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

Chapter 12 — Stations On Banks Peninsula — (This chapter was written in 1945)

page 328

Chapter 12
Stations On Banks Peninsula
(This chapter was written in 1945)

Johannes Andersen in Place Names of Banks Peninsula, and Mrs Woodhouse in George Rhodes of the Levels have so well described Banks Peninsula in general, and the Rhodes brothers' stations in particular, that it may seem unnecessary for me to write any more about them; but to complete my catalogue of the early Canterbury runs I am giving brief accounts of the runs there, largely drawn from Andersen and Mrs Woodhouse's books, both Andersen and Mrs Woodhouse having most kindly allowed me to borrow as much as I wanted. Hay's Earliest Canterbury, The Peraki Log, and Jacobson's Tales of Banks Peninsula and Canterbury, Old and New are also useful sources of Peninsula history.

The acreages I have given for some of Rhodes Brothers' runs differ from the acreages given for them by Mrs Woodhouse. The discrepancy is not due to carelessness but to variations from time to time in the official records. The first records give the areas estimated by the applicants for runs, later one are from 'flying surveys,' and finally they were continually altered by the purchase of freehold and the amalgamation of runs.

It is harder to make the history of the runs on the Peninsula clear than the history of the runs anywhere else in Canterbury. Excepting the barren part of the main range (which is unoccupied to this day), some ' large areas of bush, and the group of small freehold sections within a mile or two of Christchurch, all Canterbury, apart from the Peninsula, before it became page 329settled, was completely occupied by runs adjoining one another. But Banks Peninsula, which was five-sixths covered in bush, was partly settled before the Provincial Government was even thought of, much less had let any runs. So that, on the Peninsula, settlement and the founding of freehold estates went on simultaneously with the first pastoral occupation. Some of the oldest and best-known freehold stations in Canterbury are there, but were never Class III pastoral runs at all, while several pastoral runs were let there after the bush had gone, in the middle 'sixties, long after the rest of Canterbury was occupied. These notes are concerned only with the stations which are derived from the large (Class III) runs.

Rhodes's Cattle Station at Akaroa
(Part of Run 30, Block II)

This was the first cattle or sheep station in Canterbury —indeed, in the South Island. William Barnard Rhodes, a New South Wales landowner, master mariner and partner in Cooper, Holt and Rhodes, of Sydney, merchants and ship-owners, turned out cattle in November 1839 near where the town of Akaroa is now. Green's Point is named after William Green, whom he left in charge of them. There were in this first shipment about 40 head, mostly cows and heifers; also, I believe, some pigs. I do not think Rhodes at first had a lease from the Maoris, but believed he had bought the land, acreage unspecified, which probably included all the open country about Akaroa and the Kaik; and within the next two or three years Rhodes occupied the open country at Flea Bay, to which there was a natural clearing through the bush from the open country at Akaroa.

Like all early stations in Canterbury before the organised settlement, the station depended for its revenue on the sale of dairy produce and in a small way on beef, potatoes, salt-pork, and so on. Some of page 330this produce was sold to visiting whaling ships and some sent to Wellington. Of course, in spite of low rent and low wages bills, none of these stations can have paid their way. The owners laid up for the future by the increase of their stock.

Green, though more intent on sly-grog selling than on his master's interests, made some success of the station, and in 1843, when Rhodes's brother George came to New Zealand to join him and take charge of the station, the cattle had increased a good deal. The Rhodes brothers soon brought over sheep and more cattle from Australia.

Green left, and started the first licensed hotel in Canterbury. It stood near Green's Point. Rhodes got Israel Rhodes (no relation to the brothers), and William Birdling down from Wellington to help him, and very good men they proved. Israel Rhodes was. married, and George Rhodes sent him and his wife over to start a new dairy station at Flea Bay, or rather at Long Bay, where the first homestead was, while he and Birdling stayed at the old homestead working the rest of the run until 1847, when the Rhodes brothers bought Purau, and George Rhodes and Birdling moved over there. While at Akaroa, George Rhodes lived at what is still known as Red House Bay.

After 1847 the old cattle station seems to have rather faded away, the lower part, I suppose, becoming settled, and the upper part of the run being worked from Flea Bay.

