<![CDATA[Genealogy Investigations Ltd - Blog]]>Sun, 29 Aug 2021 06:00:41 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Plague stalks New Zealand - Grave Story 73]]>Tue, 24 Aug 2021 16:30:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/plague-stalks-new-zealand-grave-story-73
In the 1890s the world was in the grips of a pandemic of the Black Death. Cases of bubonic plague were first reported in China and spread across the planet through trade routes eventually killing around 10 million people.
New Zealanders watched in fear as news of the spreading plague was reported in local newspapers and when cases began to appear in Australia in January 1900, the New Zealand government began making urgent preparations for its appearance on our shores.
In Auckland a two-acre block of land on the Domain was chosen for a plague hospital containing two wards of six beds each. A large crematorium was also built to incinerate the bodies of those who perished from the often fatal disease.
In Wellington a similar hospital was constructed on MacAllister Park, Berhampore, much to the disgust of local residents who had challenged the plans in the Supreme Court, but lost. Over subsequent years plague hospitals were also built in Whanganui and Christchurch.
Plague inspectors were appointed in major cities to inspect properties and order residents to clean up houses and sections which could harbour rats. Quarantine stations were also set up. Efforts were made to eradicate rats with the nation’s councils paying a bounty of around one to three pennies for each rat killed.
On April 23, 1900 New Zealanders’ worst fears were confirmed when authorities reported that rats infected with the plague had been found on Auckland’s wharves.
A week later a boy in the city was admitted to hospital with a suspected mild case of the disease – apparently contracted when he was bitten by a rat two weeks earlier. A week later it was determined that the boy did not, in fact, have the plague.
Around the country, business people took the opportunity to advertise their herbal remedies and other wares as plague preventatives, including Wellington shoe merchants R Hannah and Co., who somewhat spuriously claimed the disease could be kept away by wearing of their locally manufactured “G boots and shoes”.
Then on 22 June a man named Hugh Charles Kelly, 36, died at his house in Upper Queen Street, Auckland. Kelly was a married man with five young children and another on the way. Kelly’s doctor recorded his death as being due to bubonic plague. The Auckland City Council quarantined Kelly’s house and those of his children’s grandparents, Jose Perez (his wife Marion Mildred Kelly, nee Percy’s parents) and Kelly’s mother Sarah Boyd Harrison, while tests were made on his specimens taken from his body. Kelly’s family were kept in quarantine for 14 days. Three weeks after his death the official report came back with a finding that Kelly, a gum packer in the employ of Messrs Gorman and Newton, may or may not have died from the plague, or from blood poisoning. Kelly’s death was officially recorded as being due to plague. He is buried at Waikumete Cemetery.
Meanwhile, the government passed a Bubonic Plague Prevention Act giving authorities widespread powers, including the ability to isolate and quarantine individuals and demolish buildings.
Several more suspected cases were reported over subsequent years, but no epidemic followed. The plague scare eventually died down, despite outbreaks continuing in Australia and other countries.
Then in March 1911, three people were admitted to hospital with the disease. The victims were a husband and wife who operated a fruit and confectionary business in Onehunga and one of their employees, David Fletcher, 26, who subsequently died. One of the nurses who cared for Fletcher also developed plague, but survived. A fifth case, a 17 year-old man who worked as a storeman at the Great Northern Brewery in Customs Street, and a sixth case, an 18 year-old man, who worked in Smith and Caughey’s warehouse also in Customs Street, were reported on March 30. April revealed no further cases, but on May 3, the seventh case appeared, a 20 year-old woman, quickly followed by the report of the eighth case, a 15 year-old lad employed as a gasfitter. Both also worked at Smith and Caughey’s warehouse. New Zealanders held their breaths for the expected onslaught of the plague epidemic – but it never came. Don’t, however, breathe too greater sigh of relief – according to the Ministry of Health both species of rodent flea capable of transmitting the plague bacteria are still present in New Zealand.
