Spotting was the practice of improving and then freeholding key parts of a sheep run such as waterways, so adjacent areas became valueless to other potential purchasers. Common in the 19th century, it enabled some runholders to acquire vast tracts of land. This map shows spotting on the Levels Station, South Canterbury, between 1866 and 1874.
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Source: Noel Crawford, The station years: a history of the Levels, Cannington, and Holme Station. Cave: N. Crawford, 1981, p. 49.