European Settlement

Memorials on Monument

On Monument hill behind the homestead are the graves of James
and Eliza Reid. They are in separate enclosures surrounded by
wrought iron fences.

Eliza died unexpectedly in November 1942 aged 61 following an
operation. She had outlived her husband James by 34 years.
Following James' death in 1908, Eliza stayed on Motutapu
maintaining an interest in the farm right up until her death.

Her grave is marked by a an engraved granite headstone
and edging and covered with white mosic tiles

In the summer of 2010, Mt Roskill school children discuss with their teachers what life might have been like for Eliza living on Motutapu in the 1900's.

james grave

James died at the Homestead in 1908 after a short illness. He was aged 71. His grave is sited in front of Eliza's and includes an impressive granite urn on a column and base

Late in 1943, the majority of Motutapu was taken under the Public Works Act for Defence purposes.

In September 1943, the Public Works Department completed an agreement with the Reid children, Florence Jean Loomans and Helen Elizabeth Buining to purchase 3212 acres (1300 hectares) for 50,000 pounds. This area comprised the whole of the island except for the Homestead block of 392 acres (159 hectares).

In December 1943 this remaining 392 acres was acquired by the government for 10,200 pounds and so ended the 73 year Reid family association with farming Motutapu.

An area of approximately 0.5 acres (0.2 hectares) incorporating the graves on Monument is all that is now retained by the Reid family. This is the only land remaining in private ownership on the island.

Early Settlers - The Reid Brothers

James_on_his_ownjohn reid july 1899
James Reid 1837 - 1908 John Reid 1837 - 1899

1869 - Reid Brothers Buy Motutapu

In 1869, the Union Bank pressed Robert Graham to reduce his overdraft. To comply with the banks request he sold Motutapu to the Reid brothers then based in Australia. The Reid boys came from a very old family of farmers from Lanarkshire near Glasgow, in Scotland. There was William and his younger siblings James and John were twins, born at Hayston,Campsie, Stirlingshire in 1837. There were five sons, Walter died as an infant and the eldest brother Thomas remained on the family estates in Scotland. He had no children.

In 1865, John and James left Scotland for Melbourne, Australia. James entered a sheep farming venture on the Mallee Plains with a partner having no capital but a good knowledge of sheep farming. James provided the money but after 18 months realised it had cost him a great deal. John took up a sheep run in Queensland but following a three year drought he decided to try for a more suitable climate. Elder brother William had subsequently arrived in Melbourne

William and James journeyed on horseback from Melbourne to Queensland in search of land. On the arduous thousand mile trip the two brothers suffered from hunger and thirst and were unsuccesful in their search for suitable farm land.They met up with John and made arrangements to travel to New Zealand.

They arrived in Auckland in Jan 1869 on the Lord Ashley and attempted to buy Motutapu Island but were unsuccessful. The brothers then journeyed to Nelson in search of land. Still finding nothing suitable they returned to Melbourne. Not long after their arrival, they received notice from Robert Graham of Motutapu that the island was back on the market. The Reids returned to Auckland in Aug 1869 on the Alice Cameron and quickly took possession of the Motutapu farm setting about clearing the ti-tree (manuka), scrub and building fencing using Maori labour from Waiheke. The land eventually carried some 5000 sheep up to 4000 cattle as well as 50-60 horses.

The island abounded with fallow deer (although See Peg Looman's comment below), wallabies, emus, buffaloes, land birds and water fowl many of which had been earlier introduced by Robert Graham.

The Reid brothers continued to stock the island with deer and many invitations to visit Motutapu also included permission to shoot deer and other game. At times there were up to 1000 head of deer although the regular shooting parties tended to keep numbers manageable. James bought fallow deer in from the Kaipara Heads and red deer from Windsor Park, England. He was a very intimate friend of Governor George Grey who had bought Kawau island around the same time the Reids bought Motutapu. Together they imported wallabies from New South Wales

(Peg Loomans, wife of James Reid's grandson Jim Loomans, says it is likely, though not definite, that the deer came from the Reid properties in Scotland still occupied by eldest brother Thomas Reid at that time. Jim Loomans believes James Reid supplied the fallow deer to Kaipara Heads, not the other way around. An Auckland Star article of 1st Feb 1894 mentions the pest that the deer had become. It has always been acknowledged by the Reid family that they introduced the deer, not Graham. It was also a decision which they obviously came to regret) - Peg Loomans 25 April 2010
James attempted to set up a venison export business to Australia but the venture failed for want of refridgeration.

In 1894 there were 6000 sheep, 400 cattle, 100 horses, 40 emus and 11 ostriches as well as numerous other poultry. The poultry won numerous prizes, some of these trophies remain in the possession of the Loomans family (Peg Loomans April 2010).

William Reid died tragically at the Emu Bay Homestead, Motutapu, in 1870 aged 40. He was unmarried. John died on a trip in the South Seas in 1899 on the Union Steamship SS Waikare in 1897 between Apia and Levuka. He had earlier returned to Scotland in 1897 on the occasion of the death in Scotland of the eldest brother, Thomas.

John had left on the Waikare, 9th July, for a trip around the South Seas. At Vava'u, Tonga, he and his fellow travellers journeyed to the village of Longamapu where they enjoyed the hospitality of the villagers. In John's obituary notice in the Weekly News dated 11 Aug 1899, his shipmates reported that they dined on breadfruit, pork, fowl,yams, tapioca root and green coconut and oranges. It was a night of singing and kava drinking. That night John was unwell but seemed to rally over subsequent days. Later in the week he took a turn for the worse. The ship's doctor diagnosed blood poisoning/septicemia and held little hope for him. He died at 4.15pm on Fri 21 July and was buried at sea an hour later.

Flags were flown at half mast in Auckland when news arrived via the Union Steam Ship Company. Both John and James were both very popular, very congenial hosts to their frequent island guests. The photo above, from his obituary published in the Weekly News, 11 Aug 1899, was taken on the eve of his departure. He was 62.

John, whose residence was at Home Bay, had remained a bachelor all his life. Twin brother James was also a bachelor and lived at the original homestead at Emu Bay - a walk of two miles from Home Bay.