The nine victims: (We think this is the only list naming the victims of the plague in NZ)
22 June, Hugh Charles Kelly, 36, gum packer, Upper Queen Street, city
29 April, Thomas Henry Virtue, 37, lumper (wharf worker), Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn
25 May, George Barraclough Bentley, 18, a kauri gum sorter, Grey Street, central city
4 July, Luke Edward Walker (known as Edward), 48, of Haydn Street, also a lumper on Auckland’s wharves
Robert Stafford, 17, warehouse worker, Brunswick Lane, city
12 May, Minnie Kitchen, 15, Tararua Tce, Parnell
15 May, Norma Isabell (Daisy) McMillan, 27, seamstress, Radford St, Parnell
(Both worked in same building on Queen Street)
22 July, Ernest Bridgeford, 18, packer at an electrical company near the wharves, Kingsland
29 March, David Fletcher, 26, shopworker, Trafalgar St, Onehunga

<![CDATA[The 'highway' robbery that failed - Grave Story 72]]>Fri, 20 Aug 2021 16:00:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-highway-robbery-that-failed-grave-story-72
At a dip in the road called Mystery Creek, a shot rang out.
Two bank officers were transporting a large amount of cash. It was sale day in the Hamilton area, and banks often sent officers to other areas carrying bundles of money.
Leslie Ray Jordan, 26, ledger-keeper for the Bank of New Zealand and William Fox Langley Ward, the Hamilton manager of the Bank of Australia were heading to Ohaupo in a single horse buggy on February 8, 1910.
Ward was driving when they went through the dip called Mystery Creek about 11am when the shot was fired from the bushes.
The shot hit Jordan in the head, neck and shoulder with great force. The horse tried to bolt but with great presence of mind, Ward controlled the horse and pulled his own revolver.
He saw nothing however and took Jordan to a nearby house and then to hospital and even went on to deliver the money to the respective banks.
It was later found that Jordan had been hit by 85 pellets from a shotgun. He also lost his false teeth which were blown out of his mouth.
For the local police the hunt was on. There was a great deal of local outrage and people came forward. Quite a number had seen John Mintern Paull with a gun.
Paull was born February 18, 1891 in Christchurch. He was the fifth of eight children to Robert John Paull and Annie Mary Mintern.
Paull had been seen by people both before and after the robbery attempt with a gun.
He had hired a horse at a stable and told the stable master he was going to Te Rapa to get a gun mended there.
Jordan himself knew Paull on sight. Paull was 19 at the time and employed as a junior clerk by a local firm of grain merchants.
It did not take him long to be arrested.
He told police a group of Māori had told him they were going to rob the men and he had to help them on pain of death.
He blamed them for firing on the bank officials.
Paull was charged with attempted murder and after a preliminary hearing pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court on March 1, 1910 and was sentenced to seven years by Justice Edwards.
It seems to have been his one brush with serious crime.
A doctor said Jordan was shot in the face and some of the shot was still embedded, leaving him with a facial paralysis.
Paull died in Marlborough on November 30, 1967 and is buried in Wakapuaka Cemetery.
<![CDATA[The weird case of the two missing ships - Grave Story 71]]>Tue, 17 Aug 2021 16:00:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-weird-case-of-the-two-missing-ships-grave-story-71
Both the Marlborough and her sister ship the Dunedin vanished without trace in the same year.
While the dangers of shipping in the late 1800s were myriad, the coincidences with these two ships are spooky.
Both of the three-masted ships were built in the same shipyard at Port Glasgow and sold to the same company, Shaw, Saville and Co - later called the Albion Line.
They were considered fine ships of their time and were put to work travelling between England and New Zealand carrying emigrants looking for a home in a new country.
When refrigeration came about, the Dunedin was refitted in 1881 and became the first ship to successfully transport meat from New Zealand to England. So was born the New Zealand export meat trade.
The Marlborough, likewise, was refitted making her first voyage in 1882.
