MACKENZIE COUNTRY and McKenzie
MacKenzie Stream, Mt Mary mid distance, Southern Alps at the back. Looking straight down from the monument to Mackenzie Basin, 704,000ha, April 2010.
Timaru Herald, 30 November 1917, Page
Mr. T. D. Burnett, of Mt. Cook station, has let a contract for the erection of the cairn which he is having put up in the Mackenzie Pass to show how the Mackenzie Country got its name, and a start has now been made with the work.
Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. Vol. 3 pages 951-952 Published 1903
THE MACKENZIE COUNTRY has been one of the most celebrated pastoral areas in New Zealand. It is a great inland plain, noted not only on account of its own pastoral richness, but for its lakes, Tekapo, Pukaki, and Ohau - and its adjacent mountains. Yet it was discovered, in the first instance, almost by accident, and under circumstances which shed a humorously sinister light on some of the instances of early colonisation. These circumstances have been variously described, and two accounts are bought together in this article. Mr. L. Langlands, in a letter dated Highfield, Burke's Pass, and published in the "Otago Witness": some years ago, says; "On several occasions sheep in large numbers were missed from the Levels station. Mr. Rhodes came to Dunedin in the hope of hearing something about them. He told me he felt convinced they were brought into Otago, but no traces were left, was at a loss to conceive how, and had to return no wiser than when he came. In those days the common custom was for sheep to be tended in large flocks by boundary keepers, generally two men in a hut. On the Levels some Maoris were acting in that capacity, and report had it that they were more partial to playing cards in each other's huts than looking after the sheep. Each flock had a large block to graze over, and they were only mustered on special occasions, sheepstealing was thus made easy. There country was all open, and if a mob could be got away without being seen going sometime might elapse before they were missed. It was only by fluke that the discovery on the Levels was made. Mr. Sidebottom, the manager, wanted some horses, and sent the Maori boy to look them up and ride them in. The lad returned at night, and said he could not find them. The manager doubted whether he had really been looking for them, and told him he believed he had been putting off time at one of the huts, which the boy denied. He was told to go again next day, with the consolation that if he came back without them, he would get a flogging. This frightened the boy, and caused him to cover a lot of ground, but without success, Sidebottom, still doubting, questioned him closely as to where he had been and what he had seen. Amongst other things the boy said he had seen a man with a bullock driving sheep. Being beyond bounds, Sidebottom knew it was none of the station hands, and it at once struck him that probably here was a clue to the mystery. Early next morning, taking the boy and two Maoris, he started in purist, and about dinner-time came on a knoll, the pack bullock grazing near him, the sheep in front, and the dog lying near them. Mackenzie knew very little English, but he mastered enough to innocently ask Sidebottom "Who seep dat?' Sidebottom told him he knew perfectly well whose sheep they were, and called the Maoris to seize him. Mackenzie objected, and showed fight, on which the Maoris cleared to a safe distance, leaving the two to fight it out. They were both powerful men, Mackenzie lean and muscular, Sidebottom tall and robust. After a scuffle Sidebottom threw and held him down, seeing which the Maoris took heart of grace, and, coming up, he was speedily secured with ropes, taken back to Timaru, and given into custody. This led to the discovery of the Mackenzie Country, and eventually also the Mackenzie Pass, for Sidebottom, being curious to know what outlet he had in that direction, returned to where he had picked him up, and travelling in the direction he had been going made the discovery. These particulars I had