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)