CYCLOPEDIA OF NZ 1897
BIRCH, William John
Birch, William John: Sheepfarmer, Erewhon, Moawhango. Born in 1842 in
Oxfordshire, and educated in England and in Germany, Mr Birch arrived in the Colony at
the age of eighteen. After three years as a cadet in Hawkes Bay, with his brother Captain
Birch, he took a small
run at Waimaramara, Hawkes Bay, but soon afterwards the brothers crossed the
Ruahines, becoming the first white settlers in the district, which they named `Erehwon'
which if spelt backwards, fittingly describes the state of the countrty at that time. Vast
improvements have been made in the property, 5000 acres being under the plough, 100
miles of fencing completed, and a very pretty homestead erected. As a member of the
Hawkes Bay County Council, Mr Birch takes a keen interest in all local matters. All field
sports are supported by him, his name appearing as patron of racing and other clubs.
During the Te Kooti trouble he served in the Volunteers under Colonel McDonnell;
Captain Birch was actign as Brigade Major. In 1874,
while on a visit to England, Mr Birch was married to a daughter of the Rev. W Larden ,
Arkel Rectory, Shropshire.
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