Laycock Bible

March 26, 2024

The Laycock bible is a significant artifact: a red-brown leather-bound 'Browns' Holy Bible and a cherished heirloom of the Dore/Laycock family, who settled and left a mark on the town of Tairua. The pages of the bible include hand-written notes tracing the lineage of some of the Laycock family. An inscription marks its gifting from mother to daughter Doris in 1909. A births page includes Doris’s son’s name and birthdate, and that of his three daughters, and also notes the death of Ruby’s mother Lillian Dore on November 20th, 1918, at the age of 33 (of influenza during the first great pandemic of the 20th century).The Holy Bible outlines just one line of descendants of Henry Laycock who became a well-known settler in Tairua from 1863. Born in Nottingham, England he embarked on a journey to Aotearoa New Zealand in pursuit of opportunity.

Henry gained work at the Tairua Saw Mill Company which opened in 1864. With his wife he set up house on Paku. They had 14 children, 10 of whom were born in Tairua. In 1875 Henry purchased the Pepe block of 212 acres from the Tairua Mill’s former manager. Henry’s brother, George, arrived in the country the year after Henry and in 1874 their mother, Mary Ann Smith, came staying with Henry’s family in Tairua until her death in 1896.

Today the Laycock family name remains well known in the town. Te Kutakuta Reserve once owned by Miriama Pehi Pukukauri and ‘others’, was onsold to Eliza Laycock in 1886. Nearby Laycock Road is named after the family. Laycock’s Hotel burnt down in 1898 and was later rebuilt on the present site of Prescott’s Garage, Hikuai. The well-known but now demolished Sir George Grey hotel was also built by the family.

View selected images from the bible here.

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