Matanaka Farm has outstanding historical significance as Otago's first farm and the earliest surviving grouping of farm buildings in the country. Dating from around 1840, Jones' Matanaka Farm brought organised settlement and agriculture to Otago, and the buildings date from the first period of operation. Originally established to feed the whalers at the nearby whalers' base, the development of cropping and agricultural was vital to the formal Otago settlement established in 1848, providing vital food and resources to the fledgling settlement.
Jones and Matanaka Farm also had crucial early relationships with Maori from Waikouaiti and Karitane. The early conflict over resources and the effect of land alienation, felt as a result of Jones' large holdings in the area were a source of grievance for iwi. This is a significant element in the history of Otago and of Maori/Pakeha relationships in Otago.
Aesthetic Significance or Value
Matanaka Farm is of outstanding aesthetic significance. It sits on a picturesque headland overlooking Waikouaiti Bay, with views down the south coast as far as Taiaroa Head. Its identification with the open cliff top landscape is superb. The buildings are regularly photographed commercially, highlighting this appeal. The five Matanaka Farm buildings themselves are pleasing in their vernacular style and as a group.
Archaeological Significance or Value
Matanaka Farm has been continuously occupied since around 1840. Though the surrounding ground has been ploughed there is still potential for archaeological methods to provide further, significant insight into the workings and layout of Johnny Jones operations at Matanaka.
Architectural Significance or Value
Matanaka Farm has outstanding architectural significance. Architect, engineer and architectural historian Geoffrey Thornton writes of the importance of farm buildings in telling the story of New Zealand, a 'memorial to the early colonial economy' which, in his words, 'humanised' and 'transformed' the landscape, their form reflecting the functions for which they were built. He considers that barns (in the case of Matanaka, known as the Granary) are an 'international symbol of farming'. The Granary, according to Thornton, is the oldest surviving barn in New Zealand. Thornton also considers stables as reflecting the essential role of horses on the nineteenth century and early twentieth century farm. In the context of his discussion of stables Thornton lists the Matanaka Stables first, being the oldest surviving stables which he considers are 'very early', dating as they do from the early 1840's. The 'next oldest stable still in existence' referred to by Thornton, survives at Goodwood, 10 kilometres north of Matanaka, and was built in 1849. Thornton identifies the Matanaka Schoolhouse as the oldest known surviving example, and also representative of the provision of education where there were no other facilities.
Technological Significance or Value
As it includes New Zealand's early grouping of farm buildings, Matanaka Farm has outstanding technological significance. Taking into account relocation of some of the structures within the Matanaka Farm site, all the buildings have strong potential to provide insight into construction technologies and methods dating from the 1840s.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history
Matanaka reflects the importance of early Pakeha settlement in the South Island, and in particular illustrates the actions of settlers to acquire land for pastoralism and agriculture. Jones' actions in acquiring land had a significant effect on local iwi, and changed their relationship with the land on a scale that was unimaginable at the time. Jones' acquisitions, which resulted in a long running dispute about their legitimacy, are illustrative of early land dealings in the South Island.
Jones' subsequent farming operation centred at Matanaka, using the first organised settlement scheme for Otago provides insight into the lives of these early settlers in this isolated place.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history
Matanaka Farm has a strong association with a person of importance to New Zealand history. Johnny Jones, its first owner, was a pivotal figure in early Otago history. As the site of Jones' first home in Otago, and the location of the farm buildings, this place is of outstanding importance to Jones, and provides insight into his life at Waikouaiti. Matanaka Farm is also associated with the first organised settlement of Otago, an event of special significance to this province.
Matanaka Farm is also associated with McLeod Orbell. Orbell had been elected as the first mayor of Hawksbury, which had been constituted as a borough in 1867. He was elected first mayor of Waikouaiti in 1866, and a member of the Otago Provincial Council for the same electorate, and a member of the first Executive Council of Sir Julius Vogel.
Sir George McLean was another significant individual with a link to Matanaka. George McLean was born in Scotland, and immigrated first to Melbourne in 1851, and in 1862 to Dunedin where he was the New Zealand manager of the Bank of New Zealand in Dunedin. In 1869 he became the provincial treasurer of Otago and Member of the House of Representatives for Waikouaiti. He was at various times Commissioner of Customs, Postmaster General, and chair of both the Colonial Bank of New Zealand and the Union Steam Shipping Company. McLean leased the farm to Orbell between 1886 and 1889.