from Mr. Sidebottom himself. Mackenzie was convicted and sentenced for sheep-stealing-not insanity- and confined to the Lyttelton Gaol. On the occasion of Governor Browne' first visit to Christchurch he was the only prisoner in the gaol. I believe it is the custom on an occasion of that kind, if the crime is not too serious, to commemorate it by an act of clemency. Whether or no, he was pardoned on condition of taking his undoubted though misapplied talents to other shores, and was taken by the gaol authorities on board a vessel bound for Australia, and nothing reliable was heard of him afterwards. I think there is little doubt of his taken several mobs through the pass and crossed the Waitaki at what is known as Ross's Crossing-a crossing made to order, and where one man would have little trouble with thousands' but his route through Otago is unknown, I saw his dog in Christchurch when in possession of Inspector Pender (who kept it for a time and gave it to a runholder) -a low-set black slut, with tanned muzzle and feet. Of course, he was accustomed to be worked in Gaelic, and several tried her on sheep in that language; but whether their Gaelic smacked too much of the tussock and not sufficiently of the heather for her taste, or whether the work was too honest, I can't say, but she would work for no one. The bullock did not belong to Mackenzie. Its owner was well known in Otago, he having a place on the Taieri and a run down south, where no doubt the sheep were going as other had gone before them. In Scotland he (the owner, not the bullock) had been a cattle and sheep dealer on a very large scale, and had unlimited credit. One fine day his clothes, from his hat to his boots, including also a bulky pocket book, were found beside a stream, which was dragged, but the body was not recovered probably because they did not try the right place. Had they thrown the grapnel in Princes Street, Dunedin, they might have been more successful, as that is were he serenely bobbed up, very wealthily, after that memorable dive, having divested himself of his name and heavy liabilities as well as his clothes in the process. With the exception of a note or two for the appearance sake, the papers in the pocket book were valueless."
Mackenzie Pass Nov. 2011
Mr Langlands' account of the encounter between Sidebottom and Mackenzie, and of Mackenzie's release from custody, does not tally with that of Mr. E.W. Seager, Usher of the Supreme Court at Christchurch. Mr Seager arrived in New Zealand in 1851, by the barque "Cornwall," and was up to the present time (1903) been in the service of the Government. In 1855 he was Immigration Officer and Inspector of Police at Lyttelton, and in the second of these capacities he had a good deal to do with Mackenzie. In an article contributed to "Canterbury, Old and New," published in the year 1900, Mr Seager says Mackenzie was a Highland shepherd, born in Ross-shire, Scotland. About the year 1845 he immigrated to Australia, and two years later arrived in New Zealand, and landed in Otago [he landed in Nelson not Dunedin]. At first, he earned a living by sheep driving, and in that way became acquainted with sheep stations in Otago and Canterbury. After residing for some time in the Mackenzie district, Mackenzie tracked northward into the interior on an exploring expedition, on which his only companion were his collie dog, and a bullock which carried his possessions and his provisions. On this expedition he discovered new country to the north-west of Timaru, and of the levels run, occupied by Messrs G. and R.J. Rhodes; and Mr Manson the Commissioner of Crown lands in Otago, afterwards gave him a license to occupy country bearing north--west from Timaru and midway between the sea and the west coast of the Middle Island. In order to stock this territory Mackenzie followed methods said to have been common enough at one time in his native country- methods associated in story with the name Rob Roy, whose economic gospel was that-
They should take who have the power.
And they should keep who can.
