Your Hosts - Noeline and Richard...
Richard has been a local boy all is life. His grandfather, father and himself have all farmed locally. The farm we now have is a sheep and beef farm in the heart of the Manuherikia Valley which was part of the Matakanui Station that was 80,000 acres. On this farm still standing is the old Matakanui homestead that was built in 1880's and a blacksmith shed. As the original shearing shed was falling down around us we pulled it down and built the entrance doors of our new home with the recycled wood.
Richards hobbies are sport, racing & travelling. Richard played rugby for Otago, represented NZ for curling, drove harness horses but has now retired from this sport and just owns gallopers and trotters. He loves his golf and is always keen for a game.
Noeline is a Southland girl who is from a racing family. She played sport did her OE when she was young. She loves cooking and meeting people from all over the world. Over the years she has done her hairdressing, woolclassing ticket, owned café and a Hotel.
Noeline had known Richard since they were young adults. Reunited six years ago and have six children between them... They now are the brady bunch
Matakanui has generated from an old gold mining site of early days. Matakanui was a goldmining town also known as (Tinkers) 1863 till about 1923 surrounded in the Manuherikia plains. By the late 1890s the town was starting to be called Matakanui. The wooden school is still there with its bell tower but has long since been closed as a school and is now used as a farm barn. Most of the town buildings and yard walls are of sun-dried bricks-the hall,Duggans store, stable and yard wall date from about 1890. The Matakanui Hotel (Newtons Tavern) closed in early seventies, the store in 1980 while the former bakery has been restored as a privately owned cottage. Nearby in the shrubs stands an old sluicing monitor gun as a memorial to the old miners who worked here in the late 1800s/early1900s. Today it is a small ghost town survived by a couple of families. Matakanui is a Maori name Mataki-nui. The spelling of Matakanui has now changed. In the late 1862 the first miners crossing over the Manuherikia Valley to the Upper Clutha Valley found gold in the Bendigo Creek.
The Otago interior was opened for pastoral grazing in the late 1850s. Run 223,along the eastern Dunstan Mountain flanks consisting of approximately 80,000acres was formed in 1859 but settled in 1861 by George Thomson and his partner Webster. It was named the Matakanui Station and it was soon grazing 17,000 sheep. Land is on long leading spurs, open tussock flats and irrigated paddocks which in total carry some 17,000 Polwarth sheep and 1,200 Hereford cattle.
It was George Thomson who named Thomson Creek, Thomson Gorge and Thomson Saddle. As the road starts to climb through the gorge the view behind is over valleys and mountains: Manuherikia Valley.
The 80,000 acres has now been divided up over the years. The existing Matakanui Station was taken over in 1958 23,000acres been a three generation farm running Polwarth sheep, half breds and beef.