In 1915 the New Zealand Government passed the Discharged Soldier Settlement Act, the first of its kind in the British Empire, which enabled soldiers to enter a ballot to lease land with which to farm. This Act allowed the Government to purchase land.
The country’s first settlement was just outside Morrinsville and named the Pakarau Settlement. The land was divided into 23 sections, with the first ballot taking place in December 1916 and the first settlers arriving shortly thereafter in 1917. The soldiers who were ill or wounded found breaking in the new land extremely hard work, and some had to relinquish their farm for a different way of life.
Ron Cochrane pitched his tent on his land in January 1917.
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