John Hayhurst
John Hayhurst, arrived in New Zealand in 1846, after stowing away on a ship to Sydney about two years earlier, at the age of 17. A practical man with an entrepreneurial spirit, Hayhurst was one of the first leaseholders in the Mackenzie Country, and made his fortune in the process. In 1860, Hayhurst and his long time companion Jane Startup, now pregnant, returned to England to be married in Manchester Cathedral, even though her real husband was still alive.
Then in 1886 John and his son, John Turnbull Murray Hayhurst, shifted the flour mill to a new site between the Waihi and Hae Hae Te Moana
Rivers. This was about a mile from Temuka, nearer to his large grain store, and he renamed it the Temuka Flour Mills. In the same year he bought the Blue Cliffs Station near St Andrews from Henry Poingdestre, again with Andrew Burnett as his manager, but sold it in 1871 to Charles Meyer. In 1870 he built a boiling down works to produce tallow from all the aged sheep being wasted. On this property, known as ‘‘Smithfield’’, a 34hp water wheel was built to power the works, together with a fellmongery and a flax mill.
Also, prime legs of sheep were salted and pickled to produce mutton ham. Up to 60 men were employed in this venture.

A pioneer in every way, described as "the father of all speculators", John became one of the wealthiest and most influential men in South Canterbury.
He was on the first Geraldine Roads Board and on the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works. He represented Timaru, and later Geraldine, on the Canterbury Provincial Council, judged at the NZ Manufacturers Show in Christchurch, was one of the original directors of the NZ Woollen Company, and then the Kakahu Coal Company and Limeworks. For at least 12 years he promoted the idea of making the Milford Lagoon South Canterbury’s port, was elected to the first Timaru Harbour Board, but lost the battle for the Milford Lagoon site as Timaru’s harbour.
Between 1861 and 1888 John senior made eight journeys around the world and visited many countries to acquire new ideas and new equipment for his various enterprises. Jane, a resourceful and capable woman, helped run his estate and manage his affairs during his absences. He was preparing for one such trip when she opened a letter from America. It was from a Mrs Dean, who wrote how she and the three children
were looking forward to John’s next visit. Jane’s suspicions of a "wife"
and family were aroused.

On the completion of the rebuilt Green Hayes house in 1882, John went
overseas, not returning until 1886, and during this time became very
friendly with a teenage girl in London. Her name was Estelle Castlereigh and she was just 18 when John ‘‘married’’ her in 1885. They had two children, but she remained in London when John returned to New Zealand. John went back to London, and returned to Temuka towards the end of 1888, this time with a new patent roller system for the flour mill. He planned another trip to England in March 1889 but missed the boat. He then decided on a trip to China and Japan, countries he had not visited.
The day before his departure he was working on his new grain store and the relocation of the Milford flour mill, by the Waihi River, standing in deep water at times to direct operations. He had appeared to be in perfect health but later complained of feeling ill and was unwell for some time. At one stage he asked Mrs Copestake, an old friend, housekeeper and confidante of the family, to write a letter to "Mrs Hayhurst" in England, saying he would be with her by the next steamer, giving an explanation of who "Mrs Hayhurst" was that seemed to satisfy Mrs Copestake at the time. John was then living with Jane in their home on Temuka’s main road, while John junior and his wife Amelia were
at Green Hayes.

On April 2, 1889, John packed his bags ready to sail to England the
following day, but took to his bed. He vomited all day after taking his
porridge, so Dr John Shaw Hayes was called urgently. The next day Amelia
made John some chicken broth, but the patient became worse and died on April 6, aged 61. Rumour spread that he had been poisoned to prevent him from returning to England. Dr Hayes was also suspicious and took some of the vomit away to be tested for arsenic and antimony. However the coroner’s jury found that he died of natural causes. The second Mrs Hayhurst later arrived in Timaru from England with two daughters, all staying at the Queen’s Hotel.
The Temuka Leader reported that she had offered to drop her inquiries in
consideration of £30,000, but the family declined so Estelle pressed for an exhumation of John’s body. Professor Black of Otago University found traces of arsenic, but not in sufficient quantity to cause death. To this day, several questions remain unanswered. Was Jane guilty of murder? Was there a conspiracy among the women? One family member said enigmatically 30 years later: Money talks!What do you think?

Source Timaru Courier June 24, 2010 pg 8 John Button

Green Hayes was first opened as a home for war orphans in 1916. It closed as a children's home in 1986 and has offered supportive accommodation for adults with intellectual disabilities since then.


THE LATE MR JOHN HAYHURST, (From today's Temuka Leader.") Mr John Hayhurst, one of the pioneers of South Canterbury, and one of the most enterprising of colonists, died at his residence, Temuka, at 2 a.m. yesterday.

