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Geology of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand : a report comprising the results of official explorations

The Taramakau

The Taramakau.

Following the West Coast in a southerly direction from the Grey, the next river of importance is the Taramakau, the main sources of which are situated on the Hurunui or Harper's Pass, close to those of the "Hurunui river. For the first 28 miles the direction of its course is west-by-south, after which, for the remaining 20 miles, it runs north-west. Five miles below the saddle the valley already widens considerably, the river flowing for a long distance in a broad channel, and receiving numerous tributaries, mostly from the southern side, of which the Otira, and principally the Taipo, a river of glacier origin, are the most important; in fact, the Taipo, at its junction, contains page 222more water than the Taramakau. The sources of the former are situated on the southern slopes of Mount Harman, in that cluster of snow-covered mountains which the Maoris designate as the Kaimatau, Below the junction of the Taipo the valley narrows, the river "breaking through the granite coast chain, and only enlarging its bed again near its mouth.

The Arahura empties itself into the sea, about 10 miles below the mouth of the Taramakau. Its main source issues from Lake Browning (4616 feet above the sea level), which lies close to the summit of Browning's Pass. After flowing for about eight miles in a northerly direction, between high snow-covered ranges, with precipitous banks, it turns to the west-north-west, keeping this general course to its mouth. It here flows through a succession of deep gorges for a distance of 22 miles, measured in a straight line, its valley becoming more open about nine miles from the coast. The portion of its bed between the Wooded saddle (Griffith's Pass), leading from the upper Arahura into the Styx and the junction of the Kawhaka creek, is unknown to me; however, it has been surveyed along its whole course by the Westland Survey Department, through which I received the description of its characteristic features,