Life in Early Poverty Bay
Son of Mr. E. F. Harris, and a grandson of Capt. J. W. Harris, the first pakeha trader to settle down in Gisborne, Mr. F. R. Harris is as well-known as the town clock and has attained an enviable reputation in respect of kind-heartedness, integrity and public spiritedness. None of the few survivors of the very early days of Poverty Bay is better acquainted with its history and none has a wider acquaintanceship amongst the old hands—Maori and pakeha alike. He is never happier than when enjoying a chat on the days that are past, on the trials and triumphs of the pioneers, on the wonderful record of progress that has been achieved, and on the great possibilities of the district in relation to the future. To-day, Mr. Harris is living in retirement, after a lengthy period of strenuous application to work of a variety of characters, which culminated in his highly successful control, for many years, of the Albion Club Hotel. But he has still numerous interests to occupy his critical attention, including participation in the direction of various companies, whilst, for recreation, he continues actively to associate himself with his favorite pastime, the game of bowls.
Mr. Harris was born in Napier on February 26, 1858, and his parents came to Gisborne in the following year. His father had a store a little way from Biggs' Corner, but, three years later, the lure of gold drew him to that famous Otago goldfield, Gabriel's Gully. Ere he left Mr. Harris senior sold sixty acres around the store to Capt. Read at the price of £2 per acre. Incidentally. Mrs. Pearson, now living at Te Karaka, who is a sister of the subject of this notice, was born at the home of the U'Rren family at Makaraka, near where the railway station now stands. The U'Rens' property was very large and had a very fine orchard and flower garden and was known as “Roseland.” Mr. Harris returned to Gisborne in 1873, five years after the Massacre.