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The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series

Wairewa (Joblin's Run) — (Runs 518 and 522, afterwards re-numbered 336 and 337, Class II)

Wairewa (Joblin's Run)
(Runs 518 and 522, afterwards re-numbered 336 and 337, Class II)

These two runs, each of five thousand acres, were among the last of the old Class III pastoral licenses issued in Canterbury. They were taken up by George Russell Joblin in March, 1865. They lay up the Western Valley above Run 324, which they joined on the hill somewhere above the present Lake Forsyth Hotel, or perhaps came down as far as Caton's Bay. Thus they would take in the country from the Kinloch boundary and run back to Mount Fitzgerald and Mount Herbert, and would include all the Western Valley. I suppose they were originally largely covered with bush.

G. R. Joblin, originally a brickmaker, came to New Zealand in 1861. He was a most enterprising and progressive man. He bought many sections in Little River and also started a sawmill in the Western Valley.

By 1865 it probably occurred to Joblin that there was unleased country in and about the bush; hence the late application. He called his run Wairewa after the swamp or perhaps the old Maori settlement there. His house was in the Okuku Valley and was called 'The Pilgrim's Hatch.' It was on the site of T. Lewthwaite's present house.

During the late 'sixties and early' seventies, a lot of land was bought out of his runs, both by Joblin himself and by settlers, sawmillers, and speculators, so that by 1875 the runs had shrunk to the status of small grazing runs, and were re-numbered 336 and 337, Class II. In 1880 Joblin shore over 4000 sheep, and by the end of the 'eighties the sheep had increased to 6000 (as the old bush became grassed, I suppose), but like many other good colonists he was too optimistic and about 1890 the Christchurch Finance Company took over the property.

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The company kept the station only tbout two years, and they sold it to the Hon. William Montgomery in 1891. At that time the freehold and remaining leasehold carried 3000 sheep. William Montgomery's son, W. H. Montgomery, still lives at Wairewa, though most of the land has now been sold.

William Montgomery had led an adventurous life before he came to New Zealand. He had gone to sea when very young and at 17 risen to the command of a ship, which he afterwards bought. He went to Australia in 1851, and at one time owned a station on the Darling Downs. He came to New Zealand in 1860 and was engaged in the timber trade before he bought Wairewa. He bought about twelve hundred acres in the Terawera Valley in the 'eighties (now called 'Rocky Peak ') for the timber, which was cut by the Terawera Sawmill Company. Half of it is now sold, and the remainder is owned by his granddaughter, Mrs Latham. He was a very able man and had a distinguished political career in this country, first in the old Provincial Council, afterwards in the House of Representatives, and finally in the Legislative Council. There is an excellent notice of him in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, from which this account of him is largely taken. He died at Wairewa in December, 1914, aged 93.