(d) The importance of the place to the tangata whenua
The history of the relationship with Johnny Jones and the effect of the associated land alienation in the Waikouaiti/Karitane area is a significant event in the lives of iwi in this area. Jones' operations were of major significance to iwi through the effect of the whaling station and the work of the missionaries.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place
Monty Ericson, the owner of the Matanaka in the 1960s gifted the Matanaka Farm buildings to the NZHPT as recognition of their importance to New Zealand, Otago, and to the local Waikouaiti and Karitane communities. This shows the esteem in which these buildings are held.
(f) The potential of the place for public education
The Matanaka Farm buildings are open to the public and have interpretation panels, focusing on a history of Jones' life, installed in the teacher's room of the schoolhouse. There is also further potential for public education through discussion of the buildings themselves and the technologies associated with their construction.
(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place
This group of farm buildings, dating from the early 1840s, is unique in New Zealand. Consisting of stables, granary, store and schoolhouse as well as a three-seater privy moved from the homestead, these timber buildings with their original corrugated iron roofs have endured quite remarkably. These very early farm buildings are of outstanding technological significance with the potential to provide insight into construction technologies and methods dating from the 1840s. They are notable for their very good proportions and attractive details such as the round headed louvered windows.
(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement
As the earliest organised farm surviving in Otago, Matanaka Farm is of outstanding significance. Although preceded by the whalers and sealers of the early nineteenth century, Johnny Jones's activities were among the first attempts at organised settlement and settled agriculture.
Matanaka Farm includes what architect, engineer and architectural historian Geoffrey Thornton considers to be New Zealand's earliest examples of a barn (the Granary), stables and schoolhouse.
(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places
Matanaka Farm has a special place amongst rare types of historic places, being as it is the earliest surviving group of related farm buildings in New Zealand and for its association with the first attempt at organised settlement in Otago. Matanaka Farm is rare, and of outstanding importance.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape
Matanaka Farm has special significance as part of the wider historical landscape of the Waikouaiti and Karitane Coast. It was part of a network of places, including the settler's camp at the base of Matanaka Hill, the fledgling settlement of Waikouaiti, the Maori kaika and whalers' base at Karitane, which all tell the story of the impact of Johnny Jones on the early history of Otago.
Summary of Significance or Values
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, d, e, f, g, i, j, k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place.
Matanaka Farm is of outstanding significance as the earliest surviving group of farm buildings in New Zealand. Johnny Jones' Matanaka Farm, dating from 1840 was the first organised settlement in Otago, and the first farm to be established in the province.
Timber, with timber joinery and corrugated iron roofs.
The coastal area to the north of Dunedin, around what is now known as Waikouaiti, was a resource rich area for iwi. The Matainaka Lagoon (now known as Hawksbury Lagoon) was a major whitebait spawning area (as indicated by its Maori name), and the Waikouaiti River was a rich source of food. Settlement was focused around Huriawa, Puketeraki and Karitane. In the nineteenth century the centre of the takiwa was at Puketeraki overlooking Waikouaiti Bay. The prominent headland on which Matanaka Farm sits was called Ohineamio.
There were scattered small camps of people associated with Huriawa and Puketeraki for collecting shellfish, eels, and other sites at places like Matanaka and Brinns Point where there was a good view of the rest of the coast line. Herries Beattie records that a waka was known to have been built at Matainaka; Beattie writes that the waka 'Kura-matakitaki, was made at Matainaka (near Waikouaiti) by Rimurapa and Horuwai some time before the whalers came. Pahi was anxious to secure it and this he did by giving greenstone in exchange'.
The Waikouaiti landscape quickly changed from its Maori roots following the arrival of the Magnet immigrant ship from Sydney, Australia, in 1840 to accommodate the needs of the new settlers. Prebble and Mules write: 'The Waikouaiti in many ways was a formative place for the development of Southern New Zealand society. Sealing camps, whaling stations, missions and farms are all facets of the colonial south, but nowhere was the induction of these characteristic ventures of Takata Bola (Pakeha) culture as prominent as in Waikouaiti.'
