The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Marlborough Provincial District — The Marlborough Land District
Marlborough Provincial District.
The Marlborough Land District occupies the north-east corner of the South Island, and covers the area that until 1876 was known as Marlborough province. It is bounded on the north and east by Cook Strait and the sea as far south as the mouth of the Conway river. The second boundary follows the Conway as far as its junction with the Tory Channel, then runs north-west and north along the summits of several mountain ranges to the west side of Tennyson Inlet, Pelorus Sound. The extreme length of the district from Cape Jackson to the Conway is about 120 miles; while its greatest breadth from Cape Campbell south of Cloudy Bay to the Tophouse on the western boundary is about sixty-seven. The total area of the district is about 2,792,500 acres.
The eastern coast line of Marlborough, fron the Conway to the northern extremity of Cloudy Bay, is chiefly marked by lowlying sand dunes, with occasional stretches of rolling uplands separated by the estuaries of the rivers. Beyond this point and all along the north coast, the coast is pierced and broken by a remarkable series of narrow gulfs or fiords. The principal features of this section of the coast are Pelorus Sound, Queen Charlotte Sound, Tory Channel, Port Underwood and Port Gore. The largest of these is Pelorus Sound, thirtyfour miles in length, but including a total coastline of over 300 miles. It branches off into many small bays and inlets, of which the chief is Kenepuru Sound, fourteen miles long, and is studded with a large number of islands. Queen Charlotte Sound is thirty miles long, and twenty-five miles from the entrance it opens into Picton harbour, a safe and commodious haven. Tory Channel, separating Arapawa Island from the mainland, is ten miles long, and forms the most direct route for communication with Wellington, which, by this course, is only sixty miles From Picton. The shore line of Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel is fully 200 miles in length, and the coastal scenery in all these sounds is remarkably picturesque and attractive. The entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound is only about twenty miles from the mouth of Pelorus Sound, and the intervening country is largely intersected by the arms of these fiords. Twelve miles from Pelorus Sound is the picturesque but rather dangerous French Pass; a narrow channel which separates D'Urville Island from the mainland, and affords ingress from Cook Strait to Nelson Harbour. In all these sounds and bays there is deep water, and good anchorage can be secured close to the shore. The country running down to the shore is hilly but not too rough for sheep and cattle; and nearly all the open land along the Sounds is now taken up by settlers for pastoral purposes.
The land in Marlborough district may be divided roughly into three classes: open land, generally well grassed; forest land; and country partly bush-clad, and partly covered with scrub or fern. The open country was naturally taken up in the first place for pastoral purposes, while the bush land was first monopolised by the timber industry. But as the bush is being gradually “cut out” large areas of what was once forest land have been laid down in grass, and agriculture is gradually extending into the pastoral country. At the present time about 1,680,000 acres in Marlborough district are devoted to sheep raising and wool growing. In the northern district much of the land is still covered with scrub or fern; and in the open country, on natural grass, not more than one Merino sheep to the acre is the average. In the cleared bush country, on sown grass, from two to four crossbreds can easily be run to the acre. According to recent returns the total number of sheep in the district is about 826,500, of which 760,000 run in the Sounds couutry, and 174,000 in the southern district around Kaikoura. The total export of wool for 1903 was 12,700 bales. As to agriculture, this is chiefly carried on in the rich alluvial flats through which the rivers run. The Wairau Plain, of some 65,000 acres, is the chief block of agricultural land. The soil is rich, and the plain, especially near Blenheim, has long been cut up into comparatively small hold- page 291 ings, and subjected to intensive cultivation. Hops have been very successfully grown here, while the average yield of wheat is twenty-five bushels per acre; of oats and barley, thirty-five bushels; of peas, thirty bushels; and of potatoes, ten tons to the acre. The Wairau Plain, with its excellent roads, numerous plantations of trees, and many comfortable homesteads is, to the small settler with a certain amount of capital at his disposal, one of the most attractive and prosperous districts in the colony. Another district of great richness, though not yet so closely settled, is the country between the Kowhai and Hapuku rivers, in the neighbourhood of Kaikoura. The block between Mount Fyfe and the Kaikoura Peninsula known as “The Swamp,” is exceedingly well suited for cultivation. In the Pelorus district, and in the Sounds country generally, much of the cleared bush has already been converted into grazing farms; and the alluvial flats and terraces, all naturally rich soil, produce heavy crops of oats, beans, peas, and potatoes. The fact is that in nearly all parts of Marlborough the soil is naturally fertile, and the settlers have the benefit of one of the finest climates in the world. Everywhere along the coast the range of temperature is very small; the thermometer seldom falling below thirty degrees or rising above 78 degrees. The fact that the northern district is so largely intersected by the sea, renders the climate extremely mild and equable—even lemons, figs, oranges, and other sub-tropical fruits grow luxuriantly. The ordinary English fruit trees bear splendid crops, and with proper organisation the fruit-growing industry might easily be made very profitable. The rainfall varies from about 23 inches along the East Coast near Cape Campbell to over 65 inches in the Pelorus Valley. The dense vegetation in the Sounds district is partly the cause and partly the effect of this copious rainfall. The climate bears some resemblance to that of Nelson, though it is less relaxing; and there is an almost total absence of the boisterous winds characteristic of Wellington and the northern shores of Cook Strait.
