Otekaieke Station Woolshed

468-488 Special School Road, Otekaieke

  • Otekaieke Station Woolshed. December 2009. Image courtesy of www.maps.google.co.nz.
    Copyright: Google Maps 2012.
  • Otekaieke Station Woolshed. April 1979. Original image from NZHPT Print Collection .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: E Hanson.
  • Otekaieke Station Woolshed. April 1979. Original image from NZHPT Print Collection .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: E Hanson.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2427 Date Entered 7th April 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Sec 117A Otekaieke Settlement (CT OT8A/800) Otago Land District, and the building known as the Otekaike Station Woolshed, thereon, as shown in the extent map tabled at the Rarangi Korero Committee meeting on 9 March 2017.

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Sec 117A Otekaieke Settlement (CT OT8A/800), Otago Land District


This stone woolshed, replacing an earlier timber woolshed, was built in the late 1860s or early 1870s and provided the working heart of the vast Otekaike pastoral run. The woolshed has historical, architectural, and archaeological significance.

Run 28 in the Waitaki Valley was leased to Samuel Pike in 1854, its original boundaries being Kurow and Otekaike Creek as far back as the Saint Mary Range. By 1855 Pike had transferred the run to John Parkin Taylor (1812-1875). Taylor sold the run to William Dansey. William Henry Dansey, youngest son of a scholarly rector, was educated at Exeter College, Oxford. He arrived in Port Chalmers in December 1854 and after visiting Port Nicholson and Nelson came to the Waitaki valley. Dansey had a house on Run 28 by early 1859. An 1861 survey plan shows a 92 acre block with house, stable and futtah, and an adjacent 11 acre block with ‘men’s house’ and woolshed.’ An 1865 sale notice provides more detail about the buildings: 92 acres with stone house, separate servants’ quarters, stone stable, carriage house, gardener’s cottage, two acres of garden, store, stockyards and next door a further 11 acres pre-emptive right with ‘a large well-built men’s stone HUT, with good dairy and coal-sheds’ and a ‘WEATHERBOARD WOOL-SHED, about 45 x 40 feet, with iron roof, and yards to work 10,000 sheep.’ Dansey’s efforts laid the foundation for the next runholder who would make the property one of the most significant in New Zealand.

The property was sold to Robert Campbell in March 1865. Campbell was the Eton-educated son of a wealthy gentleman. Campbell also owned Galloway Station in Central Otago, Benmore Station near Omarama, and three Southland runs, and was a member of the House of Representatives. Campbell employed managers to look after the daily running of the station. W.H. Ostler was probably the first manager. Ostler was replaced by William Gilbert Rees at the end of 1868. Rees is a significant figure in Otago’s pastoral history, earlier being a partner of a huge station near what would become Queenstown, a large part of which was declared a Goldfield, to Rees’ disadvantage. Rees became a manager, first at Otekaieke and then across the Waitaki River at Station Peak. Malcolm McKellar became manager at Otekaieke in 1871.

The timber woolshed was replaced or added to in the late 1860s or early 1870s. A report from the end of 1868 mentions a new building under construction at ‘Otekaike’ for Mr Reece [Rees, the station manager] with the stone quarried nearby. There was also a dispute between a shearer and Mr Rees from early 1870 mentions that the woolshed was not yet complete. The woolshed was the centre of station work – 60,000 sheep were shorn by 16 shearers in the 1869 season alone. An 1872 report describes a ‘large wool shed, sheep-wash, and boiling down place’ nearby.

In the early years of the twentieth century Otekaieke Station was subdivided into seven small grazing runs, thirty seven farms and twelve smallholdings. Four properties were allocated as ‘preferential blocks’ and allocated to former employees of Robert Campbell and Sons Limited. Dickson (Dick) Jardine (the Company’s manager) was granted the homestead block – with the ‘large stone house, woolshed, scouring shed, blacksmith’s shop, men’s hut, cook house, two small cottages and a slaughter house. The adjoining grand homestead, stables and other buildings along with 342 acres of land was handed over the Education Department as a special school for boys.

Jardine sold the 5008 hectare property to William Munro in 1913. When Munro died in 1922 Otekaieke was run by his widow Jeannie and her foster son J. George McDonald, whose descendants still own the station. The lease specified the improvements – a dwelling, shearers’ quarters, tool shed; men’s quarters, woolshed, stable and barn, old shed, huts, yards, sheep-dip and fencing. Architect and historian Geoffrey Thornton described the woolshed as constructed of limestone and timber, and partly clad with weatherboards. It had a steep-pitched corrugated iron roof sweeping down to a shallow lean-to on either side. A wool press projects from the gable. The original capacity was a board of twenty-four stands until mechanical hand pieces were installed. In 2016, the Woolshed remains the heart of the 9700 hectare pastoral property.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -

Stone additions to woolshed and/or replacement of existing structure

Completion Date

13th December 2016

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

D. C. McDonald. 'Campbell, Robert', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/2c4/campbell-robert (accessed 13 December 2016)

McDonald, 1962

K C McDonald, 'White Stone Country', Oamaru, 1962

New Zealand Journal of History

New Zealand Journal of History

Bob Hall, ‘Land for the Landless: Settlement of the Otekaike Estate in North Otago 1908’ in New Zealand Journal of History, 19, 1, 1985

Pinney, 1981

R. Pinney, Early Northern Otago Runs, Auckland, 1981

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

Petchey, 2003

Peter Petchey, ‘Campbell Park Heritage Assessment: History and archaeology of Otekaieke Estate, grounds and gardens’, 2003

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Area Office of Heritage New Zealand.