Orua Wharo History


1853 to 1914.

Robert Johnston was born at Loveston in the parish of Dailly, Ayreshire on May 10th 1783.  He married Mary Woods on March 25th 1805 at Ayr.  He was on the stock exchange in London. A small portrait of him, being a copy by Nichol of a larger one, hangs in the hall above the mantle-piece at Orua Wharo.  His son, John Johnston, the original owner of Orua Wharo, was born at Turnbury Lodge in the parish of Kirkoswald on 25th July 1809, educated in Paris and died at Wellington New Zealand on 16th November 1887.  He married on December 1st 1838, Henrietta Charlotte Hatton, daughter of John Hatton of Atherston, Warwick.  She died at Wellington New Zealand on February 23rd 1878.  They had 3 sons and 3 daughters.  John Johnston was also a member of the London Stock Exchange, his business address being 5 Hartin Court, Throgmorton Street, London.

The first recorded connection of the Johnstons with New Zealand was the purchase by John of 2 small sections of land in the Bay of Islands which he does not appear to have ever occupied. In 1842 at the age of 33 years he emmigrated to New Zealand, arriving at Wellington in December of that year in the ship “Prince of Wales” with his wife and 3 children -: Walter Woods, Sydney and Agnes Mary, the last named being born on the voyage. Among the passengers on this ship was T. Purvis Russell who first took up land in the Wairarapa, eventually moving to Hawke’s Bay and became, first in partnership with Daniel Riddiford, the owner of Hatuma or Woburn as it was sometimes known. It was the adjoining run to Orua Wharo and became prominent in the 1900s, it being the first run in Hawke’s Bay to be taken compulsorily for closer settlement under the Land for Settlement policy of John McKenzie the Minister of Lands in the Seddon administration of that time. Purvis Russell, who was incidently an absentee owner, living most of his time in Scotland, opposed the Government by all legal means even to the Privy council, but was unsuccessful. The run consisted of 27000 acres and the compensation paid was £4:17:9 an acre.  It was cut up into 554 farms and 4 small grazing runs and offered for selection on 25th April 1901 (See History of Hawke’s Bay page 290 complied by J.G. Wilson of Hatuma and published 1940).  It is hard to know why John Johnston should have left England with his wife and young family facing a 4 months voyage in a sailing vessell and the hardships he knew must


exist in a colony which had only two years before been declared a British possession.  He left England in what are known as the “hungry 40s”, but the commercial classes do not at that period appear to have experienced bad times.  It was the labouring classes who were suffering and the Chartist Riots were the result of their wretched conditions. From what can be gathered from early New Zealand history the position at this time in the Colony particularly in Wellington, was extremely bad. The New Zealand Company had sent out an advance party in the “Tory” in 1839 in charge of Colonel Wakefield, whose instructions were to purchase land from the Natives on which to settle the immigrants who were to follow later on.  The first ship loads arrived in 1840 to be followed at intervals by further drafts.  Most of the settlers bought their land on paper before leaving England at approximately £1 an acre.  On arrival they found that either the surveys had not been completed, or that the Maoris, owing to their peculiar tribal laws, had repudiated the sales made to Wakefield and were treating the new settlers in a hostile manner.  The Company could not give possession of their land or any protection from the Natives, to those who were endeavouring to make their homes on the land they had purchased in England and thought they owned.  Then came the Treaty of Waitangi which forbade the alienation of native land to any other than the Crown and the refusal of Governor Hobson to recognise the Company’s purchases from the Natives until they had been investigated by a Commission.  This began its work eventually in 1842 and cut down the Company’s claims from 20 million acres to 283000 acres.  Those men who had postponed purchasing land until their arrival in New Zealand, were debarred from buying from the Maoris, the Crown had no money to buy land and settlement for the time being was at a standstill.  Public meetings were being held to debate the question whether it would be better to abandon the country and move “en masse” to South America. (See Life of Sir F. Weld by Lady Lovat page 19;

W.P. Reeves in his book “Aotea-te-Roa” states that in 1843 neither at Wellington nor Nelson had more than 1000 acres been cleared or cultivated. “Early Wellington” a book written by L.E. Ward gives the following statistics of the Wellington settlement in 1846) “Area 327 square miles, Population 3977, Under crop 1523 acres, Horses 265, Cattle 3483. Sheep 19461, Persons employed in Agriculture 501.  The value of imports is set down as £59416 and exports as £1281.” The exports could only


have consisted of timber, flax, potatoes, a small quantity of wool and products of trading with the whalers.  John Johnston on his arrival apparently set up in business as a merchant and it would be interesting to know of what amount of capital he had command because in the initial stages the income from his business must have been very small.  He is reported to have said in after life that, though he had built up a lucrative business and acquired a considerable amount of property in New Zealand, he considered he would have done equally as well had he remained in England.

Serious trouble with the Natives began in 1843 when what is known as the “Wairau Massacre” occurred, Captain Wakefield and some 20 men being killed.  As no reprisals or “utu” as the Maoris called it, were demanded for this outrage, the Maoris under the chiefs Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, became more truculent and hampered the settlers in their endeavours to build houses and cultivate their land.  As a result the inhabitants of Wellington were enrolled as a militia all persons between the ages of 18 and 60 became eligible for service and compelled to drill not less than 28 days in the year.  Severe earthquakes were experienced in 1848 and 1855, the latter being the worst and was bad enough to induce a number of people to leave the colony.  It is interesting to note that according to “Early Wellington” there was an election for Mayor and Aldermen of Wellington, George Hunter being elected Mayor.  There were 350 voters who paid £1 cash for the right to vote.  In the “Life of Sir Frederick Weld” a very good description of the conditions in New Zealand when he arrived in Wellington in April 1844, is given on pages 19 and 20.  Among other interesting details the following quotation is given from his reminiscences “ I liked the county from the beginning and believed it had a great future/before it.  But of those who first came the great majority came to grief in one way and another, some morally, some physically, the greatest number financially.  Of the 35 cabin passengers who sailed with me in the “Theresa” not above 2 or 3 were successful. It was a case of the survival of the fittest.”  Such briefly were the conditions in New Zealand when John Johnston and his family arrived and it shows the grit, determination and vision possessed by so many of the earlier settlers who battled on against all the trials and growing pains of a young community such as existed at Wellington and in general over the whole


of New Zealand. They were confronted all the time by a hostile Colonial Office in England, who after the experience with America looked upon the colonies as a liability and did all that was possible to discourage the settlement of Britain’s surplus population overseas, though quite prepared to dump her undesirables in these outlandish parts. It was only the fear that France might annex New Zealand and the fact that the New Zealand company was sending out immigrants, that the Colonial Secretary’s hand was forced and the Government sent out Governor Hobson in 1840 with instructions to enter into the Treaty or Waitangi with the Maoris and establish British Government in New Zealand. The Wairarapa being the largest area of comparatively easy and open country adjacent to Wellington, it was the first district to attract the attention of settlers who wished to take up land in larger areas than that provided by the New Zealand Company. As it was illegal to purchase land direct from the Natives, large blocks of land were leased through the Maori chiefs and by 1850 practically all the available land in the Wairarapa was occupied under this unsatisfactory form of tenure (see History of Hawkes Bay page 192). The settlers were more or less dependant on the goodwill of the Natives and this led to numerous quarrells and disputes, the practice being eventually forbidden by Government Ordnance in 1847. However this did not put a stop to these negotiations and there are several instances of settlers making their own arrangements with Maoris in defiance of the regulation. (see letter quoted in History of Hawkes Bay pages 195 and 212.) That the settlers in the Wairarapa were not satisfied with their runs, probably on account of the tenure, is evidenced by the fact that a number of them left their holdings there and took up land in other parts of New Zealand. Tiffen and Northwood and T. Purvis Russell were original Wairarapa settlers the former having in 1847 2700 sheep and Purvis Russell 800. In 1847 Tiffen and Northwood secured, in spite of the opposition of Colenso the missionary, a lease from the Natives of 50,000 acres know as Pourerere. They stocked it with 3000 merino ewes bought in Sydney and landed them at Wellington. They were then driven through the Wairarapa to Castle Point and up the coast to Pourerere, arriving there on 30th January 1849 being the first sheep to be intrduced [introduced] into Central Hawkes Bay. (Hawkes Bay History page 248) Clifford and Weld originally Wairarapa settlers


went south taking up large runs at Flaxbourne in Malborough and Stonyhurst in North Canterbury. In order to prevent further irregular settlement and to satisfy the demand for land, the Government decided to purchase land from the Natives in large areas and re-let or sell to settlers. Accordingly Donald McLean (later Sir Donald McLean of Maraekakaho) was appointed Land Purchase Officer and proceeded to Hawkes Bay by the way of the Manawatu Gorge. He entered into negotiations with the Maoris for the sale of the Ahuriri and Waipukurau or Hapuku Blocks, which he completed in November 1851. The country was then opened for selection under what was know as Depasturing Licenses. These licenses were for a period of 14 years, the area being limited to what was estimated to carry 25000 sheep. The annual license fee was £5 with the addition of £1 per 1000 sheep carried above 5000. It was permissable to purchase an area of not more than 80 acres for a homestead site. The remainder of the run could be sold at any time. (History of Hawkes Bay page 223.) In February 1852 by instructions received from London, the tenure of 14 years was cancelled and the licenses could be terminated at any time. This naturally caused discontent among the licensees and meetings of protest were held in Hawkes Bay. In March 1853 the Governor Sir George Grey, issued new regulations by which settlers were permitted to purchase the land acquired by the Government from the Maoris, at 5/- an acre for pastoral country and 10/- an acre for agricultural land. (e.p [g]. The price of land in Canterbury under the Canterbury Settlement Association was at this time £3 an acre reduced later to £2). The Native Land Act of 1862 removed the pre-emptive right of the Government to purchase land from the Natives and enabled individuals to treat (with certain restrictions) for the  purchase direct from the native owners. This act was repealed in 1894. (See Hawkes Bay History page 213.)

The stage has now been reached when what I have been able to find out about John Johnston’s acquisition of Orua Wharo should be recorded.

