Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. Vol. 3 pages 870-871. Published 1903
Orari is situated on the main railway line between Christchurch and Dunedin, and is the stopping place for passengers to Geraldine, with which there is a regular coach service. It is eighty-one miles from Christchurch, and nineteen miles from Timaru. The district, which is in the county of Geraldine, is devoted to agriculture and sheepfarming. There is 120 persons in the township, which has a school, and there is a post, telegraph, and money order office at the railway station.
BELFIELD SCHOOL, Belfield, near Orari, This school was erected in 1884. The number of scholars on the roll is sixty, and the average attendance is forty-seven.
GLANVILLE, William John, Headmaster of the Belfield School, is a son of Mr William Glanville, an old colonist if Woodbury. He was born in Temuka in 1869, and brought up and educated at Woodbury. He served as pupil teacher at the Woodbury school, and then appointed headmaster if Fitzherbert East school, near Palmerston North. There he remained for two years, until 1890, when he received his present appointment. In musical, matters Mr Glanville takes a great interest, and his services are in active request at local concerts. he was married in 1892, to a daughter of Mr John May, stationmaster at Rakaia, and has two sons and one daughter. The Belfield Post Office is connected with the school, and Mr Glanville is the local postmaster.
MASON, William, General Storekeeper, and Farmer, Orari. Agent for the "Rambler" bicycle, the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company, and the "Press" and "Lyttelton Times" newspapers. Mr Mason was born in Westmorland, England, in 1857. He arrived in Victoria in 1879, by the s.s. "Cuzxo," and shortly afterwards came on to New Zealand. After staying a few months in Dunedin, Mr Mason went to the Rangitata, where he established a business, and was one of the first storekeepers in the district. About two years later he established his present business at Orari, sand has successfully carried it on and enlarged it. It comprises a butchery, bakery, ironmongery, drapery and general store. He owns a farm of 120 acres, all cultivated, and has wheat crops which average thirty-two bushels per acre. Mr Mason has always taken a very active interest in local affairs. For six years he was a member of the Orari school committee, and for three years its chairman.; but owing to pressure of the business he was obliged to resign. Mr Mason is a member of the Orari Park Board, Temuka Caledonian Society, the Geraldine St Patrick's Sports Association, steward of the Geraldine Racing Club, and president of the Orari Football Club. He married a daughter of Mr Duncan Taylor, of Rangitata, in 1889, and has two sons and two daughters.
BISSET, Robert Hugh, Farmer, "Banaskine," Orari. Mr Bisset was born on the Orari station in 1873, and is the second son of the late Mr Christopher Bisset, an early settler, and former manager for the late Mr. W. McDonald. Mr C. Bisset arrived in the Colony by the ship "Queen of Mersey," and was at White Rock for some two years, prior to moving to South Canterbury in 1864, when he purchased "Banaskine" property 1876, and occupied it to the time of his death, in 1893. Mr Bisset was a member of the Temuka Road Board for some years prior to his demise. He was married in Sutherlandshire Scotland, to Miss Ann McDonald, and left eight children; his widow still resides at Orari. daughter
GLADSTONE, Henry John, Farmer, "Brooklands," Orari. The subject if this notice was born in Liverpool in 1826, and is a cousin of the illustrious and lately deceased statesman, the Right Hon. W.E. Gladstone. He was educated in his native city, and studied agriculture. Mr Gladstone came to Lyttelton in 1854 by the ship "Ashmere," and settled in South Canterbury, where he entered into partnership with the late Mr Watson, resident Magistrate of Akaroa, in a run in the Mackenzie country. He remained there for ten years, and having sold out came to Orari, and took up his present property of 600 acres. Mr Gladstone, who owns two other farms, has gone in for general farming. He has not taken an active part in public affairs, except as a member of the Orari River Conservation Board; but he interests himself in church work.
HEWSON, William, Farmer, Pine Tree Farm, Orari Bridge, Mr Hewson was born in Scotland in 1853. He accompanied his parents to New Zealand in the ship "Queen of Mersey," in 1862, and settled at the Hinds. At that time there was scarcely a fence on the Canterbury Plains, and bullock tracks constituted the only roads. After receiving his education in Christchurch, Mr Hewson lived in the Ashburton district till 1869. He then went to the Orari Gorge station, and was subsequently engaged in various occupations. He bought part of his present farm in 1874, when it was in its native state, but he so successfully cultivated that land that, in 1899, he had wheat which average thirty-eight bushels per acre and oats forty-six bushels. Mr Hewson has been chairman of the Orari Bridge school committee for the past thirteen years. He has been twice married and has four sons and two daughters now living.
METCALF, Anthony, Farmer, Wattle Hill Farm Orari Bridge. Mr Metcalf was born in the 27th of October, 1846, at Stainwood, Westmoreland, England, and was bought up to farming. He arrived in New Zealand by the ship "Zealandia," at Lyttelton, in 1869, and worked for six months for Mr John Ruddenklau. He then went sheep shearing on his own account, and was the first to start cropping on the Orari side of Geraldine. Mr Metcalf visited England in 1875, when he went Home by the ship "Rangitikei," and returned in the following year by the "Desdemona." In 1877 he bought his present farm, and has between 500 and 600 acres all cleared and well cultivated. Mr Metcalf was elected a member of the Geraldine Road Board in 1869, and has been returned at subsequent elections. He was one of the first members of the Orari Bridge school committee, and has also been on the water-race committee ever since its inception. He keeps a small stud of Leicesters imported by him from England. During his visit to England, in 1875, Mr Metcalf was married by the Rev. W. Nie, to Miss Margaret Frances Sowersby, of Barningham, Yorkshire, and has two sons and four daughters. He has been Justice of the Peace for some years.
ORARI GORGE STATION, Geraldine County, comprises 75,000 aces, including the freehold. It is a splendidly situated run, and was taken up in the early days by the late Mr. C. G. Tripp, who devoted a large amount of attention, and expended much money in improvements. The station is now managed by Mr Bernard Tripp, and carried 200 head of cattle and 45,000 shearing sheep. In addition there is a stud flock of Merino and English Leicesters. The first names have been awarded first and champion prizes in Timaru for many years in succession. About 4,000 acres of land are under cultivation, and of late years, the condition of the country has been advantageous for raising large numbers of cross-bred lambs and sheep for the London market. There is probably no better improved run in the Colony. At various convenient places there are stone huts for the accommodation of musters, and a splendid drove of pack mules, mostly bred on the place. The homestead residence is large and very picturesquely situated at the foot of a low range of hills, and surrounded by spacious grounds, partly in native bush, besides about fifteen acres of orchard and kitchen garden. The woolshed, men's huts, yards, stables, and other out-buildings are all very substantial and conveniently situated. There is a consider growth of native timber on the property, on which coal has been found.
MACDONALD. William Kenneth, sometime of Orari, was one of the earliest settlers in South Canterbury. He was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland, and when a young man went to Australia, whither he was followed some years afterwards by his brothers, Dr. A.R. Macdonald and Mr Angus Macdonald both now dead. In 1852 Mr Macdonald came to New Zealand, to which his brothers followed him later on, and they took up a large block of land between the Orari and Rangitata rivers, where his family are still in possession of part of it, now know as the Orari estate. Mr Macdonald was at one time a member of the Canterbury Provincial Council, and was one of the originators of the Christchurch Club, and of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Society. He was married, in 1859, to Miss Macpherson, eldest daughter of the late Captain Macpherson of the 59th Regiment. an old Peninsular officer, who afterwards resided in the Geraldine district. Mr Macdonald died in 1879.