Toko shooting remembered

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 01/12/2012

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The tragic century-old death of a Toko teenager has been marked in time by a nephew who never knew him.

Owen Lawrence wanted to do something special for his uncle, Arthur Lawrence, who was accidentally shot on November 30, 1912 at the age of 18.

So, to mark the sombre occasion, the 70-year-old decided to take out an In Memoriam notice in the Taranaki Daily News on Friday.

Speaking from his Hawke's Bay home, Mr Lawrence said he knew the message "100 years ago today" would catch a few eyes as the Lawrence family had a long history in Taranaki.

He said the death was the result of young men making poor decisions.

"It was two guys shyacking with a couple of shotguns, one of them was loaded and nobody knew.

"He was shot by his best friend."

According to a report in the Hawera and Normanby Star three days later, the pair decided to put on a mock circus after the real one failed to show up in Toko.

After marching around a room the pair stopped and pointed their guns at each other after somebody yelled that they should duel.

Thinking the gun wasn't loaded, George Herbert Corbett, who was 17 at the time, pulled the trigger.

The death was ruled an accident.

Mr Lawrence said Arthur was often the topic of family discussions. "My father was his younger brother and spoke of him quite a bit.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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