The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
The principal town of the district, New Plymouth, has a popuation of about 5,000, and is situated on the seashore, about two miles to the north-east of the picturesque rocky inlets known as the Sugar Loaves. New Plymouth is 251 miles by rail from Wellington; and at the port, which is two miles from the town, protection for shipping is afforded by a concrete mole, or breakwater, running in a northeast direction for a distance of 2,150 feet. Steamers of 1,000 tons can be berthed in almost all weathers, and the wharf is connected with the town by both rail and road. New Plymouth has a sash and door factory, a boot factory, a butter-keg factory, and three coach factories; a brewery, a cordial factory, a flour-mill, a tannery, a fellmongery, a bone mill, and iron-foundry; and there are freezing works and a bacon factory in the suburbs. The town is supplied with both water and gas.
Hawera, the next largest town, is situated on the eastern edge of the Waimate Plains. It has a population of 2,500, and is surrounded by a first-class dairying and grazing country, capable of carrying a very large population.
The town of Patea is situated on the coast, at the extreme southern end of the district, and has a population of 700. There is a splendid grazing district inland. Patea has a dairy factory, which has two branch creameries; and a refrigerating company for dairy and other produce has also been established, and is proving a great success. The Patea Harbour Board has an up-to-date wool-dumping press and hydraulic pumps; and steamers trade regularly to Westport, Greymouth, and Lyttelton, Wellington and other ports.
Stratford, a comparatively young town, lies about midway between Patea and New Plymouth. It has already a population of over 2,100, and is growing fast. The height above sea level is 1,000 feet, and the climate is bracing, though somewhat moist. The main road to Auckland starts at Stratford, and also the through railway line, now in course of construction. Stratford has a successful bacon factory, and the neighbouring district is devoted chiefly to dairy-farming.
Waitara, a seaport town of 900 inhabitants, is situated on the Waitara river, a mile up from the sea, and about ten miles northeast from New Plymouth. The Waitara Freezing and Cool Storage Company, Limited, has storage for 25,000 carcases of mutton, and its five freezing rooms are capable of hanging 1,200 carcases; it has, also, a beef-chilling room and a mutton-chilling room. The freezing plant is a 60-ton Hercules, and is guaranteed to freeze 1,500 sheep per day. The boiling-down and tallow department is most complete and up-to-date, a large manure plant has been erected, and the works are fitted throughout with electric light. The produce is conveyed on board the New Zealand Shipping Company's ocean-going steamers, which anchor in the Waitara roadstead. The fact that the works are gazetted as Government grading and cool stores, is a great convenience for outside dairy factories.
Inglewood is on the railway line, sixteen miles south-east of New Plymouth, and has about 1000 inhabitants. Its industries include a bacon factory. Eltham, a rising borough of 1,400 inhabitants, is making very rapid progress, and it, too, has a prosperous bacon factory. Opunake is a seaport town of 600 inhabitants; and the other towns of importance are Manaia, population, 450; and Normanby, with a population of 400.