The catalyst for Pakeha settlement to the area was provided by John (Johnny) Jones (1808/1809? - 1869), who had interests in whaling vessels working in New Zealand waters.
It was Jones who encouraged families from Sydney to move to Waikouaiti. This was the first organised settlement on the east coast of the South Island. Jones engaged twelve families from the south of England who had only recently moved to New South Wales. Settler William Kennard's terms give an insight into the conditions under which they came. According to family historian Beryl Maultby the family agreed to come to Otago with Jones, 'who engaged them for twelve months certain, at 35 Pounds a year each, rations found'. Jones' settlement ushered in the beginnings of European colonisation which saw the local iwi alienated from significant land and resources.
After a voyage of three weeks, prolonged by calls at Ruapuke and Bluff, the Magnet settlers arrived at Waikouaiti in early April 1840. The farm they established became known as Matanaka. Jones encouraged the settlers to farm and care for the stock he had brought from Sydney, and the new arrivals settled at the north end of Waikouaiti Bay (locally known at the time as Matanaka-by-the-Beach, Matainaka or Matainanga Village). Some like the Kennards stayed in temporary barracks and later to more permanent accommodation. Jones' brother Thomas was involved in managing the farm and supporting the settlers. Jones also supported the establishment of the Wesleyan Mission at Waikouaiti (now Karitane), with the Reverend James Watkin and his family settling there in 1840. Watkin was replaced by Reverend Charles Creed in 1844.
The Matanaka Farm outbuildings look to have been constructed at this early stage of the settlement. Thomas Kennard describes fellow settler George Glover as the only one to live separately, and he lived at the ‘barns area'. Kennard also records that the barns were located about three quarters of a mile from the men's huts and, according to authors Knight and Coutts, is the distance from the original Matanaka Village on the hill when Thomas Jones was manager. This account was dated around 1841, so by this date it would appear that there was a collection of farm buildings (barns) where the current buildings remain, as well as accommodation for workers in the vicinity of the current homestead.
Jones' significant influence in the region by 1840 had its origins dating at least ten years earlier. By 1830 he had shares in three whaling vessels. In 1835, in partnership with Edwin Palmer, he purchased a whaling station at Preservation Inlet. By the late 1830s he had controlling interests in most southern whaling stations. Like other whalers such as George Weller, Jones' interests turned to land, beyond that surrounding the whaling stations. In 1838 he bought a whaling station and parcel of land at Waikouaiti for £225. His whaling investments were considerable: he told a Sydney commission in 1839 that ‘I have seven Whaling Establishments at New Zealand on which about 280 men are employed. My outlay this year in casks, provisions, slops, and whaling gear, has been £15,000'. The presence of this whaling station at Waikouaiti (now Karitane), even though it operated for only a few short years, had a huge impact on the life of Kai Tahu in this area. Many of today's whanau can trace their descent from a whaler of this era, the first generation of significant cultural interaction with Pakeha.
Both Weller and Jones saw that acquiring land and settling it with supported immigrants could benefit their whaling stations. Historian Robert McNab reports that in August 1839, Weller had planned to locate about 50 families upon the lands he had purchased at Otago. These would be the areas stated by him in his evidence before the Committee of the Legislature, to have been purchased ‘from a Chief who was in Sydney about five months ago'. The chief was Taiaroa, who came to Sydney from Otago in the Dublin Packet. At the same time it was known that John Jones intended to ‘stock the land he had purchased'. Perhaps Jones knew of Weller's plan and planned a similar venture himself.
Jones also acquired substantial interests in land in the lower South Island in the late 1830s in what is now known as South Otago, Southland, and Central Otago: an estate stretching from the south coast of the South Island, inland to Wanaka, and as far north as Waikouaiti. Jones discouraged Tuhawaiki (?-1844), Karetai (?-1860) and Taiaroa (?-1863) from ceding land to the Crown in 1840, and with other Sydney businessmen purchased all the unsold land in the South Island for £200.