Both ships carried wool and meat regularly, and carried vast quantities of coal - on the Marlborough’s last voyage she was carrying 400 tonnes of coal. The refrigeration units used coal to fuel them.
They also still carried passengers, although nothing like their previous trips.
The Marlborough had made 14 successful trips while the Dunedin made nine.
But in 1890 both ships set out - the Marlborough from Lyttelton and the Dunedin from Oamaru.
The Marlborough left on January 11 and the Dunedin on March 19.
Both were carrying a full crew. Both were sighted a day or so out by other ships.
And then they vanished without trace.
In a weird coincidence both were carrying precisely one female passenger.
On board the Marlborough was Mrs W. B. Anderson, 37 of Dunedin. Mrs Anderson was born Emily Rhoda Inman in 1854 in Melbourne, coming to Nelson as a teacher. She married William Bain Anderson, a wool merchant. He had paid £33 for her passage on the ship to England.
The Dunedin’s passenger was the Captain’s daughter. Captain Arthur Roberts was a master mariner who had sailed many ships in his time.
There were a number of unconfirmed sightings of both ships.
Two years later a Singapore newspaper claimed the Marlborough had been discovered with “the skeletons of her crew on board that were slimy to the touch”.
They had found the ship in a cove. They thought the letters on the bow spelled out Marlborough. However there were no follow ups and that ship - whoever she was - was never found again.
The Dunedin was seen once near Cape Horn just before a storm.
So what happened to them?
The theory is both ran foul of icebergs, a large number of which had been noted in the Cape Horn area in the months before the disappearances.
Only one person ‘survived’ from the Marlborough. Alex Carson was an apprentice on the Marlborough and due to be on the journey. He had been taken ill while visiting relatives in Dunedin and had a lucky escape when he was told by a doctor not to sail.
Carson was later made Gisborne’s harbour master. He is buried in Taruheru Cemetery with his wife Mabel.
<![CDATA[The shooting on Wellington's waterfront - Grave Story 70]]>Fri, 13 Aug 2021 14:00:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-shooting-on-wellingtons-waterfront-grave-story-70
Drunken seamen and a gun sounds like a recipe for disaster. So it turned out to be as members of the public watched horrified as a man was shot dead on September 19, 1892 near Railway (now called Waterloo) Wharf.
At 10.50am in broad daylight several shots rang out ending with one man shot through the heart and a second wounded.
It all started the night before. Crew from the Danish barque Doris Eckhoff were drinking at a hotel.
Chief officer of the Doris Eckhoff was Henry William Finley, an Irish-born man, who was not on friendly terms with anyone.
William Lynch, a seaman from the English ship Waimate met with Finley and Chief officer Ernest Seel of the American barque William B Flint.
It led to an argument that appeared to run its course when the three men set off for their own ships.
The next morning Lynch - along with Charles Greenrose, 40, and Donald McDonald - visited the William B Flint, to apologise to Seel, they said.
They found Seel and Finlay walking along the shore.
Finley attacked Lynch who fought back.
During the fight, Finlay drew a revolver and fired.
Greenrose had gone to intervene but caught one of the bullets in the chest, dying at the scene. He was believed to be a Russian or Finnish sailor.
Lynch ran to his ship and during the chase McDonald was hit by a shot intended for Lynch.
A shot was later found to have pierced the galvanised iron doors of a large storage shed nearby.
Finlay was arrested aboard his ship where the revolver was found.
McDonald received a wound to his thigh but it was not considered serious.
Little is recorded about the trial, but in 1900 police reports say Finley was released from prison early from his 10-year-sentence for manslaughter.
Greenrose is buried in Karori Cemetery in an unmarked paupers', and now overgrown, grave near the fenceline by Standen Street.
<![CDATA[The man who rebuilt Wellington - Grave Story #69]]>Tue, 10 Aug 2021 15:30:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-man-who-rebuilt-wellington-grave-story-69

Christian Julius Toxward was responsible for designing more than 230 buildings and is responsible for the move from timber buildings to masonry.
