The Liberal Government's purchase and settlement of the Langdale Estate, Wairarapa (1900-1921) : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University
Langdale Station is a 40-minute drive east from Masterton. This Wairarapa sheep, beef and grain farm is the remnant of a large estate owned by an English family until 1901. It was a four-hour coach trip from Masterton in those days.
1 The Langdale Settlement, Wellington, New Zealand, Wellington: T.Y. Duncan, Minister of Lands, 1901, p. 7
Modern travellers can journey down the picturesque Mangapakeha valley oblivious of the infamous swamp, and the role it played in the Liberal Government's purchase and settlement of Langdale. It seems incongruous in a colony founded on British principles of individual property rights that a government should embark on a programme of land redistribution. The Liberal Government purchased, by compulsion if necessary, large estates, and leased the subdivided land to settlers without right of freehold. Although the tenure strictures were relaxed, land-for-settlements remained in the New Zealand ethos and was later used to settle returned servicemen. Subsequent governments spent taxpayers' money settling 'productive people' on farms.
2 Economic Management: Land Use Issues, Wellington, Minister of Finance, 1984, pp. 60,67-68.
Ironically, the 1980s' neo-liberal revolt ended government involvement in land settlement. [From Introduction]