The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5 (August 1, 1935)
No Land for Sheep-men
No Land for Sheep-men.
But it was a hopeless country for sheep. The whole of the western slopes and the level land below were densely forested, a great surprise, and disappointment, to the men from the Eastern plain. Westland (that name had not then been coined for the new country) was clearly no place for a pastoralist. Gold had not then been discovered, the West was to the sheep-run men a useless wilderness.
So back the explorers came, deciding to be content with the eastern slopes of the great tussock land. On their way home they suffered a wetting in the flooded waters of a Rakaia head branch, in flood from the melting snows in the midsummer weather. They had noted down a description of the upper Rakaia country, and they applied to the Land Board in Christ-church for a lease of about 10,000 acres of it, though it was poor country for sheep. The lease was granted to them, but they never stocked the land, and so the claim lapsed.
So ended the exploration of the unknown country, a series of expeditions into the Alpine land on which Butler presently based so much of his descriptions in “Erewhon” and “Erewhon Revisited.”