Christian was born on November 26, 1831, in Copenhagen, Denmark to Christian Hendrik Toxvaerd, a chair-maker, and Ana Margrethe Schmidt.
He studied at the Kunstadademiet or Academy of Fine Art before emigrating to Australia. Christian tried his luck the gold fields at Ballarat before heading to Invercargill.
For a while he was employed by the Southland Provincial government and married Jane Hall Hughes in 1864.
In 1866 they moved to Wellington where he worked as an architect. It was to be the start of a huge body of work, a few pieces of which can still be seen today.
At the time, nearly all buildings were built in timber. This material became popular after wholesale destruction caused to early brick buildings during the massive earthquakes in 1848 and 1855.
In his first year, he designed St Andrew’s Church then made additions to St Mary’s Cathedral.
One of the changes that can still be seen are the additions to Old St Paul’s in Mulgrave Street, Thorndon - the south transept, north transept and the north aisle extension.
Among the list of buildings he designed are some very familiar names in Wellington; the first Kirkcaldie and Stains store, Wellington provincial council buildings, Wellington College and Grammar school, Wellington College, the Union Bank of Australia and Wellington Hospital. They were all built in timber.
He often used a gothic style with flying buttresses and pinnacles.
In 1883 he designed plans for dairy factories that were published at the instructions of premier Frederick Whitaker.
It was Toxward who moved from full timber buildings - considered safer after the earthquakes - to using masonry. He was one of the first architects in private practise in Wellington.
He was also an artist, justice of the peace, Danish consul in New Zealand and district grand master of the Freemasons.
He died suddenly on September 30, 1891, aged 59, six weeks after the death of his beloved wife. He had fallen and was found on the pavement on Sydney St. Death was believed to have been due to heart disease.
They had two sons and two daughters.
Most of the buildings he designed have now been replaced.
Toxward and his wife are buried in Bolton St Cemetery. 
<![CDATA[Sophia's rose - Grave story #68]]>Fri, 06 Aug 2021 14:30:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/sophias-rose-grave-story-68
Sophia Harris carefully tended the small rose plant on the months-long voyage from England to New Zealand.
She, her husband Abraham and their five children came to New Zealand on the ship Bolton. She had brought with her a single rose, small, pink and frilly, stuck in a potato. It would go on to be one of the first roses to survive in her new home.
Sophia was born October 30, 1811 in Terling, Essex, England to James and Jane Harris, one of nine children.
She married Abraham Harris (born August 25, 1810 in Broomfield, Essex) when she was 19. They were first cousins and they had six children (one died aged 4) before they came to New Zealand.
Along with everything they owned, was a cutting of Rosa multiflora 'Carnea', a rambling rose, generally believed to be one of the first roses in New Zealand - or at least the first that survived. One theory was that the high water content of the potato helped keep the rose alive.
After arriving they moved to Taita, where Abraham was in the sawmilling business. They went on to have another seven children.
They faced a great number of trials - including being forced to leave the land they were on during fighting.
The next generation of their family went to the Wairarapa.
Abraham died October 22, 1874 and Sophia on September 21, 1888, both are buried at the cemetery at Christ Church in Taita.
The oldest roses in New Zealand - some in largely their original form - can be found at the Bolton St Cemetery (ironically Bolton St is named after the ship the Harris family arrived on).
When the land was allocated for the graveyard in 1840 some of the early settlers, like Sophia, planted roses. To this day the cemetery is home to 210 of the oldest heritage roses in the country.
<![CDATA[The Torpedomen - Grave Story #67]]>Wed, 04 Aug 2021 03:30:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-torpedomen-grave-story-67
A lot has been reported lately about Wellington’s Shelly Bay thanks to a planned controversial residential development on an old military base, but 130 years ago it was in the news for a much more tragic reason.