Accordingly, as Mr Seager relates, Mackenzie, in 1855 cut from the Levels flock, with the assistance of his dog' a mob of sheep, which he drove up the valley, over the pass, and down to the plains; that is, into the district now known as the Mackenzie Country. In the mob thus stolen there was a black sheep, which was missed by Mr Sidebottom, overseer to the Messrs Rhodes, and next time he mustered; and he also found that altogether a thousand had disappeared from the flock. With the help of a Maori boy, Mr Sidebottom got on the track of the lost sheep. On reaching the plain of the new country they saw a bullock in the distance, and farther on came to a small tent, in which they found a man asleep. On being aroused, the man was asked how he came there, and he answered "That's my business." He then leaped to his feet, seized a piece of wood, with which he felled Mr Sidebottom to the ground, and then ran away. After recovering from his stunned condition Mr Sidebottom found the sheep, which were faithfully guarded by Mackenzie's dog. Then, on returning to the Levels home station, he despatched the Maori boy to Purau, Lyttelton harbour, to inform Mr Rhodes of what had happened and give him a description of Mackenzie, for whose apprehension Mr Rhodes then offered a reward of 100 pounds. The boy left Levels on Saturday, and travelling along the lonely Ninety-Mile beach, reached Purau on the following Friday. Mackenzie, who was probably trying to escape the country, also made his way to Lyttelton - by what route is not known-and reached it on Thursday, the day before the Maori boy arrived at Purau. To Mr Seager, as office in charge of the local police, Mr Rhodes told all the circumstances of the case; and; in the end, after much ingenuity and resources on Mr Seager's part, he, with two of his constables, arrested Mackenzie late at night while he lay in bed in the loft of a small shanty that stood in a narrow alley between London Street and Norwich Quay, Lyttelton. Mackenzie was found to be a man of large size, with red hair, high cheek bones, and piercing ferrety eyes, that gave him a look of extreme cunning to the whole face. In due course he was taken before the Resident Magistrate (Captain Charles Simeon) and committed for trail at the next sessions of the Supreme Court to be held at Lyttelton. When placed on trial in the Supreme Court before Mr Justice Stephen, Mackenzie remained stolid and silent and refused to plead. But during his trail his dog was brought into court; and, at once recognising her master, she wagged her tail and whined up towards Mackenzie, who was so overcome that he shed tears. Mr Sidebottom gave evidence that the dog in court was the same he had seen guarding the sheep, and after he and Mr Seager had described the conversation which they had had with Mackenzie, the accused was judged guilty. Before being sentenced, Mackenzie begged, with tears in his eyes that his dog might be allowed to accompany him to his gaol. That it seems was not allowed by the gaol authorities, for the dog was taken south, where for years afterwards her progeny were much sought after by runholders and shepherds. Mackenzie was sentenced to five years' penal servitude. Within the first year he escaped three times from custody, but was recaptured on each occasion. It was, however thought advisable that, on account of the trouble and expense caused by his escapes and captures. he should be allowed to leave the country, under the proviso that, should he return, he would be compelled to serve the unexpired term of his sentence. The plan was carried out, and Mackenzie left for Sydney. He seems to have returned to New Zealand, but on receiving significant hint from the police, he left the country forever. Such, as historically described by one who has intimate official knowledge of the facts, are the circumstances connected with the discovery of the fine pastoral territory which has so long been known as the Mackenzie Country. Two photos by Heeks of (Aorangi) Mount Cook and Hooker Glacier and Mount Cook and the Hermitage.
BALMORAL, BRAEMAR AND GLENMORE STATIONS, Mackenzie Country. These stations are the property of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company. They contain 170,00 acres, stocked with Merion sheep, and were originally taken up in 1858 by Messrs Beswick, Cox and Hall. "Balmoral" is the second highest homestead in the colony, and stands 2600 feet above the level of the sea.
Mr. H. WINTER, J.P. Manager of the three stations, was born in 1842, in Tasmania, where he received the first part of his education, which was finished in England. For some years he followed a pastoral life in Australia, and came to New Zealand in 1867 in the ship "South Australia," which was wrecked at Port Chalmers. Mr Winter was for ten years manager for Messrs Tancred and Allan at Ashburton. He afterwards entered into farming on his own account, and followed it for seven years. Mr Winter was then appointed superintendent of the Canterbury properties of the New Zealand loan and Mercantile Agency Company and held the position for ten years and a half. He was appointed to his present position in 1896. Mr. Winter has been on the Commission of the Peace since 1870. He was elected one of the first members of the Ashburton Council, and took an active part in organising the church and school, and is promoting the Agricultural and Pastoral Association and athletic sports. Mr Winter was married, in 1869, to Miss Richardson, of Tasmania, and has two sons and four daughters.
The McLean girls of Fairlie, May 1957.
