we have scions growing of this type
An Historical Account AN ACCOUNT OF MATAKANA HISTORY, GRANDAUGHTER OF JAMES MATTHEW. BY MRS ERROL JONES, 2000
Charles (1824-1905) and James Matthew (1830-1909) (who left their birthplace at Errol, Scotland, in early 1851) were some of the earliest settlers in the Matakana area. They were sons of Scottish laird Patrick Matthew, the Chairman-Promoter of the Scots New Zealand Land Company, which purchased land at Puponga (Cornwallis) before 1840 in a ill-fated attempt to establish a southern Scots city. The brothers worked in the San Francisco gold fields and eventually reached Auckland 6 May 1854. Charles and James, steeped in horticulture, arboriculture, and orchard work, knew what they wanted to do in New Zealand and were advised by Dr J L Campbell (whom they knew) where to buy land for their project. In 1855, they purchased land at Waiwhata on the Takatu peninsula and erected a pit sawn cottage a mile from both the Omaha and Matakana Rivers. John Long Heydn had been the first to purchase land at Matakana and, although he lived on Moturoa, he erected a mill above the falls to supply the new settlers at the Upper Matakana settlement. The Matthew brothers started an extensive nursery and orchard on their property that thrived from 1856 to about 1880. The orchards were surrounded with colonnades and hedges of exotic trees and shrubs collected by Charles and James from their ports of call, California, Iquique, Montevideo, St Helena, Cape Town, Melbourne, and complemented by the barrels of scions personally selected by Patrick Matthew from Britain and Europe. The Matthews exchanged flora with their friend George Grey when he settled on Kawau and some of the historic exotic trees at Wenderholm and Waiwera may have been sourced from their nursery. The weeping willows at Matakana derive from a willow planted beside Napoleon’s grave at St Helena. The brothers had 20 years of life together in the pioneer cottage before James at the age of 45 married his cousin’s widow, Jane Anderson, nee Owen, who was very pregnant with James Anderson. The couple later had 3 children of their own. In the 1860s, 150 acres of kauri on the Matthew’s land was lost in a fire started by a neighbour’s scrub burn-off. The whole of the Takatu peninsula was burned but the cottage nursery and orchards were saved by cleared and tilled ground. The only trees left on the peninsula were maimed puriri and small copses in gullies or where there was a stream. The village was saved by Matakana Stream, but east of the river across to the Omaha Estuary `went off like gunfire’. Regrowth timber from the burned block was cut for firewood up until 1930. Both Matthew brothers were prominent in village affairs. They convened a public meeting to establish a library 1871 and, in 1878, Charles convened a meeting at Lower Matakana, but I do not know if this was the time that Charles was teaching school there, for he taught at both Puhoi and Lower Matakana. He spoke and wrote in the German language (both high and low) and was more proficient than his younger brother James. They both were able to speak and understand French also, and were familiar with the French and German names of their fruit and roses, etc. Many names were lost by James’s sons as their education at the primary school at Matakana was only adequate. There were too many names to remember for them, but my father did his best to tell me. There were 100 trees in the main orchard of apples and pears my father inherited, and no two the same! The number of roses too many to recall the French names, and the types variable. The five sons were all taught to graft, bud, layer, espalier, prune, etc and taught well about other tasks on the land. James served on the Roads Board and Rodney County Council for three decades and was instrumental in routing the highway from Warkworth to Matakana.