On March 5, 1891, five members of the NZ Torpedo Corps, which was stationed at the base, were blown up in an explosion during routine filling of torpedo shells. Two of them, first class torpedomen Walter Horrocks Heighton (aka William Ross), 35, and William Densem, 22, died from their injuries the day after the accident. The other three, first class torpedoman George Neilson Goldie, 23, and second class torpedomen Samuel Wheatly McCallum, 24, and Frederick William Cornwall, 24, were badly injured.
An inquest into the deaths of the men was launched with the spotlight of blame initially falling on Heighton, who was described by one witness as an “inveterate smoker” who might have been enjoying a pipe while he and Cornwall were filling and soldering the shells. The blame, however, soon shifted to the corps’ leader Captain John Falconer, a veteran of the Royal Engineers and a trained instructor in submarine mining.
Evidence was presented that in 1886, five years before the explosion, the War Office had issued a circular prohibiting the use of soldering irons in the type of work the men were doing. One witness said he had received a copy of the circular from Captain Falconer, however, the Captain said he knew nothing of it and was not even in the country at the time.
While the inquest was in process, the government announced its own enquiry into the explosion to be conducted at the same time.
After sitting for more than six weeks the inquest concluded on April 21 the jury finding a verdict of accidental death, but adding three riders; that the shell manufacturing process was updated, that the instructors at the base get training, and that Captain Falconer was not to blame. Despite the jury’s rider, the following day Heighton’s widow Eliza filed a private prosecution against Captain Falconer charging him with manslaughter. The charges were, however, dropped two days later after her lawyer explained that she had no evidence.
The government inquiry also cleared Falconer of blame, but criticised the laxity of the Defence Department in making sure the orders about use of soldering irons were circulated to all concerned.
Goldie and McCallum recovered completely from their injuries however, Cornwall was left permanently maimed. He was discharged from the Torpedo Corps as being medically unfit and was given an allowance of 10 shillings a week – a far cry from the 7 shillings a day he received before. The following year Cornwall wrote to the government to ask for an increase. In his letter he said his future had been ruined through no fault of his own.
“As it is now, I, at the age of 25, am ruined for life – unable to earn my living in any way.”
It is unclear if the amount was increased.
Cornwall returned to his parents’ home in Taranaki, where he took up breeding Jersey cows becoming a noted expert. He never married and died in 1935.
Goldie married, became a father and an electrician. He died in Port Chalmers in 1933.
McCallum became a master mariner. He married and had several children. He died in Devonport, Auckland in 1945.
Heighton is buried in Bolton Street Cemetery. He left a wife and four children. William Densem is buried with his parents in Port Chalmers Cemetery.

<![CDATA[The lighthouse keeper - Grave Story #66]]>Sat, 31 Jul 2021 03:00:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-lighthouse-keeper-grave-story-66
Mary Jane Bennett remains the only woman to ever become a lighthouse keeper in New Zealand, which she did in 1855 on the death of her husband George.
For 10 years she kept safe ships coming along the rugged coastline near Pencarrow Head.
But it is only part of her story and her extraordinary family.

Her husband George White Bennett was born March 2, 1814 at Whickham, County Durham, England, one of six children of George Bennett and Ann White.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane Hebden - likely born in 1816 since she was baptised at Pateley Bridge in Yorkshire, on December 11 that year - was the oldest child of Mary and William Hebden.
The pair met and fell in love, but when their parents did not agree on the match, they opted to come to New Zealand. George on the Cuba, landing in Wellington in January 1840, and Mary, then a governess, a month later aboard the Duke of Roxburgh.
They married at St Paul’s Cathedral in Thorndon and George went from job to job for a while, farming and clerking including being the publican at one of the city’s first pubs, the Durham Arms.
Initially there was just a beacon at Pencarrow (one of the first was blown over in the wind) but after the ship Maria went down off Cape Terawhiti with the loss of 30 people, calls for a lighthouse became loud.
In 1852 George became the lighthouse keeper and he, Mary and their then five children moved out to the remote location. They had a small two room cottage, and operated a light from one of the windows to warn ships.
