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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)

Arrival of the First Settlers

Arrival of the First Settlers.

The first party of the settlers of the Association arrived in December, 1850. To reach the Plains they had to walk over the bridle path and send their baggage and stores round by sea to Sumner, and thence by boats up the Avon and Heathcote rivers. Naturally, the question of means of communication received their early attention. A meeting of land purchasers was held in 1851, and at this meeting the construction of a tunnel through the hill was mentioned, but the work was considered to be beyond the resources of the settlers. The meeting also considered a proposal to raise a loan to complete the Sumner road, but failed, too, to reach any definite conclusion on this matter.

In June, 1852, the Imperial Government passed an Act to grant Representative Constitution to the Colony of New Zealand. On advice page 43 of this reaching the Colony, steps were at once taken by the Governor, Sir George Grey, to give effect to its provisions. There was also issued a proclamation, dated 5th March, 1853, constituting the electoral districts of each province, and directing the procedure for the election of Superintendents and Provincial Councils.