Hokitika, N.Z.

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Hokitika, N.Z. (1921)
by David John Evans

A spoken word version of this edition is available at LibriVox

3452550Hokitika, N.Z.1921David John Evans






(County Clerk),


Supplementary Notes







To the Honored Memory of the

Early Pioneers of Westland:

“Daring and Conquering,—
Thought not sharing
“In the Afterglow.”

N.B.—The gross proceeds from the sale of this Illustrated Pamphlet will be devoted to the maintenance of the Westland Pioneers' Memorial at Hokitika.

Copies obtainable from the local Booksellers, and the “Guardian” Office, Hokitika.


(From Hokitika “Guardian,” Wednesday, August 24th., 1921).

At the meeting of the Hokitika Beautifying Association last night what proved to be a very interesting paper on the birth of the borough of Hokitika, and the nomenclature of its streets, was read by Mr Evans. The information conveyed gave something more than a fleeting glimpse of life in Hokitika more than half a century ago. It is good to revive memories of the past, and it is well to have the links with the past strengthened, from time to time with reminders of the history of those other days. The foundation and career of Hokitika has been of the romantic order, and the suggestion that a complete history of the early times should be prepared is one which the authorities should follow up. The band of early pioneers is passing away, and we are losing touch with the old atmosphere of those former days. It would be well to act betimes in chronicling as completely as possible the story of the stirring times which brought thousands to our town, and which witnessed the carving of a town out of the dense forest. Work went forward swiftly in those times. A very few months served to see Hokitika established. In the first year of its municipal life the street expenditure alone was set down at £23,382, while the income from rates was shown to be only £8,000. The pioneers who found a way through the difficulties and dangers of the mountain passes and the rivers and streams to the new El Dorado, were evidently confident of overcoming such small matters as finance to make streets. The road to Christchurch for instance, was made in a remarkably brief span of time, and the initial cost for that great work, as it must have been in those early days was given at only £150,000. Yes, there were giants in those far off days in every walk of life, and it would appear we never fully realise nor appreciate what we owe to the sterling men who in those times solved great difficulties for us who came after, in laying the foundations of civic life here. It certainly was a happy idea to name the streets of the town after the names of the prominent men of the period. This is indeed a lively means of connection with the past, and the references in the paper read at the Town Hall last night in the interesting account of the personality of the men of the past who in an official way were so directly associated with the fortunes of the town, proved quite engrossing. Especially is this so in regard to Mr Sale and the late Mr Revell, and it is a happy suggestion that their memories should be perpetuated in some way by a local memorial. The founders of the corporation well deserved to have their memories perpetuated. In the circumstances of those past times their lot and task here must have been difficult and arduous. Isolated as Hokitika was at the time of its inception, great responsibilities were thrust on those in power. That they used their positions wisely and well we may gather from the esteem in which they were held and the smoothness with which matters took their course. “Friends depart and memory takes them to her caverns pure and deep,” and a memorial will be an outward and visible reminder stirring the depths of memory as to the services performed for the public weal. Hokitika had a romantic beginning and its past is becoming embalmed in the dreams of memory. Let us with memorials and the records of history help to keep the story extant, for—

Though varying wishes, hopes and fears,
Fevered the progress of those by-gone years,
Yet now, days, weeks, months but seem
The recollection of a dream.”

papers (not listed in original)


Illustration No. 1.

This is the photograph of the Explorers’ Monument on its original site in Weld Street. It is now on Cemetery Hill, overlooking the Tasman Ocean. It is a memorial to Henry Whitcombe, Road Surveyor, drowned in Teremakau river, May 6, 1863; Charlton Howitt, Explorer, drowned Lake Brunner, September, 1863; Charles Townsend, Government Agent, drowned, Grey River, October 9, 1863; George Dobson, Surveyor, murdered, Grey-Arnold road, May 28, 1866.

Illustration No. 2.

A photograph of the Seventies of Revell Street. Alcorn’s corner is on the right, and on the left may be seen the Corinthian Hall to which reference is made in this booklet.

Illustration No. 3.

A photograph of the Seventies of Revell Street.

Illustration No. 4.

Erected at the time of the Jubilee of Westland, 1914, to the honor of the Pioneers of Westland. The monument bears a notable inscription.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1944, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 79 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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