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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Mrs. Rees' Modifying Influence

Mrs. Rees' Modifying Influence.

This account, though not often mentioning Mrs. Rees by name, is the story of her life from 1863 to 1912, as she was associated with all her husband's activities, frequently modifying his extravagance of thought, and showing a greater mastery of detail than he. After his death, a year before they would have celebrated their golden wedding, her life seemed over, but as the months passed her affection for young people and flowers and growing things kept up her interest in life, almost, as it were against her will. Six years later, she passed away from a small world that loved her dearly.

In many of the causes dear to his heart and for which he worked untiringly, Mr. Rees met with little or no success. But his failures were partly the result of his over-sanguine disposition which saw a tree in full fruit when he planted a seedling, and partly due to the fact that he was a century before his time.

For the world at large, he wanted perfect industrial co-operation bringing commercial and national peace. For the Empire he wanted co-operative colonisation, a peopling of the wide empty spaces with prosperous happy citizens. For New Zealand he wanted just laws, a great future, liberty and progress not merely in wealth but in ideals, knowledge and vision. For Gisborne, besides the aims already referred to, he wanted large parks and playing fields. He persuaded the Native owners to offer one hundred acres of Kaiti Hill to the Borough Council at £10 an acre and fifty acres on the Waikanae, near Childers Road, at £50 an acre to the Sports Association—though that may not have been the name of the guardians of games of the day. Neither offer was accepted. In later years, he wanted the owners of bush sections to get the value of their timber instead of being forced to burn it; the owners of quarries to find a market for their metal; the local Councils to have stone for their roads and the harbor of his dreams; and he formed a plan by which these parties could work together to mutual advantage.