Monday, June 15, 2009

Ellen "Nellie" (Bee) Bee And George "Shardy" Bee

Taken From The Bee Family Reunion Book 1986

Chapter Eleven

Ellen "Nellie" (Bee) Bee
And George "Shardy" Bee

Ellen "Nellie" Bee married her cousin (son of Francis and Anne Bee) George "Shardy" Bee. They were married at Havelock North in St Luke’s church.

Before their marriage Shardy helped his father farm at Waimarama, then at Mohaka, Springhill and Maungahararu when the family shifted north.

After their marriage in 1874, Nellie and Shardy rode by horseback to Mohaka. Francis and Anne shifted to Gisborne where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Ten of their eleven children were born at Mohaka. Kate, Bessie, Laura, Fanny, George and Nell attended school at Mohaka. Also their cousins Daisy, Phoebe. Jack and Frank Ross — between 1880 and 1890. Molly Bourke attended between 1902 — 1912. The Bees were living at Whakapouri, near Raupunga, most of the time and the children had to be rowed across the Mohaka River in a boat and then walk four miles across the hills to get to the school. (No school buses in those days!) Wool was shipped from the Mohaka beach to Napier. There was a small wharf on the river bank and coastal boats of the Mohaka and Wairoa Shipping Company used to cross the bar and sail up the river. Later wool was to be shipped from "Kakariki" Station. Surf boats were used to take the bales of wool out to the Richardson Shipping Company's ships which were anchored out off the beach. The wool was conveyed by wagon from "Kakariki". Fishing was combined with the shipping of the wool and everyone had quite a picnic, sleeping on the wool bales at Mclvors wool shed. (Kakariki was bought from the Balfours).

Shardy and Nellie finally sold up their properties at Mohaka and Maungahararu and shifted to Pakowhai to take up farming there. The property was called "Oakleigh" and the old shearing quarters are still standing.

The family left Mohaka for Napier in one of Richardson's coastal ships and the children were most excited when they entered the Iron Pot at Napier and saw all the small boats and activity. This was the first time they had been away from home. They spotted the coastal boat "Fanny" and this pleased them very much as one of their daughters was named Fanny.

The family withstood the biggest flood on record in Hawke's Bay (1897) but were almost ruined as they lost all their stock. Fences were silted out of sight. They took shelter in the loft of a shed. Shardy took his horse at one point during the flood to try and shift some stock and the family were dismayed when his horse returned without him. They thought he must have been drowned but he arrived safely back later.

The family left "Oakleigh" (Eskdale) after the flood and moved to "Fairfield" near Onga Onga. They also farmed at Bay View and Eskdale. Several of the children including Chris, Mary, Elizabeth "Liz" and Nell attended the Eskdale School.

Shardy was also farming 'Orua Downs' (near Palmerston North) and owned a Flax mill with his cousin Frank Bee near Foxton. He also had a farm in the King Country and was part-owner of Sutherland and Bee sawmill, which was in the King Country.

Shardy helped many people by guaranteeing their accounts and helping in many other ways. He was known for his generosity and willingness to help others.

He visited the Chatham Islands, the Pacific Islands and Australia. We do not know whether Nellie accompanied him.

Shardy was the member for Meeanee Riding on the Hawke's Bay County Council and also a member of the Hawke's Bay Hospital Board.

Nelly and Shardy lived in Hastings (Davis Road) when they retired — Nellie was in ill health.

One day Shardy went to an auction sale and on the spur of the moment he bought a Napier car and had to find someone to drive it home for him as he couldn't drive himself.

Nellie died in Hastings and Shardy spent his last few years at the new homestead at "Kotemaori". He died in 1922 and is buried in the Hastings cemetery next to Nellie.

(There was no school at Pakowhai when the Bees moved there. The first school was held in a loft on "Oakleigh" until Shardy gave land for a new school which was built by his father-in-law George Bee. "Hori" (George, Arthur, Nell, Liz, Bessie and Fanny attended school here. Miss Alice Balfour was the teacher and lived at the back of the school with her sister.)

George Bee
Greenmeadows (Hawke's Bay)

The stories of their eleven children are recorded on the following pages.

Anne Mary "Tickle" (Bee) Pirani was called after both of her grandmothers. She was always known as "Tickie". She was the eldest of Shardy and Nellie's family and was born and went to school at Mohaka.

She married Arthur Pirani and they lived for some time at Takaka in the province of Nelson, where Arthur was Postmaster. They later moved back to Napier where Arthur became Postmaster at Ahuriri. When he retired they lived in Wellesley Road, Napier.

They had the following children — Harold `Koi', Marjorie (Chrystall), Betty (Cox), Maude (Bourke), Elsie (Marrett), and Rita (Price).

