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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Pioneers' Arrival

The Coming of the Pioneers
Arrival of the "Tory"
The Landing at Pito-One
On September 20th, 1839, there entered the heads of Port Nicholson, a ship of 400 tons—the pioneer ship of the New Zealand Land Company—the Tory, and on board of her were thirty-five persons, among whom were Colonel William Wakefield, the company's chief agent; Edward Jerningham Wakefield, his nephew; Dr. Ernest Dieffenbach, the scientist of the expedition; Mr. Charles Heaphy, draughtsman; and Dr. John Dorset, surgeon.
In his Adventure in New Zealand, Edward Jerningham Wakefield gives the following description of the entrance of the Tory, which had spent some time among the whalers who had for many years been established in the Sounds district, among whom was Jacky Love, ancestor of Mr. Hapi Love, the well known Petone citizen. Jacky Love was too ill to make the trip, and in fact was then on his deathbed:
"….on the morning of the 20th," states Wakefield, "we "left the Sounds with fair wind and tide, having weighed anchor "at daylight. We had on board Barrett and his wife and "children….. The coast now forms a semicircular bay, at the "north-east end of which is the mouth of Port Nicholson. A "low table-land jutting out into a headland which we christened "Baring Head, and the bluff of a ridge called Turakirae, which "divides Port Nicholson from Palliser Bay, form the eastern side "of the semicircle."
E. J. Wakefield gives a description of the harbour, and mentions that Dicky Barrett acted as pilot past "the reef of low black rocks," which was afterwards called "Barrett's Reef." Captain Cook once anchored in the entrance to the harbour, but being in a hurry, did not examine it.
The Tory was met just inside the entrance by two canoes on which were the chiefs, Te Puni, of the Pito-one pa, and Wharepouri, of Ngahauranga. Te Puni was at this time a man of mature age, while Wharepouri, who was Te Puni's nephew, was about 35 years of age. Wakefield says:
"….. In the upper part lie the two islands, behind the "largest and most northerly of which we anchored at the distance "of half a mile from the sandy beach at the valley's mouth. Te "Puni eagerly inquired the motive of our visit, and expressed the "most marked satisfaction on hearing that we wished to buy "the place and bring white people to it. Wharepouri also "expressed his willingness to sell the land, and his desire of seeing "white men come to live upon it."
These two chiefs had migrated from Taranaki with members of their tribe about 1834. Mrs. Hapi Love, of Petone, is a descendant of Te Puni.
Te Puni and Wharepouri spent the night on board of the Tory. In conversation with Colonel William Wakefield they said:
"…. We want to live in peace, and to have white people "amongst us. We are growing old, and want our children to "have protectors in people from Europe….. We have long heard "of ships from Europe. Here is one at length; and we will sell "our harbour and land, and live with the white people when they "come to us."
On September 21st, Colonel Wakefield went up the Hutt river in a canoe in the company of a chief named Amahau, while others of the Tory party visited the pa. E. J. Wakefield says:
"Several of us landed at a large village opposite our anchorage, "and witnessed the ceremony of crying over Te Rangi, whom "many of her numerous relations had not seen for five years. "The village lay, as its Maori name (Pito-one, or 'End of the "Sand') implied, at the western end of the sandy beach, which "is about two miles long. The main river falls into the sea at "the eastern end, about a quarter of a mile from the hills which "bound the valley to the east, and is called the Heretaunga. "A merry brawling stream, called the Korokoro, or 'throat,' "flows between the village and the western hills. The valley "seems to preserve an average width of two miles to a considerable "distance, bounded on either side by wooded hills from 300 to "400 feet in height. It was covered with high forest to within "a mile and a half of the beach, when swamps full of flax, and a "belt of sand-hummocks, intervened…..

One White Man.

"We found one solitary white man, named Joe Robinson, "living in a village near the mouth of the river, having taken a "native wife from the tribe. We saw a proof of his industry "and ingenuity in the shape of a boat, the planks for which he "had cut with a hand-saw; and he had made all the nails himself "out of iron hoop. This boat earned many a pound in later times "by trading round the coast."
September 22nd was Sunday, and several of the Maoris came on board to be present at the church service.
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(By Courtesy Wellington Harbour Board)

Britannia (Pito-one) 1840, from a sketch drawn by Captain W. Mein-Smith, R.A., taken from the Korokoro Hill. Tents and houses are on the Beach and Emigrant ships near Somes Island.

