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Official Guide to the Government Court: N.Z. Centennial Exhibition

State Forest Service

State Forest Service

No history of New Zealand would be complete without some record of the progress of land development with which forestry must inevitably be associated. For that reason the portrayal of forestry is interwoven with a composite display illustrating the gradual development and progress of land settlement since colonisation began.

A photographic reproduction of an Ordinance issued by the Colonial Secretary in 1841 regarding the conservation of kauri (referred to as koudi) for the British Navy appears in the initial stage of the historic mural which surrounds the Hall of Progress. Thus did forestry in New Zealand receive its initial statutory recognition.

The difficulties of the pioneer in breaking-in virgin land and building homes and necessary farm buildings may readily be appreciated when it is realised that sawn-timber supplies, even if available, could not be transported to the farm. It was, therefore, necessary to utilise more convenient and cheaper means of securing sawn timber, and, as suitable trees were usually on the site, the pit-saw, an example of which is exhibited, was the first method used for the purpose.

Forests were destroyed to prepare land for farming, and the early pastoralists cleared still greater areas for grazing purposes. Consequently, the forest area was rapidly reduced from about 30,000,000 acres in 1840 to approximately 20,000,000 in 1890.

Forests were regarded as of little or no value—indeed, usually as an encumbrance to be got rid of as speedily as possible—and the use of the fire-stick was general in many places.

With an abundance of good timber, early milling tendencies were to use only the best trees and the best portion of the log, but as supplies became scarcer, more efficient logging and milling were practised.

A sawmill typical of those used in 1890 and still in use in many parts, is illustrated by a life-like diorama.

The first private tree-planting on any scale commenced in Canterbury about 1890, and about 10 years later the State afforestation began at Hanmer Springs, and was continued subsequently at Balmoral and Eyrewell. A new plantation is now being established near Rangiora.

All these are illustrated by a scale model of Canterbury Province, associated with which is a three-minute film depicting the whole gamut of forestry from seed to sawmill.

Another interesting model shows the most modern sawmill and creosoting plant in the Dominion, now being erected at Rotorua; it is in vivid contrast to the pit-saw plant of 1840, and fittingly concludes the narrative of progress.

In addition to the composite display, a small space is devoted to an exhibit depicting certain aspects of present-day forest policy. Educational work takes a prominent place.

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Forest conservation and management depend on the protection of the forests from fire; consequently education on this vital matter is given prominence by a short film showing the ravages of forest fire, while suitable posters warn the public against the misuse of fire.

Forest management to provide supplies of timber in perpetuity, and the multiple use of forests are clearly illustrated and explained by a painted mural, while a photographic mural depicts the exotic forests and their products, and two enlarged photographs show indigenous forest interiors.

Statistical progress of exotic forest establishment and the Proclamation of land for State Forest purposes are shown by graphs.