West Otago Farming and Families

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West Otago
West Otago is rich in history; settled by pioneering families in the early 1850's. Many records credit the Pinkerton and Mackenzie families as the earliest runholders, stocking with sheep and later cattle, however the Matheson brothers and McNeil were our first true settlers. A handful of European pioneers roamed with flocks prior to land grabs such as John Tweedie, the Allans and Oliver. The progress of my work and research is recorded here for everyone to benefit with current works, two books, that detail the fascinating insight into struggles, challenges and a way of life. I hope you find the lists of farmers, soldiers, people and places a help with your research. If you wish to become a volunteer or supporter with information and photographs, please contact me. I would love to hear your family, business or farming story. This site is a work in progress.

West Otago - 150 Years, Farming and Families
Surrounded with copious amounts of research notes and the generous addition of contributions, this book has become so large that it is now to be divided into several volumes.

The first; 1850 - 1875 Runholders, Managers and Shepherds, is finished and will be available for distribution in November 2011. (192pp, 18cm x 24cm). If you wish to purchase a copy you can pre-order now by contacting me so you don't miss out. The book cost is NZ$45 plus $5 P & P. If you wish to collect the book at the launch in Tapanui it is only $45. Overseas postage or bulk within New Zealand can be quoted on enquiry.

BOOK LAUNCH!!!! 2pm 12th November 2011 at Community Centre, Tapanui.

Afternoon tea in support of West Otago Health Ltd.

All copies of the first edition will be signed unless order states otherwise.

A copy of the index pages are available here. The book also has a comprehensive bibliography.

You can also view the Promotional Flyer (Microsoft Word 57kb).

Runholders, managers & shepherds

Current Projects
There are many accounts of early life in West Otago, the settlers, families, hardships and challenges and until the 1850's much of the pastoral and agricultural areas in New Zealand had been left untouched by man. The countryside of mountains, rivers and swamps was a mixture of vegetation consisting of native bush, tussock grasses, tall bracken, and flax; however, it presented itself as a favourable invitation for adventurers seeking profitable pastoral ventures.

These books look into those families, the way in which their contribution has modelled the pastoral and agricultural development and made West Otago a picturesque expanse beneficial in lifestyle and financial achievement for generations to come.

Tapanui - 150 Years, City in the Bush
This book is mainly draft note format with relevant data collated and still in development stages.
Some of the families I have researched are: Patterson, Niven, Kilgour, Allan, Robertson, Quin, Rodger, Simmonds, O'Dowd, Roderick McKenzie, Lind, Branigan, Strean, Keir, Howat, Hewitt, Colquhuon, Price, McDuff, Peers, Taylor, Sherlaw, Mounteney, de Carle, Kitching, Doull, McGill, Herbert, McFarlane, Perry, McGregor, Dewer, Brosnan, Hefferman, Mackie, McKay, Eskdale, Kelty.

Copyright A Rodger Dickson 1998 - 2011