History of Dairy 1

The land on the south bank of the Manawatu River where Massey’s Dairy 1 is located was originally occupied by the Rangitane people. Māori settlers, attracted by the fertile soils of the Manawatu floodplain, cleared some of the forest for growing kumara and established small unfortified villages (kainga) along the river. Although it is likely that there were a number of settlements in this area, only one village, Mokomoko, is recorded.

Prior to European settlement a large stand of karaka trees grew on the area of flat land between the present FitzHerbert Bridge and the mouth of the Turitea Stream and were an important food source for Māori. A remnant of the karaka grove is located adjacent to the No.1 Dairy Farm and is a culturally significant site, providing a physical and spiritual link with the Māori history of the land.

In 1866-67 the land on the southbank of the Manawatu River near Palmerston North was subdivided and named the FitzHerbert district. The area presently occupied by Dairy 1 was originally part of the farm of John Batchelar, which included an additional title of 115 acres of accretion formed by the migration of the Manawatu River. In 1926 the Batchelar farm was purchased by the government for the site of the Massey Agricultural College which later became Massey University.

The below maps were recorded by J.T. Stewart (Government Surveyor) in 1858–59

Karaka Grove showing Māori settlement sites.

Original survey map by J.T. Stewart

Original survey map by J.T. Stewart