The World’s Largest Townships of Sandon and Carnarvon
The Townships of Sandon and Carnarvon in Manawatu are claimed by locals as the largest townships in the world. They were never intended as “towns” — Carnarvon alone covered 100,000 acres!
During the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s land scrip was issued to soldiers in recognition of their service and to assist their rehabilitation. Many soldiers did not want land and sold their scrip to speculators. Of course no cash went into the Government purse for land bought with scrip — an unwelcome outcome. However, soldier scrip could not be used for buying town land. The Government therefore made life as difficult as possible for would-be speculators using scrip for purchases by calling land offered for sale ‘the township of …’ In Manawatu the vast townships of Sandon and Carnarvon are two examples of this strategy. Lords Sandon and Carnarvon, were both members of the Colonial Land Company in England, but had no direct connection with Manawatu.
The first sales of land in the Township of Carnarvon were in 1872. “Favourable” terms were offered and London-based Falconer Larkworthy, managing director of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company (Incorporated 1865) and a director of the Bank of New Zealand bought thousands of acres as a speculation.