The group was formed in 1981 when Betty Bint and some local residents, interested in preserving the history of the area, wanted to make secure a collection of photographs, books and other printed material. An agreement with the Tasman District Council to house the collection in the district library allowed anyone interested in researching family and local history access to this material. It was especially useful to Marion Stringer who has written several books about the Waimea South area including “Just Another Row of Spuds” and its sequel “More Wakefield Spuds.”

The group is currently involved in fundraising to have the collection catalogued so that references to the material will be available on-line in the library. This will facilitate individual research and reduce reliance on the knowledge of library staff. (N.B. This task was completed by 2012.  Book and photograph collection is now available on-line.)


52 responses

  1. Hi, I live in Sydney Australia and have been researching the convict artict Charles Henry CONSTANTINI. He died in Waimea on the 9th October 1860. Would you be interested in some information about him? Also, are you able to tell me how I could find out where he is buried? Many thanks, Col

    1. Apologies, Col, for not responding sooner to your request. I am working on this one. To date have drawn a blank, but don’t give up yet.

    2. Any further information you could send me may assist in the search for his final resting place. Thanks, Roger.

      1. Hi Roger – Not too sure I can add much more about Constantini’s death – He was born 1803. He is evidently listed on the Physicians File Index on the Hawaii Medical Library, specifically the Mamiya Medical Heritage Centre, instituted in 1999 by Richard Mamiya. Apart from that I only have information prior to him coming to Hawaii. Please feel free to email me direct if I can assist in any way. I would be happy to pay for a copy of his death certificate or could send you something from here if you wanted it in lieu of the $10 fee – by the time the bank fees etc are paid, I would rather spend the money on something better for you and simply post it over! Thanks for your help. Col

      2. Col – I wonder if we are at cross purposes here.  Your mention of Hawaii made we wonder if that is where Constantini died, not on the Waimea Plains near the city of Nelson in New Zealand where we are.  Roger.—–Original Message—–

    3. First you thump us in the Rugby and now this !! We are indeed at cross purposes. I actually worked in Aotereroa for a number of years so should have known better but, then again, I am ONLY an Aussie!! Appreciate you clearing that up for me. Had better start trying to email Hawaii, eh Bro! Thanks again. Stay well. Col P.S. That Haka at Eden Park was awesome.

  2. I am a direct descendant of Thomas and Dinah Price (brass plate on St John’s Church wall, graves behind church). Would like to connect with the society. Are you having meetings this year?
    Lynn Rain (nee Aplin)

    1. Yes, Lynn. We would be delighted to have you at our meetings. The programme for July to November 2011 will shortly be posted. It begins with a visit to South Street, Nelson, on the 26th July. More specific details to follow.

  3. When are you going to post again? You really entertain a lot of people!

  4. Fiona Russell | Reply

    Can you please advise where I can purchase Marion Stringer’s book “More Wakefield Spuds”. My Snowden’s arrived in 1842 and Schwasses in 1844

    1. As far as I know, Fiona, this book is still in print and should be available from local suppliers. The ISBN number to quote is: 0-473-11287-6.
      Cheers, Roger.
      NB at the moment (20/02/14) I understand that this is out of print. You may get one at a second hand dealers.

  5. HI, I live in Painton House on Edward St, Wakefield and am trying to do some research on its origins etc. We had a man call by last year who was a descendant of The Smiths who lived opposite before the Hotel. He sent us an article that I have misplaced which I am fairly sure said that the store that Grace had on other side of road was moved to become what it now known as Painton House. Although I can find reference to Painton House being established in 1876, this does not necessarily mean that it was built on situ in 1876. Do you have any information on when Painton House was built and whether it was in fact Grace’s store first. The photo of Grace’s store bears a striking resemblance to our house. Many thanks, Robyn

    1. Your two essential references which may answer most of your questions are “From River to Range” published by Waimea South Historical (available from the Tasman District Library) p.89 and “Just Another Row of Spuds” by Marion Stringer pp.92-93. This book is out of print but the libraries hold copies.

  6. Anne McFadgen | Reply

    Hi – while doing research for an article I wrote for the Prow website about John Ribet of Kawatiri, I came across this piece in Tony Nolan’s “Historic Gold Trails of Nelson & Marlborough”:

    ” Until recently I (Nolan) was always puzzled by the number of old- timers who told me their birthplace was Wakefield. Then in a conversation I learned that the township had a private maternity home, apparently for a long time the only one between Nelson and the West Coast.”