Otago Witness, 30 September 1897, Page 51
Dear Dot, My sister told you that father had a horse called Judy, but we only call her Judy to tease father. Her real name is Lady Agnes. She is a very nice horse, and father is very proud of her. Benmore is a lovely place, and there are about 80,000 sheep on it. Father has three sheep dogs, called Rover, Spark, and Glen. We have two cats, called Skittles and Rouggy. We want rain very badly here just now, and the oats are very dry. The trees are nice and green now, and the buds are getting big. My sister Alice has three hens on 11 eggs each and I hope they will all hatch. I must stop now, as it is near bedtime. Yours truly, Tawi Middleton (aged 11 years). Benmore, September 20.
Otago Witness Saturday the 14th April 1855 page 2
Mr Rhodes travelled overland to Dunedin. He obligingly handed over to the editor a number of "Lyttelton Times" and "Canterbury Standard".
A daring robbery had been committed. It appears that Mr. Sidebottom, who has charge of the sheep station belonging to Messrs. Rhodes, received information from a native that a Scotchman had taken away a large portion of the flock of sheep under the native's care. Mr Sidebottom followed the track of the sheep, and eventually came up with a man named M'Kenzie, who was in possession of the sheep, and who was about to turn in for the night. Mr. Sidebottom intended to camp on the ground, but after he had stopped for about two hours, he heard some suspicious calls, the dogs began growling, and the sheep broke camp. M'Kenzie started up and began whistling and cooeing. Mr. Sidebottom had only to natives with him, and as it was evident M'Kenzie had confederates, he deemed it best to drive the sheep back at once, which he accordingly did, but being able to attend to the prisoner M'Kenzie, he made his escape. The sheep were safely brought back a distance of 25 miles. M'Kenzie had a pack bullock with him. and was prepared for a long journey. Tracks of two other men were discovered, and the road taken was the pass to the West Coast over the Snowy Mountains. Mr. Sidebottom says there seems to be a fine plain just at the back of the Snowy Range, and a first-rate pass through the mountains to it; and they he found old sheep tracks (large tracks) of a good mob, leading up the same pass, and he is therefore of opinion that this was not the first mob M'Kenzie had driven off. M'Kenzie was captured on Thursday night the 15 ult., by Sergeant Seager, of the police. He intended to have got away in the "Zingari." He was committed for trail the following day.
There seems to be strong ground for believing that M'Kenzie has confederates either at the back of the Canterbury or in this Province. The route taken was that by which it has long been affirmed there was an easy communication between Canterbury and the southern portion of Otago; we would recommend our settlers to keep their eyes open, and afford every assistance and information to Mr Rhodes, who has proceeded to the south to endeavour to discover traces if missing portions of his flock.
250 POUNDS REWARD
WHEREAS a person of the name JAMES
MACKENZIE, and other did, on or about
the 1st March last, steal and drive away about 1000
Sheep from the Timaru Station, and as there is
reason to believe that the same men. have on pre-
various occasions, stolen both Sheep and Cattle, and
driven them away. The owners are of opinion that
there is a regular organized gang of thieves and
receivers either in this or the Otago Province.
100 pounds of the above reward has been paid on the
apprehension of M'Kenzie, and the remainder will
be paid to any person or persons who shall give
such information as will lead to the conviction of
all the parties concerned, and the recovery of the
R. & G. RHODES
Lyttelton, March 15th 1855
Otago Witness Saturday the 21st April 1855 page 1
reprinted 19th & 26th May 1855 page 1
Saturday July 28th 1855 Otago Witness
We understand that the notorious sheep-stealer, M'Kenzie made his escape from the Lyttelton jail on Tuesday evening last. From what we have learned, it appears that he had been for sometime engaged in cooking the food required for the prison, his chance of escape being, as it was supposed, sufficiently prevented by a pair of 12' pound shackles round his ankles. However M'Kenzie contrived to bolt, fetters and all while the gaoler was employed locking up other prisoners, and has as yet been managed to conceal himself. A very active pursuit has been instituted, and we have no doubt he will be speedily recaptured. Standard, June 21.
Otago Witness August 23rd 1856
The Star December 15 1900 page 10.
