Search billions of records on



Isabella Livingston was born in 1832 at Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, a daughter of John and Janet Livingston nee Kelly.  Isabella and her brother James arrived in Auckland on the British Queen on the 30 August 1859.


Isabella married John Home at Napier, and about 1868, the couple with their young son James, left for California to look for gold.  They returned to New Zealand soon after the birth of their second son George, born in San Francisco in 1870 and during disembarkation at Auckland, John accidentally stepped off the end of the wharf and was drowned.  As a result of this accident a lamp was placed on the spot.


Isabella then appears to have opened a private school at Waverley which she ran for two years before becoming the first teacher of the Waverley Primary School when it opened in 1873.  About this time, her brother James and his wife Louisa and family came to Hawera to live, and by June 1879, Isabella and her two boys were living at James' "Waipapa" home on the South Road at Tokaora, along with their mother.


They were there during the ploughing of the lawn by Maori protesting the surveying of the Waimate Plains.  Isabella's son, George (who later became Dr.Home of New Plymouth) recalled "The Maoris arrived in their carts about 10 am.  The men unloaded the plough while the women busied themselves lighting a fire and preparing lunch".  Isabella saw an emergency developing and sent nine year old George off to get his uncle James from the neighbouring Lucena's woolshed about half a mile away.  He set off as fast as he could, and met his uncle hurrying home as he was alarmed to see smoke coming from the front of the house.  The Maori were busy ploughing when they arrived.  James remonstrated with them, but it was not until enough settlers had gathered that they were able to escort the trespassers across the Waingongoro River. 


The women and children moved into Hawera for safety for the next few weeks.  "Waipapa" was barricaded and garrisoned with local settlers until the redoubt was built behind the present Tokaora Hall.  This was the state of affairs which the Wanganui Weekly Herald facetiously called "The Hawera Republic" and the name stuck; the garrison at "Waipapa" even ceremoniously hoisted a burlesque flag at reveille and lowered it at sunset, but it certainly was not anything resembling a republic.


Isabella and the children remained at "Waipapa" probably till her brother James remarried in 1901.  She then lived with her elder son James at Otahuhu, Auckland and died there on the 28 November 1910 aged 78 years. She is buried at Hawera cemetery.



Livingston Baker (Great nephew)