    I knew that, lacking any medical facilities, early female settlers from Hampden (Murchison) would often make the trek to Westport or Nelson for their confinements, but haven’t seen mention of this Wakefield maternity home elsewhere. Can anyone please tell me anything about it?

    Anne McFadgen.

    1. Marion Stringer in her book “Just Another Row of Spuds” writes about several nursing homes in and around Wakefield (see pp. 72-73) This book is now out of print but copies can be obtained from the Tasman District Library.

    2. Hello Roger
      I was born in the Home on Whitby Rd Wakefield, run by Sister Everett and Dr Closs, in 1937 also my sister Pat in 1935. Dr John Davies bought it years later and it has now gone,
      Really enjoy your “About Waimea South” Emails-Many thanks for sending them
      My best wishes
      Joan Carmody nee Crichton Flat 2 154 Queen St Richmond Ph 5410055

  7. Many thanks.

    1. A further question – Marion Stringer mentions something in “Just Another Row of Spuds” that I’d really like to follow up on. Is she still involved in the W.S Historical Society and/or would it be possible to contact her?

      Anne McFadgen.

  8. Sadly, Marion died in September last year. (See information on our website.)

  9. I’m sorry to hear that. Sadly, the other contact I had who might have been able to answer my question now has dementia, so looks as if that question will have to remain answered.

  10. Hello, I would very much like to be able to contact Warren Thomas of ‘The Gables’
    Can anyone help me?
    Thank you.

    1. He is in the Nelson district telephone directory in Margill Way in Richmond.

  11. my great greats are buried at marawera cemetery Wilhelm Pahl .Died Tadmor 1888 lam trying to find information about them ,.Would dearly appreciate any info

    1. There are references to “Pahl” in “From River to Range” but not to Wilhelm: “Reuben Kinzett married Charlotte Pahl” (p.83) and “Sarah Ann Wells later Pahl” (p.106). They obviously lived in the district. I suggest a visit to the Tasman District Library, if you live locally, would uncover more information. The reference librarians are very helpful and there is a good deal of information on local families.

  12. Fiona Russell | Reply

    I am trying to locate where my 3 x Great Grandfather John SNOWDEN would have been buried. He died in Brightwater in 1851.

    1. Is he the family patriarch who was a first settler and the man who donated “Snowden’s Bush” to the people of Brightwater? If so, it is very unlikely that he is not buried in the Brightwater cemetery.
      However, the first Brightwater Vicarage was destroyed by fire in 1903 and many cemetery records were lost. Francis H and Stanley Roy Snowden are recorded in More Wakefield Spuds but not John.

  13. fiona@xashus.co.nz | Reply

    He is the patriarch of my Snowden family but it looks to have died before a church was built. I visited St Paul’s Brightwater, this week but I couldn’t find any Snowden graves.
    Is More Wakefield Spuds another Marion Stringer book?

    1. Yes, it’s the sequel to “Another Row of Spuds.” If he is not buried near to the house in which he lived the question is where were people buried in 1851 who were living in the Brightwater area? (unless he lived somewhere else). Perhaps someone else reading this will be able to provide an answer.

    2. Not sure if there was a reply to this but John T Snowden is buried in Richmond cemetery
      also Eliza nee Webby. Her Parents are my Gr Gr Grandparents
      Joan Carmody

      1. Hi Joan, I am a descendant of Edward Webby and would be keen to make contact with you. I am publishing a book on the Webby Family in May this year (2017) which will be available directly from me. Look forward to hearing from you. Jacquie Webby

      2. Hi, my grandmother was Helen Gertrude Webby and grew up at 88 Valley. I am interested in more information on that family as well as photos, old pictures. I have a lovely picture of Helen with her sisters

  14. Hi, I am a descendant of Charles (son of Edward & Mary Webby), Webby, 88 Valley. I am looking for a copy of the two Marion J Stringer books: Just Another Row of Spuds and More Wakefield Spuds. Happy to purchase and pay postage. Many thanks. Jacquie Webby.