On May 10, he dashed away from the labour gang and again sought the mountains, and next morning appeared at a station twenty-five miles distant, just as the men were sitting down to breakfast. Unfortunately for the sheep thief, the house was full of visitors, and he was too well known by this time to pass without being recognised. He was too dead-beat to offer much resistance, and, after being fed, be was bound upon a dray and sent away toward Lyttelton, in custody of a Mr C. Russell and some workmen. Half-way on the journey, McKenzie forced himself from the rope, and again made off. He was called to stop, but he didn't, and a charge of shot went after him. He got portions of the charge in his back and thigh, but still kept on; till he was run down by one of the men mounted on a dray-horse and brought him back to the dray. He was ultimately taken to Christchurch and handed over to the police. He was put in irons and imprisoned again, but he once more broke away, heavily ironed he was. He was soon recaptured and replaced in the gaol; but a determined prison-breaker like this was too great a trouble to the Government of the day, who, to get rid, not of him, but of the bother he caused, gave him a free pardon, and the discoverer of the Mackenzie Country, quietly disappeared.
Lyttelton Criminal file - Regina v MacKenzie (R7898570) 1855 [Archives reference: CH251/8]
Story of McKenzie and his dog now a legend.
John (Known as Jack) Mackenzie was a Highland shepherd born in Rosshire. He emigrated to Australia about 1845 and two years after landed in Otago.
Another James McKenzie
Timaru Herald October 28 1865 page 3 Resident Magistrate's Court
James McKenzie was brought up on remand from Thursday last, charged with stealing posts and rails from the Waimate Bush, the property of Messrs R. & G. Rhodes. Prisoner pleaded guilty to the charge and the Resident Magistrate, B. Woollcombe, sentenced him to three months imprisonment, with hard labour.
The Mackenzie's future. Farming was important socially and culturally, and a vital component of the region's popularity for tourists. comments
The start of the Mackenzie Pass - a former bullock wagon trail. The Rollesby Valley Rd makes a pleasant Sunday afternoon loop drive. map. From Fairlie drive up the Mt Cook Rd and turn left at Burkes Pass but before you do go down the shingle road, drive into Burkes Pass and visit the tiny St. Patrick Church and note their collection of harmoniums and the photo of the gentlemen in suits at the Mackenzie Dog Trials. Pamphlets are found inside the church and here. Note Mt Dalgety Station's 44 gal drum as a mailbox. Go all the way to the Mckenzie monument. Double back to the intersection and turn right and after passing "Waratarh" and around a bend look up for the Te Ngawai War Memorial up in a paddock on the right. The road comes out just north of Albury and look across the road towards the river there is the former "Pig and Whistle" accommodation house made from local limestone, built by Wm Butterworth in 1867. It had 13 bedrooms and could seat 30 in its dining room. Back to Fairlie note the 2003 Sam Mahon 450kgs bronze to James Mckenzie and his faithful eye dog in the main street. A rock from Mackenzie Pass was located for the plinth. Immortalized and his name, albeit with a spelling change, was applied to this beautiful tussock country. That's right, it's spelled differently.
The base of the monument was rebuilt late 1970s, or perhaps early 1980s. It was outside the corner, but as cars got more powerful they moved it to the inside!
20 May 2018, OW. It was a cool and windy morning. My husband GW said "if you are driving 50k and the dust passes you it is a strong wind."
Timaru Herald, 10 December 1870, Page 2 THE MACKENZIE PASS.
