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Settlement on the Flaxbourne River, 50 km south of Blenheim on State Highway 1. Frederick Weld and Charles Clifford pastured the first sheep flock in the South Island there in 1847. The 23,000-hectare Flaxbourne estate was subdivided by the government in 1905 and the township was laid out and named after Joseph Ward, a cabinet minister. Disagreement between owners and government over the value of the land provoked two court cases before a figure was agreed on.
Meaning of place name
Named after Joseph Ward, who was a cabinet minister when town was laid out. The locality was formerly known as Mirza.