Central Christchurch land abandoned for 120 years, no claimant

Lichfield Street
Lichfield Street is undergoing a rejuvenation project, where the small strip of unclaimed land is. Photo credit: Google

A piece of land belonging to the first mayor of Christchurch has been claimed by the Government.

William Barbour Wilson, known as Cabbage Wilson due to his horticultural background, died 120 years ago and the land has sat ownerless since.

The tiny 183 square metres of land in a former Lichfield St laneway has no street number, sitting between 130 and 132 Lichfield St, and has a rateable valuation of $150,000.

In February, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) asked the Christchurch Regeneration Minister, then Gerry Brownlee, to recommend the land be taken by proclamation.

In a report to the minister, LINZ said it took "all reasonable steps" to locate any living beneficiaries of Mr Wilson's estate, including by placing ads in The Christchurch Press and using a genealogy company. No beneficiary was found, and it appeared the land had sat largely ignored since Mr Wilson's death in 1897.

William Barbour Wilson, the city's first mayor.
William Barbour Wilson died 120 years ago, and the land has sat ownerless since. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Mr Wilson was elected as the city's first mayor in 1867, and was a significant landowner, with several plant nurseries.

It's speculated the strip was part of his 18-acre nursery that ran along Ferry Rd and High St in the 1850s.

The Government took ownership of the plot in May, and it will be used for the South Frame development project.