Of the pastoral industries something has already been said. In addition to sheepfarming the dairy industry, as in many other districts in this colony, has of late years become a valuable adjunct to the local resources. There is a dairy factory at Spring Creek, with all the latest improvements. There are three cheese factories, one at Tuamarina, another at Hayelock, another at Kaikoura, which turned out over 100 tons of cheese in the year 1904. Another industry, indirectly extractive, is flour milling. There are three mills, two in Blenheim and the third at Spring Creek; the last is a water power roller mill, electric lighted, and with the sack working machinery driven by an electric motor. Flax again is an important factor among the local industries; indeed, there are eleven flax mills and the total output for the season of 1903 was 7,150 bales of dressed flax and tow. But the most important of the extractive industries prosecuted in Marlborough is sawmilling. There are fifteen sawmills at work in the district; two at Kaikoura, and the remainder in the vicinity of Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sounds. Messrs Brownlee's mill in the Pelorus Valley has a tramway fifteen miles long, and in 1903 turned out nearly 3,300,000 feet of timber. The Kaikoura mills are working the page 293 bush in the Hapuku Valley, and along the base of Mount Fyfe, and they are chiefly confined to the production of fencing timber and firewood. But other parts of Marlborough still contain large quantities of valuable timber. The whole of the district north of the Wairau river, extending to the Nelson boundary, and including the Sounds country—280,000 acres in all—was originally covered with thick bush. The principal varieties of timber were rimu, kahikatea, maitai, totara and tawa. There was a large amount of birch or beech on the higher spurs and hills, while pukatea and cedar (kohekohe) grew in plenty along the shores of the Sounds. Ever since 1860 sawmills have been at work in different parts of Marlborough, and at the present time Havelock, on Pelorus Sound, is the chief seat of the trade. The Pelorus Valley, including its offshoots, the Wakamarina, Rai, and Oponu Valleys, contained, in 1904, about 300,000,000 feet of milling timber, exclusive of birch, of which there are large quantities on all the hills, more especially along the shores of the Sound. There is a certain amount of pine left in the Kaituna Valley; and the settlers on the Wairau Plain have to depend for firewood and fencing chiefly on the scattered bushes in the valleys, where the supply is constantly diminishing. For some years yet, Marlborough may continue to regard the timber trade as a valuable asset, but within no very distant period the bush will be cut out and the energies of the settlers must be diverted to other forms of industry.
It is not likely, however, that gold mining will play any very important part in the development of the district. A certain amount of gold has been found from time to time, more especially in the Wairau Valley, at Mahakipawa and at Wakamarina. A great deal of money has been spent in the Wakamarina Gorge, and a dredge has lately been put to work in the river-bed, but so far without any very satisfactory result. Even where auriferous strata occur in the district, they are too broken and irregular to be very productive; nor is alluvial gold found anywhere in anything like the lavish profusion that made Westland famous in the early days. On present prospects, at any rate, it would be unwise to expect that mineral wealth will ever be the foundation of Marlborough's prosperity.
