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June 8, 2020 June 2020 No Comments

Early settlers

George Marsden Waterhouse of Huangarua Run.

Georeg Waterhouse was born in Penzance Cornwall the 6th son of Rev. John Waterhouse. His family emigrated to Tasmania in 1839 where his first employment was in a Merchant Office. In 1843 he went into business on his own account in Adelaide. In 1851 he retired from business to go into politics in South Australia.  

George returned to England in 1865, coming south again in 1869, this time to New Zealand where he purchased Huangarua Run from  Smith and Evans. Returning to England to purchase materials, fencing, grass seed etc. needed for the Run.  

When purchased Huangarua was running 18,000 sheep. George  poured capital into the enterprise, purchasing a stationary engine, and boiling down pots, and farm equipment, ploughing, planting crops, and fencing all boundaries. He had a  six foot high sod and ditch wall enclose a 1,000 acres block, this went from Cologne Street to East Coast corner, up to Shooting Butts Road and back to the Golf course then back to town. This to fatten cattle for the Wellington market. He then purchased the 2,462 acre Wharekaka block. All together he employed up to a hundred men.

He entered politics in 1870 being called to the Legislative Council by Mr Fox –  in those times one was nominated by propertied people rather than elected. Members were entitled to an honorarium ‘to maintain themselves’. However a very principled man George Waterhouse never accepted a salary while in office. 

While serving in parliament he could not take part in discussions on discussions of a railway link as it would go within ten miles of his property. Along with his parliamentary role he also on the Lower Valley Board of Wardens and was a director of the Wairarapa Meat Preserving Company. 

George Waterhouse was known for his generosity, giving money to  Waihinga Township, Waihinga School , The First Church and Burnside Churches and fenced the cemetery. He loved trees and planted many Blue Gum plantations on the plains.

In 1872 he was asked to be premier of Julius Vogel’s  government to resolve an impasse, which he agreed to. However he disliked politicking and was too intelligent and scrupulous to enjoy fronting an administration dominated by Vogel. His eventual resignation triggered a constitutional crisis. He continued to serve as a private member  and was elected Speaker in 1887 .

He retired from parliament the following year then selling Huangarua  Run to John Martin in 1879 . He returned to England to live in Devon  where he died in 1906 

Mate Higginson

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