Thursday, July 13, 2017

The "Ferry Inn" at Tapawera

 As we whisk our way around the Nelson district in our cars, it’s hard to imagine the vital importance of the old wayside hotels and accommodation houses. Dotted around what was once a bush-covered wilderness full of hazards like unbridged rivers, they often quite literally proved lifesavers for many of those travelling by foot or horseback in 19th century New Zealand. Where it now takes about an hour to travel from Tadmor to Nelson, it took early Tadmor settler John Stanley (who gave Tadmor and Stanley Brook their names) three days each way by bullock dray to make the same trip when he needed to replenish his supplies. (1)

In the Upper Motueka Valley (originally part of the wider district designated Waimea South) most accommodation houses were established to serve the hopeful diggers of the 1860s and '70s heading to various goldfields – the Baton, Wangapeka, the Buller and the valleys of the Tadmor and Sherry Rivers. Such accommodation houses were strategically sited at natural stopping places -  the foot or saddle of hills, river crossings or junctions - along rough tracks formed by packhorses and bullock drays carrying supplies through to the goldfields. For a reasonable fee they provided shelter for a traveller and his horse (if he had one), company, a bed for the night and a meal. Some landladies were famous for their generous spreads, but on the whole the food would be pretty basic - usually potatoes and mutton which the owner could supply from his own garden and flock. Whatever the fare, it would be hot and filling, and could be washed down with a beer or something stronger if that was your fancy. Equally important, there was someone on hand to pass on reliable directions for the next uncharted stage of your journey.

This pre-1870 map of the
Upper Motueka Valley goldfields

shows the location of routes and
accommodation houses, but is too
early to include the "Ferry Inn".
The number of accommodation houses shown on the map to the left may seem like overkill, but  difficult conditions made for a slow journey from one to another, No wonder back country settlers constantly clamoured for roads to be made, bridges and railways built! Until Spooner's Road was completed in 1879, the route to the Upper Motueka Valley followed a roundabout, difficult trail up the Wai-iti Valley to Foxhill, then over the roadless Spooner's Range before taking a precipitous descent down Norris' Gully to Motupiko. The settlers' deep frustration over "The Road Question" led to the very first public meeting to be held in the area at William Louden's Motupiko accommodation house on 23 April 1864. The lack of progress in getting a good dray road built from Foxhill to the Upper Motueka Valley was the hot topic of the evening.

Accommodation and publicans' licences were granted, transferred or revoked by district licensing committees, while  the land and buildings attached to an accommodation house came under the purview of the Nelson Land Board. The Land Board oversaw the running of accommodation houses and had the right to set the conditions under which they operated. Although he was responsible for building and/or maintaining his accommodation house, a lessee could only sell the interest in the property and the goodwill of his business, not the house itself or the land it stood on. However, the lease could be transferred with the permission of the Land Board, and if an accommodation house became redundant, an arrangement could be made with the Land Board for a property to pass into private ownership once its accommodation licence had expired.

John Taylor's Baton Accommodation House
His wife Annie was known as the "Queen of the Baton"
because she shared a birthday with Queen Victoria.

Conditions included the obligation to maintain a reasonable standard of accommodation and food for both guests and their horses. The provision of a specified number of bedrooms and sitting rooms to be set aside for the use of guests was also a common requirement. In exchange for reduced or waived licence fees, back country licence holders were often expected to provide extra services like repairing roads or for those near creeks and rivers, providing bridges or ferries. Getting travellers safely across a river generally meant making a ferry available - a punt or boat. There were other options, like a reliable horse which could be sent across and called back, and the Gordon Downs Accommodation House, built in 1856, provided an aerial cage strung on wires, suspended over the water and manipulated by pulleys. (2) As fords kept shifting after each freshet went through, for the safety of travellers it was part of the deal that crossings be kept clearly marked and "flagged" - a red flag raised on a clearly visible flagstaff was the signal that a crossing shouldn't be attempted.

Accommodation houses established at the passes on the route to the Wairau in the remote hill country runs like Tophouse, Tarndale (now part of Molesworth Station) and Rainbow, were built by stationowners but the latter two were often neglected and untenanted, leaving travellers dangerously stranded and without guidance about which paths to follow.(3) 

George Biggs Jnr (1842-1918)
First licensee of the "Ferry Inn"
from 1874-ca. 1877

Jonathan Brough, a hardy surveyor and back country roadmaker familiar with the area, found this concerning and in a letter to the editor published in the ""Colonist" of 9 September 1886, he commented: "Moa hunters and anatomists searching for bones in the headwaters of the Wairau, would I fancy, find more human bones than moas'".

 One case Brough probably had in mind was that of a traveller from Nelson named George Ross, who on his way to Canterbury had spent a night with Brough at the Wairau Gorge camp where he based himself while employed on various contracts in the area. Ross disappeared, apparently drowned while trying to cross the Wairau River on the way back. Returning home from a visit to Tophouse, George Wright, then running the Rainbow Accommodation House nearby, came upon Ross' bruised and battered horse by the river, saddle and swag askew, but although Wright and Brough did an extensive search, no sign of Ross himself could be found. (4) Brough had put a track about five or six feet wide through the Wairau Gorge, blasting it out of solid rock, but this was only suitable for packhorses. However, during the summer months, when the river was low, Wright would negotiate the exposed rocky riverbed with a bullock-drawn dray, travelling to Tophouse for supplies and exchange of mail. When Brough was resident at his camp, Wright would drop off meat and letters for him on the way.

To begin with, issuing licences for the Upper Motueka Valley area was the province of the Resident Magistrate's Court in Nelson, though before long the Wangapeka Licensing Committee took over this role. It's possible that George Biggs set it up earlier, perhaps at the time of his marriage. but the first official record of a licensed house at the Tadmor Crossing appears in an 1874 listing of accommodation house licensees: “Motueka Valley, George Biggs Junior. No fee [in exchange for ferry service]. Good accommodation for travellers, fodder for horses. Keeps a ferry boat on the Motueka River." (5) 

Tadmor Ford
 With the Mt Arthur Range behind them,

travellers make their way towards the eastern 
bank of the Motueka River, perhaps heading
for welcome refreshments at the "Ferry Inn".

The only building in the vicinity of the present Tapawera township until the early 1900s, the “Ferry Inn” was sited on Tadmor Section 71, Square 6, and stood on the flats on the east side of the Motueka River, close to the river crossing to the Tadmor Valley known as the Tadmor Ford. (6) It had a number of names - the “Ferry Inn”, the “Ferry Hotel”, the “Ferry Accommodation House” or the “Ferry House”, but was more commonly known simply as the "Ferry”. A 57-acre accommodation reserve came with the "Ferry" house - this was to provide grazing for horses and stock belonging to both the licensee and guests and room for a large vegetable garden. Originally the road did not run down the plain through Tapawera as it does now. but stopped at the ford and continued on the far side of the crossing. The land around the "Ferry" was open, barren and stony - the only vegetation being odd clumps of bush, a few cabbage trees and flax. There was a substantial flax swamp in an adjacent valley, which was later harvested for Robert Ellis’ flaxmill. 

