Topic: Horowhenua County Council

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Horowhenua County was created when the southern part of Manawatu County was separated from the parent body in 1884.

This was a deliberate act of defiance against the Manawatu County Council. The petition which served as a 'Declarationof Independence was signed by only 96 men, but this represented almost the whole ratepaying population of the region.

The County was largely amalgamated into Horowhenua District Council in 1989, along with Levin Borough Council. The southern end was lost to the new Kapiti District Council from Pukehou Hill, and the new northern boundary met that that Foxton, Opiki and Tokomaru now became part of the New Horowhenua District Council.  

Reference: Horowhenua County and its People : A Centennial History by Anthony J. Dreaver. New Zealand : Dunsmore Press, 1984. 

Some faces of the Horowhenua County Council:


Mr Alex John Hadfield, first chairman
of Horowhenua County Council


James Malcolm, Horowhenua County
Inspector 1901-1904 & 1906-1916,
Horowhenua County Engineer 1916-1920

Horowhenua County Council, 1901

H.E. Lodge, clerk to Horowhenua
County Council, 1909-1915

The Horowhenua County Council, 1970



While we do not know where the minutebooks for this council are, we are able to find reports of some of the meetings in the newspapers (obtained from PapersPast). Click on the date to read more about the meeting.

Date of meeting (or report)            
Some of the items reported

12 January 1889

That the following alteration be made in the rate book - That E. J. Armstrong be rated for section 21, block 5, Awarua, in lieu of C. E. Armstrong.

28 March 1889

That this Council having been informed by the Surveyor-General that gravel pits cannot legally be taken under the Public Works Act 1882, are of opinion that as roads which are Public Works can not be made and maintained without gravel are of opinion that the taking of land for gravel pits should be legalised so that local bodies can obtain the necessary metal and that the chairman be instructed to forward this resolution to the Government for their consideration.

14 April 1889

Notice of meeting:
1. “That in the opinion of this Council any person or body laying off a township on their land, should before selling it, submit the plans for approval or otherwise to the local body on whom the duty of making the streets will be entailed, and that the Government be requested to give effect to this in the proposed amendment to the Public Works Act 1882 Bill,”

2ndly. “That this council go into Committee to consider the desirability of an increase being made in the salary of the County Clerk, and also to consider a fresh agreement with the County engineer." This last resolution will no doubt commend itself to the Council, as they must be aware that in Mr McCulloch, they possess one of the quietest, and most painstaking of clerk’s, and one who possesses such a long experience of County work, that it should entitle him to the increase in his salary, proposed.

11 May 1889

The Horowhenua County Council met on Saturday, at Otaki, when the following tenders were accepted:—

Hakaraia te Whena, for contract No 3,

Paruauhaka; Sheerin and Mullins, contract No 4, do;

H. Cornelius, for supply of metal on No 1 contract, Manakau, and No 2 contract, Ohau.

8 June 1889

That tenders be called for the formation of Tokomaru road, viz., from gravel pit to the Tokomaru road south, also for formation from Ohau river to Levin station, and from Shannon towards Buckley road.

That this Council, having heard Mr James Wallace’s request for assistance to open up a road from Shannon to Eketahuna, by means of loan under the Government Loans to Local Bodies Act, is of opinion that the Wirokino Road Board is the proper local body to deal with the matter.

That tenders be called for felling and clearing that portion of the Couuty road from the Te Horo railway station to Mr. Gillies‘ north boundary.

13 July 1889

From Gascoigne and Mullins, asking for refund of deposit on Arapaepae road clearing.

Cr Andrews explained that a mistake had been made in the tender, and that Gascoigne had been prepared to find a man to take up the work at the same price but that, owing to there being another tender, it was not feasible.

14 September 1889

Resolved, That tenders be called for the erection of groins to be put in at the Waikawa river crossing. Tenders to be in by noon on Sept. 24th, and that a committee of the Otaki councilors and Cr Thompson be empowered to open and accept tenders.

The tender of Lewis Fisher for cutting variegated thistles for the ensuing year in the Otaki Riding, for £12, was accepted.

14 June 1890

From Borough Council, Foxton, a statement of Ferry ac­count, punt account, and claim for £56 18s 4d.

Proposed by Cr Andrews and seconded by Cr Simcox, that the chairman and Cr Davies be a Committee to adjust the working accounts of the Wirokino Ferry, and that the amount of £74 9s 11d be passed for payment being the council's half share of in­debtedness for construction of the new punt.


