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Sheet No: 100

Biography contributed by Katherine Blakely

Rachel Matilda Stevens was born about 1862 in Southland – the youngest of eight children of Captain William Stevens and Elizabeth Hatipapa /Irehapeti Pikoikoi.

Her father was involved in the whaling and coastal trading industry. About 1862 her father moved to Gummies Bush, near Riverton, and re-married having a further 12 children.

Rachel married Roland Hope Hassall, a stock inspector, in 1880 and they had 14 children.

When Rachel signed the suffrage petition the family were living in Tapanui, South Otago. They later moved to Hakataramea in Canterbury where Roland was a station manager at Station Peak.

He died at his residence in Hakataramea Valley in 1909.

In 1911 Rachel and her brother Charles Stevens petitioned parliament for a portion of land that their mother had refused to sign away when Canterbury and Otago were sold in 1864.

Another petition was before parliament in 1923 regarding a land claim in the Jacobs River Hundred near Riverton. The outcome of these claims is unclear.

Rachel died at Christchurch on 4 April 1931 and is buried in the Belfast Cemetery.


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