These land transactions took place during a period of administrative change: the boundaries of New South Wales were extended to include ‘such parts of New Zealand as were, or might be, acquired' and these lands were placed under the control of Governor Gipps, with Captain Hobson as Lieutenant Governor. Governor Hobson left for the Bay of Islands with a proclamation which declared that Her Majesty would not acknowledge as valid ‘any title to land which either has been or shall be hereafter acquired in that country, which is not either derived from or confirmed by a grant to be made in Her Majesty's name,' and appointed a Commission which would consider claims of the owners of any land purchased. Even though the Governor of New South Wales George Gipps did not recognise the validity of the purchase, Jones was granted the maximum allowable amount of land: 2,560 acres, a source of dispute for Jones over the next twenty years.
From 1840 Jones and a small number of early settlers were building the foundations such as those that remain at Matanaka today. The importance of farm buildings in telling the story of New Zealand is underlined by Geoffrey Thornton who describes them as a ‘memorial to the early colonial economy' which ‘humanised' and ‘transformed' the landscape, their form reflecting the functions for which they were built. He considers that barns (in the case of Matanaka, known as the Granary) are an ‘international symbol of farming'. The Granary, according to Thornton, is the oldest surviving barn in New Zealand. Thornton also considers stables as reflecting the essential role of horses on the nineteenth century and early twentieth century farm, and considers the Matanaka Stables ‘very early'. Thornton identifies the Matanaka Schoolhouse as the oldest known surviving, and also representative of the provision of education where there were no other facilities.
An 1843 sketch map of the Otago coast line drawn by Shortland shows the settlement on the coast. There are a cluster of buildings at Otakou, in what would become Otago Harbour, the mission station at Waikouaiti, and another settlement at ‘Matainanga', in the vicinity of what is now known as Matanaka.
According to historian Hardwicke Knight and archaeologist Peter Coutts by 1843 Jones had built a house, farm buildings, and put up over 4,000 roods of fencing. Local historian Donald Malloch writes that the house was the ‘first substantial building of its kind erected in Otago. At a ‘very early stage' a road was cut up the hill between the coastal settlement and Jones' Matanaka Farm.
Knight and Coutts consider it possible that at least some of the farm outbuildings were shipped ‘in frame', that is the framing timbers were cut to length by circular saw, to be fitted together as a kitset building. Prefabrication was evident in another settlement Jones organised at Port Molyneux in South Otago, where ‘houses in frame' were amongst the cargo in April 1840.
By 1843 the success of the settlement was in doubt. Many of the settlers left the area, some returning to Sydney, others shifting to Otakou. Shortland recorded only three settlers at Matanaka-by-the-Beach. At Waikouaiti (now Karitane) was another small settlement clustered around the whaling station and the Mission, where the Rev. Watkin and family; John Jones and family accompanied by a tutor; Thomas Jones and family, Dr J. Crocombe; and a number of whalers were living. At Matanaka on the hill were Edward Jones and family; William Jones and family; five men and an old shepherd. There were also small farm settlements at nearby Cherry Farm and Hawksbury.
The nucleus of outbuildings associated with Jones' farm had been established by April 1844. Members of a survey party involved in negotiating the purchase of the Otago Block and identifying a potential site for the New Zealand Company settlement of New Edinburgh (the Otakou purchase followed several weeks of discussions and the agreement recorded in the deed, signed on 31 July 1844, transferred a clearly defined block to the New Zealand Company for the sum of £2400. At the time the area of the block was estimated at 400,000 acres, provide a description of the buildings at that time). The survey party included surveyor and New Zealand Company agent Frederick Tuckett (1807?-1876), surveyor John Wallis Barnicoat, Rev. Charles Creed, and doctor and politician David Monro (1813-1877). Monro records:
‘The great mainspring of activity at Waikouaiti, and in these southern parts generally is Mr John Jones, of Sydney, who has, for many years, been engaged in the New Zealand oil trade. Mr Jones is also a considerable landowner.Having called upon this gentleman, he very politely mounted several of our party on horses, and we proceeded to visit his farm. He has erected a most substantial barn and other out-houses, and a threshing and winowing [sic] machine worked by horses'.
These buildings were necessary to service the expanding farm. A diary entry for surveyor John Wallis Barnicoat (1814-1905), showing a sketch map of the farm notes that there were 400-500 acres fenced, some under crop, and that in addition John Jones had about 60 horses and ‘a great many sheep and cattle'. Knight and Coutts indicate the farm was well stocked, with 2,000 breeding ewes, 100 breeding mares, 30 horses, 200 breeding cows, 40 head of horned cattle, and in addition 200 acres were under cultivation.
