First Store in Rangiora




MR. HENRY BLACKETT was born in Durham, England, in 1820, and s the youngest son of the late Mr. Cuthbert Blackett, worsted and carpet manufacturer of that city. Mr. Blackett was educated chiefly at Durham Grammar School. His first experience in business was with Mr. Ferens, woollen-draper, of Durham, with whom he served five years, after which he spent one year in Leeds, and another year in Manchester in the woollen trade. He then went to London, and for four years was employed by Messrs. C. Meakin and Co., as traveller and buyer for one of their departments. Then he started as a general draper in business in his native city, where he remained eight years. In 1858 he left for New Zealand in search of health, and opened a general store in Rangiora. Mr. Blackett is one of the oldest residents in Rangiora, being among the first to settle in the district. He was on the road board for about fourteen years, and several times elected chairman. It was mainly through his efforts that a drainage board was established for the purpose of reclaiming the Rangiora swamp, and of this he was chairman for seven years, until the work was completed, when he resigned. He was also first chairman of the Rangiora School Committee. The borough of Rangiora was proclaimed in 1878, mainly through Mr. Blackett’s efforts, and he had the honour of being elected the first mayor. He has been mayor five times, but has now retired from business and active life. For many years he was the chairman of the Domain Board, and member of the High School Board. He has been connected with nearly every public body in the district. Mr. Blackett was married in 1850 to a daughter of Mr. Andrew Benton, of Brinkburn, Northumberland, England, and has nine children.