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Finch IndexThomas Finch - Obituary

The decease of Mr. Finch on Tuesday last, one of the few remaining of Alexandra's pioneers, although for some time expected has caused a feeling of gloom thoughout our small community, and deep sympathy for his widow and family. No man was more respected here and throughout the district than our late departed townsman.

Mr. Finch was an old colonist, having arrived with a detachment of the 58th Regiment in the year 1844, in Sydney, N.S.W. from whence he was sent to form part of a guard to the penal settlement at Norfolk Island but on the breaking out of Heki's war in the Bay of Islands in 1845, came to N.Z. and took part in that war, being present at the engagements of Ohaeawai, Kaihau and Ruapekapeka. After peace was declared, Mr. Finch came on with his regiment to Auckland, staying there until 1853, when at his own request he was discharged from the Imperial Service to settle in the Colony, thus becoming entitled to a grant of 40 acres of Crown lands (this grant however he never received, although for many years past he urged his claim on the Government).

Having married, he settled down at Howick and took to farming, contracting etc. doing a good deal of work for the Messrs. McLean and other well known colonists. There he remained till the breaking out of the Waikato war, when he joined the Militia, as a member of Captain Peacock's Company, but shortly afterwards volunteered for active Service and joined the Land Transport Corps, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. While in this Service he was present at the fall of Rangiriri, and the advance to Ngarauwahia, he then joined the headquarters of the 2nd. Waikato Regiment under Colonel Hamilton, and served through through the Waikato, until the final battle of Orakau at which he was also present. On the conclusion of the war he settled in Alexandria where the 2nd. Waikatos were stationed, and started Hotel keeping.

With the exception of a short interval when the deceased took to farning on his land at Ngaroto (now in the occupation of his son Mr. Geo. Finch) he up to the day of his death, the the deceased and his now respected widow, enjoying the confidence and esteem of all who visted them. It says much for the respectable manner in which the business has been conducted, that no endorsement of license, or infringement of the Licensing Act has ever been charged against them during so many years.

Mr. Finch has also done more than his fair share of duty in the management of local affairs as chairman and member of the Road Board, and Town Council, school committee, church warden etc. always giving satisfaction to the public. Mr. Finch leaves a widow and family of seven daughters, three sons and nineteen grandchildren.

The funeral took place on Thursday last, the Rev. R.OC Biggs of Hamilton, conducting the service. The Masonic Fraternity were also present in good numbers, the funeral ceremony being performed under their management, the deceased being a Past Master and one of the founders of the Alexandra Lodge.

There was a large attendance of settlers present from this and surrounding districts anxious to show their respect to the deceased and his bereaved family - well known faces from Whatawhata, Hamilton, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Kihikihi and Otorohaga, and many native friends were present testifying their grief at the loss of an honest, upright friend and fellow settler. Many were the floral tributes sent to decorate the coffin and to be placed on the grave where our late respected fellow settler now takes his rest.