Author(s): AIan Scarfe
There has never been a New Zealand book like A Changing Land before. The first two sections tell the story of the development of Hawke’s Bay’s ‘Maraekakaho’, one of the country’s largest and most iconic sheep and cattle stations which was established by Sir Donald McLean and, then, his son Sir Douglas McLean. Sir Donald played a prominent role in 19th century New Zealand as the government’s chief land purchase commissioner and then as a cabinet minister. Sir Douglas, a major runholder by any standards, devoted much of his life to building an international reputation for ‘Maraekakaho’s’ sheep, cattle and horse studs. Early in the 20th century, in response to the Liberal Government’s determination to ‘break up’ the large estates, he began selling significant parts of the run. The equally fascinating final section of A Changing Land traces how much of ‘Maraekakaho’ has evolved into a varied patchwork of cropping farms, vineyards, smallholdings, olive groves, alpaca farms and tree plantations over the last century ‘Maraekakaho’ – then and now – has touched the lives of many hundreds of Hawke’s Bay families; and the story of the McLeans’ development of the great run will be of interest to all those – academics and general public – fascinated by the country’s social and farming history.