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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



(1814–75) and Edward Joshua (son, 1841–1911).

Pioneer runholders.

A new biography of Riddiford, Edward Joshua appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

Daniel Riddiford was born in England in 1814. Some years after his father's death his mother married G. S. Evans, then a schoolmaster, who later qualified as a barrister and became an enthusiastic supporter of the Wakefield colonisation schemes. Probably through this association Riddiford, in September 1839, was appointed emigration agent in the New Zealand Company's (q. v.) first settlement, at a salary of £200 per annum. His duties were to receive immigrants on landing and to provide temporary habitation, particularly for women and children and any sick. Before leaving England he also arranged an agency business, with Captain E. Daniell as a partner, which would act on behalf of overseas land purchasers.

Riddiford arrived in Wellington in March 1840 on the Adelaide with his stepfather and Captain Daniell, and he immediately took up his official duties which were undertaken through the first phase of Company activity.

Following the taking up of sheep runs in the Wairarapa by Clifford, Weld, and others, Riddiford, about 1846–47, occupied the Orongorongo station, with an effective lease from 1 April 1848, over some 7,000 acres between the Wainuiomata and Mukamuka Rivers. Until 1910, however, it was substantially a Maori leasehold with restricted flat grazing and Riddiford soon sought elsewhere for a better property. In 1848-49 he arranged the Maori lease of the Te Awaiti Block on the East Coast, estimated, at the time of issue of the formal Crown licence six years later, to include about 30,000 acres. Riddiford, his wife (Harriett, née Stone), and family lived at Orongorongo station until 1855, when he moved into his Woburn property in the Hutt Valley. In 1858–59 Riddiford withstood a challenge to his Orongorongo title from C. E. Luxford, who had negotiated a separate lease over part of the block concerned.

After Daniel Riddiford's death at Woburn, Hutt, on 20 March 1875, his eldest son, Edward Joshua (1841–1911), took over the management of the properties. Edward, later known as “King” Riddiford, was born at Port Nicholson in 1841 and educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, and Scotch College, Melbourne. On leaving school he spent some time in Australia and thence made his way to the Otago goldfields. In 1862, however, he returned to the Wairarapa and, at the age of 21, took over the management of Te Awaiti block which, later, he was to inherit. Edward's experience of sheep and cattle grazing in Australia well qualified him to push vigorously ahead with plans for the development of Te Awaiti; moreover, as a pastoralist, he was well in advance of the farming practice of the day. Glenburn station, north of Te Awaiti, was purchased in 1900, and Tablelands, near Martinborough, a little later, as well as other smaller properties elsewhere. Riddiford was a very shrewd buyer, both of stock and of property. Although there have been larger stations and greater personal fortunes in New Zealand's pastoral history, the Riddiford properties represented for the period a most significant aggregation of stock and land.

by Austin Graham Bagnall, M.A., A.L.A., Librarian, National Library Centre, Wellington.

  • New Zealand Times, 24 Mar 1875 (Obit).


Austin Graham Bagnall, M.A., A.L.A., Librarian, National Library Centre, Wellington.