Friday, September 3, 2010

Deserving people in our history

Two come to my mind immediately.

Homman Falk aka Peter Tapsell, born 1777, Died August 9th 1873. This remarkable man who came to New Zealand pre-treaty and lived as a trader among the Maori, adapted himself to his conditions without losing sight of his own value system. Time and time again he demonstrated that he could live in both worlds.

Reading about his life in a book written by a descendant, his luck in surviving ordeals didn't extend to commercial success and he had to rely on his children in his old age. Some of his poverty was caused by using his money and goods to buy the lives of other people in danger of being killed.

When he heard that the Duke of Edinburgh was coming to New Zealand he walked from Whakatane to Maketu, forty miles along the coast at aged 90yrs. The Duke had changed his travel plans and Peter walked in vain. I often think of this feat when I'm in danger of feeling sorry for myself.

Edward Costley in Paperspast (There are quite a few articles, I've picked one of them, Edward made his money in Real Estate and lived humbly as a boarder.).

Some of the public institutions and charities have had a lucky windfall though the death of Mr Edward Costley, who died on Wednesday morning, leaving upwards of £100,000 to be divided among the Auckland Hospital, Old Men's Home.Parnell Orphan Home, Auckland Institute, Auckland Free Public Library, Sailors Home, and the Training School at Kohimarama. 

The deceased gentleman showed excellent judgment in the choice of institutions to be benefited by his magnifieient bequests, as they are all well worthy of support. Considering his great wealth, it is almost surprising that so few people knew Mr Costley, even by sight. The old identities were quite familiar with his personal appearance, but few of those who have arrived in Auckland of late years knew that the old man with his bent figure, who was seen occasionally in Queen Street or in the Bank of New Zealand, was a man worth upwards of £l00,000. Certainly no one would have guessed the fact from his appearance, as he wore an old suit not much better than that of the notorious 'scraps,' who has been twice incarcerated in Mount Eden Gaol for vagrancy. 

Though penurious in his habits, Mr Costley was honourable in his dealings. When the block of buildings in Queen-street, below the Savings Bank was burned down about two years ago he was among those whose properties were destroyed, Mr Cole, the basket-maker, having been his tenant. After the fire Mr Cole waited on him, and asked him for a new lease. He agreed to give it to him, specifying the rent, but giving no written agreement. After he had done so, another applicant for the lease waited on him, and offered him, a very much larger rental than Mr Cole was to give, pointing out that as he had given no written agreement he was not legally bound. Mr Costley promptly ordered the man to leave his presence, saying that his word was as good as his bond, and instructed his solicitors to prepare Mr Coles lease in the terms of his rental agreement. 

It is very satisfactory that he has made so good a disposal of his wealth, and my only regret is that he did not see his way to consider me a deserving public institution, and put me down for a share of his £100,000.

No comments:

Post a Comment