Topic: William and Mary Barnett

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William and Mary conducted the Raparahi Hotel which had been built by Mary’s brother Henare, and catered for coach passengers, travelers and local people.

WILLIAM AND MARY BARNETT

William George Barnett, son of Ann Maria and Sidney William Barnett, and Mary Symons, daughter of Rauti and Henry Morshead Symons, were married at the residence of Rev. R.J. Allsworth, Presbyterian Minister at Turakina, near Wanganui on 8th September, 1863.

William and Mary had 12 children, 7 sons and 5 daughters.  All were born in the Manawatu.

It is recorded in the Wellington Almanac for the years 1865 to 1870 that W. Barnett was ferryman and hotelkeeper at Foxton and in particular it mentions the White Hart Hotel for the years 1869-70.  The White Hart is still a licensed hotel in Foxton, now named “Manawatu”.  In 1871 the Almanac records that W. Barnett was a settler at Opiki, which is on the Manawatu River between Palmerston North and Shannon, and it appears he farmed there for some years.

In 1883 William and the older sons went to Te Waotu and in 1884 Mary and the rest of the family joined them there.  The last child, a son Albert was born in Foxton in 1883 and died in February, 1884.

The family travelled by sea from Foxton to Onehunga then by train to Frankton and by coach via Cambridge to Te Waotu.  The road followed the Waikato River in those days from Cambridge to Horahora near Arapuni then turned inland through Puketurua.  Te Waotu was a stop over for coach passengers journeying from Auckland via Taupo to Napier or Wellington.

William and Mary conducted the Raparahi Hotel which had been built by Mary’s brother Henare, and catered for coach passengers, travelers and local people.

Te Waotu was mainly a milling area with farms being established as the timber was cleared.

The Barnett home became the centre of the community at Te Waotu, where everyone was made welcome in this warm and hospitable family.  The large gatherings, especially at Christmas time, of family and friends was a long cherished memory of their many grandchildren.

Mary died on 11th May, 1910 and William died, aged 91 years in 1931.  Both are buried at Te Waotu Cemetery.



(Taken from “A Pioneer Family” with the kind permission of Mrs Kath Walker).

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