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

The Hororata Station — (Runs 67 and 96)

The Hororata Station
(Runs 67 and 96)

This station of seventeen thousand acres ran from the Hororata to the Rakaia and was bounded on the west by the Terrace Station. Sanderson and Brayshaw took up Run 67 (the Rakaia end), I think at the same time as they took up their part of the Terrace Station. Justin Aylmer and Spencer Perceval took up Run 96 (the Hororata end) in August, 1853, and bought Run 96 from Sanderson and Brayshaw shortly afterwards. Perceval had interests in other stations and it was Aylmer who looked after Hororata. In 1859 John Cordy, an ex-farmer from Suffolk, bought Hororata from Aylmer and Perceval. I have written an account of Perceval in my note on Easedale Nook. Aylmer became warden of the Goldfields in Otago and was afterwards for many years magistrate at Akaroa where he died in the 'eighties.

Cordy was a well known character in the old days, and known as 'Honest John.' He was born in 1805 and arrived in Canterbury with his wife and two children in the Travancore early in 1851. His first venture was a small run near the Bridle Path (it afterwards became part of Mt. Pleasant) where he grazed newly landed sheep for their owners, and bought and sold stock on commission. He afterwards managed page 83Homebush cattle station for a time and ran a dairy farm there. Old hands said that when he first came over the Bridle Path he met a Maori, and neither knew what to make of the other, but Cordy tried to put things right by shouting 'I'm honest John Cordy from Suffolk. Is it peace or war? Is it peace or war?'

Cordy made several thousand acres of his run freehold. He died in 1886. His executors carried on the station until 1898, when they sold it to F. J. Savill with 6000 sheep for £13,000, some two thousand acres on the Rakaia having been previously sold to Wason of Corwar. Savill made most of the remainder of the run freehold and sold the station to William Cunningham for £26,000 in 1904. Two well known sheepmen of last century managed Hororata for Savill at different times while he was in England—'Baltic Jack' Allen and Peter Grant.

Savill afterwards had many other stations, including Mt. Possession, Craigieburn, and Mt. White. He still [1945] has St. Helens, and is the biggest owner of sheep in Canterbury, but lives mostly in England.

Cunningham did not keep Hororata long, and since his time it has changed hands several times, each owner selling off some of the land.

In 1919 H. M. Reeves bought the homestead and, besides fattening sheep and growing wheat, did well there with a thoroughbred stud. He died in 1934, but the farm still belongs to his family. There are only about three hundred and fifty acres of it left, but a combination of shade, shelter, and strong sound land, makes it one of the nicest farms in Canterbury.

It was at Hororata that I wrote most of this book, and I had the bad luck to be working at it there in 1924 when the house was burnt to the ground and notes which I had been thirty years collecting went up in smoke.