A matter of life and death
Waitara historian Graeme Duckett tours cemeteries looking at the people who settled our region. George Bertrand
George was born in London and was educated in London and Paris in private schools. He was 16 when he left England bound on the ship Sandford for New Zealand.
He worked for his uncle on a farm in Bell Block, and later, when the farm was sold, he joined the Taranaki Volunteers. He fought during the land wars at the Battles of Mahoetahi and at Waireka.
Later joining the Bush Rangers, he was involved in the pursuit of Te Kooti on the East Coast.
At the end of hostilities, George received a soldier’s grant of land at Tikorangi. Bertrand Rd was named after George. He soon afterwards shifted to Urenui where he worked a small dairy farm for around 60 years.
To supplement his income, he was a storeman and office clerk, and later a partner in Charlie Rowe’s general store in Urenui. He was also a carrier in the district.
At the first meeting of the Clifton County Council, constituted in 1885, he became their office clerk until 1894.
George presented the township of Urenui with land for a town hall, and was honorary trustee of the hall, and acted as their secretary for 34 years.
Prior to a post office being erected in Urenui, George was postmaster at the store. In 1886 he married Toroa Iki Wairangi and they had seven children. He died in 1926, and is buried in Urenui cemetery.