Little is known of the races that inhabited these islands prior to the advent of the Maori; but there is something more than tradition to assist us to a knowledge of the Moriori, who were expelled from New Zealand by the invaders. According to the natives of the Pelorus district their ancestors, on entering the country, found it inhabitated by “a small dark-complexioned Maori-speaking people,” who cultivated the ground and dwelt for the most part in pits or shallow caves excavated in the forest or on the hillside. As the bush has been cleared away, there have been found, in all parts of the district, shallow pits and hollows, which had evidently been used as habitations; but it was not till 1894 that the investigations of Mr. Joshua Rutland first pointed to the conclusion that these pits were the dwelling-places of the Moriori, the first inhabitants of Marlborough. They were a weak and inoffensive people, easily superseded by the warlike Maori, who disdained the tilling of the soil, and left the evidences of former occupation to be overgrown by the bush. Apparently a small remnant of the original race escaped destruction either by hiding in the forests or submitting to slavery till, in desperation, they fled the country, and sought a last refuge in the distant Chatham Islands.
But in the interval between the conquests of the Ngaitahu and the raids of Rauparaha, this island had been visited by white men. In January 1770, Captain Cook, on his first great voyage of discovery, reached the shores of Queen Charlotte Sound. In April, 1773, Captain Furneaux, Cook's companion on his second voyage, found his way to Ship Cove, and late in the year Cook himself spent some weeks in the Sound refitting his ship. Furneaux's visit was the occasion of a quarrel with the natives, and the massacre of his boat's crew—an episode that produced a very painful impression, and long prevented friendly intercourse between the Maoris and Europeans. In 1777 Cook, on his third voyage, again anchored in Queen Charlotte Sound and succeeded in allaying the suspicions and hostility with which the natives had begun to regard the white men. These visits at least to some extent familiarised the Maoris with the presence of strangers, and formed their first introduction to European civilisation.
For nearly fifty years after Cook's last voyage, the tribes who then inhabited the northern half page 295 of Marlborough district—the Rangitane, Ngaitara, and Ngatikuri— pursued their wonted course of internecine war; till early in the nineteenth century they in turn all fell before a fiercer and bolder conqueror. The valour and skill of Te Rauparaha had established the Ngatitoa as the dominant tribe in the centre and south of the North Island, and gradually their depredations were extended across Cook Strait. His fame spread far to the south and Rerewaha, the chief of the Ngaitahu who had fixed their headquarters at Kaikoura, boastfully threatened to slay Te Rauparaha if ever the Ngatitoa should dare to invade his land. The Ngatitoa chief never forgot or forgave an insult, and by the year 1828 he had matured his plans to invade the Ngaitahu country and to punish the braggart. With a force of 340 tried men, all armed with muskets and all supplied with ammunition, he crossed Cook Strait, and landed at Rangitoto (D Urville Island). He defeated the Rangitane with great slaughter, and then, in the words of the author of “Old Marlborough,” “swept like a withering blast over the whole of the northern portion of the province, neither the exclusion of the Pelorus Sound nor the inacessibility of the Wairau and Awatere Valleys protecting the inhabitants from the rapaciousness of his warriors.” With the aid of Te Pehi Kupe, an old ally who had journeyed to England and had brought back muskets and ammunition, Te Rauparaha extended his operations so far south as Kaikoura, where he captured Rerewaha and defeated the Ngaitahu. But an attempt to storm Kaiapoi, the great southern fortress of the Ngaitahu, failed, and Rauparaha returned to the Wairau, and thence to Kapiti, mourning the loss of some of his bravest chiefs. In a later expedition to the south he came into conflict with the famous Tu-hawa-iki, or “Bloody Jack,” the chief of the Otago Ngaitahus, and though Rauparaha obtained the Ngatiawas as allies in this war, he was more than once defeated, and barely escaped with his life. However, he subsequently realised his long-cherished wish by capturing Kaiapoi, the stronghold of the Ngaitahu, and so broke the power of the southern tribes. But already the labours of the missionaries had begun to change the character of the Maori race, and the period of sanguinary intertribal wars was almost over. About this time the Taranaki natives, driven from their homes by the Waikato tribes, swarmed southward, and crossing the Strait demanded room for themselves in the country just subdued by Te Rauparaha. About 1835, therefore, the chief divided among his northern friends a large portion of the district of Marlborough. The Ngatitoa settled on the Wairau plain; while the Ngatiawa and kindred tribes went to the Pelorus and D'Urville Island. These, with a few scattered remnants of the vanquished Rangitane and Ngaitahu were the native tribes who inhabited Marlborough when the first European settlers came to make the land their home.
