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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)

Variety In Brief — Praise for New Zealand

page 49

Variety In Brief
Praise for New Zealand.

A tribute to the transport and accommodation facilities for overseas visitors to New Zealand was paid by Mr. Walter C. Savage, of Sydney, in a recent interview with a representative of the Rotorua “Post.”

Mr. Savage is the principal of W. Savage and Company Proprietary, Limited, manufacturers of shovels.

Mr. Savage said that in Australia one frequently heard criticism of the facilities for tourists in New Zealand, but during his present visit he had found these criticisms to be groundless. The Dominion, he said, has made wonderful progress in the past seven years, and what had astonished him was the excellent town which had been built up at Napier following the disastrous earthquake of 1931. He marvelled at the spirit of the people who had accomplished the re-establishment of the town in such a brief space of years.

“The railway arrangements in New Zealand are very good and the sleeping cars on the Limited express, between Wellington and Auckland, and the comfortable accommodation of the Rotorua express compares favourably with the Australian State trains,” he said.

“The hotel accommodation and service in this country is also all that could be desired, and better than I have encountered in some places I have visited in Australia.”

Mr. Savage was particularly impressed with Rotorua, and congratulated the city fathers on their foresight in planting trees in the streets. “I think Rotorua is an excellently laid out town,” he said. Mr. Savage was also impressed with the Government Gardens and the facilities available for all classes of sport.

* * *

Dumping rocks into the sea. That is oyster cultivation by the Government on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour, North Auckland. Of course, the stones have to be the right size, the right quality, and placed in the right position. The Kaipara Harbour is one of the most extensive water-ways in New Zealand, with one of the most dangerous bars on which lie the bones of many ships that came into and out of the harbour during the busy days of the kauri timber trade. More kauri came out of the Wairoa River that flows into this harbour than any other waterway. There were always oysters in the Kaipara, but continuous picking gradually depleted the beds so that in 1928–29, the Marine Department commenced experiments in the cultivation of this shell fish. As a result of the knowledge gained from these experiments, there are now many miles of oyster cultivations. Last year £1,750 was expended in placing 4,040 cubic yards of rock over an area of 64,703 square yards in these, the largest oyster cultivations in New Zealand. The stone placed must not be too hard; if it were, it would be too difficult to separate the oyster from the rock when ready for market. Suitable stone is obtained from Huketere on the harbour and barged to the selected area, where oysters are to be found but not sufficient rock for more oysters to spawn. Here the quarried stone, each piece being not less than one cubic foot, is placed in long rows at about the quarter-flood line so that the rocks are covered with water for the greater part of the tide. That is all the work that man does, the balance is for nature to carry out, and nature does her work well. At Whakakie, where stone was placed during January and February of this year, small oysters, oyster spats they are called, can be seen on the rocks, while at Timber Bay, where rocks were placed five years ago and are now covered with oysters, there are a few ready for the table, but the majority do not reach maturity for from seven to eight years. Oysters start to spawn in November and finish in February, while the picking season commences in June and is completed before the spawning season. In the Kaipara Harbour this season the Government pickers, six in number and all Maoris, operated on twenty-six areas scattered around the foreshore and from 600 to 700 sacks were shipped to the Auckland market. The men are housed on a large barge and this is towed from one bed to another. On this floating home the men are most comfortable and as the pay is good, 9/3 a sack, and a man can pick and wash two sacks a day, they are a very contented lot. Originally the oysters were marketed in the same condition as they were picked from the rocks, but now they are washed. Although the oysters grow on rocks, these are adjacent to extensive mud-flats, and the shell fish become coated with this mud, hence the name previously given to Kaipara oysters, mud oysters, a misnomer, nevertheless. Now the oysters are washed in a machine that is erected on the barge on which the men are housed. After passing through this machine all the mud is washed from the shell and the small shells separated. The men pick while the tide allows and wash their pickings when the beds are covered by the tide. The sacks of oysters are collected by a boat trading to Helensville, and from this point railed to the Auckland market.—W.F.B.

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