Topic: Hempton Hall, Okato - 1904

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Hempton Hall, Okato - 1904

Built in 1904 but substantially enlarged in 1924-25

Thomas Alexander Hempton (1866 - 1900)


Thomas Hempton  grew up in New Plymouth but later farmed at Ōkato. He was consistently selected as a Taranaki rugby representative for nearly a decade between 1885 and 1894.


His obituary outlined some of his playing qualities. “As a footballer he had few equals in the colony. His dash, skill and thorough knowledge of the game has helped the Taranaki provibnce more than once to proudly float the banner of victory in the football field….”

He enlisted in the 2nd Contingent to serve in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899, but died of disease in Vanwyks vley, South Africa in April 1900. Two other New Plymouth rugby players – Clement Wiggins and Charles Enderby – died in 1900, also while serving with the New Zealand contingents in South Africa

In September 1900 the members of the Star and Tukapa Rugby Clubs, New Plymouth, decided to erect a memorial to their three colleagues in the Recreation Grounds – now Pukekura Park. The proposal proved controversial and the rugby clubs appear to have withdrawn their support. Wiggins’ workmates from the Bank of New South Wales did, however, eventually erect a memorial in Pukekura Park, but it was later vandalised and removed.

The Ōkato community contributed to Thomas Hempton’s memorial in the local cemetery and his mother, in recognition of the action, gifted the
land on which the public Hempton Hall now stands.


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