Contrast Modern Petone, page 12.
On September 23rd, negotiations opened for the purchase of the land which included the whole of the Hutt Valley and what is now Wellington city and suburbs. The only opponent was a chief of a pa at the east of Petone beach. On September 24th the negotiations continued at Pito-one.
September 25th was spent in sorting out the goods that were to be given in exchange for the land, and on September 25th, the chiefs and their sons were invited on board to see the goods.

The Land Purchased.

E. J. Wakefield says:
"Colonel Wakefield was accordingly obliged to buy of the "natives, not certain lands within certain boundaries, but the "rights, claims, and interests of the contracting chieftains, "whatsoever they might be, to any land whatever within certain "boundaries. Such were the terms of all the deeds afterwards "executed, and such were the terms of the Company's purchases "as explained fully to the chiefs themselves….."
The distribution of the goods was made to the various chiefs on September 27th—the chief of each of six villages receiving his portion.

New Zealand Flag Hoisted.

September 30th was a most important day for Pito-one, for on this day the transaction was sealed by the hoisting of the New Zealand flag. This was not, of course, the present New Zealand flag, which did not come into being for many years. Neither was it the Union Jack, but was the flag chosen by New Zealand Maori Chiefs, some years before, with the approval of the British Government, and symbolised the complete independence of New Zealand under the rule of a number of Maori Chiefs. This independence was abolished when Captain Hobson concluded the Treaty of Waitangi; but when Wakefield arrived he had every reason to believe that New Zealand was independent of the British Government.
It is interesting to note that Captain Hobson treated Wakefield's party as rebels, and sent an armed party down from the Bay of Islands to deal with them. A constable came ashore at Pito-one and solemnly hauled down the New Zealand flag. The identical flag still exists. It passed into the hands of the Gillespie family, and is now in Dannevirke. The story of its hoisting is told by E. J. Wakefield:
"September 30th, 1839. This morning we observed the "natives gathering from all parts of the harbour. Canoes and "parties on foot, glittering with their lately acquired red blankets "and muskets, were all closing in upon the place of rendezvous; "fresh smokes rose every moment on shore as a new oven was
"prepared for the feast; and Wharepouri and the other chiefs "who had slept on board went on shore early to make the "necessary preparations, accompanied by our carpenter, who was "to superintend the erection of a small tree which the natives "had procured for the purpose, as a flag-staff, close to the "Pito-one pa. In the afternoon, on a signal from the shore, "we landed in our boats with all the cabin party, and all the "sailors that could be spared, to take part in the rejoicings. "We were joyfully received by the assemblage, which con- "sisted of about three hundred men, women and children. Of "these, two hundred were men, and had armed themselves with "the hundred and twenty muskets they had received from us, "spears, tomahawks, pointed sticks, stone and wooden clubs, etc. "Even a dozen umbrellas, which had formed part of the payment, "figured in the ranks as conspicuously as the Emperor of "Morocco's son's parasol has figured in more recent battalions. "Every one was dressed in some of the new clothes; their heads "were neatly arranged, and ornamented with feathers of the "albatross or huia; handsome mats hung in unison with the gay "petticoats of the women and the new blankets of the warriors; "the latter were bedizened with waistcoats and shirts, and belted "with cartouch-boxes and shot-belts. It was high holiday with "everybody; and a universal spirit of hilarity prevailed among "the excited multitude.
"As we landed Colonel Wakefield ordered the New Zealand "flag to be hoisted at the staff; and the same was done at the "main of the Tory, which saluted it with twenty-one guns, to the "great delight of the natives at the noise and smoke….."
The Tory then departed, Colonel William Wakefield leaving behind a Mr. Smith, who was to give information to any arrivals by the emigrant ships which were due early in 1840.

The Emigrants Arrive.

