Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. Vol. 3  Published 1903 -  OPIHI


Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. Vol. 3 page 939 Published 1903

OPIHI is a prosperous farming district on the south bank of the Opihi river.  There is a good deal of flat country, interspersed with high terrace lands, which, here and there, display buttresses of limestone, valuable for building purposes. The public school stands on one of the highlands overlooking the valley of the Opihi river.  Letters are delivered twice weekly by mail cart from Pleasant Point. The district is devoted principally to sheep farming.  it is situated in the Tengawai riding of Levels county, and had a population of 104 at the census of March, 1901.

THE OPIHI PUBLIC SCHOOL was established about 1880.  It is of wood and iron, and contains a class room and a porch, with accommodation for eighty pupils.  There twenty-names on the roll, and the average attendance is twenty-three. The school glebe is planted with some well grown shelter trees, and the teacher's residence, adjoining the school, is surrounded by a good garden.


AIKEN BROTHERS (Robert and Andrew Aitken),  Farmers, Opihi. The property of these brothers consists of 225 acres of improved land, and is worked as a mixed farm. The partners are sons of the late Mr Andrew Aitken, of Opihi.

AITKEN, Mr. Robert was born in Dumbartonshire, Scotland, in 1859, and accompanied his parents to New Zealand, in 1863. He was brought up to country life, and for twenty-five years was employed on the Opuha station, which he managed for ten years. Mr Aitken was married, in 1884, to a daughter of the late Mr Thomas Shewan, of the Shetland Isles, and has five sons and two daughters.

AITKEN, Mr Andrew was born in 1861, in Dumbartonshire, Scotland. He was brought to New Zealand in 1863, and joined his brother in 1891.

BEEDELL, William, Farmer, Opihi. Mr Beedell was born in 1843 in the parish of Washfield, near Tiverton, Devonshire, England, where he was bought up to country life.  He arrived at Port Chalmers by the ship "Elmstone" in 1868, and went to Oamaru, and soon afterwards to Waiareka, and then started farming at Fen Valley. About the year 1877 he went to Pleasant Point, where he worked Long Hill Farm for a number of years.  In May. 1892, Mr Beedell settled at Opihi, where he farms fifty-three acres of freehold, upon which his residence stands, and also 263 acres of leasehold land, known as Highland Hut Estate, the property of Mr W.B. Howell. He has served as a member of the local school committee. Mr Beedell was married, in 1876, to a daughter of the late Mr John Cheldon, of Devonshire. His wife died on the 8th October, 1902, leaving three daughters and one son.

CARTWRIGHT, Robert, Farmer, Opihi. Mr Cartwright was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, in April, 1855, and was brought up to country life by his father, who was a  farmer. He arrived in New Zealand by the ship "Atrato" on 1874, and for ten years was employed in navvy work in connection with railway and road construction. MR Cartwright bought 290 acres of land at Raincliff, but some years later, in consequence of the necessity for education his children, he sold this property, and settled on 382 acres of freehold land in the Opihi district.  He has been a member of the local school committee for some time.  Mr Cartwright was married in 1877, to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Bracken, of County Fermanagh, Ireland, and has five sons and four daughters.

Mr Andrew AITKEN was born in  Dumbartonshire, Scotland, in 1828. He was brought up to country life, and came to Timaru in the ship "Lancashire Witch," in 1863. For a time he and his wife lived at Opuha station, the property of Mr William Hornbrook, but afterwards owned by the Hon. T.H. Wigley. Mr Aitken afterwards bought twenty-five acres of land at Opihi, where he resided until his death on the 7th of April, 1893.  For a short time he served as a member of the Opihi school committee. Mr Aitken was married in 1857 to a daughter of the late Mr R. Murihead, of Dumbartshire, Scotland, and had seven sons and three daughters.  Three sons and one daughter have died. Mrs Aitken still lives had has sixteen grandchildren.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project


North Otago Times, 26 August 1870, Page 4

(A Farmer's Lament.)

Farmer for the town,
With jaded team, is striving ;
Rain is pouring down,
Through mud and sludge he's driving.

Farmer sold his grains,
Wheat, barley, all included ;
Beckons up his gains,
Finds himself denuded.

Profits show but light,
Perhaps at nil per acre ;
But quick are put to flight
As he sights the baker.

Ninepence for a four-
Pound weight loaf, or under
Ten pounds a ton for flour
Makes the farmer wonder.

Baker nods " good day,"
Smiles his face adorning ;
Whistles on his way, S
ets a batch for morning.

Farmer plods along,
With face, for length, a fiddle ;
Hums a line of song,
Think upon a riddle.

Farming he believed
An independent calling ;
Finds himself deceived,
Prices yearly falling.

Some say they will try
Prices sometimes vary
Get enough to buy
Seed for a canary.

Farming he's given o'er
With growing wheat disgusted ;
Shut up is the store
Where he once was trusted.

Things will though they're bad
Be worse before they're better ;
Tidings very sad
To each and every debtor.

Debtor takes the road,
Where things are looking brighter ;
Drum his only load,
Purse a trifle lighter.

Gabriel Moonshine.
Lunar Alley, 18th August, 1870.