Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 11, May 1969

By Fred Hubbard

John Charles Hubbard who was born in London in l845, came to Lyttleton with his father about 1856. They settled at Cashmere for a number of years, subsequently moving for 7 years to Lake Ellesmere and then for 2 years to Ashburton. In l870 John Charles married a daughter of John Jebson, another pioneer settler and mining engineer, and the young couple moved to Auckland, settling at Mangere, where they had a family of 5 sons and 2 daughters - John, Arthur Charles, Walter, Percy Richard, Amy, Edith and Fred.

In l890 they purchased the block of 660 acres of freehold land, previously owned by Mr. Robert Allan Wight in the Komata South-Thames Road area. They were landed from the Auckland-Paeroa boat at the mouth of the Komata stream, a scow loaded with their animals and implements arriving a few days later.

In 1897 when John Charles Hubbard died, the estate was carried on as "Hubbard Brothers," the members of the partnership being John, Arthur Charles, Walter and Percy Richard (Dick). (John subsequently took up engineering and Fred was still young.) The brothers further developed and broke in swamp and bush areas and large quantities of oats and potatoes were produced. They also bred and broke innumerable horses for use in local transport, and at one stage raced a horse called "Freemantle" when the Paeroa racecourse was merely a lane cut through the tea-tree.

Both Walter and Percy Richard served with the N.Z. Forces in South Africa, leaving in 1898 when Dairy Farming was in its infancy but showing signs of having a great future. (In our last Journal we paid a tribute to Mr. P.R. (Dick) Hubbard who died on 1-4-68 at the great age of 92 years - truly one of Nature's Gentlemen, of whom Paeroa had reason to be proud.)

In 1899 when the first Butter Factory was erected by an Auckland Firm on Thames Road (opposite the Race Course) the Hubbards were among the first 10 suppliers. John and later Arthur were prominent in the establishment of the Thames Valley Coop Dairy Co. John being Secretary and Organiser in 1901. There were then 67 suppliers and the Company turned out 94 tons of butter during the first season, the gross value being £7275. Milking was done by hand till 1906 when one of the first milking machines in the district was purchased by Hubbard Bros. enabling them to milk more cows. During this year Arthur Charles Hubbard succeeded Mr. A.J. Thorp who had been the first Chairman of Directors of the Thames Valley Co-operative Dairy Co. Ltd, a position he held till 1915. The annual report and balance-sheet for 1905-06 stated that new creameries were necessary. These were erected at Netherton and Hikutaia that season. Home separation had not come into operation and suppliers conveyed their whole milk to the creameries to be separated. In 1907 the Company's factory received the highest grading points in the Auckland province (93.24) thereby winning the Weddell Cup.

About 1908 the Government purchased the block of Hubbard's land for closer settlement. It was divided into five sections, and Hubbards Road was put in for access, linking Thames Road with Puke Road. The homestead section was taken over by Arthur Charles and the next section by Percy Richard.

The year 1909 saw the Dairy Coy. making such progress as to necessitate increased factory accommodation and the central butter factory at Paeroa was re-built in brick. During the next five years other creameries were opened and the output increased greatly, e.g. 1910-11 season = 500 tons; 1911-12 = 750 tons. The advent of home separation was a tremendous boon to the district and 1912 saw herd-testing established, about 2000 cows being tested.

Walter Hubbard, having taken up a large block of land in the King Country, married in 1913 and he and his wife celebrated the 50th anniversary of their wedding at Cambridge in 1963 (both now deceased) when all members of the Wedding Party were present. His youngest son Colin now farms the original home property on Hubbards Road.

Arthur Charles continued his many local activities, including the Presidency of the Hauraki Agricultural and Pastoral Association 1911-13, until the outbreak of the 1st World War during which he served with the rank of Captain in the l6th Waikato Regiment. He was awarded the M.C. and was killed at Ypres in 1917. John died in 1921, soon after the Thames Valley Dairy Coy. (its suppliers now numbering 1,200) amalgamated with the N.Z. Co-operative Dairy Co. Ltd.

Miss Amy Hubbard married Mr. Duncan McArthur who was an official in the Crown Mine Office (Karangahake) and later in the Grand Junction (Waihi) . When the Power Board was formed in Te Awamutu he was appointed Secretary-Manager and remained in office until he retired.

Mrs. Edith Reid (nee Hubbard) recalls riding her pony to the Paeroa School before the turn of the century. Since then she has been closely associated with the progress of the district - and still is! One of the few remaining pioneers of Paeroa's early days she has taken a leading part in work (home, farm, Church and War Efforts [hard to decipher "War" in the original - E]), cultural activities such as the early Choral Society, and play (hockey, tennis, golf and bridge.) She married the late Mr. Jim Reid who broke in a block of bush land at Netherton, farmed now by their second son Jim. Their eldest son Arthur has a farm on Hubbards Road, Ian resides in Auckland and Mrs. Reid now lives alone in her home on Puke Road.

 Our Contributor - Mr. Fred Hubbard, the youngest son of the original family, trained at the Cadet School at Oamaru as a Telegraphist and later spent some years in Wellington. At the outbreak of War he joined the Army and served Overseas in charge of Signals with the 9th Reinforcement. He was wounded, awarded the Military Cross and sent back to England. Later he returned to farming on Hubbards Road, where he now lives in retirement, always having taken a great interest in local affairs, and for a time being a member of the Ohinemuri County Council. A keen, participator in Athletics he won many trophies as he did as a member of the Rifle Club. This year, at the age of 8l he and Mr. Frank Ryde (84) have won the Paeroa Bowling Club Pairs Championship.

[See also Journal 10: Obituary - Dick Hubbard - E]