Mr. Samuel Munson Neville
was born on the 22nd of March, 1842, at Boxted, in Essex, England, and was educated at Maling's private school. His father, the late Mr. Sammuel Neville, who died in the early nineties at Kaiapoi, where he had for
years plied his trade as a coach-builder and wheelwright, had come out to New Zealand with his family in 1855. Mr. S. M. Neville at once began a rough pioneering life. At first, he was employed at ten shillings a week as a bullock driver in agricultural work, but shortly afterwards secured an engagement at one pound a week as a wool carter, and he was one of the first to drive on the Saltwater Creek and the Amuri roads. Later on, whilst still quite a lad, he
took a position on the Hawkeswood station near the Conway river, on the boundary of Nelson and Marlborough, and after two years' experience as a stockman and general station assistant, he and one of his fellow workers began to trade in partnership as carriers. They bought one team of bullocks, and worked it until they were able to buy another. The partner was killed in an accident, and for a few years Mr. Neville conducted the two teams, with the help of an assistant. By that time, he had worked up a wide connection, and was regarded as a most careful and courageous carrier. In 1868, be bought two more teams, and for a year or so was kept steadily going in the carriage of fencing and building materials and general supplies. In 1869, he married Miss Elizabeth Wamsley, formerly of Belfast, Ireland, and, with a view to settling down, he sold his teams and bought the accommodation house and site at the Waiau, and shortly afterwards built a large hotel. He resided in the village for nine years, during which he traded successfully as a hotelkeeper, storekeeper, carrier, and general dealer, and, under a Government contract, he conducted the ferry service over the Waiau for three years. On selling out, he went cattle dealing on the West Coast, and drove the herds over to the Cloudy Range and Hossack runs, which he held under lease. He used to buy store cattle all over the three provinces, and also in Canterbury, and, after they had been fattened, he sold them at the best markets in the large centres. In the early eighties, Mr. Neville took up the Gladstone run on the Awatere river, in conjunction with Mr. John Tinline, and then he went to reside in Nelson for nine years, so that his children might have the benefit of a good education. Whilst there he worked under leasehold the station known as “Hillwood.” The Gladstone run, which Mr. Neville now conducts on his own account, is a stretch of mountainous country covering over 20,000 acres, and is devoted entirely to sheep. It is a very old property, as it was first taken up in the fifties by Mr. Hottison, and remained in the hands of his family until the early eighties, when it was bought by Messrs Neville and Tinline. “Paranui,” which Mr. Neville also works, contains 3,000 acres of agricultural and pastoral land in the Omaka road district, near Blenheim. It belongs to the widow of the late Dr. Richardson, whose son is now proprietor of “Meadowbank,” and was taken up by Mr. Neville in 1894. Many improvements have been effected during recent years, and the property now carries about 1500 head of sheep, and a stud flock of pure English Leicester, while several hundred acres are in crop. “Paranui” embraces a good deal of low-lying country, including the site of a number of small lakes: and possesses various relies of Maori habitation, such as artificial channels, and the remains of underground dwellings. Mr. Neville entered public life as a member of the Amuri Road Board in 1869, and has ever since continued to serve his province. He was one of the advocates of the present road from Kaikoura to the Wairau, and of many other roads that have conferred inestimable benefit upon the settlers. During his residence in Nelson, he was elected to the Waimea County Council, and the Suburban North Road Board, of which he was chairman for five years: and, almost continuously, since settling in Blenheim, he has been on the Wairau Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, of which he was chairman for several years. Mr. Neville has a family of seven daughters and two sons.