On January 4th, the Cuba (273 tons) arrived, and on board her were twenty ablebodied young men, whose ages ranged from 20 to 27, and two married men whose wives followed in another vessel. These men were all assisted emigrants, and the descendents of at least one of them are living in the Hutt Valley to-day. Among the cabin passengers were Captain Mein Smith, R.A., and Messrs. R. D. Hanson, Carrington, R. Park, Stokes, and K. Bethune, whose names became well known in the history of Wellington.
Captain Mein Smith was the Land Company's surveyor, and perhaps this is as good a place as any to record how Petone was chosen as the site of the future city.
It is undoubtedly true that Colonel Wakefield intended that Thorndon should be the site of the city, and when he left before the arrival of the Cuba, he had given instructions that on Captain Mein Smith's arrival, he was to be so informed. Captain Mein Plan showing original subdivision of Petone. (See page 44). Smith, however, either ignored the instructions or, possibly, did not receive them, for he at once set about the survey of Petone, which was to be called "Britannia."
E. J. Wakefield says:—" Captain Mein Smith, the Company's "Surveyor-General, had preferred the lower part of the valley "of the Hutt, to Thorndon and its neighbourhood for the site of "the town; as the whole 1,100 acres, with sufficient reserves for "promenades and other public purposes could be laid out on "perfectly level ground in the alluvial valley …."
Captain Mein Smith was evidently a good town planner, for he planned boulevards along either bank of the Hutt river, a public park which was 'intended to include the scrubby and 'sandy ground near the sea.'
Had that plan been carried out, Petone would have been the model town of the Dominion.
To return to our story. On January 20th, the Aurora arrived. She was really the first emigrant ship and she carried, as assisted passengers, 85 adults and 42 children. Most of the adults being married men and their wives.
There has been much controversy as to where the passengers landed, and possibly there were several landing places. A suggestion has been made that after a settlement had been formed near the Hutt river, the passengers and their goods landed at the eastern end, probably near the foot of what is now Aurora Street. It is, however, quite clear that the first landing was somewhere opposite what is now Te Puni Street. That was where the Tory partly landed and where, presumably, as stated by E. J. Wakefield: "a small jetty was run out by the surveying men." A passenger on the Aurora, Howard Wallace writes in his diary,
"January 22nd 1840. We prepared for landing. Richard "Samuel Deighton and myself were the first to land opposite the "native village or pa at Petone….. Our tents were soon pitched, "huts were built by the natives, and what we termed the 'City of "Britannia' was formed."
It is worthy of record that Rev. J. Buller, descendants of some of whose connections reside in Petone to-day, walked through from the Bay of Islands, arriving about the same time as the Aurora. He was a Wesleyan Missionary, and on January 26th he held a service on the Aurora.
This would indicate that passengers remained on board for some time after the ship's arrival. The Oriental was the next arrival, a vessel of 506 tons, carrying as assisted passengers, 98 adults and 35 children. She arrived on January 31st. Quoting from her log book, her captain says—February 7th and 8th:— "Discharging cargo and landing at the settlement on the banks "of the Hutt river distant from four to five miles from where the "ship is anchored."
Southerlies blew up even in those days. The log for February 10th, says: "Strong breeze from southward—no cargo dis- "charged—principal part of emigrants are confined on board "from same cause—issued a day's allowance of pork. March 7th: "The Adelaide and the Glenbervie anchored during the night."
The Duke of Roxburgh arrived on February 7th, a smaller vessel of 416 tons, carrying passengers and children. The Bengal Merchant, 503 tons, carrying 89 assisted passengers and children.

Petone's Population.

The population of Petone at this time, including the Maoris at the two pas, could not have been less than 1,000, for besides the passengers before mentioned, there were the cabin passengers and also unrecorded arrivals by small vessels from Sydney. A passenger writing home to England, says: "The settlers from the first five (he excludes the Tory and the Cuba which were not "strictly emigrant ships) vessels landed at Petone and the ships "lay at anchor under the lee of Somes Island."
The position of the ships here recorded also the testimony of E. J. Wakefield, and further, a drawing of Brees, absolutely contradict the idea portrayed in one of our centennial stamps, which shows the ships at anchor in the fairway north-east of Somes Island, and not "under the lee" as here stated. Remembering too, the liability to southerly gales, it is quite clear that no sea captain would anchor in the fairway exposed to the gales sweeping in from the heads.
On the Bengal Merchant, which had Scottish emigrants, there arrived Rev. John Macfarlane who held the first religious service ever held in Petone. The following graphic description of the scene is given by one who was present, the service being held under a tree somewhere near the site of the present Maori cemetery in Te Puni Street.

Church Service at Pito-one 1840.