George Biggs Jnr (!842-1918), first licensee at the "Ferry Inn", was born at Port Road, Nelson, on 14 December 1842. He was the oldest of the 8 surviving children of George William Biggs, an "Expedition man" who in 1841 had come out with his brother William from Gloucestershire, England, on the “Will Watch. as  part of Captain Arthur Wakefield's preliminary expedition to establish the New Zealand Company's colony of Nelson. George's wife Frances (nee Summerell) followed him out soon after on the ill-fated ship “Lloyds” with their 2 young children, Isaac, just 2, and baby Sarah. Both were among the 65 children who tragically died during the "Lloyds"' outward bound voyage. 

Gathering at the Upper Motueka Valley Settlement (later renamed Mararewa)
following the dedication of the Anglican Church of the Ascension on 23 May 1865.

Celebrations aftewards included games of cricket, 
along with horse racing the sport of choice for early settlers.
The home of local landowner Arthur R. Oliver is visible up on the terrace behind.

The Biggs family first settled at Wakefield, but in 1865 they moved to a 400-acre river terrace block on the west side of the Motueka River at Tadmor, cut out from John Stanley's run. (7) Georges Snr & Jnr are recorded in 1864 as owning between them Tadmor Sections 34, 36 and 100, Square 6. The family lived at first in a log cabin built on Section 100, almost directly opposite the spot on the eastern side of the Motueka River where the "Ferry Inn" would later be established. By the 1880s ownership of Sections 34, 36 & 100 had devolved on George Snr, who died on 30 March 1890 at the age of 69, the "Colonist" of 16 April 1890 noting the loss of one of Nelson's pioneers and a much-respected settler. He was burIed along with his wife at the Upper Motueka Valley Cemetery, now Marawera Cemetery. 


A versatile chap, George Jnr, who married Clara Kite (1851-1921) in Richmond on 7 January 1870,  tried his hand at a variety of different enterprises. He started off by packing in supplies to the Baton goldfield, where gold was first discovered  around 1856. A rush was well under way by 1859, when John Taylor arrived and set up an accommodation house and store there. Bullock drays could be taken as far as Bush End, at its peak a small settlement with store, hotel, butchery and smithy, catering at times to a hundred or more diggers camped nearby. From there pack-horses carried goods the rest of the way. George at first used two pack-bullocks and on one memorable return trip found the Wangapeka River in flood, so, mounted on the back of one, swam both bullocks over to the other side. (8)

The Blenheim contingent of the
12th (Nelson & Marlborough) Infantry Regiment
of the NZ Territorial Force
disembarks at Tapawera Station for the April 1914
Territorials' camp at George MacMahon's farm.

Around 1100 men from all over the top of the 
South Island attended this camp.

The Tadmor Ford, situated at a relatively narrow and shallow part of the river, close to the Biggses' farm, was a natural crossing place and probably already used by travellers. Having lived and worked in the area for some time, George would have been well aware of the need for a manned crossing over the Motueka River, as were the authorities. In his 1869 report on the Wangapeka gold reef, mining surveyor James Burnett  commented, "A ferry over the Motueka River is very much needed, as at present there is no chance of foot passengers crossing when the river is a little flooded."

The "Old Man" flood of February 1877 which wreaked havoc in the Lower Motueka Valley and Motueka also devastated the Upper Motueka Valley, sweeping away cart roads, stock and fences. It proved an unexpected local bonanza, though, when a "flash in the pan" goldrush took place at Thomas Hodgkinson's property on Tadmor Hill, after gold was discovered where the land had been carved up by the flood. George Biggs Jr began working the goldfield with a couple of mates and seeing an opportunity, he applied for and was granted a licence to run an accommodation house at the new goldfield  which became known as "Biggs' Accommodation House". (9) 

Some 400-500 diggers turned up, including a group of about 15 Chinese goldminers from Otago, whose arrival aroused great interest. They later worked a gully at Big Bush, near the head of the Motupiko River, named "Chinaman Gully" as a reminder of their presence there. It wasn't far from David (Davy) Kerr's "Blue Glen" homestead, which although not officially an accommodation house, often provided accommodation for travellers and carried extra supplies for sale. These Chinese diggers would come out to trade fine gold with Mrs Kerr for mutton, flour, sugar and other necessities and locals were intrigued by the way they travelled around at a jog-trot, one behind the other. (10) 

The "Upper Motupiko Inn"
George Biggs Jnr took over as licensee
from J.J. (Jimmy) Corlett  around 1907,
followed by his son Alfred C. Biggs 

around 1915.

Various newspaper reports about the Tadmor rush published in March 1877, ranging from excitable to skeptical, describe George BIggs' party in the midst of the fray. Though initially promising - Biggs' party is reported in the "Colonist" of 8 March 1877 as having made £30 worth of gold in four days - it appears that this venture led to the ignominy of bankruptcy. The trustees of George Biggs' estate put his stock, farm implements and household effects up for auction at his Tadmor Hill accommodation house on Wednesday the 6th of February 1878. George then returned to farming, having taken up a 145 acre block at Tadmor Hill next to Hodgkinson's, which he worked for many years. (11)

Farms were run at a subsistence level, with settlers producing much of their own food, but money for extras like groceries and farm implements was hard to come by. Like a number of his neighbours, George Biggs pulled in some much-needed hard cash by taking contracts with the Upper Motueka Road Board for clearing and metalling roads in the Upper Motueka Valley. Specifications and conditions for the various contracts were lodged at the "Ferry" so they could be viewed by residents interested in putting in a tender.

Possibly Lucy Kite (1885-1885)
Proprietor of the "Ferry Inn"
from 1877-1885
George later ran yet another accommodation house, also known as "Biggs' Accommodation House". this time  at Kohatu. It passed into private ownership and later burned down during the devastating summer fires of 1908. In 1907 George took over as licensee of the “Upper Motupiko Inn” from John James (Jimmy) Corlett and his Irish-born wife, Mary. Mrs Corlett was one of the landladies well known for keeping a generous table, and teamster Bob Henderson recalled the comical dismay of his mate Jack Croall ("a tiger for his tucker") when they stopped by for a feed after the changeover and he was presented by Mrs Biggs with a plate of spuds accompanied by a single slice of corned beef. (12) The licence was transferred to George's oldest son Alfred Charles Biggs in 1914 and he then ran it till 1920. Around 1935 the old "Upper Motupiko Inn" was demolished and replaced by a new building called the "Korere Valley Hotel".

George and Clara Biggs lost their first child, William, at the age of four, not long after they took over the "Ferry Inn". Escaping his parents, he drowned in the Motueka River on 26 January 1875. (13) It was a bad year for George Biggs, whose mother Frances died on 8 December 1875. Two more sons would be lost; little George, who also drowned at the age of four after slipping off a footbridge into the Tadmor River on 19 September 1893, (14) and Frank, the youngest of their 10 children, who served during WWI with the 23rd Reinforcements,12th (Nelson) Company, Canterbury Infantry Battalion. He was 23 when he died on 29 October 1917 at No 2 NZ General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames, London, from wounds received in Flanders on 13 June 1917 during the Battle of Messines. Maybe this loss contributed to George Biggs' own death on 22 July 1918 at the age of 75. (15) 

George was buried at the Marawera Cemetery and his headstone includes an inscription commemorating Frank, who was interred at the Brookwood Military Cemetery just outside London. A nephew had earlier died of wounds incurred at the Somme in 1916 - 24 year old Fred, seventh son of George's brother, Alfred. A farmer and roadman, in 1877 Alfred had married Annie Louden, one of the nine daughters of Scotsman William Louden, Motupiko's first blacksmith and former accommodation house lessee. Before the war the two cousins, so close in age, no doubt trained togther at the regular military camps held on George MacMahon's Tapawera farm. They are both remembered at the Tapawera War Memorial. George's widow Clara Biggs remarried in 1919 to Joseph Carey, but died not long after, in 1921. She also lies at the Mararewa Cemetery. Joseph Carey died in 1923 and is buried at Wakapuaka Cemetery, Nelson, with his second wife, widow Jane Elizabeth Lowrie, the eldest daughter of Takaka pioneer Edward Solly.