A large portion of Orua Wharo was included in the native block known as Aorangi. From an early date the Maoris have maintained that a portion of this block was not included in the original sale to the Government by the leading chief Hapuku, of the Waipukurau or Hapuku Block. Donald McLean represented the Government


and agreed to buy 270000 acres being authorized to pay a lump sum of £3000. Hapuku however wrote to Sir George Grey asking that the sum be increased to £4800. When McLean came to Waipukurau to finalize the sale he was able to tell Hapuku that Grey had agreed to the extra £1800 being paid. Hapuku was so pleased with the Governor’s generosity that he decided to add another block to the original area sold, as a token of his appreciation. McLean’s private journals deal with this particular land sale negotiation when he came to finalize the deal and make payment
The following are extracts -: “Started for Te Aute where we spent the night. Hapuku engaged with the Natives arranging boundaries (of) the block he intends to cede for the extra payment he received.” An entry dated 17th December 1851. -: “With Messrs Park, Rich, Wi Tako (of Wellington) Queen Puhara and others we rode to the Mimi and Kauru, thence to the northen [northern] point of the boundary of the new block and along the Ruataniwha. Hapuku having described, as we came along, the boundaries and extent of the block which is a good and handsome one, quite in keeping with Hapuku’s ideas of doing things in a good way and on a grand scale.” As a result a new line appeared on the old maps know as “Park’s new line” which was drawn to include the extra area given by “Hapuku to the Crown. It would seem that Hapuku did not inform all the owners interested when he made this area available in addition to the original block agreed to be sold, for from time to time claims have been made by the Maoris that this area was wrongfully included in the Waipukurau Block and had never been paid for. As a result two Commissions have investigated their claims – one in 1873 and one in 1920. The former dismissed the claim, Judge F.E. Manning, one of its members stating “The claim seems to have been invented about the time of the first Land Courts when Natives were looking round for every piece to which they could set up a title”. The 1920 commission reported in favour of the Maoris but nothing was done to settle their claims until 1949 when just prior to going out of office the Labour Government awarded the Natives £50000 as compensation, An article written by Mr J. G. Wilson, the author of the History of Hawkes Bay, appeared in the “Hawkes Bay Herald recently and from which I have quoted, sets out the position and proves that the Natives have no real claim. It seems strange that Sir Donald McLean who was alive in 1873 and had been party to all the transactions was not called in evidence. John Johnston’s title to the land he was interested in in this block was unimpeachable, as Crown Grants were


issued to him, one in 1862 and two in 1870. (See volume 8 Crown Grant Register at the Land and Survey Office, Napier) Never-the-less Mrs Rolleston can remember a Maori (Solomon) coming and stating that the land on which the present homestead stands belonged to him and borrowing(?) money from her father to pay his expenses to Wellington in order to establish his claim! In 1923 the Native Land Court held a sitting in Waipukurau to consider the claims of individual Maoris to be included in the Aorangi Block, presumable on the assumption that the Government were going to pay out compensation in view of the favourable recommendation of the 1920 Commission. Mr Hallet of Hastings appeared for one of the claimants before this Court and was kind enough to let me have notes of the evidence given. It is very contradictory but I have set out below that which has any bearing on early Orua Wharo.

Hami Pikea in evidence stated. -: In 1853 Hutana and others leased this block to Edward and Henry Harris. The lease was taken over by Inglis and subsequently by Johnston, who later acquired the land from the Crown. Some years after the purchase from the Crown he endeavoured to shift the Natives. A fire occurred and the houses were burnt.

Ihaia Hutana aged 78 in evidence stated -: Hore Hore is right in Aorangi. My kaianga was at Orua Wharo between Awanui stream and a stream to the south. Rangitahia was on the other side of the Maharakeke stream. Orua Wharo was a kaianga of the Ngati-Toroiwako tribe. Mangapapa another kaianga. It is on Wheuahou [Whenuahou]. Orua Wharo was occupied by the Toroiwako both before and after the migration to Nukutaurua (Mahia). They came back before 1841 I think and resided there till 1864. Johnston told them to go before 1864. The houses were burnt in 1864. They had cultivations at Orua Wharo of kumara and potatoes. The burial ground was at Mangapapa. Remember the sale in 1854 of Umuopua. Remember Aorangi being leased in 1853 to Edward Harris and his younger brother. Inglis got lease from Harris and after than Johnston got it from Inglis. Johnston wanted to get us off his property in 1864. Houses were burnt shortly after and we went to Mangapapa, then to Pakowhai to see Karaitiana, Remember the Commission in 1873. Petitions were put in in 1902 and 1911. Horomana Rangapara principal petitioner He died in 1910. I am certain that I and the Ngati-Toroiwako were at Orua Wharo at the time of the fire. They were there in 1862. The


woolshed was burnt in 1864, it was quite close to the Kaianga, the shed belonged to Johnston. We were living in our own houses, the houses we were living in were not part of the station buildings.

Te Katia stated in evidence -: I have never heard of the Ngaitahu living at Takapau. Some of the Ngati Toroiwako lived at Mangapapa. Mangapapa was about 1 mile from Orua Wharo, no kaianga between. The shifting took place when Katene died. He died in the bush and was eaten by the pigs. The name Aorangi is new to me, my elders called it Rakauwhinuwhakapokowporo.

Hunita-te-Maeroro aged 70 years stated in evidence -: No Maoris lived at Orua Wharo. Johnston started living there. They were not living there in Johnston’s time. There is no Maori kaianga at Orua Wharo.

John Holden pakeha married to a Maori stated in evidence -: I have been acquainted with the Natives since I came to this district in 1859. I lived between the Tuki Tuki and Tukipo rivers, Alex Grant was occupying the land as far as the Makaretu. From there to the bush was occupied by Inglis and Gully who got the grazing rights from Johnston in Wellington. Later Sydney Johnston came and took possession of the land. Sydney Johnston and I came out in the same ship. He was returning from school in England. He used frequently to go to Grants. I know Aorangi. Duncan McLennan was a shepherd for Johnston, he lived at the out station on the Porangahau stream Sydney Johnston came frequently to camp and fence himself. We left the fencing camp in April 1864. I had not actually been to Orua Wharo at that time but I never heard of any Natives living there until the present Court. Never heard of a fire in 1864. In August 1862 we left Tucker’s (Ashcott) run and we went to Tikokino. We split posts in our bush for Johnston and Grant. (If there was bush on Orua Wharo why should they cart posts 20 miles). The wool-shed was good in 1867. That was where I camped when putting up a fence from Orua Wharo to Porangahau creek. I was not interfered with by the Maoris. The fence ran to an old pah called Takatea. The Natives then lived at Takapau, no the present Takapau but 1½ miles further up in a bight of the bush. I saw a barricade between the Porangahau and Maharakeke streams. No Natives lived there. I was told it was put up so as to prevent persons selling land from going further west. It was put up a long time after the sale of Waipukurau Block. In 1862 and 1863 we had to erect stockades.


One was built at Waipukurau, another at Ruataniwha and also at Hampden (Tikokino)

A. St Clair Inglis was the father of Miss Tooni Inglis and came to New Zealand in 1852. he is mentioned in the “Life of William Colenso” as being in Napier in 1852. There is also a sketch by him in the possession of Miss Inglis of a maori girl, dated Waipukurau 1852 and one dated 1853 showing the damage done by an earthquake in a whare at Orua Wharo. I have confirmed by official records that an earthquake of nearly maximum intensity occurred in Hawkes Bay on 23rd February 1853 and would probably be as intense as that in Napier in 1931. This establishes the fact that Inglis was in residence at Orua Wharo in February 1853 and probably in 1852. This conflicts with the statement of Pikea quoted above, that the block had been leased to Harris brothers in 1853. However the Harrises were definitely connected with land as will be seen in letters quoted later from Domett Commissioner of Crown Lands, Napier. Inglis was a relation by marriage of John Johnston, his elder brother having married Jeannie Hatton a sister of John Johnston’s wife. Inglis married on April 16th 1862, Maria Lambert sister of Sophie Lambert, who married Sydney Johnston in 1873. Charles James Gully who was a brother of Speaker Gully of the House of Commons, was with Inglis on Orua Wharo and was later in partnership with him in a run called Spring Hill. Inglis left Orua Wharo in 1864 and was there until 1874 when the run was disposed of, having in later years been managed by Sydney Johnston. Gully was apperently out of the colony at this time and living in England where he was met by the Johnston family on one of their visits there.

There is in the Archives Department of the General Assembly Library, the official letter book of Alfred Domett at one time Colonial Secretary of the province of New Munster and later Commissioner of Crown Lands and resident magistrate at Napier 1854 – 1856. From this letter book I have been able to extract the following information concerning the acquisition of what is now Orua Wharo. Unfortunately none of the letters to Domett have been preserved.

On July 12th 1851 Domett forwarded to F.D. Bell, then Commissioner of Crown Lands Wellington, an application by John Johnston for a run in the Ahuriri district the boundaries of which were as follows -: “On the North by the Tuki Tuki, on the East by

See next page


the creek separating the Rua Tanewa [Ruataniwha] plain from the Waipukurau. On the West by the Rua Wahine [Ruahine] range, and on the South by the Bush and Hills”. The purchase of the Hapuku or Waipukurau Block in which the area applied for was situated, was not completed until November 1851 but apparently it was possible to grant licenses to applicants giving them the right to run sheep and cattle prior to the purchase from the Maoris, subject to any regulations that might be established later. This would enable applicants to get in on the ground floor and ahead of any who might wish to apply after the country became Crown Land. Although there is no reply by Domett, in the records, to John Johnston’s application, 48 other applications from Ahuriri, Rangitikei and Manawatu were granted on the terms mentioned. The first to apply in Ahuriri was A. Alexander on 6th January1851. John Johnston’s name does not appear in lists of squatters (i.e. men who made their own arrangements with the natives) published in 1848 and 1849, so apparently 1851 was the earliest date at which he interested himself in Hawkes Bay land. On the 28th March 1853 he applied to F.D. Bell for permission to buy a homestead of “150 acres of the run for which I have applied at the Ahuriri. Not having visited that country I cannot with accuracy give boundaries – but I wish to “scrip” that part on which a person of the name of Harris has just put up a “warre” [whare] – the warre may be taken as the centre of the Hundred and fifty acres.” From the same source (Domett’s letter book) the following letters which have a bearing on Orua Wharo have been extracted -: On March 31st 1854 a man called Clark wrote to Domett saying that he wished to purchase land on the Ruataniwha Plain and he was told “there must of course be excepted certain portions already sold to others. I believe there is a block of 80 acres bought by Mr Abbott round his homestead and one of 150 acres by Mr Johnston at the south end of the Crown land around a whare built by Mr Harris”.

Letter dated 20th August 1854 to H Russell, Waipukurau.

“The only purchases of land by John Johnston in this district are 150 acres in the Ahuriri district for a homestead on the run for which John Johnston applied, being that part on which Mr Harris has built a whare, the whare to be taken as the centre of the block and 525 acres on the Ruataniwha plain I presume on the same run, Mr Bousefield shall be directed to lay off these blocks when surveying [HBKB – continued on Page 10]

Although the leasing by settlers of land from the Natives before it had been purchased by the Crown was illegal and there are records of men having been prosecuted for so doing, there were provisions by which it was possible to apply for blocks of land in advance of the purchase by the Crown. These applications were registered and a fee was payable when the application was made.

See letter from M.W. Standish, Officer in Charge Archive Department, General Assembly Library, Wellington.


Mr P. Russell’s land and to take the descriptions of the boundaries from yourself as Mr Johnston’s agent, the selection of course to be subject to my ultimate approval. I have also the honour to acknowledge the receipt (yesterday) of amended boundaries to the run applied for for Captain Newman”.

On 20th August 1854 instructions to Bousefield to survey “Land amounting to 675 acres, 150 around Harris’s whare the other also on the run occupied by Mr Johnston”.

