Kurupo Te Moananui is the Rangitira that the first Europeans in the area would have dealt with. The paramount chef for the Heretaunga area, Moananui made his home at Waipureku Pa, situated on the then strategic joint river mouth of the Tuki Tuki and the Ngaruroro Rivers. Waipureku means “the meeting of the waters”.
After purchasing approximately 830,000 acres, around the East Coast of New Zealand in 1839, Barney Rhodes set up an early primitive trading post at Waipureku. This was before the Treaty of Waitangi and the government moved to stop these sorts of dealings and in doing so overturned the original deal. However in compensation he was granted 100,000 acres at Rissington, 4,500 acres at Clive Grange (Haumoana/Te Awanga) plus the Trading Post at Waipureku. Barney never settled in the area but his brother, Joseph, took up Clive Grange in 1855, plus the 200 acres at Waipureku (£130 to Moananui).
Prior to Joseph, in 1844, the Reverend William Colenso, through the Church Missionary Society, had set up the Ahuriri Mission on 10 acres of what was then swamp on land close to Takamoana’s Pa at the Te Awapuni north of the Ngaruroro River mouth, Waitangi.
With a thriving Maori trading centre already at Waipureku Rhode’s trading post was ideally situated to transport produce via the inland waterways to the large central Hawke’s Bay runs, and with Joseph Rhodes having consolidated his Clive Grange property, he commissioned surveyor Henry Tiffen to lay out the first settlement of Clive, alongside brother Barney’s Waipureku Trading Post. Six hundred quarter acre sections with many reserves, all interlaced with streets named after prominent politicians and other notables of the time were surveyed.
The town was given the name Clive, after the English Major-General Robert Clive, First Baron of Plassey (India) 1725-1774 and was to be the main centre of Hawke’s Bay. Napier was still a hill surrounded by swamp and Hastings not even thought of. However, the township, being between two rivers, was prone to flooding (severe flooding) and although the town sections were sold, settlement remained slow. Even so in the 1850’s and 1860’s Clive could boast two hotels, several stores, a bakery, post office, public school, police station, blacksmith shop, a ferry service over the Tuki Tuki River and inland, a horse race course complete with grandstand. What is now known as East Clive was then a flourishing township.
The building of a new bridge over the Ngaruroro River in 1867, thus by passing the Tuki Tuki route through East Clive, plus the new fangled railway passing from Napier through Frandon to the new township of Hastings in 1874 was the beginning of the decline for East Clive and the progress of West Clive, not only businesses were transferred but residents gradually moved towards the bridge and railway.
In 1879 Clive became a town district and by 1887 there were at least three boning down works for rendering carcasses in the district, a flour mill (Mill Road), a large cooperage (barrel making establishment), two breweries, two hotels, a large sawmill, market gardens, a bustling main street, a large public school (in fact for a period two public schools) and the added bonus of a beautiful public park, 20 acres in extent, purchased in 1870 for £210.
However, until the wandering rivers were finally tamed Clive was to remain just an attractive rural village set on the banks of the Clive River. The rivers have been tamed (the Clive River is now basically a tidal estuary) and while Clive is still a small community it certainly has become a very desirable place to live, situated between the sister cities of Napier and Hastings, giving it access to all their facilities, but still keeping its rural advantages.
Gary Bains is a resident of Clive, historian and writer. He is currently writing a book on The History of Clive. The Clive Community Group is assisting him in seeking funding for its publication.