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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]



Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, is a small seaport at the head of a tidal river, ten miles from Waimate North and sixteen miles from Kaeo. Steamers drawing twelve and fourteen feet of water can berth at the wharf at low tide. The oldest wooden building in New Zealand, erected in 1815, is at Kerikeri, and also the oldest stone building in the colony. This was erected by the Church Missionary Society of England in 1833, and was used originally by the missionaries as a store depot. It was strongly built to resist any hostile attack from natives, and it was there that Bishop Selwyn had a fine library. Before Heke's war there was a fairly large number of settlers in the locality, but Kerikeri is now sparsely populated, and the inhabitants gain a livelihood by fishing and gum-digging. Illustrations of both the old buildings spoken of are given on page 63 of this volume.

Black, John, General Storekeeper and Gum Buyer, Kerikeri. It was in 1888 that Mr. Black took over his present business (originally established in 1840 by his predecessor) which is conducted in a massive three-storey stone building erected in 1833 by the Church Missionary Society, and was used by the Rev. Mr. Marsden and the early missionaries. It is said to be the oldest stone building in New Zealand, and there is an interesting association attached to it in the room occupied by Bishop Selwyn as a study and library, the book shelves being still in an excellent state of preservation. The building was constructed to withstand a siege, the massive rafters, 14 x 6 feet, page 579 heart of kauri, together with the rest of the woodwork being even now quite sound. Mr. Black uses part of the basement for storage purposes, the other half forming his general store, and is completely stocked with merchandise. Gum sorting operations are conducted on the upper floor. Mr. Black does a good steady business and has an extensive connection throughout the district. He was born in Louisiana, United States, in 1851. In his early life he engaged in various occupations such as gold-mining, sugar-planting, pearl-fishing, etc., and came to New Zealand per “Meg Merrilies,” landing at Auckland in 1878. Proceeding later to the Bay of Islands, Mr. Black commenced storekeeping in Towai, but sold out his interest there to Mr. R. Marshall in 1890 and removed to Kerikeri, where he had already established his business two years previously.

Hearn, William, General Storekeeper, Kerikeri. Auckland agents, Messrs. L. D. Nathan and Co. Mr. Hearn established this business in 1888, since which time it has grown to considerable dimensions. The premises comprise three large buildings one of which is used as a gum store, the second for storing bulk goods, and the third forms the general business store. Mr. Hearn's connection extends for a wide radius and necessitates the employment of a number of carts and pack-horses. He was born in Barnstaple, Devonshire, in 1839, and spent his early life in farming; afterwards, being attracted by the gold discoveries in Victoria, he sailed in the “Star of England” for Melbourne in 1863. Having tried his fortunes for about two years in Gippsland, Mr. Hearn crossed to New Zealand and spent some years on the West Coast. He was for nearly fourteen years on the Thames with indifferent luck; then moved north to the Bay of Islands, where he constructed the Kawakawa railway tunnel. He returned to the Thames, but again made his way back to the Bay and engaged in the gum industry at Kerikeri.