On 27th August 1854 to John Johnston, “Will you be good enough to send me the descriptions of the boundaries of the land (in amount 525 acres) purchased by you in April last, as that which  accompanied your letter to the effect that it was in the Ruataniwha plains and it is presumed in the neighbourhood of your purchase round Harris’s whare, is not sufficient to guide the surveyor. You will oblige me by sending this by return post”.

From these official sources it can be definitely established that John Johnston made application for land which at least became a portion of Orua Wharo on July 12th 1851 and that by April 1854 had acquired 675 acres of freehold land on the Ruataniwha plain. This land must obviously have been on country over which he held a Depasturing licence.
G.S. Cooper Native Land Purchase Officer stated in evidence before a Native Land Claim Commission in 1873 that when he came to the district in 1855, John Johnston was occupying a run which he held under license from the Crown. I have not been able to find any official record of a license being granted to him earlier November 1856 which gives the boundaries and describes the area as “beautiful grass plains and fern hills. Forest land to be excepted.” The area is given as 9280 acres and 2000 sheep. A description of the boundaries are attached to the copies of the Crown Land Grants which I made in the Napier Lands Office. From the creeks and streams mentioned this land must have lain to the south of the old homestead and included the land later sold to Percy Wall in 1908. I can find out nothing about the Harrisses nor the location of their whare which would appear to be an important landmark in the 1850s.

Photo caption – Orua Wharo   Original Homestead


The area of the land comprised in the 3 Crown Grants issued to John Johnston amounts to 16738 acres, but when Sydney Johnston bought Orua Wharo from his father’s Trustees in 1888 he paid for 17726 acres an increase of 988 acres. This increase may be accounted for by purchases direct from the Natives which was legalised by the Native Land Act of 1862. There is an entry in Sydney Johnston’s diary dated January 3rd 1868  “Paid Karaitiana
£2 :4 :0 cash on account of land at Kiriwai” and on July 9th 1868 “Soloman of Takapau signed agreement to sell his share of the land at Kiriwai at 10/- acre paid him 10/- cash”. On 7th of September 1868 “Arranged with Locke to send surveyors at once to survey native land at Kiriwai”. There is no mention of the area in either case nor are there any later references to the matter. Kiriwai was, according to the old maps, situated on the Porangahau stream near the present boundary between Orua Wharo and Paulsen’s.

The earliest records which give an idea of conditions in Hawkes Bay in the early 1850s are contained in the “History of Hawkes Bay” (Centenial Memorial) and of Orua Wharo, in Sydney Johnston’s diaries from 1865 to 1914. It was apparently then that he took over the management of Orua Wharo as well as Tamumu on the departure of A. Inglis for Spring Hill in 1864, he being 24 years of age. [HBKB – continued on Page 12]

Sydney Johnston when addressing the electors at Waipawa on 9th of November 1881, replied to the rumours that if elected he would only be another Wellington member, at all the Johnston interests were centred there. He replied by saying it was a very unjust accusation to make against him saying that he had lived in the Waipawa County for 20 years.

He must therefore have come to Orua Wharo in 1861 3 years before Inglis moved to Spring Hill and within a year of his return from Stonyhurst being then 20 years of age.

Owing to ill health he had to retire from the contest and did not go to the poll. J.D. Ormond was also standing and in his speech Sydney Johnston severely criticised him.


He was born in England in 1841 and came to New Zealand as a child in arms with his parents in 1842. At the age of 15 he was sent to England by himself to be educated at Stonyhurst College Lancaster arriving there on September 15th 1856, having travelled in a sailing ship round Cape Horn. He had always very vivid memories of the cold experienced on the voyage and also at Stonyhurst during the winter. After leaving Stonyhurst on 2nd August 1859 he returned to New Zealand, but I can find no definite record of when he first went to Orua Wharo. According to the Hawkes Bay Herald of 1862 (January or February) Sydney Johnston made application to have his name put on the Clive Electoral Roll, giving as his qualifications as being resident on Orua Wharo a property belonging to John Johnston of Wellington. Miss Inglis says that he had his own bark cottage which lay to the right of the present old homestead house. I can find no record of when John Johnston came into possession of Tamumu which was originally taken up Edward Collins, but he certainly had it in 1865. The History of Hawkes Bay states that Collins had his sheep worried by Maori dogs and 1000 of them were driven over a cliff and killed, the loss so crippled him that he had to abandon his run. (See page 228 History of H.B) The exact spot where this occurred can be seen from the Waipawa-Pourerere road. Tamumu was an extremely good property and was considered to be the best in Waipawa district. When John Johnston died in 1887 it was taken over by his eldest son, Walter and on his death by his son Goring Johnston. A portion of the run, not the homestead, is at present occupied by John Goring Johnston a great grandson of John Johnston. From the early diaries it would appear that Tamumu was largely stocked from Orua Wharo and that Sydney Johnston spent as much of his time there as at Orua Wharo with frequent trips to Clive to supervise the farm there, These were big responsibilities at his age and involved a very great deal of riding between the three places.

In August 1879 Sydney Johnston leased Orua Wharo from his father, the entry in the diary of 8th August that year reads as follows -: “When in Wellington arranged with my father to become the lessee of Orua Wharo at a rental of £3000 a year. I to receive £500 a year for managing Tamumu and Clive.”

On the death of John Johnston in 1887 Sydney Johnston became the owner of Orua Wharo.


His diary of the 3rd August 1888 has this entry -: “Became purchaser of Orua Wharo at £3 per acre under the terms of my father’s will. Valuation being made by McHardy and Herrick. Paid for it by order on Johnston & Co for £59034 including £5957 for 22000 sheep, 100 head of cattle, 30 horses and agricultural implements. Of this amount £26000 was paid me by executors, £25000 borrowed from my sister Emily on mortgage for 7 years at 6% with right to repay with 3 months notice before 1st September in any year in sums not less than £1500 and the balance out of my current account with Johnston & Coy. ” (17726 acres sheep @ 5/- a head)

The earliest sheep tallies give Tamumu as shearing 1865, 3670 sheep and Orua Wharo in the same year 95 bales of wool. Taken at 70 fleeces to the bale, this would work out at 6650 sheep. On 6th September 1854 Johnston & Coy offered grazing for 1000 sheep and these were probably the foundation of the Orua Wharo flock. The practice of grazing sheep on terms was, according to the “History of Hawkes Bay”, that the owner of the sheep got ½ the wool and 2 thirds of the increase. “The Hawkes Bay History” states on page 295 that the Hatuma wool in 1852 was rafted down the Tuki Tuki river to Clive and it is possible that Orua Wharo may have been got out in the same way. In 1856 the settlers petitioned that Government asking that a road be constructed from Napier to the Ruataniwha Plain and in 1860 the Provincial Engineer reported that vehicles could get from Napier to Waipukurau.

Farming methods adopted in the early days are of especial interest to those who are present day farmers. Autumn and spring lambing were both common practices. Sydney Johnston’s diary has the following entry on November 9th 1865. – Finished shearing at Tamumu, shore 3670 turned out rams. with ewes” ( See also “History of Hawkes Bay” page 252) Sheep were washed in pools in the creek about 4 days before shearing, Sydney Johnston’s diaries record the washing of sheep on several occasions but no reference is made to it after 1870- when the practice must have ceased on Orua Wharo. Dipping as we know it did not come into vogue until 1878, when it is recorded that the ram hoggets were dipped and the next reference is on March 14th 1887 “Commenced dipping ewes under supervision of Braithwaite. Coopers dip used.” Mr Trill Russell, who celebrated his 100th birthday in 1948, told me in 1936 that dipping did not become general until well in the 1870s and that all


sheep were lousy, long ropes of wool used to follow them as a result of rubbing. The scab scourge which was so prevalent in other parts of New Zealand, never extended to Hawkes Bay, though it was bad in Poverty Bay and in the Wairarapa. Sydney Johnston’s diary has an entry on the 29th April 1870 “To Waipukurau to meeting to consider best means to prevent the spread of scab into Province”. Whatever means were taken they evidently successful.

As the country became stocked the disposal of surplus old ewes and wethers became a problem. In the south Island there are records of mobs of sheep being driven over cliffs and got rid of in this way. In order to get something out of the then valueless stock, boiling down to recover the tallow and skins was resorted to. On June 28th 1867 Sydney Johnston attended a meeting in Napier “about boiling down”. As a result of this meeting there is an entry on November 27th 1867 “Paid Brathwaite £30 being £3 per share on 10 £5 boiling down
shares ”. By 1870 boiling down works had been established at Waipukurau as on April 4th of that year “691 sheep driven to Waipukurau boiling down. Nett weight of tallow 12079 lbs, average 17 ½ lbs, sold at 3¼ lbs, skins 10d. Cost of boiling down and cases 1/5 per head! This works out at 3/3 ¾ per sheep. The amount of tallow of course varied according to the fatness of the sheep. In 1872 568 sheep from the Clive property gave 25 lbs of tallow and in 1882 415 wethers from Orua Wharo yielded 42 1bs of tallow and 3 lbs 6 oz of scoured wool, per sheep. Payment of £375 for boiling down 2874 sheep from Tamumu were made in 1878 to Nairn and also to H.R. Russell in 1880 or £168 for 2100 sheep from Tamumu and £16:10:0 for sheep from Orua Wharo. From this it would appear that some runholders had their own boiling down plants.

L.G. Acland in his book “Early Canterbury Runs” states that drafting gates only came into general use in Canterbury in 1868. Prior to that date drafting was done by han [hand] i.e. lifting the sheep over the oen [open] fences. These methods were probably in vogue in Hawkes Bay.

The first mention of ploughing is on 27th April 1866 when an entry to the effect that ground had been ploughed and fenced, occurs. Oats were apparently grown on this land as the men were engaged in cutting oats on December 28th 1866. These would be cut by scythe and tied by hand as it was not until March 10th 1879 that a reaper and binder


using wire for tieing was purchased. A double furrow plough was bought on March 10th 1877 and presumably only single furrows had been used up to that date.

Long distances were ridden, as this was the only means of locomotion other than bullock dray, as far as Orua Wharo is concerned, until 31st August 1874 when Sydney Johnston records “Bought back new buggy from Napier.” This fact is confirmed in Mrs Sydney Johnston’s diary of the same date -: “We now have our own buggy and are very pleased with it.” Before this Colonel Lambert’s buggy had been borrowed for long journeys. Sydney Johnston must have spent a lot of time riding between Orua Wharo and Tamumu and Tamumu and Clive and Napier, with occasional trips to Havelock. Riding to Wellington via the Manawatu to Orua Wharo, took 5 days. By sea it took one day to Napier riding and one day by steamer. In 1868 there was a coach running from Waipukurau to Napier John Johnston having travelled by it on January 21st. He made his return journey to Wellington by the Wairarapa, leaving Orua Wharo in 14th February, riding to Cannings Oakburn, spending the night there, next day to Castle Point, then to Masterton and by coach from there to Wellington. In 1875 John Johnston visited Orua Wharo having “come by coach through the 70 mile bush”. The railway from Napier reached Waipukurau on September 1st 1876 and Takapau on March 12th 1877. The first motor car came on 1907, it was a Decauville. It is recorded that it was driven to Guavas on June 21st and to the garage in Napier on June 23rd for repairs.

