The Breakup of the Woodlands Estate

Regardless of their hard work and enterprise, the big landowners faced bankruptcy by the 1890s. Their huge loans, the cost of development, coupled with low returns for their produce, saw the Bank of New Zealand foreclose on hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land which lay in various stages of development. By 1898 an amendment to the Lands for Settlement Act had been passed to break up the large estates of the Waikato into smaller blocks.