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Life in Early Poverty Bay


Wonderfully well-informed, bright, and interesting, and one of the most esteemed residents of Bushmere, is Mrs W. W. Smith, whose husband became a model farmer and one of the best known amongst the early settlers in this district.

Mrs. W. W. Smith (Bushmere)

Mrs. W. W. Smith (Bushmere)

Mrs Smith, who was a daughter of Mr Wm. Griffin, of Auckland, decided to pay a visit to Poverty Bay to see her cousin, Mrs W. King, who lived at Makauri. She returned here two years later and, in 1871, she was marrieGd to Mr Smith, the ceremony taking place in the Argyll Hotel. In 1913, Mrs Smith had the great misfortune to be bereft of her husband.

Speaking of their early experiences in this district, Mrs Smith said that Gisborne, at the time of her arrival, was still under martial law and she was the first white woman to take up residence at Patutahi after the Massacre. Her husband had landed at Auckland in 1862, proceeding to Hawke's Bay, where he had engaged in cattle raising. After a brief spell at the Gabriel's Gully gold fields, he had returned to Hawke's Bay, but in 1864 he came up and settled in Poverty Bay.