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Happenings at the Pahi Hotel

Conspiracy theories in Pahi - The case of the missing bank clerk and his sudden return.
The fire at tne Pahi Hotel.
A Constable killed
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The Pahi Hotel
The Pahi Hotel on the shores of the Kaipara site of many an event

Kaipara Mystery


Conspiracy Theories Abound


A Missing Bank Clerk

AUCKLAND, 17th December 1912 (Evening Post 18 December 1912)

No further light has been thrown on the mysterious disappearance of Mr David Dufaur, the bank clerk who was found to be missing after the fatal accident that overtook his friend Mr Samuel Henry Sayers on Saturday night near Pahi, on the Kaipara Harbour.  Further particulars in connection with the affair indicate that the two men rode over to from Paparoa to the Pahi Hotel on Saturday afternoon, and left on the return journey at 8:45.  Mr Dufaur was a particularly good horseman, but Mr Sayers was only learning to ride, and was warned by Mr Skelton that he should avoid fast riding.  A few minutes after their departure from the hotel, the galloping of horses was heard along the road leading to Paparoa, but it was not until Sunday morning that an accident had happened.  The body of Mr Sayers was then found by Mr Skelton, lying on the side of the road.  Mr Sayer's neck was broken, and his sweater was torn open at the front, indicating the possibility of someone having examined the body. The fact that Mr Dufaur's keys were found nearby on the wharf is the only reason for assuming that he had committed suicide by jumping into the water.  All his books were in good order.  Both men were stated to be perfectly sober when they left the Pahi Hotel.  Mr Sayers was only 33 years of age.  He was expecting his wife and two young children from the Old Country to join him, and it is understood that they are now on their way to New Zealand.  He had only been in the Dominion about six months.  He was a lawyer.

The National Bank Paparoa 2007
The National Bank Paparoa where Dufaur was found



AUCKLAND, 18th December 1912 (Evening Post 19 December 1912)

After search parties had scoured the country and dragged the river Dufaur, the bank clerk who disappeared from the time the county clerk My Sayers, was found dead on the road, as a result of a fall from a horse, appeared at the National Bank Paparoa, last night.  He had undergone much hardship in the brief period, and was in a thoroughly exhausted  condition, bordering on collapse.  No coherent account can yet be obtained as to his strange actions, but probably more light will be thrown on the matter at the adjourned enquiry on Monday into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Sayers.  Dufaur is still in bed, and will have to remain quiet for a few days.

Although details are meagre, it can be gathered from the few scraps of conversation uttered by the patient that he experienced great hardships during his sojourn into the bush.  His memory appears to be almost a blank at present in regard to recent happenings.  It appears that he may have come back to the Pahi Hotel soon after the fatal accident, but owing to the great shock he had received he was apparently unable to indicate to anyone what happened.  After speaking to one or two people near the hotel on Saturday night, it can be gathered that he went to Pahi wharf, which is only a few hundred yards from the hotel.  When Dufaur got to the wharf he placed his set of keys just above the steps, realising that they would be required at the bank.  then he states his hat blew off into the water. Thinking that if his hat was found floating it might be taken as evidence that he was drowned, Dufaur, who is a powerful swimmer, jumped, fully clothed as he was, from the wharf, with the object of recovering his head gear.  The hat eluded him, and he swam to the wharf again, and during most of the night kept wandering about in the vicinity of the hotel.  before dawn of Sunday morning broke he made for the bush.

From this point no particulars can as yet be gleaned.  He must have hidden in the bush, which is very dense, throughout Sunday, and either that night or on Monday evening he made his way to Paparoa.  No food passed the unfortunate man's lips during the period of his absence, and not finding any fresh water, he drank salt water.  All thus, together with the fact that he slept on the ground in his damp clothes, combined to bring the pitiable plight in which he was found.  Young Dufaur was hiding in the bush last evening when he saw a light shining from the bank window.  It dawned on him that he could not pass  another night of exposure without dire consequences, and he made up his mind to seek assistance, with the result already related.


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Samuel H. Sayers, County Clerk, was found dead on the road at Pahi.  The report to the police adds that a young man, David Dufaur, bank clerk, who was in company with with Sayers, is missing, and bank keys have been found on the Pahi wharf.  It is supposed he was drowned in the Otamatea River.  Sayers and Dufaur resided at Paparoa.

Dufaur is 21 years of age, and is a nephew of Percy Dufaur, of Auckland and an ex-pupil of Kings College.  he joined the National Bank about four years ago, and was transferred to Paparoa two years ago, performing the duties of clerk. Mr Dufaur has received a telegram stating that his nephew is missing, but it throws no light on the mystery.

Later.     Meagre additional particulars from Pahi are to the effect that Sayers was riding on the road when his stirrup broke, and he fell from his horse and was killed.  Dufaur sustained such a shock at witnessing the fatality that he became demented, and, it is presumed, drowned himself.

Evening Post 16th December 1912 Page 8




Evening Post 8 September 1897 Page 5

The Pahi Hotel, of which Mr. E. Moriarty is licensee, was burned down yesterday.  The cause of the fire is unknown.  The building was insured in the South British office.



 (By Telegraph - Press Association)  Evening Post 26 September 1903 Page 5

WHANGAREI,  This day.  It is reported that Constable Joyce has been killed, in attempting to arrest a drunken man at Pahi.  Pahi is a thriving farming district at the head of the northern arm of the Kaipara Harbour, it is about eighty four miles north of Auckland)  The Commissioner of Police, Mr Dinnie, has received word that Constable Joyce was found dead on the beach at 11 o'clock last night, and that a doctor has expressed the opinion that death was due to heart disease.

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Mr Joseph Ryan, Hotelkeeper of Pahi, N.Z, was very bad with Colic and tried many remedies, without results.  then the honourable Mrs Scotland advised his wife to give him Chamberlain's Colic and Diarrhoea Remedy.  He says: - "I was sceptical and refused to take it.  I reckoned such things were no good.  At last I got so bad that my wife prevailed upon me to try it.  After two doses I was right and have been so ever since.  I was in a bad way, I can tell you, but now I swear by Chamberlain's Colic and Diarrhoea Remedy and always keep it handy."

Evening Post - 25 March 1913

Articles Sourced from the National Library of New Zealand

All photographs of Pahi and Paparoa on this page are copyright 2007 to Elizabeth Clark Editor of Back Roads. Permission for the use of images should be sought from the copyright holder.

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