History

About

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In December 1847 before either Canterbury or Otago were colonised
(aged 15) J D ORMOND stepped ashore in Auckland from his home of Wallingford Berkshire in England as the secretary to E J Eyre, the Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster.

IN 1858, WALLINGFORD HOMESTEAD (NAMED AFTER HIS HOME TOWN) WAS BUILT BY J D ORMOND. By the end of 1860 all the creeks from Waipukurau to Blackhead (Blackhead reef provided the wool loading and incoming goods landing area serviced by small coastal vessels) had been bridged and by 1862 Wallingford Village had a store, a blacksmith and two hotels, one of them with eleven bedrooms.

It is not known how large the WALLINGFORD homestead was at this point, suffice to say that Hannah Ormond’s 1864 journals indicate it was a sizeable house. By 1873 a map of Hawkes Bay shows Ormond owning the Mangangarara Block, 14,226 acres which included the homestead, and adjacent, to the North East, the Eparaima Block of 4,849 acres. With a flock of 25,354 sheep Ormond ranked sixth among the landowners of Hawke’s Bay. By 1872 he also owned land to the south of Wallingford and at Karamu in Hastings, and later purchased land at Woodville and Mahia. By 1852 JD had settled Wallingford Station, he built the homestead around 1853-54.

In 1869 Ormond was elected to the Superintendency of Hawke’s Bay and the family moved to Tintagel in Napier to live, returning to Wallingford for the summer holidays. They had spent the first 9 years of married life at Wallingford but never returned to live there.

John Davies (Jack) Ormond the sixth and youngest of Hannah & J D’s children was born in 1873. He married “Gran Ormond” Emilie Mary Gladys Wilder (1881-1958) in 1902. Jack and Gladys Ormond raised twelve children at Wallingford, six boys and six girls, see the list below.

By 1905 Wallingford was a prosperous and well-developed sheep and cattle station of some 34,000 acres. The village, which existed mainly to complement the farm, consisted of a blacksmith (the village centre), a boarding house, a telephone exchange (set up and paid for by the Hon J D to assist his work on the Legislative Council) and a school. In 1905 Wallingford was still an important stopping post on the journey from Porangahau and the coast and was linked by a daily horse-drawn coach to Waipukurau.

The four-horse carriages that were used for mail delivery and transportation on the coastal run changed horses at the Wallingford stables until their replacement in 1912 by service cars. During 1908 the Nursery wing of the homestead was added.

With the extra hardships imposed by the war and a rapidly growing family – ten by 1918 – Wallingford was a busy homestead. In 1917/18 a new wing was added to accommodate the growing family and a number of servants including two nurses, a cook, a gardener, a scullery maid, and with the arrival of Miss Farrow in 1916, a schoolteacher. The house also had its own tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course. Hurst Seager from Christchurch was the architect for the final alterations made during 1917/18.

(Sir) John Davies Wilder Ormond, (second eldest of the twelve children) was born on 8th September 1905; he died on 8th March 1995. His wife-to-be Judith Wall was born on 15th June 1920 (married on 26th August 1939); she died on 2nd July 2000. Sir John chaired a number of boards in New Zealand including the NZ Meat Producers Board, the Exports and Shipping Council and the New Zealand Shipping Line, the latter established by the Kirk Labour Government.

These were interesting times for agriculture in New Zealand with the change from the bulk purchase of many of NZ’s agricultural products by the British Government, vital to Britain during the war years, to the era of British entry into the EEC. Four very powerful producer controlled Boards – the Meat, Wool, Dairy and Apple and Pear Boards – working in close cooperation with the Exports & Shipping Council guided us through these troublesome times for New Zealand.

There were a number of well known personalities involved on these boards at the time but special among those was Sir Jack Acland of Mt Peel in Canterbury, Chairman of the NZ Wool Board, and married to Sir John’s sister Kit Ormond. Another was Sir Tom Skinner President of the Federation of Labour, his close association and friendship with Sir John signalled the beginning of a new era of understanding in New Zealand that producers and workers are vital to each other’s fortunes.