Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 10, October 1968


Member of a pioneer family, Boer War veteran and one who lived a full and fruitful community life to be widely respected throughout the Thames Valley, Mr. P.R. (Dick) Hubbard, who died in Auckland on 1-4-68 left the Komata district a better place for having lived in it.

Born in Canterbury in 1876, Dick Hubbard as he was affectionately known to a host of friends, went to school at Mangere and later helped his father on a farm there. In 1890 Mr. Hubbard Snr., purchased a large block of partly improved land at Komata near Paeroa and the whole family settled there, the property being carried on by Hubbard Brothers after the fathers death in 1897.

From an early age Mr. Hubbard was very interested in sport and local activities. He was a member of the Paeroa Company of Rifle Volunteers and on the call for troops for South Africa in 1899 he, along with five others, became members of the First Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles. He took part in the relief of Mafeking and Kimberley.(His comrades from Paeroa were: Avery, G.R. Bradford, McPherson, Shaw and Tetley. All but Bradford returned but now the last of them has passed on, a nonagenarian honoured at all stages throughout his long life.)

On his return he rejoined his brothers in carrying on the development of the farm which was subsequently roaded and divided into five holdings. His brother Arthur, took the homestead and Mr. Hubbard farmed the next one as well as acquiring a block of Crown land hill runoff. He was keenly interested in local activities, polo, the A. and P. Association, men's club, Church, Masonic Lodge and bowls. He joined the A. and P. Association in 1900, was a steward and active exhibitor, president in 1919-20 and was made an honorary life member. He was also one of the earliest members and first president of the Paeroa Golf Club, and joined the Masonic Lodge in 1917.

Mr. Hubbard and his brothers were amongst the first ten suppliers to the Thames Road creamery established by the New Zealand Dairy Association in 1900, when there was a total of 250 cows. In 1901 the Thames Valley Dairy Company was launched with 67 suppliers. An excellent farmer, he worked long hours in the early days to bring his land into production and at times grew large quantities of oats and potatoes and bred horses and cattle for the local market which was just opening up.

Mr. Hubbard was married in 1922 and his wife predeceased him. He retired to Auckland in 1947 by which time the whole of the district was settled and he had the satisfaction of knowing that he had played an important part in it. He returned to Paeroa frequently and continued to take a keen interest in local and world affairs, having travelled widely after his experiences in the Boer War.

On August 18, 1967 while an inmate of the Avalon Rest Home, Cheltenham, officers of Lodge Ohinemuri, No. 107 visited him there to present a jewel in Grand Lodge recognition of his service for 50 years. He was the home's oldest resident and to all became a sort of honorary father, a benign and affectionately regarded patriarch whom they all called "Pop". His many relatives and Paeroa friends all had the same warm regard for him. (Editor's Note: In our next issue we shall record a fuller account of the Hubbard family and of the Wight family who were very early settlers in the Komata - Puke area.)

[see also Journal 11: Hubbard Family of Paeroa (1890 -) - E]