The original sheep were Merinos and were brought to New Zealand by ship from Australia and it would be interesting to know what was the death rate during the passage over the Tasman sea in sailing vessells. Writing in a book entitled “Sheep and Sheepmen of Canterbury” on the importation of sheep from Australia, Miss Crawford states that, “losses were often considerable as small sailing ships often took a month on the voyage; in one shipment 1300 were lost out of 2000,but at other times there were hardly any losses. In 1855 Mr Moore of Glenmark lost only 4 out of 2000. When sold at Lyttelton imported Merino ewes realized 16/- to 20/-.” It should be noted that there was a severe drought in Australia at this time and probably they were bought very cheaply there. The introduction of longwool sheep into the flocks of Hawkes Bay in an endeavour to find


a more suitable sheep for the country, began in the 1860s. Mr Trill Russell told me that Sydney Johnston stuck to merinos longer than most people and that the Orua Wharo merinos were a particularly fine flock.

The first mention of cross breds on Orua Wharo appears in Sydney Johnston’s diary on October 20th 1865 -: “Total lambs docked at Orua Wharo 3692 including 107 ½ bred rams and 137 ¼ bred”. There is nothing to show what was the nature of the cross nor is there any indication whether they were used in the flock. On 19th April 1867 “Received ½ bred Leicester and Cotswold ram lamb from Nairns ”. On January 27th 1870 Sydney Johnston agreed to buy 68 ¾ bred Cotswold rams for £91 when shorn and from these 1417 lambs were docked in October. However the Cotswolds could not have been considered satisfactory because on 14th March 1871 61 of the rams were swopped to Hamilton for 60 7/8 bred Lincolns. The only subsequent references to Cotswolds were on April 27th 1874 “To Cotswold ram (Hamilton’s) 200 ewes”. and on 31st October 1874 “Six Cotswold ewes averages 14 ½ lbs of wool”. (?) On April 13th 1872 83 Lincoln rams were put to 5240 ewes and on March 14th 1873 “Bought 14 stud Lincolns from Tanner average £12”. In 1874 of the 9320 ewes put to the ram 5450(650 being ½ breds) went to Lincolns. By 1884 the flock was well [well] into the longwool. December 11th 1884 “Shore 30041 sheep 1000 only Merinos. Death rate for year 5%”. Romneys come into the picture on January 27th 1885 when one Romney ram was purchased for 5 gns [guineas]. In 1886 36 Romney lambs were docked from 46 Romney ewes and in 1887 46 Romney lambs from 58 ewes. In February 1895 one Romney ram at 8 ½ gns, 5 Lincolns at 3 gns and 5 English Leicesters were purchased. On January 31st 1896 the 2nd prize Romney ram at the Christchurch Show was bought for 20 gns and also a Lincoln ram at 31 gns. Five Romney ram hoggets were bought from Wheeler in February 1902 price not stated. (Wheeler blood rams are used on the flock at the present time 1951) There are no further records up to 1914 of Romney rams being bought. Trill Russell told me that the foundation of the Orua Wharo Romney flock was bought from H.H. Bridge. Sydney Johnston’s diaries give no indication of this, though there is an entry to the effect that on 26th February 1874 230 ½ bred ewes at 6/9 and 230 at 4/6 were bought from H.H. Bridge for the Clive farm. The number of sheep shorn at Orua Wharo in 1874 was 14675 and 10 years later the number was 30041. This was the peak number as from 1880 until the sale of land began in 1904 the tallies ranged about 25000.


On 18th September 1882 Sydney Johnston attended a meeting in Napier about the formation of a Freezing Company and on March 6th 1884 the first lot of sheep from Orua Wharo were frozen. The diary entry reads as follows “Sent 520 ½ bred wethers to Nelson Bros for freezing. Drew 10/- per head advance”. This is followed by an entry dated March 24th 1885 -: “Had to refund £149-10-0 on 520 wethers frozen March 6th 1884 on which 10/- per head had been advanced”. The sheep therefore netted 4/3. Not a very encouraging result for an initial venture. The History of Hawkes Bay gives account of this establishment of the Freezing Industry in Hawkes Bay on pages 372-376 and states that the first shipment left Napier early in 1884. The number of carcases sent in the first shipment was 9008 and the average weight 75 ½ lbs. It is more than probable that Orua Wharo sheep were among the initial shipment from Napier. The first shipment of frozen meat was sent from Dunedin in February 1882.

On September 19th 1876 James Rochfort came to survey the township of Takapau which is the first mention of a township on Orua Wharo. However there is a map of the Orua Wharo run dated 1870 which shows the route of the railway through the property and the site of the Takapau railway station also showing town ship sections surveyed alongside the station. The total area of which amounted to about 8 acres. I can find nothing to indicate the exact date when this survey was made beyond the date on the map, but it was well in advance of [of] the railway which was not opened to Takapau until March 12th 1877. The first recording in Sydney Johnston’s diary of a sale of a township section was in 1884 when a section was sold to May ½ an acre for £50. Then on 20th September 1889 “Township sections sold to Maudesley and Eldershaw”. No price being stated.

On the acquisition by the Government of Purvis Russell’s Hatuma property an adjustment of areas was made Sydney Johnston exchanging 700 acres of Orua Wharo for 788 acres of the land acquired by the Government from Purvis Russell. The Orua Wharo land lay on the south side of the main road from where it crosses the Maharakeke Stream, in a westerly direction 1 ¾ miles towards Takapau and opposite the present Waipukurau golf course, That added to Orua Wharo, was high hills on the southern boundary to the west of the section owned


by Edgcumb. It was sold in 1909 to Percy Wall and is still owned by him (1951). (This information was supplied by Cecil Wilson)

The year 1900 marks the beginning of the break up of the large holdings in Hawkes Bay. In the vicinity of Waipukurau the Hatuma run of 25737 acres was acquired compulsorily by the Government in 1901. In 1903 the Milbourne run of 33602 acres was acquired by the Government and subdivided into 61 farms. This, now known as the Argyle [Argyll] Settlement. (See page 291 Hawkes Bay History). The Lindsay Settlement part of Mt Vernon of 1243 acres was balloted for in 1905. Many other large land owners began voluntarily to sell of portions of their holdings and the first recorded sale of farming lands on Orua Wharo took place on the 1st June 1904 when 188 acres on the Takapau-Waipukurau road was sold to Paulsen for £8:5:0  On July 24th 1905 the paddock opposite the Cemetery was sold to Mrs Hobson at £9 an acre. An auction sale was held on February 23rd 1906, when 800 acres in the vicinity of the railway station, were sold at prices ranging from £10:10:0 to £70 an acre. Of this area 380 were town sections ranging from 1 ½ acres to 8 acres, the balance being farm lands of from 32 to 52 acres. (See sale map made by Horace Baker) On the same date private sales were made of 550 acres to Doul and 410 acres to T. Power. Doul paid £10 an acre for his land which presumably was the price paid by Power. The Makaretu paddock, area not stated was leased to Shadbolt with a compulsory purchasing clause to Shadbolt. This is the land at present (1951) occupied by Speedy. In 1906 Paulsen bought another 183 acres at £10 an acre. On 28th February 1908 1024 acres were sold to F.C.White(no relation of the Sherwood Whites). This land, which was on the south side of the Takapau-Waipukurau road, was subsequently sold to the Government for the settlement of Returned Servicemen. (1914-1918 war).
de Stacpooles house stands on a portion of this land. The price per acre paid by White is not recorded. Two sales of the back country were made to Percy Wall. The first on 4th March 1908 of 1551 acres at £11 an acre and second on 16th January 1909 which consisted of 1537 acres, the price being £10 an acre. These blocks adjoined and were at the extreme south of the Orua Wharo run. On August 23rd 1911 there was an [an] auction sale of town and suburban sections, the land lying to the S.W. of the railway line. 100 acres of this land averaged £40 an acre.

The policy of breaking up the larger estates for closer settlement was put into force much earlier in the South Island than in the North Island, and began with the acquisition of the Cheviot Estate of 84000 acres in 1893. This was taken under a clause in the Land and Income Tax Act whereby the taxpayer, if he considered the valuation of his land made by the Government for taxation purposes too high, could call on the Government to purchase the land at their valuation. £260000 was the Government valuation and the Trustees of the estate decided to [to] exercise their rights under this particular clause thinking that the financial position of the Government would make it impossible for them to purchase and that they would reduce their valuation, but they decided to take over the property.

The Land for Settlement Act of 1894 made provision for the compulsory acquisition of land for closer settlement and authorized the expenditure of £250,000 a year for this purpose. By 1900 the Government had purchased 212,000 acres including Cheviot at a cost of under one million pounds. This included Allan McLeans Waikakihi station of 48000 acres for £323,000. This was one of the best properties in Canterbury and was divided into 162 farms and small grazing runs. Over 700 people entered into the ballot for these farms. Hatuma in April 1901 was the first property to be taken in the North Island, compulsorily.


The Land and Income Tax return of 1914 gives the area of Orua Wharo as 9447 acres and on the 6th November 1915 3416 acres were offered for sale by auction. This area comprised 8 suburban sections opposite the sale yards and averaged 5 acres in area and 10 rural sections of from 123 acres to 562 acres. This land with the exception of about 600 acres lay between the main road and the railway line. Only a portion of the 3416 acres offered were sold as 1726 acres of it was included in the area of 3733 acres sold for soldier settlement in 1917. (See sale maps and government lithograph plans).

The area of Orua Wharo at Mrs Johnston’s death in 1931 was 4752 acres and the subsequent division of the property among her surviving 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren further reduced the area to 3770 acres, Mrs de Stacpoole taking 982 and Mrs Rolleston 3770 acres buying out Mrs Riddiford’s and part of Mrs Kebble’s [Kebbell’s] share. A further sale to government for Soldier Settlement in 1951 of 862 acres reduced the area to 2908 acres.

James Worrall was first employed on Orua Wharo in 1878 and later became manager. He died at sea, on his return from a trip to England for health reasons, in October 1903. Sydney Johnston has the following entry in his diary -: “Received the news with great regret. He had been in my employ for over 25 years and was a most valuable servant and good friend”. Worrall was followed by James Leithhead in 1904. He had previously been managing the Mokoia property. R.A. Fraser took over in 1915 having up to that time been head ploughman. He resigned in 1926 and was succeeded by C.J. Campion until December 1950 when S.C. Rolleston grandson of Sydney Johnston became manager.

Station hands and shepherds who were on Orua Wharo for long periods include Duncan McLennan in the 1850s and 1860s. He lived at the outstation on the Porangahau stream. Doul, a native of Skye was a shepherd for a number of years and one of the paddocks still bears his name. He also bought 500 acres of the station land in February 1906. Two generations of McKays have been employed, the son Rob an old age pensioner now does odd jobs occasionally. (1951) Edward Johnston originally imported from England by H.R. Russell and employed by him, worked on Orua Wharo for over 40 years, resigning in 1940. Wyatt the station cook who reared a large family left in 1938 after over 26 years service. W. Dickason who is still employed (1951) has been on the station for 35 years. (left in 1952)

Two employees were

Sydney Johnston

An appreciation by Cecil Wilson aetat 84 years 2nd February 1950.

