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Mary Ann Newman was born about 1845 in Cambridgeshire, England, the daughter of William Newman.She married William Towers, and later came to New Zealand on the Hurunui in 1861* with her husband and young children.

On arrival, all the family possessed was 7s 6d, which they spent on fruit for the children. They first settled at Jerusalem, on the Wanganui River, and on the first night there, put the children to sleep, while they built a shelter of pongas as a covering for them all.Later Mary Ann opened a maternity home in Wanganui.

Around 1878, the couple settled at Normanby, making the journey by coach.Mary Ann started the first nursing home in the district, which she carried on for a number of years.This is thought to be the house at 425 Waihi Road, Normanby which was originally on the other side of the railway lines.

William Towers died in 1908, and in 1925 Mary Ann married Charles William Young who was known as "no nose" as he had had his nose bitten off as a child.

Mary Ann Young died on the 28 March 1936 at Normanby and is buried at the Waihi cemetery.


Interview "Hawera Star" 8 Aug 1935

Obituary "Hawera Star" 1 April 1936

*  The Hurunui sailed from London on the 22 November 1875 arriving in Wellington on the 23 February 1876.  On board were

William TOWERS 33, Mary Ann TOWERS 31, Children - Elizabeth A 7, William N 5, Eliza J 2, Joseph 6mths (Janice Morris)

"Although all the immigrants were for Taranaki, through the vessel going to Wellington, only a portion were forwarded here (to New Plymouth)" - See Arrival of the Hurunui Immigrants - Taranaki Herald Volume XXIV Issue 2391 8 March 1876 Page 6.