Western Leader : December 7th 2010
4 WESTERN LEADER, DECEMBER 7, 2010 NEWS Martha's links to NZ's first European settlers By MATTHEW GRAY Historic milestone: Martha White, nee Hansen's, tombstone outlines her claim to fame. Little is known about Martha White. But the few verifiable facts linked to her existence are quite extraordinary. The most obvious is her birth into what many say was the first European family to settle in New Zealand. Martha was the seventh of 11 children born to Thomas and Elizabeth Hansen in the Bay of Islands. Her forebears first trav- elled across from Australia on a ship carrying a number of missionaries in 1814. They originally came from the east end of London but immigrated to New South Wales in 1807 on a convict ship as free settlers expecting to take up a land grant. The Hansens were all devout Anglicans and Mar- tha's marriage to the Catholic mariner Robert Reed must have caused some contro- versy within their various households. Modern-day genealogist Kath Hansen wonders if it may even have led to a rift. Kath, who is related to the family by marriage, has been documenting the Hansen his- tory for years and was intrigued by the general lack of information passed down about Martha. She was very much a mys- tery woman,'' she says. I knew she had married a Catholic and wondered if she had perhaps been ostracised as a result.'' A private researcher hired to try and shed more light on Martha's life couldn't find evidence of a falling out. But she did come up with some previously unknown information -- Martha was married four times. Her first husband, Robert Reed, died in 1852 while his wife was pregnant with their third child. The second, American-born Charles Car- mon Wood, died of pleurisy in 1861, after fathering four sons. Martha, who was then living in Ponsonby, exchanged marital vows with Jeremiah McGrath at St Patrick's Cathedral three months later. The pair had two children though only one survived infancy. Jeremiah, who is thought to have been a soldier, was no longer on the scene when Martha marched down the aisle for her fourth l time in 1868. What happened to him is unclear. But his replacement was a labourer named William White. Martha and her new beau had a son named David when she was 45. She died of senile decay and heart failure at Jermyn St (now Anzac Ave) in Auck- land on July 3, 1902, aged 77, and is buried at Waikumete Cemetery. Winemakers battle on No whining: Shayne Cox of Corazon Wines says it's been a difficult year in the wine industry but he has come up with ways to cope. Photo: NICOLA MURPHY By NICOLA MURPHY Wineries in west Auckland have been feeling the pinch this year but they're squeez- ing the most out of their busi- ness. The economic downturn combined with a huge 2008 vintage that led to an over- supply has made it difficult for the industry but the over- all mood remains positive. Winemaker Shayne Cox, who owns Corazon Wines, says he has been forced to come up with new ways of selling his product. These include making wine for other wineries and open- ing a tasting room. We're still growing and making good wine in west Auckland,'' Mr Cox says. Rex Sunde, co-owner of Artisan Wines in Oratia, says when he started out 11 years ago his focus was on selling to New Zealand businesses. Now that's only 5 percent of his trade . Small quality-focused wineries like us can't afford to supply supermarkets,'' he says. The company focuses on exporting to China, the United Kingdom and Aust- ralia and will expand to Canada soon. The rest of its turnover comes from cellar door sales at its Oratia winery. It has certainly been a struggle but we're in it for the long haul,'' he says. Pleasant Valley winemaker Pete Turner says the busi- ness relies on making wine for other companies. We've noticed a few clients' production has been a little bit less.'' New Zealand Winegrowers policy manager John Barker says the difficulties faced by west Auckland wineries reflects the situation nation- wide. It's definitely been a tough year in the industry,'' he says. He says wineries around New Zealand have adopted various strategies to combat it. Strategy number one is tightening their belts,'' Mr Barker says. In 2009-10 wineries all became a lot more discerning and took in fewer grapes than they had previously.''
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