The "Plough Inn", Richmond.
Possibly Richmond's very first hotel, but as both 

it and the "Star & Garter" were licensed in 1845, 
they share the honour. Its licence lapsed in 1883 
but the building continued to be used until 
1925, when it was finally demolished.

It appears that George abandoned the "Ferry Inn" when he set up his new venture on Tadmor Hill, perhaps leaving it in charge of his mother-in-law. In November 1877 the Nelson Land Board debated granting the "Ferry" lease to Thomas Bromell, but in the event Bromell set up the Motupiko Accommodation House at what would later become known as Kohatu and George Biggs' enterprising mother-in-law, Lucy Kite nee Bradley (1815-1885), took over at the "Ferry Inn". She had plenty of experience - for some years she had been licensee of the “Red Horse” and ‘"White Hart" hotels in Richmond. Mrs Kite was a widow, her husband Thomas having died on 18 August 1860. 

The Kites, who had married at Ettington in 1833, came from Warwickshire, England. When Thomas and Lucy Kite arrived in Nelson on 29 March 1843 on the ship “Phoebe” with Hannah, George and Lucy, the oldest of their 8 children, they were part of a wider Kite family exodus to New Zealand. Thomas' sister Hannah nee Kite, with her husband George Castle, and brother William Kite, with his wife Priscilla nee Baskett, had already emigrated to Nelson on the "Thomas Harrison" in 1842. Another sister, Susanna (Susan) nee Kite, later followed them to Nelson with her husband William Pickering around 1856. The Kite siblings all ended up settling with their families around Waimea East.

Arguably the first settler at Richmond, before the settlement even had a name, the intrepid Thomas Kite secured 9 acres of land (part Section 83) on the township plan and built a modest house (the first in the Waimea East area) sited on what is today Queen Street, opposite the Wensley Street corner. With it being for some time the only habitation encountered in the area, the Kites often ended up providing hospitality to early travellers, and two at least left a record of their welcome encounters with the Kites - William Wadsworth in 1843 and William Pratt in 1844. (16) Kite made it official in 1845 when he was granted a licence to run his home as a hotel called the "Plough Inn",  which became a setting for community celebrations, auctions and dinners held for groups like members of the Oddfellows Lodge.

The "White Hart Inn", Richmond. 
The name of Augustus George Brock, licensee from
1872-1882, can be seen on the facade. 

One of the more notable celebratory dinners held there on 20 November 1845 was to mark the recall of Governor Fitzroy, who earned the emnity of Nelson's settlers when he refused to take their part after the Wairau Affray in 1843. It was during this dinner that mention of "Richmond" was  first officially recorded. It originated with William Snow, one of the first settlers to follow the Kites to the area. Snow had called his home "Richmond" after his English birthplace, Richmond-on-Thames in Surrey, and the name became attached to the wider settlement. When Richmond settlers decided they needed a more organised way of buying, selling, and exchanging their stock, Kite was on the committee that set up the Richmond Cattle Fairs in response. The "Plough Inn" had been a venue for stock sales from the late 1840s and when the first Cattle Fair was held on 2 July 1851, Thomas Kite offered free use of the yards already established on his property for stock being sold at this and subsequent Fairs. Lunch at the "Plough Inn" was also on offer - though not for free! (17) 

Thomas sold the "Plough Inn" in 1853. He then built a new house and set up a store and butchery, but in 1858 he put the lot up for sale  - home, farm and stock, plus “the stock-in-trade” of his store, saying he “purposed entering into another kind of business”. This business was another hotel in Richmond called the “Red Horse”, but known to locals as "The Trotter". Complete with prancing wooden red horse erected high on its facade, it was built on sub-section 2 of Section 104, its frontage on the western side of what is now Gladstone Road. Kite's trading licence was granted in April 1860, but he inconveniently died just four months later at the age of 49. His burial at Richmond Cemetery on August 24, 1860, was registered but the site of his grave is not recorded.

The "Foxhill Hotel", with Newmans' coach outside.
Licensed around 1849 by Charles Gaukrodger,
whose daughter Libby married George Moonlight. 
Came into its own in the 1870s with the establishment
of the Nelson-Foxhill railway and the Newmans'
mail and passenger coach service to the Buller.

 Kite's store and the "Red Horse" were both used as pick-up points by at least early three carriers - Henry Hammond, Paul Spanger and Richard Wallis, then Richmond's postmasterwho ran a twice-weekly public conveyance service between Richmond and Nelson. Wallis and his wife Mary Ann, formerly Coster nee Lake, later established a highly-regarded children's orphanage in Motueka. 

Left on her own with a family to look after and a new business to run, Lucy Kite struggled to make the "Red Horse" pay its way. In 1865 she sold it and took over as licensee of the 'White Hart" hotel. Apart from the period between 1867-1869 when the "White Hart" was leased by the legendary George Fairweather Moonlight, she managed it from 1866 until 1871. Mrs Kite's daughter Lucy married Augustus George Brock in 1865. He followed his mother-in-law as licensee at the 'White Hart" for a further 10 years and Mrs Kite may have stayed on there until she moved to Tadmor. Brock had to sell up and move out of the "White Hart" when he went bust in 1882 - with the region going through successive periods of economic depression this was a common fate for many small businessmen. (18)

There is a suggestion (unconfirmed one way or another) that it was Mrs Kite who originally established the "Ferry Inn". In 1870 she did take several shares in the Waimea Quartz-Crushing Company, which intended to commence operations at Wangapeka, so she was familiar with the area and its potential. Perhaps this could have inspired her to look to her future by setting up an accommodation house en route to the diggings and passing it to her son-in-law George Biggs to run till she was ready to take over. However, like many similar optimistc ventures, the Waimea Quartz-Crushing Company appears to have sunk without a trace, adding to Lucy's Kite's ongoing financial woes following her husband's death. It seems unlikely that she would have had funds to spare on such a project - she was in fact adjudged bankrupt in May 1874, although discharged from bankruptcy just one month later.
"Colonist", 16 October 1880

Mrs Kite successfully managed the "Ferry Inn" for the next 8 years, using her experience in the hospitality trade to expand custom through a number of useful connections and collaborations. Although accommodation houses were generally run by husband-and-wife teams, it was often the wife who handled the day-to-day management, and it wasn't uncommon to find a widow running one, particularly if she had a sturdy son or two on hand. As well as having her son-in-law George Biggs to call upon, Lucy Kite also had two of her sons to help out when necessary. Francis (Frank) and Thomas Kite Jnr farmed together in the nearby Sherry Valley during her occupancy of the "Ferry", probably fossicking for gold on the side.

