Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.

TRIPP, Charles George

(1820-97).

Canterbury runholder.

C. G. Tripp was the third son of the Rev. Charles Tripp, D.D., Rector of Kentisbeare and, later, of Silverton Rectory, Devonshire; his mother was Frances, daughter of Sir William Owen, Bart. He was born at Kentisbeare, Devonshire, on 1 July 1820 and was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, London. He studied law in London and was called to the Bar in 1853. He came to New Zealand two years later and went as a cadet to Brittan and Burke's Halswell Station.

Along with J. B. A. Acland, also from the West Country, Tripp began to look for a station. They had £2,000 each but this was clearly not enough to buy a station already formed and stocked. All Canterbury including the foothills was already taken up and Tripp had the idea of applying for high country behind the foothills. They explored the upper reaches of the Rangitata, the Orari, and the Ashburton, and were believed to be the first white men to visit that country. They applied for, and were allotted, certain areas which were afterwards known as Mount Somers, Mount Possession, Mount Peel, and Orari Gorge, besides part of Mesopotamia and Hakatere. By 1857 they had 1,100 sheep on Mount Peel.

In 1861, when Acland was away and the stations were short of money, Tripp sold Mount Possession to Robert Tooth for £4,000. In 1862 Acland and Tripp dissolved partnership, Tripp taking Orari Gorge. He sold Mount Somers to his brother-in-law, Percy Cox. He married on 23 September 1858, Ellen Shephard, third daughter of Bishop Harper. They honeymooned at Akaroa and rode back through South Canterbury, fording the rivers and staying at stations on their way. There was only a cottage at Orari Gorge and, although there was a piano in it, amenities were few. They visited England in 1862, and Tripp found his father, who was nearly 80, almost blind and unable to recognise him. He refused to believe his son's stories of success. Thereupon Tripp wrote to his agent in New Zealand, instructing him to sell Orari Gorge and transmit the money to England. Tripp returned to Canterbury in time to buy back his station before the stock had been delivered. When the family moved into Orari Gorge in 1866, they experienced the great snow of 1867 and the great flood of 1868.

Charles Tripp was an ideal settler for a young colony. He was a sincere, generous-hearted man, tremendously energetic and always in a hurry. He was simple, yet shrewd – two qualities seldom joined together. He was impetuous and quick tempered, but the most kind-hearted of men. Consequently he could always get men to work for him. Although he had no eye for stock, he was a shrewd judge of country. As befitting the son-in-law of a bishop, he was a staunch member of the Church of England. His four sons were all good and able men. He died on 6 July 1897, aged 77.

by George Ranald Macdonald, Retired Farmer, Kaiapoi R.D.

  • Early Canterbury Runs, Acland, L. G. D. (1946)
  • My Early Days, Tripp, Ellen Shephard. (n.d.).


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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.

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