Barnicoat's survey notes give an indication of the buildings existing at the time. His sketch of the coast from what is now known as Karitane (but which he names ‘Wakawate' [Waikouaiti]) to the headland where the Jones' farm was located) shows the developing settlement in the area. At the south end of Waikouaiti Bay is the pah; two ships (the ship on which Barnicoat travelled, the Deborah, and Jones' schooner the Scotia) are anchored in the Bay. At the north end of the bay, at the base of the headland are the ‘white settlers', and up on the high ground, overlooking the whole area is ‘Mr Jones' Farm'. There are three buildings, sketched as small squares, in a row, basically in a north-south orientation.
In 1845 James Charles Drake was responsible for surveying the land awarded to Jones by the Land Claims Commissioners, the first such survey in Otago. A portion of the survey reproduced in Knight and Coutts' history shows the layout of the land at that time. A large hatched rectangle is labelled ‘Mr. J. Jones', and represents the site of Jones' house, nestled at the edge of a large stand of bush on the high land overlooking the bay. To the north of the house are three smaller squares at around the location of the Matanaka Farm. The squares are set amidst an area marked ‘Cultivated
Land'. Close to the coast is ‘Matainaka Village', marked by three small squares, indicating buildings.
One of Jones' biographers Alfred Eccles considered that Jones' homestead ‘the first house in Otago having any claim to pretensions was completed and occupied probably in 1844'. It has been said that the homestead was built by Charles Windsor and Alderman Gibbs about 1846, constructed from local pit sawn timber, with the cedar doors imported from Australia. Charles Windsor and a carpenter called John Gibbs (known as Alderman) are among Johnny Jones's original settlers on the Magnet, so this identification of builders would seem reasonable.
An 1848 sketch by Walter Mantell (1820-1895) , who at that time had been appointed to the ‘office of commissioner for extinguishing native titles, Middle Island (South Island)', shows four single gable structures in the foreground, positioned in an ‘L' shape, and in the background a larger building slightly above, with trees behind. These positions match the relationship between the homestead and the farm buildings that exist in 2007. This indicates that the house was constructed by 1848, and possibly the Blue Gums planted as well.
Knight and Coutts record the buildings known to exist around the Farm steading in the early years: Thomas Knewstubb's house (also known as the Single Men's House); the Schoolmaster's cottage, the Dairy House (and therefore probably a cow byre), as well as other possible cottages, as a number of men were known to live in the vicinity. They were grouped around a farmyard. A cottage stood between the Granary and the Stables. None of these structures survive.
It was not until 1848 that Jones' land claim in the Waikouaiti area was confirmed. Commissioner Walter Mantell signed Jones' claim for 2,560 acres in the Waikouaiti area. This was only a portion of the estate Jones claimed to have purchased.
The Schoolhouse was constructed sometime prior to 1852, and was situated immediately next to the house. Thomas Kennard recalled sleeping in the Schoolhouse when he was eleven (in 1852). Knight and Coutts consider it is possible that the building was contemporary with the farm buildings, and may have been adapted for use as a schoolhouse. This argument is based on the first coat of paint being red (matching the farm buildings) rather than green (as the first coat of the house was). A later photograph shows it with a veranda with ornamented posts and decoration.
Jones' farming efforts had a significant effect on iwi. Development of the wetlands around Waikouaiti saw the drainage of large areas of wetland, and the clearance of forested areas, which led to the loss of the mahika kai resource. The farms and the whaling stations changed the pattern of settlement for iwi too. The population became centred around the present Karitane settlement where the whaling station was located, and at Jones' farming settlement at the north end of the bay, with farms scattered on the surrounding hills. For Kai Tahu at Waikouaiti, in addition to the social and economic changes that accompanied the establishment of Jones' whaling and farming operations in their midst, there were also the highly influential changes brought about by the missionaries Watkin and Creed which facilitated the hapu's ability to adapt to this rapidly changing world, literacy and Christianity.
According to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography the new settlement failed to prosper, and combined with an economic depression in Sydney, forced Jones and his family to relocate to Waikouaiti. Jones continued his trading enterprises, but the decline in whaling forced him to close the Waikouaiti whaling station. He focused on the farm and became the supplier of food for both Waikouaiti, and after 1848, for the fledgling settlement at Dunedin.
