other prominent people


Newton King (TH, SEPTEMBER 2, 1933)

Born at Mangorei, New Plymouth, on July 21, 1855, Mr. King was the second son of Mr. Thomas King, one of the first settlers to arrive here from England. He was educated at Mr. W. M. Crompton’s school, and on leaving at the age of about 15 years he entered the office of Messrs. Webster Bros., where he acquired his early commercial training. Here he remained for about nine years. AL, the end of 1879 he joined Mr. R. G. Bauchope, who was carrying on the business of land and commission agent and accountant, and on January 1, 1880, the new firm commenced under the style Bauchope and King. It was decided to add auctioneering to the firm’s activities although there were already in the town three auctioneers, Messrs. T. E. Hamerton, W. Courtney and P. C. Morton.

The First Sa1e.

The firm’s first sale was held on February 21, 1880. when Mr. King commenced a career as auctioneer, in which he soon displayed a talent which in a few years made him one of the best known businessmen not only in Taranaki, but in the Dominion for it was recorded then that a well-known Canterbury auctioneer, after visiting New mouth, had told his friends of a young man in New Plymouth who would make his mark as an auctioneer.

On August 25, 1880, the firm opened yards at the Waiwhakaiho, and held Its first stock sale there, about 150 head of cattle being yarded. In 1881 the firm dissolved partnership, Mr. King carrying on the auctioneering business on his own account and buying the good-will of Mr. Courtney in his cattle saleyards at Glenavon and other places. He thus added yards at Waitara, Inglewood, Stratford, Oakura and Stony River to his rapidly extending business and to these were added other yards at convenient centres in later years.

To auctioneering were added the business of land and commission agencies, shipping and insurance agencies, together with those of produce and seed merchant, and later agricultural implements, wholesale merchandise, and more recently still, the motor business. He established branches in Stratford, Inglewood, and in other centres, finally, about thirteen years ago, converting the whole into a company, of which he was chairman and managing director up to the time of his death. Apart from his own personal business Mr. King was closely and actively associated with other concerns. He was one of the founders of the Crown Dairy Company, which for many years owned a number of dairy factories around Mt. Egmont and as far away as Hawke’s Bay. He was also for some time interested in a butter tinning factory for export to Eastern countries. For over 30 years he was chairman of the New Plymouth Sash and Door Company and for many years also a director of the Taranaki Building Society, besides being connected with many other local and provincial activities where his advice was eagerly sought and highly valued.

Several Public Positions.

In spite of all these numerous activities Mr. King found time to occupy several public positions. He was one of the founders of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and was its first president in 1889. In that year he was elected to the New Plymouth Harbour Board, of which he was chairman from 1917 to 1922. He was always a generous supporter of the Taranaki agricultural Society and was president in 1903. He was also for some years a trustee of the New Plymouth Savings Bank. Always keenly interested in sport, Mr. King was president of the Taranaki Jockey Club and also of two or three other provincial racing clubs. His colours were well-known on the principal racecourses of the Dominion and were carried by many successful performers. In his youth he played football and represented Taranaki against Auckland in the first encounter between the two provinces many years ago. Other sports, too, found him generous supporter.

His great hobby, however, was his garden and there Mr. King was seen at his best. His home at Brooklands was surrounded by beautiful gardens and native bush, of which he was intensely proud. When it was possible for him to put aside for the time being his multifarious business affairs no more delightful companion could be found than Mr. King in his gardens. In all commercial matters a very keen man of business, the moment he could put business aside temporarily he showed another side or his character with a sociability and manner of rare charm.

Mr. King was in many respects a man of very remarkable parts; that is proved by the fact that, although all his early commercial experience was gained in what was then a little country market town, he was able, almost unaided and with no special advantages, to build up in the space of 40 years, from 1880 to 1920, what was perhaps the biggest one-man business in New Zealand. This success was due to being built on a foundation of strict integrity, to an immense capacity for work, to enterprise based on unbounded faith in Taranaki, and to a wonderful instinct – there is no other name for it—in his judgment of character. Many stories might be told of the assistance he gave to men who wished to take up land without capital, with little security other than his estimate of the character of the man assisted. There are many such men in Taranaki to-day who owe their start and their subsequent success very largely to Mr. Newton King, His enterprise and faith in the district, as well as his unbounded energy and capacity for work, may be well illustrated by the fact that in the early days of Stratford he used to ride there from New Plymouth to hold stock sales and often under depressing climatic conditions had to ride home again after selling a few old cows or young stock.

Mr. Newton King was not only a remarkable man of affairs but in his personal character a man of exceedingly lovable qualities.