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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



In the hope that the natives might sell the Poverty Bay Flats to the Crown, George Rich (25/2/1851) bespoke four sheepruns for himself and his sons. The blocks which he desired were Maraetaha, Ko te Kuri (including Young Nick's Head), others extending to the Waipaoa River, and strips on both sides of the river as far as Waerenga-a-Hika! According to his journal (History of Hawke's Bay, p. 223), he set off on horseback with an unnamed companion in quest of southern runs on 10 November, 1851. Although the signatures to the deeds of purchase of the Ahuriri and Mohaka blocks were barely dry when they halted at Napier, he found that all the runs on both had been applied for. Upon Mr. McLean's advice he inspected the Ruataniwha Plains whilst en route to Wellington, where he arrived on Christmas Eve. Eventually, he obtained a grazing license over a large portion of Ruataniwha, and sent his son Alfred to Sydney to buy 2,000 ewes. He allowed his license to lapse, probably on account of the gazetting of new regulations reducing the tenure in respect of such licenses from 14 years to a license terminable at any time. “Rich,” Mr. McLean noted in his journal, “seems an exceedingly agreeable man, but extravagant in his speculative ideas on sheep-grazing, etc. He thinks of making a fortune all at once.” F. W. Williams, of Napier, informed the writer that Rich lived in a cottage near the Whakato mission station, and that Mrs. Rich, for a time, instructed Bishop W. Williams's younger daughters in sewing. Rich was manager of the Matamata Land Co.'s estate at Morrinsville in the 1880's.