It was a beautiful calm day, not a cloud to be seen in the sky, and the sun shone forth in its meridian splendour. The magnificent harbour of Port Nicholson lay before us, but not a breath of wind to ruffle the surface of its waters; and the laving of the tide upon the beach was the only sound heard in that direction, to break the stillness of the peaceful scene. To the left might be seen, anchored off Somes Island, the vessels which had been for months the temporary homes of the settlers, and which had brought them in safety across the mighty deep, with the British Ensign hanging at their peak. To the right, and about a quarter of a mile distant, was the bush with its various and beautiful foliage. The Nikau palm and the tree fern were conspicuous in their beauty; and the woods were musical with the song of birds. The background
consisted of tall flax and the feathery toi toi (toetoe), which was then in full bloom. Adjoining, and a short distance from Petone Beach there was a small clump of karaka trees, under the shade of which the settlers assembled to worship God. There was no Sabbath bell to call the congregation together, but the song of the bell bird could be distinctly heard above all the songsters of the grove. There were about thirty or forty persons, among whom I remember Mr. Robert Roger Strang, Mr. George Hunter (afterwards the first Mayor), Mr. William Lyon, Mr. K. Bethune, Mr. J. Telford, Mr. Francis Yates, Mr. Robert Kemble, Mr. Buchanan, and many whose names I have forgotten.
The greeting was most cordial as friends met and briefly related their several experiences to each other, since leaving the Mother Country…..
The Rev. John Macfarlane, the only clergyman who accompanied the first expedition, officiated. He was then in the vigour of manhood, was of medium height, and formed a prominent feature in the group. When the Rev. gentleman said: "Let us worship God," every head was reverently uncovered and the small company joined with all earnestness in singing the C Psalm: 'All People that on Earth Do Dwell.' He then read a portion of Scripture, after which he offered up a prayer. And there, with the canopy of Heaven for a covering, did they pour forth their thanksgiving to God for bringing them in safety across the mighty deep to their desired haven. Then was sung 'O God of Bethel, by Whose Hand,' etc. After a short sermon the XXIII Psalm was sung: 'The Lord's My Shepherd; I'll Not Want,' etc. And here I may mention that Sabbath services were afterwards regularly held in Bethune and Hunter's store on the banks of the Hutt, and sometimes at Colonel Wakefield's house at Pito-one. What a contrast the previous week had been to this peaceful and holy Sabbath."
The writer of the above then refers to the murder of Poukawa, a Ngatiawa Chief, and continues: "In order to make reprisals, an expedition of over 300 warriors was raised to secure 'utu' (or blood for blood payment) and had departed with threats of direful vengeance."
It was in the interim that the 'First Sabbath service,' as above recorded, was held.
This was a sad interlude to the Sabbath service. Though Poukawa had spoken against the sale of the land he had proved a good friend to the emigrants, and his murder, in Waiwhetu, by a party of marauding Maoris, threw a gloom over the district.

The First Government.

On March 2nd, the first meeting of Council of the colonists took place. It should be recorded that before leaving England,
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Iona Cross.

Memorial to the first religious service held in Petone.
Portraits of Pioneers.
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Me, and Mrs. Henry Collett.

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Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Riddler.

the Council had been set up and the following agreement executed to which all bound themselves:


We, the undersigned, intending to inhabit the New Zealand Land Company's first and principal settlement, with the view to provide for the peace and order thereof, do hereby agree among ourselves, and pledge our honour to submit ourselves to the following provisional Regulations, and to enforce them on each other; that is to say:—
1st. That all the persons, parties to this agreement, shall submit themselves to be mustered and drilled under the direction of persons to be appointed as hereinafter mentioned.
2nd. That in case any of the persons, parties to this agreement, shall commit offence against the law of England, he shall be liable to be punished in the same manner as if the offence had been committed in England.
3rd. That in case any dispute shall arise between any of the persons, parties to this agreement, such disputes shall be decided in the manner hereinafter mentioned.
4th. That a Committee shall be formed of the following persons:— Colonel William Wakefield, the Company's Principal Agent; George Samuel Evans, Barrister-at-Law; Hon. W. H. Petre; Dudley Sinclair, Esq.; Francis A. Molesworth, Esq.; Captain Edward Daniell; Lieut. W. M. Smith, the Company's Surveyor-General; R. D. Hanson, Esq.; E. B. Hopper, Esq.; George Duppa, Esq.; George Hunter, Esq.; Henry Moreing, Esq.; Henry St. Hill, Esq.; Thomas Partridge, Esq.; Major D. S. Durie."
After stating that Colonel William Wakefield shall be the first President, the agreement proceeds to set out the powers of the Committee.

