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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]



Waitati was formerly known as Blueskin. It is in the county of Waikouaiti, and the settlement is spread along and back from the shores of Blueskin Bay. There is a railway station at the township, a hotel, and a post and telegraph office, and also a dairy factory. The settlers engage extensively in dairy-farming, and the district is noted for its pasturage. A considerable proportion of the land is hilly and covered with bush. There are snipe and ducks in the district, flounders in the harbour, and trout in the Waitati stream. Waitati is seventeen miles north from Dunedin, and there is a population of about 400 persons in the township and its neighbourhood.

The Waitati Creamery , now owned by the Taieri and Peninsula Milk Supply Company, Limited, was originally built by a local company, and worked as a cheese factory. In 1901 it was taken over by the present proprietary company. The building, which is situated near the township, is of wood, with a concrete noor. An Aktielolaget separator, of the Alpha de Laval patent, has been introduced; and this separator, which is capable of treating 400 gallons of milk per hour, is driven by a Tangye's steam engine of 31/2 horse power. During the busy season about 800 gallons of milk are supplied by the neighbouring dairy farmers each day, but this amount is reduced to about 500 gallons per diem in the off season. There are thirty-nine farmers who supply milk to the factory. Mr. R. Mawson is the present manager.

Mr. James O'Connell , formerly Manager of the Waitati Dairy Factory, was born at Seacliff, Otago, in 1868. His father came to Otago from Victoria at the time of the Gabriel's Gully “rush.” He took contracts on the Blueskin main road and afterwards bought sections at Seacliff. During one of the bush fires that swept the locality, he had to fight the flames for three days and three nights in order to save his homestead. Mr. O'Connell served his apprenticeship at Gore with Mr. S. M. Robins (afterwards Government Dairy Inspector), and was manager of a factory at Okain's Bay, Akaroa, before taking charge of the factory at Waitati.