Thomas  Kite had joined his brother-in-law George Biggs in successfully applying for adjoining blocks of Crown leasehold land at Slippery Creek in the Sherry in 1882  George jointly farmed the land he was granted with his brother Alfred Biggs. Another of Mrs Kite's sons, George Kite (1839-1907), who had been working as a bushman at Kaituna in Marlborough, followed his brothers and settled on a farm in the Tadmor Valley around 1890. George had married Elizabeth Ellen Sutton in 1865 and their oldest son, Henry, farmed there in turn for his working life.

In 1897 George Kite and his son Henry were granted a prospecting licence over 20 acres of William Mytton’s private land at the Graham River.  This turned out to be a useful connection all round. George Kite’s youngest daughter Clara had married Charles (Charlie) Tomlinson, one of four Tomlinson brothers who had a building business based in Waimea West. Tomlinson Brothers ended up building a new home for the Myttons and William’s daughter Grace Mytton married Percy, oldest son of Charlie’s cousin Bern Tomlinson.

George Batt's bullock wagon at the Hope Saddle Accommodation House.
Used for farm work, clearing bush, timber-milling and transport, 
   bullocks were an indispensible tool for early settlers.

Mrs Kite died at Foxhill on 19 July 1885, aged 71, and was buried at the Richmond Cemetery. The executors of her estate, another couple of sons-in-law - James McMurray, who married Charlotte Kite, and George Kidson, Martha Kite's husband - invited tenders for the "Ferry", but received no eligible offers.

 On 15 October 1885 the licence of the Ferry House and Reserve was transferred from Lucy Kite's executors to George Moring Wright (1843-1924). (19) As a 4-year-old, Wright had left London (where he was born) in 1848 and come out to Nelson, New Zealand, on the ship  Bernicia with his brother William, aged 6, and parents, William & Sophia (nee Maclaren) Wright. The family settled around Wakefield, where George's father died three years later. His mother remarried twice – in 1857 to George Ellis and after being widowed yet again, to widower William Warner Barnes in 1886.There was a tie-in here with the Barneses, Wrights and Kites – Annie Lettitia Barnes, William Barnes’ youngest daughter by his first wife, married Lucy Kite’s youngest son Thomas Kite Jnr in 1881.The date of his mother’s marriage to William Barnes and George Wright’s move to the “Ferry Inn” around that time is unlikely to be coincidental - in the early days it was as often as not all about family networking.

"Nelson Evening Mail" 
26 September 1893

After leaving home, George Wright went to the West Coast where he was farming at Silver Stream, Inangahua, when he married at Reefton on 3 June 1878 to Esther Bell. Born in 1856 at Bethnal Green, London, to braid weaver Robert Bell and his wife Esther nee English, Esther had been a bonnet maker by trade. At the age of 21 she left her family behind and along with 63 other single women, travelled to New Zealand on the ship 'Waitara" as an assisted immigrant, arriving in Nelson on 21 November 1877. She was one of a number who then sailed to Greymouth on the "Charles Edward", hoping to find suitable husbands on the West Coast, where marriageable women were in short supply. George & Esther had 10 children, the first, named George William Francis, dying in infancy. (A later son was also christened George William, but known as Willy). At the end of 1882  the Wrights took over the tenancy of the accommodation house at the Rainbow Run, where they lived till July 1885. (20)

 Frank and Thomas Kite stayed on at their Slippery Creek farm after their mother died. Frank, a bachelor who had an unfortunate fondness for gin, continued to base himself at the "Ferry"  as a lodger whenever he went on a bender. George Wright took legal action against him, claiming during the case Wright v Kite , heard at the Resident Magistrate's Court in August 1886, that Frank owed him money. Wright's pugnacious manner didn't do him any favours with the magistrate, Oswald Curtis, who commented that "the conduct of the plaintiff (Wright) in the box was the most disgraceful he had ever witnessed in a Court of Justice". (21) A well-known Nelson merchant and politician, Curtis served as Nelson's last Provincial Superintendant from 1867 to 1876. Finding Wright's testimony unconvincing, he awarded costs to the defendant, clearly feeling that  Frank had been taken advantage of. There was a follow-up by the Wangpeka Licensing Committee but they decided not to take action against Wright. The Kite family took umbrage on Frank's behalf, and had ongoing concerns about his continued connection with the "Ferry". Frank himself, however, didn't hold a grudge, even adding his name to a petition in support of Wright put together by patrons of the "Ferry", much to the amusement of Wangapeka Licensing Committee members.

Wagons heading for the Buller cross the Motueka River at Motupiko.

Frank Kite carried on regardless untill 15 February 1895, when after one too many bottles of "mother's ruin" at the "Ferry", he took a mad notion to jump on his horse and round up trout at a waterhole in the Motueka River, brushing aside George Wright's attempts to stop him. The horse lost its footing and rolled, drowning Frank. He was 48. Unable to swim, Wright threw him a piece of wood, then went for help, but to no avail. An inquest the following day determined that Frank Kite had accidentally drowned while under the influence of liquor. Questions were asked about how he had been allowed to become so grossly intoxicated, but no prosecution resulted, Frank's body was retrieved and he was buried at the Mararewa Cemetery. After his brother's death, Thomas Kite moved back to the Waimea and took up farming at Wakefield.

A “Colonist” editorial in September 1886 questioned Wright’s fitness to hold a licence. This followed the Wright v Kite case, which had suggested that some of Wright's practices were at least dodgy if not strictly illegal and amounted to "lambing down". Wright came in for a further pasting in November 1886 when the results of a report on back-country accommodation houses complied by Constable Knapp for the Nelson Land Board came out, accusing Wright of not keeping the "Ferry" up to the required standard. One of the conditions of his licence was that a ferry be provided to put people safely across the river and there were also complaints about Wright’s poor ferry service and inattention to keeping the crossing properly flagged.

Adolph Weisenhavern's cob-and-thatch
"Tophouse Accommodation House" ca 1880.
The "Rainbow House" run by the Wrights from
1882-1885 would have been similar to this.

Constable Knapp's report on the "Ferry Inn", written for the Nelson Land Board in 1886 as the result of an investigation into back-country hotels can be read below. (22) (Constable Charles Knapp lived in Spring Grove and had an astonishingly large beat encompassing Brightwater, Spring Grove, Wangapeka, the Upper Motueka Valley, the Lyell and Tophouse. He was the investigating officer in 1894 during the case of the Tophouse murders.)

Wright’s. This accommodation house is known as the “Ferry”, and is on the north side [i.e. downstream] of the Motueka River, Tadmor crossing, and is kept by a G.M. Wright. Part of the house was built during the occupancy of the late lessee (Mrs Kite) and is in good order, but the old building is very much out of repair. There are three good bedrooms with good beds, a dining-room and sitting-room for the accommodation of the public. Until a few months ago there was not a paddock on the reserve with a fence around it. One has been fenced in lately, in part by patching with old fencing. This is the only one and it is of a small area. The fencing generally has been allowed to rot and fall down in all directions. The stable is not fit to put a horse in, and it may come down at any minute. The sides, which are of split slabs, are bulging out and the roof falling in. The Licensing Committee has given Wright notice that unless he puts up a new stable his licence will be forfeited. The time allowed has lapsed, but nothing has been done in the way of building.  The property has been sadly neglected during Wright’s tenancy, and numerous complaints have been made to me of the manner in which the place is conducted, Wright formerly occupied the “Rainbow House” and similar complaints were made about him there. He is not a suitable person to have in charge of an accommodation house.