Flea Bay
(Part of Run 30, Block II)

In January, 1852, the Rhodes brothers got pasturage licenses from the Provincial Government to replace their old leases from the Maoris. Kaituna, Ikoraki, Flea Bay, and the remainder of the old Akaroa Run were all included in Run 30, Kaituna and Ikoraki being called Block I, and Flea Bay and the Akaroa page 331country Block II. The boundary of the Flea Bay and the Akaroa Run went from the head of Stony Bay to the top of Mount Berard, thence down to a point in Akaroa Harbour about a mile south of Onuku Bay, and so back along the seashore to the head of Stony Bay; where the first homestead was built. The whole of Block II contained seven thousand acres.

Israel Rhodes managed the station for Rhodes Brothers chiefly as a cattle and dairy station; but about 1855 he bought a section of his own and built a new homestead in Flea Bay itself, and Rhodes sold him the grazing rights of four thousand acres of the Flea Bay end of the run. A few years later Rhodes Brothers sublet the whole area to Israel Rhodes and Charles Haylock, and in 1866 the license was transferred to them altogether.

Although the lease was in their joint names, Israel and Haylock owned their stock separately. Until 1885 Haylock owned most of the sheep; but from then on they all belonged to Israel Rhodes's two sons, who had by that time succeeded him. In the 'nineties they carried 3500 sheep, and about 1905 divided the property between them. Part of the place remains in the hands of one of his grandsons to this day.

(Runs 7, 183, and 330)

Purau station was started by the Greenwood brothers in 1843. I gave some account of the Greenwoods in my notice of Motunau. They were James Dent, Joseph, and Edward, and were farming people from Yorkshire who had come out to the North Island to settle under the old New Zealand Company. Like the Deanses, Hays, and Sinclairs, they did not care for the prospects of settling in the North, and came down to the South Island in 1843. Unlike the others, the Greenwoods did not bring any rights to buy freehold in this island but simply squatted at Purau. The page 332Maoris objected to their squatting but eventually leased them all the land on the south side of Port Cooper and Gebbie's Valley, and back to a line from Kaituna to Port Levy. The yearly rent was 'seven blankets and some printed callico '(value £3 or £4), but was increased to £8 a year on October 1, 1846. Except the Rhodes brothers and perhaps the Deans brothers and the Hays, they were the first people to bring stock to Canterbury. By February, 1844, they had 50 head of cattle and 500 sheep at Purau.

While the Greenwoods were at Purau the station was 'stuck up' by Blue Cap and his gang, our first Canterbury bushrangers; but both Andersen and Hay have described the incident so fully that I need not go into it again.

The Greenwoods decided to move to Motunau, and in 1847 sold Purau to Rhodes Brothers. The deal included the station improvements and most of the stock; but the Greenwoods reserved some horses, cattle and sheep, and took them to Motunau. The price was £1710, which the neighbouring settlers thought cheap.

George Rhodes moved over to Purau from Akaroa and brought William Birdling, afterwards his overseer, with him. In 1850 his brother Robert Heaton Rhodes came to New Zealand and joined George Rhodes at Purau and soon afterwards took over the management of it, when George went to start the Levels station at Timaru. Robert Heaton had been a pioneer squatter in Australia and became the biggest runholder in Canterbury—

'He, the chief of all the squatters
Largest holder of runholders,'

as the Song of the Squatters says. By 1850, Rhodes Brothers had 6500 sheep, 100 head of cattle, and eight horses on their Peninsula runs.

While Captain Thomas, the association's agent, was in Lyttelton preparing for the Canterbury settlement, he employed a great many men, surveyors, carpenters, navvies, Maoris, and so on, and Rhodes Brothers supplied them with mutton from Purau—very poor mut-page 333ton some of it was, Captain Thomas said (according to Mrs Woodhouse's book). But old settlers have told me with admiration that while Rhodes was supplying the early settlement with mutton, he never once missed bringing it across the harbour in his boat, whatever the weather was; so, good or bad, they never had to go without it.

The first license under Provincial Government was issued in November, 1851, but it was cancelled; and in January, 1852, Rhodes Brothers got a new license for five thousand eight hundred acres of Purau (Run 7). The licenses for the higher country about Mount Herbert were not issued until May, 1857, and December, 1859 (Runs 183 and 330—nine thousand five hundred acres altogether). I cannot say why these runs were so long unlet. Perhaps Rhodes's lower country blocked the frontage, or perhaps a new survey showed that Run 7 did not extend as far as was supposed.