The Mackenzie Pass, which was discovered by a sheep stealer, whose arrest led to the opening and settlement of the Mackenzie Country, is well deserting of a few notes, and I will attempt to give the novel and romantic particulars of its discovery, and likewise to describe the Pass, through which I recently rode for the first time. First, then, as to the exact events which led to the discovery of the Pass, and the almost immediate settlement of the whole of the Mackenzie Country. In the year 1855 very little was known, by the half-dozen squatters who resided south of the Rangitata, of the extent of the hilly country at the back, and no one ever conceived that there was anything like another plain, intersected by lakes and rivers behind "the ranges." I know nothing of this period myself, and am indebted for the particulars which follow to that very useful colonist " the oldest settler," whose statements in this instance may be relied on. In the early part of the year 1855 Messrs Rhodes occupied the present site of the town of Timaru, and the country for many miles around, as a sheep run, having shepherds' huts scattered here and there at many miles distance from each other, the headquarters being where the Levels Station now stands seven miles from Timaru. The only buildings at Timaru were a shepherd's hut and a woolshed, the Utter being built because the wool was shipped at Timaru. And the only inhabitants were the occupants of the hut, a Maori shepherd and his wife, the former looking after a small mob of 1,000 sheep on the Timaru downs. Sometime in the month of February, 1855, a tall Scotchman, named Mackenzie, arrived one evening at the Levels Station, and was welcomed as strangers are received at out of the way places, where a new face is not seen more than three or four times in the year. But Mackenzie was welcomed for another reason he was not an entire stranger, having passed through the district on two or three previous occasions, some years before. On the first occasion he created a favourable impression, as he was carefully and neatly dressed m a frock coat, and presented more the appearance of a parson than a stock drover. In those days the " blue jumper " was the favorite dress, and a man who could travel about m a black coat was thought to be the pink of respectability it was the emblem of honesty. But no one could tell the exact business which took Mackenzie to and fro from Otago to Christchurch. On his last visit, which more particularly concerns my narrative, he was dressed in colonial fashion, with gaiters and a Scotch cap, and stated that a mob of cattle was following him down from Christchurch, which he had purchased from one Archy McQuinn. In the morning he left the Levels Station somewhat hastily, in consequence of a mob of cattle actually coming in sight, and being pressed with a question in to whether they were his. He had evidently passed this mob of cattle on the road, and invented the story that they were his to account for his appearance at the Levels Station. But he had a very different object in view. He called at the shepherd's hut at Timaru about mid-day, and made enquiries as to the position and number of the sheep grazing on the downs, and then went his way. The next morning the shepherd could not find his sheep, and at once went to the home station and explained (he circumstances of the visit of the " long Scotchman." It was also discovered that sugar and stores had been stolen from the woolshed, and the manager and overseer naturally concluded that Mackenzie was the thief. The country was searched at once, but the mob, consisting of about 1,000 sheep, could not be found, and the manager, taking with him the Maori shepherd and a boy, determined to track the sheep and discover the thief. This was found to be an exceedingly difficult task, as the country had been burned in many places. However, by perseverance, the tracks were always found again when lost, and were followed up Mount Horrible, over Mount Misery, across the Pareora flat, and to the mouth of the pass. When Mr Sidebottom (the manager) had travelled a short distance up the Pass he saw the sheep, and waiting until night he came suddenly upon the camp of Mackenzie, who was at once arrested, his hands being tied, and his boots taken off to prevent his escape. This latter precaution was the best that could have been taken, as the ground was covered with spear grass, and loose rocks. It was then discovered that Mackenzie had a pack bullock with him, which must have been " planted" during his visit to the Levels Station. The captors were just preparing to camp for the night when Mackenzie frightened them so much by cooeing and whistling for pretended mates, that they struck camp, and started back. Mackenzie had his bouts returned to him, and in the darkness of the night managed to jump down a cliff and escape. He was re-captured in Lyttelton sometime afterwards, just as he was going on board a vessel on the point of sailing for Australia. After being tried he was sentenced to several years imprisonment, but was afterwards pardoned by the Governor on account of the important discoveries which resulted from his arrest. A fortnight after the event narrated above Mr Sidebottom and Mr G. Rhodes went through the Mackenzie Pass, and there found several sheep tracks, so that this route to Otago had evidently been traversed before by Mackenzie, and