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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 6 (September 2, 1935)

Geologist for Canterbury

Geologist for Canterbury.

Haast's next appointment, which proved to be his life work, was that of Geologist to the Province of Canterbury. The many and great duties of technical skill and arduous exploration which he carried out from 1860 to 1870 are detailed in his work, “The Geology of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand,” published in Christchurch in 1879. His narrations combine graphic accounts of “the difficulties, dangers and joys of an explorer's life,” with a great mass of detailed information on the geography and geology of this very beautiful and wonderful region of New Zealand.

The Superintendent of Canterbury, Mr. W. Sefton Moorhouse, after whom Haast named the Moorhouse Range and Mount Sefton, sent a special urgent summons to Haast to examine the extinct volcano through which it was proposed to pierce the Lyttelton-Christchurch railway tunnel. The first contractor had abandoned the work on account of the hardness of the basalt lava rock met with. The geologist explained the sequence of the lava streams and ancient crater walls that would be encountered, and the small proportion of hard rock. In consequence of his report the contract was re-let and the page 19 tunnel successfully completed, under the supervision of Mr. Edward Dobson, the Provincial Engineer (afterwards Haast's father-in-law).