It was hard, with little in the way of amenities. The cottage was not wind or waterproof and fresh water was a quarter of a mile away. It was sometimes so bad the family lived in a dugout, which had a stove in it.
Their daughter Eliza died in the first year, then George was killed in a boating accident in 1855. The location of his burial is unclear.
Mary, who was pregnant at the time, stayed on and in 1859 was appointed the official lighthouse keeper (with payment of £125 a year including firewood) when the light was changed to the permanent lighthouse there now. She was there when it was lit for the first time on New Year’s Day 1859.
She had a male assistant, which would have been a real turnaround in those days.
In 1865 she opted to take her children and return to England. Her three sons returned to New Zealand in 1871 and her youngest, William, returned to the lighthouse where he became assistant keeper.
William is buried at St Albans Burial Ground in 
Mary never returned to New Zealand and died aged July 6, 1885 in Darce Banks, England where she had been born.
<![CDATA[The Submarine Miners - Grave Story #65]]>Wed, 28 Jul 2021 03:00:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-submarine-miners-grave-story-65
Four little bronze plaques at Old St Paul’s Cathedral in Wellington hold intriguing clues to four men who did a job barely anyone remembers.
It reads “Erected by the Wellington Submarine Mining Volunteers.”
What on earth (or sea) is submarine mining?
In 1885, New Zealand was in the grip of the Russian Scare. It had started in 1873 when the news broke that a Russian warship had entered Auckland Harbour undetected. It turned out to be a hoax.
But relationships between Russia and other countries were precarious with Russia seen as the aggressor.
Full-blown alarm began in 1885, growing out of Anglo–Russian rivalry in Afghanistan and led to the building of major fortifications to protect New Zealand’s coastal cities.
Which in turn led to the forming of the submarine mining volunteers who were responsible for coastal fortifications.
These included gun emplacements, pill boxes, observation posts, underground bunkers which sometimes had interconnected tunnels, which held magazines, supply and plotting rooms and protected engine rooms supplying power to turrets and searchlights. There were even kitchens, barracks and quarters. There are still remnants of these to be seen around Wellington’s coast.
The submarine miners were all volunteers under the control of the Permanent Torpedo Corps who were based in Shelly Bay in Wellington. There were 64 in all.
By 1895 the coastal defences extended over the whole of the northern area from Scorching Bay to Shelly Bay.
Their job was to maintain permanent mines that were laid in the harbour, and to see off the Russians, if they arrived, with flag signalling and other tasks.
However not one of the men named on the plaque died as a result of their duties.
Sapper Richard Penfold died in 1903 after accidentally being shot in the back at the former Polhill Gully Rifle Range. He lingered for five months in hospital before succumbing to his wounds. He is buried in the Oamaru Old Cemetery
Even more tragically Percy Noel Wilson (and his younger brother Warwick) and Hugh Bramley were lost at sea. They had been sailing in the yacht Te Aroha around the Marlborough Sounds over the Christmas/New Year of 1903. They were due back in the harbour when the yacht was overwhelmed in heavy seas.
Lance Corporal Ernest Edward Palmes died of illness in 1905, the son of the prominent family in Levin where he is buried in Levin Cemetery.
The brass plaque was meant to hold many many more names of brave men but by 1908 the submarine miners were disbanded.
<![CDATA[The lonely brewer - Grave Story #64]]>Fri, 23 Jul 2021 16:00:00 GMThttp://genealogyinvestigations.co.nz/blog/the-lonely-brewer-grave-story-64

Those partial to a drop of good old-fashioned beer may well know the name Henry Wagstaff – he was the founder of what became the iconic Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka.

You may have seen Henry’s story and image featured on Tui Brewery’s website, in their marketing materials and even on the labels of their “Henry Wagstaff Special Brew” – all making him somewhat of a minor beer celebrity.
But what you probably don’t know is that Henry lies forgotten in the cemetery across the road from the brewery in a grave with no headstone, from which (if he was able), he could keep a loving eye on the empire that he founded.
