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TUHITARATA Cemetery, South Wairarapa

Journal by ngairedith

A zoom in map of TUHITARATA showing where it is situated in the South Wairarapa Valley - North of lake Ferry and Pirinoa, South of Martinborough, just east of Lake Wairarapa and alongside the Ruamahanga River.

TUHITARATA CEMETERY is a private, McMaster Family Cemetery, still in use by their descendants at time of writing. The first burial appears to be about 1873 when Mihi Mete (1798-1873), the wife of the then leading Wairarapa chief, Te Hiko Pīata Tama-i-hikoia, died. Te Hiko Piata Tama-i-hikoia (c1790-1883) was possibly born at Te Ngapuke (Te Waitapu, near Tuhitarata). His principal hapu were Rakaiwhakairi, Ngati Kahukura-awhitia and Ngati Rangitawhanga; his tribal affiliations were with Ngati Kahungunu, Rangitane, Ngati Ira and Ngai Tahu of Wairarapa. He was descended from the ancestor Kahungunu through Rakaitekura and Rangitawhanga, from whom he inherited rights over lands in Southern Wairarapa. Te Hiko died 1 July 1881 and is also buried at Tuhitarata cemetery. This is a story of Te Hiko and should be read in full to understand the people and their land ..

About ANGUS McMASTER (1800-1888)
Angus McMaster was born in Strontian parish in Argyll in April 1800 (taken from his bio below). He left Scotland on 25 Aug 1840, arriving in Port Nicholson (Wellington) 27 Dec 1840, on board the barque 'Blenheim,' with 197 other new settlers (including his future wife).
. NOTE . The passenger list of the Blenheim says he was 36, a ploughman from Kinlockmoidart.

lithograph of Port Nicholson 1841, by Major Charles Heaphy (1820-1881)

Angus was soon employed as an overseer on the road being constructed (by some of his fellow passengers), between Wellington and the Hutt Valley. He married Mary McKenzie (1823-1864) on 13 Dec 1842 at the Scotch Church in Wellington. Mary was a daughter of Hugh McKenzie (1781-1877) & Catherine McDonald (1792-1879). They were also passengers on the Blenheim with their 6 children.

painting The first Scotch Church (St. Andrew's), on Lambton Quay, Clay Point, 1842

In 1843-1844, after living at Evans Bay, which was known for a time as McMaster Bay, Angus and Mary travelled by foot over to the Wairarapa, Angus cutting the way through the dense bush of the Rimutaka Ranges as they went, an 11 day journey. Their new life at Tuhitarata began with his having met chief Te Hiko Piata Tama-i-hikoia who subsequently leased them some land.

The children of Angus & Mary. All born at Tuhitarata, most are buried at Tuhitarata and their individual stories are at the searchable cemetery link
* 1846 - 1902 Hugh McMaster
.. 1st white child born in the Wairarapa
* 1848 - 1896 Duncan McMaster (+Drummond)
* 1849 - 1919 Donald McMaster
* 1851 - 1893 Annie McMaster (+Stevens)
* 1854 - 1898 Bethiah 'Bessie' McMaster
* 1856 - 1856 Sarah 'Lala' McMaster
* 1858 - 1935 John McMaster (+Colman, a cousin)
* 1860 - 1884 Jessie McMaster
* 1862 - 1892 Mary McMaster
* 1864 - 1864 Alan McMaster

Mary died 18 June 1864 aged 41, 5 days after the premature birth & death of their son Alan. Angus remarried on 6 July 1866 to Hannah Jones (1839-1917).

The children of Angus & Hannah
* 1867 - Ellen Jones McMaster (+Ruben Uru Te Miroi)
* 1868 - 1907 Isabella McMaster
* 1870 - Hannah McMaster
* 1872 - 1935 Archibald McMaster
* 1874 - 1931 Augusina Kate McMaster
* 1876 - 1937 Angus McMaster

photo Angus & his wife. As Angus was born c1800 and 1st wife Mary died in 1864, one would assume this is of Mary, Angus looking younger than 64.

