Herbert George Hooper was born on the 26th March 1899 in the small country town of Carterton on New Zealand's North Island. He was known as Herbie or Toby by close family and friends. He was raised, like his siblings, on the Dalefield Road family farm by his father William John Hooper and his mother Charlotte (nee Compton). Herbie was the youngest surviving son. His younger twin brothers, Albert and Ernest were born in 1901 and both sadly died the same year. Herbert was one of 14 children born to William and Charlotte Hooper.

Hertbert George Hooper and his Piano Accordian (many of the Hooper's were very musical or theatrical)

  Herbert's early education years were spent at the Dalefield School which many of his siblings had also attended. When he left school Herbie became an apprentice for a local Carterton company called 'Fairbrothers' who were cabinet makers. The company made coffins and barrels. Later he was to move to Dannevirke and worked  for a joinery company called 'Sash and Doors'.

Brother's Herbert (front), Frank (front right) & Unknown Hooper (rare right) at Dalefield

   Herbert's older brother, Edgar, managed the Dalefield Road family farm in Carterton until he joined the NZ Forces during WW1. Herbert returned to Carterton to help Muad, Edgar's wife, with the day to day running of the family farm whilst Edgar was away. The farm was situated close to the Dalefield Dairy Factory and milk from the farm was taken to this factory. Herbert, at sometime during his Carterton stay, was employed at the Dairy Co-Op and it is here that he most probably learnt the art of being a Cheese Maker.     

      Herbie left Carterton, upon Edgar's return from service, and went and joined his brother John and sister inlaw Jessie Marion Hooper at Arapati, near Waituna West. John was a sharemilker on the Strawbridge's Stockholm Station farm. John and Jessie Hooper's little daughter, Ivy, drowned in the dam on the Strawbridge farm. (Ivy's photograph & death notice can be seen below along with Ivy's father's death notice). The Strawbridge & Hooper families also had a Carterton connection. Arthur Lambert Strawbridge & Walter Henry (Wally) Hooper were both called up for service in the Wairarapa Reserves and went to the same camp on the 28th March 1918. The station comprised of several homes, farm sheds and out buildings and also a modest sized Cheese Factory. The Stockholm Station cheeses were taken to Feilding and sold throughout New Zealand and also sold for overseas export. When the cheese was exhibited at the Dannevirke show it often won prizes and won the 1st prize for 'Best Export Quality'.

Groom Herbert Hooper and his bride Muriel Chandler. Groomsman (far left) Leonard Hooper

     It was during this period of his life, at Arapati, that Herbert meet Muriel Violet Chander. Muriel was born on the 7th January 1902 in Blenheim, New Zealand to parents Samuel George Chandler and Clara Ransom. Herbert and Muriel married on the 20th July 1921 at the home of Muriels father. The wedding was witnessed by Muriel's brother Lyall Chandler and Herbert's older married sister Daisy Miscall. Herbert's only younger sibling Catherine 'Kath' Hooper and Muriel's brother Lyall James Chandler married each other in 1931. Muriel's sister Harriet May Chandler also married in 1931 to Leonard Allen Hooper, a nephew to Herbert. The Hooper and Chandler families had been acquainted for many years with children from both families attending the Dunolly School. Muriel's brother, Claude Chandler, worked for John Hooper cutting wood for the boiler on the farm. This formed a very close Hooper-Chandler connection which remained throughout the years.

   With Herbert returing to the Stockholm Station it meant that his brother John was free to return to the Dalefield Road farm in Carterton to take over it's management. Herbert and Muriel stayed at the Stockholm Station for six years. Children, Ralph, Gordon and Brenda were born during this time at Nurse Robinson's Home at Makine. Herbert purchased his first car at this time, a Model T-Ford. Unfortunately, when driving the car home, Herbert had an accident in it and it cost him the costly sum of 199 pounds to have the axle fixed.

