Thomas Uppadine Cook

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Thomas Uppadine Cook

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in Foxton, Horowhenua District, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of George Cook and Hannah Cook
Husband of Te Akau Meretini
Father of Louisa (Ruiha) Hickson; Annie ( Heni ) COOK; Alfred ( Arapere ) COOK; Samuel ( Ngawhare ) COOK; Thomas ( Tame ) COOK and 8 others
Brother of Hannah Vines; George Edward COOK; Charles Frith COOK; Francis COOK; Henry COOK and 4 others

Managed by: Jason Wills, Away on holiday in ...
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About Thomas Uppadine Cook

Thomas Uppadine Cook, frequently referred to as “The Father of Foxton” was born in Hammersmith, London on June 2nd 1816, the son of Thomas Cook, coal merchant and his wife Hannah.

Thomas Uppadine Cook, frequently referred to as “The Father of Foxton” was born in Hammersmith, London on June 2nd 1816, the son of Thomas Cook, coal merchant and his wife Hannah. He was baptised at the Baptist Church by Rev. Thomas Uppadine after whom he was named.

Thomas and his brother Henry entered the land ballot of the New Zealand Company held in London on 29th July, 1839. Each lot consisted of one acre in town and 100 acres in the country at one pound per acre. Thomas was allocated one acre at 100 Abel Tasman Street and Henry at 203 Dixon Street.

On 18th September they left London hastily in the “Adelaide” as there was a movement to stop this colonising scheme. The “Aurora” and “Oriental” arrived within four months but the “Adelaide” had a six month long eventful voyage. The crew mutinied, the captain flogged the ring-leader, upsetting the crew, and passengers had to arm themselves and assist the captain. Further disputes compelled the captain to put in to Capetown for two weeks. Eventually they arrived in Wellington on a very wet and windy evening and went ashore against the captain’s advice. After becoming separated from the rest of the group, Thomas and a friend were given shelter in a hut for the night. There was much delay in fixing the site for the town and identifying sections so he moved to the Hutt with the intention of farming there but was soon persuaded to try the Manawatu area. He is believed to have arrived at Paiaka about 1841. According to the Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1897, he bought flax fibre from the Maoris and employed rope makers. He sent tons of the finished rope to Sydney for several years. He also employed sawyers to prepare timber which was in demand for houses. He chartered vessels to take this timber and food produce to Wellington.

In 1850 he married Te Akau Meretini at Rangiatea Church, Otaki. She was the step-granddaughter of Te Rauparaha.

Two small sailing ships the “Hannah” and “Mary Jane”. were built for him by Frank Abel and George Nye about 1851. These were the first two ships to trade between Te Awahou and Wellington. In 1854 or 1855, Cook shifted his home to Te Awahou. Here he built a store, accommodation house, wharf and later a hotel. The first hotel licensed in 1857 was the Adelaide but in 1869 this became Cook’s home and he converted his house which was nearer the main street, into the Foxton Family Hotel. This was demolished in 1892 and a new building erected on Main Street, the present site. After the disastrous earthquake in January 1855, which destroyed Paiaka, most settlers shifted to Te Awahou.

In 1856 he became Te Awahou’s first postmaster, operating from his store. When the first tramway between Foxton and Palmerston North was opened in 1874, Cook leased the venture from the Government. At this time the rails were made of wood which warped in the rain and sun. The passenger cars and freight wagons were pulled by four horses and there were times when passengers had to lift the cars back on to the rails. It is stated in Mr. Cook’s obituary in “Manawatu Herald” that he had a prosperous time because of the large amount of freight carried. The wooden rails on the line were replaced with iron ones in 1876, and Cook relinquished control of the venture to the Government Railways Department.

With Francis Robinson and George Nye he had arranged the purchase of land for a school to educate the growing number of children in the district. The Rev. Duncan was the first teacher, later assisted by his daughter. The charge was one shilling per week per pupil with a reduction for families. Cook also served on the school committee when Foxton became a state school.

He must have been a man of tremendous energy. He was a Justice of the Peace, one of the original trustees of the Racing Club in 1869, member of the first Local Board (1875), member of the first Foxton Harbour Board (1877) and one of the first councillors of the Borough of Foxton (1888).

He was very fond of music and the Cook home was the centre of the town’s musical activities. He was interested in teaching the young people part-singing and his children inherited this love of music.

His wife Meretini was a popular figure, loved by all. In her latter years she liked nothing better than to sit in the sun and smoke her pipe. When Thomas died peacefully in 1897, he left a family of 7 sons and 3 daughters. This is what we know of them: Tame born 1851 married Pare and farmed the ancestral land at Maungatautari, Heni (Annie) born 1852 married James Collins in Foxton in 1875. James was a storekeeper and for a time manager of Pownall’s flaxmill. Ngawhare (Samuel) married Elizabeth Hawea. He was a butcher and trained to become a Maori interpreter. Mere (Mary) married James Symons in 1890. Ruiha (Louisa) born 1853 married Richard Hickson (Stationmaster) in July 1877.Wiremu born 1865 married Ada Isabel Hawkins in Palmerston North about 1890. He was a journalist and died in Warkworth in October 1942. Arapere born 1866, died 1944, lived most of his adult life in Otaki. Of Te Oti, Pataki and Francis we have no record.

Pioneers of Foxton : Book One. p.10-11. [Foxton, N.Z.] : Foxton Historical Society, 1988.

Links and Sources

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Thomas Uppadine Cook's Timeline

1816
June 2, 1816
London, Middlesex, England
June 2, 1816
Trinity West End Chapel, Hammersmith, ENGLAND
1843
1843
Age 26
1845
1845
Age 28
1845
Age 28
1848
1848
Age 31
Te Awahou ( Foxton ), NEW ZEALAND
1850
1850
Age 33
1851
August 27, 1851
Age 35
Foxton, NEW ZEALAND
1852
1852
Age 35
Foxton, NEW ZEALAND
1857
January 9, 1857
Age 40
Te Awahou ( Foxton ), NEW ZEALAND