No words of mine can give a true appreciation of the character and charm of Sydney Johnston. I knew him for over 40 years and at one time had a farm adjoining his property. I often went to him for his advice which was always freely given and always right. As a young man he had phenominal energy. Besides breaking in Orua Wharo, he was in charge of several runs and other properties in Hawkes Bay, so he often had to spend days and nights going to these places. Mr Johnston was a very religious man and a staunch Catholic, but quite broad minded and after looking into the wants of his own Church, readily gave to any other denominations which required help, Anglican, Presbyterian and Salvation Army. He was a great lover of his fellow men, but did not suffer fools gladly, ever ready to help the under dog, but being a great judge of character was never deceived or robbed. He was very friendly with the Maoris and helped them in every way. I remember he had a Maori ploughman called Martin, one of the few cases of a Maori working on his own among pakehas.
The township of Takapau was built on his land and he was always giving to its betterment. He gave a very fine Town Hall and Library, a good sports and recreation ground and an ideal golf course. He was hospitality itself, the house was full of guests and in the summer tennis parties continously picnics etc. In the winter the Hawkes Bay hounds often hunted at Orua Wharo, starting with a lavish breakfast and ending in a large tea – all were welcome from the groom to the M.F.H. Mr Johnston’s marriage was ideal and he was worshipped by his wife and children. He was full of humour and being a Scotsman had a “pawky” wit. I remember one little anecdote which amused me. Mr Johnston was looking out of the window “Syd” cried Mrs Johnston “you are not listening”. He replied “My dear I have been listening to you for 40 years and I hope I shall continue to do so for many more”. Another trait in Mr Johnston’s character was the management of his staff. From the manager to the cowboy he always received true work and they zealously carried out all his wishes. This he thoroughly appreciated and they knew it. None of them left for years except to start on a farm of their own, generously assisted by Mr Johnston. He was politically a Nationalist, but being no orator never entered parliament, but he took great interest in local matters; was Chairman of the Waipawa County Council and the Takapau Road Board and several other bodies, besides many industrial companies.

Sydney Johnston (cont)

His chief hobby was I think tree planting. He planted many thousands of trees and Orua Wharo is covered with plantations. He always maintained that trees were a great asset on a station. Besides giving shelter to all stock, they provided posts, rails and firewood. He was correct as usual. I can only add that he was “Primus inter Pares” and a real “Admirable Crichton”. I would like to add that he never said an unkind word about anybody and nobody said an unkind word about him, also he never did an unkind action. At the beginning of the first World War, he went to London with his wife and family and they all, including his sons-in-laws all nobly did their bit. Unfortunately his health gave way, he was never a strong man and after a long illness, heroically borne, he passed away on 29th of June 1917 at the age of 76 and was buried in Wimbledon Cemetary. R.I.P.

Cecil. F. Wilson.
2nd February 1950.

Photos –

Photograph of a sketch made by F.E.  Nairn of Pourerere homestead dated 1884.

Built of kauri timber brought by sea and rafted ashore

Building begun 1873 completed 1875 (op Orua Wharo completed 1879)

Demolished 1950

Extracts from diaries of Sydney Johnston of Orua Wharo, Takapau.

July 24th   At Tamumu.
July 25th   Returned to breakfast.
July 26th   Went to drill.
Aug 1st   Sent Tiffen return of sheep for Tamumu.
Aug 3rd   Started for Napier from Tamumu, arrived 3 p.m. Paid balance on 1000 acres land at Tamumu. £225-16-9
Aug 44th   Applied for 3000 acres at Tamumu and paid deposit. £75.
Aug 9th   At Drill.
Aug 12th   Drill at Grant’s.
Aug 21st   Planting Trees (For future dates of tree planting see Orua Wharo Tree Book)
Aug 23rd   Went to drill, dinner at Goodwin’s, went home with Mr Gollan and Bousefield. (surveyor)
Oct 21st   Docking at Tamumu. Total lambing 668 about 50 %. docked 117 lambs for Colonel Russell, 50 for Mr Chapman, 4 for Mr Curling, 2 for Mr Gollan, 17 for Messrs Nairn and 1 for Bell (those mentioned must have had land adjoining Tamumu)
Oct 17   Went to Tucker’s and returned the next day.
Oct 27th   Land sale in Napier, no opposition. (S.J’s exs charged to Tamumu)
Nov 5th   Rode to Stockade to attend Mass from Tamumu. (On banks of Waipawamate, Ruataniwha. See page 210, History of H.B.)
Nov 9th   Finished shearing at Tamumu, shore 3670.Turned out rams with ewes.
Nov 12th   Rode to Pah and engaged 2 natives to come for docking, if they work exceedingly well to pay them 5/- per day.
Nov 20th   Total lambs docked at Orua Wharo 3692 including 107 ½ [½] bred rams and 337 ¼ bred.
Dec 19th   95 bales wool from Orua Wharo.

Jan 5th   Received Militia money in full up to date £27.
Mar 12th   2010 sheep from Orua Wharo to Tamumu.
Mar 12th   Went to Show, to Russell’s in evening, slept at Goodwin’s
Mar 27th   Fencing ploughed ground.
Mar 31st   Nairn at Tamumu with 1100 wethers for Napier.
April 5th   To dance at H.R. Russell’s, slept at Goodwin’s


Apr 6th   Breakfast at H.R. Russell’s. After breakfast Mrs Hargreaves, Miss Chambers, Miss Hoggard, Miss Lambert, Miss Warburton, Noyer, Frizell [Frizzell] and Gaisford rode to Orua Wharo, lunched and returned to Mt Herbert, dined and spent the evening dancing and charades.
Apr 7th   Rifle match 5.Patangata v 5.Waipukurau. Were beaten 28p
Apr 12th   Sold 150 fat wethers at 14/-.
May 13th   Rode to A’Deane’s and stayed night.
June 28th   Splitters at Tamumu finished. 1000 posts @ £1 per 100
70 strainers @ 2/- 12 rails @ 6d 70 stakes @ 9d a 100
July 28th   Secured 5 sections at Clive for J.J. 2 for S.J.
Sept 12th   To Show meeting at Waipukurau.
Oct 12th   Fight at Omaranui [Omarunui].
Nov 1st   Sent 2 sheep to Show and took prizes with both.
Nov 15th   Men drilling at Grants in morning.
Nov 16th   Self drilling.
Nov 19th   Shearing at Tamumu, 9 shearers, sheep in grease.
Dec 28th   Men cutting oats.

Jan 2nd   7 ewes and 2 hoggetts shorn at old station 2 of Inglis’
Jan 4th   Threshing grass seed.
Jan 23rd   Mr Nairn and party of boys arrived en route to Wanganui through 40 mile bush. (See page 262 History of
Feb 7th   Left Wellington for Hawkes Bay via Manawatu.
Feb 9th   Bought horse for £15 from T Cook of Manawatu, own horse unable to travel.
Feb 12th   Arrived Orua Wharo.
Mar 14th   Show, took first prize for fat wethers from Tamumu and spring lambs from Orua Wharo.
Apr 16th   Bought sections at Pakahu [Pukahu] Block. 3 for J.J @ £493 and one for S.J. @ 227.127
Apr 19th   Received ½ bred Leicester and Cotswold ram lamb from Nairns.
Apr 24th   Cotswold ram arrived from Tamumu, cost £15-4-9
May 30th   Bridges on Orua Wharo and Tamumu washed away. (Ngaruroru [Ngaruroro] River changed its course).
June 26th   Auction sale 1000 acres Orua Wharo land. No opposition Paid Provincial Treasurer £135 for 6 months rent.
June 29th   Meeting at Napier about boiling down.
July 30th   Paid for 5/- lend at Orua Wharo and drew on J & Co through Union Bank for £217-9-0 (869 acres)


Nov 5th   Received letter from J.J. stating that there had been a fall of 5d 1b in price of wool compared with last year.
Nov 27th   Bought 1527 acres land at Matau Takapau Block. (This included land round Takapau Township). Drew on J & Co for £823-18-10 at 15 days. Receiver of Land Revenue cheque for £786. (1572 acres at 10/-)
Oct 21st   Commenced shearing at Tamumu. Hoggets averaging about 2 lbs 11 oz wool (washed wool ?).
Nov 27th   Paid Brathwaite £30 being £3 per share on 10 £5 boiling down shares

Jan 2nd   Paid Karaitiana £2-4-0 cash on account of land at Kiriwai.
Feby 4th   J.J. rode from Napier to Cannings (Oakburn) from there to Castle Point and from there to Masterton catching coach for Wellington.
Mar   Orua Wharo ear mark registered.
June 6th   Purvis Russell called in evening and had some conversation about his application on back part of this run.
June 8th   Turned 5 of P. Russell’s horses off Terraces.
July 9th   Soloman of Takapau agreed to sell his land at Kiriwai at 10/- an acre.
Sept 29th   Land Sale bought 847 acres at 5/- ¼ per acre.
Sept 30th   Paid Receiver of Land Revenue £21-5-3 by cheque for Orua Wharo deposit on land bought yesterday
Oct 14th   Ordered 140 wool packs for Orua Wharo.
Nov 12th   Maori shearers at Tamumu taken away by Karaitiana owing to massacre of whites at Turangi. Poverty Bay massacres by Te Kooti. (S.J. saw Karaitiana later who allowed them to return)
Nov 26th   6968 sheep shorn at Tamumu.
Nov 30th   Rode to Waipukurau to attend meeting about stockade.  meeting decided that stockade should be built at Waipukurau.

Feb 12th   Rode to Waipukurau swimming Maharakeke. Tuki Tuki higher than ever known.
Mar 1st   Started for Wellington. 4 days to Masterton and by coach from there to Wellington.
April 17th   Started from Wellington for station overland.
Apr 20th   Arrived at Waipukurau
Apr 21st   Rode home.


May 17th   Inglis commenced ploughing for wheat.
Dec 22nd   Received particulars of one horse mower recommended by Mr Dixon of Masterton.

Jan 27th   Looked at ¾ bred Cotswold ram lambs. Agreed to buy 68 for £91 when shorn
Apr 4th   691 sheep driven to Waipukurau boiling down. Nett weight of tallow 12079 lbs, average 17 ½ 1bs, sold at 3 ¼ d skins 10d. Cost of boiling and cases 1/5 per head . (=3/3 ¾ per sheep).
Apr 4th   Boundary rider employed between Tamumu and Omakere at £74 a year.
Apr 29th   Meeting at Waipukurau to consider best means of preventing spread of scab into Province.
May 14th   At Mt Herbert. Drove Mrs Russell and Bessie to Cannings. (first mention of driving)
Aug 1st   Cheque to Receiver of Land Revenue for £50 for 100 acres of land at Orua Wharo.
Oct   Additions to house.
Oct 5th   Passing run sheep through arsenic trough. (First mention of foot rot numerous entries from this on).
Oct 25th   Docking Cotswold cross lambs. 484 lambs from 506 ewes
Oct 26th   Docking Cotswold cross lambs. 933 lambs from 1120 ewes Last mention of washing sheep prior to shearing.

