Edited 7 May, 2020
William John Honeyfield was born on December 8, 1855 to parents Sarah Mary Honeyfield (nee Barrett) and William Henry Honeyfield.
When James and Caroline Honeyfield moved to Tataraimaka in 1869, William, aged 14, accompanied them where he learnt farming.
William was known as Jack to others and as Uncle Jacky to the Honeyfield family.
Uncle Jacky went on to become a farmer in his own right on the Moturoa farm at Barrett Reserve A. It is possible that Uncle Jacky eventually sold off some of the Barrett Reserve A land for residential and commercial development. He supplied local shipping for many years with produce from his farm, and received royalties from oil drilling operations on Barrett Reserve A land. He was also a hotel keeper, operating the Moturoa Hotel adjacent to his mother Sarah’s store. By all accounts, Uncle Jacky was a successful businessman and well-respected member of society.
Moturoa Hotel owned by Jacky Honeyfield and Sarah Honeyfield’s trading store, 1880s
Uncle Jacky built an impressive home in Moturoa, Mikotahi Villa.
After he retired, one of his interests was in clearing, planting and fencing the burial ground (Wahitapu) at Bayly Road where Dicky and Rawinia and several others are buried.
Another legacy was that much of the shaping and planting of Ngamotu Domain was done by Uncle Jacky or under his supervision. Jack was a member of the Moturoa Progressive Association and the Ngamotu Domain Board.
Jack also had a concrete seat built in Ngamotu Domain overlooking the site of Otaka Pā and Ngamotu Beach. Unfortunately the pathway and site of the seat is currently overgrown and out of repair. The plaque reads ‘Presented by Mr and Mrs W. Honeyfield Moturoa 9th December 1925’. In its day though it would have been a remarkable place to sit.
Uncle Jacky married Alice Matilda Hoskin on June 26, 1876 and they had four children:
- Newton Leslie
- Nora Mary, born 1879, died 09.08.1957
- Archibald Charles
- Ruth, born 1882
Unfortunately, Alice died on July 6, 1889. William married Sarah Sophia Morris on July 21, 1892.
Uncle Jacky passed away at the age of 77 on March 9, 1933 and is buried at Te Henui Cemetery.
From: “N.Z Obituaries” Vol.19, page 1029
Obituary first published in the “Auckland Star” on Sat 6.5.1933
“Mr John Honeyfield
The death has occurred of Mr John Honeyfield (N.P.) at the age of 78 years.
The late Mr Honeyfield was the second son of Mr and Mrs William Honeyfield, his mother being a daughter of Richard Barrett, pioneer trader, whaler and native agent.
Mr Honeyfield was born at the home of the Barrett’s at Moturoa on the banks of the little Hongihongi lagoon, and was educated at M Schofields private school. His father died when he was quite young and he was then given home with his uncle, Mr James Honeyfield, who married a sister of his mother, at Tataraimaka. Here he was thoroughly trained in methods of farming and stock raising, which occupations he followed for the greater part of his life. He was a successful farmer and retired some years ago to live at Moturoa near his birthplace. More recently he moved to Westown on account of his wife’s health. He came from good English yeoman stock on his father’s side and on his mother’s through his grandfather, was closely connected with the foundation of European settlement, not only in Taranaki but around the margin of Cook Strait.
For many years he was valued and respected member of the Taranaki Agricultural Society in which he took a keen interest. One of his hobbies in later life was the clearing, planting and fencing of the original burial ground of the whalers, first European settlers and Maoris at Wahitapu, overlooking the sea at the bottom of Bayly Road on the northern side, just below the Blenheim oil bore. His grandparents and many relatives on his mother’s side were buried here. He worked on this place almost single handed for a long time and it was entirely a labour of love.
A very old friend of over 70 years standing said that he was always regarded as a honourable man, whose word was always his bond and who had lived a clean life.”
From “Cyclopaedia of Taranaki”
Farmer, “Moturoa farm”, New Plymouth
Mr Honeyfield’s present property contains 100 acres and the situation of the homestead is a charming one commanding a splendid view of the surrounding country. The farm produce is principally supplied to shipping, Mr Honeyfield having held contracts for this for the past 14 years. He was born in New Plymouth in 1856 [actually 8.12.1855] and educated privately.
Mr Honeyfield has shown what perseverance and energy properly directed can do and may be justly regarded as a type of the successful colonist. He has taken considerable interest in public matters and is a member of most of the local societies.”