ABRAHAM, Charles John

by Maurice Russell Pirani, formerly Minor Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral Church, Wellington.


The New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association's annual report for 1962–63 shows that its active membership is 1,564 and that there are also 145 schoolboys rowing for clubs.

by Samuel Irwin Kidd, Hon. Treasurer, New Zealand Amateur Rowing Association, Wellington.

Hallyburton Johnston Cup

(Interprovincial Championship Eights)
Year Winner Year Winner
1928 Canterbury 1950 Auckland
J929 Otago 1951 Contest abandoned
1930 Otago 1952 Auckland
1931 Otago 1953 Auckland
1932 Otago 1954 Auckland
1933 Otago 1955 Auckland
1934 Wanganui 1956 No contest – Olympic trials
1935 Wanganui
1936 Otago 1957 Otago
1937 Wanganui 1958 Wanganui
1938 Wanganui 1959 Otago
1939 Wanganui 1960 Auckland
1940 Wanganui 1961 Auckland
1941–45 No contests – war 1962 Auckland
1946 Wellington 1963 Auckland
1947 Wanganui 1964 Auckland
1948 Contest abandoned 1965 Auckland
1949 Auckland


Roxburgh is situated in Central Otago on the west bank of the Clutha River near the junction of its east-bank tributary, the Teviot River. The town occupies a terrace and is surrounded by hills and mountains. The railway station and a small residential area are situated on the east bank of the Clutha, and this settlement is called Roxburgh East. Roxburgh is the terminus of a branch railway line which links with the South Island Main Trunk line at Clarksville, and is 61 miles north of Milton and 97 miles north-west of Dunedin by road or rail. Alexandra is 27½ miles north-east, and Roxburgh Hydro 5 miles north by road.

The main primary activities of the district are sheep farming and fruitgrowing. Stone, pip, and berry fruits are produced. Roxburgh is a servicing and distributing centre for the central Clutha basin. The only industrial activities of importance in the town are sawmilling and joinery manufacturing. Roxburgh is the headquarters of the Teviot irrigation works on which the fruit industry largely depends. There is a sawmill at Ettrick (8 miles south-east), and a fruit-canning works and an opencast lignite mine are located at Coal Creek (3 miles north).

The Roxburgh district is believed to have been a camping place for Maori travelling parties in pre-European times. Nathaniel Chalmers, who came down the Clutha River on a mokihi raft in 1853, was probably the first European visitor. The pastoralists slowly penetrated the interior and about 1859 the first sheep, imported from Australia, were brought up from Port Molyneux. Following the news of Hartley and Reilly's gold discoveries at the Dunstan in 1862, there was a rush to the area and much of the traffic passed through the Roxburgh (Teviot) district. When Andrew Young and James Woodhouse discovered gold in 1862 at the junction of the Teviot and Clutha Rivers, mining camps sprang up on both banks of the Clutha above and below the Teviot junction. Dredging on the Clutha River began in 1862–63 and at the time of the dredging boom (c. 1900), upwards of a dozen dredges were working in the district. During the early 1880s hydraulic sluicing and elevating were also employed in the Teviot area. By 1920 the gold mining activities had practically ceased. The town of Teviot, which is said to have taken its name from a large sheep station bordering the east bank, began soon to spread to the west bank of the Clutha, and before the end of 1863 there was a sufficient traffic between both parts of the town to maintain a ferry service. The new town on the west bank is said to have been laid out in 1866 by a surveyor named Johnston who is credited with calling it Roxburgh after an ancient ruined town on the Teviot River in Scotland. In July 1863 a road through to Alexandra via Roxburgh from Lawrence, on the east bank of the Clutha River, was being used, and in April 1865 a coaching service began between Dunedin and Clyde. In the late 1860s improvements were made to the easier route along the west bank and by 1871 the road was fit for use by coaches. This route eventually became the main highway. The branch railway from Clarksville to Lawrence was completed in 1876, but it was not extended to Roxburgh until 1928. On 7 July 1874 Roxburgh was proclaimed a municipality and in 1877 was constituted a borough.

POPULATION: 1951 census, 751; 1956 census, 794; 1961 census, 769.

by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.


: On 8 March 1949 the Minister of Works announced that a site near Coal Creek Flat had been chosen for a hydro-electric dam on the Clutha River. A temporary township – soon afterwards called Roxburgh Hydro – sprang up on Coal Creek Flat later in the same year and construction of the dam began. The river was diverted to a temporary channel during the winter of 1954, and by 1956 the main works were completed.

