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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Timber and Soil

Timber and Soil.

The whole of Taranaki—with the exception of a fringe of open country along the east coast, from Pukearuhe to Patea, averaging three miles in width, and containing about 250,000 acres, and some valleys at the north-eastern corner of the district, about 150,00 acres in extent—was originally covered with heavy forest, but this is rapidly disappearing under the progress of settlement, and the erection of sawmills which deal with such timber. The larger timber is chiefly rata, rimu, matai, tawa, kahikatea, kohekohe, pukatea, rewarewa, and hinau, with a few totara scattered here and there. Among the smaller trees may be mentioned the kotukutuku or fuchsia, karaka, and mahoe. Between forty and fifty sawmills are at work in connection with the timber industry. Most of these sawmills work together under association rules and prices; but others work independently, each on its own account.

The volcanic soil, the boundaries of which have been already described, varies a good deal in quality. The best is believed to be on the south side of the mountain, between Stratford, Hawera, and Opunake, but not less than two or three miles from the forest reserve boundary. It is thought that the country, now being opened to the north and east of the volcanic deposit—that is, the papa and limestone formation—will, from the presence of lime, be much richer and more lasting as pasture land than that around the mountain. The carrying capacity of the land is, on an average, two and a-half to three sheep to the acre.