James Reid's marriage to Eliza Jane Craig

James_in_family_group_shot
John and Elizabeth Craig, James Reid, Eliza and Andrew

Mr. John Craig was a resident on the island. He took up position of manager on Motutapu probably in the early 1890's. He was assisted by his wife Elizabeth and children Andrew, Eliza Jane, Christina and Isabella. Two other sons were both to die young. Elizabeth was Elizabeth Trotter. She had arrived in Auckland with her brother John in 1876 having come from Scotland via Tasmania. Her eldest brother Alexander had come to New Zealand in the early 1870's. John Craig died in Auckland in 1920, wife Elizabeth was tragically killed in 1927 after being knocked down by a car after she alighted from a tram in Auckland. The Reid descendants believe this was Auckland's first fatal car accident (Peg Loomans April 2010). the first Son Andrew stayed on at the Motutapu farm into the early 1930's.

In the early 1900's when James was in his mid 60's, he married Eliza Jane Craig (aged 20) and they had two daughters (in 1901 James had moved to Home Bay and built the Reid Homestead).

James_on_steps_of_Reid
Eliza and Helen, James Reid, Elizabeth and John Craig

Helen Elizabeth ('Nell') was five years old and her sister Florence Jean, known as Jean, was just two years old when their father died on the island, following a short illness, aged 71 in 1908.

Eliza_at_homestead
View of the front of the Reid Homestead, early 1930's

His obituary in a local newspaper described him as 'a man of wide personal popularity for his graceful and unstinted hospitality' Visitors were welcomed with true courtesy and the island of Motutapu has long been a favourite spot with holiday makers and picnickers.' James was originally buried in Remuera. 12 months after his death, with government permission, he was disinterred and finally laid to rest atop Monument Hill overlooking Home Bay. This was the spot where he had expressed the wish to be buried.

Home Bay Oddfellows Lodge Premier Picnics

Many firms and organizations made annual outings to Motutapu in the early 1900's, including members of the New Zealand and Australian Natives Association and employees of the Electric Tramway Company.

The most important occasions were undoubtedly the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows Premier picnics, which were held in February each year. (Interestingly, the Auckland Star in an article dated May 1971, stated that over 60 years ago 'there were only one of two places to be in Auckland on News Year's Day - the horse races or Home Bay, Motutapu for the Oddfellows Lodge Premier picnic...'). New Year's Day or a day in February? probably doesn't really matter...Ed

People came by train from Hamilton and from as far away as Taumarunui. Ferries ran special trips from Paeroa, Warkworth and Thames. Excursionists came from Auckland in every kind of steam ferry or tug available. Ten steamers were engaged for the Premier Picnic in 1903, transporting some 12000 to 14000 people. Marquees were erected at Home Bay along with sideshows and swings. This is a remarkable gathering when one considers that the population of Auckland City at the time was around 100,000.

The Weekly News dated 17 Feb 1899 gives front page coverage and photos of the picnic which celebrated the 55th anniversary of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. The writer describes 'picnickers as far as the eye can see'. The Newton Brass Band and the Highland Pipes kept the crowds entertained. Races included 120yd, 150yd with events for the under 14's and old members races (over 50's). There were useful cash prizes of 3 pounds for 1st, 1 pound for 2nd and 10 shillings for 3rd place getters. Tug of war contests were held with teams of 10 men and there were donkey rides for the little ones. The last steamers got back inot Auckland at 10.00pm.

Eliza Reid

After Jame's death, Eliza remained on the island and maintained an interest in running the farm. Helen and Florence Reid had lessons from a governess in a schoolroom near the home bay homestead. It was also used as a temporary school for children of the farm staff, a defence installation and later a quarantine station.

Girls_on_Reid_Steps
An aging John Craig poses with the girls on the steps of Reid
Homestead in the 1920's.
Top Left : Christina, Elizabeth and Isabella Craig
Next Row: Christina's daughter Gladys, Helen Reid, Florence Jean Reid,
Isabella's daughter Ilene
Front row: Andrew Craig's daughter Flora and her Grandad, John

In 1935, the Crown commenced negotiations with Eliza and the Trustees of the Reid estate to purchase 41 acres of the island plus right of ways for the construction of a fortress and associated military buildings. The purchase consideration as follows:

525 Pounds ($54,000 in 2009 dollars)
free telephone line for the Reid homestead for 25 years
free use of the new wharf (still to be built) for a period of 21 years
free use of all roads planned for the island
All Trustees signed except for James Scott Johnston, an old friend of James Reid. Johnston contended that selling the acreage to the military would ruin the island as a farming property and suggested 5000 pounds would be a more acceptable consideration. He believed Eliza was selling her daughter's inheritance short. The original 20 page deed of sale dated 20/7/35 shows that Johnston never signed but the sale went through nonetheless. Refer the 1943 entry on European Settlement Timeline for the Crown's subsequent purchase of all but 0.5 acres of the island.

Eliza took an active interest in war work, being a member of both the Victoria League and the Overseas League, as well as a convenor of the War Work Centre of the Lyceum Club. She was awarded the Coronation medal in 1937. Eliza died unexpectedly after an operation in Auckland aged 62, Nov 1942, and is buried on Motutapu, behind her husband James on Monument Hill.

There are a number of beautifully handwrtten letters from Eliza on file at Auckland Archives. Most of these letters are complaints to the military authorities about rubbish being left on Home Bay, noxious weeds not being cleared as promised and asking reasons why the phone connection was delayed. There are also letters where she asks for compensation for horses and cattle that had to be destroyed following injury caused by cattle stops installed by the army.

Kids_learning_about_Eliza
Mt Roskill Primary children at Eliza's grave on Monument Hill
with their teachers, May 2009, discussing what life might have
been like for her in the 1900's. James' grave in background

Both the Reid girls married dutchmen. Helen Elizabeth Reid married Johannes Buining, a retired officer of the Dutch Mercantile Marine. They settled in Beverwyjk, Holland but later moved to Scotland and eventually to Auckland.

