James Paterson Sinclair was born in Scotland about1804. He married Jane Boyd in 1855 when he was 51and came to New Zealand with her and their infant sonJohn in about 1859. In 1860 he was living in FranklinRoad, Ponsonby. His occupation was listed as nurseryand seedsman. In the same year his son James PatersonSinclair junior was born. In 1867 the family was amongstthose listed as having subscribed to the Whau PublicHall fund and also amongst those present at a St Ninian’sChurch function. It seems, therefore, that they wereliving in the Avondale area at the time.Also in 1867 James senior was awarded a Crown grantof land totalling 80 acres about 2 kilometres fromWaitakere township along the road to Bethells Beach.However his primary residence continued to be some-where in Avondale – he is listed in
for the Whau, 1873, as a gardener. On May 15, 1879 hebought the land that now includes all Himikera Avenueproperties together with some on the south side of Powell Street and on the western side of Blockhouse BayRoad. It had a total area of 11 acres 10 perches. Jamesdied in Avondale in 1882, aged about 78 and was buriedat St Ninian’s Cemetery, Avondale.In the 1881 Electoral Roll for Waitemata son John isshown as a farmer, residing in Swanson. (Perhaps on thefamily’s Waitakere land.) In the 1887 Electoral Roll hisaddress and that of his brother James were given as PostOffice Whau. Both were listed as working in tanneries.John died in April 1887 in Swanson of typhoid fever. Hewould have been about 27 years old. His death certificatesuggests that he was unmarried. John was also buried atSt Ninian’s Cemetery.
for 1905 shows that James junior wasliving in the Papakura/Takanini area where he was farm-ing. He remained there until his death in 1939. Hismother, Jane, was also living in Takanini, probably withJames, who had not married. She died in 1916, aged 96.Both Jane and James were buried with their other familymembers in St Ninian’s Cemetery.Jane and James had continued their links with Avondaleduring their lifetimes by maintaining ownership of the“Himikera” land that they had inherited from James sen-ior.However we have no evidence that this property wasever occupied by them. A 1905 map of the adjoining
The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 11 Issue 62
Cradock estate suggests that the Sinclair property was atthe time leased to a W H Bowry. It was surrounded byfurze hedges and ditches. Mr Bowry may have used theland for grazing livestock. As children we found horseshoes on our property and that of neighbours to thenorth. There was also evidence of scoria paths and awell.In 1915 the Sinclairs submitted to the Avondale BoroughCouncil a subdivision plan for the area. The proposednew street was named Himikera Avenue This plan wasnot immediately approved, perhaps because of the deathof Mrs Sinclair. A partial plan was submitted by JamesSinclair in 1923. It covered just properties on the Block-house Bay Road and Powell Street boundaries. Oneexisting building was identified – the villa at what is now100 Blockhouse Bay Road. In 1924 the original plan wasapproved by Council. The first properties, ones facingeither Blockhouse Bay Road or Powell Street, were thenoffered for sale. Himikera Avenue, the proposed newroad, was given formal dedication in 1925, although it isnot clear whether it was anything other than a track formany years. (The derivation of the name Himikera is notclear. Some people have suggested that it is in recogni-tion of James Carroll, a prominent Maori politician of thetime. Another possibility is that it is a Maori rendering of the name Sinclair.)
The first house off this road was built about 1926. It wasa small cottage at what is now 19 Himikera Avenue. Thesecond house in the street was built about 1928 by a MrCopsey. It was a bungalow, and still stands at 18Himikera Avenue. Subsequent to this the street wasshown in documents as Sinclair Square or SinclairsSquare Road. The name Himikera reappeared in 1939.There had been no further building in the interveningperiod.
In 1931 James Sinclair took out a mortgage over the un-sold land in Himikera Avenue with the Bank of NewZealand. When James Sinclair died in 1939 all of themortgaged land became the Bank’s. In the same year theBank sold the sections at 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16Himikera Avenue to “H.M. King”, i.e. the New ZealandGovernment. Planning began almost immediately tobuild State houses on these properties. The remainingsections, (9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21, 23, 25, and 27 HimikeraAvenue), were sold by the Bank to Mr Tait, an AvondaleReal Estate agent who had also been the Mayor of Avon-dale Borough at the time the original subdivision wasapproved.
by Ron Oates