KERIKERI, BAY OF ISLANDS
The Stone Store, Kemp House and St. James Church.
Stone Store, in
the early 1900's, with KEMP House on its right and
St, James Church top right. Painting by W.BEERE.
A recent photograph can be seen here..
One school of thought believes that Kerikeri's name means 'dig dig'....
A necessary part of clearing the land for farming or building was the
removal of the resident fern and there is only one way to get rid of it...
Dig! Dig! While others believe it describes the little waterfall. Whatever..
The local Maoris pronounce the word 'Kiddikiddi'!
The Stone Store is a well known attraction
in Kerikeri, and has been
filmed by many thousands of Tourists from all over the World. It has
an interesting History, and has had more Shop-keepers than is generally
On August 12th. 1819 the American Sailing
Vessel, "General Gates"
arrived in the Bay of Islands. Among the 22 Passengers were Samuel
MARSDEN, the Rev. John Gore BUTLER, Mrs. BUTLER and son;
Francis Hall, Schoolmaster and Missionary; James KEMP, Blacksmith
and Catechist and Mrs. KEMP.
In June, 1821, the building of Rev. John
Gore BUTLER's house started,
"A Mansion befitting the office of Superintendent of the Mission in New
Zealand" and took 8 months to build. This is now known as Kemp House,
the oldest wooden building in this country. It was built by William BEAN
and William FAIRBURN. The Rev. John BUTLER, left the Mission
towards the end of 1823 and the house was then lived in successively by
James SHEPHERD, George CLARKE, Thomas CHAPMAN and James
KEMP, who moved in mid-1832. In all, 7 generations of KEMPS lived
in the house.
By 1819, local residents realised the need for a more permanent structure
and so, at the suggestion of James KEMP, a Stonemason from New South Wales
was employed. This was William PARROTT. The construction of the Stone Store
building was commenced on 19th.April 1832 and completed in 1836.
James SHEPHERD, assisted by John
EDMONDS, was the first Storekeeper,
with James KEMP taking over in 1837. The KEMP family was associated
with the building for many decades, right up to 1976.
In 1843 James's two young sons, Richard aged 16 and James Jnr. aged 18
purchased the stock for £300 and set up business. At first they used the empty
Mission House, but moved into the Stone Store in 1845.
This wasn't the right time to set up shop.. The 1844-46 War in the North brought
British troops to Kerikeri and fighting in and around the Area. Only a very few
European families stayed and the lads were getting into debt, so, James KEMP
Snr. once again took over the Store.
In 1857 Ebenezer NORRIS, who was married to James KEMP's youngest
daughter Charlotte, took over the Lease of the Store. He was appointed
Postmaster when the first Post Office opened in 1861, but left in 1863 and
Richard KEMP again took over.
In the 1860's a series of unfortunate
events affected the running of the Store.
In 1864 John EDMONDS took over the lease, but he died 18 months later. The
stock was sold to James Kemp, with his brother Richard running the Store,
but Richard eloped to Melbourne amid a scandal, and the Store was then
rented to Joseph MORLAND. However, it very soon gained a reputation as
a grog-shop, so a new Manager was sought.
James KEMP Jnr., his wife Sophia and their
seven children moved from
their farm into the old Mission House and James was once more in charge
of the Store.
1883 saw E. FORD of Russell take over the
Lease, with G. HORSLEY as
Postmaster and Manager, but by 1885 James KEMP was once more in
charge until he leased the Store to Agnes FYFE, (nee ONEIL/NEIL, of
Glasgow, SCT.) in 1887. Here son-in-Law, William SKUDDER was
employed as Manager.
The next Manager was G. GARY, who shortly after was drowned at
Kawakawa and the next was W.J.HANNA, who was there for a very short time.
In 1888 an American, John BLACK of Towai, husband
of Ethel Jane
KEMP, became became the Proprietor. In 1895 the Store was leased to
a Mr. McCALLUM, but following a suspicious fire John BLACK took
over the reins again! He died in 1909 and Robert CLEAVE became
Manager and eventually purchased the business. He was followed by
his son, Robert Fuller CLEAVE, who ran it until 1938 when it was sold
to Captain M. M. WALLACE.
In 1940 James KENDALL purchased the Stone
Store and when his son,
Captain Graeme KENDALL (my next door neighbour :-) returned from
the War, he took over the business with his wife Verna, daughter of Vernon
ATKINSON and Elsie KEMP.
Round about this time two small stores
were built, in what is now Kerikeri's
main Shopping Area and the present Town grew up around them.
This photograph shows the
Main Street in 1949. James
KENDALL's Store stood on
this corner for many years.
Tom WILKES purchased the Stone Store business in 1966, but by then
the clientele was changing, with bus loads of tourists arriving each day
and mementos being the most sought after purchases.
By the time David Stretton POW took over the business, in 1972, the Tourist
Trade was well established.
In 1976, the building was sold by Frank KEMP (a 7th. generation KEMP)
great-great-grandson of the Pioneer Missionary James KEMP, to the
Historic Places Trust and it is still the most photographed and visited
site in the District.
The present ST. JAMES Church was
opened on Dec. 5th.1878. It replaced
the original Missionary Chapel, which
was dedicated by Henry WILLIAMS
on 19th.April 1824, and the second
Chapel, of 1829, which was built of
lath and plaster.
As a footnote: Mrs. Henry WILLIAMS recorded
in her Journal on April 15th. 1824...
"Henry on Saturday goes to KiddeeKiddee to open the new Chapel.
Mr. and Mrs. CLARKE are there".