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July 6, 2020 July 2020 No Comments

Early settlers – the Mcleod family

William and John McLeod, born in Caithness Scotland  were the first of seven members of the McLeod family to come to settle in Waihinga and district.  They were sponsored by their uncle Alexander Sutherland who had land at Upper Pahau (Hinakura) . They worked there for twelve years when William took up on his own account at Whakapuni, while John became manager of the Pahau station, Ngaipu. 

John married Sutherland’s daughter Catherine and moved to the Wharekaka Block, land purchased by Sutherland’s eldest son William from Huangarua Station in 1875 . John farmed this land. Their house , ‘the Gums’, still stands, the two storey house in Dublin Street. 

William was described as ‘looking for a wife’, he heard of a Miss  Barbar McKay had arrived in New Zealand and was in the Otane district. He set off for there on his horse. They were married and he bought her back to Whakapuni station where they began to raise a family of eventually six sons and two daughters.  

In 1888 William purchased Hillside Station from John McLeod and built a homestead. The  Martinborough Collie Club has held it’s competitions there for over a hundred years.  

Farquhar and Esther were the next Mcleods to arrive. Esther married William Sutherland. Esther Street is named after her.  Next to arrive was Mary, wife of Donald Ross. When Donald died she moved into Waihinga village, in Weld Street across from the Presbyterian Church. 

The last to arrive was Alexander (Sandy the bootmaker) in 1888. He built a general store and dwelling, setting up a bootmaking  production in a part of the building and bringing in his brother in Law Murdoch Ross to run  the store. Sandy later built a larger boot factory in Radium street. He was involved in building the Gospel Hall Church. ( these described in an earlier KYT). 

William, James and the McLaren family held a meeting which resulted I the building of the First Presbyterian Church in 1871.  The McLeods were very active in the establishment of the Waihinga village serving on the Roads Board and School Committee, building stock yards and involved in horse sports and dog trials. 

As a member of the Reform party Alexander McLeod became the Wairarapa member of parliament serving as Minister  of lands  and then Minister of industry and Commerce between 1924 and 1928 . He also served on the county Council from 1897 to 1919, as Chairman for eleven of those years. John served on the County Council from 1899 t0 1911 and then again from 1916 to 1929. The McLeod family played a huger part  in building the Waihinga – Martinborough District

Mate Higginson    

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