After R. H. Rhodes went to live in Christchurch in 1866, James Guild, the manager of Ahuriri, supervised Purau, Kaituna, and Ikoraki. Purau in those days carried 7000 or 8000 sheep; but the sheep from all the Rhodes's other Peninsula stations were shorn there for many years, so there were sometimes up to near 20,000 sheep on it. But anyone interested in Purau can read its full history in George Rhodes of the Levels. Besides the sheep and some cattle, there was a herd of alpacas at Purau. These never mixed with the sheep and always stuck to the part of the run where they had been first turned out. They would not work for a dog; so the shepherds mustered them with stockwhips, like cattle. They were brutes to shear. Their legs had to be tied to stop them kicking and their heads bagged to stop them spitting green slime. The shearers refused to shear them; so the shepherds (or probably more often the manager) had to do them. These alpacas had been imported in 1865 by the Wellington Provincial Government, who lost a good deal of money by them and sold them to Robert Rhodes in 1869. They never increased very much at Purau, though page 334there were a few left until Rhodes Brothers sold the station.

George Rhodes had died in 1864, and in 1874, R. H. Rhodes was an old, sick man in England. W. B. Rhodes had always lived in the North Island. It was decided to wind up the Rhodes brothers' partnership, and W. B. Rhodes sold Purau to H. D. Gardiner for £20,000 as a going concern. I do not know how much freehold there was; but according to the 1879 sheep returns, the station carried 8000 sheep in those days. I believe there were about 1000 cattle and about a dozen or 20 alpacas, which Gardiner promptly sold. Most of the land at Purau is still in the hands of Gardiner's descendants.

(Runs 7A and 206)

Run 7a ran from Cooper's Knobs to a point on the Halswell just east of Tai Tapu (where the Memorial Bridge is), then followed the left bank of the Halswell to the sharp bend about two miles from Lincoln, and on down the river for about seven miles, whence it struck back, to the east of the Gebbie's Pass road to Cooper's Knobs. Run 206 prolonged this triangle, in a strip about a mile wide, to the head of Governor's Bay, Each of these runs originally contained five thousand acres. I cannot say when the station was first started. It was included in the original license given to the Rhodes brothers in November, 1851. The final license for 7a was issued in January, 1852, and that for 206 in August, 1857. The Rhodes brothers probably had stock running on the country before 1850, as it was included in the old Maori lease for Purau. The station was named after the Ahuriri Lagoon.

The Rhodes's first manager at Ahuriri (and probably for Kaituna and Ikoraki as well) was James King, who was a relation by marriage of W. B. Rhodes and who afterwards owned the Otipua Station near Timaru. There were less than 5000 sheep on Ahuriri in page 3351855, but this was after the Rhodes's had stripped their Peninsula runs to stock the Levels.

After King, James Guild managed Ahuriri for many years and supervised the Rhodes's other Peninsula stations from it. Later a man named Littler, and then Edward Dobson, a brother of Sir Arthur, were managers. Dobson remained until the station was sold, and in the 'nineties I remember him managing Lowcliffe for R. H. Rhodes's executors.

The Rhodes's used the lower Ahuriri country for dairying. Besides the herd at the station, two other herds were run by share milkers on the Halswell. The dry hills on the run carried hoggets from Purau and Kaituna. The sheep were always shorn at Purau.

When the Rhodes's dissolved partnership in 1875, Ahuriri, which had all been made freehold, was sold in blocks, and most of the land, including the homestead, was bought by R. J. P. Fleming of Pigeon Bay, who sold it a year or two later to R. M. Morten. It then carried 7000 sheep. In 1904 Morten handed it over to his son Richard Morten.

In Richard Morten's time the station carried 4500 sheep and about 400 head of cattle, and was noted for the fat cattle it turned off. Richard Morten sold it in 1940 to P. Graham and Son, the present owners.

Of the early owners, I have described the Rhodes's elsewhere. Fleming was a well-known early settler at Port Levy. Morten was born in Buckinghamshire in 1824 and came to Canterbury in 1859. He was owner or part owner of Lochinvar, Mount Pleasant, and of several runs at the head of the Rangitata, and had large city interests, including the United Service block. He died in Christchurch in 1909.

