John Joseph (Jack) HOPKIRK & Celia Mary FORD

John Joseph (Jack) HOPKIRK was the sixth child of William HOPKIRK & Mary DANIEL

John Joseph (Jack) HOPKIRK was born 4 August 1898 in Wellington, New Zealand.

After World War I, Jack and his older brother Jim bought a section of land in Makahu, Taranaki district, along Upper Mangaehu Road, near Murcott Road.

Go to the Hopkirk Family Farm page to see how the holdings grew over the years and generations, to what it has become today. This includes details of all the sections and families who have lived there over the years, along with images dating back to 1921.

A story from Hopkirk family history says Jack was trying to clear the field across the river of stumps, and had dug all the way around a stubborn stump, but it would not budge. So he hooked up a team of horses to the stump, but it still would not move. So in desperation he decided to use a dynamite type substance to dislodge the stump. While he was working on his latest method to clear the stump, brother Jim's wife Lillian, known as "Barb", was pushing a stroller along the road with their newborn child, over 100 metres away. Jack's latest method to dislodge the stump was more than succesful. A large chunk of the stump landed a few metres from the stroller. Jim and Barb left the farm shortly after this incident. It is not known if this incident was the main reason they left, or just the last straw for his wife, or just a co-incidence that they left shortly after Jack's explosion. The real reason Jim and Barb left probably was due to Jim's ill health from the effects of being gassed during World War I.

On 19 May 1925 Jack married Celia Mary FORD, Celia was the first birth of  European descendant in the Makahu district, on 30 September 1898. View their marriage certificate here. Listed as witnesses on the marriage were Vivian A. HOPKIRK(Jack's younger brother), a farmer in Makahu, and Mary FORD(probably Celia Mary FORD's sister) a domestic duties worker in Makahu.

Go here to see Celia's birth certificate, she was born at home in "Strathmore", which is the nearest town, about 5 miles from Makahu. Her father was Martin FORD, a farmer, age 43, born in Galway, Ireland. Her mother was Katherine Ford, formerly Hughes, age 31, born in Invercargill, New Zealand.

The Ford family was Catholic and Jack was raised Presbyrterian. Like many other Hopkirk families, the children were raised in the mother's faith. In there early years in Makahu Jack would drive the family to town on Sunday's to attend church, but Jack would wait in the car. Once their eldest son John was old enough to drive, Jack stayed home.

There is a small river that runs through this property, and between the road and the river, the original family homestead was built, around 1925?  There are a few remnants of the fireplace remaining on the property. The location of the old homestead was recently sold and is no longer in the family, but much of the surrounding land is still owned by Hopkirk and Ford descendants.

Jack and Celia's third son bought a farm neighboring the original Hopkirk farm owned by Jack and Celia, and over the years purchased further blocks to build up his farm. In due course their second son took over the original farm and built a house next door to his parents, Jack and Celia. Jack and Celia's youngest son, Eb, lived with them until they died, and worked for his two older brothers. Eb eventually moved into a house down the road, and the second son took down the original family homestead as it had fallen into disrepair, leaving just the old chimney. Jack & Celia's second son eventually decided to retire and sold the original farm land to the third son, but remained in his home in Makahu. The land purchased by the second son has now passed into the hands of the second son's son. For a brief period of time, along one stretch of Upper Mangaehu Road from Makahu School to Murcott Road there were four consecutive Hopkirk homes, Eb, then 2nd son, then grandson, then third son at Murcott Road. Now Jack and Celia's grandson is the only Hopkirk left along the road. 

Jack and Celia had 5 children, 3 of whom are still living.

     John William HOPKIRK, born 26 July 1926 in Makahu.

     James Martin (Jim) HOPKIRK, born 24 June 1929 in Makahu.

     a son still living

     a daughter still living

     Edward Joseph (Eb) HOPKIRK, born 16 July 1941

Celia passed away on 31 August 1982 at Stratford, New Zealand. Jack passed away on 6 August 1987 at Makahu, New Zealand. See pictures of Jack and Celia at the bottom of this page.

To get to Makahu, you leave Stratford, heading east, along Highway 43, the World's Forgotten Highway. Eventually you arrive in Strathmore,  and Brewer Road. After travelling about 3 1/2 miles along Brewer Road you come to the famous Makahu Tunnel.  Here is a youtube video taken along highway 43. At the the 1:30 minute point of the video the travellers start going through the Makahu tunnel. Then they turn around and go back through in the opposite direction. Behind the two vehicles along the side of the road as the travellers re-enter the tunnel is the Makahu Tunnel Sign Board. The sign board is not shown in the video. Eventually you arrive in Makahu. The southwestern portion of the Ford's original homestead is only steps away from this sign, as is the Makahu School.
View a Makahu District Map, thanks to Don Hopkirk. From the map you can see the location of the famous Makahu Tunnel, the main access point to the Makahu District.  Also on the District Map you can see the location of the Makahu School, in almost the middle of the image. There is a line pointing to Martin Ford's property, located next to parcel #6. He purchased it in 1895. This was obviously 12 years before the tunnel was built. They took the train to the nearest point, then Martin Ford, his wife Celia, and their 3 small children somehow mangaged to walk in to the Makahu District over the mountain. Eventually Jack and his brother Jim bought the area around parcel #23. Jack's children would eventually own all the shaded areas, parcels 2, 4, 6, 16, 13, 23, 14, 11, 15 and 12.

Click on these links to see scenes from the farms in 1982 through 1986 (Thanks Mike and Shonagh Hopkirk). Jack at old woolshed 1982.   .. Jack and Jim docking, 1982(Jim, white hat, Eb, black hat, Jack, Don hidden)     Jim and Don with sheep 1982      Jim helping child ride cow, 1982       Jim tending garden in 1986      Molly in Garden in 1986

Below see photos of Jack and Celia, and their obituaries.

John Joseph (Jack) Hopkirk

Celia Mary FORD Hopkirk

(Our thanks goes to Mary Hopkirk Atkinson for supplying the two above photos of her parents.)

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This page was last updated on 15 April 2015