Although the Swannanoa district was for many years just a few large farming runs, it has it’s own history complete with political intrigue and heroics. A couple of interesting sources of information include the pages from the “Cyclopaedia of New Zealand” (1903), and “Beyond the Waimakariri - A regional History” (D. N. Hawkins, Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd, Christchurch, 1957, also out of print).
Until the 1850s, few Europeans had crossed the Waimakariri district, with the exception of a few surveyors. The Maori also were not extensive users of the area, although there was a Pa at Kaiapoi and they did at times travel over vast areas of the South Island (‘Te Wai Pounamu’ meaning ‘The Waters of Greenstone’, or ‘Te Waka a Maui’, ‘Maui’s Canoe’).
From the 1870s until the 1950s there was a Railway line through the district, although Tram Road, the main road into the area from Kaiapoi, never saw a tramline.
Read the snapshot of the district in 1903 in the cyclopedia article, and read of the history up till 1957 in the Hawkins article.
Most of the historical data used on this website comes from local museums and the Rangiora library. There is also a series of “Heritage Trail” brochures published by the Waimakariri District Council that provide much interesting material and suggested places to visit.
Many New Zealand museums are listed on “NZ Museums” website: http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz
“Rangiora & Districts Early Records Society”, Good St, Rangiora. http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3061
“Cust & Districts Historical Records Society”, Main Rd, Cust. http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3123
Rangiora Public Library
“Waimakariri District Libraries”, 141 Percival Street, Rangiora. http://www.waimakariri.govt.nz/library/
“Kaiapoi and district Historical Society”, 145 Williams Street (Old Court House), Kaiapoi. http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3230