The Motupiko Valley
The Kohatu Bridge, seen in the background, was
seriously damaged during the same flood in 1895 which
left the Wrights stranded in the top storey of the 'Ferry".

Although Wright's suitability as an innkeeper was questioned, in his defence he had only held the licence for the "Ferry" for just over a year before Knapp's report was compiled. Much of the hotel's decrepitude must surely have come about over a much longer period of time, and Mrs Kite had been reminded in 1880 and 1882 to get the buildings up to scratch. Complaints about conditions at the "Rainbow House" during Wright's earlier tenure there are likely also unfair. The owner had neglected to do any maitenance and the place, which had been sitting untenanted for some time before the Wrights took over, was described as a dark and dismal cob house with a low rotting thatched roof which let the rain in. The Wrights probably did their best in what were reported by Jonathan Brough as being "some sort of starvation conditions."  In any event, It appears that Wright must have made sufficient improvements at the "Ferry" to satisfy the Land Board, as his licence was renewed for a further seven years when its members met on 21 December 1887.

Wright had a few other income streams. He had a store selling essential supplies at the accommodation house, and it's likely this business had been running throughout the tenures of George Biggs and Lucy Kite as well. He raised a few sheep and cattle and in October 1887 was appointed by the Motueka Road Board to the position of Ranger, for which he was paid a stipend.  His job was to impound stock roaming loose on the roads and presenting a hazard for travellers, and he also had the authority to issue infringement notices and collect fees when farmers came to reclaim their errant animals. In February 1889 Wright’s offer to rent the reserve at the pound from the Stanley Brook Road Board was accepted.and in January 1900 he was granted a slaughterhouse licence. It was probably around this time that he set up a butchery at the "Ferry", maybe a profitable way of dealing with unclaimed stock? There was also a bakery at the accommodation house, perhaps Esther Wright's province.

Hotel built at Kohatu in 1894 by Harry Bromell
on the same site as the "Bromell's Accommodation 
House" established by his father Thomas in 1877.
It became known as the  "Terminus" after Kohatu 
Junction became the terminus for the Nelson railway.

 Like the Biggses, the Wrights lost a child while living at the "Ferry". Their daughter Sophia Ellen Wright died there on the 28th of April, 1889, at the age of eight years, "after a long and painful ilness". (23) She was buried at the Mararewa Cemetery (at the time the Upper Motueka Valley cemetery). This was originally across the road from the Anglican Church of the Ascension, an "exceedingly pretty church" formally opened by Bishop Hobhouse on May 23, 1865. It  later burned down. The old cemetery is the only remaining sign of the once-thriving village known as the Upper Motueka Valley Settlement, which dwindled away when the area's centre of population later shifted to Tapawera. 

Schooling was erratic, depending on the availability of suitable teachers. The Upper Motueka School opened at the Institute rooms in 1876, but was closed between 1880 and 1893. The three oldest surviving Wright children - Alice (Maud), Florence (Florrie) and George William (Willy) - were listed on the Upper Motueka Valley School roll when it reopened in 1893 in a new building established on the site of the old Anglican church destroyed by fire. Their father George served as a member of the School Committee around this time and is recorded as having robust discussion with other Committee members over the site of the new school. He felt it should be placed at at the junction of the valleys near the "Ferry", pointing out that a township would develop there when the railway came through. Although at the time his suggestion was laughed out of hand, George Wright would be proven right and that is exactly where the school -  along with the schoolhouse itself - ended up 13 years later. By then, though, Wright and his family had moved away, so he never got to say "I told you so!"

In 1880 Mrs Kite entered into an advantageous arrangement with John Row Mabin, a Nelson auctioneer and commission agent, whereby the "Ferry Inn" became the venue for auctions he periodically held in the Upper Motueka Valley. Stock and sundry goods were sold, initially at the pound near the hotel, then at dedicated saleyards built opposite the "Ferry", just south of the present Tapawera Area School. The first of these auctions, held on 17 October 1880, was also the first ever to be held in the district and was a big deal, a real fête champêtre with a big marquee erected on site and plentiful food and drink supplied by mine hostess. Locals came in droves from the valleys near and far, making the most of a chance to put the daily grind of farming to one side and enjoy a rare day out.

 Upper Motueka Valley ca. 1920
The "Ferry Inn" at the Tadmor Ford
 (marked "Accom. House") &
Tapawera road/rail bridge opened
for use in 1906 are circled in green.

Further consolidating the "Ferry'"s position in the Upper Motueka Valley as the central gathering point for stock sales, Lucy Kite also developed a similar arrangement with another Nelson auctioneer, Messrs R. Aitken & Sons. The "Ferry" was later used for this purpose as well by Bisley Bros, Auctioneers and Stock & Station Agents based in Nelson. (24) They went into the droving business in the 1890s, taking mobs of sheep over Top House and through Hamner and Culverden to the Addington Saleyards in Christchurch. Bisley Bros at this rime began running a regular rural stock sales circuit around the Upper Motueka Valley and took up an arrangement with the "Ferry Inn", now run by George Wright. from around 1893 onwards. They also used what had become known as the "Ferry Yards",  just across the road from the hotel.  Mrs Kite clearly had an agreement about providing lunch for those attending auctions, with plenty of beer on the side, but when Wright made an attempt to take advantage of a captive market and do the same, he came unstuck. Word went around the saleyards that beer was available and if patrons bought lunch for a shilling, they’d be given a glass of beer with it. However, the authorities got wind of this practice and Wright was instructed to stop it - perhaps it contravened his licence in some way.

Another mutually beneficial practice, instituted in Mrs Kite's time and continued during Wright's occupancy, was the hosting of  thoroughbred stallions standing at stud. Owners would take them on a well-advertised circuit around the district, stopping overnight at various accommodation houses where local farmers could bring their mares to be serviced.

The river flooded frequently, isolating the  accommodation house, and on at least one occasion meaning Bisley Bros.' stock sale at the "Ferry" had to be postponed, but floods which inundated the building itself were not that common. However, widespread flooding in January 1895 saw the Wright family trapped in the upper storey of the “Ferry Inn”. George Wright had tried to tie the old hotel down, but for a time there were fears that the Wrights would float off down the river along with the building. Neighbourly relations were probably strained for a while after valiant efforts by one of the Fenemors to rescue them using a dray and horses failed due to the depth of the water, and an ungrateful Wright (busily making a raft which fortunately wasn’t needed) yelled at him from the upstairs window, “So you’re going to leave us here to drown, are you? You’re a coward!”  (25)

General store established by Felix Symes Savage
(far lt) at Maniaroa. This settlement officially took the 

name "Tapawera" when the Tapawera Post Office 
was attached to the store in 1905. 
His brother John Henry Savage ran the
 "Terminus Hotel" at Kohatu between 1906-9.
Later, though, Wright dined out on this near-disaster, regaling visitors with the story of his family's close shave and pointing out the line on the walls inside the "Ferry" which showed just how high the floodwaters had risen.

The 1st of July 1879 was a red letter day for the Upper Motueka Valley, as it saw the first coach leave Foxhill for Longford, just outside Murchison. The railway from Nelson had reached Foxhill in 1876, and with the completion of the road over the Hope Saddle into the Buller, the Newman brothers, Tom & Harry, began a long-running service taking mail and passengers to the West Coast. Traversing that rough-hewn, vertiginous road required nerves of steel for driver and passengers alike. Tales of narrow escapes abounded, but the mail always got through.

