Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

New Zealand's Burning — The Settlers' World in the Mid 1880s

1 The Interprovincial Timber Trade, 1885

1 The Interprovincial Timber Trade, 1885

The lack of coastal cargo statistics makes it very difficult to get a firm picture of interprovincial trade in any commodity. For timber however there is an unusual confluence of statistics both of production and interprovincial movement for the 1884–85 period. Figure 11.3 collates these statistics and various other relevant information to create an approximate overview of the 1885 interprovincial trade. This appendix summarises the sources of these statistics and the assumptions underlying this figure. The most valuable statistics are those of the March 1886 census for 1885 sawmill output. They have been collated with overseas export figures, population statistics and other material to create Table A. All figures for timber have been translated into tons, using the contemporary convention of 500 superficial feet to the ton.

Table A: Interprovincial Timber Trade, 1885
(1) (2) (3) (4)
Province Timber for colonial use (tons) Excess/Deficit to consumption at NZ average (tons) Migration gain/loss 1881–86 (persons) Estimated interprovincial trade balance (tons)
Auckland 134,203 +53,594 +17,958 +32,000
Taranaki 10,225 -853 +359 -800
Hawke's Bay 37,278 +22,156 +4,318 +10,000
Wellington 54,825 +7,101 +6,754 -
Marlborough 17,004 +10,164 +285 +10,000
Nelson 18,587 -1,721 +1,343 -2,000
Westland 8,499 -1,306 -442 -1,000
Canterbury 14,660 -60,184 -6,830 -32,000
Otago 61,935 -29,873 -2,524 -16,200

In Table A column (1) gives provincial production less overseas exports, and page 286 column (2) gives the excess or deficit (related to 1886 census population) if the province was consuming timber at the average rate for the colony. However, consumption will have been related to building activity, which will have borne some relationship to population migrations. Column (3) gives estimated gains/losses on migration between the 1881 and 1886 censuses (calculated using the figures for excess of births over deaths for the years 1881–85). Column (4) gives the suggested balances between interprovincial exports and imports. All provinces will have had some imports of Auckland kauri; Auckland itself, despite its massive kauri exports, was importing totara.

In Table 11.3 the firm figures for Canterbury's 1885 timber imports are from the report on the ‘East and West Coast and Nelson (Midland) Railway’ (AJHR 1886, D-1A, p. 21). The firm figure of 3,300 tons for Southland coastal exports is from Thomas Kirk's 1886 report, but some of this may well have been for Dunedin, and therefore not interprovincial exports. The ?40,000 tons for Auckland's interprovincial kauri exports makes allowance for the fact that Auckland was experiencing a building boom at the time of the 1886 census. With less than a quarter of the colony's population, Auckland had 463 of the 834 houses being built in March 1886 (1886 Census Report, p. 12). Table A allows for an excess of timber use above the figure derived from the colonial average of 13,594 tons of kauri and 8,000 tons of imported totara. We have made what is probably an over-generous allowance for Auckland consumption because of our use of kauri timber exports in the coastal shipping argument of Chapter 14. The remaining interprovincial trade figures in Figure 11.3 and Table A are estimates based on the information in Kirk's report, collated with railway goods traffic, population growth and 1886 census ‘houses building’ figures.