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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]

Land Board

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Land Board.

The Westland Land Board meets on the third Wednesday of each month at the Land Survey Offices, Fitzherbert Street, Hokitika. The Board has virtually full power over the disposal of all Crown lands in Westland; that is, of those lands that have been withdrawn from the goldfields, which are under the control of the Warden. In the year 1905, a number of surveyors were engaged in cutting up blocks with a view to settlement. These lands are being taken up by residents of the West Coast, and persons from various parts of the colony, with a view to stock raising, and for dairy-farming purposes. Members of the Board for 1905: Messrs G. J. Roberts, chairman: J. S. Lang, A. Cumming, and M. Pollock.

Mr. George John Roberts . Chairman of the Westland Land Board, was born in Wellington in the year 1848, educated in England, and trained as a civil engineer in Glasgow. He returned to New Zealand in 1869, joined the Land and Survey Department in Wellington in 1872, and after passing through several grades of the service, was promoted to his present position as Commissioner of Crown Lands and Chief Surveyor for Westland.

Mr. John S. Lang , J.P., is a member of the Westland Land Board. He was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, in the year 1838, and followed farm work from his boyhood. In 1857 Mr. Lang caught the gold fever, and emigrated to Victoria, in the barque “Ida,” from Liverpool, and worked on the Ararat goldfields; after which he was employed on railway contracts at Castlemaine. Mr. Lang came to New Zealand in 1860, visited the Otago goldfields, and was subsequently employed in the erection of the telegraph line between the Molyneux and Invercargill. In the “rush” of 1865 he went to Hokitika, and for a time engaged in bush work, but in 1867 he took up fifty acres of land at Kokatahi. Mr. Lang was a member of the Westland County Council for three years as representative for Kanieri riding, and he was chairman during one year of his term. He is a member of the Hokitika Agricultural and Pastoral Association, at whose shows he has been a large prize-winner. Mr. Lang's model dairy farm is as fine a property as can be found in Westland, and even compares favourably with farms in the pastoral districts of Wellington and Canterbury. There are 500 acres of land, of which 200 have been cleared
Mr. J. S. Lang.

Mr. J. S. Lang.

and sown in English grasses. About thirty-five Jersey milch cows are grazed—the number varying with the season. A De Laval separator is used in the dairy, and is capable of treating thirty-three gallons of milk per hour; it is worked with a four-feet water-wheel, supplied by a water-race about a mile long. Over one hundred pounds of butter per week are turned out during the winter months and more than double that amount during summer and autumn, and the highest price is obtained for the butter; the “Familiar” brand being a sufficient guarantee of quality. Mr. Lang was the first to introduce water-power for dairy purposes on the West Coast. The cowsheds and yards are well built, and contain nineteen stalls, in which the cows are housed during the winter months, and hand-fed. By this mean; they are kept in health, and give milk in greater quantity. Mr. Lang has also been successful as a poultry-keeper. His farm at Kokatahi is now (1905) let to a tenant, and Mr. Lang himself resides in Hokitika.

Mr. Michael Pollock was appointed a member of the Land Board for Westland in the year 1902. He was born in 1843, in London. England, where he was educated. In 1855, Mr. Pollock arrived in Melbourne, Australia, where he gained his first experience of mercantile life. In 1862, he was attracted to New Zealand by the Gabriel's Gully rush, and various other goldfields. Mr. Pollock settled in Hokitika in 1867, and entered into partnership with Mr. John Bevan, under the style of Pollock and Bevan. He is treasurer of the Hokitika Hospital and Benevolent Society, and is a trustee of the Hokitika Savings Bank.

Revell Street, Hokitika, in 1898.

Revell Street, Hokitika, in 1898.