As in most parts of New Zealand, the first white settlers in Marlborough were whalers. As early as 1827 Captain Guard established a whaling station at Te Awaite, on Queen Charlotte Sound, and by 1839, when the “Tory” with Colonel Wakefield reached these shores, it was the most important European town in the South Island. Captain Guard had migrated to Port Underwood, and had been succeeded by the famous “Dicky” Barrett who came down from Taranaki with the Ngatiawas in 1834. Colonel Wakefield explained to Barrett the colonising projects of the New Zealand Company; and he was further assisted in his researches into native land titles and boundaries by Captain James Hebberly, who piloted the “Tory” through the Sounds, and was probably the pioneer of all the white settlers in the district. The other white settlements at Kaikoura, Port Underwood, and Cloudy Bay were, like Te Awaite, inhabited by whalers or escaped convicts—hard-living and often desperate men, given to coarse dissipation, and finding their domestic ideals in temporary unions with the Maori women.
Thus early in the history of the district the white settlers were alarmed by two terrible tragedies— the massacres of 1840 and 1843. The Maori wife and child of Mr. Wynen, one of the New Zealand Company's agents, were murdered at Port Underwood by a white whaler, and the natives demanded “utu” for the crime. The murderer was captured, but by an unfortunate miscarriage of justice was acquitted. But the Maoris took vengeance on a band of settlers who came down from Port Underwood to the Wairau in 1840; for though the actual facts were never revealed, the settlers all disappeared, and there is no doubt that they were murdered and probably eaten by the enraged natives. The second tragedy that stains the records of Marlborough's early history—the Wairau massacre —has been described at length in the Nelson section of this volume. To the general statement of the case for and against the Maoris may be added the striking testimony of the Attorney-General of the day, who described the conduct of the Europeans as “illegal in its inception and in every step of its execution, unjustifiable in the magistrate and four constables, and criminal in the last degree on the part of the attacking party.” Mr. Spain, the Government Land Commissioner, to whom the natives had appealed to adjudicate on the disputed titles declared that the action of the whites was “an attempt to set British law at defiance and to obtain by force possession of a tract of land, the title of which was disputed and them under the consideration of a Commissioner specially appointed to investigate and report upon it.” Mr. Spain expressed his conviction from the evidence he had been able to collect, that the Maoris at the outset “exhibited the greatest forbearance and the utmost repugnance to fight with the Europeans.” This opinion was endorsed by Mr. George Clark, the Protector of the Aborigines, who stated to the Acting-Governor “that he was satisfied such an unhappy affair as that of the Wairau could never have occurred had not the natives been urged to it by extreme provocation.” But as, was natural enough, the white settlers throughout the colony demanded vengeance on the natives, and Captain Fitzroy by refusing to arrest or punish Rauparaha and Rangihaeata roused the bitterest indignation among the Europeans. It was long before the sinister impression left by these terrible episodes passed away from the recollection of either white settlers or Maoris.
The efforts of the Europeans to obtain possession of land in the Marlborough district have been described in connection with the early history of Nelson. Some time before 1840 a certain Captain Blenkinsopp alleged that he had bought the whole of the Wairau Plain from the Maoris for an old ship's gun, which was long preserved as an historic relic in Blenheim. It appears that Rauparaha was induced to sign the transfer of the land by deliberate misrepresentation, and when the New Zealand Company bought the title to these lands from the old whaler's widow for £300, the Maoris naturally refused to recognise the claim. When Colone.' Wakefield purchased the Company's South Island selections in 1839, he may have meant to include the Wairau Plain in his purchase. But there was no specific mention of it, and only three chiefs were parties to this sale; while by native law at least 3000 natives had a voice in the disposal of the land. Colonel Wakefield must surely have been aware of the utterly baseless nature of his claims, and if he had not felt that to withdraw them would have been to acknowledge the failure of the Nelson settlement, he would hardly, against so many warnings, have persisted in the unfortunate course that he followed. However, after the Wairau massacre, the Nelson settlement was still in urgent need of land for the new colonists, and after the first excitement of the tragedy died down, a steady stream of settlers began to find their way across from the Waimea to the Wairau. In 1846 Messrs Fox, Redwood, Ward, and Goulter explored the valleys eastward, and discovered the Tophouse track, which for many years re- page 297 mained the chief thoroughfare for communication east and west. In the same year Messrs Fox, Renwick, Jollie, Wills, and Stephens went up Queen Charlotte Sound, through the Waitohi Pass to the Wairau, and overland to Nelson in seventeen days. All these explorers were immensely impressed with the richness of the country and its suitability for settlement, and by 1847 Sir George Grey had cleared the way for the colonists by the promise and payment of a considerable sum to Te Rauparaha in consideration of his tribe's claims to land on either side of Cook Strait.
