Building the Community
Rees became a pillar of the new Queenstown community â€“ the founding president of its first cricket club, first jockey club, first acclimatisation society, chairman of the first Town Committee and lay reader in the Anglican church.
In 1863, W.G. was operating no less than 14 businesses in the town â€“ as a carrier, coach proprietor, lighterman, boat builder, hotel keeper, store keeper, contractor, sawyer, gold buyer, slaughterman, baker, land agent, runholder, and ferryman.
He showed his sporting form at the townâ€™s St Patrickâ€™s Day festival, when he won the â€śsingle sticksâ€ť fencing contest, his horse Bucanneer took first place in the hurdles event, and his yacht Young America led the fleet home over a 20 mile course in the main race of the regatta.
W.G’s enduring passion for cricket produced an invitation to join the Otago cricket team in 1864 for their match against the first All-England XI to tour New Zealand.
The English team included another famous cricketing cousin, Teddy Grace, who was caught out by W.G. during the game. As Teddy said: â€śIt was quite a treat to watch him.â€ť