John James Pamment

Male 1890 - 1979  (89 years)


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  • Name John James Pamment 
    Born 17 Feb 1890  Hokitika, Westland, West Coast New Zealand, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As Jack 
    Occupation (2) Farmer, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation Coach Driver, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 29 Sep 1979  Greymouth, Grey, West Coast New Zealand, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I279  PammentIsleham
    Last Modified 16 Feb 2015 

    Father George Pamment,   b. 13 Feb 1866, Hokitika, Westland, West Coast New Zealand, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Jul 1953, Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Barbara Anne Laurie Murdoch,   b. 04 Nov 1866, Meadows, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Aug 1905, Kumara, West Coast, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 38 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 10 Jun 1886  Hokitika, Westland, West Coast New Zealand, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F109  Group Sheet

    Family Grace Mary Neville,   b. 09 Jun 1898, Larrikins, Kumara, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 05 May 1972, Greymouth, Grey, West Coast New Zealand, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Married 19 Apr 1917  St. Patrick's Church, Kumara, Westland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
     1. Living Pamment
     2. Leonard Michael Pamment,   b. 09 Dec 1920, Otira, Arthur's Pass, Westland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Aug 1999, Christchurch, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
     3. Grace Mary Pamment,   b. 04 Feb 1924, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Aug 1978, Christchurch, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)
     4. Maxwell George Pamment,   b. 25 May 1917, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 05 Sep 2001, Fairmont Nursing Home, Bexley, NSW, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)
     5. John Denis Pamment,   b. 17 Nov 1918, Greymouth, Grey, West Coast New Zealand, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Jul 1996, Nelson, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
     6. Living Pamment
     7. Stillborn Pamment,   b. Feb 1941, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Feb 1941, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 0 years)
     8. Colleen Margaret Pamment,   b. 31 Mar 1930, Kumara, West Coast, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Sep 1981, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
     9. Living Pamment
     10. Patrick Keith Pamment,   b. 04 May 1928, Kumara, West Coast, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1996  (Age > 69 years)
    Last Modified 16 Feb 2015 
    Family ID F107  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    John James 'Jack' Pamment and wife Grace Neville Pamment.
    John James "Jack" Pamment and wife Grace Neville Pamment.
    This is John James "Jack" Pamment and wife Grace Neville (Pamment) - taken in New Zealand, date unknown, but probably about 1960.
    John James 'Jack' Pamment, 1972
    John James "Jack" Pamment, 1972
    One of my favorite photos - a rugged man with a link to the wild pioneer days of the South Island of New Zealand. Jack was one of the youngest coach drivers on the dangerous Arthur's Pass/Otira Pass in New Zealand. This photo was taken several years later in 1972 as Jack once again took the reins of the coach.

  • Notes 
    • From an article in the Grey River Argus and Blackball News
      Grey River Argus, 8 November 1911, Page 4 (New Zealand)

      Mr. John Pamment, of Kumara, had a very unpleasant experience at breakfast on Saturday morning. While eating flounder a bone stuck in his throat and became embedded in the flesh. It could not be seen, but on Mr. Pamment, Senr., putting his finger down his son's throat the bone stuck on his finger also, and it was by this means that the bone was extracted.

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      In a letter from Madeleine Peebles Pamment, wife of John Denis Pamment, she writes on Aug. 20, 1996:"John James Pamment, as a young man, was a coach driver for several years taking passengers over the dangerous Otira Pass through the Southern Alps. He later became a farmer and his son Noel now has the farm including land with bush, hills & streams (is actually called Kapitea). Gold is still taken out of the streams by a company."

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      The following is quoted from a newspaper article dated May 12, 1975 -- from a magazine known as "New Zealand Woman's Weekly" --

      Youngsters of this jet age might wonder in awe at driving a three-decker coach pulled by five horses on a fairground -- but his man drove them on the tortuous Otira Gorge road between Otira and Arthur's Pass.

      "Gold from places like South Westland, Kaniere and Kumara travelled in boxes on the coach, but usually we didn't know it was gold we were carrying," said Mr. Jack Pamment, who was the youngest coach driver on the tortuous Otira Gorge Road.

      "I was reared among gold but never spent an hour looking for it," said Mr Pamment, who was born in Hokitika and educated at Kumara. Now 86 and a widower, Mr Pamment has moved from Kumara (where his son's family live) to Hokitika to live with his daughter and son-in-law Mr and Mrs Little, in Stafford Street.

      Said Mr Pamment, "When I was driving between Otira and Arthur's Pass, the toughest section of the Greymouth-Christchurch route (it crossed the Main Divide of the Southern Alps with Otira on the West Coast and Arthur's Pass in Canterbury) the fare was 10 shillings and I could take 20 passengers."

      "'The time we took depended on the load. Sometimes there were lots of women, but they never had to walk. I had three horses in the lead with two at the pole. It took weighty horses to haul that coach - but we had the best" said Mr Pamment. This was before completion of the 5 1/4 mile long Otira railway tunnel.

      "When I left school I drove the store cart. My father had a store in Kumara. I left to work for the railways. Then I went to the North Island. I went to camp and was kicked by a horse."

      "Then I got married and lived in Wellington for 12 months. Then I moved to Otira." The Pamments had nine children.

      "I first worked as a coachman for a firm that was taken over by Cassidy, who was in opposition to Hall. One carried passengers, the other the mails - so they decided to come together. I was the youngest driver on the road" said Jack.

      "Then I bought two coaches from Smiths Garage in Christchurch and went into business on my own. I employed another driver. At Arthur's Pass, where the big railway shed is now, there was a big railway luncheon rooms we used to use."

      Before taking up coach driving Mr Pamment had two horses and a spring dray, carting during the building of the railway line.

      "I had a run two miles out of Kumara and a place up the Teremakau where I bred horses. I was breaking in young horses all the time."

      "I have been on the gates and have done swabbing at the Kumara races for the last 50-odd years, but that's all I've had to do with race horses."

      "I go up to Christchurch for the Grand National and to Wellington and Auckland for the Cup. I get sick of sitting around these days. I've been to Australia twice."

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      From 1979 newspaper clipping:

      Otira Coach Veteran Driver Dies

      A man who embodied the traditional spirit of the West Coast, and played an important part in opening up the area in his capacity as coach driver, has died in Greymouth.

      Mr. John James (Jack) Pamment, of Kumara, the last of the drivers to take wagons and coaches over the rugged Arthur's Pass-Otira Gorge route - was 90 years old.

      The mayor of Greymouth, Mr. O. H. Jackson, said today that Mr. Pamment was born and lived most of his life in Kumara, although in recent years he moved to Hokitika.

      He did contracting work with horses and wagons and was in the business of stock raising in the Kauitea, Mr. Jackson said.

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      Another 1979 newspaper clipping:

      Coach driver dead

      The last of the men to drive waggons and coaches over the Arthur's Pass-Otira route, Mr. John James Pamment, of Kumara, died this week, aged 89.

      Mr. Pamment drove a coach for the last time a few years ago when the Sir Stanley Goosman bridge across the Taramakau river was officially opened.

      Mr. Pamment did contracting work with horses and waggons, and was an authority on the early history of the Kumara area.

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  • Sources 
    1. [S286] Family tree info supplied by Anne Wego (N.Z.) in 1993 as result of her research.