Florence Jean married Hendrikus (Harry) Loomans, from a saddle making and coachbuilding family. The Loomans family also traded in horses and showed Hackney horses at shows (it was at one of these shows that Jean Reid met up with Harry). They settled on Motutapu and farmed the island with Eliza. Cattle numbers were up to 1700 when Harry Loomans and family eventually left Motutapu.

On Anniversay weekend 2010, in the company of descendants and relations gatered from all corners of the globe, the ashes of Jean Reid Loomans and Hendrikus (Harry) Loomans were buried on Monument Hill alongside the graves of James and Eliza Reid. The burial sites on Monument Hill consitute the only privately owned land on Motutapu. The Loomans Family Trust owns the small parcel of 0.5 hectares

The following article is reproduced by kind permission of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Auckland Provincial District). The original article can be viewed here:

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc02Cycl-t1-body1-d1-d64-d9.html

Motutapu Island

A fascinating insight into turn of the century early European settlement on the island. The article written and published in 1900 when James Reid was living as a bachelor in his homestead at Emu Bay, prior to building at Home Bay

This arcadian island, which is situated in the Hauraki Gulf within a few miles of Auckland, is one of the most lovely of the many beautiful islands which dot the seascape, and add such attraction to the Auckland Harbour.

Motutapu lies adjacent to the island of Rangitoto, from which it is separated at high water by a narrow channel, but at low water it adjoins that island. It comprises 3700 acres of the most fertile soil, and is indented with bays, accessible at all states of the tide. The best known of them is Home Bay, which possesses a fine jetty, at which steamers of large size can lie in perfect safety in all weathers.

The island is beautifully diversified by hill and dale, and dotted with fine clumps of English trees and fringed on the sea border by the romantic pohutakawa or Christmas tree of New Zealand. Motutapu is a perfect paradise to the lovers of sport, as it abounds with fallow deer, wallabies, emus, buffaloes, land birds and water fowl, dear to the sportsman's heart. Rock oysters are plentiful on the shores of the island, and the sea teems with the most delicious fish. Sheltered from the prevailing cold south-west winds by the venerable Rangitoto, crowned with his crater cone, towering 900 feet above sea level, and seemingly placed as a sentinel to guard the Waitemata, Motutapu possesses an exquisite climate seldom disturbed by boisterous winds or other elemental roysterers.

Motutapu is indeed happily named, for, in the Maori language, the word means the Sacred Island. There, too, the sacred rites of hospitality are observed by Mr. James Reid, the owner of the island, with a liberality so distinguished that his name is held in the highest respect by every individual in Auckland, and by large numbers of world tourists, who, on their visit to Auckland, experience the unaffected graciousness with which Mr. Reid fulfils the duties of host and master in his island kingdom. An invitation to visit the island is easily obtained from Mr. Reid, who is good nature personified, and the invitation often carries permission to shoot deer and other game.

Various societies in Auckland have long held their annual picnics at Home Bay, as permission to do this has always been courteously granted by Mr. Reid. The homestead, situated at Emu Bay, is an ideal home, sheltered in a charming nook; it is surrounded by tree-dotted hills, and is easily approached by a walk of two miles from Home Bay, where the jetty is situated. In addition to the large number of game it carries for its owner, Motutapu depastures between 4000 and 5000 sheep, 300 head of well bred cattle, and about fifty horses, and these are all eagerly sought after by buyers.

Communication with Auckland is most convenient, as steamboats ply several times a week between the city and the island. Motutapu was originally purchased by the late Mr. Robert Graham, who, in 1869, disposed of his interest of several hundred acres to Messrs Reid Bros., and the remaining portion was purchased at the same time from the Messrs Maxwell Bros., who were part owners. The island was then in its native state, but the energy of Messrs Reid Bros. soon converted the ti-tree and scrub covered hills to a fertile pastoral paradise.

Mr. James Reid, Proprietor of Motutapu, the youngest and surviving brother of Messrs Reid Bros., and twin brother to the late Mr. John Reid, who died from the effects of blood poisoning on a trip to the South Sea Islands, was born at Hayston, Campsie, Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1837. On the completion of his education, which took a comparatively short time, and after gaining some first prizes in the various branches of school work, he started farming with his brother, who gave him an excellent training. He then left Scotland, in 1865, for Melbourne.

His first colonial experience was on the Murrumbidgee, where Mr. Reid determined to go in for sheep farming. He took a partner, who possessed nothing but a great knowledge of sheep, Mr. Reid supplying the other indispensable requisite—money. The partners purchased the Pine Plain station, on the Mallce Plains. It carried about 12,000 sheep, which were unfortunately scabby, but Mr. Reid cured them in a few months. He remained at Pine Plain for one year and a half, when he found that he had gained colonial experience to the tune of the loss of £3500. Then he disposed of his interest in the station, and joined his elder brother, the late Mr. William Reid, who had arrived in Australia two years after Mr. James Reid, on a journey of discovery to Queensland.

The two brothers travelled on horseback for over 1000 miles, and suffered extreme hardships from both hunger and thirst. They saw no properties that pleased or suited them, and they then determined to visit New Zealand on a tour of inspection. Messrs William, John, and James Reid reached Auckland in 1869, and tried to buy Motutapu, but could not come to terms with the then owners. They then went to Nelson, but, seeing nothing there to suit them, returned to Melbourne. Very shortly after their arrival they received a letter from the owners of Motutapu, offering terms which Messrs Reid Brothers accepted, and they then returned to Auckland. The brothers immediately set to work clearing and fencing, and their labours resulted in making Motutapu an island elysium.

Messrs William and John Reid are both dead, and Mr. James Reid, the youngest and surviving brother, honourably sustains the reputation of the lairds of Motutapu for graceful and unstinted hospitality. Mr. Reid has never had the opportunity of taking part in the political and general affairs of the day, as most of his time is devoted to beautifying and improving his ideal island home. On the 22nd of April, 1901, in recognition of his continued extreme kindness to the Oddfellows, he was made an honorary life member of that body.

