- Born: 18 Mar 1824, Hillingdon, Middlesex, England
- Marriage: Mary Ann VANT on 2 Apr 1849 in Wakefield, Nelson, New Zealand
- Died: 2 Nov 1905, Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand at age 81
- Buried: 4 Nov 1905, Wakapuaka Cemetery, Nelson, New Zealand
From a Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
James Newport (1824 - 1905)
Original owner of Brook Street and Dun Mountain runs
James Newport was born on 18 March 1824 in Middlesex, England, the eldest child of Samuel and Ann Newport. His father was a farm bailiff on the royal Estates at Windsor, before emigrating to New Zealand on the Sir Charles Forbes. Two of Samuel Newport's brother and their families were also on the ship, which reached Nelson on 23 August 1842. James Newport was commissioned by Robert Levien to erect a prefabricated house brought out as deck cargo on the Sir Charles Forbes, on the latter's land and to farm the property until he also emigrated. Known as Wisteria Cottage, it became the home of James Newport and Mary Ann Vant, whom he married in 1849. Newport took over the property and farmed it, along with a tract of land on the Dun Mountain. James and Mary Ann Newport were to have seven children, Ann (born 1850), George (born 1852), William (born 1853), Christianna (born 1855), Susanna (born 1858), Joseph Stephen (born 1860) and James Wilsden (born 1863).
James Newport was a founding member of Oddfellows Lodge in 1842, and in 1861 was associated with the formation of the Robin Hood Court of Forresters. He was noted for his hospitality and charitable work, giving shelter and food to pioneers while their first homes were under construction, and supplying free meat and vegetables. In 1872 he began Nelson's first farm-slaughtered meat delivery service. His slaughterhouse was on Tantragee Farm in Brook Street. Newport eventually owned a considerable area of land in the Brook Valley, as well as leasing the Maitai Run for a period. In 1873 he extended his Brook Valley holding by purchasing the Dun Mountain copper Mining Company's land. Newport also financially backed the search for copper and chromite in the mineral belt following his purchase.
A member of the Acclimatisation Committee, he took a keen interest in the introduction of exotic breeds of game animals, birds and fish, which were released in the Maitai while he leased part of the run in the late nineteenth century. He was made an honorary ranger, with power to lay charges against trespassers or poachers of game on his land. An annual payment was made to him by the Acclimatisation Society for its members to fish in the Maitai River and to shoot deer, pheasant and quail on the Maitai run. He also owned 1550 ha in Korere Valley on which he grazed mainly merinos.
James Newport died in Nelson on 2 November 1905, in his 82nd year and his Mary Ann died on 9 July 1915, in her 86th year.
James married Mary Ann VANT, daughter of Joseph VANT and Susannah CLEMENTS, on 2 Apr 1849 in Wakefield, Nelson, New Zealand. (Mary Ann VANT was born in 1829 in Sellinge By Hythe, Kent, England, christened on 8 Aug 1829 in Sellinge By Hythe, Kent, England, died on 8 Jul 1915 in Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand and was buried on 9 Jul 1915 in Wakapuaka Cemetery, Nelson, New Zealand.)