March 14th   Delivered 61 ¾ bred Cotswold rams to Hamilton and received in exchange 60 7/8 Lincolns.
March 31st   Put 4000 ewes between Porangahau and Makaretu.
May 4th   J.J. to Napier by Coach from Waipukurau.
May 10th   To Spring Hill. Blake took charge of Spring Hill sheep, wages £66 per annum. Number of sheep taken over about 3900. (Spring Hill belonged to A. St Clair Inglis who had up to 1864 leased or managed Orua Wharo).
Nov 22nd   Finished shearing at Tamumu. Shore 12121 sheep.
Dec 1st   Major Walters came and took delivery of arms.

Apr 13th   Put 83 Lincoln rams to 5240 ewes.
Apr 25th   568 sheep from Clive boiled down averaged 25 lbs of tallow.


Dec    14000 sheep shorn at Orua Wharo.

Mar 4th   Bought 14 stud Lincolns from Tanner average cost £12.
July 1st   Men planting furze.
July 8th   To Waipukurau swimming Maharakeke, Stayed night at Tavistock.
May 12th   Married.
Oct 17th   At Show at Havelock, took prizes for fat ewes and ½ bred hoggets.

Jan 2nd   Sheared 14552 sheep at Orua Wharo.
Jan 24th   Stock at Spring Hill sold 5190 sheep.
Feb 20th   Drafted 2000 ½ bred ewes for Brandon Hall, Rangitikei
Feb 26th   Bought 460 ½ bred Romney Marsh ewes from H Bridge. 230 at 6/9 and 230 at 4/6 for Clive.
Apr 1st   Rode out to run and looked at surface sowing.
Apr 3rd   Out Burning and looking at seed sowing.
Apr 24th   Men sowing seed, finished grass seed about 800 bushels sown on back hills at Orua Wharo 1550 bushels at Tamumu
Apr 27th   Total number of ewes put to ram this season 9320.
To Linclon [Lincoln] ram 4650 merino ewes.
To Lincoln ram  650 ½ bred ewes.
To merino ram 3000 merino ewes.
Also to merino ram in paddocks 670. To lincoln ram 150
To Cotswold ram (Hamilton’s) 200.
Apr 28th   Sowing burnt ground near site of new house with cockfoot
May 8th   Work commenced yesterday on plain for railway.
May 26th   Addressed electors at Waipukurau.
July 16th   Planting trees around site of new house.
Aug 31st   Brought back new buggy.
Sep 23rd   Wrote Inspector of stock enclosing return of sheep as at May lst
Tamumu   19150
Orua Wharo   15972
Clive   2700
Oct 15th   Rode from Tamumu to Hastings Show and to Napier after by train. (First mention of train travel)
Oct 31st   Six Cotswold ewes averaged 14½ lbs wool (?).


Dec 18th   Shore 14675 sheep at Orua Wharo.
Dec 26th   Daughter Henrietta Mary born.

Jan 18th   Took train at Paki Paki and reached town at 7 p.m
Mar 13th   J.J. came by coach through 70 mile bush.
May 23rd   2560 lambs to Tamumu.
Apr 23rd   Total ewes to ram this season 8666. As follows -:
7066 to merino ram
950 ½ bred to longwool ram on back hills
300 ¾ bred and 7/8 bred to pure lincoln ram in paddocks
350 to Stud merino ram.
2900 dry sheep
In April and May frequent references to grass seed sowing
May 1st   Elected member of Provincial Council.
Jul 19th   Measured fence enclosing Mt Butler, 1 mile 1 chain.
Jul 19th   New Outstation built (This was on land owned by T. Power.
Aug 5th   Paid “Peter” coach fare to Wellington £12.
Oct 26th   Scandinavian girl came at 6/- a week
Dec 8th   Wet, shore night pen only 255 sheep. (size of woolshed)

Stocking with cattle began 1876 and 1877 brand C.J.
Blacksmith started business in Takapau.
Feb 24th   C. Austin injured in fell from horse, died and was buried on Grave Hill.
Mar 15th   Out on run with dray and took 30 bags of cocksfoot.
April 1st   27 bags grass seed to back hills;
May 27th   Commenced ploughing 500 acres by contract between Porangahau and Makaretu at 26/- an acre for ploughing and cross ploughing, 1/6 an acre for harrowing and rolling.
Sept 1st   To Waipukurau for opening of railway from Napier.
Sept 19th   Rochfort came to survey township of Takapau. Finished 28th September.
Sept 23rd   Elected member of County Council beating H.R. Russell by 23 votes.
Dec 15th   Wool loaded on railway for Waipukurau and Napier. (Railway used prior to opening to Takapau)


Dec 15th   17200 sheep shorn at Orua Wharo.
Cost of erection of fence £20 a mile
Took 2 days overland to Wellington by coach via Masterton or 2 days by steamer from Napier

Jan 1st    Attended funeral of Sir Donald McLean at Napier about 3000 present.
Deb 2nd   Bought 6 tooth Lincoln ram for £54.
Mar 10th   Bought double furrow plough.
Mar 12th   Railway opened to Takapau.
May 2nd   Bought 1000 x bred wethers from Bridge for Clive at 5
July 8th   Son Robert Quentin born. Died 14th October. 1877.
Dec 11th   Total sheep shorn at Orua Wharo 18780 111 Lincoln rams and 469 Merino.
Extensive purchases of grass seed during 1877.

Jan 14th   Large fire on run burnt about 2000 acres.
Jan 25th   Railway opened to Kopua.
Feb 23rd   Mrs John Johnston died.
May 29th   Commenced building dip.
Jun 11th   Began ploughing Terraces.
Jun 20th   Began fencing subdivision of back run.
Jun 21st   Agreed with Isaacson and Hall to plough 300 acres @13,
July 9th   Dipped ram hoggets. (First mention of dipping)
July 25th   Paid Nairn £375 for boiling down 2874 sheep from Tamumu.
Sept   Feeding off rape.
Oct 29th   Thompson began making dam for water supply for new house.
Nov 28th   Shore in all 19390 sheep at Orua Wharo.
Dec 7th   Thompson finished dam.
Dec 14th   Shore at Tamumu 24601 sheep and 1133 lambs.
Dec 18th   Telegraph Office opened at Takapau.
Dec 27th   Reaper and Binder trial at Hastings



Jan 1st    Races at Takapau
Jan 2nd   Railway engine set fire to 500 acres of grass.
Feb 6th   Stud Lincoln ram bought.
Feb 15 15th   Finished threshing. Threshed 191 sacks of wheat and 366 sacks of oats.
Mar 14th   2000 old ewes sold at 5/-
Mar 26th   Bought reaper and binder with sufficient wire for 300 acres. (Grain crops must have been tied by hand previous to this).
Mar 28th   Dipped longwool hoggets and paddock lincoln hoggets
Mar 30th   Cutting chaff by hand.
April 1st   Sowing grass seed on back hills. Man engaged to cook for men at £1 per week.
April 27th   Made payment on account of Takapau School.
May 1st   Pheasant shooting
May 1st   8363 ewes to ram.
May 15th   Wheat to Onga Onga mill and flour brought back.
May 23rd   Oddfellows dance at Takapau School House
May 24th   Finished sowing grass seed on hills.
Aug 8th   When in Wellington arranged with my father to become lessee of Orua Wharo at rental of £3500 a year: I to receive £500 a year for managing Tamumu and Clive.
Sept 17th   Down at new house planting trees
Oct 2nd   Moved into new house.
Nov 1st   Total lambs docked 7307 from 8400 ewes 87%
Nov 27th   Bought 2 stud Merino rams bred in Tasmania.
Dec 12th   Shore at Orua Wharo 21734 sheep
8400 ewes
1900 x bred wethers
5725 merino wethers
500 rams
5325 hoggets
2200 lambs
23855 sheep and 5637 lambs shorn at Tamumu.

Apr 13th   8900 ewes to ram.
Jun 22nd   Paid H.R. Russell his boiling down account £168 for Tamumu, £16-10-0 for Orua Wharo. About 2100 sheep from Tamumu.


Jun 22nd    Sheep Returns
26000   Orua Wharo
26450   Tamumu
6500   Clive
Nov 22nd   Shore 24400 sheep Orua Wharo.

Feby 13th   Fire at 8.30 p.m. destroyed plantation near house 100 valuable trees burnt.
Nov 30th    Shore 25275 sheep at Orua Wharo.

Apr 25th    415 wethers boiled down yielding 42 lbs of tallow and 3 lbs 6 oz wool.
Sep 18th   To Napier to meeting about Freezing Coy.
Oct 12th    Colonel Lambert died.
Dec 8th    Shore 25700 sheep at Orua Wharo.

Apr 10th    Daughter Jessie Meta born.
Jun 26th    32700 sheep on Tamumu.
Dec 31st    Shore 27563 sheep of which 1880 were Merinos, balance ½, ¾, and 7/8 lincoln-Merino.

Mar 6th    Sent 520 ½ bred wethers to Nelson Bros for freezing.
drew 10/- per head in advance.
Sold section in Takapau to May ½ acre for £50.
Hoggets put on turnips.
Dec 11th   Shore 30041 sheep. 1000 only being merino Death rate for year 5%.

Jan 27th    Bought Romney ram for £5-5-0
Mar 24th   Had to refund £149-10-0 on 520 wethers frozen 6th March on which 10/- per head had been advanced. (Sheep there-for netted 4/- per head)
Apr 14th    To England returned May 22nd 1886.



Dec   Shore 28030 sheep at Orua Wharo. Average weight of fleece
8 lbs 3 oz.

Jan 20th   Sent 1000 lambs to Tomoana for freezing 170 rejected as thin.
Feb 3rd   Delivered 2000 fat wethers for Tomoana at 8/-. I to pay cost of droving same. Agreement to apply to 2000 lambs booked for March and April.
Mar 4th   Commenced dipping ewes under Braithwaite’s supervision Cooper’s Dip used.
Apr 4th   Drew 4/10 a head on lambs frozen.
Nov 6th [16th]  Hon J. Johnston died.
Dec 2nd   Shore 24512 sheep at Orua Wharo.
Fat wethers 8/-, old ewes still being boiled down. F.M. ewes 3/6 to 4/-

Mar 3rd   Purchased Orua Wharo under terms of my father’s will. Valuation made by Harding and Herrick at £3 an acre. Paid for it by order on J & Co for £59034 including £5857 for 22000 sheep, 100 head of cattle, 30 horses and agricultural implements. Of this amount £26000 was paid me by executors, £25000 borrowed from my sister Emily on mortgage for 7 years at 6% with right to repay with 3 months notice before 1st September in any year in sums not less then £1500. Balance on current account with J & Co (17726 acres, sheep 5/- a head)
Mar 15th   Sent 500 fat ewes to North British Freezing Coy. netted  9/-.
July 25th   Paid A & C Brandon £63-10-10. their account for legal work conveying Orua Wharo to me and mortgage to Emily.
Oct 29th   Agreed to buy Southdown ram.
Sept 25th   Finished Dam
Dec 3rd   Shore 26534 sheep at Orua Wharo.
Dec 5th   Daughter Agnes Beatrice born.

