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, however, be put up for sale, so runholders occasionally bought land to avoid losing access to it. The usual – and relatively low – price of around 5 shillings per acre made this feasible, and by 1865 some Kaikōura runholders owned from 10% to 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.