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OBITUARY., Issue 8025, 30 September 1889
The large majority of the male residents of the locality, together with a considerable number of friends and acquaintances from Dunedin and the surrounding districts, who attended the funeral of Mr Peter M'Laren yesterday, abundantly testified to the esteem in which he was held by the community. Green Island Cemetery holds the dust of many of the original occupiers and cultivators of the district (Howden, Dempster, Kirkland, and others), who in their day and generation did the slavish part of the work in subduing the wild, uncultivated waste into a prosperous and profitable foodproducing locality. , Mr M’Laren, who arrived with his young wife in the province by the ship Mariner on sth June, 1849, was a native of Kenmore, in Perthshire, near the spot where the renowned 42nd Regiment, or “ Black Watch,” was first organised. In his own person he was a fitting representative of what one may suppose to have been the characteristics of that famed body of troops, Of middle stature, an erect bearing, intelligent countenance, broad shoulders and thick chest, supported on nether limbs of rigid tension, his tread on the ground indicated the intent “Forward, my brave men, forward,” and his career in the province showed not only that he possessed strength and determination of purpose, but also that he exercised these grand qualifications. Landing at Dunedin, he had nothing to rely on but what he could earn with his hands. Accordingly, not to lose any time, he engaged at 3s 6d a day with Mr Lloyd, at Green Island, his wife remaining in town, both to be supported from this small income, with provisions and rent twice the cost they now are. Where there is a will there is a way; so, by prudential management, both ends were made to meet, aye, and overlap a bit. Then a better position offered itself with Mr Lee at West Taieri, in whose employ husband and wife would be together. This was one comfort; it was attained, however, after privation and difficulty as to reaching the West Taieri. Mrs M‘Laren had to take passage in an open whaleboat from Dunedin round to the mouth of the Taieri, where her husband had arranged to meet her and convey her by canoe and pack-saddle to their destination. Arriving safely at the Taieri, with Mr Buchanan, a friend of Mr Lee’s, the party were greatly mortified to find that the promised canoe had not reached the spot; so nothing remained but to camp in the open for the night. It was not long before a party of four stalwart half-clad Maoris, who were pig hunting, oarae on their halting place, and although the stories of man-eating propensities had been freely attributed to the Natives among the residents of Dunedin, a little experience showed they were hospitably inclined, inviting the lone wanderers to join in their repast of wild pork and potatoes roasted in the ashes. A quiet undisturbed night’s repose among the ferns found the party refreshed and ready for a start, this time no delay occurring, as the canoe, with the husband on board, arrived as the fast of the morning was being broken. After a few months’ residence at West Taieri, revelling on unchangeable meals of-wild pork, nothing else beingob* taiuable, and potatoes or damper, with sometimes tea without sugar or milk, the resolution was formed to return to Dunedin, where, after periods of service with Messrs Valpy, E. M'Glashan, A. Anderson, Ross and Kilgour, aud others, the purse contained sufficient money to warrant Mr M'Laren in buying land for himself, which he did in the upper lands of the Ocean Beach district at 10s an acre, which was the price in 1856, sixty acres being the size of the farm. It was at that time an out-of-the-way place—no roads, at a high elevation, ill to get at, and not first-class land by any means. However, contentment was a dominant principle, and after hard work, patient endurance, and many disappointments tbe industrious, careful couple made their way in the world, rearing a family of eleven children, keeping clear of debt, and commanding the esteem and respect of all who knew them. On only one occasion did Mr M'Laren be come encumbered, and it was in this wise : A small stripe of nine acres of unsurveyed land, which could not on that account be purchased with his original sixty acres, lay between his land and the ocean cliffs, of no use to anyone else. It was some years later surveyed, declared open for sale, purchased by some land-grabbers as a speculation at LI an acre, and our friend was compelled to pay L2O an acre for it, for which he Had to borrow.
Mr M'Laren never aspired to be a public man, as the phrase is generally accepted. To very many of the Dunedin residents for the past thirty years Mr M‘Laren was well known and invariably held in the highest esteem. The dairy and farm produce were for years successively delivered to the same customers with every approbation; and seldom was there cause for a change, unless occasioned by the retirement of a principal. His death has not been a sudden one, as for five months past he has lain on a bed of suffering and languishing, borne with a fortitude that showed there was the true spirit of a man at his heart. Whilst anticipating his own dissolution he tried to cheer the devoted wife at his bedside with the hope that he would yet redover; still the hope, deferred daily, became less with a lessening and departing strength, and on Thursday night last he resigned his spirit to the God who gave it. Jt is hard to part—to sever friendships whose roots spread a long way back around one’s memory. Still the severance must take place, rind when it does occur may those left behind be able to join in saying— Still o’er these scenes my memory wakes, And loudly broods with miser care; Time but tbe impression deeper makes, '' As streams their channels deeper wear. J. M‘l.
OBITUARY., Issue 8025, 30 September 1889
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