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


From 1847 onwards there was a good deal of coast-wise traffic between Port Cooper (Lyttelton) and Port Nicholson (Wellington). This was carried on mostly by schooners and cutters which hugged the land in offshore weather, so that many traders and other travellers saw the coastal hills and flats between the Waipara and Hurunui rivers. This is some of the best sheep country in New Zealand, so naturally most of it was taken up before the arrival of the First Four Ships. It is safe, easy country, and it lay outside the Canterbury Block, so that until 1857 the occupiers could buy the freehold of their runs at 10/-or less an acre instead of paying. £3, which was the original price of land in the Block; that is why some of the finest and largest freehold properties in the country lay in this district, though they are all very much cut up now.

I have not been able to find the early official records of these runs. My accounts of them are from tradition, old station diaries, old newspapers, and from the pam-phlets written by Robert Waitt and Percy Cox.