Feb 1st   25 2 tooth Shropshire rams bought from Mr Grigg Longbeach for Mokoia.
Sept 20th   Township sections sold to Maudesly and Eldershaw.
Sept 27th   Dam full.


Nov 5th   Dance for men in new woolshed.
Dec 11th   Shore 24568 sheep and 9502 lambs.
Flax mill established during the year near de Stacpooles present house F. White manager. [Handwritten] Thinking Frank White of Sherwood.

Left for England.

April 15th   Returned from England.

Dec 7th   27626 sheep shorn at Orua Wharo and 9924 lambs 530 bal

Feb 7th   5 Lincoln rams bought at 3 gns, 1 Romney ram at 8 ½ gn
Feb 12th    5 English Leicester rams bought.
March 17th   Service in new Church at Takapau. Father Keegan.
Oct 9th   Mollie married to Herbert Watson in Takapau Catholic Church. Ball to men and Takapau people in woolshed in evening.
Dec 16th   Shore 27952 sheep and 9872 lambs. 572 bales
Dec 28th   Delivered 1106 fat wethers to North British Freezing Coy at 9/-

Jul 25th   Lincoln ram bought at 31 gns and Romney ram 2nd prize at Christchurch 20 gns
May 12th   Cattle on Orua Wharo 443 head.
Dec 9th   Bought 200 acre at £4 an acre from Speedy, being land lying between boundary fence and Makaretu River, and let to him with purchasing clause for 5 years, all the land at the bottom of run between the boundary fence and Makare river, also about 60 acres adjoining, with frontage to main road. Rent and price to be fixed by Baker.

Jul 25th   Planted Copper Beech.
Oct 25th   Docked 11689 lambs from 11919 ewes 98%
Dec 6th   Shore 26883 sheep and 9215 lambs.
Dec 20th   1641 fat wethers sold at 8/-


Feb 19th    30 Fat bullocks to Freezing Works at £5-5-0.
Apr 29th   Left for England via Vancouver and returned via Suez March 29th 1899.

Aug 21st   Agreed to sell to May blacksmith shop, cottage and section for £600.
Oct   Sold 1010 fat wethers in wool at 15/-
Dec 12th   Additions to house begun.
Dec 29th   Bought pair carrige [carriage] horses for 55 gns (Nutshell and Te Whiti).

Nov 17th   Commenced shearing with machines.

Apr 25th   Hatuma run balloted for. 54 small grazing runs.
Fat lambs 11/6, fat ewes 13/-, fat we[…] fat steers £7
Oct 30th   Docked 10802 lambs

Feb   5 Romney ram hoggets bought from Wheeler, Halcombe.
Aug 22nd   Dance in Takapau Hall. (first mention of a hall)

May 12th   Worrall left for England
Oct 14th   Received cable message from Freemantle to say that Worral died at sea. I received this news with deep regret. He was in my employment for over 25 years and was a most valuable servant and good friend.
June 14th   Cheque to Miss Davidson governess Salary £35.
June 8th   Cheque sent for £10-10-0 to Rolleston statue.
June    Falling 150 acres of bush on back country.

[Newspaper cutting]
Machine Shearing in N.Z.
The writer was involved recently in a discussion to do with the infancy of machine shearing in New Zealand. It was contended that there were no shearing machines in 1912. Well, here is the answer – shearing machines have been in use some 60 years, apparently. According to a recent publication, in the diary of the late Mr Sidney Johnstone [Johnston], owner of Oruawharo Station, Takapau, it is recorded that shearing with machines began on November 17, 1900. Oruawharo, incidentally, in those days used to shear up to 30,000 sheep.


Feb 1st   Leithead who had been managing Mokoia, took over the management of Orua Wharo at £250 a year and found.
Apr 1st   Mr Kenway and Mr Tod came in motor car.
Jun 1st   Sold Paulsen 188 acres on Takapau-Waipukurau road for £1558.
Aug 5th   Severe earthquake. Chimneys and plaster down.
Nov 16th   Fat wethers 23/6 fat ewes 21/6.

Jul 24th   Sold Mrs Hobson 2 paddocks opposite Cemetary 20 acres in all at £9 per acre.

Feb 13th   90 sections 1 ½ acres to 50 acres 800 acres in all sold by auction at from £10-10-0 to £70 per acre.
Feb 20th   Sold privately to T Power 410 acres at £10 per acre with deposit of £150, to be increased to £500 on delivery on 1st March 1907. Agreed with Doul (shepherd) to sell Porangahau Paddock 550 acres at £10 an acre deposit 35 Bank N.Z. shares valued at £210 to be increased to £550 on date of delivery 15th March 1907. Agreed to lease to Shadbolt part of Upper Makaretu paddock at 10/- an acre, 300 acres with compulsory purchasing clause at £10 an acre rent in advance delivery 15 March 1906.
March 23rd   Sold Paulsen Sorrell paddock 183 acres at £10 an acre.
Mar 1st   Left for England and returned on April 24th 1907. While in England invested £9500 in Russian 5% bonds at 83.

May 22nd   Ernest Bell came to learn sheep farming.
Jun 1st   Drove in motor car to Guavas and returned in evening 1st mention of motor car.
Jun 6th   Carlyons motored to lunch.
Jun 28th   Sent car to garage at Napier for repairs.

Feb 20th   1024 acres land sold to F.C. White (now de Stacpoole’s)


Mar 4th   Sold P. Wall 1551 acres of back country known as wether block No 2 at £11 per acre 15% cash, balance on mortgage ”
Mar 4th   Wrote Valuer-General asking to have unimproved value of Orua Wharo raised to £7 per acre.
Jun 12th   Entertainment at Takapau to open Town Hall given by Sophie and self. Waipawa Dramatic Club performed “Jane”

Jan 6th   Sale of Mokoia, only 4 small sections sold.
Jan 16th   Agreed to sell P. Wall wether block No 1 1537 acres at £10-10-0 per acre. 5% cash 5% in 6 months 5% in 12 months balance on mortgage for 5 years at 5% when Wall is to pay a further 10% balance to remain for further period of 5 years at 4 ½ %. Wall to have the right to pay off in sums of not less than £500 at any interest period. I also agreed to take up a mortgage for £2000 on his Hatuma property on 1st of March and lend him an additional £1000 the whole sum to be lent for 5 years at 5 ½ %. Wall to have the right to pay off as in the Orua Wharo sale.
Mar 26th   Mokoia sections being sold as there are records of cheque being received as deposits.

Feb 1st   Meta married Dan Riddiford.
Apr 9th   Left for England by P & O returned 9th December 1910 via Canada.
Dec 19th   New motor car arrived (Lorraine-Detrich [Lorraine-Dietrich] sold in 1935 for £10)

Jan 17th   Meeting in Takapau about Telephone.
Mar 13th   My 70th birthday.
Mar 19th   Awanui Estate run as separate property under ownership of S.M.J, H.M.W, J.M.R and A.B.J.
Aug 23rd   Sale of 100 acres suburban land at Takapau known as Hotel Paddock. Averaged £40 an acre.
Oct 1st   Telephone connected.
Oct 20th   New Caddilac [Cadillac] car came. Price £575 less £150 for Decauville

Dec lst   Shore 15426 sheep.

A.H.T. Russell

When visitng [visiting] Orua Wharo on 26th March 1936, Mr Trill Russell who celebrated his 100th birthday in 1948, told me among other things that A. Inglis leased Orua Wharo from John Johnston. Orua Wharo sheep were a particularly fine flock. Sydney Johnston stuck to Merinoes longer than most people. He bought the foundation of the Romney flock from H.H. Bridge. Bridge was a most progressive farmer and went in for wheat growing and cropping on a large scale. He had his own flour mill. His place Fairfield was originally owned by Fannin and later by the Russells. They took Bridge in as a partner. Bridge later bought them out, the money being found by Tollemache. Bridge was related to the Russells. Sheep were not dipped until well on into the 70s and then with great care to avoid poisening [poisoning]. All sheep were very lousy and long ropes of wool used to follow them as a result of rubbing. All sheep were washed prior to shearing, about 4 days. There was no scab in Hawkes Bay though it was prevalent in the Wararapa [Wairarapa] and Poverty Bay. Ashcott was leased to H. Bridge for 5 years 10000 sheep rental £2000 a year. It was not a paying proposition and was run separately to Fairfield. The 12 apostles were accused of obtaining from Maori women said to be under 21 years of age, a lease of a portion of the Heretaunga Plain (?). Guavas was not originally selected by the Carlyons but by Thos Tanner and Pharazin [Pharazyn]. Henry Russell of Mt Herbert was a progressive farmer, Purvis Russell the opposite. Bridge planted a lot of trees at Fairfield which he imported from England.

A.H.T. (Trill) Russell was born in Australia in 1849 he came to New Zealand by sailing vessell, landing at Wellington in June 1867. He spent 2 years training at Mangakuri station Otane and after gaining experience in various parts of Hawkes Bay, became manager of Fairfield owned by his cousins Capt W.R. Russell and Capt A.H. Russell. This station was afterwards owned by H.H. Bridge and later, in a reduced area, by H.N. Watson who married Mollie eldest daughter of Sydney Johnston.


About 1350 what is known as the “Great Migration” from Hawaiki [Hawaiiki] to New Zealand took place. The Maoris came in a fleet consisting of 7 canoes the names of all of which have been preserved. Each canoe carried a Commander and a High Priest. They were very important persons, the Commander being responsible for the navigation and the High Priest to propitiate the gods, say incantations appropriate to the occasion and to guard the sacred relics. The High Priest was almost more important than the commander because no action of any importance could be taken without consulting him and his was the final decision as to whether a project was gone on with or postponed, He alone could make the necessary incantations to ensure the success of the undertaking. Like all primitive peoples the Maoris had no written word and their sacred knowledge, laws, history and legends, were passed on by their priests by word of mouth and they were therefore very sacred or “tapu” individuals for this reason if no other.

The name of one of the canoes was “TAKITUMU”. The Commander’s name was Tamatea and the High Priest Ruawharo. She carried the sacred relics in a special recepticle [receptacle] in the bows of the canoe on which Ruawharo sat. More than the usual compliment of priests travelled on the Takitumu and consequently she was a very sacred vessel and was subject to all sorts of the rules of tapu, so much so that no woman was allowed to travel by her and no cooked meat was allowed on board. Ruawharo was not an “ariki” by birth but had qualified himself for the priesthood by studying in the “whare-wanunga” or Maori universities. He was one of the designers who superitended [superintended] the building of the Takitumu.

The Takitumu first made landfall at Awanui and then proceeded down the East coast. Tamatea, the Commander decided to leave her at Tauranga and Ruawharo at Mahia. Ruawharo was influenced in doing so because of its resemblance to his old home, Te-mahia-mai-tawhiti, He was further confirmed in his choice by finding a whale stranded on the shore and recalling his mother’s instructions when leaving – “Where you find a whale stranded on the beach there take up your abode”. Ruawharo had brought some sand with him from his homeland which he spread on the ground, the spot being afterwards used as a burial ground.