(Runs 30, Block 1; 324 and 429)

Kaituna, another of the Rhodes brothers' stations, was the largest and most valuable on the Peninsula. The boundary ran from the north-eastern corner of page 336Lake Ellesmere straight to the top of Mount Herbert (where it joined Purau) and down from Mount Herbert almost in a straight line to meet Lake Forsyth a mile above the outlet; then (in theory) across the lake, where it took in several thousand acres on the coast opposite, including Ikoraki and Oashore. Altogether the run contained about twenty-five thousand acres.

Oashore, the country on the east side of the lake, had, Andersen says, more variants of its name than any other place in New Zealand. A stock return for 1885, quoted by Andersen, says that it contained ten thousand acres; but there must be a mistake in this. There is not room there for more than about six thousand acres at most. The Rhodes's got their first license for Run 30 in 1851, and the final license in January, 1852; but I think they had had stock on the country before this.

In November, 1859, Thomas Hodson Parkinson, the Rhodes's manager, took up five thousand acres (Run 329) adjoining Run 30 on the west side of Lake Forsyth, running up towards Little River; and in February, 1862, the Rhodes's took up Run 429—five thousand acres on the foreshore of Lake Ellesmere. This was a very late selection, of course, because the land in it was mostly undrainable swamp, or subject to flooding, and not considered worth paying for in the early days. In the Rhodes's time Kaituna carried 25,000 sheep, which were always taken to Purau to be shorn, and a very large herd of cattle. The Rhodes's made the better part of the land freehold.

In 1875, when Rhodes Brothers dissolved partnership, they sold Kaituna in blocks. A large block near Lake Forsyth was bought by Birdling; but Parkinson bought the homestead, with twelve thousand acres, and some of the leasehold, on which he carried about 9000 sheep. He died in 1883, and between 1883 and 1900 the station was subdivided amongst his sons. The old homestead went to his son Walter, who died in 1940; but the place belongs to his executors, and his widow and his daughter, Mrs L. Coop, still live there.

page 337

I do not know who bought the Oashore block; but in the late 'seventies Hugh Buchanan's executors bought it from someone and joined it to Kinloch.

Gebbie's Run
(Runs 12 and 431)

This is another station started before the Canterbury settlement. It lay between the Purau, Kaituna, and Ahuriri stations and ran right back to Lake Ellesmere. The homestead was on the flat at the head of Lyttelton Harbour, where Teddington is now, and where Captain Thomas at one time proposed to lay out the town of Christchurch.

John Gebbie and Mary, his wife, came to Wellington in 1840 under engagement with William Deans, and moved down with the Deanses when they settled at Riccarton in 1843. By the time he came to Riccarton Gebbie had saved £90 from his wages, and in the summer of 1845, when his engagement expired, he and Samuel Manson, another hand who had come out with the Deanses each hired a 'bowen' of 14 cows from Deans Brothers and settled near the head of Port Cooper. They both rented land from the Maoris. The terms on which they had their cattle were 50/-a year for each cow, and all calves to be reared for the Deans brothers. Gebbie had enough savings also to buy two good cows and a mare outright, and enough money over for about a year's stores. He (and also Manson) did very well from the beginning and would have done better still if, in their first season, a large part of their produce had not gone down with Captain Sinclair in his cutter on the way to Wellington. From 13 cows in milk Gebbie had made 7001b of butter and near 24001b of cheese in the season. At that time butter sold at 1/1½ and cheese at 1/-, but butter soon rose to 1/3. In 1847 Gebbie began sheep-farming as well as dairying. On the arrival of the Canterbury settlers he bought a fifty-acre section of page 338freehold with a small pre-emptive right grazing lease attached to it.

Unfortunately Gebbie died early in 1851, aged 28 or 29, leaving a wife and six children and £1000 worth of property; but with the help and advice of John Deans Mrs Gebbie carried on the station and continued to do well. In his Letters from Canterbury Archdeacon Paul speaks of the Gebbies' 'dairy station famous for producing the best Port Cooper cheese.'

In January, 1852, Mrs Gebbie got a pasturage license for Run 12 of five thousand acres, and in 1862 another for Run 431, on the lake shore, also five thousand acres, but owing to freehold buying, the area of both together had been reduced to seven thousand seven hundred acres in 1864. In the 'seventies and 'eighties the station was carrying some 6000 sheep, and about 1890 the land was divided among the family, some of whom are living on it still.

