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Charles Wilson Hursthouse
Taranaki Herald, 17 March 1909:
At the end of 1882, the road-work in Parahaka was completed, and C W Hursthouse was directed to accompany the Hon. the Native Minister to Kawhia and the King Country, and was present at Mangaorongo, at the pardoning of Te Kooti for the part he had taken in the Maori disturbance. Having visited the north of Auckland with the Native Minister to settle a dispute regarding the taking of a road through Maori land, he returned with him, and was despatched early in March to explore the country between Te Awamutu and Waitara for a railway line.
Most of the Maoris were doubtful of the wisdom of allowing this exploration - others were emphatically against it. The first attempt of Mr Hursthouse brought him only some fourteen or fifteen miles on his way, from which place, and despite his remonstrances and entreaties, he was conducted back to his starting point at Alexandra, now Pirongia. Then, after further negotiations with the Maoris by the Hon. Mr Bryce, another start was made in company with Wetere Te Rerenga and other chiefs and followers - a party of about twenty-two.
CWH proceeded to make explorations for the North Island main trunk railway and it was on this task in Mar 1883, that he and William Newsham were captured by Mahuki and held prisoner for 48 hours.
(31 Mar 1883 - Trial of Assault - During this time, a very small display of temper would probably have led to disastrous results, but fortunately reaction was kept in check. The Maori ringleaders soon afterwards visited the town of Alexandra, to try the supposed miraculous effect of a power which their leader promised to make white, people fall into a trance as if dead making them powerless, and their goods would be at the mercy of the faithful. The whole of the Native visitors were arrested at Alexandra, brought before a magistrate, charged with assault, and were remanded to Auckland, where they were subsequently tried at the Supreme Court and found guilty.
RAILWAY AND ROAD EXPLORATIONS. Mr Hursthouse then returned to Alexandra, and in company with the Hon. Mr Bryce and others, the Ministerial party succeeded in getting through the country to New Plymouth by way of Awakino and Mokau. In May, Mr Hursthouse returned to Mokau and began exploration work again, to which there was no further opposition. During, this exploration Mr Bursthouse contracted rheumatism badly, and was unable to continue, so was sent to Kawhia to carry on some road works there, to which the Maoris had objected. He remained there for about twelve months, settled the business making about twenty five miles of road. He then returned to the, railway line along the previously chosen route where the Main, Trunk line now is. ln conjunction with Mr J. Rochfort and Mr R. W. Hoknes, now Chief Engineer of the Dominion, he started laying out the line for the construction of the railway between Te Awamutu and Otorohanga- the first fifteen miles of the Main Trunk, railway.
MAIN TRUNK LINE. On April 13, 1885, the first sod of the railway was turned by Sir Robert Stout, in conjunction with Whahanui, Rewi Maniapoto, and a great many other Maoris. The ceremony took place on the Maori land within the Rohe Potae just across the Punin river from Te Akamutu. At the ceremony the Maori asked to be allowed to do the work on a certain portion of the line- six miles in length - which was agreed to by the Government. A contract was let to Coates and Metcalfe for the first fifteen miles, and Mr Hursthouse was appointed resident engineer to superintend the construction and employ the Maoris on the piece of line that was set apart for them to work on. The Natives did the work in first-class style, and there was little or no trouble. He remained there as resident engineer until the line was completed to the Mokau railway station. Occasionally there was some trouble with the Maoris, but owing to Mr Hursthouse's personal influence with the Natives, the difficulties were always amicably settled.
Several .years passed - there was a pause in railway construction after the line reached Mokau. The Poro-o-tarao tunnel was completed under Mr Hursthouse's supervision.
In 1891 CWH was transferred to the Lands and Survey Department, to take charge of road construction - he laid out many miles of road work in the King Country and also had charge of the Rotorua road district.
CHIEF ENGINEER OF ROADS. In 1899 Wilson Hursthouse was transferred to Wellington to take charge of the road work under the Lands and Survey Department. In 1901 it was found that this class of work had so much increased and it was considered a separate department for the execution of road works should be made and was established in April of that year and Mr Hursthouse was appointed chief engineer in charge. Because his services were considered so valuable in connection with Native affairs he lost many opportunities of promotion in his profession as a civil engineer but always responded to the call of duty, even though it involved risk and personal danger
Mr Hursthouse had worked for the Government—Provincial and General for forty seven and one-third years, it is fifty-four years since he first joined the public service but owing to short breaks in his service he will be only entitled to count his twenty-nine years continuous service.
The above was written March 1909: .
Evening Post, 27 February 1911:OBITUARY. MR. C. W. HURSTHOUSE. (Abridged) Mr. Hursthouse, ex-Chief engineer of Roads, died at his residence, Lower Hutt, late on Saturday night, after a lengthy illness. He retired from the Public Service on 31st March, 1909, after being connected with it for nearly fifty years. The late Mr. Hursthouse was widely known and universally respected and esteemed.
During his military service he was commissioned Ensign in the Taranaki Military Settlers in 1866, Lieutenant in the Taranaki Militia in 1869 and Captain in 1881. He was the recipient of the New Zealand War Medal and was a member of the Taranaki Provincial Council from 1869 to 1873. He and was a foundation member of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors.
He died at Lower Hutt on 25th February, 1911. He leaves a widow and a grown up family of four sons and three daughters. He was bur: Taita Cemetery M01.17 with Ellen.
Wilson Hursthouse - Children to 1st Wife: Ellen Humphries:
(1) Ernest William Hursthouse; (2) Margaret Kate Hursthouse; (3) Helen Maria Hursthouse (4) Harold Franklin Hursthouse; (5) Dennis (Flinders) Wilson Hursthouse (6) Alice Mary Hursthouse (7) Ella Hursthouse
Wilson Hursthouse - Daughter of 2nd Wife/partner: Mere Te Rongopamamao Aubrey
Charles Wilson Hurshouse (seated left: with his team.
Evening Post 13 Jan 1925 Women in Print
There are a great many pioneer residents and others in various parts of the Dominion who will hear with great regret of the death of Mrs C.W. Hursthouse, which occurred at her residence, Bellevue crescent, Lower Hutt, at the age of 77, after an illness lasting several months.
Mrs Hursthouse, who was a Miss Humphries, came from London with her parents, Dr and Mrs Humphries, in the early days of New Plymouth. Later Mrs Hursthouse took up her residence in Wellington, and from there removed to the Lower Hutt, where she lived for the past fifteen years. She was a great social worker, and gave her services ungrudgingly during the Great War, and also did much to assist the Anglican Boys’ Home. She is survived by three daughters – Mrs Lattey, of Wellington; Mrs A. G. Anderson of Wanganui; Mrs R. H. Dowker, of Marlborough; and Miss Hursthouse, of Lower Hutt; and three sons – Mr E. W. Hursthouse, of Wellington; Mr H. J. Hursthouse of Blenheim; and Mr D. W. Hursthouse, of Hastings. Great sympathy will be felt for the relatives, including her sisters, the Misses Humphries, of New Plymouth.