After the failure of the whaling station, farming took on more significance and the pressure for land created tension between settlers and Maori. Prebble and Mules write that between 1848 and 1852 chiefs ‘Haereroa, Huruhuru, Kahuti, Korako, Rameka and Pohio from Waikouaiti tried to repossess land from squatters at Johnny Jones' whaling station'. The writers also state that surveyor Walter Mantell refused to include the Maori Reserve at the size requested by the chiefs, eventually allocating 1800 acres for 121 people, while Jones was allocated 2,650 acres in three blocks. The lack of reserve land was an ongoing grievance for Puketeraki people. Jones' Old Land Claims were finally settled under the 1868 John Jones Land Claims Settlement Act. Jones was granted 17,028 acres and received £8050 scrip in final settlement of his six claims.
Jones did much to support the development of the Pakeha community at Waikouaiti. He paid for the construction of a schoolhouse in the settlement in the 1850s. In addition he paid for the construction of St John's Church (Record Number 334, Category I). Knight and Coutts write that Jones wanted to ‘create an environment which would give a sense of security and the established order and patronage of an English village community, himself the squire and benefactor, a little remote; the parson and schoolmaster their spiritual and secular leaders'.
In 1854 John Jones and his family relocated to Dunedin where he remained till his death in 1869. The move allowed Jones to keep an eye on his business interests, and also provided better access to education for his children.
Jones' death was marked with significance befitting his influence in early Dunedin. His funeral cortège was a Who's Who of early Otago society. The procession included John Hyde Harris, Edward and John Cargill, Dr Thomas Burns, Francis Dillon Bell, and Dr Alfred Eccles, making it sound, as Knight and Coutts describe, as though ‘the history of Dunedin followed him'.
Jones' influence remained at Matanaka following his departure to Dunedin. It appears that Jones' son William Jones and his family continued to live at Matanaka Farm until 1858.
The estate at Matanaka took on a settled and established feel during this time in contemporary accounts. Historian W.H.S. Roberts visited the farm in May 1856 and records that on a bitter winter's day:
Mr Jones kindly invited us to remain at his comfortable residence, which was a large house with out-buildings, stables, etc., in a style far in advance of the general colonial farm. Matainaka was prettily situated on a dry hill, with a rich sandy loam, a considerable portion of which was cultivated.
A survey of Matanaka made by W.C. England in 1860 shows a layout of buildings similar to that in Mantell's 1848 sketch. A track travels from the beach, winds gently up the headland (marked as Cornish Head) and passes to the west of the farm buildings, marked ‘Matanic'. Five structures (small inked squares), in a closely grouped L-shape are shown, with a further structure to the north-west, close to the track. A little distant to the south a larger structure flanked by two smaller structures sits next to the bush.
European settlement gained momentum by the 1860s with the coming of the gold rush, and there was a wharf, lighthouse and marine store providing port services at Waikouaiti, where diggers landed to begin their overland walk via the Pigroot.
John Richard Jones, William's eldest son, with wife Mary Orbell, lived on the farm until 1871, when they shifted to Dunedin.
The property was then leased to McLeod Orbell (brother to Mary). Orbell had been elected as the first mayor of Hawksbury, which had been constituted as a borough in 1867. He was elected first mayor of Waikouaiti in 1866, and a member of the Otago Provincial Council for the same electorate, and a member of the first Executive Council of Sir Julius Vogel. According to the Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Orbell's holdings were some 65,000 acres, which he held until 1888 when the country was divided and disposed of by the Crown under the small grazing run system. Orbell shifted to Canterbury where he leased the Raukapuka estate.
In February 1878 the Matanaka Farm was sold to Sir George McLean (1834-1917). George McLean was born in Scotland. He immigrated first to Melbourne in 1851 and then in 1862 to Dunedin, where he was the New Zealand manager of the Bank of New Zealand. In 1869 he became the Provincial Treasurer of Otago, and Member of the House of Representatives for Waikouaiti. He was, at various times, Commissioner of Customs, Postmaster General, and Chair of both the Colonial Bank of New Zealand and the Union Steam Shipping Company. McLean leased the farm to Orbell between 1886 and 1889.