The name of the homestead is Burnt Hollow; but the station was always known as Gebbie's Run in the old days. My account of John Gebbie is taken from Canterbury Pioneers, edited by John Deans.

Waikoko And The Spit
(Runs 143, 143A, and 433)

Waikoko did not develop from a Class III run but was a freehold property gradually built up in the old Kaituna Run by William Birdling, who bought his first section there in the early 'fifties and called it Lake View. But as the runs afterwards known as the Spit were worked from it for many years, I include it in my catalogue.

Runs 143, 143a, and 433, each of five thousand acres, were on the bank between Lake Ellesmere and the sea and ran from a line across the bank where Run 143 joined Kaituna, about three miles from the eastern end of the bank, to the outlet at the south-western corner of the lake. I think the Rhodes's Kaituna stock must have grazed it in the early 'fifties.

page 339

Who first took these runs up I cannot say, as I have not been able to find the early records of them; but either the Rhodes's or Birdling took up Run 143 in December, 1854. Run 143 was probably assumed to cover the whole spit; and in November, 1858, when there was danger of an outsider taking up the country beyond it, the owner took up another five thousand acres, Run 143a, in order to protect it. Run 433 lay on the lake bed on land often flooded, and was taken up by Birdling and his partner, Joseph Price, who then held the licenses for 143 and 143a, in March, 1862.

There was never any homestead on the Spit, so perhaps it should not be called a station. Both Birdling and Price, who held the licenses in the 'sixties, had large freeholds nearby, and either worked the sheep from Birdling's Station in partnership, or each ran his own sheep on the runs and drafted them when he wished to take them home.

Birdling and Price seem to have been great friends; at least they took up runs across the lake next each other in the early 'fifties.

I learn from Andersen's book that Birdling was engaged by George Rhodes in 1843, starting at £20 a year. He rose to be overseer at Purau and stayed 10 years with Rhodes Brothers. He then bought a small section, the homestead of Waikoko, on what is now called Birdling's Flat. He added to this property until it contained over five thousand acres of freehold, and fifteen thousand of leasehold (much of it bought from Rhodes Brothers when Kaituna was subdivided), and carried over 10,000 sheep at one time. In 1877 Birdling handed the management of his station over to his sons and, after farming in a smaller way for many years, bought the Lansdown homestead near Halswell in 1896 and died there in 1902.

Joseph Price was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1810. When he was 13 he ran away to sea and in the 1830's came to New Zealand as mate of a whaling ship. During the 'forties he was shore-whaling from Ikoraki and elsewhere, and in 1852 he turned to farming. He page 340bought himself a fine estate in Price's Valley, which he called Kelvin Grove, and died in 1901.

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.

page 341

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.

(Runs 5 and 110, afterwards re-numbered 549)

As finally constituted, Kinloch ran from the east side of Lake Forsyth to Peraki and Saddle Hill, and back to the Okuku river. For a short time Reid's Hill was worked with it as an outlying block.

Smith and Robinson started this station about the middle of 1850, but whether on a Maori lease or simply on a small freehold section I do not know. The Provincial Government issued their first licenses for it, Run 5 of seven thousand three hundred acres, and page 342Run 110, five thousand acres, in January, 1852.

Henry Smith arrived at Akaroa in the Monarch in April, 1850, and I know nothing more about him except that he was the partner who lived on the station. Charles Barrington Robinson, the first magistrate at Akaroa, had come there in 1840, at the time when Captain Stanley hoisted the British flag and forestalled the French. Robinson bought a good deal of land in Akaroa and Pigeon Bay from 1840 onwards. There are accounts of him in Hay's Earliest Canterbury and the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, so I need say no more about him, except that he sold all his New Zealand property in 1865 and returned to England, where he died in 1899, aged 87.

Smith and Robinson were the first to import purebred shorthorns from England to Canterbury, but did not keep the station long. They sold it early in 1852 to Hugh Buchanan. A few horses and cattle were the only stock on it.

Buchanan named the station Kinloch after Kinloch Mhor, his birthplace in Argyleshire. It is a very suitable name, as, I understand, Kinloch means 'head of the lake 'in Gaelic. Smith's homestead was near the Okuti school (where Anson Hutchison lived afterwards); but Buchanan, who had stocked the run with merino sheep, found it very difficult to get his wool away from there, so in 1852 bought the land at Joseph Price's whaling station at Ikoraki and moved there. In 1864, when the roads had been improved, he moved again to the present site.

