I too was lucky in a Government Land Ballot many years later and drew a section of 660 acres in the Wakato, a few miles from Taupiri, but owing to a variety of circumstances and some sharp practice I lost it. This two would be valuable country today.
I have been gathering up stones at odd times lately and it takes me back 60 odd years to when we started clearing up the large Native Clearing at the back of the Fernlands property. This area was clear of stumps and it was here we did our first cultivating. The clearing covered about 25 acres abd lay between tha Tamaki and Oronokiritaki Rivers. Quite large area had been beautifully paved with stones selected and carried from these rivers for forming the Maori ovens and it was said that this clearing had been the main hunting ground of the Maoris in southern Hawkes Bay. We took scores of dray loads of stones and many of them had to be got up with apick and crowbar. One dray would be away tipping into the river while another was loading. This was very hard work but it gave us our first ploughed land and later acres of grand clover hay paddocks. We found numerous Maori artifacts and in later years I dug up a Maori skull. All these were given to Mr. Hill, the school inspector for souther Hawkes Bay and were later given by him to the Napier Museum.
A source of ready cash in those days was honey and Father went in for the Langstraf system and built up quite a large apiary of some 60 odd hives. This was pure white clover super grade honey which was extracted in a four frame hand driven machine and strained into a large vat where it was left until quite cold. It was then put into 40lb. tins and the small opening filled with a solder cap. Each tin was painted with a special varnish and railed to McCruer & Co., Napier and, I think, exported. Father received about one pound a tin which was cash in hand. All the timber work for the hives and frames was done in our own workshop.
We had on the farm at this time, horses, foals, cows, heifers, calves and beef bullocks, sheep, lambs, pigs - all sizes and gender - fowls, ducks, turkeys, dogs, cats, and literally millions of Italian bees - quite a famiy!!