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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (November 2, 1936)

Through the Gorge: The Old Manawatu

Through the Gorge: The Old Manawatu.

Travel to-day is easy, swift and comfortable—too easy for our good, tramping enthusiasts say—but it has lost something, the essential that gave salt and zest and the bite of adventure to life. Look at this lively picture of pioneer days touring in New Zealand as set down in 1850 by a Government Maori-business official of that era, and contrast it with the luxurious mechanised methods that have standardised and smoothed out everything for us. It shows us the Manawatu Gorge as it was, long before railway on one side and road on the other had tamed the once gloriously wild ravine through the mountain backbone, and before deforestation by fire and axe had ruined the wooded loveliness of the ranges. Still, it is sometimes wild enough in flood-time, when the ill-protected butt-ends of the mountains are streaming with water, and the glen has a touch of savagery when that powerful yellow river, charged with soil and gravel from the banks is tearing along, perhaps twenty feet above its normal level.