Gibbs clan honoured at library

Historic family links between the Whangaroa area and high-profile international businessman Alan Gibbs are to be formally recognised in a kauri plaque to be mounted at the Kaeo Library.

The plaque recognises Gibbs' great-great-grandfather William Spikeman, who was Kaeo's first postmaster and served the community for 17 years from 1857.

The Spikeman family (sometimes recorded as Spickman) had even earlier associations with the Far North when William served as a herdsman with the Church Missionary Society at Kerikeri and Waimate North.

He later travelled north to Kaeo with a member of the stonemason team which constructed New Zealand's first commercial stone building, the historic Stone Store at Kerikeri.

He is thought to be the first lumberman of European descent to ply his trade in the Whangaroa area. The family home he originally constructed in Kaeo's Dip Rd still exists.

The Gibbs family has donated six copies of books depicting its associations with Whangaroa to the Kaeo Library. The books include an insight into the life of Alan Gibbs entitled Serious Fun, the story of Alan's father, TN Gibbs, and a third canvassing the history of the Spikeman, Nisbet, Lane and Gibbs families in the 19th century.

All four families had early European connections with the Whangaroa area.

In more recent times, Alan Gibbs has gained international attention with his development of the Aquada amphibious vehicle and a vast sculpture park at his Kaipara farm.

- Northern Advocate

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