The construction (left) and near completion (right) of the Mangahao Hydro Electric Scheme dam

 Sometime in the mid 1920's Herbert joined his brothers Wally and Joe at Mangahao. Wally and Joe had both gone to work on building the dams which were part of the Mangahao Hydro Electric Scheme in the Mangahao Hills near Shannon. Herbert was employed to 'finish off' the making of the concrete shutes. He worked by eyesight alone, not using levels or other aids and his craftsmanship was thought highly of. His only tool being a hand trowel. In later years this experience enable Herbert to build homes and other buildings from concrete. Following his time at the dams he and a friend, Bob Gardiner, spent time being fishermen on their boat called 'Hopeful'. This boat was a life boat acquired after a ship had founded on the coast. The butterfish that were caught were packed and sent to Wellington for sale

 Herbert and his family moved back to the Dalefield Farm in Carterton. Herbert errected a tent on the property and lived, with his family, in it for many months. Herbert then decided to return to the Stockholm Station and then onto a farm at Stanway that was owned by the Marshall family. The house, that Herbert lived in, was called 'Totras' and had once been owned by Ezekiel Shannon and his family. In 1930 tragedy once more struck John Hooper's family back in Carterton. The Hooper family had gathered back 'home' in Carterton to celebrate sister Alice's 50th birthday which was on the 3rd May 1930. On the 2nd May 1930 John Thomas Hooper cycled into town and was being driven home by a local friend, James MacKay, when the driver was dazzled by, what he thought, was the lights of an oncoming car. They were travelling along Dalefield Road when James, dazzled, pulled his car over to the side of the road. He misjudged the distance to the edge of the road and his car plunged over the side of the road and into the shallow creek. James was lucky and escaped but John was found trapped under the car. John, unable to free himself, drowned. The family that had gathered for a celebration of sister Alice's birthday were now gathered to mourn the death of their brother John.

(left to right) Herbert & Muriel Hooper (parents) Ngaire, Violet, Kathleen, Jean, Brenda, Gordon & Ralph (children)

 In 1933 Herbert and Muriel moved to Bunnythorpe and remained there for eleven years. The family by this time had grown to included daughters Mavis 'Jean' and Kathleen. Herbie and Muriel purchased a farm on Robert's Line and a short time later also purchased the neighbors farm across the road from their farm. Herbert put his concrete building skills to good use and built many of the buildings on his farm in concrete. Daughters Violet, Ngaire and Therle were born in the Palmerston North Hospital whilst the family lived on the farm. The older of the children attended the Bunnythorpe School. Whilst living on the farm Herbert had a near death experience in December 1936. He had been given a pedigree bull which turned on him and pinned him on the ground. Had it not been for the horns having been wired to shape them to look close together Herbert may have been killed by the bull. A visiting herd tester quickly saw what was happening to Herbert and whacked the bull to make it move away. On New Years Eve, of the same year, Herbert began to haemorrhage. Son, Ralph, was woken by Muriel and rode his Harley Davidson (with sidecar) to get help from neighbors who were able to phone for an ambulance. Herbert was taken to the Palmerston North Hospital and spent six weeks. He was lucky to have survived. The farms were sold in 1945 and Herbert and his family moved to Taranaki. Herbert started a business building houses, farm buildings and the like from concrete and this expanded and became a succesful enough for Herbert to take on various family memembers to assist him in the venture. Herbert and Muriels house, in Hawera, was locally known as the 'Round House' due to it's unusual construction.

1953 Bunnythorpe School (second row from front-second left) Kathleen Hooper (Herbert & Muriel's daughter)

     Herbert George Hooper died in the Hawera Hospital on the 2nd July 1977 aged 78. Muriel Violet Hooper (nee Chandler) died in the Taranaki Base Hospital on the 10th April 1987 aged 85. Both Herbert and Muriel are buried in the Hawera Cemetery, Hawera - New Zealand.


Ralph Hooper (1923-    )
Gordon Hooper (1924-1972)
Brenda May Hooper (1926-1988)
Mavis "Jean' Hooper (1928-    )
Therle Hooper (1930-1949)
Kathleen Hooper (1932-    )
Violet Hooper (    -    )
Ngaire Hooper (1942-    )


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