Mr. John Craig, Manager of Motutapu, has occupied the position for about ten years. He is a gentleman in whom Mr. Reid reposes the greatest confidence, and he looks after the general management of the property. Mrs Craig and Miss Craig, whose extreme kindness is known and appreciated by the numerous visitors to the island, ably help Mr. Reid in discharging his duties as a hospitable host.

The Emu Incident 1860

Charles Rooking Carter 1822-1896, Wairarapa member of the General Assembly (Parliament) 1859-65, was on the Emu that October day in 1860. The following notes are taken from his description of events recorded in vol 2 of his 'Life and recollections of a New Zealand Colonist' published in 1866. Thank you to DoC archives for the pic of the Emu about to berth at Wynyard Wharf, Auckland.

the emu for websitecharles rooking carter

'We left Wynyard Pier at 9.15am, 40 gentlemen and 15 ladies including the Governor's wife, Mrs Gore Brown. It was a showery day and continued showery though warm enough when we landed at Motutapu Island. We clambered up a bank and after walking for about an hour arrived at Home Bay as the weather cleared and the sun shone.

Robert Graham had farm buildings at the Bay alongside of which, under spreading trees, an appetising cold collation had been laid out on tables. There was turkey, chicken, duck, ham, tongues, beef, tarts and pies. Sherry, port, brandy and champagne were also in abundance.

After lunch there were games on the green, mostly middle aged men behaving like boys. There were superintendents, premiers-expectant, Mr Speaker, young MP's, elderly statesmen, grave senators shooting at caps in the air, throwing stones at bottles, running races bareheaded and in shirtsleeves and Sir Charles Clifford, Dr Isaac Featherston and Fox playing leap frog.

We boarded the Emu again at 5.00pm all merry and gay then journeyed to Kai Morira, another part of the island, to pick up Mrs Gore Brown and others who had walked over there. As we neared the Bay a little squall blew up and suddenly the boat shook from stem to stern. The paddle wheels whirled but the boat was stopped still. The engines stopped and the boat moved from side to side as if settling itself into bed. It was apparent we had struck a rock. I looked down into the engine room and saw the floor covered in water. Shortly afterwards the vessel started to heel over a little.

Our commander Captain Kreeft gave orders very coolly. We had been towing a small boat in our wake. This was used to first convey the ladies to the shore, about a third of a mile. Next the gentlemen were landed.

We had hit a rock at high water in about 20feet of water. If the Emu hadn't stuck fast on the pointed rock then she would have gone down and many lives would have been lost. At low water she was perched high and dry on the rock with a great hole in her bottom and her engines broken up. She was later sold as a complete wreck; all members of the party later each contributed 5 pounds to Captain Kreeft

On shore we all sheltered under a very large spreading tree, seemingly growing out of the cliff, and lit a driftwood fire resolving to prepare to camp out the night. The only available boat on the island was sent to Auckland with Mrs Gore Brown and her personal friends to get assistance.

On the beach, tea was made; brandy was had but no bread to eat. The ladies sang duets and the gentlemen sang songs and glees and told anecdotes.

At 2.00am, a sail was sighted and a fire wood barge put in to the shore and we all boarded. The floor of the hold was spread thick with coarse gravel. A little later a cutter from Commander Loring's H.M Ship 'Iris' arrived and took on board some of us off the barge including myself.

We tacked and tacked but the wind was against us. The barge returned and collected the 16 of us off the cutter. At 5.30am we arrived back at Wynyard Pier. I caught a chill which nearly cost me my life.

The House closed after a wearying session of 98 days and I returned to Wellington '

Charles Rooking Carter was a well known and successful businessman and politician in Wellington and Wairarapa circles. The town of Carterton is named after him as is the astronomical observatory in Wellington the building of which was provided for in his estate.

It is sobering to reflect on what might well have been a major disaster for the young colony. 80% of members of the General Assembly* were on the Emu that day, 27th October 1860, including a number of future Prime Ministers.
* House of Representatives (37 members) Legislative Council (14 members)

The rock that the paddle steamer struck is now called Emu Rock and the wreck is also remembered in the names of Emu Bay and Emu Point. The wreck itself lies just off Emu Rock in five to seven metres of water.

emu_rock_today
Emu rock today

Quick update - NZ General Assemby (Parliament) History 1852 - 1865

1852
NZ Constitution Act passed in Britain

1853
First elections held

1854
First meeting of General Assembly held in Auckland

1854-56
Governor Gore Brown refuses to hand over authority to Assembly without specific instructions from Britain.

1860
Maori Land wars - Governor and Parliament clash
Governor continues to control military and Maori affairs
Government proposes NZ becomes self reliant and Britain agrees
Governor to act only upon advice of Government

1865
Parliament moves to Wellington after 10 years of argument - decision made by an appointed Australian Commissioner (some southern members had been taking up to 2 months to travel to Auckland)

Early Settlers - Robert Graham

Rober_Graham
Robert Graham 1820-1885

1857 - Robert Graham's Purchase of Motutapu

Robert Graham purchased a portion of Motutapu from the Crown in 1857 with money said to have been borrowed from Sir John Gorst. According to his biographer, George Cruickshank, Graham was always mortgaged to the hilt and had a considerable portfolio of properties.

Graham arrived in New Zealand on the Jane Gifford in 1842 at the age of twenty-two. He had previously worked In the family coal mine business as well as working in a Glasgow warehouse. Later he started a wholesale business, R&D Graham, in the Bay of islands with his brother David and later opened a branch in Auckland.

In 1855 he was elected to Parliament where he served for thirteen years. He also spent many years on the Provincial Council and was Superintendent between 1862 and 1865.

1860 - Graham's Picnic for the General Assembly

In 1860, Graham invited fellow members of the General Assembly to a picnic on Motutapu. He chartered the Emu which was Auckland's first iron paddle-steamer. It had been built in Melbourne in 1858 and had sailed out to Nelson the following year. On Saturday 27th October 1858, Graham's picnic party, comprising about forty gentlemen and fifteen ladies and including Governor Gore Browne's wife, set off for Motutapu.