In 1892 the property was purchased by Alexander Bannatyne, a farmer from the Waikouaiti area. Alexander died in 1902 but Matanaka remained in the Bannatyne family until 1961.
The Schoolhouse was moved from its position immediately adjoining the homestead sometime between 1890 and 1922. At a similar time the Store was also moved from its position close to the house, to its current position south of the Stables, replacing a tool shed that had stood there previously.
The Dove Cote was shifted to its last known position around 1935. It burnt down some time before 1975. Remnants of iron which survived the fire indicate an early date of construction, sometime probably between 1843 and 1860.
The Three-Seater Privy was originally located just east of the homestead, close to the house. It was shifted sometime after Knight and Coutts' history was published in 1975, because it was still next to the homestead at that time.
Historian T.A. Pybus writing in 1954 describes the Matanaka estate at that time: the residence of Mr. Jones, the ‘Big House', as it was called, was an attractive mansion for those days. The timber was pit-sawn from Jones's bush at Hawksbury. The doors were made of cedar from Australia. The residence is now, at the time of writing, occupied by the Bannatyne family, who keep the house in excellent order, much as it was in Mr. Jones's time. The grounds are beautifully kept, and the whole property reminds one of an English squire's palatial residence. The house, although erected more than a hundred years ago, is in a wonderful state of preservation. Windows, doors and timbers are the originals. The coach-house, stables, barns and outhouses are much the same today as they were when erected.
In 1961 the farm again changed hands, and was owned briefly by two individuals, before being sold in 1965 to Monty Ericson.
The Matanaka Farm buildings included in this registration were gifted to the NZHPT by the Ericson family in 1976. The then Director of the NZHPT John Daniels described the homestead and buildings on their attractive site as important because they ‘represent the beginnings of agriculture in the South Island' and are ‘one of the few tangible links with the early period of Jones' career'. The area was gazetted as an historic reserve in 1981 and control vested in the NZHPT.
The exposed site meant the buildings were subject to severe gales. One such storm in 1975 resulted in damage to the building, and the lean-tos to the granary and schoolhouse. The lean-tos were subsequently demolished. An old farm cottage, also included in the buildings gifted to the NZHPT, was judged to be in such poor condition that it was unsalvageable. It was demolished and the materials were set aside to be reused in the other buildings where possible.
Once the buildings were acquired by the NZHPT there was discussion about the positioning of the buildings in the historic reserve. The decision was made to replicate the L-shaped layout visible in Mantell's earlier sketch of the buildings. To facilitate this impression the Granary and the Schoolhouse, which were connected, were separated.
In 1977, the Ministry of Works completed maintenance and restoration work on the Matanaka Farm. Work to be completed included renewing framing in the south gable and west wall of the Stable; replacement of weatherboard cladding and structural strengthening of the Stable; replacement of two sets of double doors and frames in the Schoolhouse, re-partitioning to match its original function as a Schoolhouse, and similar replacement of material as the Stable.
Knight and Coutts write: ‘Quite apart from the considerable interest to be found in the buildings, it is an experience just to visit this place; to stand on the hill from where it can be seen laid out in plan. The buildings have the appearance of belonging to the landscape....The line of trees, which Jones planted, and the spacious placing of the buildings, create a colonial estate, designed not only with ambition, ideas of development and prosperity, but with a feeling for man in his environment.'
Today Matanaka Farm remains an historic reserve open to the public providing an insight into Otago's first farm.
20th October 2009
Report Written By
Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
E. J. Tapp, 'Jones, John 1808/1809? - 1869', updated 7 April 2006, URL: http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/ accessed18 April 2007
Encyclopaedia of NZ, 1966
Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, Wellington, 1966
Bernard Foster, 'Barnicoat, John Wallis 1814-1905) in A.H. McLintock (ed) An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Department of Internal Affairs, 1966.
Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986
Alfred Eccles and A.H. Reed, John Jones of Otago: Whaler, Coloniser, Shipowner, Merchant, A.H. and A.W. Reed, Wellington, 1949
Knight, 1975 (2)
Hardwicke Knight and Peter Coutts, Matanaka: Otago's First Farm, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1975
Robert McNab, The Old Whaling Days: A History of Southern New Zealand from 1830 to 1840, Whitcombe and Tombs, 1913
A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area Office.