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Edith Sutton was born on the 3 December 1861 at Kekerengu in the South Island, the eldest daughter of William and Emma Vine nee James. She spent her early childhood at Awatere, Wairau and Blenheim in the Marlborough area.


The family moved to Waihi, Normanby in the early 1870's and about 1880 moved to Manaia where William built one of the first homes in the town. Edith married William Sutton at Manaia on the 28 November 1881.


William Sutton built the first hotel at Otakeho, and this the couple ran as a stopping place for coaches and an accomodation house until they sold it in 1884. The couple then moved to Ratanui with their two children, and here bought a bush property to farm and clear. Ratanui is now called Auroa, and was covered in heavy bush. Native pigeons were readily available for food and used to shoot them for Sunday dinner. Supplies were obtained by travelling through the bush on horseback to Otakeho, four miles to the south where the nearest store was.


The first school at Ratanui was opened in 1891, and Edith's older children were first day pupils. During April 1893, William disappeared in the bush and after weeks of searching, no trace was found. In the Hawera and Normanby Star an advertisement appeared offering a reward of 10 for knowledge of him, dead or alive. Edith and her family continued to live at Ratanui, still not knowing if she was widowed or not, until two years later when her husbands remains were found a short distance from the village.


Edith remarried on the 22 December 1896 at Ratanui to James Sinclair Rae, but this was only a short marriage as she died on the 28 February 1897 at her home. She is buried with William at the Manaia cemetery.



Jo Horgan, Hawera (granddaughter)