According to Charles Rooking Carter, the Member for Wairarapa, they had a splendid day including a buffet lunch outdoors which included champagne and meat from just about every bird or beast available on the island. Games and races followed including leap-frog!

The Wreck of the Emu

The party reboarded the Emu at about 5 o'clock that evening and set off to Kai Moririra Bay to collect Mrs.Gore Browne and several others who had walked to the Bay during the day. As they neared the bay the little Emu suddenly shook from stem to stern. The steamer had struck a rock. A short time later the boat began to keel over.

Several boats were enlisted to get everyone ashore and eventually all back to Auckland. Mr. Carter nearly caught his death as he had a cold and wet trip back to Auckland in a cutter, with the wind against them. He finally reached Wynard Pier at half past five in the morning.

A week later effects from the Emu were advertised for auction in several lots and an inventory listed separate items such as a velvet sofa, a glass lamp, the steam gauge and boat hook. The rock which the steamer struck is now called Emu Rock and the wreck is also remembered in the names Emu Bay and Emu Point. The wreck lies just off Emu Rock in five to seven metres of water.

For a more detailed account from Charles Rooking Carter and pictures refer The Emu Incident

Graham's Farming Activities

While Graham was owner of Motutapu he is said to have laid down 1,200 acres (486) hectares in grass in a single year. He imported pedigree sheep and cattle which won many prizes in local agricultural shows. He also imported game, including hares, quail and pheasants.

We acknowledge the kind permission of the NZETC (New Zealand Electronic Text Centre) for allowing us to reproduce the following article. Originally published by the Cyclopedia company of New Zealand, 1902.

Mr. Robert Graham

Robert Graham,who was Superintendent of the Province of Auckland from 1862 to 1865, may very justly be classed amongst Auckland's prominent pioneers. He was born near Glasgow, Scotland, in 1820, and was the third son of a farmer and coalmine owner, who, though wealthy, trained his sons in a manner well calculated to fit them for useful work. While not more than sixteen years of age, Mr. Graham was entrusted with the management of an important branch of his father's business, and very nearly lost his life. The colliers had struck, and young Graham was descending the pit himself, but some of the strands of the rope had been

In 1842, Mr. Graham left Greenock in the "Jane Gifford," one of the first ships which left Great Britain direct for Auckland, at which she arrived on the 9th of October. Mr. Graham lost no time in getting into harness. Chartering the "Black Hawk," a new cutter belonging to Mr. Brandon, he loaded her with goods, and, with nothing in the shape of a chart, sailed for the Bay of Islands. There he met his brother David, who had preceded him to the Colony, and the brothers started business under the style of R. and D. Graham. More goods were obtained from Sydney, and a branch of the firm's business was established at Auckland itself. Mr. Graham seems to have made friends with the Maoris, for he was warned by Hone Heke of impending trouble, and managed to get his whole stock away from Kororareka, just in time to escape the spoliation, which was to become an incident in New Zealand history.

In 1850 the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Robert Graham made two or three trips to San Francisco, and on one occasion remained in California about three years. On returning to Auckland, he greatly improved his estate at Ellerslie, and bought many other properties.

As showing the scale upon which Mr. Graham carried out his ventures in those early days, it may be mentioned that he purchased the Island of Motutapu, and in one year put 1200 acres under grass. He was the founder of the Colony's health resorts at Waiwera and Rotorua. As early as 1844 he purchased the Hot Springs property at Waiwera, from the chief of the district, Te Hemara, and was not long in establishing a sanatorium, which has gradually grown into the establishment that now flourishes at Waiwera.

Mr. Graham was a member of the Colony's second Parliament, in which his force of character and experience in the management of the natives were willingly placed at the disposal of his fellow colonists. From 1856 to 1858 he represented what was then known as the Southern Division and from 1861 to 1867 he sat for Franklin, which was part of his original constituency.

He strongly opposed the removal of the seat of Government, but after that had been decided on he was on board the "White Swan" when she was wrecked on her way to Wollington with the Government records; and it was he who, with three of the sailors, volunteered to find a safe landing place, and further helped successfully to get other passengers ashore. Mr. Graham also led a small party to Wellington and obtained the assistance required to complete the rescue. In doing this he and his companions had to ford rivers and pass through the lands of dangerous, though not actively hostile tribes.

Unfortunately while returning from Wellington in the "Lord Worsley," Mr. Graham and his fellow passengers again suffered shipwreck, and this time the party fell into the hands of bloodthirsty and fanatical natives in the Waitara district. The chief, Wiremu Kingi, was, however, found to be friendly on being approached by Mr. Graham. Nevertheless, the natives flocked to the wreck, made prisoners of the passengers and crew, and at two o'clock in the morning of the fifth day a Maori boy warned Mr. Graham and Captain Butler that the Maoris intended to tomahawk the whole party, which numbered about sixty. Mr. Graham immediately went out to the natives and told them, as they were assembled round their fire, that the party had been cast into their power by the sea, and that the murder of defenseless and innocent men would be revenged by the soldiers and men-of-war. Te Whiti, who was present, had some influence even in those days, and his protest against the massacre, led to the shipwrecked party obtaining a day's respite.

Mr. Graham had a two hours' interview next day with about sixty of the principal natives, who, after much persuasion, consented to allow the shipwrecked party to go on to New Plymouth. That, however, did not end the incidents connected with the wreck. The Maoris discovered £6000 worth of gold dust in the safe of the wrecked steamer. Mr. Graham became fully aware of this circumstance when ten miles on his journey towards New Plymouth, and, not withstanding the perilousness of the enterprise, he determined to return to break open the chief's padlocked door and overcome all the objections which that redoubtable personage might make to the removal of the gold. In recognition of the services so gallantly rendered by him, Mr. Graham received numerous letters of thanks, and a testimonial of £1000 from the insurance companies that held risks on the gold.

It was almost immediately after this that Mr. Graham was requested to consent to be nominated for the office of Superintendent of the Province of Auckland. He yielded, and though opposed by the sitting Superintendent, Mr. John Williamson, won the election by more than 500 votes.