In 1847 Messrs Clifford and Weld (afterwards Sir Charles and Sir Frederick) brought over 3000 sheep from Sydney and took up the Flaxbourne run, the first great pastoral estate stocked in Marlborough. By 1848 there were still only 194 Europeans in the whole district; but when, in 1850, the New Zealand Company surrendered its rights to the Crown, over 34,000 acres in the Marlborough district were allotted to the Nelson settlers whose claims for land had not yet been met. The tenure of the early pastoral runs was by no means definite, and when Sir George Grey's land regulations in 1853 made the acquirement of the freehold easy, many of the runholders took advantage of the change to secure the fee simple of their lands. Among the pioneers who took up runs between 1845 and 1850 may be mentioned Messrs Duppa, Watts, Jenkins, Joseph Ward, Cyrus Goulter, F. Trolove, Renwick, Vickerman, J. and R. Tinline, Adams, Wither, Macrae, Atkinson, E. W. Stafford, Otterson, Clifford, Weld, and Dr. Shaw.
The foundation and growth of the town of Blenheim naturally fills a large space in the early records of the district. In 1852 Mr. James Sinclair went to the Wairau, and was requested by Messrs Fell and Seymour, of Nelson, to assist in disposing, of sections of the area on which Blenheim now stands. “The Beaver,” as the district was then called, was not a very favourable site for settlement, though floods were not then so dangerous as they afterwards became. But as the requirements of the wool trade were of paramount importance, and river shipping was then a very lucrative industry, Mr. Sinclair, who had already set up at the Beaver as a merchant on the Opawa river bank, sold the quarter-acre sections in the new township of £10 each. In 1855 Mr. Joseph Taylor, the “Village Blacksmith,” settled at the Beaver, and Messrs Tucker, Robinson, Kenny, and Simmonds swelled the lists of storekeepers and employers of labour. The little settlement quickly expanded, and, in 1857, Dr. Muller was sent down from Nelson to act as postmaster and magistrate. The town and rural sections on the Beaver were rapidly taken up, and the business portion of the township soon extended along the bank of the Opawa river. Hotels, a bank, and the Provincial Council Chambers were speedily erected; and Mr. Sinclair, by building wharves and wool stores soon concentrated a large share of the wool transport trade in the new town. By 1859 the value of town land had so far increased that the small section on which the first Marlborough hotel was built was purchased for no less than £150.
When the township was laid out by Messrs Fell and Seymour, liberal reserves had been made for educational, religious, and other public purposes; and of these advantage was speedily taken. In 185/ the Rev. D. Nicholson, who had on several occasions visited the Wairau, left Nelson and set up at Renwicktown, the first Presbyterian church in Marlborough. He was followed by the Ven. Archdeacon Butt, who resigned his Nelson cure to found the first Anglican church in the Wairau. The Roman Catholic church in those days was represented by Father Garin and Father Tressallett, who, like all ministers of the Gospel at that time, were compelled to brave all the hardships and dangers of early colonial life in their self-denying ef- page 300 forts to meet the spiritual needs of their flocks. The Methodists were early represented in the district, and soon formed a strong community; and in 1859 the Rev. Mr. Warren conducted the first Methodist service at the Beaver. Closely associated with the growth of the church was the establishment and extension of an educational system. In 1859 application was made to Nelson for a school teacher, and Mr. J. White was sent down to take charge of the first school. After the separation of Marlborough from Nelson the Provincial Council in 1860 appointed a committee of management to superintend education in the new province. At first the school was maintained by a household tax of £1 per annum; but the secular nature of the education given roused strong opposition, and there were many instances of “passive resistance” on conscientious grounds. Subsequently the Road Boards were constituted Boards of Education with power to levy rates and impose attendance fees; and on this basis the schools were maintained till the present national system of education was set up.