POPULATION: 1951 census, 1,309; 1956 census, 3,043; 1961 census, 488.

by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.


Royal Commission is a type of investigating agency that is used by the Government of New Zealand when it wishes to investigate certain matters outside normal parliamentary or political agencies, usually for the purpose of obtaining as public, as accurate, and as impartial an investigation as possible. Such a Commission, as its name implies, is an authority formally appointed by and responsible to the Crown through its agent in New Zealand, the Governor-General. The decision as to whether or not a Royal Commission should be constituted to investigate any matter rests as a rule in the absolute discretion of the advisers of the Crown, but there are certain occasions when its appointment is mandatory under statute, e.g., the Civil List Act of 1950.

There are no restrictions on the subject-matter which a Royal Commission can be called upon to investigate except that it has been held by the Courts that the Crown cannot set up such a Commission substantially for the purpose of determining whether or not a person has committed a crime. A Royal Commission can only inquire into such matters as are specified in its warrant of appointment or are reasonably incidental thereto, and it does not have a general roving jurisdiction. Although there are no restrictions on the number or the nature of the personnel that may be appointed to form the Commission, in practice it is usual for persons to be appointed who are not active politically, and it is usual also for the number and the ability of members to be increased in proportion to the difficulty and importance of the subject; normally also the chairman of a composite Commission has legal training. Although it was doubtful whether a Commission had this power at common law, Parliament has, by the Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1908, specifically empowered Royal Commissions to have the power of a Magistrate in the course of a hearing, including particularly the power to command persons to attend before it and to produce such documents as it requires, and to fine for failure to so appear. Moreoverl the same Act protects each member of a Roya, Commission from proceedings against him for anything he might say or report bona fide in the discharge of his duties.

Royal Commission differs from another type of commission – a Commission of Inquiry – which is sometimes appointed to present an impartial report to the Government. The difference is that, in law, a Royal Commission is appointed by and responsible to the Crown and not the Governor-General in Council, and it can investigate – subject to the one exception mentioned earlier – any matter, whilst a Commission of Inquiry is restricted to the topics stipulated in the Commission of Inquiry Act of 1908. The main distinction in practice between the two is that a Royal Commission, being more formal in creation, is usually established to consider more important and national issues than fall to a Commission of Inquiry. Thus, for example, in 1955 a Royal Commission was appointed to report on the monetary, banking, and credit system in New Zealand, but a Commission of Inquiry was appointed to investigate an accident on the Black Prince.

Both the Royal Commission and the Commission of Inquiry have been used quite frequently by New Zealand Governments (approximately 20 Royal Commissions and 28 Commissions of Inquiry between 1945 and 1965), to ascertain facts or clarify principles with a view to determining whether Government action is necessary and, if so, what it should be; but they are subject to criticism on the grounds of delay and expense.

by Donald Edgar Paterson, B.A., LL.M.(N.Z.), LL.M., J.S.D.(YALE), Lecturer in Jurisprudence and Constitutional Law, Victoria University of Wellington.

  • Finding List of New Zealand Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry, Jamieson, D. G. (1961)
  • Finding List of Royal Commission Reports in the British Dominions, Cole, A. H. (1939).


The Ruamahanga (catchment area, 1,340 sq. miles) is the most important river in the Wairarapa. Rising in the forested country of the northern central Tararua Range on the eastern slopes of Mount Dundas (4,935 ft), it flows into the open country of the Wairarapa lowlands west of Maurice-ville, passes close to the north-west of Masterton, the principal town of the Wairarapa, and thence southwards on the eastern side of the Wairarapa Plains, where it passes through Lake Wairarapa on its way to Lake Onoke, a beach bar-dammed lagoon on the shore of Palliser Bay.

The major tributaries draining from the forested areas of the eastern Tararua Ranges from north to south are the Waingawa, Waiohine, and Tauhere-nikau. Draining from the largely pasture-covered east coast highlands to the east of the Wairarapa Plains are the Tauweru, Ruakokoputuna, and Tauranganui Rivers.

The estimated minimum flow in 1948 was about 280 cu. ft. per second. Floods of approximately 100,000 cusecs occurred in 1880 and 1897.

