In the 1850s runholders leased extensive areas of pasture from the government for their sheep flocks, paying annual licences of no more than £2 per acre (0.4 hectares), assessed per head of livestock. Pastoral land could, be put up for sale, and runholders occasionally bought land to avoid losing access to it. The usual – relatively low – price of around 5 shillings per acre made this feasible, and by 1865 some Kaikōura runholders owned between 10% and nearly 50% of their total pasture.
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Source: J. M. Sherrard, Kaikoura: a history of the district. Christchurch: Cadsonbury Publications, 1966, p. 117.