yet he kept the discovery of the country secret when he might have taken it up, and perhaps been to-day a wealthy man. He preferred sheep stealing, which was less profitable. From this man the Pass, as well as the Mackenzie Country, was named. And now as to the Pass itself and my ride through it. There are three passes by which the Mackenzie Country is reached from Canterbury, the Mackenzie, Burkes, and the Haketaremea passes, the former being available for horsemen only, whilst Burkes Pass has a very good road formed through it, and carries all the traffic. The latter is but little used, leading only from the Waitangi country. It would be impossible to take a dray through the Mackenzie Pass without a road being first formed. On reaching the entrance of the Pass I found two shepherds huts, in one of which was a Scotch shepherd, who refreshed me with a pannikin of tea and some bread, and gave me a dissertation on farming, while was cooling the boiling tea. He then gave me directions as to the track, and I started on the journey, but had not gone far when I was met by a howling nor'-wester. A nor' west wind may be bad on the plains, but it is immeasurably worse in a deep ravine such as the Mackenzie Pass, which acts as a sort of funnel, and seems to let out the concentrated wind of the Mackenzie Country. This at least was my impression when I met the wind in my teeth. But by proceeding I was well rewarded for my perseverance. The main dividing range between what may be called the Opawa country and the Mackenzie country, throws out lateral ramifications at various angles and of different extent. At the Mackenzie Pass two leading spurs run out at right angles from the main range, forming a deep ravine with precipitous hills or rather mountains on either side, and up this ravine is the pass. A small creek the Mackenzie stream (everything is "Mackenzie" in this neighborhood) flows at the bottom of the ravine and forms one of the branches of the Tengawai, which itself feeds the Opihi river. By following the course of this stream, and riding over innumerable spurs, the traveller soon ascends to a considerable altitude still, however, between two precipitous walls. The mountains on either side are of the wildest nature and the scenery really grand. One great defect, however, is the absence of bush, not a particle being visible. In some places immense fissures are seen, of a sort of slaty-clay, but how formed seems difficult to conjecture. After riding about three miles you come in view of the " saddle," which is recognised m a moment. Straight before you is an apparently steep wall of perhaps 300 or 400 feet in height, and the first question that naturally occurs is how to ascend it ? For the first time you here cross the Mackenzie stream, which is a small boggy creek at this point, and then ascend to the saddle by a zig-zag track, and in a few minutes rest on its summit. The Mackenzie Country then bursts suddenly on your view, with its mountains, rivers, and lakes, and the snow capped Alps in the back-ground. You look on the Mackenzie Country through a sort of telescope, formed by chains of hills on either side, running at right angles to the main range, which somewhat limits the view. But still enough is seen to reward any one for the journey, although it is a formidable ride for those not accustomed to long and rough journeys on horseback. The Mackenzie plain is reached after descending between the hills for about three miles, and a further ride of eight or nine miles brings one to the nearest station, that of Dr Fisher. The journey through the pass seemed to me to be fully six miles, and in few places is it desirable to go beyond a walk.
James MacKenzie & dog. Statue by Sam Mahon unveiled 7 Nov. 2003.
Tussock Seed by T.D. Burnett. Timaru Herald 27 June 1917. Chapter II
Trevor Moffitt (1936-2006) known for his bold narrative art
Trevor Moffitt was born in Gore on 15 August 1936 and
raised in Waikaia. He initially studied art at the Southland Technical College,
at Invercargill and then the Auckland Teachers' Training College. Graduated from
the School of Fine Arts at Canterbury University, Christchurch with a Diploma of
Fine Arts with honours in painting in 1959 (tutors William "Bill" Sutton) and
Russell Clark. Returning to Invercargill, he taught art at Southland Technical
College and began his first major series of paintings Southland Series #1.
Moffitt was concerned that NZ was being painted from a European perspective. He
wanted to paint "this place." He almost always worked in series.
However, occasionally he diverged from this focus to paint a portrait of family
or close friends. After a career
of teaching art at various secondary schools he moved to Timaru in the
mid-1960s. He was drawn to folk lore. He painted a series of James McKenzie the
sheep stealer that brought him national acclaim in 1965 -66. The series is a
tribute to the underdog and the outsider in colonial New Zealand. It is
considered among Moffitt's best, and is remarkably small consisting of 13 oils,
along with a selection of linocut print. Due to this scarcity, they seldom are
presented to the market, with only three other Mckenzie works being offered at
auction in the last decade. Trevor enjoyed fished
and purchased a bach at Lake Clearwater in the mid-1970s and used it as a
retreat to escape the city life of Christchurch and to experience the outdoors.