Wairarapa Daily Times, 27 Feb 1888

Great and universal regret was felt by all who knew him, when the news went round in Greytown on Saturday that Mr Angus McMaster was dead and again was it realised that one by one those best bonds of attachment to the past - old friends - were being removed from among us to take their place where earthly troubles are no more.
It has been generally known that for some time past the deceased gentleman had been failing and it says very much indeed for the loving kindness of his devoted wife and family that he should with his recent feeble health have reached the ripe age of eighty-eight before succumbing.
The late Mr McMaster, whose kindness, hospitality and many good qualities, have in the past made him known, respected and regarded throughout the whole Wairarapa district, came out from Scotland in the ship "Blenheim" in 1841 and landed in Wellington on New Year's Day. He was at that time a single man and settled down to his first occupation at Kaiwarrra. Ere long, however, he married and with his first wife, afterwards removed to and started in pastoral pursuits in the Wairarapa district at Tuhitarata on the East Coast, where he has lived ever since, with the exception of the time latterly spent at Greytown owing to failing health.
About twenty years back Mr McMaster's first wife died and he subsequently married the present Mrs McMaster. He had altogether fifteen children, all of whom are at present alive except one, Jessie, who died some years back. His elder sons, Messrs Duncan, Hugh, Donald and John McMaster are as well known throughout the district as their late father and the esteem which was felt for him has extended itself to the whole family, for whom in their present loss universal sympathy is felt.
In compliance with deceased's wish, he will be buried out at the East Coast station and we understand the body will be removed there from Greytown to-day.
The funeral takes place at Tuhitarata at one o'clock on Tuesday (tomorrow) and friends are invited by the usual advertised notification to be present.
The Rev Mr Ward. of the Wesleyan Church, Greytown, conducts the funeral service.

* From New Zealand Times ..
Last Saturday at Greytown Mr Angus McMasters breathed his last at the age of (in April next) 89 years. Deceased was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, arrived in Port Nicholson in the ship Blenheim and landed at Kaiwarra on Christmas Day 1840. He was appointed overseer and paymaster to the men employed in making the road from Wellington to the Hutt. After this he started for a few months, a dairy farm at Evans Bay. When, after getting married, he went to reside at the fern ground, Upper Hutt, not feeling satisfied with his location, he went in search of a better locality wherein to exercise his abilities as a grazing farmer, travelled around the coast till be reached Palliser Bay, ascended the Wairarapa Valley and having made satisfactory arrangements with the Natives, settled at Tuhitarata (about 16 or 17 miles inland). He then erected a bark whare; stock, &c. Little do the present race of colonists imagine what sort of a task this was - no roads, no conveyances such as we are now accustomed to and in addition to this, previous to the upheavals of the heavy earthquakes of 1848 (7.5) and 1855 (8.2), a journey around the coast from Pencarrow Head was altogether impracticable, except at low water (ebb tide).

painting The hill that came down in the 1855 8.2 earthquake. Near the Hutt Road to Wellington (which Angus and his men constructed in the early 1840s)

The Natives hearing of his coming with his wife (the first white woman seen by Natives in the Wairarapa), cattle, sheep, &c, brought kits of potatoes and piled them around the hut as a present to he 'wahine pakeha' (white woman). Here shortly afterward was born his first son (Hugh), the first white child born in the Wairarapa, which was duly recorded upon a tree adjacent. Hence the name of the locality, which in Maori signifies (literally) marking or cutting a tree.
Mr McMasters here followed out the breeding of sheep, rearing of cattle, dairying, &c. Putting his butter into small casks and with the aid of two horses and a mule, travelling round the coast to Wellington, selling his produce and in the same manner bringing back stores and supplies for us or sale to the Natives.
About this time Sir G. Grey and Mr McLean came round to the Wairarapa with a view to look up and purchase land. A meeting of Natives was held and after some talk the Natives agreed to sell 50 acres for the benefit of the first white child born in the district. A subsequent meeting took place as to land purchases, where McMasters and McLean were present (the event is worth recording) - upon a table a large amount of gold coin was piled - the first seen by Maori. Offers were made to the Natives in their language, whilst the two Scotsmen were talking to each other in Gaelic. Eventually land was bough from natives by Government purchase, which led to Mr McMasters acquiring the freehold at Tupurupuru, of which he sold the greater portion, about 163 acres, to Mr W. C. Buchanan.
In 1874 he came to Greytown to reside permanently. In Greytown he bought up several properties, gave employment to several boys and men and was in various ways a beneficial acquisition to the town. Deceased will be buried alongside his first wife at Tuhitarata and leaves a large family of 17.

* From the Evening Post ..
Mr Angus McMaster, one of the oldest settlers in the Wairarapa, died on Saturday, at 4 p.m., at Greytown. The deceased gentleman was supposed to be 88 years of age at the time of his demise. He came out in the ship Blenheim, in the year 1840 and landed at Kaiwarra on 1st January 1841. Mr McMaster was a native of Strontian, Argyleshire, Scotland and commenced his eventful career in the colony as overseer to a body of men constructing a road from Kaiwarra to the Hutt, mostly his own fellow-passengers. He then commenced a small dairy at Evans Bay, where he first established his home. He was a man remarkable for his sterling integrity and good qualities and was selected for many positions of great trust in the early days of the settlement.
While at Evans Bay he once proceeded on foot to Wanganui with a fellow-passenger, in search of suitable land for settlement. About the year 1845 Mr McMaster took up his abode in the Wairarapa, at Tuhitarata, where he continued to reside until about 1874, when he removed to Greytown, where he died.