Location of Settlements.

Every trace of the dwellings of these first arrivals has disappeared and no one appears to have been sufficiently interested to hand down to their descendants even a tradition of the location of their first home in New Zealand. However, by piecing together various statements it would appear that there were two settlements, one on the outskirts of the Pito-one pa, and the other near the river bank, near the end of High Street, and extending along the bank up to Wakefield Street.
E. J. Wakefield speaks of a "grog shop" in a hut, located about halfway along the beach between the Hutt river and the Koro-koro stream and kept by a man named Coghlan, and then he goes on to say: "At the back of the hut occupied by Coghlan, whither "a flag staff and New Zealand flag invite the sailors, a rough and "new-made track off to the settlement on the riverbank, across "a miry swamp. After about a quarter of a mile of this I reached "the junction of a small creek with the Hutt, and soon found "myself at the beginning of a little village of tents and huts, "among the low, scrubby, coppice wood which covered this part "of the valley. A rough path had been cleared by the surveying "men along the bank, and on either side of this the colonists
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Petone's original farm lands, showing railway, with Percy's Mill in foreground.

"had been allowed to squat on allotted portions until the survey "of the town should be completed …. Each capitalist appeared "to have a following of labourers from his own part of the country. "Cornish miners and agricultural labourers had pitched their "tents near Mr. Molesworth; Kentish men dwelt near Mr. George "Duppa, a little higher up; and many of the Scotch-people were "collected near a point between two reaches of the river, where "Mr. Dudley Sinclair and Mr. Barton were erecting their dwellings. "At the latter place Mr. Sinclair's English cow was browsing on "the shrubs of her newly-adopted country.
The point between two reaches of the river would appear to be the north end of Gear Island, as many houses are shown, on an old plan, just south of Wakefield Street near the river bank. It is unlikely that the southern point of Gear Island is indicated.
If we are right in identifying the creek mentioned above as Moreing's creek, the settlement would appear to have been at the junction of Moreing's creek and the Hutt river.

Cornish Row.

This settlement was badly flooded by a rise in the Hutt river on March 2nd, 1840, with the result that the inhabitants shifted their location further south, to what was described as "an elevated shingly ridge to the seaward side of the small creek at the south end of the bivouac." This street of houses was called "Cornish Row."
Cornish Row, however, had but a short life for it was destroyed by fire on May 25th, 1840. These huts were, of course, peculiarly liable to catch fire, the walls and roof being of raupo or rushes, and, there being no proper fireplaces or chimneys. To cap their troubles, the fire, which completely destroyed the settlement, had hardly been extinguished when those who had been provided for elsewhere, were again awakened, this time by an earthquake. Not being used to 'quakes, the first thought of the settlers was that a troop of Maoris was trying to pull down the huts.

Clyde Terrace.

The other settlement had for its centre Clyde Terrace.
In a letter written to England after his arrival in the Bengal Merchant, Mr. J. Murray says:
"…. For the first three or four weeks all parties were busy "erecting dwellings on the beach near the river Hutt. The "houses are built from spars and from the forest and roofed with "long flax-grass, and a kind of flexible cane called supplejack.
"We are in Clyde Terrace, and the dwellings are the best in "the colony. The minister lives opposite where I live. Messrs.
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Mr. Henry Collett's residence, taken on the day of the running of the first train in the Hutt Valley.

