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Extensively Updated and Hand Colored By An Early Owner -- Including Jackson Peaks

Rare early map of the Province of Otago, drawn by John Reid at the Survey Office in Otago, New Zealand, in 1859 and lithographed by T.F. Bibbs & Wl Collis in Melbourne in 1860.

The map notes that the southern, north eastern & interior districts are based upon the surveys of by J.T. Thomson, the south eastern districts on the surveys of by A. Garvie and the western coast & islands copied from Admiralty surveys, conducted by Captain J.L. Stokes of the Royal Navy.

The map includes insets of New River and Bluff Harbours, Otago Harbour and a  small map of the colony of New Zealand. The map shows the extent of settlement by the British colony since the first colonists arrived in 1849. The activities of the colonists are shown by the tables on the lower right of the map naming the natural divisions (the nature of the land whether forests, swamps, lakes, barren or pasture lands) within the Province and their estimated size in square miles, along with data showing economic productivity/agricultural output of the region in the period 1848-1858, weather details and other colonial statistics.

Hand Annotations By An Early Owner

The present example has been extensively updated, hand colored and includes annotations which include the names of several towns, lakes and roads which are not on the printed map. 

The map shows a a route (in blue) which begins in or near Dunedin and extends southwest to a crossing of the Clutha River at a point marked "Ferry" nearly today's Balcutha.  The map the extend west to Station Lloyd on the Mataura River, then southwest to Invercargill (which seems to be called Intercargill on the map).

The details of the map are extensively updated to show Lake Te Anau and its tributaries and watershed, along with a fine treatment of the rivers and lakes to the east and northeast of Te Anau, which was only shown as "Approximate" in an otherwise large blank space in the original map.

The name Jackson is also shown, a very early reference to Jackson Peaks.

Lake Te Nau was first discovered discovered by European explorers Charles Naim and William Stephen in 1852. but was not surveyed until 1863 by James McKerrow. McKerrow arrived in New Zealand in November 1859.  In 1861 to 1863 McKerrow undertook the first scientific reconnaissance survey of the Otago Lake districts, a vast largely unexplored track of more than 8000 square miles. McKerrow's survey report was later presented at Royal Geographical Society of London receiving a special commendation from Sir Roderick Murchison, the Society's president.  The report was printed by the RGS in 1864, Reconnaissance Survey of the Lake Districts of Otago and  Southland, New Zealand . . . Read January 25, 1864.

He served as District and Geodetical Surveyor of Otago from between 1859 and 1873, then later as Chief Surveyor from 1873 to 1877.  In January 1877, he became the  Assistant Surveyor-General of New Zealand from January 1877, a poste he held until October 1879.   In addition to his posts as surveyor, he also Secretary of Crown Lands and Mines (1878-89), and thereafter Chief Commissioner of New Zealand Railways.

Between 1861 to 1863, McKerrow made the reconnaissance survey of the Otago Lake districts, an area of eight thousand square miles. The reports of these surveys were read before the Royal Geographical Society of London, and received the special commendation of the President, Sir Roderick Murchison, in his annual address. 


The map is very rare.  The original manuscript maps survives at the State Library of Victoria (Australia), noting that it was "Reduced and drawn by John Reid, draftsman, Survey Office, 1859"

OCLC locates examples at the National Library of Australia, National Library of Australia, University of Otago (Hocken Collections) and Dunedin Public Library.

A later version of the map was apparently printed in London by Edward Stanford.

Reconnaissance Survey of the Lake Districts of Otago and Southland, New Zealand, The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London , 1864, Vol. 34 (1864), pp. 56-82.
John Reid Biography

John Reid came to Australia in 1853, where he worked for a decade as an engineer in the goldfields of Victoria.

In 1863, he began coming to Otago as the agent of several commercial ventures. He started acquiring farm land in North Otago in 1865, creating Elderslie, an estate named for the birthplace of the 13th Century Scotish Revolutionary hero William Wallace.  Elderslie would go on to become the largest estate in Otago.

Within a few decades, Reid was the largest land owner in North Otago, and later becoming involved in the development of refrigerated shipping between Britain and Oamaru. Its inaugural voyage in 1884 carried 23,000 frozen sheep carcasses and was a great success.