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

Manuka Point — (Runs 447 and 508)

Manuka Point
(Runs 447 and 508)

This station lies between the Rakaia and Mathias rivers and runs back to the main range from the Mathias Pass to the Whitcombe Pass.

page 211

Run 447 of five thousand acres, the first of the country there to be taken up, was allotted to Joseph Palmer on 22nd June, 1863. Palmer was for many years the manager of the Union Bank in Lyttelton and Christchurch, and owned Double Hill on the other side of the Rakaia. He did not live on his station, and it was his manager at Double Hill who explored Manuka Point and got him to apply for the lease of it. In 1864 Palmer took up Run 508, of five thousand acres, one of the last allotments of new country in Canterbury. He continued to pay the rent, but never stocked Manuka Point.

At the end of May, 1874, Palmer sold both Double Hill and Manuka Point to William Gerard, of Snowdon, who was the first man to stock Manuka Point. When he first burnt the thousands of acres of scrub that were there, the fire was so great that the smoke clouds came down to Lyttelton.

In the old days, the musterers used to say that Manuka Point was the 'roughest shop in Canterbury.' There is a great deal of bush there, and there was a yarn that eight musterers started to bring a mob of four hundred wild sheep off the tops, and when they got down through the bush to the river-bed they only had one old ewe and a lamb.

Some time in the 'nineties, Manuka Point was transferred to Gerard's daughter, Mrs George MurrayAynsley, who had in the meantime bought Mt. Algidus, but she lost the lease of it about 1907, when the Scotts, of the Windwhistle, went there. After the Scotts, T. S. Johnston had Manuka Point for a time. He moved the homestead from the point itself to where it is now.

J. C. N. Bond and George Gerard bought it in 1920. Bond died in 1924, but Gerard went on with the station. C. G. Cran managed it for a long time in conjunction with the old Mt. Hutt homestead. Cran was succeeded by Lawrence Walker, who bought the station from Gerard in 1937 and has it still [1945].

The country above Manuka Point, between Totara Point and Whitcombe's Pass, was once taken up as a separate run by Duncan, who built a hut there and page 212turned out two thousand sheep, but he lost most of them in the 'ninety-five winter and abandoned the run. He was snow-bound himself in his hut, and a party had to go up the river to rescue him.

Alfred Comyns, William Gerard, junior, and J. G. Richards discovered the Mathias Pass. They first noticed what looked like a pass from a high top when mustering at Manuka Point, and later on made an expedition to it.