Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 39, September 1995

Descendants of James and Laura Nicholson, who pioneered the transport and cartage industry on the Hauraki Plains, held a reunion in February 1995. The gathering, convened by Bob McMillan, at the Paeroa Race Course, was attended by about 250 descendants.

Seven generations of the Nicholson family have been associated with transport and cartage. Edward Nicholson, who emigrated to New Zealand from England in the 1860s, set up cartage businesses in Parnell and Waiuku. He also supplied horses for Auckland's horse-drawn trams. His son, James Revell Nicholson carried on with cartage by horse and dray in the 1890s.

James Holmes Nicholson established cartage and bus transport on the Hauraki Plains in the 1920s. His son Cyril continued with the cartage operations as C W Nicholson and Son. After years of dormancy, the business, which was resurrected by Cyril's son Ray in the 1960s, continues in Otahuhu operated by Ray's son-in-law, Robert Davis. Two other sons of James Holmes Nicholson had careers in cartage. Norman ran his own business in Turua while Tom operated at Kerepehi, Tokoroa and Putaruru.

James and Laura Nicholson moved to the Waikino and Karangahake district in 1898. James carted cyanide, which was used in the gold mining industry. About 1912, the couple, and their seven children, moved to Netherton where they farmed until moving to Kerepehi where they set up their cartage and transport business starting with horses and wagons collecting cream along landings on the Waihou River and taking it to Puke Wharf where it was transferred to the Paeroa butter factory. As settlement on the Hauraki Plains increased, the cream collection was extended inland with the produce taken to the Ngatea butter factory when it opened in 1924. This continued until 1939. Their bus operation was sold to the Durman brothers in 1937 and eventually passed to the present owners. Murphy Buses Limited.

James Nicholson was elected the first chairman of the Kerepehi School in 1920, the year it ceased as a Maori school and he was also a Hauraki Plains Councillor.

[The following information was kindly sent by Robert Phillips (May 2013) - E]

On this page you have "Edward Nicholson, who emigrated to New Zealand from England in the 1860s, set up cartage businesses in Parnell and Waiuku."

This is not correct.

Edward Read NICHOLSON (to give him his full name) was a Marine Store Dealer in Newark, Nottingham, where he died in 1899 without setting foot in New Zealand.

The people who immigrated at Auckland on the "Matoaka" 3 January 1865 were Edward's son James Revell NICHOLSON and his wife Sarah Elizabeth (nee HOLMES). James Revell was a carter who was given a land grant in Karioitahi, near Waiuku, which he cleared, carting wood from his block to Auckland for sale. In 1873 he sold that block and moved onto his 7 acre allotment (which he had purchased) in Parnell, from where he worked as a carter. His first wife died in 1874 and he remarried, his wife raising James' first four young surviving children with another 12.

James Revell was the father of James Holmes NICHOLSON, about whom your entry is written, born Parnell 28 Feb 1872, was settled in Karangahake in 1898 after his marriage and was a carrier in Waikino by the time the 1911 electoral roll was being compiled. He died in Thames Hospital in 1944.


· Laura (Laura Helen - nee HARRIS), was the daughter of Cambridge farmer William HARRIS. Her brother William James (Bill) married her sister-in-law Harriett NICHOLSON. Bill, together with his father and James McKearney, landscaped the "Government Acre" in Cambridge, (now Victoria Square) and planted 60 trees, Sycamore, Redwoods, Oaks, Elms and Birches for which Cambridge is now famous. A Nicholson uncle designed and built the Pavilion in Victoria Square, Cambridge.

· Bob McMillan, mentioned in your article as the convenor of the reunion, died 31 Dec 2008 in Waikato Hospital.

Kind regards

Robert Phillips.