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OBITUARY.

MB JOHN STEVENS, EX.M.I*. j (PBESS ASSOCIATION TELEGRAM.) PALMERSTON N„ July 31. The death is announced of Mr John Stevens, ex-M.P. for Rangitikei, aged 71.(SFECUXt TO "TTTE PKESS.") WELLINGTON, July 31. Bom on Thorndon flat (Wellington) in 1845. the late Mr Stevens left Wellington as a lad of nino years and went to the Rangitikei district, where he engaged in farming and grazing j vork. Ir. 1864 and IStio he was on I active service in the Wanganui Volunj teer Cavalry under General Cameron, • and was subsequently captain of a | troop of the Rangitibej Cavalry Volunteers. He acquired an extensive knowledge of the "Maori language and customs, and in 1873 became a licensed Native interpreter. For some vears be engaged in the auctioneering business with the late Lieut-Colorel Gorton as partner. Ho contested the Rangitikei seat with Sir William Fox in j 3SSI, and won .by two votes, but. in I 18S4 was defeated by Mr Ebbert Bruce. Soon after he took a cargo of horses frnrn New Zealand to India. In ISS6 he entered into a contract with j the Government for the purchase on ! commission from the Native owners of the Waimarino block of about half a million acres of land, through which the Main Trunk railway now runs. He succeeded in defining the ownership and interests of the tribes and hapus and obtained the individual signatures of over 1000 owners, vesting the 400.000 acres in the Queen. For over ten Mr Stevens was a meni'bea- of tihe Wellington L»rd Board. Mr Stevens returned to Parliament after the election of ISO 3. when he defeated the late Mr F. Y. Lethbridsre for Raneitikei. At the next election he successfully cortested the Manawati: *er»t. he held until the end of lf>o2, when he was defeated bv Mr Job Vile. Three vears later, however, bo r >"ain contested the seat against Mr Vile, and was returned. He left Pn-lnmenf firalbj at the end of 1908. Dnrinrr his nerTod of servico in the House of "Rer>rps;pntat''ves he was a member of the Royal Commission a.tspointed i** to the revision of the Qustoms tariff. The late Mr John Stevens was a remarkable personality. As a young man he was a well-known rider, polo player, farmer, horse breeder, and auctioneer. He was known as a man of indomitable courage and hardihood, and a wonderful judge of stock. He engaged in the horse trade to India wnere, as in New Zealand, he took a considerable part in racing with much success. Ho engaged hugely in the liar industry as well as in farming, and at the time of his death otmed largo interests in flax and other lands. He wos a. master mason, aud a member of the Oddfel-

lows and Foresters. His early days had been most vigorous. His later days were clouded not only by blindness, but by practically complete paralysis. For years lie was compelled to remain in his bed or be helped iu and out of his rooms by his secretary or a member of his family. In order to help himself as much as possible, he had his house fitted with rails, along which he was able to pull himself. In spit© of the total darkness and the paralysis which prevented him from doing more than attaching a signature, he carried on not only a very large business in pastoral land working and purchase and in flax and finance,- but he also maintained a world-wide correspon-. dence, having the letters and papers read to him by , a . secretary, to whom he dictated replies. In this way also he was able, thanks to extraordinary clearness of intellect and a marvellous memory, to keep complete control of his. complicated business. Through it all he ilever lost his indomitable spirits, and presented in these later years an heroic example which was an inspiration and admiration to all hi 6 friends, who never failed to upon him at his hospitable home. He was married twice, and leaves two grown-up families.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19160801.2.83

Bibliographic details

OBITUARY., Press, Volume LII, Issue 15657, 1 August 1916

Word Count
668

OBITUARY. Press, Volume LII, Issue 15657, 1 August 1916

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