Koi served in the Middle East, Greece and Crete during World War Two. He was taken prisoner and spent some time in a prisoner of war camp.

Laura (Bee) Gemmell was the second child was also born at Mohaka and went to school there. She married Jack Gemmell who was the manager of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile stock and station firm in Wairoa. They lived most of their lives in Apatu Street, Wairoa.

They had four children — Jack, Maurice, Molly and Arthur. Jack worked for the Bank of New Zealand finally being manager of the Wairoa branch. He married Miss Osier and had four sons and one daughter — John, Bruce, Angus, Ian and Laura. Maurice served in the Middle East, Greece and Crete during World War Two. He was taken prisoner-of war and the Germans found him a hard person to keep imprisoned. Maurice escaped three times and was recaptured each time. For some time he lived with the Italians in the hills. The first time he escaped his cousin Koi Pirani was with him. Arthur, although very young at the start of the war, also served in the army and reached the Middle East with the last reinforcements.

Kate (Bee) McKenzie was born at Mohaka. She was the third child of Nellie and Shardy. Very little is known of her — apparently she had no sense of humour, which is unusual for a Bee. For some time she kept house for Arthur and Hori at "Putorino" Station. She married Mr McKenzie and they farmed in the King Country. There were no children.

Bessie Georgina (Bee) 1 Murty 2 Kennedy was also born at Mohaka and went to school there. She helped her sisters to keep house at "Putorino". Bessie married Harry Murty, who worked on "Putorino". They had one daughter Nellie, who was born shortly before Harry died.

Bessie later married again — William Kennedy. They had one daughter, Margaret (Wilson). Bessie and Bill took up a 1,000 acre farm adjoining "Kakariki" and were assisted by Shardy. The farm was registered in Bessie's name, during the 1929 depression they had to abandon the farm, "Kaituna".

Bessie and her daughter had a cake shop in Gisborne. They gave this up to come and help Hori at "Kotemaori" when his wife died in 1930. Bessie lived in Wairoa for some time until her death there. Her daughter Margaret Wilson still lives in the same house on the Marine Parade. Daughter Nellie went to the Putorino School and Kotemaori School, where she was a first day pupil. Margaret also attended the Kotemaori School and later Raupunga and Wairoa District High School.

Nellie married Bill Beachan and had three children — Pauline, William "Buddy", and Betsy.

Margaret married Percy Wilson and had five children — Barry, Beverley, Christopher, Dawn and Jennifer.

Extract from "Glenfarg" by George Thomson
"On the north side of Glenfarg lay Kaituna, or "The Thousand acres", which was usually run in with Kakariki. The neighbours there changed from the Ryders at Kakariki homestead, down by the Mohaka, to the McMillan sons at Kaituna, to the Bees, and then the government.

The most notable of these were the Bees, who had previously had the lease in the 1880's. After George Bee took over Kakariki in 1916, his daughter Bessie bought the lease of Kaituna, and tried farming it herself. Her husband, Harry Murty, had died in 1915, and she had a young daughter, Nell. The Murty's soon moved over to live with her family at the new Kotemaori homestead on Kakariki, but about 1921 she married Bill Kennedy, and they moved back to Kaituna. Another daughter, Margaret, was born in 1932.

The Kennedy's were one of Glenfarg's closest neighbours from 1922 until 1928. It was an easy walk down the five kilometres to their house by Kiwi creek, In 1928 Bill went to work for the Public Works Department and in 1929 the left for Gisborne. When they returned to the area in 1930, they lived at Kotemaori.

Kakariki, at over 18,000 acres, stretched from Kaituna and the Anoura stream to the Mohaka river. The Bees were a large and cheerful family, and their new homestead was less than an hour's ride from Glenfarg, down in the valley. The sons, Hori and Chris and daughters Bess and Nell, lived at Kotemaori, with George Snr. until his death in 1921. Chris moved to the old Kakariki homestead after his marriage to Mary Stainton in 1923. Hon and his wife Olive Puflett stayed at Kotemaori, and Nell married a McRae of Frasertown (Frasertown might be wrong).

The Haliburton family, including Marion, sometimes visited the Bees, and the twins would occasionally get a ride in old Mr Bee's gig.

"When we were going to school at Putorino, we had to walk through the Waikare gorge, because our parents though it was much too dangerous for us to ride through. Many a time old George Bee would link -up with us, driving his horse and gig up to Kotemaori, the new place he had taken over. So we were only too glad to hop up beside him, and listen to his stories as we went along very comfortably in his gig. Stories about the farms he'd had, and how rough the new farm at Kotemaori was. It was a wilderness when they took it up.

