of the district. There has been a wonderful improvement since he first saw the district twenty years ago. What struck him particularly was the wonderful growth the trees had made. He hoped the Association and the district would continue to prosper. It must, he said, be gratifying to the older settlers, to see the "Father of the District" (Mr. Geo. Vesey Stewart, patron of the Association) at the head of the table. He sincerely hoped that the picture of the district today was something approaching what Mr. Stewart had visions of nearly half a century ago.

Mr. W. Newall, of Tamahere (Judge of the draught horse classes), also congratulated the members on the growth of the district even during the two years since he was last at the show. Now that the young men were returning from the war it should progress still further. He hoped the patron, Mr. Geo. Vesey Stewart, would be spared to attend many more shows. With regard to the draught horses, there were some very nice specimens, but still room for great improvement. He had looked round the cattle, and could say without fear of contradiction that they had improved considerably during the past two years. Some of the calves were a credit to any district. Some of the yearlings and calves would well held their own at the Cambridge Show, where it was always looked upon that something special in those lines would be found. Those he had seen that day were quite as good as any he had seen at Cambridge, if not better.

Mr. W. J. Hall, Matatoki (judge of the dairy cattle), endorsed Mr. Newall,s remarks as to the quality of the calves and yearlings. He was a Jersey fancier, but that day had had to place dairy Shorthorns ahead of the Jersey cattle.

Mr. Thomas Tanner (judge of the beef and store cattle), said that as one of the original Katikati settlers it gave him great pleasure to be amongst his old friends. The young stock that he had judged that day would compare with any cattle he had seen in any district during the last five or six years. They were a credit to the district, and he did not think better conditioned yearling and calves could be found anywhere.

Mr. Mathieson, of Waihi (judge of the industrial classes), expressed his pleasure at being present. He had been called upon to judge some very excellent exhibits, and especially in bottled fruits it had been very hard to select the prize winners.

The toast of the President was then honoured, being proposed by Mr. G. V. Stewart, and suitably responded to by Mr. K. Morton.

Mr. Thomas Tanner then prosposed the health of Mr. George Vesey Stewart. It was enthusiastically toasted, and Mr. Stewart, in replying, feelingly referred to his long connection with the district. What to him, he said, was most gratifying was to find that after forty-five years he still retained the confidence of settlers in such a marked manner as was shown at the last Harbour Board election, when out of forty-six votes forty-five were cast in his favour. What the district now required was railway connection with Tauranga and Waihi. He was at present in negotiation with the Government for the acquisition of twenty thousand acres of land in the district, one half to be reserved for colonial soldiers, and one half for emigrant soldiers from Great Britain. Although the proposal was before the Government he could not help feeling that it was too big a proposal for any Government to entertain.

The toast of the Visitors was also honoured, and responded to by Mr. O. J. Hodge, of Te Puke.

This page was archived at Perma cc August 2017

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

George Vesey Stewart: Farewell Address (2 July 1919)

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
George Vesey Stewart: Farewell Address (2 July 1919) by Debbie McCauley (Tauranga City Libraries) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License