Buchanan had been a sheepfarmer in a large way in Scotland before he came (by way of Australia) to New Zealand. Before buying Kinloch he spent some time with Caverhill at Motunau to see something of the country. He was one of the ablest of the squatters of his day, as was afterwards his son Hugh. Before he died, he had made thirteen thousand acres of the best of the run freehold and erected about 65 miles of wire fencing. He was a member of the old Provincial Council from 1866 till 1870. He died in 1877, aged page 34365. Soon after his death his executors bought Oashore, Rhodes's old run east of Lake Forsyth. On this run, which includes the sites of two old whaling stations, the freehold ran down to low-water mark, which is very unusual in Canterbury.

Buchanan's sons, Hugh D. and John F., went on with Kinloch until 1906, when they sold nearly thirteen thousand acres to the Government for closer settlement. The price was something over £120,000. H. D. Buchanan rented back from the Government his own house and about a thousand acres, while John Buchanan reserved the homestead and several thousand acres of freehold. During his time Kinloch was famous as the home of one of the most valuable thoroughbred studs in New Zealand. Martian was perhaps the best sire he had. He died in England in 1927 but the station still belongs to his executors.

After he left Kinloch, H. D. Buchanan took a large Maori leasehold near Gisborne. His sons have a property at Taihape.

(Runs 52 and 55afterwards united and re-numbered 550)

Taken simply as a place, Peraki has perhaps a more interesting history than any other station in Canterbury. Captain Hemplemann, a Danish whaling skipper, started a shore whaling station there in 1837; so I suppose Peraki has been continuously inhabited by white men longer than any other place in Canterbury. But my business is with sheep and cattle, not whaling. At least four good accounts of Hemplemann have been published—Andersen's perhaps the most judicious and accurate, Jacobson's the fullest, the Piraki Log (being mostly written by Hemplemann himself and his people) the most entertaining, and Hay's the shortest and simplest. Hemplemann did well for a few years, but he was a difficult, domineering page 344man, always in trouble with his men and his agents, and besides, the whales were getting scarcer, and his business faded away.

However, he claimed a legal right to about half Banks Peninsula, which he had bought from the Maoris; but the Government would not recognise his title to it. They offered him two thousand six hundred and fifty acres as compensation, which he refused until it was too late. He went on dreaming of what he believed to be his rights until he died at Akaroa Hospital in 1880, aged 81. He left his claims to his granddaughter, who has not persevered with them, and his diary, or log books, to Justin Aylmer, who passed them on to F. A. Anson, who edited and printed them. The originals are now in the Christchurch Museum. They were all he had to leave.

He fenced in a garden and grew potatoes at Peraki, but otherwise made no use of the land except for cutting bush and for pig hunting and shooting pigeons and kakas. In 1843 his whaling gear and rights were sold, by order of the Court, to Joseph Price of Ikoraki for £52, but I think he stayed on in Peraki for some years, working, I supnose, for Price.

At the end of 1851, John Watson, who had succeeded Robinson as magistrate at Akaroa, bought Rural Section 253, fifty acres, at Peraki, with Hemple-mann's buildings 'at the end of it,' which may mean either that they were just on it or just off.

Watson's cousin, Walter Carew, from Co. Waterford, settled on the section and started a sheep station there. He was allotted Run 52 of five thousand acres in September, 1852. This did not cover all his country; so in September, 1856, he took another five thousand acres, Run 55. In 1865, after a survey, the runs were found to contain between them nine thousand four hundred acres, and were joined and re-numbered Run 550. Carew took his son, Ponsonby Carew, into partnership. They made some of the run freehold, but were improvident, got into low water, and about 1871 sold the station to Captain Hawtry, R.N., who page 345also rented French Farm from the Dicken Trustees. Soon afterwards Hawtry was drowned with all hands while sailing his yacht from one property to the other.

