Case 25: Alice May Parkinson

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NAPIER, HAWKE'S BAY. The tiny township of Hampden is found approximately 62km southwest of Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay region. Settled in 1863, the town was an industrial town, primarily sawmilling and farming. In 1900, the town changed its name to Tikokino due to there already being a location called Hampden in the South Island.

With a population of less than a thousand, Tikokino has a mostly quiescent history. A few bush fires ravaged the town from 1889 to 1908, razing some houses and sawmills. Other than the looming threat of fires, the town that consisted of a general store, a bootmaker, a bakery, a blacksmith’s forge, a butchery and a post office was a quiet and peaceful place.

However, Tikokino in the late 19th century would become the birthplace of one of New Zealand’s most curious and divisive characters. This is the tale of Alice May Parkinson.

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