The little township at “the Beaver,” or Blenheim as it began to be called, was now fairly started on the path of expansion and progress. By 1860 the inhabitants numbered 300 all told; and in January of that year it confirmed its civilised status by starting a newspaper, the “Marlborough Press.” The editor was Mr. H. Millington, and the paper appeared weekly till the seat of Government was removed to Picton. In 1864 the “Wairau Record” was started under the editorship of Mr. E. Tucker to represent the views of Blenheim in opposition to its rival, but it did not live long. Then Mr. Millington came back from Picton and started the “Marlborough News.” A frequent contributor to page 302 1848 by the New Zealand Company which was compelled to find land for its imigrants who had purchased town sections to the amount of £50,000 before leaving England. Waitohi Bay was the site of the new township, which was originally called Newtown. With the assistance of Sir George Grey's influence, the natives sold the reqiured land, and retired to a settlement at Waikawa close at hand. But the little township, though dating back to the earliest days of provincial history, did not acquire importance till 1861, when it became the seat of provincial government. For a time the discovery of gold at the Wakamarina increased its population and wealth, but after the collapse of the mining boom and the exhaustion of the timber in the Waitohi valley, it relapsed into comparative obscurity. On one occasion Mr. Stafford almost gained fame for it by endeavouring to locate the Colonial Government there on account of its central position and fine harbour, but the hopes to the inhabitants were doomed to disappointment. But its position renders it the natural terminus of the South Island main trunk railway—when that line is finished; and in the meantime Picton has gained a certain amount of wealth and importance for itself as a shipping centre both for intercolonial and British trade. In 1884 Mr. John Holmes, then one of Blenheim's most successful merchants, advocated the shipping of Marlborough's wool and hemp and mutton direct to London instead of conveying it via Wellington, and in that year the first direct boat, the “Lyttelton,” left Picton harbour for London. Since those days the trade of Picton has expanded largely. There is frequent communication with Wellington and Nelson by steamers of 500 tons or more, and large ocean-going vessels can lie at the wharf at low water. For the year ending March, 1904, the Christchurch Meat Company exported from Picton mutton and lamb to the extent of over 100,000 carcases. The other chief industries of Picton are malting—the material being the splendid barley grown in the Wairau Plain—and fishing, for which the teeming waters of the Sounds supply remarkable facilities; and also, lime and cement works. Few systematic attemnts have yet been made to exploit this source of wealth, which may yet prove of great value to the district. For the year 1003 the total value of Picton's and Wairau's exports was nearly £220,000, representing an advance of over £70,000 on the previous year; while there was a decrease in export returns from almost all other New Zealand barbours. The town has now only about 900 inhabitants but the beauty of its surroundings renders it a charming place of residence, and its exceptional position as a railway terminus and centre of coastal trade will yet render it one of the most prosperous of all New Zealand ports.
Of the other townships in Marlborough district the most important are Havelock, at the head of the Pelorus Sound, the headquarters, page 303 of the timber trade, and Kaikoura, which has a long history going back to the old pre-settlement whaling days. Probably there were white settlers there in 1840, and in 1847 there were three stations employing nearly one hundred men. The country back of the Peninsula began to be settled in 1857; among the first pioneers being Messrs W. McRae, Joseph Ward, and Captain Keene, who took up land on Swyncombe Flat. Towards 1860 Mr. W. Smith and Mr. C. G. Water settled in the district; and in 1861 Mr. Ward began the survey of the township and rural sections of Kaikoura. The local government of the town and district was originally in the hands of the Kaikoura Road Board, which was first constituted in 1870. The township has only 500 inhabitants, but the district is closely settled, and the country, especially near Mount Fyfe, is remarkably rich and productive.