In 1875, Snow and Anson, two young Englishmen, bought Peraki from Hawtry's widow. At that time the station carried only about 3000 sheep, two-thirds of them on freehold; but Snow and Anson tackled the bush in earnest. In 1880 they shore 5000, and by 1886 9000, but this may have been only while the sown bush ground was new. In 1891 Snow sold his share in the station to Anson, who shortly afterwards let or sold the upper part of the valley to a man called Pinckney. After that the flock was always a little over 4000, about a sheep to the acre on the land he had kept, which was all freehold by that time.

In 1905 Anson let the station to A. P. Robinson and went home to England, where he died a few years later. In 1910 the old homestead, a very large house, was burned with all its contents; it was built of timber all milled on the place. In 1912 Harold Piper, of Duvauchelle, bought the property. He died after living there a year or so, and in 1937 his executors sold it to Commander S. Hall, R.N.R., the present owner. It is now (1944) three thousand three hundred acres, and carries 3500 sheep and 400 head of cattle.

Of the early owners, the Carews were typical Irish landowners. They might have walked out of one of Lever's books. They were very fond of horses. Ponsonby Carew kept a stud of thoroughbreds at Peraki, and when the family left Peraki they lived in Christchurch, and one of them kept a livery stable in Oxford Terrace, where the Public Trustee's office is now. Anson once shewed me a hill on the run where he said there was a rock with a pool on it always full of cold, clear water. It was quite inaccessible to stock— even to dogs—but men could get at it easily. He said one of the Carews once had the bright idea of pouring a bottle of whisky into it, so as to have a nice cool drink when he passed it next, while mustering a few days later. But when he went for his drink three days page 346afterwards, he found the pool full of dead birds; it was evidently their drinking place and they had got drunk and fallen in and drowned.

I know nothing of Captain Hawtry, except that the introduction to the Piraki Log says that his father was the Rev. John Hawtry, a famous headmaster of Lower School at Eton.

F. P. Snow was one of the Snows of Oare, a wellknown West Somerset family, as readers of Lorna Doone may remember. When he left Peraki he went to the North Island, where he bought a property.

Frederick A. Anson was a younger brother of Sir William Anson, the well-known M.P. for Oxford University and Warden of All Souls. Fred Anson was educated at Eton and Oxford and was a clever and amusing man. His son succeeded to Sir William Anson's title, but was unluckily drowned soon afterwards while skylarking in a boat on the Thames.

In 1939 a memorial was erected on the foreshore at Peraki, a stone groin surmounted by one of the try-pots used by Hemplemann. It commemorates the centenary of the first whaling station in New Zealand which was established there by Captain Hemplemann.

Wakamoa and Land's End
(Run 13)

Run 13, of five thousand acres, was on the southwest end of Akaroa Harbour, the landward boundary running from Island Bay over Mount Bossu to a point about a mile south of Wainui. The only other boundary was the sea.

I think this was one of several runs on the peninsula which were taken up as an afterthought, the owners having first settled on smaller sections nearby. Elsewhere in Canterbury, I know of no run which the owner did not take up first as a run, afterwards choosing a place on it for his homestead.

Run 13 was allotted to James Wright and William page 347Lucas on May 1, 1852. Wright, who had served in the Life Guards before he left England, was afterwards known as the Baron of Wakamoa. He had been whaling off the peninsula in the 'forties, and settled at Island Bay as a shore whaler about 1848. The Cyclopedia of New Zealand says that he soon afterwards bought a fifty-acre section at Wakamoa, but Andersen says he did not buy any land there until 1862. I think he probably rented, and afterwards bought, a section which Colonel Muter had bought there in 1850.

Wright and Lucas did not work their run as partners, but each took his own part and ran his own stock. Lucas took the end near the west head and Wright the northern end. They both went in for dairying at first, Wright forming one of the best milking shorthorn herds in the province; but later on both changed over to sheep.

In the middle 'seventies Wright bought Lucas out and Lucas retired and went to Christchurch where he died. Wright eventually made some sixteen hundred acres of his run freehold. On this he carried from 1500 to 2000 sheep. He went on with this property until he died, aged 78, in 1894, and most of the property still belongs to his descendants.

The name Wakamoa is, of course, taken from the bay on which the homestead is situated; Land's End is obvious. But whether Lucas gave the name to his station first or whether someone else had already named the head when he went there, I do not know. The earliest quotation for the name that Andersen gives is February, 1851.