"Strang, Banks, Hay, Yule and Logan are among the families. "Mr. Macfarlane has divine service on the beach every Sabbath; "also a Mr. Butler of the Church of England….."
The Rev. J. G. Butler mentioned in the letter had arrived on April 21st, by the Bolton, in company with the Rev. J. F. Churton. Mr. Churton had remained in the new town of Wellington, while Mr. Butler served the Petone district.
On August 27th, Revs. Macfarlane and Butler had to perform the sad task of reading the burial service over the bodies of nine persons who were drowned as the result of a boat accident on August 25th, 1840, on the Petone beach.
Miss Riddiford, writing home on March 10th, 1840, apparently from the same locality as Mr. J. Murray, says:
"The beach is covered with little wooden houses and tents. "…. Colonel Wakefield lives in a nice one-made by the "natives….. The town lots are not yet chosen….. Those "who came by the Oriental are settled four miles up the country. "…. We intend occupying a small house on the beach, near to "Colonel Wakefield's facing the sea….. Major Baker and several "others have had very nice ones built, consisting of four rooms "each, for which they pay four blankets….. Do not think of "bringing a house …. the window frames, doors, bolts, bars, etc., "may be of use. Dr. Evans, Colonel Wakefield, and others have "gone down the harbour to a part called Thorndon, four miles off, "which is described as a second Italy, and a most picturesque "spot."
In regard to the site of Clyde Terrace, Mr. C. P. Brockelbank has placed on record the fact that Mrs. May informed him before her death that her late husband, when excavating sand in the neighbourhood of what is now the southern end of Victoria Street, had come on a line of chimney foundations running east and west. The presumption is that this was the site of Clyde Terrace.
A ship, the Glenbervie, that arrived at the same time as the Adelaide, has not been mentioned as she was a store ship, carrying few passengers, but among those few were the manager and the clerks of the Union Bank of Australia, and also a "well lined safe." This bank immediately opened for business at Petone. There were also a number of stores and no less than five hotels.
Up to the time of the arrival of the Adelaide, Colonel Wakefield had allowed the survey of the Hutt Valley to continue, although he still held it was the wrong site for the city. The survey was, however, seriously delayed by the swampy nature of country and the flooding of the river, and the settlers who wanted to locate their permanent homes were dissatisfied. After the arrival of
Portraits of Pioneers.
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Mr. and Mrs. White.

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Mr. James Sellar.

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Captain and Mrs. Moss.

the Adelaide, therefore, Colonel Wakefield called for a vote to be taken among the prospective settlers as to whether they should remain at Petone or transfer to the originally chosen locality at Thorndon. The decision was in favour of Thorndon, and the Petone survey was stopped, the plan of the future city of Wellington prepared, and as soon as facilities were available, the migration to the new site of "Britannia" took place.
This accounts for the fact that both the Petone site and the Wellington site were called "Britannia."
The New Zealand Gazette of September 19th, 1840, records that "our fellow-colonists are now busily engaged in removing to "Brittannia." By the end of 1840, Petone was almost deserted by its white population.

Petone Surveyed.

In the meantime, it had been surveyed into 10 blocks of approximately 100 acres each. (See page 32).
Blocks 1, 2, 3, were reserved for the Maoris and had frontages to the harbour running from the Korokoro stream to about 9 chains west of the present wharf and embracing, in their northern area, the whole of the Korokoro (not Maungaraki) settlement. The eastern boundary of block 3 cut right through the site of what is now the Gear Company's works. It intersected the Hutt Road at the junction of Petone Avenue, and ran back to the western extension of White's Line. No. 4 block was east of No. 3, and its western boundary ran from the sea to White's Line, halfway between Sydney and Nelson Streets. It thus included part of the present Gear work's site and Victoria, Fitzherbert, and Sydney Streets.
No. 5 block included Nelson, Richmond, Bay, Beach and Britannia Streets, and ended at White's Line. No. 6 included the Streets almost to Cuba Street. No. 7 almost to the line of Tennyson Street. The eastern boundary of No. 8 intersected the western arm of the Hutt River, and touched the harbour east of Jessie Street. No. 9 was what is now known as Gear Island, and No. 10 block was the area east of Jessie Street to the river, and bounded on the north by the bend of the western arm of the Hutt River. These 10 blocks were held, with the exception of 1, 2, and 3, by those who had received grants of them from the New Zealand Land Company, and the title to land was held under what was known as a "Certificate of Selection," the text of which may be seen on page 60 of Early Wellington. When the Government took over, these certificates were exchanged for Crown grant titles.
Who were the original owners of these blocks it is difficult to say, as the original certificates of title may have changed hands. However, on an early map in the Lands and Survey Department
the owners are shown to be: No. 4, Mr. Bidwell; No. 5, Mr. Hanson; No. 6, Mr. Molesworth; No. 7, William Wakefield; No. 8, William Wakefield; Nos. 9 and 10 not marked.
After the migration to Wellington, there were probably not more than six white families left in Petone, and for over thirty years Petone drowsed in the sunshine, awaiting the coming of her destiny. The land was for the most part too poor for farming purposes, and though cattle and sheep were kept, very little agriculture was practised. In a Wellington almanac for 1865, the list of settlers is given as: J. Sellar, sheepfarmer; W. Riddler, farmer; H. and J. Percy, millers; H. Collett, wheelwright; H. Parker, labourer; W. Buick, farmer. During those thirty odd years, the huts and whares of the early arrivals disappeared, and the sites were covered by gorse and broom.
In a second map, published in 1852, No. 4 block Mas owned by J. Sellar, 44 acres (beach end); William Riddler, 15 acres; H. Collett, 9 acres; D. Buick, 5 1/4 acres (afterwards sold to William Bassett); Joseph Percy, 6 acres; and J. H. Percy, 19 acres. The whole of No. 5 was owned by Mr. James Kidd; No. 6 by E. G. Wakefield; No. 7 by William Buick, with a small piece at the beach end owned by George Moore; No. 8 by Robert Torrens; No. 9 (not in Petone); and No. 10 by H. Hughlings.
The only roads were the Main Road and White's Line.
The richest block of land was section 5 on which Messrs. Sellar, Riddler, Collett and Percy resided. Mr. Sellar, in addition to farming, carried through several land transactions both in Petone and in Horokiwi—a district which was then more closely settled than Petone—and it was here that the McEwen family (Mr. D. G. McEwen is a descendant) and Mr. Damant, afterwards in business in Petone, resided.
Mr. W. Riddler farmed his land and his wife disposed of the dairy produce in Wellington, walking in twice a week, carrying her basket of eggs and butter.
Mr. Collett had a wheelwright's business and found a ready sale for his carts and plenty of repair work.
Mr. Percy carried on a flourishing business as a flour miller, first at the Korokoro stream, and later at the end of what is now known as Old Mill Road.
Both mills were worked by water-power. For many years after the Woollen Mill commenced operations, the original water- wheel was used for the generation of electricity. The remains of the second wheel still remain.

