Newspaper Article 1999 – 130 years of farming in Hawke’s Bay

130 years of farming in Hawke’s Bay

HEY DAYS AND DRAY DAYS – The Story of Olrig Station and District by R. J. Paterson; published by CHB Print, Waipukurau; 225 large format pages, pictures, maps, hardback with jacket; price $50. Reviewed by Brian Duggan.

THE HISTORY of Olrig Station spans 130 years covering the early colonial acquisition period through to the end of the Victorian era and beyond, to the new millennium.

Diaries, newspaper and business records supply most of the primary source material for this comprehensive study.

Here is a treasure trove of photographs, statistics, names, dates and all manner of information including even farm invoices.

It is a vast collection of material most of which would not have been available for public access until now.

Because of the number of records there is probably enough material for a second book, there is more than one theme available here.

The records tell year by year tribulations, success and struggles of life in rural New Zealand. Droughts, floods, storms, earthquakes, fires, were hardships on the farm a way of life, and had to be overcome.

This book discovers the genealogy of a few first English immigrant families who are responsible for a lifestyle which was to become our tradition and the New Zealand way.

This is a history of the earliest farming communities in Hawke’s Bay. It is the story of development of the agriculture industry and progress of a people. It is the record of special significance to this region and the book will have value as research material. Also important are the family and business origins which are intertwined with life and experience of the Olrig Station.

The history has its beginnings with Hector William Pope Smith who founded Olrig Station in 1859. His sons followed in these footsteps for a life on the land and settled in and around the district.

There are now more than 30 families who can trace their farming roots to the original Olrig.

The book is in recognition of these pioneers, the material has rich detail with names and especially dates of persons and events.

A book with special interest to Central and Southern Hawke’s Bay.

Photo captions –

Stock from Olrig Station was driven for many years. Here a mob of Smith Brothers ewes arrives for sale at Stortford Lodge, c. 1915.

Graham de Gruchy and champion galloper Horlicks at ‘Netherby’. The mare won the Japan Cup in 1989.

An annual ball ticket of 1904. When a head shepherd’s weekly wage was 30 shillings, a ball costing 7s and 6d must have been a very special event.

FRIDAY, 17th JUNE, 1904
Tickets 7s 6d.    R.H. ABSOLOM
Hon. Secretary

Olrig Station’s 20-stand woolshed, upgraded in 1895. Machines powered by a steam engine were installed in 1901. Photo: c1902

Dog trial scene, huntaway course at Olrig, 1989.

Ewes crossing Whanakino Gorge for shearing, November 1990. Inset: Drafting lambs at Black Flat, 1990.

Original digital file


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Business / Organisation

Olrig Station

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

10 April 1999

Creator / Author

  • Brian Duggan


The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today

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