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February 17, 2020 February 2020 No Comments

George Pain JP

The city father of the town we now know as Martinborough. 

The Pain family came to New Zealand on the ship Oriental arriving at Wellington in 1840, Mr Pain Snr, also George, was a bricklayer, George, their third son, was born in 1846. They lived at a place called Clay Point, later moving to the Wairarapa. Mr Pain Snr is buried at the Old Waihinga cemetery.

George remembered the 1855 earth quake and following storm which filled the Newtown swamp, later to become Athletic Park, which then burst it’s bank to drain down to the sea through Cambridge Terrace. 

As a nine year old George went to work on a Johnsonville farm owned by a Mr Petherick. He worked in the area until he was nineteen when he set off over the Remutaka hill and across to Wydrop, as Wairarapa was then known. the trip ended at the Smith and Revan’s run Huagarua the trip taking him three days. No work there however Wally Smith put him onto work  at Wainui-orne a day’s walk away. 

` He worked  there for two years then went off to try his luck at the Thames goldfields. This did not work out so he worked his passage on a ship to return to Wairarapa plains.

In September 1873 he opened his first store at Waihinga, his wife Mary ran the store while he sold goods from a packhorse doing the rounds of the coastal stations. At John Martin’s 1879 Martinborough Land sale he purchased several sections which he thought would be useful. In 1881 he built a store and dwelling on one of the sections and put John Gallie as manager. 

He also began investing in farming, the Admiral and other stations, a newspaper quote: ‘Geo Pain helped more men onto farms than anybody else in the Dominion. Especially returned soldiers’. 

In 1889 he built the Wooden Town Hall, also on Jellicoe Street, ‘for the people of Martinborough’. He also donated sections and money for Plunket and for a Fire Shed to store brigade equipment.

In 1908 he built a grand store on Martin Square with partners John Kershaw and T O Haylock as managers. He also built five brick buildings down Jellicoe Street plus a two storey building, shop and dwelling, for Charles Poulter  the chemist. 

Enthusiastically involved in various admistrations being a director or the Wellington Farmers’s Meat Co, Featherston County Councillor 1902 – 06 and fought hard to make Waihinga – Martinborough declared a town and then an inaugural member of that Town Board. As a J.P. he was  involved in many inquests and Court Decisions – two J.Ps. could give a verdict on small matters. Martinborough did not get a Court House until 1914. 

The first Golf Course and clubhouse was on George’s farm ‘Okoroire’. He is known to this day as having willed this farm (now known as the Pain Farm) to the people of Martinborough. He was a true ‘City Father’. George Pain J.P. died in 1937.

Mate Higginson

Photo caption: George Pain in his Gig. He was known as a great judge of horses and was a committee member of the Lower Valley Jockey Club. 

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