Marlborough still suffers sadly from a lack of means of internal communication. The only railway is that between Picton and Seddon, a distance of thirty-three miles and a-half. Three trains run daily between Picton and Blenheim—eighteen miles—and trains run twice daily on three days in the week, and once daily on the other three days, from Blenheim on to Seddon. One very important work of recent years is the railway and traffic bridge over the dangerous Awatere river, erected at a cost of £22,500. What Marlborough needs in railroads, however, she has to some extent supplied by admirable roads. The North Road to Nelson—seventy-eight miles—is a splendid highway, and the coach travels the distance three times a week in eleven hours. The road follows the Wairau and the Kaituna from Blenheim to Havelock; then goes up the Pelorus and Rai Valleys, and by a very gradual ascent crosses the Waimangaroa Saddle to Nelson. The South Road runs over the Awatere through the Starborough. Flaxbourne, and Kekerangu stations to Kaikoura, and so into Canterbury. The road in bad weather leaves much to be desired, but a new road running south of Kaikoura to the Conway, and forming part of the main Cheviot-Kaikoura road, will help greatly to open up the country, while its picturesque scenery is certain to draw tourists to the district, so soon as its attractions become better known.
The tourist is admittedly a valuable asset for New Zealand, and Marlborough can offer many inducements to travellers who delight in the beauties of Nature. The Sounds have suffered from comparison with the glories of the West Coast Sounds; but no one who has seen Queen Charlotte Sound or the Pelorus in suitable weather can deny their wonderfully varied charms. “The scene,” says a recent visitor page 304 to Pelorous Sound, “was surpassingly beautiful. Huge mountains, swathed in virgin bush from the water's edge, lost themselves in the rolling clouds above. Here and there a point could be seen covered with magnificent clumps of fern trees. On these projections, and on the lower knolls of the ranges, the green tones of the bush were relieved by clinging masses of clematis.” Even though the bush is disappearing before the settler's axe, and the blackened tree trunks and curling smoke point to many a forest clearing, still the Marlborough Sounds, with their devious coastline and their lovely islands, will remain for ever a precious possession to the lovers of Nature in New Zealand. On Arapawa, and at Port Underwood and at Ship Cove, are still to be seen vestiges of the earliest civilisation that reached the colony; and Queen Charlotte Sound must always remain associated with the visit paid to these islands by Captain Cook. Apart from historical traditions, the portions of Marlborough most interesting to those in search of the picturesque are the Pelorus and Rai Valley. Here again the destruction of the bush is a deplorable loss; but the river scenery in the Pelorus Valley, and the lovely vestiges of the primeval forest in the Rai Valley are still among the indelible memories that travellers carry with them from these shores. In the back country, at the head of the Awatere or Clarence or Wairau, scenery of a wilder, bolder type may be met with; and for those whose tastes lead them to Alpine climbing, the ascent of Tapuaenuka, the highest peak of the Inland Kaikouras (9,467 feet) is an achievement of which even a member of the Alpine Club might well be proud. The road from Blenheim to the Hanmer Plains, via Tarndale and Tophouse, passes over some very rugged but picturesque country; and even on the Blenheim-Kaikoura road along the seaside, there is a wealth of natural beauty that would make the fortune of many a tourist resort in older and less highly favoured lands. Marlborough is not one of the most frequented or the most widely advertised of New Zealand's scenic centres; but it well repays a visit from even the most experienced and hardened of “globe trotters.”
But it is clearly not upon its picturesque scenery that the future prospects of Marlborough depend. Its agricultural, pastoral and mineral resources all entitle it to take a high place among the wealth-producing districts of the colony; and its industrial advances were well illustrated at the highly successful Industrial Exhibition that was opened at Blenheim by the Governor in September, 1904. In speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the Premier justly praised the energy and enterprise that the people of Marlborough have displayed in fighting their way to prosperity—against the heavy natural disadvantages with which they have had to contend; and he instanced as a proof of the district's progress the fact that land which in 1875 could be got for £1 an acre, was now worth £50 an acre. Visitors from Wellington were amazed at the richness of the soil and the elaborate cultivation of the Wairau district; and the evidences of progress and prosperity supplied by the Exhibition give every reason to hope and believe that Marlborough is now at least fairly on the way to realise the high hopes formed by the pioneers who first came down from Nelson sixty years ago to plant their tents in the wilderness, “strong in the faith of better days to be.”