Henry was born in the small village of Aldwark in the Peak District in Derbyshire, England in 1836 to Francis Wagstaff, a farmer, and his wife Elizabeth (nee Taylor). He was the 11th child out of a staggering 17. By the age of 15 he was working as a barytes grinder (barytes is a mineral containing barium).
In 1860 he was working as a police sergeant in Bolsover, Chesterfield when he married Caroline Baggaley, six years his senior. They had two sons, Francis Henry in 1862 and Albert Edward in 1864, who died in 1868.
By 1861 Henry had left the police and started his long-lived relationship with beer, first running a pub in Duffield, Derbyshire and then The Telegraph Hotel in Morledge, Derby.
Then, sometime between 1881 and 1884, Henry left his wife and son in England and travelled to New Zealand. At some point Henry’s niece Mary Wagstaff, the illegitimate daughter of his oldest sister Matilda, joined him as his housekeeper (and possibly wife – although no marriage is recorded).
Henry appears to have tried a variety of different jobs - manager of the Woodville Bacon and Cheese factory but he lost that job after a year-and-a-half. He tried sawmilling but after spending a small (borrowed) fortune on equipment, went bankrupt without felling a single tree, and the refurbishment of two houses which had to be sold to pay debts.
By 1888, Henry was discharged from bankruptcy and announced he was starting a brewery in Mangatainoka. By March 1889 he had dug out a cellar nine metres long, seven metres wide and two metres deep, begun work on the three-storey building and purchased barrels ready to be filled with his ale.
On May 1, 1889, the first brew from Henry Wagstaff’s ‘North Island Brewery’ was ready. Henry told the local newspaper he could produce 15 hogsheads (3700 litres) of beer a week and, most importantly, he could draw pure water from an onsite spring. Henry’s business boomed and orders for his beer flooded in from all over the county. Over the next few years he added barrel building and bottling plants and expanded the brewery with a new brick building. Henry also did not forget those to whom he owed debts from his failed sawmilling venture, paying them back even though he was no longer legally obliged to.
Then in January, 1896 disaster struck. The brewery was seized by the Collector of Customs and Henry was charged with breaching the Beer Duty Act. Police alleged Henry had reused duty stamps and failed to record beer sales. He received a hefty fine. A few weeks later Henry announced he had sold the brewery to the firm of James Clarendon Ramsbottom Isherwood and Sons of Palmerston North. Isherwood handed control of the brewery over to his sons, who were apparently not able to manage the business, and within nine months he had lost the £1530 he had invested and filed for bankruptcy. The brewery was put up for auction, but failed to sell.
Meanwhile, Henry started construction on a new brewery in Paeroa, and he and Mary left Mangatainoka. On July 1, 1896 Henry’s ‘Victoria Brewery’ opened for business. The Victoria Brewery went from strength to strength and the plant was expanded over the next few years. In October 1899, ownership passed to the Goldfields Brewing Company and Henry and Mary returned to Mangatainoka, where he set about fixing up the North Island Brewery. By April the following year the brewery started operations again, with Henry advertising; “Wagstaff’s hygienic beer is recommended by the medical profession” (gosh haven’t times changed). In 1903, Henry sold the brewery to brewer Henry Cowan, who introduced the “Tui” brand four years later. Henry and Mary (described in the Woodville Examiner as “his good lady wife”) built a cottage in Pahiatua and spent their days gardening and travelling. Henry died in Pahiatua on October 19, 1911 and two months later Mary returned to England. In his will he left £300, his furniture and personal items to his “niece and housekeeper Mary Wagstaff”.
Henry’s beloved brewery was eventually sold to DB Breweries, which is now owned by Dutch brewing giant Heineken. We think that given Tui has co-opted Henry’s image and story into their marketing, it seems only fair that they honour their founding father with a headstone. Hopefully with some encouragement they might actually say “yeah! - OK”.