Foxton's Historical Society is publicly sharing one of its treasures: a "Ko te Kawenata Hou", a New Testament in te reo, printed in London in 1852 by Harrison and Son of St Martin Lane and Orchard St in Westminster, London.
Inside this copy of Te Kawenata Hou is a note saying it was used by Ernest Thynne, when he was a JP, for swearing in witnesses at the Foxton Courthouse.
Ernest Stephen Thynne was born at St George St, London in 1845. He became a civil engineer and in 1865 went to Melbourne for a short time, arriving in New Zealand in July, 1867 and was in Foxton three days later.
He purchased a property several miles from Foxton named Kawaroa and lived there for the rest of his life. On January 13, 1870 he married Ellen, eldest daughter of Captain Francis Robinson.
In 1869 he had been appointed a Justice of the Peace and also elected to represent the district in the Wellington Provincial Council. He served three years but was defeated by Mr Dalrymple at the next election. He contested the seat unsuccessfully on two occasions.
When county councils were established, he was one of nine men representing the seven ridings of the Manawatū Country Council at a meeting on January, 4, 1877 at the tiny courthouse in Palmerston North.
They elected Thynne as their chairman and he agreed to combine the positions of chairman and clerk, and Mr Lidell was treasurer.
When Foxton became a borough in 1888, Thynne was elected as the first mayor but in January 1889 resigned when he bought the Manawatū Herald. He retained his interest in local matters, using his editorial skills to promote his views.
Thynne was also Returning Officer for the Foxton Local Board, president of the Foxton Choral Society, a member of the Foxton Harbour Board and a member of the Licensing Court.
In 1880 he became chairman of the school committee and he remained on this committee until 1898. His other interests included the tennis club, dramatic club and racing club - of which he was president and vice-president over the years.
For many years he was in partnership with J Linton of Palmerston North (Thynne, Linton and Co) as auctioneers with wholesale and bondage stores. They were also agents for the coastal ship Tui and others. Thynne was the local agent for AMP and NZ Loan and Mercantile.
Ernest Thynne died on February 23, 1904 after a long illness, leaving a widow, a daughter and four sons.
His obituary in the Manawatū Herald said he was a "man of exceptional mental and physical vigour, possessed of a stern sense of duty and unswerving rectitude and his great public services, which to him were truly a labour of love, will not soon be forgotten by those for whose welfare he strove".
Sources: Kete Horowhenua, Jim Harper and Tony Hunt