Topic: Luke Hunnibell

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Luke Hunnibell, 1838-1913

Luke Hunnibell, with his wife Sarah and two young sons, arrived in Lyttelton in 1864 on board the Bellissima. They came from Ipswich in Suffolk, England. They made their way to Rangiora and Luke became the first bootmaker in the town, setting himself up in trade in a little cob cottage where he lived at the corner of Direct Road (now Victoria Street) and Brook Street (now Northbrook Road). Luke and Sarah Hunnibell had another four children after they arrived in Rangiora.

The Hunnibells built a slate-roofed house in King Street across the road from the Rangiora Borough School. They called this house 'Ipswich'.

In about 1872 Luke built a two storey colonial style bootmaking shop and dwelling on land he had purchased on the Oxford and Rangiora Road (now High Street). He ran Hunnibell’s bootmakers from this shop until 1903, when his son Alfred took over the business and ran it until his retirement in 1954. The name 'A Hunnibell' can still be seen in wooden letters on the front of the building, which is now home to Capone’s Restaurant.

The Hunnibell family were very musical and took a large part in the musical life of Rangiora; Luke was an enthusiastic asset to the Harmonic Society that Charles Merton set up. Luke was organist and choirmaster at St John’s Anglican Church for many years.

Luke Hunnibell was elected captain of the No. 2 engine room when the Rangiora Fire Brigade was formed. He was keen on cricket and played for Rangiora Tradesmen against Melford Boys College, Charles Merton’s private school.

Luke was a keen gardener and was a prominent exhibitor in flower and vegetable shows. He was also an officer in the Oddfellows Lodge. He was a candidate for election of the first Rangiora Borough Council, but was unsuccessful in his bid.

Luke Hunnibell died in Rangiora on 26 November 1913.

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Luke Hunnibell


First Names:Luke
Last Name:Hunnibell
Place of Birth:Suffolk, England