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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Waikohu County

Waikohu County

Splendid Record of Progress

Waikohu County (900 square miles) was constituted in October, 1908. About two-thirds of the area was then in productive use. Much of the remainder was in heavy bush. Practically all the roads (188 miles) were unmetalled, many of them being only 9-foot tracks. The council first met on 3 March, 1909, its personnel being: W. D. S. MacDonald, A. M. Lewis, H. E. Tiffen, M. Campbell, H. Telford and E. M. Hutchinson. Mr. MacDonald was elected chairman.

The county took over a loan of £4,941 from the Waikohu Road Board, also loans amounting to £25,907 from Cook County. It had, up to 31 March, 1947, raised loans amounting, in the aggregate, to £88,815, all the money being borrowed in New Zealand. Debentures amounting to £42,000 were converted in 1935, and the conversion loan will expire in 1960. The net public debt at 31 March, 1947, was £49,894. Approximately one-half will be paid off by 1950. Of the loans raised by the county, £8,500 was page 407 for bridges, £9,500 for homes for county employees, £6,600 towards the cost of building Cook Hospital (1914), and £63,455 for the construction of, and the metalling of, roads.

By 1947 2¼ miles of roads had been sealed, 297½ miles metalled, and 101 miles formed to a width of 16 feet, but not metalled. The bridges then numbered 66, with an aggregate length of 6,903 feet. Te Karaka (the headquarters) was constituted a town district in 1916. Its board controls sanitation, a library, the side roads and footpaths. The main road is a State highway.

Statistics.—Rates: 1909–10, £7,813; 1946–7, £29,572. Ratepayers: 1909–10, 335; 1946–7, 623. Rateable properties: 1909–10, 637; 1946–47, 1,239. Capital value of the county: 1909–10, £1,407,172; 1949, £3,829,879.

Chairmen: W. D. S. MacDonald, 1909–11; E. M. Hutchinson, 1911–14; Cyril White, 1914–17; L. B. Tulloch, 1917–20; T. B. Spence, 1920–29; A. A. Fraser, 1929–. G. Warren was clerk from 1908 till 1915; J. G. Appleton (1915–49); then N. W. McCormick. Engineers: W. S. Charlesworth, 1909–10; J. Mouat, 1910–14; F. C. Hay, 1915–16; W. Whittaker, 1916–17; A. H. Benham, 1917–22; A. G. M. Lucas, 1922–45; S. R. Currie, 1945–.


There were 96 Europeans in the Waikohu Road District in 1878. The number of Maoris then is not officially known. In 1906 the combined population was 1858. By 1926 the European population was: County, 2,604; Te Karaka T.D., 321; Maoris, 488 and 48 respectively; grand total, 3,461. In 1945 the figures were: Europeans—County, 1,912; Te Karaka T.D., 262; Maoris—County, 919; Te Karaka T.D., 109; grand total, 3,202, plus 3 per cent. to make up for residents absent on war activities.

Te Karaka township site was covered with scrub and surrounded by heavy bush in the early 1880's. Its first white resident was George Burgess, a “bullocky.” A shepherd named McKinnon then built an hotel, the Isle of Mull, in thick bush near the river. In 1883 Mr. Hutton erected a sawmill at the back of the site on which the school now stands. A saddler's shop and a store followed. The sawmill was taken over by W. King in 1884. His manager (Alfred H. Salmon) and his wife were the first European married residents. A school, with only five pupils, was opened by C. E. Bolton in 1886. William Hunter was the first mailman.