Changing Land, A – Sir Donald McLean’s Maraekakaho – 1857 to Today Pamphlet

Changing Land, A – Sir Donald McLean’s Maraekakaho – 1857 to Today

Alan Scarfe

There has never been a New Zealand book like A Changing Land before. The first two parts tell the story of the development of Hawke’s Bay’s Maraekakaho, one of the country’s largest and most iconic sheep and cattle stations which was established by Donald McLean and then further developed by his son Douglas McLean.

Sir Donald played a prominent role in 19th century New Zealand as the Government’s Chief Land Purchase Commissioner and then as a cabinet minister. Sir Douglas, a major runholder by any standards, devoted much of his life to building an international reputation for Maraekakaho’s sheep, cattle and horse studs. Early in the 20th century, in response to the Liberal Government’s determination to ‘break up’ the large estates, he began selling significant parts of the run.

The equally absorbing final part of A Changing Land traces how much of Maraekakaho has evolved into a varied patchwork of stock and cropping farms, vineyards, smallholdings, olive groves, alpaca farms and tree plantations over the last century.

Maraekakaho – then and now – has touched the lives of many hundreds of Hawke’s Bay families; and the story of the McLeans’ development of the great run will be of interest to all those – academics and general public – fascinated by the country’s social and farming history.

Author Alan Scarfe was a builder, and had worked on Maraekakaho land. In retirement he completed a masters degree in history, researching and writing about Sir Donald McLean and his great pastoral run, and he has also studied Maori at university. This book is the result of exhaustive research over a number of years.

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