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.


Mesopotamia, in mid-Canterbury, is probably the most famous of New Zealand's high-country sheep stations. Its boundaries, which lie along the Rangitata River from Forest Creek to where Camp Creek joins the Havelock River, embrace an area of about 100,000 acres. Mesopotamia's neighbours are the famous Mount Peel, Mount Potts, and Erewhon Stations. The nucleus of the station was taken up in 1857 and 1858 by Henry Phillips, J. Carter, and E. Owens, who in 1860 sold their leases to Samuel Butler. Because it was isolated behind river barriers, Butler named his station Mesopotamia. In 1863 Butler sold his interest in the station and since then the leases have passed through many hands. Succeeding owners of Mesopotamia have been: William Pakerson (1863); W. Cator and M. D. Campbell (1864), who were later joined by General and J. R. Campbell; George McMillan (1885); George Gerard (1903); Sir William Nosworthy (1917); and M. V. Prouting, the present owner (1945– ). In 1896 the New Zealand Government set aside 40,000 acres of the station as an endowment for Lincoln College.

by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.

  • Mesopotamia Station, Newton, P. (1960)
  • Early Canterbury Runs, Acland, L. G. D. (1946)
  • Samuel Butler of Mesopotamia, Maling, P. B. (1960)
  • The Cradle of Erewhon, Jones, J. (1959).

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