Other Peninsula Runs

There were four more Class III runs on Banks Peninsula, all on the eastern side, which I have never been on, and have only seen from the sea, so I can say little about them. However, I give a list of them, with such particulars as I can.

page 348

Run 77, of five thousand acres 'at the south-eastern end of Banks Peninsula '(so I suppose it was the run next north of Flea Bay) was taken up in March, 1853, and in 1864 it belonged to Etienne de Malmanche. From 1865 until 1868 it stands in the names of Malrnanche and Francois le Lievre (who was Malmanche's son-in-law). By 1874 it had dropped out of the list of runs, so had either been all bought freehold or reduced to a small grazing run. Malmanche and le Lievre were two of the most successful French colonists. In the 'thirties le Lievre had spent some time in Akaroa in a French whaler and returned to France before he came out again with the other colonists in 1840. He worked for some time as a blacksmith at Akaroa before he went in for sheepfarming, at which he did very well. He died at Akaroa in 1902, in his ninety-third year, and left many descendants. Etienne le Lievre was his son.

Run 70, of five thousand acres, was taken up in January, 1857, by P. Pidgeon. and F. Narbey. I don't know where the country lay but it was probably near Long Bay, where Pidgeon was settled at least as early as 1857. About 1867 the run was transferred to H. Magee, and that is the last trace I have seen of it. By 1874 it had dropped out of the list, though the sheep returns show Hugh Magee as having 600 to 1000 sheep until 1881. I know nothing of Pidgeon or Magee. The Cyclopedia of New Zealand says that F. Narbey arrived at Akaroa in 1849 and settled at Long Bay in 1854, and eventually bought four thousand acres of freehold there. He was born at Rouen in 1829, and died at Akaroa in 1913.

Run 364, of seven thousand acres 'at Pigeon Bay' was allotted in May, 1860. In 1864 it belonged to Richard John Phillip Fleming, of Port Levy, and by 1874 had been merged with other country and renumbered 704. Fleming was a well-known pioneer on Banks Peninsula and afterwards bought Ahuriri from the Rhodes's. He was born in London in 1819 and came to Canterbury in the Randolph in 1850. He page 349went straight to Port Levy in the ship's boat, having bought a freehold section and pre-emptive right there before leaving England. He eventually made a great deal of his runs into freehold. Two thousand six hundred and fifty acres of this still belongs to Miss G. M. Fleming, his granddaughter. A. E. Williams has managed it for over twenty years. No Fleming has lived there since 1920. E. W. Coop has Fernlea, their old homestead. R. J. P. Fleming died there in 1894.

Run 491, of five thousand acres at Le Bon's Bay, was first taken up by E. Rouse, in January, 1864. Rouse still held it in 1865, but by 1866 it had dropped out of the run list. I can find no trace of Rouse in the 1879 sheep returns, which are the earliest I have.

This completes all the Class III runs that I can trace on the Peninsula, except one which I once saw listed in an old manuscript book that used to be among the Land Office records, but cannot be found now. My notes of it were burnt many years ago, and I have forgotten its number, but it was of five thousand acres, lying at the head of Lyttelton Harbour and was taken up by Cotterill in 1851 or 1852. It was probably the same country that was afterwards occupied by Rhodes Brothers as Run 206. Cotterill is almost sure to have been the Rev. George, afterwards Canon Cotterill; and he probably either abandoned the run or sold it unstocked to the Rhodes brothers, though his son, Henry Cotterill, told me he could not remember hearing his father speak of ever having owned a run.

Andersen mentions a run at Godley Head, twentynine thousand acres, carrying 1000 sheep, in 1857, and belonging to Parkinson. I am quite sure there is a mistake about this. In 1857 there was no room for a run of half the size in any direction from Godley Head. Furthermore, there is no record of it in any of the lists of Class III runs. Andersen took the particulars from an old stock return, and I think either the stock inspector or his clerk must have written twentynine thousand for two thousand nine hundred. Parkinson was a butcher in Lyttelton, and may have had a page 350small run somewhere between Gollans Bay and Godley Head at the time.

Andersen also mentions Craigforth, Run 167, at Holmes Bay, ten thousand acres. I cannot trace this either, though the run lists of 1864 onwards show Holmes as a holder of a small Class I run, numbered 167. Anyhow, it must have been part of the country on which Captain Francis Sinclair settled in 1843, and which his family afterwards sold to George Holmes, the maker of the Lyttleton tunnel.