During his three years of office, Mr. Graham was very active in the interest of the province. He and his Executive started the Waikato railway, and secured the erection of the post office, supreme court, asylum, and other public buildings, and such works as the Panmure bridge.

He was first elected to the Auckland Provincial Council in 1856. At the conclusion of his term of Superintendent he was returned to the Council, and was re-elected in 1868.

An interesting item of Mr. Graham's history is furnished by the manner in which he acquired his Rotorua property. In 1878, he made a trip to that wonderful region, and on his return was induced to use his influence with the Maoris in furthering the settlement of a land dispute, between two hostile tribes at Maketu, between whom war was imminent. After much delicate negotiation he persuaded them to submit their differences to the Land Court for decision, and the Rotorua chiefs, in their gratitude, presented Mr. Graham with the land with which his name was afterwards so intimately associated, and with great ceremony, they placed him upon it and handed him a title in perpetuity.

Ten years before this Mr. Graham had formed Grahamstown, Thames, and did much to connect it by rail with Tararu, this being one of the earliest rail ways in the Colony. In many other ways, Mr. Robert Graham was prominently connected with the progress and prosperity of the Auckland district, in which few men were ever better known or exercised a larger in fluence. In his later life when times were less stirring, and the Colony's affairs more settled, he was able to live more quietly, but his wonderfully active nature kept him in touch with all matters of importance. Mr. Graham died in Auckland on the 26th of May, 1885, and was buried in St. Mark's Cemetery, Remuera.

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc02Cycl-t1-body1-d1-d4-d6.html
the Cyclopedia company of New Zealand, 1902

1901 Newspaper article

Reproduced by kind permission of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Auckland Provincial District). The original article can be viewed here:

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc02Cycl-t1-body1-d1-d64-d9.html

Motutapu Island

A fascinating insight into turn of the century early European settlement on the island. Article written in 1901 when James Reid farmed the island

This arcadian island, which is situated in the Hauraki Gulf within a few miles of Auckland, is one of the most lovely of the many beautiful islands which dot the seascape, and add such attraction to the Auckland Harbour.

Motutapu lies adjacent to the island of Rangitoto, from which it is separated at high water by a narrow channel, but at low water it adjoins that island. It comprises 3700 acres of the most fertile soil, and is indented with bays, accessible at all states of the tide. The best known of them is Home Bay, which possesses a fine jetty, at which steamers of large size can lie in perfect safety in all weathers.

The island is beautifully diversified by hill and dale, and dotted with fine clumps of English trees and fringed on the sea border by the romantic pohutakawa or Christmas tree of New Zealand. Motutapu is a perfect paradise to the lovers of sport, as it abounds with fallow deer, wallabies, emus, buffaloes, land birds and water fowl, dear to the sportsman's heart. Rock oysters are plentiful on the shores of the island, and the sea teems with the most delicious fish. Sheltered from the prevailing cold south-west winds by the venerable Rangitoto, crowned with his crater cone, towering 900 feet above sea level, and seemingly placed as a sentinel to guard the Waitemata, Motutapu possesses an exquisite climate seldom disturbed by boisterous winds or other elemental roysterers.

Motutapu is indeed happily named, for, in the Maori language, the word means the Sacred Island. There, too, the sacred rites of hospitality are observed by Mr. James Reid, the owner of the island, with a liberality so distinguished that his name is held in the highest respect by every individual in Auckland, and by large numbers of world tourists, who, on their visit to Auckland, experience the unaffected graciousness with which Mr. Reid fulfils the duties of host and master in his island kingdom. An invitation to visit the island is easily obtained from Mr. Reid, who is good nature personified, and the invitation often carries permission to shoot deer and other game.

Various societies in Auckland have long held their annual picnics at Home Bay, as permission to do this has always been courteously granted by Mr. Reid. The homestead, situated at Emu Bay, is an ideal home, sheltered in a charming nook; it is surrounded by tree-dotted hills, and is easily approached by a walk of two miles from Home Bay, where the jetty is situated. In addition to the large number of game it carries for its owner, Motutapu depastures between 4000 and 5000 sheep, 300 head of well bred cattle, and about fifty horses, and these are all eagerly sought after by buyers.

Communication with Auckland is most convenient, as steamboats ply several times a week between the city and the island. Motutapu was originally purchased by the late Mr. Robert Graham, who, in 1869, disposed of his interest of several hundred acres to Messrs Reid Bros., and the remaining portion was purchased at the same time from the Messrs Maxwell Bros., who were part owners. The island was then in its native state, but the energy of Messrs Reid Bros. soon converted the ti-tree and scrub covered hills to a fertile pastoral paradise.

Mr. James Reid, Proprietor of Motutapu, the youngest and surviving brother of Messrs Reid Bros., and twin brother to the late Mr. John Reid, who died from the effects of blood poisoning on a trip to the South Sea Islands, was born at Hayston, Campsie, Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1837. On the completion of his education, which took a comparatively short time, and after gaining some first prizes in the various branches of school work, he started farming with his brother, who gave him an excellent training. He then left Scotland, in 1865, for Melbourne.

His first colonial experience was on the Murrumbidgee, where Mr. Reid determined to go in for sheep farming. He took a partner, who possessed nothing but a great knowledge of sheep, Mr. Reid supplying the other indispensable requisite—money. The partners purchased the Pine Plain station, on the Mallce Plains. It carried about 12,000 sheep, which were unfortunately scabby, but Mr. Reid cured them in a few months. He remained at Pine Plain for one year and a half, when he found that he had gained colonial experience to the tune of the loss of £3500. Then he disposed of his interest in the station, and joined his elder brother, the late Mr. William Reid, who had arrived in Australia two years after Mr. James Reid, on a journey of discovery to Queensland.

The two brothers travelled on horseback for over 1000 miles, and suffered extreme hardships from both hunger and thirst. They saw no properties that pleased or suited them, and they then determined to visit New Zealand on a tour of inspection. Messrs William, John, and James Reid reached Auckland in 1869, and tried to buy Motutapu, but could not come to terms with the then owners. They then went to Nelson, but, seeing nothing there to suit them, returned to Melbourne. Very shortly after their arrival they received a letter from the owners of Motatapu, offering terms which Messrs Reid Brothers accepted, and they then returned to Auckland. The brothers immediately set to work clearing and fencing, and their labours resulted in making Motutapu an island elysium.

