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Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.

Thames District

page 31

Thames District.

The character of the land at Kaipara is so variable—as it is, in fact, in all parts of New Zealand—and tracts of bad and good land so intermixed, even over small areas, that no one should think of buying land, however apparently attractive, from a map, or without previous inspection.

The valley of the River Thames has a creek or sea frontage of 170 miles, and its soil is fertile, with an ample sufficiency of wood and fresh water. Boats may ascend round the river for about 60 miles; and the Piako—the smaller river of the valley—for about 30 miles. The Thames Valley may be said to average 14 miles in width, and to be about 60 miles long. In the lower part are large swampy levels, covered with Toitoi grass, flax, raupo, and Kaikatea timber. The experience of the cultivation of the swamp at Nelson shows that this kind of land, if properly drained, yields splendid crops, and is perhaps the most profitable ground for the capitalist to settle upon. Higher up the valley, near the junction of the Waitoa and Piako, the country consists of low fern hills, with wood in the hollows; and in the upper valley, indigenous grass characterizes the surface. Mr. S. Martin, M.D., not inaptly termed this country the great Glen of New Zealand. With the cultivation and settlement of the Thames Valley, the harbour of Coromandel will become important—it being the nearest shipping anchorage to the plains of the Waiho and Piako rivers. At present this harbour and its adjacent coast is occupied by a few boat builders and saw millers, with a native trader located here and there along its extent—good settlers these, developing the resources of the place, but scarcely to be termed agriculturists, nor bearing the proportion of one to a hundred of what the place would support. The natives have, as yet, sold very little land in this district, but with their fast decreasing numbers, the land must shortly fall into the hands of the Europeans.