Info 1b, Bernard MacMahon

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BERNARD MACMAHON was amoungst the first settlers to arrive in Nelson, in 1841, as part of the New Zealand Company's decision to set up a new settlement. He arrived prior to his wife as part of a labour force engaged to build the new Settlement. His wife followed a few months later with their son who sadly died on the voyage.

"The labourers were given free passage for themselves and their families and 1 pound 8 shillings a week - half of which was to be paid to their wives in England until they, too, embarked with the main party a few months later. The men were required to be under thirty years of age, of excellent character, good workers, and be prepared to stay with the Company for two years"
New Zealand Company Contract
When the Lloyds came into Nelson, it brought with it many stories of sickness and death. While travelling the seas between Port Gravesend in England and Port Nicholson in New Zealand, James was one of 67 children under the age of 14 who died due to an outbreak of whooping cough on board.

In May 1840, Captain F.G. Moore’s ship had been blown off course from the North Island's West Coast. Sailing through Golden Bay, Moore his crew explored the Riwaka Valley and Motueka areas.

Under the auspecies of the New Zealand Company, to create a new settlement, Capt. Moore returned with Captain Arthur Wakefield, and 3 other ships, in September 1841 via Wellinton, where they paused whilst surveys were sent out to establish the best site, On October 27th 1841 they dropped anchor at the sandy cove KiaKerikeri, just north of Motueka and Riwaka, which was more suitable to disembark as it provided some deep water near to sahore rather than the swampy ground at the mouth of the Riwaka river, however several days later they discovered some 10 miles to the south the sheltered Nelson Haven, and immediatly relocated there.

The Whitby brought 59 men consisting of Officials surveyors, caftsmen and labourers to establish the new settlement prior to their families arrival a few months later.
View of Nelson Haven in Tasman's Gulf, New Zealand, including
a part of the site of the intended town of Nelson 1841.
Drawn in November 1841 by C. Heaphy, Draftsman to the New Zealand Company.
Nelson  1841
View from the first ridge above the beach showing a prefabricated barracks to the left and the tents erected to house the first settlers to Nelson, a well, a flag, and several carts. The view looks from the land towards the Boulder Bank and Haulashore Island, and the Arrow or Fifeshire rock across Tasman Bay to the distant snow-capped Moutere Hills and Tasman Range. The first three immigrant ships, The Will Watch, the Whitby and the Arrow are shown in the harbour with flags flying. There are clumps of trees at the water's edge, but the land is otherwise grassed or with flax and bracken.

Ref: C-025-015. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

Bernard MacMahon found employment with the assistant surveyor Samuel Stephens and acompanied him and a survey party when they Relocated to Riwaka on 2nd may 1842. Others in the party included Henry Fry, William Lodder, David White -farmers, and William Mickell -miller.
Followed shortly after by the wives including Bernards wife Margaret.
Bernard was officially contracted to work for the NZ Company, however he left Samuel Stephens employ at the end of 1842 - with some 4 months of his contract to run, it is not known if he did other work for the NZ Company during this time.
A petition signed by Bernard in june 1844 list his occupation a labourer
the 1845 census lists Bernard McMahon Riwaka
Although Samuels oiginal house in Riwaka was destroyed by fire in 1846, the estate eventualy ended up in the hands of Captain Charles Thomas, in 1858, who renamed the homestead Dehra Doon.

Nelson Examiner and NewZealand Chronical July 1853
Bernard MacMahon, Riwaka, Farmer, Owner, Motueka and Massacre Bay

Nelson Land Registry
1954/111 Sept 09, Applying to purchase land in the Riwaka Valley (Bernard McMahon)
1954/112 sept 09, Applying to rent Native section No.72 in the Riwaka Valley (Bernard McMahon

Nelson Examiner, 9th December 1854
Bernard MacMahon, Riwaka, Farmer, owner

Bernard MacMahon's house in Dehra Doon Road

MacMahon Hoiuse

Nelson Examiner, 14th June 1856
A meeting of the householders of the district of Riwaka was held at the School-house, on Monday, the 9th of June instant, for the purpose of electing a local committee under the "Education Act;" Mr. Jacka in the chair.
It was moved by Mr. MacMahon, seconded by Mr. Robert Pattie, and carried unanimously : —
" That this meeting is of opinion that the Education Act passed in the last session of the Provincial Council, is fair and liberal in its principles and deserves to be supported." The following nine persons were then elected a local committee for the district, for the ensuing year, viz.: —
Mr. Macmahon, Mr. William Pratt, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Charles Pattie, Rev. Mr. Lloyd,
Mr. William Lodder, Mr. Robert Pattie, Mr. Edward McNab, Mr. William Micklo.

The Colonist, 5th July 1864
Riwaka School.
—At a meeting in the Riwaka Schoolroom, on the 25th June, the following persons were duly elected as the Committee for the year : Messrs. B. Macmahon (chairman), B. Strachan, A. Drummond, J. Fowler, jun., W. Mickell, and C. Pattie! Mr. Robert was appointed Representative at the Central Board.
The Colonist 28th November 1865
NELSON Provincial Council elections
MOTUEKA: re-elected Bernard MacMahon

Nelson Examiner,  3rd june 1872
Justice of the Peace
 ... MacMahon B; ...

Nelson Examiner,  3rd January 1873  
MacMahon B;              

Nelson Evening Mail 31st August 1876
Motueka Highway Board:
Report of secretary - ...(snip)
I have ascertained that land for a cartroad can be obtained at the lower end of the Valley. Mr Macmahon is willing that a piece 60 links wide should be taken across the corner of section No 72, on condition that a good substantial fence is put up, and that he be paid the sum of twenty pounds, the cost of the breakwaters he has put in to protect the river bank.

The Colonist, 18th July 1878
The following gentlemen, have been elected members of the Road Boards in the 
following districts .— Bernard Macmahon, Sub-district of Riwaka ;

Electorial Roll
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Updated 20th September 2017