Early Wakefield Pioneers
Baigents – Edward Baigent arrived in Nelson and established a forestry and timber business, which survived well into the 20th century. Edward and Mary Ann were both involved with St John’s Anglican Church, which they helped build and sustain for 45 years. Their 7th child, Henry Baigent was a Nelson mayor for two terms.
Eliab Baigent (Edward’s nephew) arrived in Nelson with his parents in 1848. At various times he worked as a shoemaker, JP, brewer, photographer, musician and tooth puller. From 1900, a huge jar of pulled teeth in his premises was a favourite stop for children on their way home from school. It was felt ‘sheer terror’ was a good anaesthetic for those who visited Eliab.
Charles Faulkner – Charles, a widower, arrived in Nelson with his two sons in the mid 1870s to farm 46 acres of land, now known as Faulkner’s Bush. His large two storied house was burnt to the ground in April 1893. The family was a well respected family in the community in church and cricket.
Sydney and Sarah Higgins – Married in 1849, the Higgins’ bought land in Mt Heslington Valley. Sarah built the kitchen while Sydney was working and she worked as a midwife in the area for 26 years. They had 11 children, with all but one settling in the Waimeas as farmers or sawmillers.
George and Dinah Parkes – George Parkes arrived from Nottinghamshire in 1849, marrying Dinah Sutton in 1851. They came to 88 Valley and raised sheep, cattle and crops on a farm originally called Glenhope and renamed Punawai in 1918. Some of the land in the original title is still owned by Parkes family members.
Thomas and Hannah Tunnicliffe – And finally typifying the hardy spirit of the region’s early European settlers was Hannah Tunnicliffe, wife of timber worker, Thomas. The couple, who had 11 children, settled in upper Wakefield and she carried supplies from Nelson on her back, walking the distance.
This story is taken from www.theprow.org.nz with photos from the Waimea South Historical Society collection. These can also be seen at http://ketetasman.peoplesnetworknz.info