I returned to Matanaka for no reason other than curiosity got the better of me. I had been driving through the township of Waikouaiti, when I suddenly found myself turning off the main highway and passing by farm fields, a golf course, a horse racing track and a beach before arriving at the Matanaka visitors car park. After a short stroll along a fence line, through a group of eucalyptus trees and passing some very unfriendly looking sheep my destination appeared in front of me. That being a group of farm buildings that is thought to be New Zealand’s oldest surviving farm.
The oddest thing about the farm buildings that remain at the Matanaka farm is that they are there at all. Considering original owner Johnny Jones could have chosen anyway for his farm in 1838, it’s curious that he chose such an isolated and exposed place.