    1. Unfortunately these two self-published books are out of print. We would love the copyright holders to have some more produced but to date this has not been possible. They are available in Nelson, Tasman and Motueka libraries.

      1. Thanks, I did locate a copy of each. Jacquie

  15. fiona@xashus.co.nz | Reply

    John Thomas (Tom) Snowden is the son of John Snowden and my 2 x Great Grandfather. I am fairly sure that John (Snr) is buried in Hallowell Cemetery right in Nelson, as his sister Frances Foy is buried there. I don’t think that there are much in the way of records of the burials at Hallowell.

    1. Thanks for that, Fiona. I have had no occasion to research any aspect of the Hallowell cemetery but I do know that reliable information about early settlers burials is difficult to find, made worse by the fact that many of them were buried in unmarked graves.

  16. Hi there, I am looking to try and locate an area called “Schonbach” where several German families lived in the late 1840’s not far from Ranzau (hope). I would like to actually pinpoint where this location/ site was where at least 7 families lived. Has any of your members heard of this place, or have knowledge as to where it was. Family names that lived there were burning, siggelkow, lankow, fanselow and Wendelborn. Any information as to its location very welcome.

    1. I have never heard of “Schonbach” but there was a Wendelborn family who lived at Wai-iti in the 1950’s. The father was a schoolteacher.

    2. There were settlements of German families in Upper Moutere. I think the German name for the village was ” Sarau”. A Sigglekow family lived in a large two story house, which is still there.

      1. Yes, all correct. Sigglekow, Fanselow and Wendleborn are all names familiar to me.

  17. Thanks Ross, I have the Sarah information looking specifically for schonbach.

    1. Anne McFadgen | Reply

      Hi Steve – there is a bit about Schonbach and other German settlements at the Bensemann Family website, under the heading ‘Neuseeland”
      Schonbach was situated close to Ranzau (now Hope). You may be able to get more information by contacting Paul Bensemann, who runs this website.

  18. Melville Opie | Reply

    Looking for Waimea South Cemetery, as per this advertisement:


    The friends of Mr Joseph Repper Gilbert are respectfully informed that the funeral of his late son, Albert Joseph Repper, will leave his residence, Wakefield, tomorrow (Saturday), at two p.m., for the Waimea South Cemetery. John McPherson. Undertaker. ‘Colonist’ newspaper. (Nelson, NZ) 18 November 1892.

    1. This could be the Spring Grove cemetery in Mt Heslington road. Unlikely to be the Anglican Cemetery which would be called St Johns. The only other cemetery is the one at Foxhill.

  19. Anne McFadgen | Reply

    Hi – I’ve been working on an article about the ‘Ferry Inn” accommodation house at what is now Tapawera.

    The “Ferry Inn” at Tapawera

    I was wondering if anyone might be able to help me with a photograph of Mrs Lucy Kite, associated with the “Plough Inn”, “Red Horse” and “White Hart” hotels in Richmond and later the “Ferry Inn” at the Tadmor Ford. i did find a photo in Jean Sutton’s book “How Richmond Grew”, but unfortunately this is actually of Mrs Kite’s daughter, also Lucy, who married A.G. Brock, licensee of “White Hart” following his mother-in-law’s tenure.

  20. Hi – I am a descendent of William Hunt, bootmaker & farmer of Wakefield (1833-1915), husband of Sophia Hunt (Warmington). His son William Burdett Hunt was my Great, great granddad. I have researched them via ancestry and papers past but would really appreciate if anyone has more information about them or could point me in the right direction. I am in England so sadly I cannot look at local resources. Thank you in advance for any help.

    1. Great to hear from you. You may not realise it but I also have a connection with William Hunt. Their daughter (Mary Sophia) married William Batt who is my grandfather. His son Carl is my father.
      There is a good deal of information on the Hunts (and many other local families) in the book “Another Row of Spuds” by Marion Stringer. It is out of print at the moment but you may find a copy in a local library. William had 11 children and Thomas Hunt’s farm, Highfield, in 88 Valley you will know about.
      The family, according to Marion, came from near Banbury and their home was named Shutford Hall. Whether it still exists would be interesting to find out. They emigrated in 1856 on the Cresswell.
      If you search under “Highfield” and “Hunt” in the “Looking For” box on this site, more information will appear.
      If you have trouble sourcing Marion’s book, I could scan the relevant pages and send them to you via e-mail.