18 September 1890


That tenders be called, to be in by next meeting, for the formation of culverts and bridges on the County road, from Carmedy's formation to­wards Shannon, as far as peg 45 on the plan now before the Council, and initialled by the Chairman.

That the report of the Waikawa Pound Committee be adopted.

That this Council accepts the offer of Mrs Amie Botting for com­pensation for road purposes as em­bodied in agreement.

That the ranger be instructed to have the portion of road referred to in Mr Stuckey's letter metalled.

That Cr Davies be authorised to arrange with owners of bush land adj

15 November 1890

At the last sitting of the Horowhenua County Council, the chairman Mr John Kebbell laid before the members a resumé of the business done during the last three years. When councillors took office the overdraft at the bank was £556 17s, and liabilities, outstanding for contracts in process of about £580

14 February 1891


An application from Mr Hancock for permission to take clay for brick­making from cutting south of Levin station was referred to the Chairman and Crs Davies to report on.

An application from Mr Forsaith for permission to take metal from south side of Waikawa river was referred to Otaki Road Board for ar­rangement.

Resolved that notice be given of intention to take the land necessary for constructing a road from Mill road to Otaki river, giving access to Railway station.

Petitions were presented in connection with removing the Shannon Pound - one in favour and one against. It was resolved to rescind the resolution appointing section 322, Shannon, as a site for public pound, and in place of this notify 202 as a site.Resolved to call tenders for drain­ing, stumping, and clearing about 71½ chains between Hadfield and Waikanae, and for excavating and carting about 300 yards metal on to Levin road south of station to Were­roa clearing.Resolved that the piece of road fronting Mr Staple's house be formed by the roadman as far as Mr Atkin's boundary.

11 April 1891

 That a transfer of slaugh­tering yards be granted to Carpenter and Bevan; also transfer from J. H. Wallace to Bell and Jury.

That this Council agree to W. and M. Railway Co's request re handing over to them the abandoned roads near Makerua.

That this Council takes the neces­sary steps to declare that the Public Pound at Shannon is now open for public use.

That Crs Venn, Davies, and Tomp­sitt be a committee to meet the com­mittee of the Manawatu County Council re Ferry punt and other bus­iness at Shannon.

That the County Ranger be authorised to have the culvert on the county rpad near Waitohu Creek lengthened and placed in a proper position to carry off the creek water.


19 May 1891

 The report of the Manakau Ceme­tery Committee was received and read, and it was resolved, on the motion of Councillor Tompsitt, seconded by Councillor J. Atkins that Ah Chee Kin, market gardener, Manakau, be offered £25 per acre for three acres for the purpose of forming a cemetery, and that Coun­cillors Kebbell and Atkins be em­powered to deal with Ah Chee Kin and report at the next meeting of the Council.That Mr R. P. Brodersen, be appointed poundkeeper at Shannon, this appointment to antedate from 11th April.

Proposed by Councillor Kebbell, seconded by Councillor Venn, That Mr Waters' request for a bridge be complied with, and that the ganger be instructed to have a culvert put in, large enough for a cart to cross.


8 August 1891


A numerously signed petition from the residents of Otaki praying that some action should be taken to check the wholesale poisoning of dogs in the district was held over for con­sideration until the next meeting of the Council.

A lengthy explanation was re­ceived from Mr P. J. McCann as to the causes which led to the collapse of some bridge work on his contract at Levin. The letter was held over for consideration and enquiries.

Proposed by Councillor John Davies, seconded by Councillor William Tompsitt, That the Council notify the Foxton Borough Council that rent for premises occupied by the ferryman, Wirokino, be charged for at the rate of £10 per year to commence from the time the ferry was taken over by the Borough of Foxton.

10 February 1892

Tenders were ordered to be called for trimming up, forming and metalling that portion of the County road from a point one chain north of the Mangaone district to the gate leading into the Te Horo railway station.

The Engineer was instructed to take levels and prepare estimates for the formation of the County road from Te Horo railway station to Mr J. Gillies' northern boundary,

The Chairman was authorised to arrange for ratepayers' meetings at Shannon and Levin for considera­tion of Loan proposals on 23rd and 24th December respectively.