Mr Hayhurst was born in the year 1827 near Preston, in Lancashire, England, and was at the time of his death in his sixty second year. A week before he died however, he appeared to have been enjoying good health, and looked as if he would live for at least ten years longer. On the very evening that he was taken ill he had packed everything up, and was about to leave for England on the following day. He had intended to leave sooner, but missed the boat, and only for this he would have been on the high seas on his way to China and Japan, the only countries, he had not yet visited. Mr Hayhurst came to New South Wales at the age of 19 years, and after a short sojourn in that colony came over to New Zealand, landing in Wellington. He made several trips from New Zealand to New South Wales, and at last decided on settling down in this colony. He lived for a short time in Wellington, and next he set sail for Lyttelton where he been a contractor. His next move was to Christchurch, and he lived for some time on the Ferry road, after which he took charge of a run at Ashburton for Sir Thomas Tancred. A short time after his arrival he leased the run from Sir Thomas, and carried it on for years on his own account. During this time he sent home for his father and mother and brother and sisters, many of whom are living in this district at present.
After having worked the run at Ashburton for some years he disposed of it, and took up the Grey's Hill and Simon Pass runs in the Mackenzie Country, both of which he stocked, and shortly afterwards he bought the magnificent estate of Green Hayes. He worked the Green Hayes estate and the two stations in the Mackenzie Country together for some years, when he let a part of Green Hayes and bought the Bluecliffe station. This station he let and went home to England but he was not long there when a letter reached him telling him that his Bluecliffe tenant had gone to the dogs, and so he returned to the colony much sooner than he expected. Some time after this he sold out all his station property, and threw all his energies into the development of his Green Hayes estate; It was in January, 1861, that he first took possession of Green Hayes, and, not with standing that he had the other large properties on hand at the time, he immediately set to work with characteristic energy. Farming had been scarcely began in South Canterbury at the time, but Mr Hayhurst went to work vigorously, and in the next couple of years a large portion of Green Hayes was yielding wheat. Besides this he started the Milford Mill, which he had in working order in 1863. Mr Hayhurst's example gave a great impetus to farming in this district, and it may safely be said that to his energy, perseverance, and indomitable courage was due the fact that the Temuka district was amongst the first settled places south of the Rangitata. He set another example, also - instead of laying Green Hayes out as a sheep run, as many others would have done, he subdivided it Into decent sized farms,and let it at reasonable rentals to tenants. The Green Hayes estate is over 5000 acres In extent, and settled on it are 44 tenants, all thriving settlers, and it was often remarked that during the depression these tenants were far better off than farmers who had to pay interest on borrowed capital. The holding of land in large areas Is certainly an evil, but It is ten times better that land should be held in the manner in which Mr Hayhurst's estate is than as a sheep run, with only a few shepherds on it. Averaging the families of the 44 tenants at five persons each, which is low, there are living on the estate 220 people. If it had not been let to tenants as it has been there would not be 30 persons living within the same area.
Mr Hayhurst was always a good considerate landlord, and there are many about the district now who owe to him their start in life. He was always ready to lend a helping hand to persons whom he found hard-working  and energetic, but the opposite never got any chance from him. For years he sat in the Provincial Council, and in 1876 he contested the Geraldine seat with Mr Wakefield, but had a unique experience. When the result of the poll was declared it was found that ho and his opponent were exactly equal, and thus the onus of deciding the election was thrown on the Returning Officer, Mr Belfield Woolcombe, who gave his casting vote In favor of Mr Wakefield, and thus by 1 he was elected. Mr Hayhurst was a strong Liberal in politics, and always an uncompromising opponent of the Continuance or Atkinson party. He had very decided views on many subjects, and a vigorous and telling manner of giving expression to them, He spoke with great fluency and vigor, and was a very strong opponent for anyone to meet. In 1881 he ran against Messrs Wakefield and I Postlethwaite for the representation of the Geraldine seat, but withdrew on the last 1 day, and since then be has spent most of his time travelling. In the old days 1 he was a member of the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works, and was for many years a member of the Temuka Road Board, besides being a member of almost every one of the minor local bodies. For the last seven years he has been, for the most part travelling in foreign country, and as stated above he had just Intended to visit China and Japan, as these two countries were the only places which he had not visited. He was, however, doomed never to see them! Mr Hayhurst was no ordinary colonist. He was full of vigor and energy, and had always some new scheme in hand. During his colonial life he has visited England about eight times, and on all occasions he brought out some new machinery, which he employed in various ways. His latest addition to his plant was the splendid machinery of the new roller flour mill, arid if we mistake not he intended on his return this trip if he had been spared, to bring cut other new machinery connected with electricity. In carrying out his many schemes, and in the many enterprises in which he was engaged, he employed a large number of men, and to these his death will be a great loss. In him Temuka has lost its most enterprising politician, and the largest employer of labor in the place. He had accumulated much wealth, for besides the Green Hayes property he owned a good deal of the town of Temuka, and also some properties in Oxford and Napier. He worked hard, he saw his opportunities and embraced them, and the result was success. His funeral will leave St. Saviour's Church for the Temuka Cemetery at 2,30 p.m. to-morrow (Sunday).