Several accommodation houses and hotels on the route, including “Bromell’s” at Kohatu, on the west side of the Motueka River, and the "Upper Motupiko Inn" at Korere, then took on an additional role as staging posts for the Newmans' coaches - places where horse teams could be changed, mail inward and outward exchanged and passengers able to have a break and a meal. Mail for the Sherry would be dropped off at the "Upper Motupiko Inn". From 1889-1893 George Wright of the “Ferry Inn” took over the Motupiko-Sherry River  mail run, using a horse and sulky to run the weekly mail service between Motupiko and the Sherry River post office, attached at that time to the house of postmaster W.H. (Harry) Phillips, and a difficult journey when the Motueka River was in flood. In his reminscences of life at Sherry River in the 1880s and '90s, Harry Phillips' son Jack (who apparently didn't have a very high opinion of the old "Ferry") noted, "I remember the old blustering mailman arriving at high speed in his sulky on the weekly trip, always looking to fight the mailman from the Baton. This mailman, called Wright, kept the grog shop or accommodation shanty at the Motueka River crossing (now Tapawera). The older mailman, Dapp, from the Baton, who met Wright at our place, was a quiet man." (26)

George Moring & Esther (nee Bell) Wright 
Last licensees of the "Ferry Inn",
 which they ran from 1885 till around 1904.
Edmund Bromell, whose father Thomas had built an accommodation house at Kohatu in 1877, known as “Bromell’s“, later had the Motupiko to Sherry mail run for nine years, apart from a three month break when his brother Harry took over so Edmund could work with a mate on a gold claim in the Sherry Valley - as it happens, without any luck. Edmund  Bromell  settled in the Baton, where he established a farm and hop garden. Bromell had another mail run from Tapawera to the Baton around 1917.(27) His brother Phillip Henry (Harry) who held the hotel licence for 10 years after his father, rebuilt on the site of the original “Bromell’s” in 1894, creating the more imposing hotel still recognisable today. In the 1890s it became the focal point for a tent city (also called "Bromell's") set up by workers constructing the railway from Belgrove to Motupiko. The completed line was officially opened on 1 March 1899.  With the Motupiko (renamed Kohatu) Station becoming the terminus for the Nelson railway. "Bromell's Hotel" then became known as the "Terminus".  

Construction of the Motupiko (Kohatu) -Tadmor line began in March 1901 and saw increased activity around the old accommodation house. Change came fast once a railway construction camp was set up in the vicinity, taking the name "Maniaroa" from George MacMahon's farm nearby. Before long local settlers began moving into the area to supply services to the workers, and stores, small businesses and homes soon appeared. The developing township was at first also known as "Maniaroa", but  became "Tapawera" after the post office which was established at Savage's store in 1905 was given the Maori name "Tapawera". meaning "on the edge of the burning forest". This may have been perfectly random choice, but may have been a nod to the theory that the area's original Maori inhabitants at some point fled in advance of an invading war party, setting fires behind them to mask their escape, or else related to the  "Fire Storm Summer' of 1886 which saw  bush fires rage unchecked for weeks, laying waste to large tracts in the Motupiko and Tadmor Valleys, but leaving th e "Ferry" untouched.

The Mararewa flag station.
The headstones of the old cemetery can
be seen next to it on the right.
The old Upper Motueka Valley Settlement, once the centre of the district, with its school, two churches (Anglican and Wesleyan), a library, store, post office and flour mill established in 1871 by settler Arthur R. Oliver, fell rapidly into decline as a result. Its end was signalled in 1906 when the Upper Motueka Valley school was shifted by traction engine two miles down the track to the new town at Tapawera. (28) It even lost its name, becoming "Mararewa", the name given to the small flag station built right next to the old Upper Motueka Valley cemetery. This station  too has long since vanished, leaving only its name and the cemetery behind. (29)

The coming of the railway also saw the end of the line for the "Ferry Inn", which became redundant after the opening on 6 August 1906 of the Motupiko extension with its crowning glory - the combined road/rail bridge over the Motueka River at Tapawera. (30) This was replaced in 1977 by a new concrete vehicle-only bridge. Wright clearly saw the writing on the wall when he put the interest in the business up for sale with Bisley Bros., advertised  23 September 1901 in the "Nelson Evening Mail"  thus:

The combined road/rail bridge opened
at Tapawera on 6 August 1907.
"Interest in 48 acres of Land with Acommodation House thereon; together with the Goodwill of Business, consisting of Store, Bakery and Butchery etc., known as 
                       "THE FERRY"
The above is centrally situated and the Midland Railway, now in course of construction, will pass the property, and when the Tadmor bridge is completed the lessee's interest should be greatly increased.The sale of the above presents a splendid chance to any young man, or any person with business knowledge. Full particulars supplied by Mr Wright, on the property, or by 
               BISLEY BROTHERS & CO".
Apparently there were no takers, any "persons with business knowledge" probably being no more optimistic about the business' future than its would-be seller. By 1905 Wright and his familty had moved to the North Island and the old building gradually fell into decay. George Wright was living at Morrinsville in the Waikato when he died in 1924. His wife Esther died there in 1942. Both are buried at the Old Morrinsville Cemetery.

Acknowledgement: Mr E. Stevens.

 John Stanley J.P.
First to settle in the 
area he called Tadmor.

The Tadmor naming controversy

Local historian Jeff Newport had little doubt that it was Motueka Valley pioneer, John Stanley, who gave the name “Tadmor” to the Tapawera area and that it was originally attached to his whole run, which covered the entire area from the Stanley Brook hill to just beyond the current Tapawera township. Stanley built his homestead on the flats near the confluence of the Tadmor and Motueka Rivers sometime around 1857 and named it “Tadmor Lodge” (changed by a later owner to “Glenrae”). Stanley, a staunch Anglican churchman and layreader, was a Biblical scholar and in naming the homestead "Tadmor Lodge" he clearly had in mind the Biblical text “Solomon built Tadmor in the wilderness”  (King James Bible, 1 Kings IX,17-18.), seeing his home as an oasis supplied by wholesome water and surrounded by hills on the west and  north-east. An alternative but less likely version has it that when John Norris (for whom Norris' Gully in the Spooner Range area takes its name) was travelling from Wakefield to the goldfields, he was heard by his companions to call out when he came in sight of the valley that this was ‘Tadmor in the wilderness”.

See Newport “Footprints “ Ch XIV Motueka Valley Settlement”, pg. 164 & Ch XXIII, “Tadmor” p. 262

The mystery of the vanishing place names.

Post offices in the Upper Motueka Valley
between Foxhill and Longford ca 1920.