An Historic Oak.

When Mr. Percy first arrived, he camped with others as already described, somewhere about the junction of White's Line and the
Hutt River. He had brought with him an English acorn, and this was planted near where he camped, and here it grew into a sapling oak. After Mr. Percy settled at the present location of the Percy estate he carefully transplanted the young oak to a site near where the ramp on the Hutt Road crosses the Waterloo railway. When this land was purchased by the Government for railway purposes the oak was ruthlessly destroyed, the stump of the tree, after practically all the roots had been cut away, was pulled out of the ground and left lying for months exposed to sun, wind, rain and frost. Later, Mr. W. J. Percy, who had keenly felt the destruction of this link with the past, decided to attempt a second planting. With the assistance of the Public Works Department the stump was hauled to a new site near the old mill, and under the careful attention of the Percy brothers it was replanted; the next year, to their delight, it sprouted, and to-day has reached the height of several feet.
Recently it was faced with the danger of another catastrophe, as it was thought to be in the line of the new Western Hutt road extension, but so far it has escaped injury. It is probably the second oldest oak in New Zealand.
The other farms in Petone were largely stock farms.


After the great migration from Petone several severe earthquakes took place. One in particular raised the level of much of Petone by several feet, and in particular extended the eastern foreshore a further chain depth into the harbour. The western, or Korokoro, end was not greatly affected. The raising of the level of the land was beneficial to Petone as land which had been swampy was now high and dry.

Coming of the Railway.
The Beginning of Industries.

The coming of the railway opened a new epoch in Petone's history, chiefly by reason of the decision of the Railway Department, in 1878, to establish workshops where Todd Motors building now stands. The workshops, the Gear Meat works, and the Woollen Mills, which quickly followed each other, brought to Petone a new type of virile artisans. Petone had at last discovered her destiny and the new industrial centre was established.
The railway, at that time, ran close under the hill and was on the west side of the workshops. It was not until the line was straightened that it was brought to the east side. The first station was merely a flag station and was located a little way north of the "Grand National" hotel, then known as "The Marine Retreat."
This building was taken down and re-erected as a police station, on the Hutt road adjacent to the Korokoro road. The building still stands. Mr. J. J. Abrahall carried out the removal.
The removal of the second station was deplored by every Petone resident. It was one of the most picturesque features of the district, being approached from the Hutt road by a long avenue of sycamore trees whose shade was welcomed on a hot summer's day after a walk down the dusty street. This station was further south than the present one and much nearer the hillside. It was removed when the station was rearranged at the time when the line was straightened.
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Entrance to Petone's second Railway Station.

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a west end contrast: growth of industry over the years.

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