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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Prime Mover for Grant of Tauwhareparae

Prime Mover for Grant of Tauwhareparae.

Surely I am not the only person alive to-day who remembers those meetings—political, too, some of them, for Mr. Rees unsuccessfully stood for Parliament—perhaps McFarlane's Hall with its historic notices round the walls “Smoking, Chewing and Dogs are Disallowed”; perhaps a little up-country room where smoking was not “disallowed” and where through the blue haze, one might see persistent hecklers being hustled out by stalwarts anxious to hear—or even a stout interrupter rolled on the floor and used as a sofa by a couple of self-constituted guardians of law and order placidly smoking and sternly forbidding even groans from their victim. One question seemed invariably to suggest itself to the audience: “Who's going to pay for the hall?” The lecturer would loftily dismiss the triviality and proceed with his prophetic rhapsody. Incredible as it seems, Mr. Rees and a few kindred spirits so fired the community with their zeal that that handful of people—perhaps not numbering as many hundreds as there are thousands here to-day—decided to take upon their shoulders a liability of £200,000 and build the harbor on Sir John Coode's plan. Determined to get the harbor, it was strange that the public never succeeded in electing a Harbor Board prepared to carry out the public wish. I have been told that Mr. Rees was the prime mover in securing over 44,000 acres of land at Tauwhareparae as a Crown grant for the endowment of the Gisborne harbor. But I have no evidence of the fact. The block was recommended by Col-Porter, applied for in the House by Allan McDonald, member for the district, supported and voted for by all Mr. Rees' friends in Parliament. But whoever moved in the matter, the Harbor Board certainly did not. Mr. McDonald's advertisement of intention to apply for the endowment was brought under the notice of the Board by one of the Board members in May, 1883, and provoked an amusing discussion. “Where was it?” “Was it of any value?” “Should they send a letter to Mr. McDonald approving of his action?” Ultimately they decided that endowments of 44,000 acres were not likely to fall from the skies every day and that they would write approving of the application. Until lately, Gisborneites have paid no harbor rates, thanks to the rentals from Tauwhareparae.