Old New Zealand

...Matanaka - Otago's First Farm...


The first European settlers along the Otago coast were whalers who worked at shore whaling stations set up at various bays and inlets in the 1830s. In 1838 Johnny Jones, a Sydney based trader, whaler and ship-owner, bought a whaling station near today's Waikouaiti. When whaling slumped, he bought large tracts of land from the Maori, and in 1840 recruited migrant families to settle at the north end of the bay. Soon afterwards Jones established a farm at Matanaka on the headland above the settlers' buildings, where he himself settled in 1843. A number of buildings from this farm - stables, granary, privy, store room and school house - still stand today. Probably the oldest surviving farm buildings in New Zealand, they are a legacy from the days of transition from shore whaling to farming. The buildings are picturesque and superbly situated. On a visit it is possible to recapture the atmosphere of the times when they were new and part of the first farm in Otago, then a remote and spasely inhabited corner of the new colony of New Zealand.

(NZ historic Places Trust, 2002)


How To Reach Matanaka

The farm buildings are 5km south-east of Waikouaiti, towards the coast. The turn off from SH 1, clearly sign posted, is just over 1km north of the Waikouaiti Post Office Travel east along Edinburgh Street and then a private farm road for 4.3km to reach the sign posted car park. A clearly marked foot track winds its way through a copse of trees and then out across open pasture to the Matanaka farm buildings (5-10 minutes easy walk). Please ensure that you stay on the marked track as the farm is provate property. Please also note that dogs are not permitted on any of the properties.