Cr Cridland reported having visited the site suggested for a cemetery at Shannon, consisting of five acres, belonging to Mr Crowther. The price fixed by the Council was £15 an acre, but Mr Crowther would not take less than £20 an acre, and it would require an expenditure of £200 or £300 to make a road to it. He suggested the two acres belonging to Mr Gascoigne adjoining the school be purchased at £50 an acre. -Consideration of the matter was held over till next meeting.

25 February 1892

Application is to be made to Government, to place the Levin Cemetery in charge of the Council.

It was decided to request the Manawatu County Council to call for tenders for the purchase of the old Shannon punt; tenders to be submitted to the Horowhenua County Council before being finally accepted.

The local police constable was empowered to destroy all unregistered dogs in the County.


17 November 1892

 Amongst the correspondence read were letters from Mr H. F. Haselden, on behalf of Shannon Committee requesting the Council to take, the necessary steps to acquire sections 486, 487, 489, containing now owned by Mr J. Crowther, for the purpose of a cemetery. - The Council considered that the price asked for the land was too high, and no action was taken.

11 February 1893

From J. Skipworth, notifying the price of metal would be 6d per yard, and offering to sell the Council a site of seven acres for a gravel pit for £100. - Ordered to stand over.N A. Anderson, notifying he had sold his sawmill, and asking to have his valuation reduced by £100. - Agreed to for next valuation roll.

Messrs Gardner Bros. wrote ask­ing for the right to graze in the cemetery reserve at Manakau and agreeing to fence graves unfenced. - Not entertained, the Council decided to have the reserve fenced

Hakaraia te Whena's application for a balcony to his building at Otaki was agreed to.

23 March 1893

That no action be taken in the matter of Mr Lynes' application to compel the Wirokino Road Board to remove certain obstructions in the Otaura Creek, and that Mr Lynes be instructed to visit the said work and report as to whether timber is being felled into the creek or ­not.

That the Councillors of the Otaki Riding be a committee to enquire into Mr Geo. Robinson’s complaint and report to Council at next meet­ing.

That Mr Atkins' offer of £4 per acre for the abandoned road in front of his property be accepted.

20 May 1893

The Horowhenua County Council have issued an estimate of the income and expenditure for the pre­sent year, and the result is not of a pleasing nature.

The general expenses, including Hospital £336 odd and Charitable Aid £290 odd, amount to £1060, but every Riding is in debt ; and will be in debt except Te Horo; the Tokomaru Riding begins with a debt of £306 and is estimated to end with a debt of £246 ; Wirokino Riding begins with £341 and ends with £76 ; Otaki Riding begins with £306 and ends with £104; To Hero begins with £51 but ends with a credit balance of £195.

This shows that there is an estimated deficiency of £426 to be provided for, which would not be so alarming unless the overdraft at the bank is large - this however is not mentioned.

14 October 1893

It was resolved that Mr Scott be authorised to lay out the Levin cemetery (rubbish reserve) into blocks ,and that tenders be called for fencing; in the same (labour only), to be in ,at next Meeting of the Board.

From Rikihana te Turure offering land near Otaki for cemetery pur­poses for £35.

From Mr J. Prouse drawing at­tention to rough state of county road from Levin Hotel to Arapaipai road. A small expenditure now the roads were drying would render road serviceable for wheel traffic.

Resolved that Wihipeihana Taharape be granted £5 per annum for the use of his land at Ohau for a road.

From Mr John Bradley, of Shannon, asking Council to open drain in Margaret Street, which had been closed up by train line. The Council had blocked old water course, and thrown water on to his land.

12 August 1895

That this Council respectfully urge upon the Government the necessity of consenting to an Order by the Governor in Council being made for the construction of the proposed Manawatu Junction Railway line, and that the Government give an assurance to take running powers over the line when completed, as empowered by section 219 of the Public Works Act, 1894, and that the Chairman and Cr Davies be requested to join the deputation to wait on the Government to support the resolution.

That the action taken by this Council re the Otaro stream was taken solely in the interest of the Wirokino ratepayers, and with a view of assisting that Road Board, and that the vote of thanks from such ratepayers be received with pleasure, but the reply of that Board, with deep regret.

That the establishment of a pound at Levin be left in the hands of Crs Davies and Kebbell, and that with the view of getting a suitable site. Therefore the Chairman be requested to apply to the Government for a suitable reserve.That the Railway Company be written to, asking them to be good enough to shift the present crossing north of the Hautere siding, opposite the Hautere road, so as to lead through to the County road. And also put a few loads of metal between the outer and inner gates at Te Horo.

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