The history of our Auckland sheep farm dates back to the 1880′s.
Stuart’s parents came to this land in 1922, but before this it comprised many thousands of acres and was owned by Sir Edwin Mitchelson, (once a Mayor of Auckland city).
Much of this entire region was dense bush with magnificent Kauri trees. The Kauri was a source of timber, and in those days, much money was made from the timber and its gum. (Kauri gum, sourced from the New Zealand Native Kauri tree, was used for paints and varnishes).
The land where our farm now is, was the most Northern part of “Mitchelson’s Block” and it was a very important piece of land because the road went through so there was easy access to get the timber out. There was also a worker’s cottage; ( today this is our dining-room, and where our Homestead has evolved from!).
After the First World War, Sir Edwin Mitchelson sold all of this land to the New Zealand Government, which they then subdivided, because the Government had a scheme where men who had gone overseas fighting for their country were rewarded with an allocation of land at a low deposit and reduced mortgage rates.
Stuart’s father had fought in the WW1, (Egypt and France)
He qualified to purchase such Soldier Settlement land. Arthur and his wife Gertrude, (Stuart’s parents),
purchased 200 acres of this land for a farm, in 1922.
TYPICAL temporary dwelling for bush workers.
TYPICAL worker’s cottage dwelling. (Arthur on right)
Much of the land was still in scrub and had to be hand cleared to develop it into pasture.
It was cultivated using a team of horses…(No tractors in those times).
The farm began as a dairy farm but because of climate conditions, it was changed to a sheep farm in 1940.
This slide-show explains the history….
In Maori, MOTUTARA means “a flat area”.
Today, it is still family-owned by Arthur’s son Stu, and is the only Soldier Settlement farm in our region that is still farmed by direct descendants of these Soldiers!
We have more photos and stories to share with you when you visit during ALL of our Auckland Tours.