According to NZ Post historian Robin Startup, the answer to this can be laid at the door of the New Zealand Post Office & Telegraph Department. Wherever a new post office was established, an existing place name could be arbitrarily changed by head office at the NZ P&T, especially if there was already a post office at another settlement in NZ with a similar name. For example, Murchison was originally called Hampden but when a post office opened there in 1883 it underwent a name change because there was already a post office at Hampden in North Otago. Gordon Downs (named after a shepherd called William Gordon) is thought to have became Golden Downs because there were already post offices in Gordon (south of Te Aroha) and Gordonton (north of Hamilton). In the early 1900s the P&T's policy was to allocate new post offices a Maori name if possible. The railway was being constructed through the Upper Motueka Valley around the same time, bringing postal services attached to either newly built railway stations or to businesses near them. Mail and rail were inextricably linked.This accounts for a number of new and altered place names in the Upper Motueka Valley in the first decades of the 20th century. The Upper Motueka Valley Settlement became Mararewa; the Wangapeka Settlement became Matariki; Upper Motupiko became Korere; Rainy River became Atapo, and the Maniaroa Settlement became Tapawera. When a post office was attached to the Motupiko Railway Station it was renamed Kohatu to avoid confusion because there was already a Motupiko post office running at the store two miles away. Although David Kerr's "Blue Glen" homestead kept its name, its attached post office was named Kikiwa. The NZ P&T was also responsible for allocating the names Hiwipango (once the Wai-iti Valley Settlement), Kiwi (Upper Tadmor) Tui (Flower's Terrace), Kaka and Rakau.

See Ward, John & Cooper, Don (2004) "Golden Downs Forest, Nelson, 1927-2004". Richmond, N;: Weyerhaeuser NZ Inc. "Pioneers, Settlers & Farming, 1844-1926", pg 4

1) Newport, J.N.W. (1962) "Footprints; the story of the settlement  and development of the Nelson back country districts. Christchurch, NZ: Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd. Ch XIV, Motueka Valley Settlement, pp164-166.
2) Ibid. Ch. XIII "Gordon Downs and Golden Downs", pg 154
3) Nelson Land Board: Report on Accommodation Houses (Constable Knapp to Inspector Acheson)  Deals with accommodation houses at Top House, Rainbow, Stewart's (Gordon Downs), & Wright's (Ferry Inn)  at Motueka Valley.
(1866, 19 November) “Colonist”, pg 3.
4) Newport, "Footprints". Ch VIII "The Track to Canterbury", pp 96-98
See also:
Ibid. Ch X "Rainbow", pg 119
See also: Suspected drowning of Nelson settler George Ross
(1884, 6 February) "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 2
5) Accommodation licence, George Biggs Jnr, "Ferry House", Waimea South 1874
Notifications of licences granted per Licensing Act, 1873 : District of Waimea South
(1874, 21 March) "Colonist", pg 4
See also:
Publican's licence to sell alcohol granted to George Biggs Jnr ,"Ferry', by the Licensing Court for Waimea South on 23 April, 1874
(1874, 24 April) "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 2
6) Newport, "Footprints". Ch XVI "Tapawera", pg 178
7) Stringer, Marion J. (1999) "Just another row of spuds: A pioneer history of Waimea South". Wakefield, NZ: M.J. Stringer. Biggs, George (1822-1890) and family pp 238-241
8) Newport, "Footprints". Ch. XVIII "Baton Valley", pg 207
9) Report of a trip made to the Tadmor goldfield which describes Biggs’ camp at the diggings.
(1877, 5 April) "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 2
10) Newport, "Footprints". Ch. XII "Blue Glen, Big Bush, Kikiwa", pg 143
11) Trustees of George Biggs Jnr’s estate auction his effects at his Tadmor accommodation house
(1878, 2 February) "Colonist", pg 2
12)  Death of William Biggs, aged 4, by drowning in the Motueka River.
(1875, 29 January) "Nelson Evening Mail" pg 2
13) Report of inquest into the death of George Arthur Biggs, aged 4, at the Tadmor River.
(1893, 25 September) "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 3
14)  Funeral notice, George Biggs Jnr
(1918, 22 Jul)  "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 6

15) Henderson, Bob (1961) "Friends in Chains". Wellington, NZ: A.H. & A.W. Reed. Ch. XV The Teamster's Holiday, pg 117.

16) William Pratt: A Journey from Riwaka to Nelson 1844
Includes an account of a welcome  breakfast at the "Plough Inn" cooked by Mrs Lucy Kite for two hungry travellers who got lost while walking from Riwaka to Nelson.
Nelson Historical Society Journal, Vol 3. Issue 3, Sept 1977.
Another welcome encounter with the "Plough Inn" during a difficult journey from Nelson to Wakefield in 1843 is described by William Wadsworth in Lowther Broad's "Jubilee History Of Nelson",  Ch. VI,  pp 81-82 ,n available to read online at NZETC.
17) Sutton, Jean (1992) "How Richmond Grew". Richmond, NZ: J. Sutton.
Ch 5, "Naming of Richmond", pg 19; Ch.8 "Richmond Cattle Fair", pp 26-29; Ch 11"Plough Inn", pp 36-38.
18) ibid. Ch 14 "Red Horse Inn",pp 47-48, Ch. 15 "White Hart Inn", pp 49-51; Ch 21, "Horse Transport: Carriers" pp 66-69; Ch 27 "Postal Services", pp 91-95.
19) Nelson Land Board - Transfer of Ferry Reserve from executors of the late Lucy Kite to G.M. Wright
(1885, 22 October) "Colonist", pg 3
21) Resident Magistrate's Court: Wright v Kite
(1886, 31 August) "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 2
22) Report on the inquest into the drowning of Francis Kite on February 10 1895.
(1895, 14 February) “Nelson Evening Mail”, pg 2 21
23) Death of Sophia Wright at the "Ferry"
(1889, 30 April) "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 222
24) Announcement:  Messrs Bisley Brothers & Co. to hold a stock sale at Wright's "Ferry Hotel",
Motueka Valley, on Tuesday, October 24, 1893.
Stock Sale at Motueka Valley
(1893,10 October)  "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 3

25) Particulars of the floods of January 1895 in the Upper Motueka and Motupiko Valleys
(1895, 4 January) "Colonist" pg 2
See also:
Newport, "Footprints" Ch.XXXIX "Floods", pg 407
26) Newport, J.N.W. (1978) "Footprints Too: Further Glimpses into the History of Nelson Province." Blenhein, NZ: J.N.W. Newport. Ch 25 John (Jack) Phillips' Memories of Sherry River", pg 163
See also: Startup, Robin.M. (1975) "Through Gorge and Valley: A history of the Postal District of Nelson from 1842. Masterton, NZ: R. M. Startup for the Postal History Society of New Zealand. "Motupiko-Kohatu-Tadmor-Sherry Valley", pg 39; "Sherry River", pg 69.
27) Newport, "Footprints", Ch XX!, "Sherry River", pg 254. See also: Ch XVII, "Motupiko" pg 196 for the history of "Bromell's Accommodation House" and the "Terminus Hotel" at Kohatu.
28) Tenders for removal of Upper Motueka Valley School to Maniaroa (Tapawera) were invited in 1905 
(1905, 28 December 1905) "Colonist", pg 3
and again in February 1906. The school's name had officially changed to 'Tapawera" by 1907. 
The old school was moved again in 1942 to the site of the Tapawera Consolidated School where it served as the manual block until acidentally burned down in 1949

Note that Barry O'Donnell in "When Nelson Had a Railway" gives the date of the Upper Motueka school's move as 1902, but given that tenders for its removal were not advertised till 1905/1906, this can't be right.