The tougher things were, the more cherry and bright they would be. They always had a joke, and were great on practical jokes amongst themselves."

Chris Bee was a locally renowned shot, taking pheasants from the hip as he rode. He and Hori could be recognised miles away by their relaxed, jaunty way of riding, Mrs Olive Bee died in 1930, and soon afterwards Kakariki was sold to the government.

Frances "Fanny" (Bee) Balfour married Thomas Balfour, a farm worker of "Fairfield", Onga Onga. Their two sons George and James (Jim) and a daughter Joan were born before they moved to a leased farm at Takapau in 1920. Their fourth child Mary was born there.

In 1931 Thomas died of pneumonia so Fanny moved her family to a farm at Wilder Settlement, Porangahau, which still remains within the family today. Frances ran the farm aided by sons George and Jim. George married Peggy Hall in 1937 and bought the farm next door

Frances lived the rest of her life on the farm with Mary and Jim and died in 1963. Mary and Jim remain in the old family home and have devoted their lives to their family and maintained a consuming interest in horses and all things equestrian. Mary also has a special interest in Red Cross.

George and Peggy have lived their married life on their farm and have three children — Jennifer (Reynolds), Anthony, and Michael. Joan married Alick McKenzie and had four children — Robin, Annette (Hagan), Lynaire (Spilman) and Susan (Buchanan).

Francis George "Hori" Bee was the eldest son of Nellie and Shardy. He was named after both his grandfathers and was always known as Hori. He went to school at both Pakowhai (known as Papakura in those days) and Mohaka.

Hori helped his father farm at Pakowhai, Mohaka, Longburn, Petane and in the King Country.

He married Olive Ethel Puflett in 1913, the youngest of a family of nine from Napier. They had two sons — George Dixon born 1917 and Maclntyre (Mack) born 1919.

Olive died of pneumonia at the age of 34. She is buried at the Eskdale cemetery in the Puflett family grave. She was always a very athletic person and represented Hawke's Bay in hockey.

Hori died at the age of 96 years at Waipukurau and is also buried at Eskdale.

Hori and Arthur took over the farming from their father Shardy, and farmed "Putorino" and "Kakariki" stations. "Putorino" was sold to the government during the First World War and later cut up into Returned Servicemen's farms. Hori and Arthur did well out of "Putorino" but "Kakariki" was an uphill struggle what with rabbits, scrub and the depression.

The new main road was also put through the property and had to be fenced on both sides. Arthur was killed during the war (WWI) and his share was left to the rest of the family. Chris also helped at "Putorino" and "Kakariki". The station "Kakariki" was finally sold to the government in 1930 and cut up for Returned Servicemen's farms. Bee and Bee finished up by just managing to pay off their debts.

Hori, Arthur and Chris were all good gun shots and took part in shoots at the Putorino Clay Bird Club and at other competitions in Hawke's Bay.

George and Mack lived with their parents at the old "Kakariki" homestead up the main road at Kotemaori. The new homestead was built to be the home of Arthur Bee when he returned from the war.

George and Mack both attended Kotemaori School which was built for the railway construction workers' children. They were both keen on sport, especially rugby. Mack was a member of the Napier Boys High School 1st XV in 1937.

Mack was a Pilot Officer in the RNZAF during the war and was killed in a plane crash at Whenuapai Air Base.

George served in the Engineers with the 2nd NZEF in the Middle East and Italy. On return to New Zealand he joined the Ministry of Works at Wairoa and later the Railways at Napier where he was Senior Engineer Assistant on the Wellington District Engineer's staff.

George married Miriam Howell of Wairoa and they had two children — Lesley and Allison.
Lesley (Dalton) trained as a nurse at Cornwall Hospital, Auckland. She met Ray there and they were married in Sydney. They have one son Nicholas George.

Allison (Bennett) met Jack while working on a neighbouring cattle station in Queensland. They live on Jack's station "Glen Robin" and have two sons George and Lindsay,

Ellen "Nell" Bee 1 McRae 2 McKenzie was born in Mohaka and was the seventh child of Nellie and Shardy. She too went to Mohaka and Eskdale schools.

Wairoa Christmas 1942. George "Hori" Bee, Mrs Beechen, Bess (Bee) Kennedy, Nellie (Murty) Beechen, Margaret (Kennedy) Wilson, MacIntyre 'Mack" Bee, Percy Wilson, Bill Kennedy.

Nell married Sandy McRae, a farm manager at Rere. They had two children Ian and Janet. Ian married Meta Wilson and is farming at Tutira. Like his father he is a keen dog trial man.

Janet married and lived in Dunedin. She died shortly after her marriage.

Sandy McRae was killed in an accident and Nell later settled in Wairoa where she met Donald McKenzie, a farmer from Clyde Bank, Wairoa, and they were married.

