Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.
The country about Auckland to the southward and eastward, and around the pensioner villages of Onehunga, Panmure, and Otahuhu, is cultivated chiefly in small paddocks of rich artificial grasses. Areas of from 5 to 50 acres are enclosed with post, and rail, and quickset, or with scoria walls, and present an emerald green appearance during the greater part of the year, while farms varying from 50 to 1000 acres, lying on the great south road or in the east Tamaki, page 33and are cultivated with grass, potatoes, and occasionally grain. The main lines of road from Auckland to the pensioner villages are excellent, the scoria forming a capital material for "metalling."
Fortnightly, monthly, and quarterly auctions, and markets for fat cattle and farm produce are held at Newmarket near Auckland, at Otahuhu, and other places, and are attended by the farmers of the respective districts and by the butchers and dealers from Auckland.
The Auckland district is a mere neck of land, connecting the border country to the north with the great mass of the islands southward. From Auckland to Onehunga, the port on the western harbour of Manukau, is only a distance of six miles—at this place the breadth of the harbour. The Whahū, a creek of the Waitemata harbour, approaches to within the distance of a mile and a quarter of the Manukau harbour, close to its shipping channel. It is estimated that a tramway to cross the portage would cost £12,850.
A wharf 1600 feet long extends from the principal street of the City of Auckland towards the channel of the harbour, and ships from 500 to 1500 tons and upwards can lie alongside two or three at a time, and discharge cargo into drays.
The pensioner villages are at short stages from Auckland. Onehunga, the most important, is six miles distant, and is at the termination of the road to the Manukau harbour. Panmure is situated where the Tamaki inlet intersects the eastern road, 8 miles from Auckland. It has good water communication, besides easy road access. Otahuhu is on the natural portage between the head of the Manukau and the head of the Tamaki.
Howick is about 16 miles distant, and lies on the shore of the Thames Gulf, or rather of the Waiku sound. It is pleasantly situated, and with the cultivation of the Tauranga and Mungemungeroa valleys behind, it will grow into importance.
All the land about these settlements, and for a distance, in most directions, of 20 miles from Auckland, has long since been sold and granted, but much of it may be leased for terms of years with purchasing clauses.
To the westward of Auckland, about 20 miles distant, is the Waitakiri district, containing 28,000 acres of Government land. This country is densely wooded, with broken surface, but very rich soil; roads are now being made into it. It is a rough place, but the soil will grow anything, and it lies within a sturdy day's walk of Auckland.
About the upper part of Waitemata harbour the Kauri forests afford a useful extent of timber, and give employment page 34to large parties of sawyers. The mill of Messrs. Henderson and Mc. Farlane, with both water and steam power, is capable of cutting 100,000 feet per week, and large vessels occasionally leave Auckland loaded with timber from this mill alone.
Great quantities of bricks are made about Auckland, but the materials are not the best, the clay wants a greater admixture of silica; however, near Papakura beds of silicean earth abound.
Limestone exists in abundance about Mahurangi and Matakana, near Auckland, but oyster shells are generally burnt in preference to lime.