Messrs William and John Reid are both dead, and Mr. James Reid, the youngest and surviving brother, honourably sustains the reputation of the lairds of Motutapu for graceful and unstinted hospitality. Mr. Reid has never had the opportunity of taking part in the political and general affairs of the day, as most of his time is devoted to beautifying and improving his ideal island home. On the 22nd of April, 1901, in recognition of his continued extreme kindness to the Oddfellows, he was made an honorary life member of that body.

Mr. John Craig, Manager of Motutapu, has occupied the position for about ten years. He is a gentleman in whom Mr. Reid reposes the greatest confidence, and he looks after the general management of the property. Mrs Craig and Miss Craig, whose extreme kindness is known and appreciated by the numerous visitors to the island, ably help Mr. Reid in discharging his duties as a hospitable host.

European Settlement Timeline

A Timeline of Early European Settlement through to 1945

1820
Samuel Marsden crosses between Rangitoto and Motutapu in his whale boat. The boat has to be dragged by 50 Maori over the sandbank and into the deep water of the Waitemata. Marsden notes large number of Maori in the area (for a detailed Maori Settlement timeline refer Maori Settlement)

Marsden, with the Rev John Butler, are the first Europeans to walk across the Auckland isthmus and sight the Manukau Harbour.

1827
French explorer Dumont D'urville explores the Hauraki Gulf in the corvette Astrolabe and produces the first charts (Captain James Cook never saw the Waitemata) .

1832
Trader John Cowell visits Motutapu and reports the island to be deserted

George Weller claims to have 'bought' four islands including Rangitoto and Motutapu (as well as huge other areas in other locations around New Zealand). His claim was rejected as 'ridiculous in extent and questionable in validity'.

1833
Henry Williams camps on Motutapu. Williams was an early missionary who had sailed to NZ with Marsden on his 4th trip in 1823. Williams later was responsible for translating the Treaty into Maori

1836
Many of the previously evacuated territories including Motutapu are resettled by Ngati Tai.

1840
Governor Hobson selects Auckland as site for new capital

Ngati Tai sell the northern part of the island (2560 acres), in Jan 1840, to Thomas Maxwell, boatbuilder and trader from Makatu (McLeod's) Bay, Waiheke.
He had lived at Maraetai with Ngati Tai and was married to Ngeungeu the daughter of the principal chief, Tara Te Irirangi
Maxwell paid 10 casks of powder, 4 double barrel guns, 80 blankets, 1 case of muskets, 6 cloaks, 20 cartridge boxes, 5 caps, 5 pairs black trousers, 5 gown pieces and 5 shawls for Motutapu and the adjacent islands of Rakino and the Noises.

On 4 Mar, the treaty of Waitangi is signed at Karaka Bay, Tamaki river mouth. The Treaty states Crown has 'right of pre-emption' (Maori selling land had to sell to the Crown). Prior land purchase claims have to be reviewed.

Northern end of the island leased out to James Moncur

1842
Maxwell lost at sea during a violent gale en route to Port Nicholson on the maiden voyage of his boat the 'Sarah Maxwell' named after his wife Rahere (Sarah) Ngeungeu. Two sons perish with him. His four surviving sons are left to prosecute their claim to his deceased estate. So begins one of the most complicated land claims in the history of the young colony

1843
Maxwell's land claims called for investigation, no one appears so claim is laid aside.

1844
Governor Fitzroy demands a hearing in favour of Maxwell's children. Tara te Irirangi (Ngati Tai) claims he never received his share of the payment for Motutapu. Commissioner Fitzgerald directs a payment of 20 pounds be made. Payment met by James Moncur on condition he can continue to lease the land until Maxwell's eldest son, James, comes of age.

Fitzgerald directs James Maxwell receive a grant of 891 hectares comprising the whole eastern end of island excluding a 32 hectare government reserve (present day Administration Bay).

1845
Southern end purchased by James Williamson and Thomas Crummer. They purchase 1500 acres paying 40 blankets, 2 coats, 2 pairs trousers, 2 pieces of calico, 2 guns, 2 muskets, 1 double barrelled gun, 2 pairs shoes, 1 cover lid, 1 shirt, 1 piece of print and 32 pounds in money. They begin to stock the island. Their 'purchase' was during the 1844-45 period the Crown waived the right of pre-emption.

Norfolk pines and other exotics planted (still stand today as familiar landmarks on the horizon and mark the original settlement sites)

Williamson and Crummer place notice in 'The New Zealander' stating any person cutting wood or hunting pigs on Motutapu will be prosecuted.

1846
Maxwell's children and Williamson and Crummer in dispute over ownership.

1849
Crown issues grant to Williamson and Crummer for just 86 of the 1500 acres, which they refuse. Maxwell's surviving sons awarded approx 70% of the island

1849-54
Dispute still ongoing between the Maxwells children and Williamson and Crummer.

1857
Survey plan by Charles Heaphy shows a homestead at Home Bay (presumably built by Williamson and Crummer), a cottage above Islington Bay and stables and a hut at Emu Bay.

Robert Graham awarded title to northern part and later acquires Williamson and Crummer title (Crown sells Graham its 1440 acres and he negotiates with the Maxwell sons for the purchase of their 2200 acres - Graham now has title to entire island excepting the 80acre public reserve gazetted at Administration Bay)

1858
Graham purchases Motuihe

1860
Graham introduces deer, rabbits, quail, pheasants, wallabies, ostriches and other exotic animals as a visitor attraction (although James Reid's descendants claim it was the Reids, and not Graham, who introduced deer to the island).

He establishes considerable areas in pasture (486 hectares in a single year) and imports pedigree sheep and cattle and is elected Auckland representative in the General Assembly.

