Community Contributed

Walter Edward Barber, Foxton

Kete Horowhenua2020-03-23T16:51:11+00:00
Walter Edward Barber, son of James and Elizabeth Barber, was born in Wellington in 1868. His father and his three brothers had four butchers shops in Wellington.
Date of birth1868
Date of death1968

Later the four brothers took up 11,000 acres of Native land at Himatangi as a cattle station. The land in its original state was covered with white pine, manuka, flax and lagoons. After getting established, they freeholded a large area.

Walter Barber was educated in Wellington. On leaving school he worked for a hardware store but, not liking the work, left and went to work for a printer. Times were bad, so he left the printing firm and rode a horse from Wellington to the Himatangi cattle station, two days ride.

After some years Walter became manager of the station which was fenced into three paddocks - a 100 acre horse paddock, a 1,000 acre holding paddock, with the balance in one block.

In 1894 Walter married Ann Rachel, daughter of Andrew James Whyte, well known Hotel Proprietor and businessman. They lived at Himatangi for three years until the property was divided up between the families of the original four brothers, when he went on managing his family's property. He then bought a property at Motuiti from Mr. Hughey. Unfortunately the two storied homestead on it was burnt down before he was in possession. He built quite a large house to replace it and, as the years went by, with a family of three sons and five daughters and their interest in entertaining, a large room of approximately 600 square feet was added. The floor was covered with inlaid lino glued down for dancing and when used as a lounge was covered by a large persian carpet. There was also a tennis court which was well used at weekends.

Mr. Barber led a very busy life, as well as farming he was a representative of ten local bodies and director of several companies. He was councillor for the Awabou Riding of the Manawatu County Council for 42 years and Chairman of the Council for 19 years. In the days before motor cars he rode his horse to Sanson for the meetings and rode home again afterwards.

When the Moutoa area was auctioned, Mr. Barber purchased and developed 550 acres bounding the Manawatu River, very wet, rough land, full of stumps. He put on a sharemilker to milk a large herd of shorthorn cows and fattened quite a number of bullocks on this block.

He also bought 670 acres at Makuera on which he ran a flock of sheep. Walter Edward Barber enjoyed sport, horse racing, duck shooting with his sons, Jack and Stan, being a very good shot. Needless to say his sons followed suit. His sons stayed on the land, farming until they retired and their sons took over.

Four daughters married and brought up families while Miss Madge Barber took on a nursing career. During the Second World War she had eleven trips on the Hospital Ship "Mamaganui". In 1951, Miss Barber came back to Motuiti and looked after her father until his death in 1968 in his one hundredth year.

Walter Edward Barber's contribution to Local Bodies took up a great deal of his time for which he received the M.B.E. from the Queen.

These are the organisations with which he was involved:

· Manawatu County Council - 42 years - 19 as Chairman

· Director Shannon Dairy Co. - 56 years - 11 as Chairman

· Foxton Harbour Board - 40 years

· Horowhenua Electric Power Board - 25 years

· Manawatu Rabbit Board - 31 years

· Steward of Foxton Racing Club

· Trustee of Racecourse Board of Trustees - 39 years

· Pig Marketing Association - 15 years

· Manawatu Meat Co.

· Automobile Association - 17 years

· Member N.Z. Road Board - 21 years

· Gorge Lime Company

· Life Member of Farmers' Union

· Director of Kosy Pictures.

Contributed by his son J.W. Barber,