Station (New Zealand agriculture)

A station, in the context of New Zealand agriculture, is a large farm dedicated to the grazing of sheep and cattle. The use of the word for the farm or farm buildings date back to the mid-nineteenth century.[1] The owner of a station is called a runholder.

Some of the stations in the South Island have been subject to the voluntary tenure review process. As part of this process the government has been buying out all or part of the leases. Poplars Station in the Lewis Pass area was purchased in part by the government in 2003. The Nature Heritage Fund was used to purchase 4000 ha for $1.89 million.[2] Birchwood Station was bought in 2005 to form part of the Ahuriri Conservation Park[3] St James Station was purchased by the Government in 2008.

Notable stations

  • Akitio Station, formerly 50,000 acres (200 km2) located in the Southern North Island province of Wairarapa and host to the touring English Cricket team in the 20th Century.
  • Castle Hill Station, located on State Highway 73, is the location of a popular rock climbing area
  • Double Hill Station, located up the Rakaia River.
  • Erewhon, named after Samuel Butler's book
  • Marainanga Station, Southern North Island, formerly 38,000 acres (150 km2) - Famously associated to Ocean Racing - and the Condor maxi yacht campaigns of the 1970s/1980s; and connected to the 1908 foundation of the UK's Stoke Park Club.
  • Mesopotamia Station, associated with Samuel Butler
  • Molesworth Station, New Zealand's largest farm now administered by the Department of Conservation
  • Mt Nicholas Station, on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu is 40,000 hectares and runs 29,000 Merino Sheep and 2,300 Hereford cattle.
  • St James Station, purchased by the Government in 2008, now conservation land[4]
  • Walter Peak Station, founded in 1860, is a 25,758 hectare working high country sheep station on the southern shore of Lake Wakatipu. It runs approximately 18,000 Merino and Perendale sheep and about 800 beef cows.[5]

Glenfalloch Station situated in the Headwaters of the Rakaia River, a working Sheep and Beef farm operating a small conference venue

References in literature

  • Erewhon - Samuel Butler's satire of Victorian society built around his experiences on a New Zealand sheep station but put forward as a location in a fictional country. Butler also wrote A First Year in the Canterbury Settlement
  • Station Life in New Zealand and Station Amusements in New Zealand by Lady Barker.
  • Tutira: The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station [6] - Herbert Guthrie-Smith documents the effect of farming on the environment based on his first hand experiences as station owner.
  • A river rules my life [7] - Mona Anderson wrote this classic book about life on a high country station.
  • High Country Family by Betty Dick, wife of MP Allan Dick

See also


  1. Orsman, H. W. (1999). The Dictionary of New Zealand English. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558347-7.
  2. "Conservation Week: Huge chunk of high country station purchased". New Zealand Government. 2 August 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  3. "Ahuriri Conservation Park opened for the public". New Zealand Government. 8 March 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  4. Features of St James Conservation Area: North Canterbury and Arthur's Pass places to visit
  5. Iconic Station hosts field day Retrieved on 20 January 2009
  6. Guthrie-Smith, Herbert Tutira: The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station
  7. Anderson, Mona A river rules my life, (1963) ISBN 0-908676-56-5

Further reading

  • Philip Holden, (1993) Station country: back-country life in New Zealand ISBN 0-340-58848-9
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