He spent the time until his death in Canterbury painting. In 2015 thirty-three
of Trevor Moffitt paintings 1966-2001
were donated to Eastern Southland Gallery
in Gore by an Auckland woman, a very generous gift. The gallery already had five
works by Moffitt, two were gifted while three were purchased as a result of
fundraising. His works were invariably the same size so as a result, it would be
one of the easiest collections to manage and work with. Trevor was the subject
of a biography shortly before his death in Christchurch in April 2006. He also
has a bold signature. The Aigantighe has only one work in their collection by
Trevor Moffitt, Landing a Kahawi, 1988. This work was purchased in by
the Gallery in 1990.
The Gold miners, his first major series in 1962.
Mountain series 1962
Opihi River Mouth, South Canterbury Series 1962
McKenzie the sheep stealer 1965-66 series
Salmon fishing 1969
Canterbury Paddocks Series 1991 (Cow Paddock No. 2, Steer Paddock No. 1, Deer Paddock No. 1, No. 3, Sheep Paddock No. 1, Pig Paddock No. 1, Canterbury Wheatlfields, Green Wheat Paddock No. 1, Vineyards)
The Freezing Works
My Father's Life series 1980 including his father going to war. Graphite.
Human Condition Series I, II (1994), III. Graphite.
Big Game series graphite 1980s
Stanley Graham series graphite 1980s
Rakaia Series 1982 -1984 (painted the series after his wife, Alison, died in 1982. Painting was an emotional outlet.)
Southland Series II 1988
Hokonui Moonshine series 1990s
McKenzie and His Bullock Oil on board, 53 x 77.5 cm
McKenzie and Dog swimming across the Clutha
McKenzie the Sheep Stealer 59 x 36cm
McKenzie Mustering Sheep oil on board inscribed no 8 to reverse 82 x 82cm expected $16,000 - 24,000 but got $35,000 at Dunbar Sloane Auction in WTN Nov. 2018
Woodblock prints: McKenzie Wounded, McKenzie Asleep, McKenzie the Explorer 14.5 x 21.5 cm, McKenzie's Flight to Christchurch 28 x 23 1966
South Canterbury Series - untitled - Opihi River Mouth, 1965 59x6 4cm
Mountain Series No. 3 Mount Cook Oil on board 76 x 120 cm
The Pareora Gorge Oil on board 60 x 96cm
Pareora Gorge No. B oil on board 1964 87x57cm
McKenzie Mustering Sheep oil inscribed no 8 to reverse 82 x 82cm
NZ Herald Obituary: Trevor Moffitt 14 April, 2006
New Zealand painter Trevor Moffitt died at home in Christchurch on Tuesday, aged 70. His last exhibition of paintings, "Hokonui Moonshine Final Works", opened the same night. Growing up in Gore in Southland, Moffitt resisted the idea of leaving school early to start work. Instead he informed his father he was going to university to study art. One of his best-known paintings, now in the Christchurch Art Gallery, depicts his father reading Best Bets and exclaiming: "No son of mine goes to university." Trevor Moffitt set his mind on art school and becoming an artist. There were many hurdles to overcome. His father told him to leave school at age fifteen and, when Trevor refused, his father didn't speak to him for years and left him to finance his own schooling and other necessities. After graduating from Ilam, Moffitt taught art in South Island schools for 40 years. His art depicts Kiwi life in a series of works covering village and suburbia.
South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project
Note: Sergeant Seager was Dame Ngaio Marsh's grandfather. Her mother, Rose Elizabeth Seager, was the daughter of this enterprising colonist who had used mesmerism and theatricals at the Sunnyside mental hospital (where he was the Superintendent) as a very advanced approach to mental affliction.