1881? A skilled but unsigned sepia watercolor of the station on the northern coast of the South Island, centered on the station, a stream in the foreground, mountain ranges behind. Roderick McRae owned the 100 acre property in the borough of Richmond, which consisted of fine agricultural land on which McRae raised cattle and sheep. McRae sold the station for gold mining in 1898. (Source: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Richmond, p. 125.)
The Wangapeka Valley is one of the region's early goldfields, where finds were made in 1859, following the discovery in nearby Baton Valley of 1856. "The Handbook of New Zealand Mines" published by the Government Printer in 1887 had this to say: " Amongst the earliest discoveries in New Zealand was that of the Wangapeka Goldfield, which comprises the valleys drained by the Wangapeka and its tributaries, the Rolling River and Sherry and the Tadmor and Baton Valleys, lying on either side of the Wangapeka River". It even gave its name to the chorus of a popular goldfields' ditty (sung to the tune of "Hot Cross Buns"), which was a play on the word "peck", a unit of measurement used to weigh gold dust.
Watercolor 15 1/4 x 7 7/8". Caption 6 3/4 x 1 3/4", hand lettered reads: "Wangapeka Station New Zealand. Belonging to Roderick Mc Rae. It is about 40 miles from Richmond. It is rather cold in the winter. The range of mountains in the middle of the background are snow capped in the winter. The little stream in the foreground is called the Sherry from its flowing over a brown quartz pebble. The fish contained therein is the Sel, sometimes weighing 20 pounds, but they are coarse and fat. Twelve miles from the Puruanpelka Diggings gold is found at the back of the Station but not in paying quantities. The trees principally called Black Birch, in the foreground (1 Hay) ( 2 Ti Tree) (3 Dwarf Manuka), 5 thousand sheep, 100 head of cattle and 50 horses running on the property and Rodk has 4000 acres free hold."
Laid on board 22 x 16". Board slightly dusty, some cracks in the margins not affecting the image or the text. The caption is slightly foxed, the image is not. Very good overall. Item #24303