      Roger Batt

      1. Hi Roger,
        Thank you so much for getting back to me, I did not realise we were related, I think that makes us 3rd cousins, once removed, or something! Hello from England and how nice to be in contact! Sadly I can not get hold of a copy of Marion’s book, despite a lot of looking, so I would be extremely grateful for any scans you would be kind enough to send. Before beginning my family tree research we really knew nothing of our New Zealand ancestors, and sites like this are amazing resources.
        My Great Grandfather was Norman William Hunt (born Harold Norman Hunt) grandson of William and Sophia, born in Wakefield 1885. Norman became a marine engineer, working on the SS Vine Branch and through his work travelled back to England and met and married Amy Critchley from Liverpool, England, in 1912. He was sadly killed in WW1 in 1916, but he left a son Harold Burdett Hunt (my Granddad). We have no photographs of any of the family in New Zealand, except one of Norman and know very little of what happened to his father William Burdett Hunt, as apparently my Great Grandmother did not speak of the tragedy.
        The research I have done suggests William Hunt (senior) was born In Byfield, Northamptonshire, England (parents William Hunt and Jane Newman) and Sophia came from Drayton, by Banbury (parents William Warmington and Mary Birdett), they married in 1858 just before emigrating to New Zealand on the Harkaway. William Burdett Hunt, their first son was born in 1856, in Drayton, by Banbury and emigrated with them. Thomas Hunt, William’s older brother, his wife Ellen (Savage) and two children (Thomas Hunt of Highfield Farm and Mary Ann Hunt (plus maybe a baby – Sarah Jane Hunt?) also emigrated at the same time. The 1851 English census shows that prior to this Thomas, William and their younger sister, Sarah, were living together in Shutford, but the address is Sparrow Corner. As far as I know there is no Shutford Hall but I will certainly look into it and get back to you. Thomas was a shoemaker, William his apprentice and Sarah a servant.
        I wonder if you can help with a confusion?– I keep seeing on various family trees people have done that William Hunt (husband of Sophia) is listed as William ‘Burdett” Hunt. As far as I can work out the name Burdett was most likely passed on from Sophia’s mother and so only their son’s William Burdett Hunt and Edward Francis Burdett Hunt actually have this in their names. The reason I ask is there is a picture on Kete Tasman :Waimea South Collection of a shop labelled W.B.Hunt Bootmakers and I am wondering who it belonged to – William (senior) or his son.

        Thank you once again for your help. I really appreciate it.
        Kind regards

  21. i’m hoping someone might be able to tell me something about the site and/or history of a property in Wakefield known as “Bank House”. During the 1870s it was occupied by Robert Hooker, formerly proprietor of the Upper Motueka Hotel at Gordon Downs (also known as the Gordon Downs Accommodation House) and the Belgrove Inn. For a time in the 1860s Hooker was the owner of “Allington Farm” on the outskirts of Brightwater, once owned by George Duppa.

    1. This draws a blank with me, Anne, so I will ask our members. Do you have any idea of where the house was situated?

      Cheers, Roger. ________________________________

      1. Hi Roger – unfortunately not. All I have is the death notice for Robert Hooker’s wife in the NEM 17 June 1875: “Hooker, 14 June, at Bank House, Wakefield, Margaret, wife of Robert Hooker”. I noticed that someone has given this place of residence as “Sunnybank”, but don’t know if that was a mistake or not. The electoral roll has Hooker in Waimea West around this time but doesn’t give a section number. I wondered if there could have been a connection with the ‘”Bankhouse” sheep station in Marlborough, but can’t find a link to the Monro family, though it’s quite possible Hooker knew them. Hooker is interesting because he was in with everyone who was anyone in the Waimea area – Kerrs, Bells, Redwoods, Silcocks, Duppa, Acton Adams etc and was a steward with the Waimea South Steeple Chase, but seems to have disappeared through the cracks as far as local history goes, probably because he moved with his family to Lower Taueru, Masterton, in 1880 and died up there in 1901. Hooker & John Kerr Jnr (later of Lake Station) were partners in a butchery business on Bridge Street in Nelson in the early 1850s and were also brothers-in-law – Hooker’s wife Margaret nee Rae was John Kerr Jnr’s wife Elizabeth were sisters.

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