Ruawharo married Hinerakaia. She was probably a descendant of Whatonga who came to New Zealand 200 years before the Great Migration and settled in the Mahia district. He and his followers, by inter-marriage with the aborignal [aboriginal] women (the Tangata-Whenua) had increased considerably in numbers.
(Elsdon Best, Transactions of N.Z. Institute vol 54 page 781) Ruawharo had 3 sons, Matiu, Makaro and Mokotu-a-raro. These were established at Waikokopu, Makaro and at the mouth of the Ngaruroro river near Clive. They became “mauri” or lures for fish and they were all, legend has it, turned into rocks which can be seen to this day.
(See article by W.J.Phillips, Polynesian Journal vol 57 page 41.)

There is no record of Ruawharo having ever lived further south than the mouth of the Ngaruroro river, but the spot marked on surveyor Bousefield’s map dated 1856 – Oruawharo – and from which the station took its name in preference to a number of other maori named places in the vicinity, was no doubt named after the High Priest of the Takitumu canoe, “O” in Maori denoting the possessive. Sir Apirana Ngata and W.J. Phillips of the Dominion Museum confirm this.
(See their letters).

Takapau was on the main inland track to Tamaki (Tahoraiti) near Dannevirke where the trail divided to the Wairarapa and Manawatu. For this reason a Pa known as Hore Hore acquired considerable importance. It was situated on one of the hills on Mrs de Stacpoole’s property on part of the original Orua Wharo run. The boundary between Mrs Rolleston’ and Mrs de Stacpoole’s properties runs to the S.E, of Hore Hore which overlooks the Takapau township and is in turn overlooked by the highest point on Doul’s paddock on Mrs Rolleston’s property. The earth works of the defences of this pa can still be seen. (1951)

About 1525 a chief from Poverty Bay called Whata, a member of the Ngai-Tahu, a sub tribe of the Ngati-Kunu-ngunu [Ngati Kahungungu], came south and occupied an area which extended from the Hatuma lake to as far south as Otawhao and Whenuahou. Hoe [Hore] Hore pa was probably built shortly after Whata’s arrival and abandoned finally when the Government bought this land in 1858. (These particulars about Hore Hore are taken from an article in the Journal of the Polynesian Society Vol XV No 2 page 69).

5th February 1953


Messrs Johnston &Co

Dear Sirs,

I have to thank you for your letter of 26th January in which you ask to be advised as to the cost of the homestead building,

The original building was completed in 1879 and there are obviously no records as to its actual cost. In a publication called “Hawkes Bay before and After” on page 54 the following appears . . . in February 1879 Mr S Johnston accepted a tender of £7000 – a huge sum in those days – for the erection of his fine homestead at Orua Wharo”. However Mrs Rolleston states that the transaction has always been that the sum was £4000 and that the additions made in 1900 cost £2000.

As regards the painting and plumbing done for September 1949 to February 1950, the expenditure was as follows -: Painting the exterior of the residence £693:12:8. Repairing roof and renewing in copper all the spouting and down pipes:- £270:4:2.

Please let me know if there is any further information you require.

Yours faithfully

Events of interest connected with the house and social life.

Oct 29th   Thompson began making dam for water supply for new house. Finished on December 7th.

Oct 2nd   Moved into new house.

Feby 13th   Fire at 8.30 pm destroyed plantation near house, 100 valuable trees burnt.

Feby 5th   Alice Lambert married to John Mason in drawing room by Rev S Williams. Bridesmaids -: Molly Johnston, Tooni and Evelyn Inglis, Fanny Ormond, Miss Stewart and Hetty herrick [Herrick]

April 10th   Daughter Jessie Meta born.

Dec 5th   Daughter Agnes Beatrice born.

Oct 4th   Henrietta Mary Johnston married to Herbert Watson. Ball to men and Takapau people in woolshed.

May 17th   Dance to which guests came from north Hawkes Bay in special train being conveyed from the siding at the crossing to the house by horse transport. Capt Russell was among the guests, Lady Russell unable to come as her daughter Violet had scarletina.

Dec 12th   Additons to house began. (billiard room wing)

April   Acetylene gas lighting plant installed.

Apr 1st   Messrs Kenway and Tod visited Orua Wharo in motor car.


Aug 5th   Severe earthquake chimneys and plaster down.

June 1st   Drove in motor car (Decauville) to Guavas and returned in evening.

Feby 1st   Daughter Jessie Meta married to Daniel Riddiford.

Feby 17th   Grandson John Riddiford born in Blue Room.

May   Electric light plant installed.

June 29th   Sydney Johnston died in England.

July 5th   Daughter Agnes Beatrice married to John Rolleston. Dance in house July 5th and in Takapau Hall July 7th.

Dec 23rd   Grandson Sydney Christopher born in Blue Room.

Oct 9th   Mrs Sydney Johnston died.

July 15th   Mrs J.C .Rolleston took over her and Mrs Riddifords share of Orua Wharo and portion of Mrs C.M. Kebbell’s
Dec 5th   Rolleston family took up residence at Orua Wharo.


June   Rolleston family left for England returning for 6 months in 1938 leaving Chistopher [Christopher] at school at Ampleforth.

Feby 9th   Mr and Mrs Rolleston returned to New Zealand leaving Christopher to complete his military service with the Grenadier Guards in Germany.

Mar 23rd   Christopher returned to New Zealand.
Jul 4th   Dance in Billiard Room to mark return of S.C.R and silver wedding of A.B.R. and J.C.R.
June 8th   S.C.R. to Colonel Bell’s at Pourere [Pourerere] as rouseabout.

Aug 9th   S.C.R. to Riddifords Lagoon Hill as shepherd.

Feb 2nd   S.C.R. to Soldier’s Rehabilitation Course at Massey College.
May 9th   S.C.R. began work on Orua Wharo.

Jan 1st   S.C.R. took over management of Orua Wharo

Jan 19th   S.C.R married to Jenifer [Jennifer] Mary Hinde only daughter of Mr and Mrs Douglas Hinde Lolldagai Hills Kenya. Ceremony at Catholic Church Nyeri

Oct 17th   Daughter born to Mr. and Mrs S.C.R at Waipukurau Maternity Hospital. (Caroline Jane Mary.)

March 19th   S.C.R killed in tractor accident.

A Return of the Freeholders of New Zealand giving the names, addresses and occupations of owners of land together with the area and value in Counties and the value in Borough and Town Districts, October 1682. Compiled from the Assessment Rolls of the Property Tax Department.

John Johnston, Wellington.

County   Area Acres   Value   Borough   Value
Hawkes Bay   463   £12390   Napier   £ 2500
Waipawa   32643   £120223   Wellington   £16675
Rangitikei   8889   £23723   Featherston   770
Wairarapa. E.   28847   £31172   Foxton.   £1710
Wairarapa. W.   2304   £2616   £21655
Hutt   391   £9900
73537   £200024
Total £221679.

Walter Woods Johnston, Merchant, Wellington
Wairarapa. E.   40354 Acres   Value   £50342.   Wellington   £5600
Total £55342.

Prior C/T 164/90 (part) 164/92 (part)

Transfer No.
N/C. Order No. 335350.2

SEARCH 30. JUN 2000


Lands and Deeds 69

No. G4/506


This Certificate dated the 17th day of February one thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven under the seal of the District Land Registrar of the Land Registration District of HAWKE’S BAY WITNESSETH that JOHN WILLIAM ROLLESTON of Timaru, Solicitor JOHN SYDNEY RIDDIFORD of Martinborough Sheepfarmer and KEVIN UNSWORTH McKAY of Waipawa, Solicitor are
seised of an estate in fee-simple (subject to such reservations, restrictions, encumbrances, liens, and interests as are notified by memorial underwritten or endorsed hereon) in the land hereafter described, delineated with bold black lines on the plan hereon, be the several admeasurements a little more or less, that is to say: All that parcel of land containing 15.7414 hectares more or less situate in Block IV Takapau Survey District being Lot 1 on Deposited Plan 14970

Assistant Land Registrar

Interests as at Date of Issue:

1. Fencing covenant to Transfer 138478 (affects part)

2. Appurtenant to part (formerly part Lot D.P. 9570) are Water and Pipeline Rights over part Lot D.P. 6204 for?(? C4/508) created by Transfer 138478.

3. Subject to a Right of way over part appurtenant to ? PART Lot 6 D
(C.T. 164/91) Lot 2 D.P. and part of Lot 8 D.P. (C.T. G4/508 created by Transfer 138478.

4. Subject to Water and Pipeline Rights over part (formerly part Lot 8 6204) appurtenant to part Lot 1 for (G4/507)

5. 335350.5 Lease to Colin Sydney Charles Baxter Term 30 years from and inclusive of the 1.7.1974 produced 17.2.1977 at 9.2 a.m.

349484.1 Transmission to John William Rolleston of Timaru, Solicitor and Kevin Unsworth McKay of Waipawa, Solicitor as Survivors entered 31.3.1978 at 9.14 a.m.

349484.2 Transfer to John William Rolleston and Kevin Unsworth McKay both abovenamed and John Holdsworth Nairn of Amblethorn Waipawa, Sheepfarmer – 31.3.1978 at 9.14 a.m.

350476.1 Transfer of Lease 335350.5 to Orua Wharo Country Homestead Limited – 1.5.1978 at 9.4 a.m.

355412.1 CAVEAT BY COLIN SYDNEY CHARLES BAXTER – 31.8.1978 at 9.59a.m. (affects Lease 335350.5)

460508.1 CAVEAT BY JOHN ANDREW DEAN – 10.4.1986 at 10.55a.m. (affects Lease 335350.5)

No. G4/506

Measurements are Metric
108.86  263.10  159.99

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Surnames in document –
A’Deane, Bousfield/Bousefield, Braithwaite, Canning, Carlyon, Clifford, Colenso, Curling, de Stacpoole, Dixon, Doul, Edgcumb, Eldershaw, Gollan, Grant, Grigg, Hallett, Hamilton, Hapuku, Herrick, Hunita-te-Maeroro, Karaitiana, Kenway, Maudesley, McHardy, McKay, Northwood, Paulsen, Pharazyn, Shadbolt, Soloman/Solomon, Tanner, Te Katia, Thompson, Tiffen, Tod, Tollemache, Tucker, Wheeler, Wyatt

Mesdames Hargreaves, Hobson

Misses Chambers, Frizzell, Gaisford, Hoggard, Noyer, Stewart, Warburton

Other names (not directly connected to Orua Wharo or living in Hawke’s Bay) –
LG Acland, A Alexander, Horace Baker, Sydney Charles Baxter, FD Bell, GS Cooper, John Andrew Dean, Alfred Domett, Sir George Grey, John Hatton, FE Manning, John McKenzie, Sir Apirana Ngata, WJ Phillips, Walter  P Reeves, John Sydney Riddiford, John William Rolleston, M W Standish, LE Ward, Sir Frederick Weld

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