As A.W. Renall’s 1902 obituary noted: “For a quarter of a century he was the most notable personage in Masterton; and on the public platform swayed people as no other man could move them”. Alfred Renall, an early settler in the Hutt Valley and then in the Wairarapa, was a successful miller, father of 16 children and at various times a Provincial Council member, elected to the first Parliament, he was also a Masterton borough councillor and twice the mayor as well as a leading figure in the Small Farms Association and subsequent Masterton Trust Lands Trust. As his friend Alexander Hogg M.P. said: “An energetic and industrious settler, a public man, fearless and outspoken for over a half century he made his influence felt in the wider Wellington province”. Fearless and Outspoken is the story of Alfred W. Renall from his birth in Heybridge, Essex, England in 1813 to his and his family’s voyage to Port Nicholson aboard the Martha Ridgway late in 1840, followed by his rich, varied and sometimes controversial life during the next six decades. It provides a fascinating portrait of one pioneer and how he and his family succeeded in a very different land at the bottom of the world.
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