Paddle steamer vessel Emu with 40 gentlemen from the General Assembly and 15 ladies onboard (following a luncheon at Motutapu with Graham) strikes an uncharted submerged rock and sinks (no loss of life). Rock becomes known as Emu rock and Kai Moriria renamed Emu Bay.

1869
Reid Brothers (William and twins John and James) purchase the island from Robert Graham for 16000 pounds.
Homestead built at Emu Bay
Reids fence and clear much of the island of manuka scrub, eventually allowing for 5000 sheep, 4000 cattle and 60 horses.

Reids stock the island with deer
(Peg Loomans, wife of James Reid's Grandson Jim Loomans, says Sir George Grey and the Reid Bros were friends. Governor Grey introduced fallow deer onto Kawau around 1870. It is likely, though not definite, that the deer came from the Reid properties in Scotland still occupied by eldest brother Thomas Reid at that time. An Auckland Star article of 1st Feb 1894 mentions what a pest the deer had become. The Reid family always acknowledged that they introduced the deer, which they obviously came to regret) Peg's comments dated 25 April 2010.
Reids also introduce wallabies, emus, buffaloes and waterfowl . Wallabies eat grasses, karaka, Pohutukawa and climb trees to browse foliage.

1870
Reids acquire northern part of the island from Maxwell's descendants
Eldest brother William Reid dies tragically at Emu Bay Homestead,Motutapu, aged 40, is buried at Old Symonds St cemetary, Auckland.
Second homestead built in Home Bay (John's residence). James remains based at Emu Bay.

1875
on 9 March 1875, the 'Island of Motutapu' is advertised for sale in the NZ Herald, 'for further information apply W.Aitken, Land Agent'. Was this the Reids simply testing the market?

1879
50% of island now in pasture, half in scrub - mainly manuka and fernland. Few trees remaining except in eastern valleys

1890
James Reid appoints John Craig as farm manager. John is assisted by wife Elizabeth (Reid's housekeeper) and their children. Craig children include Andrew, Eliza, Jane, Isabella, Christina and two other sons who were to die young.

1899
John Reid (James' twin) dies from blood poisoning following a shore excursion to Longamapu, Vava'u (Tonga). He dies a week later and is buried at sea between Apia and Levuka from the Union Steamship, SS Waikare on 21 July

1900
James Reid (aged 63) marries John Craig's daughter, Eliza (aged 20)

1901
Eliza prefers Home Bay to Emu Bay. James builds the present Reid Homestead at Home Bay on the site of John's home which is believed to have burned down (according to the Loomans family).

1902
Two earlier Home Bay homesteads removed

1903
Premier Picnic - 10 steamers run 15 trips from Auckland, transporting 14,000 people to Home Bay (NB: this is an amazing turn out considering the population of Auckland was only 100,000 at the time!)

James and Eliza's first daughter, Helen Elizabeth ('Nell') born.

1905
Second daughter, Florence Jean (Jean) born

1908
James Reid dies at home after a short illness aged 71. He is buried on Monument hill behind Home Bay. Eliza stays on the island living at Reid Homestead and maintains an interest in running the farm

1912
Reid daughters move to boarding school in Auckland. Previously schooled, together with cousins, by governess in the schoolroom by the homestead. School room later called 'Old School Building'

1916
Third Infantry regiment has territorial camp at Home Bay prior to sailing to Gallipoli and the Western Front. 700 men attend the camp under the command of Lieutenant Colonel A. Bartlett.

1925
Deer from Motutapu still being sighted swimming to Rangitoto

1930
Last of the Reids ostriches and emus die off

1935
Reids sign agreement with the Crown to use the island for defence purposes and to build a fort, roads, a quarry, yard and wharf

1936
Work begins on infrastructure for the counter bombardment gun battery
A quarry is started near the south end of Home Bay to supply roading material
Onehunga business, H. Bray &Co awarded contract by military for both the fortress and wharf.
Work begins on the Home Bay wharf to be built 6 chains east of Mrs Reid's wharf.
Bray & Co apply for extension on contracts as new legislation re the 40 hour week is enacted.
Public Works department camp set up at Home Bay to accommodate workers.
Reserve at Administration Bay reclassified for defence purposes
(For a detailed Military Motutapu timeline refer WWII Timeline)

1937
Military provide Eliza Reid with free phone line, connecting homestead with mainland (part of the sale and purchase agreement)

1938
A letter to the permanent head of the Public Works Department in Wellington states that 'Auckland City Councillors want to purchase some of the island, road it and open it to the public of Auckland as a marine suburb'.
6 inch Mark21 guns mounted at battery
Eliza Reid expresses intention to sell all of island except 200 acres at Home Bay
Island title transferred from Eliza to her daughters, Helen Elizabeth Buining and Florence Jean Loomans (tenants in common, equal shares for the approxiamate 3072 acres)

1939
NZ enters WWII
Island now managed by the Land Development Branch of Lands and Survey Department, Auckland

Eliza Reid takes active role in war work as member of the Victoria and Overseas League. She also convenes the war work centre of the Lyceum Club

1942
Eliza Reid dies unexpectedly in Auckland following an operation aged 62. She is buried at Home Bay behind James on Monument Hill

1943
The majority of the island is taken over under the Public Works Act for Defence Purposes.
Public Works Department purchase 3212 acres from the Reid daughters for 50,000 pounds ($3.8million 2009 dollars). The purchase price was considered (by Government agencies) to be above the productive value of the land and included compensation for the very considerable interference with farming during the war.
4252 sheep stocked on island
Island farmed by the Land Settlement Board on an agency basis for the Defence department

1944
Home Bay Homestead block acquired by Crown for defence purposes (approx 392 acres) for 10,200 pounds ($774,000 2009 dollars)
An area of approx 0.5 acres, incorporating the family cemetery, is all that is retained by the Reid family.
Battery closes, barbed wire removed from coast and buildings at camps all dismantled except for the mine base, HMNZS Emu and the Administration Bay artillery camp.

Motutapu Farm managers and their families move into Reid Homestead (for a listing of farm managers 1944-1984 refer the Farm )

click Timeline Post WWII for events through to present day

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