The meaning of the Maori name is obscure.

by Thomas Ludovic Grant-Taylor, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Lower Hutt.


is situated on an undulating valley floor, bounded on the west by the Rapahoe Range and on the east by the Paparoa Range, and is 4 miles north of the Grey River. The surrounding country is undulating and hilly. The Greymouth-Westport coastal highway and the Greymouth-Rewanui branch railway pass through the town. A railway also links Runanga with Rapahoe. By road Runanga is 5 miles north-east of Greymouth (4 miles by rail) and 60 miles south-west of Westport.

The main primary industry of the district is coal mining, and the larger State mines are situated in the vicinity of Rapahoe (2 miles north-west) and Rewanui (5 miles north-east). Several cooperative parties work smaller mines elsewhere in the district, but chiefly on the western slopes of the Paparoa Range. A few dairy farms provide the town milk supply and also contribute part of Greymouth's town supply. Some flaxmilling is carried on. Runanga is essentially a miners' residential town providing shopping and commercial facilities.

It is believed that in precolonisation times the vicinity of Runanga was a camping place for Maoris from Mawhera (now Greymouth) who hunted birds on the nearby spurs of Paparoa Range. At various times during the late 1860s and the 1870s, and occasionally thereafter, the construction of a deep-water port near Point Elizabeth was advocated. The erratic and dangerous condition of the Grey River bar was the main reason for seeking an alternative port, but Greymouth and district interests opposed the proposals. The progress of the town and district dates from 1904, when local mines commenced to produce coal. A branch railway from Greymouth to Dunollie (1 mile north-east) was opened for traffic on 1 December 1904. On 21 January 1914 it was extended to Rewanui. In April 1920 the construction of a subsidiary line from Runanga to Rapahoe commenced and it was opened for traffic on 3 September 1923. Runanga came into existence in 1902 primarily as a planned residential centre. It was constituted a borough in 1912. The name means “assembly” or “meeting”. It is said that an important whare runanga (meeting house) stood there.

POPULATION: 1951 census, 1,828; 1956 census, 1,804; 1961 census, 1,734.

by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.

RUSSELL, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Hamilton


Early settler and Minister of the Crown.

Andrew Hamilton Russell was born in 1811, the third and posthumous son of Captain Andrew Hamilton Russell of the 28th Regiment, who took part in the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), served in the Walcheren Expedition, and lost his life near Badajoz, in the Peninsular campaign. His mother was Sarah, née Blunden.

On 18 January 1828 Hamilton was commissioned as an ensign in the 22nd Regiment, being promoted to lieutenant on 23 July 1834 and captain on 31 December 1841. He saw active service in India and took part in the conquest of the Scinde. In 1842 he transferred to the 58th Regiment and served in the Southern Division of New Zealand from 9 April 1845, taking part in the operations against Te Rangihaeata in the Hutt Valley and Porirua districts. In June 1846 Governor George Grey appointed him Superintendent of Military Roads in the Wellington district and, during the next few years, he supervised the construction of the principal roads between Wellington, the Hutt Valley, and Porirua. He retired from the army in 1859 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and took up the Mangakauri sheep station in Hawke's Bay. Russell was summoned to the Legislative Council on 2 July 1861, where he remained until 16 July 1872, when his appointment as an Inspector of Native Schools caused him to be disqualified from membership. He was Minister of Native Affairs in the unreconstructed ministry of Stafford, but resigned on 24 August 1866 in order to allow J. C. Richmond to enter. In 1874 Russell sold his Mangakauri property and returned to England.

In the early 1830s Russell married Elizabeth Ann, daughter of John Howlett of Yorkshire. He died at Fonthill, Torquay, Devonshire, on 20 April 1900. Two of his sons were commissioned in the 58th Regiment and later settled in New Zealand. The elder of these sons, Captain A. H. Russell (1837–1916), who was known as Hamilton Russell, farmed in Hawke's Bay. He married Katherine Sarah, daughter of Thomas Tinsley, and Major-General Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell was their son. Hamilton Russell returned to England and settled at the Heath House, Petersfield. The second son was Sir William Russell Russell.

The relation of the various members of the Russell family to each other is extremely confusing because no less than four generations – three of them living contemporaneously – have borne the names Andrew Hamilton.

by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.

  • N.Z.P.D., Vol. 112, 31 Jul 1900 (Obit)
  • Hart's Army List, 1858
  • Hawke's Bay Herald, 1 Aug 1900 (Obit).


ABRAHAM, Charles John 22-Apr-09 Maurice Russell Pirani, formerly Minor Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral Church, Wellington.