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Part four: Southland
Pictured above: John and Jane MacGibbon, late 1860s

CONTENTS

Taking up the Otapiri Run – John Sr and Thomas take up runholding in the South, in early 1858.

Carting wool to Invercargill – adventures in an uncharted tussock and swamp wilderness.

John MacGibbon, James Macandrew et al and the Otapiri Run – a murky mystery.

Down south again, with the family in tow – the whole family moves to Mataura, to establish a ferry and accommodation house.

John Junior remembers the big trip south – a fun trip for the small fry. The bullock wagon trek was only the third overland journey by a wheeled vehicle into Southland from Dunedin, and there were no roads to follow. (The first such trip was made earlier the same year by John and Thomas MacGibbon.)

The kaika at Tuturau – the Maori neighbours were a source of help and curiousity.

'MacGibbons' was no Ritz on the Mataura – complaints, allegations and visits from the police.

Mataura River a serious travel barrier – the ferry was a much needed amenity.

The early runholders – Thomas MacGibbon describes the family's first neighbours.

Farming in their own right – runholding at Kelvingrove in the Hokonui Hills - and elsewhere.

Back to the Old Country to collect a wife – to Glasgow to marry Isabella Nairn.

The Rise and Fall of John MacGibbon and Sons – in 1872 the family returns to its merchant roots, and founds the largest retail and farm servicing enterprise in Eastern Southland, with branches in Mataura, Gore and East Gore.

Establishment, institution, but not a business – former staff recall a firm that lost its way and began to disintegrate from the 1930s. It finally closed up in 1962.

Dealing in land – MacGibbon family members were serious and extensive land speculators.

Serving the community – an outstanding record of community service.

'Aunty Tot' MacGibbon was one of Gore's characters.

Mataura touched by Bohemia – avant garde Glasgow artist James Nairn hits town. Nairn was Isabella MacGibbon's brother, and painted his first New Zealand works at her house.

Obituary: John MacGibbon Senior – Southland loses a pioneer settler.

Home interests – minding the hearth in the 1890s (an advice column).

A colonial abroad – Isabella MacGibbon wide-eyed in London, in letters to her children.

Thomas MacGibbon summoned to the Legislative Council of New Zealand.

The first two generations in New Zealand – an illustrated family tree.

Education: the ultimate legacy.

Where are they now? – distribution of later generations throughout New Zealand and overseas.

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With Jacky Jacky, the first squatter near Gore, in Southland

Enjoying a "good stiff tot of rum and a pannikin of tea" with local squatter ‘Jacky-Jacky’, are John and Thomas MacGibbon on their journey to Otapiri Station in early 1858. "Jacky-Jacky," wrote Thomas, "was an uncouth looking hielandman whose manners and hospitality belied his appearance." The first resident of what became East Gore, Jacky-Jacky was one of only a handful of Europeans then living in inland Southland.


 

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