Hames, Mary (née Maddox)

Methodist settler in New Zealand, born near Ledbury on 14 May 1827. Her mother was a devout Methodist and in 1851 she married a WM schoolteacher, Charles Hames. They emigrated with their family in 1864. Their faem was at the northern end of the Kaipara Harbour and became part of the nonconformist settlement called Albertland. The success of their farm was due largely to Mary's energy, resourcefulness and determination, since her husband was frail, handicapped by deafness and inept in business matters. On the journey north to their property she 'simply stepped behind a bush and cast off her crinoline - permanently!' She shared in the labour of building a rough wooden shack and fed her family on the rough porridge and bread that was their staple diet for many months. Returning to Auckland periodically to take up dressmaking and domestic work, she came back with provisions and tools and even, on one occasion, a cow.

It took almost twelve years for the farm to pay its way, but in the end they owned 1,000 acres of rolling pastureland. Only then were they able to take a more active role in the Paparoa Methodist church, begun in 1862 at the centre of the settlement. Charles as an accredited local preacher shared the leadership of the society with one other. Paparoa became known for 'the sobriety, intelligence and religious habits of the residents'. Mary Hames was a woman of extraordinary tenacity, whose firm faith enabled her and her family to survive the hardships and privations of pioneering life.

  • Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (1990)


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Entry written by: DJP
Category: Person
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