29) O'Donnell, Barry (2005)"When Nelson Had a Railway: The life and death of New Zealand's last isolated railway 1876-1955. Wellington, NZ: Schematics Ltd. " Winners and Losers", pg 92
30) Tadmor Railway Extension: Opening the Line. A Land of Promise.
(1906, 7 August) "Colonist", pg 2

Sources Consulted
Henderson, Bob (1961) "Friends in Chains". Wellington, NZ: A.H. & A.W. Reed

Marshall, Graeme (1981) "Schooldays....School Days! 100 years of education - Tapawera & Districts. Motueka, NZ: Cherry Printers & Stationers Ltd.

Millar, J. Halket ((1965, rev & enlarged ed.) "HIgh Noon for Coaches" Wellington, NZ: A.H.& A.W. Reed. (The story of pioneer coaching entreneurs Tom & Harry Newman and the transport business they founded).
Newport, J.N.W. (Jeff) (1962) "Footprints; the story of the settlement  and development of the Nelson back country districts. Christchurch, NZ: Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd.
Newport (1978) "Footprints Too: Further Glimpses into the History of Nelson Province." Blenhein, NZ: J.N.W. Newport.
Newport (1987) "More Footprints: Still further glimpses into the History of Nelson Province" .Neslon, NZ: J.N.W. Newport.
Newport (1990) "Footprints Farewell". Nelson, NZ: Nikau Press.
O'Donnell, Barry (2005)"When Nelson Had a Railway: The life and death of New Zealand's last isolated railway 1876-1955. Wellington, NZ: Schematics Ltd.
Stringer, Marion J. (1999) "Just another row of spuds: A pioneer history of Waimea South". Wakefield, NZ: M.J. Stringer.
Sutton, Jean 1992) "How Richmond Grew". Richmond, NZ: J. Sutton.

Tomlinson, J.E. (Jack) (1968) "Remembered Trails". Nelson, NZ: J.E. Tomlinson.

Ward, John & c Cooper, John ( rev.ed. 2004) "Golden Downs Forest, Nelson 1927",. Nelson, NZ: Anchor Press.
Newport,J.W.N. (May,1957) “Goldfields in the Upper Motueka and Buller Valleys” Nelson Historical Society Journal, Vol 1, Issue 2
Motueka and the Motueka River Valley
Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Motupiko - George Biggs
Cyclopedia of New Zealand (1906) Note:  Thomas Kite, father of George Biggs' wife Clara was not a member of the party involved in the Wairau Affray as claimed here.
Online at NZETC
Prow: the Nelson Railway to Nowhere
Prow: Newman Brothers
Papers Past
Land at Waimea South (Tadmor) owned by George Biggs and his father in 1864
George Jnr
Part of 1Section 00, Square 6
George Biggs Snr
Part of Section 100 (household) & Sections 34 & #6Waimes South:
(1864, 7 April) "Nelson Examiner", pg 4

Waimea South: Up-country licenses granted
(1874, 25 April), "Colonist", pg 2

Arrival of the immigrant ship 'Waitara" in Nelson
(1877, 13 December) "Clono ist", pg 5

The Drought, the Heat and the Bush Fires - the disastrous "Big Dry" of January 1908
(1908, 28 Janusry)  "Nelson Evening Mail". pg 2
A trip to the Tadmor  (describes a journey from Foxhill to Biggs’ camp at the Tadmor diggings)
(1877, 5 April)  "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 2
The Upper Motueka Valley - damage caused by the 1877 floods
(1877, 17 March) "Colonist", pg 3

Through the Wangapeka with a Geologist: The Upper Motueka Valley 
Mentions Mr Wright's "Ferry Hotel" -describes the land around it and the Tadmor Ford. 
(1888, 22 March) "Colonist", pg 1's%20ferry%20tadmor
Upper Motueka Valley and Tadmor Ford – railways work to hand Through
Describes a visit to the "Ferry Inn"
(1903, 27 July) "Colonist", pg 2
Push to open the line from Motupiko to the Tadmor crossing – an opportunity to open up land for settlers
(1900, 8 May) "Colonist", pg 2
Nelson Land Board: Report on Accommodation Houses (Constable Knapp to Inspector Acheson)
(1886, 19 November) “Colonist”, pg 3
Inquest into the drowning of Francis Kite on February 10 1895.
(1895, 14 February) “Nelson Evening Mail”, pg 2
The Central Buller - an account of a coach trip through the Motupiko Valley.
(1880, 5 October) "Colonist 5 October 1880, pg 3
Personal – death of Pvt Frank Biggs
(1917, 7 November) "Colonist", pg 4
The floods of January 1895
Motueka and Motupiko Valleys
(1895, 4 January) "Colonist", pg 2
Image credits
Photograph of the derelict “Ferry Inn”
Newport, J.N.W. (Jeff) (1987) “More Footprints", pg 13
Map of the Upper Motueka Valley goldfields, showing routes, accommodation houses and diggings.
Newport, "Footprints", pg 140

John Taylor's Baton Accommodation House
Nelson Provincial Museum, photo reference.18144
George Biggs Jnr
NPM photo ref. 20396
Tadmor Ford
Tyree Studio, Nelson [ca 1890s]
Alexander Turnbull Library, rf. 10x8-0673-G

Gathering at the Upper Motueka Valley Settlement on May 1865, following the dedication of the new Anglican Church of the Ascension, sited close to the home of Arthur R. Oliver.
From Newport, "More Footprints", Ch VII Sport, pg 55
Blenheim contingent of the 12th (Nelson & Marlborough) Regiment disembarks at Tapawera Station, April 1914. Photographer:  F.N. Jones
NPM, photo ref. 323375

"Upper Motupiko Inn"
NPM photo ref. 71854

Lucy Kite (1815-1885) (thought to be)
From Sutton, "How Richmond Grew": Hotels, pg 35

The "Plough Inn"
From Sutton, "How Richmond Grew" Ch 11 The 'Plough Inn', pg. 38
"White Hart Inn", Richmond
NPM photo ref. 54934
"Foxhill Hotel"
NPM photo ref. 180061

Advertisement soliciting interest in a proposed auction to be held at the "Ferry Inn" by John R. Mabin
(1880, 16 October) "Colonist", pg 2

George Batt's bullock team at the Hope Saddel Accommodation House.
Newport, "More Footprints", pg 28

Advertisment  - St Leonard’s Sire to stand at Wright’s “Ferry Hotel’
(1893, 26 September) "Nelson Evening Mail", pg 4

Wagons crossing the Motueka River at Motupiko
Tyree Studio, NPM photo ref. 182281
Adolph Weisenhavern's "Tophouse Accommodation House".
NPM photo ref. no 326773
The Motupiko Valley
NPM photo ref. no 181942
"Terminus Hotel" at Kohatu
From Newport, "Footprints", pg 129
Felix Symes Savage's General Store at Maniaroa, renamed Tapawera in 1905.
From Newport, "More Footprints", pg 13
Map of the Upper Motueka Valley showing the site of the "Ferry Inn"
Courtesy of Mr E.Stevens
George & Esther Wright

Mararewa flag station
FromO'Donnell, "When Nelson had a Railway", pg 92
Originsl credit: Photogrspher Dr James Hudson, courtesy D. Stewart.
Tapawera road/rail bridge
NPM, ref no 8654
John Stanley J.P.
NPM. 11803
Map showing pper Motueka Valley post offices, ca 1920
Startup, R.M. (1975) "Through Gorge and Valley: A history of the Postal District of Nelson from 1849". Masterton, NZ: R.M. Startup for the Postal History Society of New Zealand. See: "South to the Gorge", pg 35

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