Nell died in Wairoa and is buried at the Patutahi cemetery, Gisborne.

Arthur Bee was the seventh child of Nellie and Shardy. He too was born at Mohaka and went to school at Eskdale. He did not marry. He was killed during the war in France, 28th December, 1917.

He and his brother-in-law Mick Bignell (husband of Mary), were in the same company and were on the same Lewis machine gun crew when Arthur was killed.

He was a very athletic person and a good rifle and shotgun shot, being a member of the Putorino Gun Club with his brothers Chris and Hori.

"He was a partner of Bee & Bee, the owners of "Putorino" and "Kakariki". George (Shardy) had received a shock when he had visited his solicitors and discussed Arthur's will it seemed that Arthur had left his share in the properties to his eight sisters which was only what George would have expected him to do. However, under these circumstances, a fair sum of death duties would be payable the solicitor had told him. When George had been confronted with the actual figure of ten thousand pounds he had been thunderstruck. According to the Government his son Arthur had been a part owner of a large property. The value of this property had increased greatly and was much higher. The death duties were accordingly based on that valuation."

From ''Smoke Across the Bay". Margaret Wilson.

This was the last of many blows from which the family really never recovered.

Elizabeth "Liz" (Bee) Fookes was the ninth child of Nellie and Shardy. She attended both Pakowhai (Papakura) and Eskdale schools.

She was a very cheerful person and always ready for a joke. She married Ted Fookes, who, with his brother emigrated from England. Their father was a clergyman in the Church of England. Ted Fookes used to tell the tale of how he landed at the Port of Napier with five pounds in his pocket and not knowing a soul. He and his brother took up farming in the King Country. Ted served in the New Zealand Forces during the First World War and on his return drew a Returned Serviceman's section which had been part of "Putorino", and was 1000 acres. They called their farm "Piney ridge''. They farmed there until after WW II when they sold out and retired to Wairoa, later shifting to Westshore, Napier.

Ted died in Napier — he is remembered as being a dour sort whose passion was cricket. Liz died in Havelock North and both are buried at Wharerangi Cemetery, Napier.

Mary (Bee) Bignell was born at Mohaka and attended Eskdale School. She married Mick Bignell of Wanganui. They farmed in the outback of North Taranaki at Awakino. Later they shifted to Wangnaui where Mick worked with his father's building and construction company. He later took up a farm at Whangaehu and called it "Fairfield" after the farm at Onga Onga.

They had three children — Peter, Judy and Barbara.

Peter was a fighter pilot during World War Two and was killed over Yugoslavia.

Judy married Jeff Anderson. They farmed at Whangaehu until they retired to Wanganui. They have four children — Robyn (Belton), James, Timothy, and Jennifer (Charleson).

Barbara married Brian Bonnifant. They have four children — Peter, Prudence (Bennett), Jane and Susan.

Mary Bignell suffered for years with arthritis and although it crippled her she was always cheerful. She and Mick both died at Wanganui.

Christopher Curtis Bee was the third son of Nellie and Shardy, and their youngest child. He was born at Pakowhai and attended Eskdale School. Like most of the Bee family he was a farmer and helped his brothers Hon and Arthur farm the "Putorino" and "Kotemaori" stations.

He served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the First World War and was wounded in France. On his return from the war he competed in the North Island Clay Bird Championships and tied for first place.

Chris married Mary Stainton, a nursing sister who had come to nurse Shardy at "Kotemaori". They had three children — John, Molly and Dorothy.

John married Ivy Chitterden and they have three children — Yvonne (Evans), Brian and Nancy.

Dorothy "Bubs" married Barry Sinton and they now live at Whitianga. They have seven children — Warren, Allan, Dianne, Craig, Vonee, Trudy and Anne.

Chris and Mary both died in Napier and are buried at Wharerangi cemetery.


  1. Very interesting documentation of your family history. However, I do have one question? Why are you using my photos in your slideshow?

  2. Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for your message.

    I had the slideshow on the website set up to look for photos on Flickr tagged with "familyhistory" and "ancestry" I thought it would only use the ones from my photostream, but apparently not. I have removed the photo slideshow from the website until I get around to changing the tags to something that will only use my images.

    Sorry about that!


    Chris Pawluk

  3. Anyone with any interesting Bee Family info please contact me
    Clair Francis Bee III

  4. Hi Chris, Kay Williams Nee Trafford, Love the history lesson. It took me back to the earlier days when the Grandparents, and Parents were all alive and we had visits to Kotemaori and Willow Flat. Trafford <Jago, Ross, Bee relations.

    1. No worries Kay. We have a facebook group if you are interested