For some years Mr McMaster was the owner of the property at Gladstone, now in the possession of Mr W. C. Buchanan, M.H.R. Walter Clarke Buchanan (1838-1924) and known as the Tupurupuru station, which he disposed of in August 1873. He leaves a family consisting of the widow (his second wife) and 14 children, all of whom were, with the exception of one daughter, around his bedside when he passed away. The absent daughter is the wife of Mr Stevens, late M.H.R. for Rangitikei. He had also lost by death, in addition to his first wife, two sons and a daughter, making in all the large family of 17 children, comprising eight sons and nine daughters. The deceased was always, even in his declining years, of a most active disposition and had a kind, cheery word for all with whom he came in contact. The remains will be conveyed to-day (Monday) to his late home at Tuhitarata, where it has always been his wish to be interred beside the bodies of his first wife and departed children and this last sad ceremony will take place to-morrow at 1 p.m. The Wellington friends who may desire to attend will find the Kahautara-road, via Featherston, the most convenient, as arrangements have been made for crossing the river Ruamahanga nearer Tuhitarata.

Written in the Evening Post, 19 Oct 1927

Among the Wairarapa settlers of the forties, some of whose achievements were related in recent articles, was Mr Angus McMaster. The date of his settling in the Wairarapa is uncertain, but it is believed to have occurred about 1845. The place was certainly very young when he arrived and he figures in the Census of 1847 as the proprietor of Tuhitarata, with four horses, 120 cattle, an acre of cultivation and a rental of £12 a year. Another very early settler was Mr Hugh Morison, who gave his name to Morison's Bush and who returned in the same Census 100 cattle, rental £15

Like so many other of the early ones, McMaster was a Scot and is believed to have been born in 1800, in which case he was not far being a nonagenarian when he died in 1888. He arrived in Wellington in the ship Blenheim in 1849 at about forty years of age. He was overseer on the Wellington-Hutt Valley road works, being thus engaged in the early forties on the arterial road (Wellington-Rimutaka-Featherston) that did not become of vehicular service to the Wairarapa till the later fifties. An apparently well-informed Press writer of 1890 records the following intimate observation:- "McMaster, foreman of the road, was nicknamed 'The Owl' because he never seemed to rest night or day. He was active, industrious and thrifty and he would have become immensely wealthy but for the appearance of scab among his flocks. With his earning and savings he had purchased 37,000 acres of the pick of the land. Scab got among his sheep and McDonald, the inspector, although his friend, could not save him. The lad was shut up and McMaster, finding himself locked in, had to dispose of his property." But he save Tuhitarata. Among the area sold was Tupurupuru, bought by Mr W. C. Buchanan - afterwards Sir Walter - in 1873.

It will readily be understood that the outbreak of scab in the 'seventies, the prolonged fight against it and the unavoidably harsh regulations of the Government, came as a blow to a man already above the three score years and ten. He retired to Greytown, leaving his stations to the management of his sons.
Among the feats of Angus McMaster was the bringing to his home of the lifeboat of the vessel Oliver Lang, which had gone ashore at Kaiwarra. in Wellington harbour. It is recorded that the wreck served a useful purpose later as a toll-gate adjunct, but that the lifeboat was brought by sea to Palliser Bay and up the Ruamahanga, the voyage occupying a week. The pioneer had the usual fight against native dogs (which preyed on the sheep of the early settlers) and sometimes disputes with the Native owners of dogs shot, but McMaster as a rule got on well with the natives. His patron was one Hiko Piata and McMaster was known as Hiko's pakeha. Both are buried on Tuhitarata hill.

photo The wreck of the Oliver Lang at Kaiwharawhara c1863. The tollgate and a hotel

Notwithstanding the difficulties of the journey by way of the coast, it is recorded that McMaster was able to sell profitably in Wellington butter made at Tuhitarata, which was sent out packed on mules. Several decades later, the dairy industry became firmly established and now the Lower Valley cheese factory is erected on part of Tuhitarata.
In the forties and even later, a trip to Wellington seems to have taken at least three days. A stopping-place on the road was 'Hokiwi' Brown's at a place where Muritai now stands. Hokiwi Brown kept a sort of accommodation house. He was an old whaler with a Maori wife and his temper was notorious. The old Whaler, William Brown, built a shack at Brown’s Bay (now Rona Bay) in the early 1840s. In 1846, a boy in his employ was murdered. Six years later, a man seen arguing with Brown died violently soon after. Brown was arrested and his wife, whom he had beaten, testified against him. However, he was acquitted and she stayed with him. He died in 1885 but she lived with his corpse in the shack for a month before police broke in, removed her and burnt the dwelling.

photos Okiwi Brown and his wife Nan with F. W. Devereux & T. H Wyatt, outside their dwelling & boarding house which was situated under the hill between Rona St.reet and Houhere Terrace

Angus McMaster's homestead at Tuhitarata c1849

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on 2021-11-13 03:23:50

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