The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series
Raukapuka — (Runs 18 N.Z.R., 31 N.Z.R. and 43 N.Z.R.; afterwards — Runs 280, 457 and 551)
(Runs 18 N.Z.R., 31 N.Z.R. and 43 N.Z.R.; afterwards
Runs 280, 457 and 551)
Ruakapuka ran from the Orari to the Hae Hae te Moana, and from the sea to the foot of the hills. In the earliest days it ran up the Orari to a point above Andrew's Creek and up the Hae Hae te Moana to Mackintosh's hut, a little above Fourpeaks Station, but when Tripp and Acland took up Orari Gorge the owner of Raukapuka sold them the hill frontage. Some years later Tripp bought the lease of four or five thousand acres below this again, and made it freehold, this last block roughly corresponding to the cultivated part of the Tripp settlement.
Colonel Campbell granted Runs 18 and 31, of twenty thousand acres each, to Muter and Francis on 1st November, 1853. Muter and Francis sold them to Alfred Cox, an Australian squatter, in 1854. Cox describes this purchase, made in Australia, in his Recollections, in which he also gives a lively account of his adventures in Canterbury and elsewhere.
Cox subsequently bought Run 43, of twenty-six thousand acres, from George Duppa, who took it up, but I cannot find in what year.
Cox came to New Zealand on a reconnoitring visit in 1854, but did not come to live here until 1857. In the meantime William Dumoulin managed his runs.
As with most of the earlier southern runs, the leases of Raukapuka were re-granted and amended, but it page 155does not seem necessary to go into details.
Cox bought fifteen hundred acres of the freehold of his run for 10/-an acre, it being outside the Block, and also two thousand acres at 12/6 an acre, from the Studholmes, which they had bought on his run before it was taken up. I do not know how much freehold he bought altogether. It is said that one of his stockmen found a way into some beautiful sound country, which was surrounded by what had been supposed to be an impenetrable swamp, and recommended putting 2000 merino wethers in there after shearing. They all became fat, and in the autumn were sold to go to the diggings, and the money they brought enabled Cox to buy the freehold of the piece of country which had fattened them.
In 1861 Cox bought the Kakahu Station from Campion and worked it with Raukapuka until he sold it to Major Hornbrook—I think in 1870.
After Cox settled permanently in New Zealand, his first manager was his brother-in-law, Grant McPherson, and his last was his half-brother, J. A. Gammick, who was also his partner in Braemar and other stations.
Cox sold Raukapuka in 1870. He sold it either to Sir Thomas Tancred or to Selby Tancred, his son, I am not sure which. I have not been able to find the transfer, and some people who ought to know have told me it was one, some the other. Without searching the title deeds, it is impossible to make sure.
Anyhow the station was divided between them. Selby lived at the Raukapuka homestead, and Sir Thomas lived near Woodbury and worked the western side of the country. In the sheep returns of 1878 he had 2000 sheep running on the freehold there and 4000 on leasehold. In 1879 he transferred it to his younger son, Clements Tancred, who sold it a year or so later to Jack Barker, the father of the present owner. It is known as the Waihi Estate.
Mrs Tripp, in her account of the early days, describes Sir Thomas at this time, as a charming but eccentric old man of apostolic appearance, with snow-white hair and beard, rather deaf, and very short-sighted. One page 156evening, he took a sunflower for a man looking in at his window, and fired his gun at it.
Selby Tancred was a civil engineer. He eventually succeeded to his father's baronetcy. He soon got into deep water at Raukapuka, and took a man into partnership who could not carry out his engagements, which made the position still worse. He finally sold the station to W. Postlethwaite in 1875. A man named Ferguson, who had been for many years overseer for Robinson at Cheviot Hills, managed for Tancred and stayed on for some time with Postlethwaite.
Until 1882, Cox still retained part of his freehold which became the Riversleigh Estate. Afterwards he was unlucky enough to transfer his operations to the North Island, and this grand old pioneer lost most of his ample fortune in trying to drain some swamp up there. He eventually returned to Christchurch where he died.
Postlethwaite shore 12,000 sheep (8,000 carried on freehold) in 1878; and continued to shear over 10,000 until 1887; but about that time he began selling off the land, and in 1891 let the remainder, fourteen hundred acres, to M. C. Orbell, for 14 years. In 1901, before the lease had expired, Postlethwaite sold the place to J. Campbell. Later on Raukapuka was further subdivided, and sold by auction, when J. Connelly, the well-known sheep dealer, bought the homestead. Since then the land has been sold bit by bit, and most of the home paddocks are now covered by a suburb of Geraldine. The homestead, now a farm of six hundred acres, belongs to J. Macdonald.
The first owners, Muter and Francis, were the same people who took up the Desert Station on the Waimakariri. George Duppa was a younger brother of Bryan Duppa, of Hollingbourne in Kent, the man who originally suggested the formation of the Nelson Company. George Duppa came to New Zealand in 1840 and spent some time in Nelson. He came south in the late 'forties, and took up St. Leonards Station in the Amuri, which he sold to Rhodes and Wilkin. He was page 157one of the first New Zealanders to return to England with a fortune.