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


page 131

Johannes Andersen has skilfully disentangled the earliest history of most of the South Canterbury stations in his Jubilee History of South Canterbury, a book which everyone interested in the subject should read. He has kindly allowed me to borrow freely from it.

The front-country runs south of the Rangitata were, with very few exceptions, taken up before those between the Rangitata and Rakaia. I think this was because the country between the Rangitata and Waitaki was accessible from the old shore whaling station which had been established near Timaru in the 'thirties, where there was a practicable landing place from schooners.

As I should have said in the last chapter, Sir George Grey, the Governor, in October, 1851, appointed Lieut.-Colonel James Campbell, Commissioner of Crown Lands for Canterbury outside the Block. There is a written list of runs in the Canterbury Public Library which shows that Campbell allotted over fifty runs outside the Block to various persons, on 27th September, 1853. These persons had applied for the runs from June, 1851, onwards. Some thirty of the runs lay south of the Block. Several applicants had felt confident enough to start stations before Campbell allotted the runs.

In 1854 Campbell was superseded, and William Guise Brittan, the Provincial Government's Commis-page 132Crown sioner ofLands, was given authority over the whole waste lands of the province, both in the Block, and beyond it. Brittan was much stricter than Campbell in making the tenants carry out the conditions of lease. He found that many runs in South Canterbury were still unstocked, and issued fresh licenses with different numbers, but gave back most of the runs to the old tenants.

The Provincial Government tried to persuade the runholders outside the Block to exchange their licenses under the New Zealand regulations for licenses under the Canterbury regulations, but the rents were slightly lower and conditions easier under the New Zealand regulations and several runs were held under them until 1870.